Rapper who came to prominence as member of Wu-Tang Clan / MON 5-7-12 / Storage for fast Web page retrieval / Opiate used in cough syrup / What Dubliners call homeland / Shaggy's nickname canine friend
Monday, May 7, 2012
Constructor: Guy Tabachnick
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: The Immaterial World — theme answers contain words that are (roughly) synonyms of "apparition"
Word of the Day: GHOSTFACE KILLAH (20A: Rapper who came to prominence as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan) —
Dennis Coles (born May 9, 1970), better known by his stage name Ghostface Killah, is an American rapperand prominent member of the Wu-Tang Clan. After the group achieved breakthrough success in the aftermath of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the members went on to pursue solo careers to varying levels of success. Ghostface Killah debuted his solo-career with Ironman in 1996, which was well received by music critics. He has continued his success over the following years with critically acclaimed albums such asSupreme Clientele (2000) and Fishscale (2006). His stage name was taken from one of the characters in the 1979 kung fu film Mystery of Chessboxing.Ghostface Killah is critically acclaimed for his loud, fast-paced flow, and his emotional stream-of-consciousness narratives containing cryptic slang and non-sequiturs. In 2006, MTV included him on their honorable mention list of The Greatest MCs of All Time, while the editors of About.com placed him on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time (1987–2007), praising him as "one of the most imaginative storytellers of our time." Ghostface's storytelling abilities have widely been praised, with Q magazine calling him "rap's finest storyteller." (wikipedia)
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AGHA and IOTA and A-RONI, like the poor, will always be with us, but when you mix them up with DOPE (as clued—53D: Extraordinary, in slang), HOOK UP (as clued—9D: Begin a tryst), CACHE (as clued—2D: Storage for fast Web page retrieval) and BALLER (45D: One playing hoops), their spoilage capacity is severely diminished. SCOOB! (1A: Shaggy's nickname for his canine friend) Ha ha, I could barely believe that was real. I mean, it was a gimme, but made sure the crosses confirmed it, one by one. I found this puzzle very easy, though it was no record, largely because I lost precious seconds staring in slack-jawed awe at how college-y the clues were. I mean that in the best possible way.
I do, however, feel for the tens of thousands of regular crossword solvers who will Never have heard of GHOSTFACE KILLAH. That's a lot of grid territory to concede to someone who is gonna be virtually unknown to (I'm just guessing here) *most* crossword solvers over 50. Just a guess. I'll be thrilled to be wrong. I've been on the other side of this musical / pop cultural equation, and it's not always pleasant. I hope that at least the sheer wackiness of the guy's name brings you at least some measure of happiness.
My kingdom for a picture of GHOSTFACE KILLAH and ARLEN SPECTER together!
- Rapper who came to prominence as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan (GHOSTFACE KILLAH)
- 25A: Former Republican-turned-Democratic senator from Pennsylvania (ARLEN SPECTER)
- 43A: Form of sparring (SHADOWBOXING) — GZA (pronounced "jizzah"), another member of Wu-Tang clan, had a 1996 single called ... "Shadowboxin'"; can't make this stuff up. Well, actually, you probably could, but I'm not. (WARNING: Video contains tons of profanity)
- 53A: Whiskey or vodka (DISTILLED SPIRIT)
- 3D: "America's Finest News Source," with "The" ("ONION") — I would say that this, too, is youth-oriented, but I'm 42, and it's oriented right at me, so ... you're gonna have to add "middle-aged-oriented" to the mix.
- 41D: Opiate often used in cough syrup (CODEINE) — had some when I was a teenager, following oral surgery. Never again. Stomach ... unhappy.
- 10D: Langauge offshoots (DIALECTS) — hmm. I never thought of them as "shooting off," but I guess that's right. I like the answer, just as I like its symmetrical counterpart, RED STATE (36D: It leans to the right)—yet another nice 21st-century answer.
- 44D: Ukrainian port whose staircase is a setting for "The Battleship Potemkin" (ODESSA) — you had me at "Ukrainian port" (and the "O"). So much so that I never saw the whole (Long) clue until now. Some nice cinematic trivia for you. I like that the puzzle isn't just up-to-date, it's all over the map. Bobbing, weaving, SHADOWBOXING its way into my heart.