04.21.07 -- SHOWSTOPPER!

Puzzle by Byron Walden

What a pleasure to have a brain-buster with some character! Byron Walden’s wonderful construction is full of character. Regardless of the raving convoluted dissertations concocted for a tepid puzzle in two blog venues yesterday (one a love letter suggesting marriage, another an overwrought intellectual discourse with comparisons of its constructor to Wordsworth -- for the love of heaven, really!), this Saturday stumper is what “themeless” crossword puzzles are all about. It is clever and informative, subjective and objective, retro and contemporary, strange, exotic and yet familiar, YEA VERILY (57A Forsooth), a cornucopia of creativity from a true wordsmith!
Across the center of the grid is THEATEROF THEABSURD (29a with 37-Across, mid 20th-century avant-garde movement) dissected by a HARDACTTOFOLLOW (34A Showstopper) crossed in the center with BROTHEL (23D Toulouse-Lautrec hangout), flanked by ARTTHERAPY (27D Psychiatric discipline pioneered by Margaret Naumburg) and MORTALFOES (9D They fight to the finish). Then there are such wonderful references as YUPPIEFLU (12D Chronic fatigue syndrome, informally), INLINEFOR (13D Due), TEENCROWD (14D Mall rats, typically), AMANALONE (52A 1969 Frank Sinatra album featuring Rod McKuen songs), LOSTSTEAM (1A Sputtered), GUMDROP (48A ____ Pass [Candy Land shortcut]), TOPSPIN (20A Tennis technique), THEBUSHES (29D Subject of 2004’s best seller “American Dynasty”) and POLICECAR (55A Prowler avoided by prowlers). Great small fill with clever cuing, TATE, ESTD, ATE, BARS, BROS, MACE, BOBS, VOLS, FUEL. Our geographical attention is brought to the Middle East, Mexico, Europe, England, France, Japan, China, the USA (hello Tennessee!) and more. Authors, painters, singers and songwriters, an actress, police, an automaker, a poet laureate, etc. This puzzle is full of color and is not afraid to make wordplay with its definitions to elicit a groan from the academia -- it knows we’re out here! BOFFO (33A Like a showstopper)! This is the best non-theme puzzle of this entire long wet month of April!
Illustrations: Above -- 29A, THEATREOF and 37A THEABSURD. Below -- 34A HARDACTTOFOLLOW, 23D Toulouse-Lautrec resulting ARTTHERAPY "Reclining Nude" 1897 ), 3D STUTZ, 52A AMANALONE (Frank Sinatra), 14D TEENCROWD (Mall rats, typically), 12D YUPPIEFLU (Chronic fatigue syndrome, informally).
NOTICE: The New York Times Crossword in Gothic will no longer carry a full copy of the puzzle due to receiving notice from a representative of The New York Times which states in part: “…you've included each day's puzzle (clues and all) on your blog, which violates the Times' copyright. Theoretically a reader could print out the puzzle from your blog rather than subscribe to it online… remove the puzzles you have posted now and refrain from posting any others.”


DONALD said...

The knighting scene from the film of "The Court Jester" 1955

(Danny Kaye as Hawkins)

MC: He who approacheth, deem you him ready for noble knighthood.
Crowd: Yea!
Hawkins: Y-yea.
MC: Hath he passed all test of valor?
Crowd & Hawkins: Yea, verily, yea!
MC: Now doth he flower with true nobility?
Crowd & Hawkins: Yea, verily, yea!
MC: Reveal him now to his sovereign liege.
Hawkins: Yea, verily, yea! Yea?
Roderick: Faster.
Ravenhurst: Faster.
Clergyman: Faster. (thumps cane)
Hawkins: B-but I!
MC: ...Fealty, loyalty, moisten his lips with the vigorous wine. Now will he pledge to his fealty, loyalty, courage, and vigor and valor and strength!
Crowd: Yea!
MC: Now as the symbol of honor and dignity, let us beplume him and helmet his brow.
Crowd: Yea, verily, yea! Yea, verily, yea!
MC: He who is girded and plumed and helmeted, let him (drowned out by marching) etc.

Linda G said...

Excellent commentary, Donald. I was a bit lazy in describing the connected answers, but you did it well. Glad to see you back today.

This took me forever to finish, and I still had a couple of wrong squares until I read a comment on my site. All better now : )