TUESDAY, Oct. 28, 2008 - Allan E. Parrish (Norman of the Clinton and Bush cabinets / "Collages" novelist / Grant portrayer on TV)
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: DANCING (38A: Activity exemplified in the '60s by the ends of 17-, 28-, 48- and 64-Across) - theme answers end in a kind of dance popular in the '60s
Theme is cool, though DANCING was hard to clue in a way that made sense. Clue originally began ['60's event ...] but that brought to (my) mind only things like Woodstock and Bay of Pigs and Moon Landing, not a generic term like DANCING, so the clue was changed to one I agreed was OK. Thanks to this puzzle, I now have the lyrics from two (thankfully fantastic) songs stuck in my head. Both songs name a litany of '60s dances. The first is Wilson Pickett's "Land of 1000 Dances":
The next is James Brown's "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" - in this version, Brown gets really fixated on "The Mashed Potato":
I had a little trouble with the last two theme answers. I balked at CLEAN AND JERK because I don't think I ever heard it clearly in all my years of Summer Olympics watching, and I wasn't sure it wasn't CLING AND JERK. They "cling" to the bar ... no scrubbing bubbles involved. So I just waited for that word to come into view from crosses. Lastly there was BRASS MONKEY, which I know not as a [Rum/vodka cocktail], but as ... this (which apparently is all about the drink ... I clearly wasn't paying attention):
- 17A: Dickens lad (Oliver TWIST)
- 28A: Small equine (Shetland PONY)
- 48A: Weightlifter's lift (clean and JERK)
- 64A: Rum/vodka cocktail (Brass MONKEY)
The only potentially tricky spot in the puzzle was MINETA (58A: Norman of the Clinton and Bush cabinets), mainly because another member of the Clinton administration sounds a lot like MINETA but isn't: Leon PANETTA, Clinton's mid-late 90s Chief of Staff. So as I was filling this in, I was thinking "I thought that dude's name was PINETTA." No. Different guy. Here is the (awesome) theme from "Baretta":
Lots of xword names today, some basic:
- HENIE (14A: Skater-turned actress Sonja)
- UMA (35A: Thurman of "Gattaca")
- TOMEI (52A: Oscar winner Marisa)
- ENIAC (3D: Computer that debuted in 1946)
- RHEE (18D: South Korea's first president Syngman _____)
- NAN (31D: Bert Bobbsey's twin sister)
And then some other high-end xword words that you should remember, even if you don't see them That often:
- EOSIN (26A: Red dye)
- S.P.A.D. (36A: W.W. I fighter plane) - had never seen this 'til a few weeks ago, and here it is again; that type of thing happens All the time. Return of the S.P.A.D.!
- LOTTE (68A: Singer/actress Lenya) - she's a little ... scary:
- 43A: Caesarean rebuke ("Et tu!") - super common, but always throws me when clued in this medical-sounding way
- 53A: From one side only, in law (ex parte) - great legal phrase, and one I've never seen in a grid. Having a lawyer mother may or may not have helped with this one. "L.A. Law" could just as easily be responsible for my knowing this.
- 24D: Mount Carmel's locale: Abbr. (Isr.) - My parents live in the non-Israeli Carmel (-by-the-sea). My stepmom is even a city councilperson. For real.
- 40D: "Collages" novelist (Nin) - NIN is a frequent grid denizen, but I can't remember having seen this particular novel title before.
- 60D: N.L.R.B. part: Abbr. (Nat'l) - this is funny for at least one reason.
Signed, Rex Parker King of CrossWorld