Ertegun who co-founded Atlantic Records — FRIDAY, Dec. 25 2009 — 1843 work in five staves / Tannenbaum topper / Iconic flamers
Friday, December 25, 2009
Constructor: Paula Gamache
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "A CHRISTMAS CAROL" (10D: 1843 work in five "staves") — grid contains three additional answers related to the Dickens story
Word of the Day: AHMET Ertegun (7D: Ertegun who co-founded Atlantic Records) —
Ahmet Ertegun (Turkish: Ahmet Ertegün; July 31 [O.S. July 18] 1923 – December 14, 2006) was the Turkish American co-founder and executive of Atlantic Records and chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and museum, described as "one of the most significant figures in the modern recording industry. He also co-founded the New York Cosmos soccer team of the North American Soccer League. // In the 1960s, Atlantic, often in partnerships with local labels like Stax Records in Memphis, helped to develop the growth of soul music, with artists such as Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, Otis Redding, Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. Ahmet heard Led Zeppelin's demo and knew they would be a smash hit after hearing the first few songs. He quickly signed them. He also convinced Crosby, Stills and Nash to allow Neil Young to join them on one of their tours, thereby founding Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Ahmet helped introduce America to blue-eyed soul when he discovered the Rascals at a Westhampton nightclub in 1965 and signed them to Atlantic. They went on to chart 13 top 40 singles in four years and were elected to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
Interesting puzzle, but what the hell is this grid supposed to depict? What shape is that? A ghost? The only ghost it resembles is one of the ghosts from Pac-Man (my sister's first response upon seeing the grid: "Space Invaders?"). A Christmas tree? That's one messed up, lopsided Christmas tree. Neither wife nor I can figure it out. Like the way the theme answers intersect here, but feel like the rest of the grid is engaging in some serious Christmas overkill. Sneaking TINY TIM in was nice (24A: With 35-Down, brother of Master Peter), but JINGLERS (32D: Sleigh bells and such)? And then giving a Christmas-related clue to every possible answer? Dial it back. In addition to not getting the grid shape, I don't really love SOCIAL CLIMBER (12A: A-list wannabe) — great as a phrase, but weird for a non-theme answer to be longer than 3 of the 4 theme Acrosses in the grid. Wouldn't be so noticeable if it were directly under BOB CRATCHIT. I enjoyed this puzzle for its originality, shape-wise, and for its ambition. It was rough for me, in patches, but overall, mostly enjoyable.
- 9A: One who worked in a "dismal little cell" (Bob Cratchit) — spelled it CRATCHET, which created huge problems in the already difficulty NE. AHMET!?!? RIBCUT (8D: Club steak, e.g.)? ENYA as an "artist????" (16D: "And Winter Came ..." artist). What's the opposite of TERRIF (11D: "Super!")?
- 26A: With 32-Across, one subjected to "incessant torture of remorse" (Ghost of / Jacob Marley)
- 53A: One who saw his name upon the stone of a neglected grave (Ebenezer Scrooge)
Besides the NE, my other trouble spot was in and around SOIL (51A: Agrarian concern). Couldn't do anything with it. Couldn't get ENGEL (60A: Tannenbaum topper). Took a while to see IONS (52D: Na+ and Cl-). Made a good guess at SSTS, which helped (63A: Tupolev Tu-144s, e.g.). Also, perhaps because the very phrase YULE LOG sounds repulsive to me, I completely suppressed it and had ... YULE POTS. Needless to say, I did not approve that answer. Sadly, real answer (totally valid) didn't make me any happier (34D: Iconic flamers).
- 25A: Stocking stuffer (toy) — best wrong answer of the day: TOE.
- 44A: Noted Bauhaus teacher (Klee) — had no idea he had anything to do with Bauhaus or was ever a "teacher" of note. Live and learn. And then forget, mostly, if history is any indication.
- 58A: Michael who wrote "Charmed Lives" (Korda) — I know him from a book about bestsellers called "Making the List." There was once a tennis player named Petr KORDA. Coincidentally, my sister and her husband are playing tennis on the Wii Fit (Christmas gift for their boys) as we speak.
- 40D: Hutch's head, briefly (Hef) — What the ???? I have never heard the term "Hutch" for (I'm assuming) the Playboy Mansion. This must have been common parlance in some misty era before I was born, or before I became an adult. The only "Hutch" I know partnered with Starsky.
- 50D: "The ___ Williams Christmas Album" ("Andy") — as Nelson Muntz once exclaimed, "ANDY Williams!?!?"
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
P.S. Here's your Christmas present — another puzzle to amuse you this holiday weekend. It gets a little ... blue in places, but I assume you all can handle it. The puzzle was inspired by a comment on this blog in which the commenter confessed to having initially misunderstood the theme of this past Sunday's puzzle, "Inside Dope." Thus, I offer you "Inside Dope, Part 2." Enjoy.
[as always, click on "Print" below, or go here (to the forum at crosswordfiend.com) to get a .puz / AcrossLite version of the puzzle]
PPS Hardcore followers of this blog (particularly this blog's comments section) should find this puzzle entertaining — an untitled effort by reader "imdsdave"