Leakes of reality TV / WED 12-17-14 / Litotes for beauty / Hairy son of Isaac / Ebenezer's ghostly ex-partner / Ancestor of Gaelic Manx / Reporter's question collectively

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Constructor: Stu Ockman

Relative difficulty: Medium to Medium-Challenging 



THEME: some rhetorical devices — I don't even know, really...

Theme answers:
  • IT'LL TAKE FOREVER (17A: Hyperbole for an arduous task)
  • MAKE HASTE SLOWLY (22A: Oxymoron for cautious travel)
  • NOT UNATTRACTIVE (45A: Litotes for beauty)
  • AS THICK AS A BRICK (50A: Simile for denseness)
Word of the Day: NENE Leakes (56A: Leakes of reality TV) —
Linnethia Monique "NeNeLeakes (/ˈnn/née Johnson; born December 13, 1967) is an American actress, television personality, producer, author and fashion designer. She is best known for being on the reality television series The Real Housewives of Atlanta, which documents the lives of several women residing in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2013, she was commissioned to star in the spin-off series I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding, which focused on the preparations for her remarriage to husband Gregg Leakes.
Leakes portrayed the recurring character Roz Washington on the sitcom Glee since its third season in 2012, and has also played Rocky Rhoades on the award-winning sitcom The New Normal until its cancellation in 2013. Leakes appeared as a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice 4, where she finished in seventh place in 2011, and the eighteenth season of Dancing with the Stars. It was also announced that Leakes would be joining the cast of Cinderella on Broadway from November 25th, 2014. (wikipedia)
• • •

The best thing about this puzzle is the new, fresh (though totally unknown to me) clue for NENE. I was like "who the what?" but that's pretty legit screen cred she's got there. Nothing I've seen, but the clues can't all be "Broad City" and "Rockford Files."

[PKW is fill I can get behind…]

The rest of this puzzle is a disaster. Ill-conceived and weakly executed. We seem to have yet another non-theme. Just a very, very loose assortment of rhetorical devices that have nothing in common with each other, content-wise. They're just rhetorical devices. Oh, and they're all 15 letters long. Which brings us to this puzzle's bigger problem—72 words??? It's hard enough to make a good themeless at 72 words. Why in the world would you torture a themed grid like this if you don't have to. I mean, if you can pull it off cleanly, more power to you, but hoo boy. No. From the DPI / ALT / WELL KNIT (!?!?!) opener to the KEW / KUE (!) / AMI / AH ME (!!) closer, this thing has "No" / "Do Over" / "Refresh!!!" written all over it. EELER?! ADELA! So creaky … ISMANIS! RITTATEE! Boo. Delete. Escape. Reboot.


HYPER in the grid when "Hyperbole" is one of your rhetorical devices? No.

I'm done. I hear tomorrow's puzzle is good. So let's hope my intel's solid.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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    French army headwear / TUE 12-16-14 / Cab Calloway phrase / TV network once called Pax / Jane who won 1931 Nobel Peace Prize / Robert De Niro spy thriller / Children's author illustrator with National Medal of Honor / R&B singer backed by Love Unlimited Orchestra / Canterbury saint

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

    Constructor: Joel D. Lafargue

    Relative difficulty: DOOK



    THEME: THE BEE GEES (60A: Trio whose members start 17-, 26- and 44-Across) — theme answers all share the first names of the brothers GIBB (66A: Last name of 60-Across):

    Theme answers:
    • BARRY WHITE (17A: R&B singer backed by the Love Unlimited Orchestra)
    • ROBIN WILLIAMS (26A: Late comic genius)
    • MAURICE SENDAK (44A: Children's author/illustrator with a National Medal of Arts)
    Word of the Day: Jane ADDAMS (45D: Jane who won a 1931 Nobel Peace Prize) —
    Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) was a pioneer American settlementsocial worker, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women's suffrage and world peace. In an era when presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilsonidentified themselves as reformers and social activists, Addams was one of the most prominent reformers of the Progressive Era. She helped turn America to issues of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, local public health, and world peace. She said that if women were to be responsible for cleaning up their communities and making them better places to live, they needed the vote to be effective in doing so. Addams became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities. She is increasingly being recognized as a member of the American pragmatist school of philosophy. In 1931 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and is recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the United States. (wikipedia)
    • • •

    The theme is a non-starter. It's a non-theme. There is nothing happening. It's so literal, so weirdly untricky, that I half-suspect I'm on Candid Camera. Or, in slightly more modern parlance, that I'm being Punk'd. The gratuitous, extra, doesn't-have-a-symmetrical-partner GIBB is just the unasked-for cherry on an otherwise unadorned sundae. I'm at a loss. There's no word play. There's no play at all. There's no twist. There's nothing. Yes, those are the names of the brothers, and those names are not uncommon. Other people have those names. Some of those people are famous. Who cares? One of them sings; that's kind of a connection. Kind of. But. But. There's just nothing here. No revelation. I can't remember seeing a theme this rudimentary in forever. How in the world does this theme "tickle" anyone? A bunch of two-word phrases where the first word started with "B" and the second word started with "G"—*that*, while not earth-shattering, would've made Sooooooo […] ooooo much more sense. BILL GATES! BUDDY GUY! BETTY GRABLE! But this. This. What is this?



    The fill is EDUCE-A-MINT. It is what it is. HI-DE-HI.
      Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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