Eyelike windows — TUESDAY, Nov. 17 2009 — Media exec Robert / Smartphone introduced in 2002 / Arctic seabird / Fake at rink
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Constructor: John Farmer
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: GROIN (52D: Rock star whose name is spelled out by the middle letters of 16-, 18-, 39-, 61- and 64-Across) — I'm kidding: it's RINGO ... but why?? ["middle letters" are actually intersections of identical words, the first and second parts of two-word phrases where first word is repeated]
Word of the Day: BLING-BLING (18A: With 10-Down, flashy jewelry) — Bling-bling (or simply bling) is a slang term popularized in hip hop culture, referring to flashy or elaborate jewelry and ornamented accessories that are carried, worn, or installed, such as cell phones or tooth caps. [...] During a 2008 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade in Jacksonville, Florida, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney admired a baby decked in dress attire with gold jewelry and said, "Oh, you've got some bling-bling here." In 2004, MTV released a satirical cartoon showing the term being used first by a rapper and then by several progressively less "streetwise" characters, concluding with a middle-aged white woman describing her earrings to her elderly mother. It ended with the statement, "RIP bling-bling 1997-2003." In 2005, the rapper B.G. remarked that he "just wished that he'd trademarked it" so that he could have profited from its use. [...]] Like many cases of once-exclusive vernacular that becomes mainstream, the views of the originators towards the term have changed significantly over the years. On VH1's Why You Love Hip-Hop, rapper Fat Joe stated, "rappers don't call jewelry 'bling' anymore, we just call em 'diamonds'." (wikipedia)
Oh, Tuesday. Why can't you be like Monday or Wednesday? It's not that I don't love you, it's just that you're hard to love. What does RINGO have to do with intersecting, repeated-word phrases? Is he a big fan of DURAN DURAN? KNOCK KNOCK jokes? I don't know why the intersecting words couldn't have stood on their own? Seemed fine to me as a theme. But then there's this RINGO tacked on. And the clue should read [Rock star whose FIRST name is spelled out ...] because while we do all know him by RINGO, he's not BONO or CHER. Clue should say (or otherwise cue) FIRST.
- 16A: With 2-Down, group with the only James Bond theme to hit #1 (Duran Duran)
- 18A: With 10-Down, flashy jewelry (bling-bling)
- 39A: With 25-Down, start of a nighttime nursery rhyme ("Twinkle, Twinkle...")
- 61A: With 50-Down, #1 hit of 1969 ("Sugar Sugar")
- 64A: With 54-Down, intro to a joke ("Knock, knock...")
Found the grid choppy and awkward, with a SPATE (I mean SPURT — 49D: Sudden burst) of icky stuff in there. WIGAN???? (40D: City near Manchester) Is that some place I'm supposed to be familiar with? Is RINGO from there? I had WIGHT briefly. What about this ASO guy (47A: Japanese prime minister Taro _____)? Is he the new prime minister? No, he was the last one. He Served For One Year (defeated in August '09). Now on vacation in WIGAN, I hear. TIDEMARKS and WIREPHOTO are spooky-looking in that I recognize all the words involved in the compounds, but those particular configurations aren't familiar to me. Slightly more familiar than TIDEPHOTO and WIREMARKS. ESSO crossing ESSA :( EKED crossing DEKE :( AOKS crossing ENCLS !?! :( I actually kinda liked the "five intersecting pairs of matched words" idea, esp. with its perfect symmetry, but between the redundant / irrelevant RINGO and some less than great OCULI (12A: Eyelike windows) ... I mean, fill, I'm happy to be done with this one and on to something else.
- 53A: Arctic seabird (skua) — it's a different "seabird" (AUKS) spelled backwards.
- 24A: Cuban base in the news, in brief (Gitmo) — also an Elmo-type puppet on "The Daily Show"
- 68A: Smartphone introduced in 2002 (Treo) — still surprised at how Infrequently I see this answer. The Palm TREO has been eclipsed in recent months by the new Palm PRE.
- 4D: Bilbao boy (niño) — wanted NENE
- 28D: Martial artist who starred in "Romeo Must Die" (Jet Li) — I remember that movie's being very disappointing. Then again, I remember nothing about it ... which is probably because I've confused it with "Romeo Is Bleeding," which stars frequent crossword answer LENA OLIN.
- 31D: Tampa Bay footballer, briefly (Buc) — not so great at the moment.
- 43D: French cheese (fromage) — tricky; figured it was a *type* of cheese, not the French word for "cheese."
- 15D: Media exec Robert (Iger) — forget who he is ... ah, president and CEO of Disney. I get him and Robert ILER (of "The Sopranos") confused, understandably.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]