Her alter ego is Princess Adora — SAT., Oct 24 2009 — Ugly Dungeons & Dragons figure / Singer Aguilera self-referentially / Baby Hold On hitmaker 1978
Saturday, October 24, 2009
She-Ra is a fictional character and the heroine in the Filmation cartoon and series of toys produced by Mattel called She-Ra: Princess of Power. She is the alter ego of Princess Adora and the twin sister of He-Man (Prince Adam). She-Ra was intended to appeal to young girls in the same way that He-Man appealed to young boys. // She-Ra is introduced in the animated movie The Secret of the Sword as Force Captain Adora, an agent of the Evil Horde that rules the planet Etheria. She discovers that she is the long-lost sister of Prince Adam of Eternia, having been stolen by the Horde's leader, Hordak, as a baby. She is granted the Sword of Protection, which parallels He-Man's Sword of Power, gaining the power to transform into She-Ra, her secret identity. (wikipedia)
Yet another week where the Saturday puzzle takes me far less time than the Friday. I hope this Bizarro Crossworld situation doesn't hold much longer, although having Saturday's puzzle come as a kind of relief is nice, in its way. Today's puzzle is freakishly heavy on the names, particularly the musical names (of which I count at least five). TINA TURNER (15A: Singer born Anna Mae Bullock) over EDDIE MONEY (17A: "Baby Hold On" hitmaker, 1978) was very easy for me — my peak pop music knowledge runs from about '78-'86, and both EDDIE and TINA were huge in that period. XTINA (30A: Singer Aguilera, self-referentially) over SPADER (33A: "The Practice" and "Boston Legal" Emmy winner) a bit tougher, if only because I've never ever seen XTINA as an expression of "Christina" (SPADER was actually a gimme). Is "XTINA" an album title? No... "referred to herself," like in writing? When does she write her name for everyone to see? That "XTINA" bit merits barely a mention in the Wikipedia write-up, though apparently she has a tattoo of "XTINA" somewhere on her body, so I guess that gives the answer some permanence. It's easy to infer "XTINA" from "Christina," but that's a pretty damned obscure factoid. Aguilera was recently a guest judge on "Project Runway." TINA and XTINA in same grid ... not sure about that.
I'm guessing that if people had any real problems with names today, they came around the SHE-RA-over-YANN section. I was lucky enough to be able to guess SHE-RA, Princess of Power. YANN (54A: "Life of Pi" author _____ Martel) is a name I put out of my mind (happily) as I did not care for that book at all. Everyone (it seemed) loved it and I just didn't get what all the fuss was about. Don't even remember if I finished (I'm betting not). In the end, I was saved by the SEA HAG (42D: Ugly Dungeons & Dragons figure). How ironic. Wait. Maybe I was saved by Chrissie HYNDE (49D: Chrissie of the Pretenders). Yeah, I like that story better.
Other trouble spots for me included the SW south of BROAD. None of those Downs wanted to come Down and play. I couldn't parse 34D: Creation of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 at all. I thought "how does the CREATION of the Act have a name?" But no, the ACT was doing the creating, specifically creating the JOB CORPS, which I got only because I've got a good deal of French under my belt. PEUR (58A: Fear, to François) = gimme. AIR DRIES (35D: Hangs up after agitating?) had one of those wicked clues that look like nonsense until you get the right answer, and then seem obvious. Wanted CLOSE OUT to have something to do with CLOTHES, possibly (36D: Bargain hunter's bonanza). Last stand was in the NE, specifically the "T" and "M" in POSTMARK (14D: Prepare for delivery). Couldn't make since of 26A: Glass top (rim) — top of *a* glass, not a top *made* of glass — and so thought [Prepare for delivery] might have something to do with a van making a delivery ("... PARK?") or a ship delivering passengers to shore ("...BARK?"). Eventually decided that WILT was right at 21A: Word before thou, and then ran letters in my head to get the (now obvious) "M" in POSTMARK.
- 1A: High definition storage medium (Blu Ray Disc) — have been talking about getting a player recently, and was actually looking at some players yesterday, so this medium was fresh on my mind. Like the techno angle today with this answer and TREOS (32A: Alternatives to iPhones) and even TEEVEE (41D: Nonhuman baby sitter?). Only real problem is that with iPhones and iPod in the clues today (23D: iPod attachments => EAR BUDS), puzzle starts to look a little bit like it's shilling for Mac (an old accusation that was more common when IMAC was a more common answer ... what happened to IMAC, gridwise? They still make them, you know). Speaking of shilling for Mac, I'm off to the Apple Store in Syracuse today (mmmm, maybe tomorrow) so they can help me set up my new laptop / transfer data from this steam-driven beast I'm working on now. Half my blogging time these days (or so it seems) is spent waiting for this damned machine to catch up with me. No more.
- 56A: Dupe's exclamation ("I've been had!") — love it. Feels very old-fashioned, in a good, crime fictiony kind of way.
- 29D: Prussian prohibition ("Nein!") — I guessed this easily enough, but ... Prussia? Is that still a place?
- 11D: Old World duck (smew) – from the pre-Shortzian Crosswordese vault comes this oddity. If you wait long enough, you will eventually see SMEW's "Old World" cousin, a blackbird known as ANI. Appropriately, both answers are now Old World Crossword Fill (for the most part). [Dang! I screwed up — ANI is explicitly a "New World cuckoo"; new, old ... I knew it was one of those worlds]
- 12D: It begins where a person hails from (taxi ride) — yes, nice clue.
- 31D: Soviet agency created from Rosta (Tass) — TASS is a "Soviet agency" that I know of, and I figured it out from crosses. Other common crossword fill hiding behind toughish late-week clues includes AD IN (19A: Situation before many a game is won), MEESE (22A: Cabinet chief between Smith and Thornburgh), and SDS (27A: It spawned the Weather Underground Org.).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]