Perpetual Peace thinker / FRI 9-3-10 / Legendary Spanish bullfighter / Auto marque of 1980s-'90s / Ricky frontman for bluegrass's Kentucky Thunder
Friday, September 3, 2010
Manuel Laureano Rodríguez Sánchez (July 4, 1917 in Córdoba, Spain – August 28, 1947 in Linares, Spain), better known as Manolete, was a famous Spanish bullfighter. // He rose to prominence shortly after the Spanish Civil War and is considered by some to be the greatest bullfighter of all time. His style was sober and serious, with few concessions to the gallery, and he excelled at the 'suerte de matar'—the kill. Manolete's contribution to bullfighting included being able to stand very still while passing the bull close to his body and, rather than giving the passes separately, he was able to remain in one spot and link four or five consecutive passes together into compact series. He popularized a pass with the muleta called the "Manoletina," which is normally given just before entering to kill with the sword. In addition to all of the major bullrings of Spain, he had very important triumphs in Plaza Mexico. He died following a goring in the right upper leg as he killed the fifth bull of the day, the Miura bull Islero, an event that left Spain in a state of shock. // Manolete received his fatal goring in the town of Linares where he appeared alongside the up-and-coming matador Luis Miguel Dominguín, who, after Manolete's death, proclaimed himself to be number one. In response to Manolete's death, General Francisco Franco, then dictator of Spain, ordered three days of "national mourning", during which only funeral dirges were heard on the radio. (wikipedia)
The only part of the grid that even came close to making me wince was the MANOLETE / STODGES (43D: Fuddy-duddies) cross. The former is only vaguely familiar to me, and STODGES feels odd. I was slightly concerned that the answers would be MANOLETO and STODGOS, but thankfully, no. The grid is pretty dang smooth otherwise. No idea what EXOPLANETS are (44A: Far-off discoveries in astronomy), but I can guess—the EXO- prefix was pretty inferrable. Easiest area for me was the SW, where I got all three names with no hesitation: SEAN LENNON, Hank AZARIA (60A: Voice of Moe and Apu on "The Simpsons"), and NICOLE Richie (daughter of Lionel) (58A: Paris's partner on "The Simple Life"), all very familiar to me. Second puzzle appearance in a row for Hank "Blue RAJA" AZARIA.
Embarrassed by my slow start in the NW. Had the corner cornered, boxed in by RANT (25A: Jeremiad) over SWEAR TO (31A: Avow) in the southern portion and ARSENIO (7D: Hall with a posse) in the east, but I couldn't get into the meat of the corner very easily. Those short Downs all had super-vague one-word clues: [Cut] [Pique] [Fervor]. Had SNIP and OMIT before DELE, SNIT before WHET, and ZEAL before HEAT. But the longer Downs are all things I should've known earlier, *especially* DANELAW (2D: Part of England in the time of Alfred the Great). I mean damn, if ever I'm going to break away from the rest of y'all, it should be on that answer—I know a little something about early English history and literature. I was thinking of specific kingdoms like Wessex and Mercia, completely neglecting the Whole Damn East Side of the Island, where Scandinavian invaders/immigrants (always a murky distinction in early English history) held sway for centuries. Further, I had IMAG-NE before I got that answer. I was reading it as "I'M A G..." e.g. "I'M A GONER" or the like. Bah!
- 20A: Ricky ___, frontman for bluegrass's Kentucky Thunder (SKAGGS) — thought this would be obscure, until I realized, no, it's the first "Ricky" that popped into my head.
- 22A: "Hip Hop Is Dead" rapper (NAS) — some great sampling in this one, but this version is "clean" so there's an annoying AMT (35A: Total: Abbr.) of dead air:
- 34A: Auto marque of the 1980s-'90s (GEO) — "Marque!?!?!" OO LA LA! (16A: "So chic!")
- 46A: "Perpetual Peace" thinker (KANT) — Had the "K" but would never have gotten this without "thinker."
- 49A: "... but not more like my father / Than ___ Hercules": Hamlet ("I TO") — easy, but interesting way to clue this common letter combo.
- 8D: Capital that was the scene of 2009 mass demonstrations (TEHRAN) — wow, that fact left my brain a little too fast.
- 10D: Annual journalism award, informally (POLK) — Named after George POLK and not, as I would have liked, after the only POLK I actually know—this guy (about the most charming video I'm likely to post...)
- 13D: Cigarette brand that once used the slogan "Not a cough in a carload" (OLD GOLD) — I know this brand from the very first episode (very first scene, in fact) of "Mad Men"; see here.
- 27D: Tiny opening in a leaf (STOMA) — word I learned from xwords, though it took a while to come back. Knew it sounded like -O-A...
- 29D: Its uniform includes a red serge tunic and a Stetson: Abbr. (RCMP) — the Mounties! I went from "???" to "Oh!" very quickly with this clue.
- 39D: 1970s Bowie collaborator (ENO) — for reasons I don't quite understand, I love ENO crossing ONO. SO SUE ME! (36A: "See if I care!")
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