Autodom's Beetle / TUE 7-27-10 / Sighter of pink elephants / Potter's potions professor / Battleship Potemkin port
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Arthur Jacob Arshawsky (May 23, 1910 – December 30, 2004), better known as Artie Shaw, was an American jazz clarinetist, composer, and bandleader. He is also the author of both fiction and non-fiction writings. [...] In addition to hiring Buddy Rich, he signed Billie Holiday as his band's vocalist in 1938, becoming the first white bandleader to hire a full-time black female singer to tour the segregated Southern US. However, after recording "Any Old Time" she left the band due to hostility from audiences in the South, as well as from music company executives who wanted a more "mainstream" singer. His band became enormously successful, and his playing was eventually recognized as equal to that of Benny Goodman: longtime Duke Ellington clarinetist Barney Bigard cited Shaw as his favorite clarinet player. In response to Goodman's nickname, the "King of Swing", Shaw's fans dubbed him the "King of the Clarinet." Shaw, however, felt the titles were reversed. "Benny Goodman played clarinet. I played music," he said. (wikipedia)
Another Tuesday quickie—the only resistance today was provided by theme answers, two of which I've never heard anyone use, and one of which I've never heard or seen before. Had to get most of the crosses before SHOOTING MATCH became clear to me—that's a phrase I know only from ... maybe from crosswords, somehow. Certainly never heard anyone use it. SCHMEAR was the big mystery, though. Must be a City thing. Luckily, I never saw the clue—looked over, saw -CHMEAR, and just wrote in the "S" without looking. I really missed BALL OF WAX. Glaring omission. Otherwise, the grid seemed fine. Acceptable. Reasonably clean (with the exception of, for example -ATIC, SECY, ETS, NEOS, and AAHED, yuck). VEEDUB felt pretty adventurous, and pleasantly colloquial (23A: Autodom's Beetle is one, slangily). Also liked the clue on RED DOT (49D: Mark of a rifle's laser sight), though it results in a puzzle with some pretty violent undertones: assassination here, and then caning at 21A: Mementos of a caning (WELTS). I associate caning almost exclusively with Singapore, probably because of a fairly high-profile case where an American kid convicted of vandalism was caned there some years back (1994).
• • •
• • •
- SHOOTING MATCH
- NINE YARDS
- 15A: Stack-serving chain, for short (IHOP) — helped me confirm that 5D: Salad bar bowlful was, in fact, OIL. Seems odd. Is there just a bowl of oil sitting at the end of the bar? Really? A bowl?
- 68A: Potter's potions professor (SNAPE) — if you commit one bit of HP lore to your memory, let it be this name. Or Harry's pal RON.
- 9D: Ninth-inning hurler, often (CLOSER) — This really makes me want to post the "coffee's for closers" clip again ... oh what the hell?
[uh, there's profanity in here, so, you know ... careful]
- 13D: Sighter of pink elephants (SOT) — glad I never saw this clue, because I'd have had No idea what to do with it. This must be some olde-timey cliché about drunks.
- 50D: "The Battleship Potemkin" port (ODESSA) — Double dose of marine movies today with this one and "DAS Boot" (42D: "___ Boot").
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]