Metal band around pencil eraser / SUN 3-19-17 / Interest for limnologist / Basil who designed England's Coventry Cathedral / Computer controlled players in gaming lingo / Plant that's source of caffeine-free tea / Major John Benedict Arnold's co-conspirator / Brightest star in Aquila
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Constructor: Grant Thackray
Relative difficulty: Medium
- SOYLENT GREEN (22A: It's actually made of PEOPLE)
- LUKE'S FATHER (30A: Who VADER was all along)
- PLANET OF THE APES (45A: It turns out to be EARTH)
- ROSEBUD (66A: It really is a SLED)
- KILLS DUMBLEDORE (83A: What SNAPE does, shockingly)
- NORMAN BATES (100A: To whom the title "PSYCHO" refers)
a girl or woman of saucy, boisterous, or carefree behavior (m-w)
• • •
On the Grid" crossword podcast, and we spent all day at the Finger Lakes Crossword Competition, so ... I'm pretty beat *and* I have podcast work to do. Thus, this write-up will be shortish. I do want to tell you all, however, that the tourney in Ithaca was a ton of fun: I met lots of readers (and the children of readers, and the friends of children of readers...) and got to give a little talk about solving under tournament conditions and I ran into my friend (and co-organizer of the Lollapuzzoola crossword tournament) Brian Cimmet *but* ... the best thing by far about the tourney was finding out that one of the solving teams had given themselves the team name "Annabel Thompson Fans"! [note: Annabel Thompson has been doing the first-Monday-of-the-month write-up for me for a couple years now, in case you somehow didn't know]. During my talk, I made the group identify themselves, and they were three college students who were somewhat embarrassed at being pointed out, but who were lovely people and sincere fans of Annabel and also *excellent* solvers—their team won 1st place in the Easy team division. Here they are:
["... from chimpan-A to chimpan-Z!"]
As a matter of purely personal taste, I *hate* crosswords that are laden with cross-references. My general feeling when told by a crossword clue to [See 88-Across] (or the like) is "No. I will not see that. I refuse." I tend to just plow on and get such answers from crosses. When the theme is sooooo cross-reference dependent, however, you can't really do that. So my feelings toward this weren't great from the jump—too much "see this" "see that." But then I got to solving and ... there's something decent here, theme-wise. I don't associate all these movie twists with "spoilers," as so many of them are well known / iconic. But SPOILER ALERT is a good revealer and most of the time, the cross-referenced shorter answer (the Down) is indeed the spoiler.
["Hey! / Remember when / You took me to the movies / To see "SOYLENT GREEN"!]
The one answer that really throws everything off quite a bit is KILLS DUMBLEDORE. First ... awkward verb-phrase answer. Second ... well, verb-phrase period. That is, none of the other themers are connected by verbs. There are implied linking verbs, e.g. SOYLENT GREEN (is) PEOPLE, LUKE'S FATHER (is) VADER (or vice versa, I guess). If it had been, say, DUMBLEDORE'S KILLER or THE DEATH OF DUMBLEDORE and then SNAPE in the cross-reference, it would've been more consistent with the other answers. Above all, though, I don't think of that plot point as a spoiler. You wonder for the whole movie what ROSEBUD is, and then bam! SLED! You think you're on some weird planet for the whole movie and then bam! EARTH! But SNAPE ... just KILLS DUMBLEDORE. There's a lot of wondering "is SNAPE good or bad?" in those books, but his killing Dumbledore doesn't feel like it rises to *spoiler* the way all the other answers do. We don't spend the whole series wondering who killed DUMBLEDORE. It's not a mystery; it's a plot point. The "PSYCHO" one is also a little weak, in that you learn that NORMAN BATES is his *mother* (or has been dressing up like her and murdering people). *That's* the whoa! No one watching is thinking "I wonder who the PSYCHO is." I don't think that term is used anywhere in the film.
[the 1998 remake of "PSYCHO" was pointless, but this song ... amazing]
I had major trouble right underneath KILLS DUMBLEDORE. HELIACAL is nutso and DAD (as a treehouse-builder) was totally unguessable to me, and I think of limn as something having to do with outlines and shadows, not LAKEs, so that was rough rough rough for me. Everything else played pretty normal.
Gotta run. Talk to you tomorrow.
[Taping "On the Grid" at the Finger Lakes Crossword Competition—L to R: Brian Cimmet, me, tournament puzzle constructor Adam Perl, Lena Webb; also pictured, our YETI microphone w/ jaunty new blue hat] [Note: the gentleman in the background watching us (whose name I have shamefully forgotten) won the individual Challenging division and is headed to his first-ever ACPT next week]
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. [State quarters?] = DORM because "State" is short for [any] State University. "I go to State."
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