Singer with the second video ever played on MTV / THU 2-18-10 / Cornwall feature / Little The Wire antihero / Hell is full of musical amateurs
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Constructor: Caleb Madison
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: KEYS (56D: PC things, which can be found at the starts of 14-, 22-, 37-, 46- and 61-Across) — KEYS in question are on a PC (or Mac) keyboard
Word of the Day: ANZIO (30D: W.W. II battleground) —
Anzio is a city and comune on the coast of the Lazio region of Italy, about 57 km (35 mi) south of Rome. // Well known for its seaside harbour setting, it is a fishing port and a departure point for ferries and hydroplanes to the Pontine Islands of Ponza, Palmarola and Ventotene. The city bears great historical significance as the site of a crucial Allied landing during World War II. (wikipedia)
Short write-up today, as I have places to do and things to be. Caleb Madison is a wickedly talented constructor, but I was put off this puzzle immediately by its basic, oft-repeated theme. I know I've seen this theme many, many times before in my solving career. One way I know this is that I went back and read my own words from last year — in a write-up of an Oct. 19, 2009 puzzle in the LAT with theme answers that ended ENTER, TAB, ESCAPE, CONTROL, and SHIFT, I wrote "First thought: seen it. Multiple times. Let's retire this theme starting ... now." Surprised a basic "starts with" theme was chosen for a NYT Thursday. Now as this theme goes, I'm quite sure Caleb has done it as well or better than anyone. The theme answers are fantastic, vibrant, original. Much of the fill is iffy at best (OF A, I'D NO, AT IT, ALL I, AGRIC (!?), Return of the AMAHS, and crosswordese aplenty), but the long stuff is stellar, which always helps — loved PG THIRTEEN despite the numeral-to-word change (11D: Like the movies "10,000 B.C." and "2012") and esp. PAT BENATAR (27D: Singer with the second video ever played on MTV). I knew the Buggles were first, I did *not* know she was second. She has one of the greatest female rock voices ever. I owned several albums by her when I was a teen, and I still own at least one.
Pat Benatar - Love is a Battlefield 1983
- 14A: Go into a new mode (SHIFT gears)
- 22A: One in chains, maybe (ESCAPE artist) — tried to go with ESCAPED FELON at first ...
- 37A: 1983's highest-grossing film ("RETURN of the Jedi")
- 46A: Bossy sort (CONTROL freak)
- 61A: Gridiron ploy (OPTION play)
- 18A: Have ___ (at it) — I had AN IN. Ns where Ts should have been. What a horrible little answer to stumble on.
- 28A: Cornwall feature (moor) — I had MOAT ... I really did.
- 53A: Execute, archaically (doest) — "Killeth? Slayeth? Bah!"
- 15D: Title twin sister in a series of children's books by Jean and Gareth Adamson (Topsy) / 34A: Title twin brother of 15-Down (Tim) — very nice cross-reference. I don't know these books. I know Flopsy and MOPsy (31D: Challenge for a hairstylist) and Cottontail ...
See you later,
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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