1970 Freda Payne hit / TUE 11-20-12 / 51 ufologist's interest / Weekend publication since 1941 / Sampson of the 1980s-'90s NBA / Deputy Terrytoons character / Cannonball of jazz fame
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Constructor: Allan E. Parrish
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: (The Macy's Thanksgiving Day) PARADE — first words of theme answers are all associated with a PARADE
BALLOON PAYMENT (20A: Provision for ending many a mortgage)
FLOAT PLANE (35A: Aircraft with pontoons)
BAND OF GOLD (42A: 1970 Freda Payne hit)
PARADE MAGAZINE (53A: Weekend publication since 1941)
Word of the Day: Cannonball ADDERLEY (38D: Cannonball of jazz fame) —
Julian Edwin "Cannonball" Adderley (September 15, 1928 – August 8, 1975) was a jazz alto saxophonist of the hard bop era of the 1950s and 1960s. // Adderley is remembered for his 1966 single "Mercy Mercy Mercy", a crossover hit on the pop charts, and for his work with trumpeter Miles Davis, including on the epochal album Kind of Blue (1959). He was the brother of jazz cornetist Nat Adderley, a longtime member of his band. (wikipedia)
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Unless I have the theme wrong and it's actually about the *last* words of the theme answers. Maybe a drug-smuggling puzzle (where MAGAZINE refers to the ammo-holding part of an automatic weapon)? But no, it's parade season (starting Thursday), so let's just stick with PARADE. This puzzle feels like a very sturdy, serviceable effort from 1987. I guess AOL (23A: 2011 Huffington Post purchaser) would have to put the puzzle somewhat later, but not much later. Let's say 1991, the year of Chris ISAAK's one big hit (which I will always associate with David Lynch's "Wild at Heart," because that's where I first heard it).
[26D: Chris with the 1991 hit "Wicked Game"]
"BAND OF GOLD" many times in my life, but that clue was gibberish to me. Freda Payne?! Weird that that name totally escaped me for, let's see, 42 years. I think I got it confused with "Wedding Bell Blues" by The Fifth Dimension (which was #1 on the day I was born—there's some Rex trivia for you). Anyway, between that clue and wanting TOOLA or LALAS or god knows what for LOORA (39D: Irish lullaby syllables), I had a slight slow-down in that AREA (2D: ___ 51 (ufologist's interest)). Everything else in the grid seemed like very standard crossword stuff—you got your ESTES and your EFTS and your ICE-T (and that's just the SE corner). Nothing offensive, nothing to write home about.