Author: Jeremy Horwitz
Theme: Fictional roles that won "Oscars" in their fictional universe
- 1a: With 69-Across, Oscar-winning star of "Queen of the Night" in 1992's "The Bodyguard" (RACHEL / MARRON).
- 20a: Oscar-winning star of "Tropic Blunder: The True Story Behind the Making of the Most Expensive Fake True War Story Ever" in 2008's "Tropic Thunder" (TUGG SPEEDMAN).
- 38a: Oscar-winning star of "A World for Two" in 1954's "A Star Is Born" (VICKI LESTER).
- 55a: Oscar-winning star of "To Serve and Protect" in 1997's "In & Out" (CAMERON DRAKE).
Wow, what a way to round out Oscar week. I have to say that, despite the fact that only TUGG SPEEDMAN even sounded familiar, I really like this concept a lot. I found all the other names to be plausible enough, and none of the crossings were that nasty, so it was quite the nice Friday puzzle.
- 11a: Laurence Fishburne series (CSI). Name a series in three letters...
- 14a: One of the Andrews Sisters (MAXENE). I had the MAX and went with MAXINE, but it was soon clear from the crossing that this was not the correct spelling.
- 15a: Fictional spy Rider (ALEX). I'm not familiar with this series of spy novels by Anthony Horowitz.
- 17a: Learned scholar (SAVANT). I always thought a SAVANT was a natural talent more than a scholar, but I guess that's the idiot savant.
- 19a: Unit replaced by the siemens (MHO). 23a: 100 nanojoules (ERG). Our physics fix of the day.
- 27a: Italian composer Antonio (SALIERI). If you've seen "Amadeus", you'll remember this name.
- 33a: The Enforcer's boss (SCARFACE). Is this from the movie "Scarface", or is this some comic I am not aware of? When I see "The Enforcer", I think Dirty Harry movie.
- 36a: Tropical beach garment (SARONG).
- 40a: Coca-Cola offering (FRESCA). Does anyone drink this stuff? I think it's the worst tasting soda I've ever tried. Even worse than Tab.
- 45a: Flat fee (RENT). Very nice clue.
- 48a: "Did it start without me?" (AM I LATE).
- 54a: It gets bigger when stroked or massaged (EGO). Sexual innuendo tag.
- 66a: Balletic opposite of en l'air (A TERRE). If you're not in the air, you're on the ground.
- 7d: Misses at a rodeo (GALS). Another very nice clue.
- 9d: Site of Hercules's first labor (NEMEA). For some reason, my first instinct was NIMES.
- 13d: Decreasing? (IRONING). Very cute.
- 21d: Balenciaga parent company (GUCCI). I've never heard of Balenciaga, but somehow I knew this answer instinctively.
- 23d: Staggered start? (ESS). Cryptic letter clue.
- 25d: Idol (GRAVEN IMAGE). Nice fill.
- 29d: Get angry and defensive (BRISTLE).
- 39d: "Enigma Variations" composer (ELGAR). Elgar is probably most known for his "Pomp and Circumstance" march, played at most graduation processions.
- 40d: Geometric term coined by Benoît Mandelbrot (FRACTAL). Excellent. Get some math geekiness in here. I'm not going to explain them, go here or here for more info.
- 41d: Go back into the ring? (REMARRY). Okay, that's pushing it a bit much. There's often a fine line between clever and over-the-top. It's hard to define, but this one stepped over.
- 46d: Brand of chewing gum (MENTOS). Mentos makes gum? Who knew?Does it do the same thing that the mints do when you add them to Diet Coke?
- 49d: Moises of "Hannah Montana" (ARIAS). This is didn't know, but I didn't need to. And I prefer it over some obscure Italian opera reference.
- 50d: Where the pa'anga is spent (TONGA). Obscure clue, but with T___A, it was easy to guess.
- 52d: Cathouse cheese (MADAM). There's something unsettling about this clue. The use of the word "cheese" in the context of a cathouse sends my mind to places I'd just as soon it not go. "Whorehouse head" would be more suggestive, but at the same time would feel... I don't know... cleaner?
- 53d: Honshu seaport (AKITA). I went with OSAKA first, as I expect we were meant to.
- 62d: Full house sign (SRO). Standing Room Only. I never knew this before doing crosswords. New Hampshire doesn't have a lot of standing room only shows, I guess.
Only one more week of Sun puzzles. This is a mixed blessing for me, as I will miss the quality puzzles terribly. But I'm not sure I'm going to miss blogging them. Don't get me wrong, it's been fun, but it can also be a chore. Without the help of Joon and Norrin2, I'd have bailed long ago. It will be nice to have a break.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.