Exemplar of masculinity / MON 8-29-16 / CBS spinoff set in SoCal / Clic Stic pen maker / 1990s fitness fad with infomercials
Monday, August 29, 2016
Constructor: David Steinberg
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (triviality of themers was only hold-up)
THEME: WYOMING (39A: Squarest of the 50 states) — uh ... OK. Some Wyoming things:
- OLD FAITHFUL (17A: Famous geyser in 39-Across)
- DEVIL'S TOWER (11D: Noted rock formation in 39-Across)
- JACKSON HOLE (24D: Skiing mecca in 39-Across)
- FORT LARAMIE (60A: Historic trading post in 39-Across)
Lakota: Matȟó Thípila or Ptehé Ǧí, which means "Bear Lodge" and "Brown Buffalo Horn", respectively) is an laccolithic butte composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Mountains (part of the Black Hills) near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It rises dramatically 1,267 feet (386 m) above the Belle Fourche River, standing 867 feet (265 m) from summit to base. The summit is 5,112 feet (1,559 m) above sea level. // Devils Tower was the first declared United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Monument's boundary encloses an area of 1,347 acres (545 ha) // In recent years, about 1% of the Monument's 400,000 annual visitors climbed Devils Tower, mostly using traditional climbing techniques. (wikipedia)
WYOMING? Because ... it's square (-ish). And crosswords are made of squares (-ish)!?!? That is ... not strong. NO FUN. A thematic FLOP. Grid is filled well enough, but Mars must really need Monday puzzles if this is passing muster, theme-wise. The only pleasure I got from the theme was the odd coincidence of solving it right after I'd (re- re- re-) watched "Shane" earlier on Sunday (part of Jean Arthur day on TCM). Watching the intro by Ben Mankiewicz, I learned that George Stevens was very particular about scouting the location for the movie, which ended up being somewhere around ... JACKSON HOLE. Beautiful (the scenery and the movie). But that's not much as theme pleasure goes. Maybe the bar for themes is super-low on Mondays as long as the fill isn't dreck. And the fill isn't dreck. So here we are.
I think I average somewhere in the 2:50s on Monday, and today was in the 2:40s, hence the relative difficulty of Easy-Medium. Would've been super easy but for FORT LARAMIE and DEVIL'S TOWER, both of which required lots of crosses before I got them. MAN'S MAN (nice answer) was also slightly hard to parse (50A: Exemplar of masculinity). Speaking of MAN'S MAN: Shane! That movie is about nothing if not Being A Man. Removing Stumps! Getting in Barfights! Making Hot But Respectful Eyes at Nice Married Ladies! Making Young Boys Worship You! Van Heflin and all those homesteader ("sodbuster") guys are just limp until Shane rides into town and stands up to that terrible Riker gang! (I'm talking about "Shane" so I don't have to talk about this puzzle, about which I have no more to say) Gonna go admire Jean Arthur some more now. Good night, everyone.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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