Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015, David Levinson Wilk


Today's puzzle struck me as slightly out of the ordinary. For starters, it's an unusual theme, with the last names of four different people named "Bob" running up and down within the longest of the Down answers. The two running down are both, I would dare say, very well known, even though Bob HOPE's star may be setting, it's still quite visible to most solvers. The two running up are more obscure. Bob FOSSE died in 1987, and was a choreographer, so he's already got a limited audience, but he lives on in crossword puzzles. Bob VILA left "This Old House" (another limited audience occupation) in 1989, and though he's had other TV ventures, none have been nearly so famous. So, kind of an odd theme.

The material that encases the theme names is all quite strong. PRINCESSOFWALES (3D: Elton John's dedicatee for "Candle in the Wind 1997," and SMOOTHOPERATORS (10D: Don Juan types) both look good running from top to bottom.

The fill was peppered with interesting words like CLAMOR (16A: Hullabaloo), ERSATZ (12D: Fake), and DECOYS (25A: Lures), and the small stuff wasn't too, too bad. Maybe I could've done without TES and ORA, but YAZ (9D: Nickname on the 1960s-'80s Red Sox) (entered without crosses) always brings a smile. I was surprised by the clues for SOG (26D: Soak, in dialect) (never heard that before) and NEE (68A: Amal Clooney ____ Alamuddin). Who? Is that George Clooney's wife? Didn't I just hear that they are getting divorced already?

Anyway, it was a decent enough Tuesday. 

1A: Something a software developer develops (APP) - C-. 
Favorite clue/answer - 62A: Punch line? (OOF). Ha!

- Horace


  1. 9:52
    I know all of the Bobs but Mr. FOSSE well enough, and all of the crosses were fair, so no problem. But it is an odd duck of a theme. The straight-forward RAZORS (19A They may be involved in close shaves), and Web PANE? Is that a thing? or is NONO wrong for 18A? I starred PRINCESSOFWALES because I, with great confidence, started to enter PRINCESSdiana.. and there were too many squares! Very G clue for AREOLE, I thought, as well as for WEED and SEX. About the right difficulty for a Tuesday, and I agree with the scoring for APP.

  2. I'd suggest you're underselling Bob Fosse by referencing only his choreography. He was that, of course, and won 8 Tonys for Best choreography, but he was much more widely celebrated. I personally know of him as the Oscar-nominated Director, and mostly biographical subject of the Oscar-nominated movie-musical, "All That Jazz." Admittedly, that's 1979 and a memory indeed re-enforced by puzzles, but he was nominated for 4 Best Director Oscars and won for Cabaret. He also co-wrote the book adaptation for the 1975 Broadway musical "Chicago," which had a seriously successful revival in the 1990s that ultimately led to the Best Picture winning movie of the same name in 2002, which in turn, I read, led to a resurgence in Fosse's other work. I think that gives him a broader audience.

    But you're right about Bob Vila. I had to read your review to remember him and I even watched the show.

  3. 5:33
    Very strange theme, but cute. All four Bobs are immediately recognizable to me. But they do skew VERY old. When you have a lot of long downs like this, you get a ton of filler for some reason. Lots of 3- and 4-letter answers. Didn't love it for that reason.