Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Marking Time”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upWe have five theme movies and from these we are looking for a star who shares something in common with the movie names. I’m far from a movie buff, so this one is definitely outside my meta wheelhouse. So what are these five movies?
- 18a. [*1971 movie about a college basketball player, directed by Jack Nicholson], DRIVE HE SAID – I started with WREVE HE SAID, with EDWARD instead EDDARD and IRENA before IRINA. Not only am I movie-challenged, I’m personality-challenged! This one stars William Tepper and Karen Black.
- 23a. [*2006 rom-com that takes place in Chicago], THE BREAK-UP – another I’ve not seen,
stars Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn.
- 38a. [*1990 Coen brothers drama], MILLER‘S CROSSING – stars Gabriel Byrne and Albert Finney
- 50a. [*2008 film nominated for Best Picture], FROST/NIXON – starring Frank Langella and Michael Sheen
- 59a. [*1986 comedy that takes place in the village of Santo Poco], ¡THREE AMIGOS! – another movie name where there’s unusual punctuation! This one stars Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short
I’m pretty confident what ties these movies together (with a strong hint from the title) is that each has a word that can precede TIME. MILLER TIME is my favorite of the bunch. FROST TIME is ambiguous–living in Vermont, you’d think it would be something I would be familiar with. Also THREE-TIME could be any number, so I am a bit nervous about this assumption.
Anyway, if I’m on the right path, then I’m looking for a star whose (probably last) name can precede TIME as well. SHORT-TIME seems to work, so I’m submitting Martin Short as my meta answer and hoping for the best. This meta felt a bit uneven to me, I guess from those last 2 theme entries which weren’t as solid “-time” phrases as the first three. 1 Across’s [No and Oz] had me thinking of elements before DRS, even though NO is a compound (nitrous oxide). I learned that actress Joan FONTAINE was born in Tokyo, and with further research, that she was the younger sister of Olivia de Havilland. Finally, I pondered how Romans answered questions like “Are you going to the Senate today?” if they had “no single word for ‘yes’.” Did they have a phrase like “That is quite so” instead?