They've Got Class
"Midrash" by Tom Williams (December 2014)

2014 marked the 40th anniversary of Dungeons and Dragons, or DANDD (36-Across). Dungeons and Dragons was the first modern role-playing game, whose flavor and mechanics have influenced not only the host of other paper-and-pencil role-playing games [e.g., Call of Cthulhu, GURPS, and Pathfinder] it spawned, but innumerable video games [everything from Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights to World of Warcraft] as well. Its influence has also spread to other media: books [e.g., Dragonlance and The Legend of Drizzt], movies [e.g., Dungeons and Dragons and Bender's Game], television [examples here, here, here, and here], and music [e.g., Weezer and Steven Lynch]. Since its release, Dungeons and Dragons has been enjoyed by an estimated 20 million people, including Bill Amend, Judi Dench, Vin Diesel, Tim Duncan, Stephen Colbert, China Mieville, and Robin Williams.

The four theme entries refer to the four primary classes (hence the title) in Dungeons and Dragons: the (TIE)FIGHTER (17-Across), (PINBALL)WIZARD (23-Across), (ISLAMIC)CLERIC (45-Across), and (GOING)ROGUE (56-Across).

Also seen in this puzzle were the Gelatinous Cube [OOZE (28-Across)], some treasure that might be found while dungeon-crawling [TOPAZ (29-Across)], and a die used to play D&D [DODECAGON (32-Down)].

Finally, we link to explanations for several of the more obscure, non-themed entries found in this puzzle:

  • BOWER (21-Across) [This is also the pseudonym for the world's most prolific cruciverbalist, Roger Squires]
  • ARP (52-Across)
  • GMA (56-Down)

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