On Beach heroine / TUE 4-4-17 / Defunct gridiron org / Old fashioned theaters / Stiller's longtime wife comedy partner / Old airline with slogan We have to earn our wings every day / Fifth member in noble line
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Constructor: Timothy Polin
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
- NO SERVICE (17A: What zero bars on a cellphone indicates)
- NORSE LITERATURE (23A: Viking tales, e.g.)
- NEUROSCIENTISTS (37A: Experts on the brain)
- NATIONAL PASTIME (46A: Baseball, in America)
On the Beach is a 1959 American post-apocalyptic science fiction drama film from United Artists, produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, that stars Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins. This black-and-white film is based on Nevil Shute's 1957 novel of the same name depicting the aftermath of a nuclear war. Unlike the novel, no blame is placed on whoever started the war; it is hinted in the film that the threat of annihilation may have arisen from an accident or misjudgment. (wikipedia)
• • •NEUROSCIENTISTS, is GRATE-ing because of the loppedness of NOSE. Push the "E" one more square out and you have something, but as is, it's wonky, and anomalously so. The fill is mostly dull NYT-standard with not much of interest unless you follow the school of thought that jamming some Xs and Js into your grid makes it inherently more interesting than it would be otherwise.
The NOSE concept made getting the theme answers *very* easy (after the first two themers were set, I just entered NOSE in the remaining two themers), but this easiness was somewhat compensated for by a few tough moments:
- 34D: Recreational device that holds 35-Down / 35D: See 34-Down (SCUBA / AIR) — Cross-referenced clues side-by-side in a very narrow space. Tough to suss out quickly, especially since "Recreational device" is not a term I'd use for SCUBA and has nothing specifically SCUBA-y about it.
- 38D: Reads carefully (SCANS) — for the millionth time, most people use this word to mean the *opposite* of what the clue indicates.
- 24D: Modern prefix with skeptic (EURO-) — nice and modern, but very hard to come up with without several crosses.
- 36D: Imitating (MIMETIC) — Had the first few letters and wanted some version of MIMIC ... which I guess this answers is, on some level, but MIMETIC is terribly uncommon (and in my mind, specifically literary).
- 51D: "On the Beach" heroine (MOIRA) — this is the most preposterous clue of the day. What is "On the Beach" and since when is it famous enough for me to know the name of its "heroine"??? I see that it is an old novel and a not-that-famous movie (though one that stars famous people), but really, "heroine"? Come back to earth.
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