Surly TV bartender / SAT 5-29-10 / Classic 1978 punk song / Powder used in lasers / Creator bronze en songe / Actress Mary musician Midge
Saturday, May 29, 2010
James "Midge" Ure, OBE (born 10 October 1953) is a Scottish guitarist, singer, keyboard player, and songwriter. He enjoyed particular success in the 1970s and 1980s in bands including Slik, Thin Lizzy, The Rich Kids, Visage, and most notably as frontman of Ultravox. Ure co-wrote and produced the charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and co-organised Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8 with Bob Geldof. He twice received an Ivor Novello Award with Geldof for co-writing "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Ure acts as trustee for the charity, and serves as ambassador for Save The Children. His stage name, Midge, is a phonetic reversal of Jim, the diminutive form of his real name. (wikipedia) [I picked him because there are two awesome crossword words in this description — OBE! and IVOR! If URE were more famous (here) he'd be in the crossword sooo much more often]
Easy and excellent. I solved this at a leisurely pace, on the computer, mostly with one hand (I was drinking tea!) and still came in at close to the fastest-Saturday pace I set last week. It helps to know Caleb. And like Caleb. And think a lot like Caleb, despite being (ugh) old enough to be his father. Still a junior, folks, still a !@$^ing junior. In high school. Especially loved the 10-stacks. Clean, crisp, real phrases/names. Despite being a devoted "Simpsons" fan, I apparently don't know how to spell SZYSLAK yet, because I went from excited for the gimme to annoyed at my spelling incompetence, quickly (1A: Surly TV bartender). Downs eventually sorted things out. MOE's name is one of at least four *complete* names in the grid — see also AYN RAND (28A: Author who wrote "Anyone who fights for the future, lives in it today"), AVA GARDNER (61A: "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" co-star), and P. DIDDY (20A: "Bad Boy for Life" performer at the 2004 Super Bowl). My only real hesitation in solving came near the EZEK (26A: Dan. preceder) / KIN (27D: Branches of some trees) crossing (couldn't figure out what "Dan." was an abbrev. for, though the [Branches] clue ended in an "S," etc.). But the fantastic punk anthem "I WANNA BE SEDATED" took care of that mess, and I was off and running again (36A: Classic 1978 punk song). Though THORO was about the ickiest thing in the grid, especially next to the none-too-attractive (however legit) DISTAL (45D: Situated away from the point of origin). Otherwise, AS GOOD AS it gets (37D: Virtually). Left me BUG-EYED (43A: Agog). Etc. etc. etc.
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Had to think a bit in the NE, where I had a moment's trepidation about even getting into that little corner. Problem was at 13D: Outback relative, which I assumed was referring to the Subaru model. Or the steakhouse. Brain searching for 4-wheel-drive non-SUV equivalents ... nothing. Instead, took REWIND (11D: Go back to the start, in a way) up into that corner, then threw WILD (18A: Like some pitches) across and finally picked up VELDT! So ... *literal* Outback. Not the Subaru. Not the steakhouse. OK. Way to trick me by being non-tricky, Saturday.
["Reap the WILD Wind"]
- 32A: Reggae artist ___ -Mouse (EEK-A) — strangely, a gimme for me. I couldn't pick him out of a line-up, but once you hear that name, you don't forget it.
- 42A: Alcove-hiding hanging (ARRAS) — question: if you had a toughish proper noun in a puzzle, and you wanted to make sure it was crossed "fairly," could ARRAS be one of the crosses? I mean, could ARRAS be one of those words that you assume the good majority of solvers will be familiar with? Why do I ask? Uh ... no reason.
- 46A: Camposanto Monumentale locale (PISA) — wrote in PERU quickly and early.
- 52A: 1950s-'60s left fielder selected for nine All-Star Games (MIÑOSO) — The non-mouse, male MINNIE.
- 5D: "2001" characters (ZEROS) — I completely forget these folks (Oh ... the ZEROS in the number "2001"? ... OK). Movie's as old as I am. I should rewatch it.
- 6D: Powder used in lasers (YTTRIA) — without serious crossword experience, I'm dead in the water on YTTRIA. As it was, no problem.
- 23D: 1976 Emmy winner for "Evening at Symphony" (OZAWA) — a crossword favorite. Up there, conductor-wise, with SOLTI and the 15-letter ARTURO TOSCANINI. I figured this was a conductor, so I just waited around for a cross or two.
- 33D: First of three to be put out (STRIKE ONE) — not sure I like "put out" here. Not really baseball language. Maybe someone's holding "out" his/her hand and counting another person's bad behavior/mistakes.
- 39D: Creator of the bronze "En Songe" (ARP) — saw the "A," wrote in ARP, moved on. Never seen or heard of "En Songe" ... in case you thought you actually had to "know things" to solve a Saturday.
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