Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Surfer wannabe / WED 12-21-11 / Bygone Toyota sedan / Texas/Louisiana border river / William Tell's canton / Musical with Mungojerrie Jennyanydots

Constructor: Ron and Nancy Byron

Relative difficulty: Medium

 THEME: NOEL (69A: Seasonal song ... or a phonetic hint to 18-, 23-, 37-, 52- and 59-Across) — DESCRIPTION

Word of the Day: Saint Philip NERI (63A) —
Saint Philip Romolo Neri (Italian: Filippo Neri) (July 21, 1515 – May 25, 1595), also known as Apostle of Rome, was an Italian priest, noted for founding a society of secular priests called the "Congregation of the Oratory". (wikipedia)
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[FOR MY READERS IN SYNDICATION: It's pledge week here at the Rex Parker site (thru Sat.) —read my pitch for donations in the opening paragraphs of Sunday's write-up, here ... and thanks for your faithful readership (and the many kind messages I've received so far)]

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If you'd like to know what I think of this theme, I refer you to the last time this theme (this EXACT theme) appeared in the NYT—Christmastime, just four years ago, in a puzzle constructed by David J. and Steve Kahn.

Cruciverb database search for PUP FICTION turns up two recent puzzles with the missing "L" concept. I'll say it again. Check your theme answers check your theme answers check your theme answers. I must say, however, that Will is far more to blame for this replication of a very recent theme than the constructors are. This theme is so screamingly obvious that you'd think he'd at least have run the tiniest background check. I knew I'd done puzzles like this before as soon as I hit "NOEL," and I'm not paid to keep track of such things.

The puzzle's theme could also be "Bygone"—as in 11D: Bygone Toyota sedan (CRESSIDA) and 28D: Bygone Fords (LTDS) and this puzzle has been done before and it reeks of yesterday's crosswordese ([William Tell's canton] etc. etc.).

[Speaking of bygone ...]

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Movie about La Brea Tar Pits' formation? ("THE BIG SEEP")
  • 23A: Movie about a Nobel-winning chemist? ("THE ION KING")
  • 37A: Movie about Wall Streeters' excesses? ("CASH OF THE TITANS")
  • 52A: Movie about the early life of Lassie? ("PUP FICTION")
  • 59A: Movie about the memoirs of the Duke? ("WAYNE'S WORD")
  • 58A: Nonsense word said while pointing a finger (J'ACCUSE!) 
  • 8D: Texas/Louisiana border river (SABINE) — rings a faint, crossword bell, but I needed every cross.
  • 36A: Surfer wannabe (HODAD) — er ... uh ... OK. Again, the crossword bell is faint. I wanted HAOLE.
  • 37D: Musical with Mungojerrie and Jennyanydots ("CATS") — musical in four letters with some dumbass character names? Sure, I got that.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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