THEME: Togetherness — theme answers begin with SHARED, JOINT, COMMON, and MUTUAL, respectively
A ho-hum puzzle for me today. Theme answers feel like they were taken out of manila folder in a gray file cabinet in a nondescript building in Utica. They're all lifeless business / office-type phrases. No pop. No sizzle. No ELAN (33A: Vigorous spirit). And wit the exception of MUTUAL FUND, none of them really trips off the tongue at all. COMMON CAUSE has nice alliteration, but it's not a phrase I encounter regularly, so the second half of it took several crosses to get. Same was true of JOINT TENANT. Overall, a blah experience.
- 17A: Data set available to many (SHARED FILE)
- 9D: Property co-owner (JOINT TENANT)
- 25D: Unifying objective (COMMON CAUSE)
- 57A: Professionally managed investment type (MUTUAL FUND)
Crosswordese 101: ANIME (37A: Japanese cartoon art genre) — that's three syllables, with the final "E" getting a long A sound. What cartoons are to comics, ANIME is to MANGA (another Japanese cartoon art genre worth knowing about). A lot of ANIME is characterized by stylized, expressive, and angular art, as well as stories with adult themes (though some of the most successful ANIME shows have been aimed specifically at young children, e.g. Pokémon). People under 30 are far, far more likely to be familiar with both ANIME and MANGA, as neither became a big deal in the west until some time in the mid-late 90s. Now, the genre is as common to kids as superhero comics and Saturday-morning cartoons were to me when I was a kid. ANIME is a boon for crossword constructors, as it is 60% vowels. I have it on my short list of "21st Century Crosswordese."
- 49A: Wetlands growth (CATTAIL) — first, this is not a common word to me, though I can picture it now that I see it. Second, "growth" = horrid word. My first thought on seeing this clue: swamp tumor?
- 47D: Volunteer's offer ("I'LL GO") — stretches the limits of my tolerance for random spoken phrases.
- 23D: "Don't Bring Me Down" rock gp. (ELO) — this puzzle is really deathly boring. I keep looking around for Anything to comment on and ... no. It's a Wasteland (and I can't even make a T.S. ELIOT reference because that answer is in the NYT today, not here). So instead I'll play this ELO song, which I was listening to in the car the other day, realizing I *still* didn't know what word they were saying in the chorus: "Don't bring me down ... Bruce?" OK, here's what Wikipedia says:
A common mondegreen in the song is the perception that, following the title line, Jeff Lynne shouts "Bruce!" However, according to liner notes, he is actually saying a made-up word "Grroosss". This is similar to a German word for "greeting", Gruß, possibly referring to the Bavarian greeting Grüß Gott that the group would have heard while recording the album in Munich. However, after the song's release, so many people had misinterpreted the word as Bruce that Jeff Lynne actually began to sing the word as Bruce for fun at live shows.
- 39A: Pointy-hatted garden statue (GNOME) — OK, I really like "pointy-hatted" as an adjective, so thumbs up there.
You know what's fun to say: RIP RIPA REPO
See you all ... I don't know when. I'm going on vacation, so it'll be a while. PG's covering for me, I think.
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
Everything Else — 1A: Pear variety (BOSC); 5A: Philbin's co-host (RIPA); 9A: Sharp punches (JABS); 13A: Rights org. (ACLU); 14A: Broadcast booth sign (ON AIR); 16A: ESPN sportscaster Hershiser (OREL); 17A: Data set available to many (SHARED FILE); 19A: Division word (INTO); 20A: Vietnamese celebration (TET); 21A: Have to have (NEED); 22A: Obama was in it until November 2008 (SENATE); 24A: __ set: construction toy (ERECTOR); 26A: Dances in 3/4 time (WALTZES); 27A: Surgery ctrs. (ORS); 28A: Lindbergh, notably (PILOT); 29A: Mel, "The Velvet Fog" (TORME); 32A: Barn bundle (BALE); 33A: Vigorous spirit (ELAN); 37A: Japanese cartoon art genre (ANIME); 38A: Ignited (LIT); 39A: Pointy-hatted garden statue (GNOME); 40A: Taken-back auto (REPO); 41A: Thumbs-down reviews (PANS); 42A: Math comparison (RATIO); 43A: Like the Vikings (NORSE); 45A: Barnyard brooder (HEN); 46A: Treat for Fido (BISCUIT); 49A: Wetlands growth (CATTAIL); 53A: Many vows are taken at them (ALTARS); 54A: Really teed off (SORE); 55A: Aussie bounder (ROO); 56A: Chicken cordon __ (BLEU); 57A: Professionally managed investment type (MUTUAL FUND); 60A: Gets grayer, usually (AGES); 61A: Periods, in telegrams (STOPS); 62A: Big Apple theater award (OBIE); 63A: Part to play (ROLE); 64A: Lea females (EWES); 65A: D.C. lobbying orgs. (PACS); 1D: Moisten during roasting (BASTE); 2D: Autumn leaf color (OCHER); 3D: Chalkboard material (SLATE); 4D: Mangy mutt (CUR); 5D: Cowpokes' competitions (RODEOS); 6D: Reason out (INFER); 7D: Picked up the tab (PAID); 8D: Have a bug (AIL); 9D: Property co-owner (JOINT TENANT); 10D: Desi who married Lucille Ball (ARNAZ); 11D: Midler of "The Rose" (BETTE); 12D: Gin flavorings (SLOES); 15D: Used-car lot transaction (RESALE); 18D: Serving after the salad (ENTREE); 23D: "Don't Bring Me Down" rock gp. (ELO); 25D: Unifying objective (COMMON CAUSE); 26D: Loses crispness, as celery (WILTS); 28D: "The Age of Reason" author Thomas (PAINE); 29D: Sea dog (TAR); 30D: White Monopoly bill (ONE); 31D: __ cord: parachute activator (RIP); 32D: Explosion (BLAST); 34D: Place to build (LOT); 35D: "__ seeing things?" (AM I); 36D: Prefix with natal or classical (NEO-); 39D: Sister of Hansel (GRETEL); 41D: Light-refracting devices (PRISMS); 44D: Wilder's "__ Town" (OUR); 45D: Bother continually (HARASS); 46D: Kid-lit elephant (BABAR); 47D: Volunteer's offer (I'LL GO); 48D: Pittsburgh product, historically (STEEL); 49D: Two-door car (COUPE); 50D: Caribbean island resort (ARUBA); 51D: Greek column style (IONIC); 52D: Mine bonanzas (LODES); 54D: Pack in the overhead bin (STOW); 58D: Beehive State native (UTE); 59D: Fancy dresser (FOP).