Jumat, 20 Mei 2011

05.20 Fri

May 20, 2011
Mark Feldman

Theme: Composer puns — Theme answers are puns based on composers' names and movie titles.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Biopic about a time-traveling composer? (BACH TO THE FUTURE).
  • 27A: Biopic about a composer who is unrecognized in public? (HAYDN PLAIN SIGHT).
  • 48A: Biopic about a composer from a WWII hero's perspective? (SCHINDLER'S LISZT).
  • 63A: Biopic about a composer fighting his inner demons? (BATTLE OF BRITTEN).
So the first thing I did when I finished solving this puzzle was log on to cruciverb.com to see if this theme had been done before. BACH TO THE FUTURE seemed like such an obvious pun to me that I couldn't believe it hadn't already been used. About six years ago, Randy Hartman had a Sunday Washington Post puzzle using this same idea, but BACH TO THE FUTURE was the only overlapping theme entry. A year later, however, David Kahn constructed a puzzle for the New York Sun with this theme ... using exactly the same theme answers. I don't think I'm going to take the time to analyze this information here, but I thought I would at least share it with you. There is one difference between today's puzzle and Kahn's: today we have the composers listed in chronological order, which I think is probably good for something although I'm not sure exactly what. It does explain why I had so much trouble with the last theme answer. I grew up playing piano, so BACH, HAYDN and LISZT were obviously familiar to me. BRITTEN, though, is a 20th-century opera guy who, I must admit, I've never heard of.

There are a couple bonus non-theme answers in today's grid:
  • 69A: Itzhak Perlman choice (STRAD).
  • 9D: More, in music (PIU).
Highlights in the grid for me today include ZYDECO and NO-HITTER (51D: Louisiana folk music / 38D: Historic game). Seems like the NO-HITTERs are coming fast and furious these days, aren't they? For some reason, I really liked the clue [34A: Heavy] for SOLEMN.

Both COE (71A: Canadian LPGA golfer Dawn __-Jones) and TIANT (47D: Three-time A.L. shutout leader of the '60s-'70s) were complete unknowns to me and I got them only through crosses. I also never knew that the little cape worn by some clergy (including ABBOTs, presumably) is called a mozzetta.

Missteps include ERR for SIN (36A: Go astray) and, embarrassingly, ENGLAND for ONTARIO (10D: Where London is). The whole time I was writing in the letters for ENGLAND, this little nagging voice in the back of my head was going "That's too obvious, especially for a Friday. You know there's a London somewhere else in the world. Think, dammit, think!"

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 14A: "Exodus" hero (ARI).
  • 25A: __ avis (RARA).
  • 66A: Grenoble's river (ISERE).
  • 7D: Pub. of a "Distracted Driving" brochure (OSHA).
  • 12D: Limerick land (EIRE).
  • 55D: Wading bird (IBIS).
  • 56D: Brewery feature (OAST).
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Everything Else 1A: Pale (WAN); 4A: Mozzetta wearer (ABBOT); 9A: Sat (POSED); 15A: Intimate (CLOSE); 16A: Key scene for bursting bombs? (IN AIR); 20A: "... like __ buzzing in blind fury": Pyle (A BEE); 21A: Go after (CHASE); 22A: Traveling, in a way (ASEA); 23A: Builder's options (SITES); 35A: Rondeaux, e.g. (POEMS); 39A: Switch words (ON/OFF); 41A: Political pacifier (SOP); 42A: Ruled quarters? (ROOST); 45A: Devised, with "up" (DREAMT); 53A: Absorbed by (INTO); 54A: Legendary luster (SATYR); 55A: Tiny amount (IOTA); 57A: Sting (SMART); 62A: Zilch (NADA); 67A: Put to the test (TRIED); 68A: Former transp. regulator (ICC); 70A: Takes to the cleaners (HOSES); 1D: Indiana county or its seat (WABASH); 2D: Where Mecca is (ARABIA); 3D: Civilized feature (NICETY); 4D: Put-on (ACT); 5D: Alliance (BLOC); 6D: This and that (BOTH); 8D: Some shirts (TEES); 11D: Some links (SAUSAGES); 13D: "The Sopranos" actress __ de Matteo (DREA); 18D: Doesn't ignore (HEEDS); 19D: Spore producer (FERN); 24D: Cat lead-in (SNO); 26D: Old Egyptian symbol (ASP); 28D: Abbas's gp. (PLO); 29D: He appeared in eight consecutive U.S. Open finals (LENDL); 30D: Love overseas (AMORE); 31D: Figure (INFER); 32D: Ins. plan (HMO); 33D: 1/48 cup: Abbr. (TSP.); 36D: Yearbook sect. (SRS.); 37D: Games org. (IOC); 40D: Musical syllables (FAS); 43D: 1953 Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner (SINATRA); 44D: Big bang producer (TNT); 46D: L.A. Galaxy's gp. (MLS); 49D: Pharmacy concern (DOSE); 50D: Trouble (STATIC); 52D: Daze (TRANCE); 58D: Evening flier (MOTH); 59D: Full do (AFRO); 60D: Sluggers' stats (RBI'S); 61D: Corner (TREE); 64D: Brought (LED); 65D: Some tags (ID'S).

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