Agent Swifty / WED 7-14-10 / Turned right like Dobbin / Bested at Nathan's on July 4 / Roger that sayer / Classic Sinatra topper
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Constructor: Michael Black
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Ironic scheduling — phrases that play on the fact that certain three-letter abbrevs. for days of the week are also real words (SUN, WED, SAT); "irony" created by pairing the abbrev-turned-word with a different (adjacent) day of the week; thus:
- 20A: Ironic weather forecast? (SUN ON MONDAY)
- 33A: Ironic marriage plan? (WED ON THURSDAY)
- 50A: Ironic exam schedule? (SAT ON FRIDAY)
Word of the Day: Swifty LAZAR (56A: Agent Swifty) —
Irving Paul "Swifty" Lazar (March 28, 1907 – December 30, 1993) was a talent agent and deal-maker, representing both movie stars and authors. // Born as Samuel Lazar in Brooklyn, New York, he graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1931. While practicing bankruptcy law during the early-1930s, he negotiated a business deal for a vaudeville performer and realized the income potential for acting as an agent. // He moved to Hollywood in 1936 but maintained a presence in New York until after World War II when he moved to Los Angeles permanently. After putting together three major deals for Humphrey Bogart in a single day, he was dubbed "Swifty" by Bogart. The moniker stuck but was a name he actually disliked. // In addition to Bogart, Lazar became the agent representing the top tier of celebrities, including Lauren Bacall, Truman Capote, Cher, Joan Collins, Noel Coward, Ira Gershwin, Cary Grant, Moss Hart, Ernest Hemingway, Gene Kelly, Madonna, Walter Matthau, Larry McMurtry, Vladimir Nabokov, Clifford Odets, Cole Porter, William Saroyan, Irwin Shaw, President Richard Nixon and Tennessee Williams. Lazar's power became such that he could negotiate a deal for someone who was not even his client and then collect a fee from that person's agent. (wikipedia)
What else? Never heard (that I can remember) of Swifty LAZAR, which is odd, as he appears to have represented everyone who was anyone in mid-century America. When I saw [Agent Swifty], I assumed the answer was TOM, figuring there must be a real-life eponym for this type of word play. But no. Nothing else in the grid was unfamiliar. Nathan's hot dog-eating contest just happened, with much controversy — Japanese great Kobayashi got arrested as he tried to storm the stage; he wasn't participating because of his refusal to sign a contract that would have barred him from competitive eating events outside the purview of Major League Eating. I'm pretty sure I learned all this on ESPN, which somehow covers this "sport." This is a long way of saying I got OUTATE instantly (11D: Bested at Nathan's on July 4, e.g.).
- 15A: Mixologist's instruction (POUR) — this, and 5D: Boss's good news (BONUS) confused me, in that I had no idea who the interlocutor was supposed to be in both instances. Shouldn't the mixologist be pouring? Or is he teaching a class on mixology, and therefore instructing? Also, is the boss's good news for his wife ("Hey, honey, I got a bonus!") or his employee? Seems like bosses are at least as likely to get a bonus as to give one.
- 17A: Finland-based communication giant (NOKIA) — remember reading an article a long time ago about what a high percentage of Finnish people had cell phones. Really hope they don't end up with a high percentage of brain tumors.
- 45A: "Making something out of nothing and selling it," per Frank Zappa (ART) — great clue, though I initially wrote in ADS here.
- 49A: Classic Sinatra topper (FEDORA) — Good clue might have been [It SAT ON FRIDAY] (see pic, above). Classic Sinatra topper = also classic detective topper = also topper for Sinatra when he played a detective in, for example, "The Detective" (1968), or "Tony Rome" (1967):
[Sue Lyon!? I always wondered what she ever did besides "Lolita"]
- 26D: Midrange Volkswagen (JETTA) — try googling that clue in quotation marks. I get exactly four returns. Is "midrange" a price thing? Sounds like a price thing.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
P.S. My friends at Taza Chocolate (Somerville, MA) recently had their factory severely damaged by flash floods (uncovered by ins., shockingly...). If you enjoy fine chocolate, or know someone who does, please buy all the chocolate you can. It is the best stuff in the world. I wouldn't push it on you if it weren't in my own house (in my stomach as we speak, actually — just got a new shipment yesterday). Thanks.
Here's a story about the flooding: FLOODING
Here's the Taza website: TAZA CHOCOLATE