Laura Bush biographer Ronald / FRI 1-21-11 / Bygone NYC punk club / Appassionata von Climax / Writer known as Old Possum / Epoch bats first appeared
Friday, January 21, 2011
CBGB (Country, Blue Grass, and Blues) was a music club at 315 Bowery at Bleecker Street in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. // Founded by Hilly Kristal in 1973, it was originally intended to feature its namesake musical styles, but became a forum for American punk and New Wave bands like Ramones, Misfits, Television, the Patti Smith Group, Mink DeVille, The Dead Boys, The Dictators, The Fleshtones, The Voidoids, The Cramps, Blondie, The Shirts, and Talking Heads. In later years, it would mainly become known for Hardcore punk with bands such as Agnostic Front, Bad Brains, Murphy's Law, Cro-Mags, Warzone, Gorilla Biscuits, Sick of It All, and Youth of Today performing there. [...] The club closed in October 2006. The final concert was performed by Patti Smith on October 15. CBGB Fashions (the CBGB store, wholesale department, and online store) stayed open until October 31 at 315 Bowery. On November 1, 2006, CBGB Fashions moved to 19-23 St. Mark's Place, but it subsequently closed in the summer of 2008. (wikipedia)
32A: Company with a spokesduck (Aflac) - annoying. I feel sad to have lived long enough to see "spokesduck" enter the language.Somehow I don't feel the same annoyance today, perhaps because it's much harder to get mad at SPOKESDUCK (1A: Aflac ad figure, facetiously) when it's livening up your grid by comically sitting on the head of TINA LOUISE (15A: She played Appassionata von Climax in Broadway's "Li'l Abner"). I liked the run-down quality of the symmetrical answers FIXER-UPPER (36A: Homebuyer's "bargain") and BAD HAIR DAY (42A: Result of a permanent failure? — great clue). All in all, I just liked it. Fine Friday fare.
[I have no frame of reference for this]
There were several things I didn't know in this puzzle, some of them dangerously close to one another. Let's start with CSTAR (9D: ___ Optics (telescope maker)) and KESSLER (10D: Laura Bush biographer Ronald). The former I pieced together from the fact that a C-STAR is a thing, and CSTAR sounds like "See Star," which is what you might do with a telescope. No way to get KESSLER except through crosses, which were all fair. Not sure I've heard EFAX said out loud or seen it in print, but I can at last imagine what it is (37D: High-tech transmission). I thought maybe Byron wrote "MAUD" (wrong—that's Tennyson), and if I even knew "LARA," I forgot (63A: Byron poem). A partial from a Thomas the Tank Engine story!? That's nuts, but kind of inspired (57A: "___ on the Line" (Thomas the Tank Engine story) ("A COW"). Words like EOCENE (30A: Epoch when bats first appeared) and CHELA I know from puzzles gone by. Ditto UIES, which I had the good sense to change from UEYS fairly early on (8D: They're hung across roads).
- 17A: Chinchillas and boas, e.g. (EXOTIC PETS) — a great answer. My wife had occasion to refer to chinchillas earlier this evening. I forget why. Oh, her student is interning in a kindergarten classroom, and got superexcited because it was Zoomobile day!
- 19A: "The Gene Krupa Story" title role player (MINEO) — Got this easily, which is weird, as I've never seen the movie. He's pretty common in crosswords (see also SELA, 60D: One of Swoosie's co-stars on "Sisters"). Plus, I probably had the -EO before even seeing the clue.
- 27A: Ace pitcher's reward? (SALE) — someone else out there had to have had SAVE, right? This made 28D: Many an interrogee *very* interesting. "VIAL? What the...?"
- 5D: Writer known as Old Possum, and his family (ELIOTS) — as in T.S. Gimme. "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" was the basis for ... "Cats!"
- 54D: Wankel engine part (ROTOR) — wanted MOTOR, but that didn't really seem like a "part"...
- 56D: Secretaries' charges: Abbr. (DEPTS.) — oh, "Secretary" as in "Secretary of the Interior." Gotcha. I had APPTS. here at first.
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