Constructor: Kameron Austin Collins
Relative issue: Challenging
THEME: my ignorant ass — it is a themeless, really
Word of the Day: LEN BARRY (17A: Jukebox crooner with the 1965 hit “1-2-3”) —
Leonard Warren Borisoff (June 12, 1942 – November 5, 2020) identified professionally as Len Barry, was an American recording star, vocalist, songwriter, lyricist, file producer, creator, and poet. […] As somebody who sang rhythm and blues, he recorded hits in 1965 and 1966 for Decca Records within the US and launched by Brunswick Records: “1-2-3“, “Like a Baby”, and “I Struck It Rich”, a track he wrote with Leon Huff of the Philadelphia International Records producers, Gamble and Huff. // His first two hits additionally made the Top Ten of the UK Singles Chart. “1-2-3” reached quantity three. Those songs additionally peaked at quantity 2 and 27 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart respectively. “1-2-3” offered over 4 million copies, and gave Barry his second RIAA gold disc and a Grammy Award nomination for Contemporary Rock & Roll Male Vocal Performance. Both “1-2-3” and “Like a Baby” had been composed by Barry, John Madara, and David White. // He carried out on the Apollo Theatre in New York; the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.; The Regal Chicago, Chicago; Illinois; The Fox Theatre (Detroit) in Detroit, Michigan; and The Uptown (Philadelphia), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He additionally toured with Sam Cooke, The Motown Revue within the United Kingdom, and appeared on Top of the Pops.// He turned a serious singing star in The United Kingdom. Highlights of his European tour included featured performances at the London Palladium and Royal Albert Hall in addition to quite a few appearances all through England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. // Barry’s respect for the Native American tradition led him to write down and produce the instrumental “Keem-O-Sabe“. The track went to quantity 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969 for The Electric Indian. (wikipedia)
• • •
See, that is the issue with taking away my Friday themeless—I’ve no warm-up puzzle that enables me to arrange for the Saturday. You want Friday to get you in the correct mindset for Saturday, particularly when the Saturday is a (gigantic grizzly) bear like this one. But as a substitute I obtained that weird and comparatively straightforward TETRIS concoction. That puzzle did nothing to arrange me for *this* puzzle, which fell on me like a ton of bricks or lead weight or collapsing roof (we’re at present having our roof changed, so let’s go along with the roof metaphor). I felt off form doing this puzzle, or like I hadn’t stretched correctly or one thing. Even although I had flashes of brilliance proper out of the field (dropped ASS proper in (1D: Something you would possibly haul) and noticed via the ADVERB clue fairly shortly (1A: Now or by no means)), the one factor I wished to place in entrance of “decimal” was “Dewey,” not DUO– (2D: Lead-in to decimal), however worst of all … do you know that STITCH and SUITOR are the identical size and have three letters in the identical place? Sigh. It’s true. And while you give me Penelope, I take into consideration … effectively, she was weaving, not STITCHing, wasn’t she? Well, my mind was like “She’s doing issues with material! STITCH!” (in case you do not know / forgot: Penelope weaves Laertes’s shroud by day and unravels it by night time as a means of deferring her SUITORs). I pulled myself out of that gap simply sufficient, nevertheless it was an omen. It boded. Bade? Whatever, dangerous issues had been in retailer for me, is the purpose.
That set of lengthy Downs within the center was really the best a part of the grid for me, largely as a result of XGAMES was a gimme (popping out of the NW with the “XG-” in place), after which TAZO gave me that “Z” that made LAMAZE very clear (nice clue on LAMAZE CLASS, btw (16D: Recommended labor follow)). BANANA PEELS was fairly clear (18D: Yellow slippers?) and so with the middle settled I type of slid proper down into the SE nook—as soon as I’d modified BOLTS to BRADS (44D: Carpentry provide), which gave me PRESS BOX (48A: Writer’s block?), which gave me XOXO, and two “X”s was greater than sufficient to deal with that SE nook. So with out an excessive amount of greater than common Saturday effort I ended up right here:
As for the NE, that originally seemed a lot dicier than the SW—did not get a lot assist from these longer Acrosses main into that deep nook. “LOOK HERE!” was good, after which I obtained MEH, which felt most likely proper, however MIMICS felt like a little bit of a guess, so the entire state of affairs appeared tenuous till I lucked into SPEED SKATES (off simply the preliminary S-E-). Being in a position to drop an extended Down early made every thing simpler than it had been within the SW, regardless that that NW nook is *full* of issues I merely did not know. IDEAL GAS LAW? LOL, no matter you say. SISTA Monica Parker, WES Studi … this nook was right here to remind me that nonetheless good I’m at crosswords, I’m really one sorry ignorant human being, as a result of that’s the situation of being human, so that you higher keep curious and keep (moderately) humble or you aren’t going to benefit from the trip. In the top, I loved this trip, even when it leaned a bit extra closely into trivia I sometimes like.
- 46A: ___ Studi, first Native American man to obtain an Oscar (2019) (WES) — his Academy Award was an Honorary one. I assumed I did not know this man, however boy was I fallacious. He has appeared a number of (hilarious) instances as Bucky on “Reservation Dogs”—my favourite present TV program (now that “Better Call Saul” is off the air).
- 59A: In descending order: Mount Everest, K2, Kangchenjunga, ___ (LHOTSE) — hoo boy, no thought … however that nook was really easy that the reply simply got here collectively from crosses. I by no means even noticed the clue till I had the reply accomplished.
- 35A: Blues singer ___ Monica Parker (SISTA) — wrote in SANTA, SANTA Monica being a factor I’ve heard of / place I’ve been / boulevard I’ve pushed. Parker sang blues and gospel and died pretty younger (age 58, in 2014)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld