Impressionist Frank / THU 3-28-13 / 1974 John Carpenter sci-fi film / Waikiki warbler / Jar of Hearts singer Christina /Best-selling thriller author Daniel
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Constructor: Randolph Ross
Relative difficulty: Challenging
THEME: THIRTEE(NC)OLONIES — state abbrevs. for the thirteen colonies are hidden in squares throughout the grid. Inhabitants of those colonies (white ones, anyway), became AMERICAN CITIZENS, I guess, after 1776 (35A: Fourth of July celebrants).
Word of the Day: Christina PERRI (21D: "Jar of Hearts" singer Christina) —
Christina Judith Perri (born August 19, 1986) is an American singer-songwriter and musician from Philadelphia. Her song "Jar of Hearts" charted in the United States after it was featured on the Fox television show So You Think You Can Dance in 2010. Rolling Stone named her the "Band of the Week" on October 26, 2010. On May 10, 2011, Perri's "Jar of Hearts" was featured in the "Prom Night" episode of Fox musical series Glee; the following month, it was featured in the episode "Dance Amongst Daggers" of ABC Family drama Switched at Birth. Perri recorded the song "A Thousand Years" for the film The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (2011) and it appears on the accompanying soundtrack. (wikipedia)
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I've seen state postal code puzzles like this before—more elaborate and more interesting ones. Not that this wasn't somewhat fun to piece together. Lots and lots of "d'oh" moments as I tried and finally succeeded at pushing my way through all the stuck places. Figuring out "NC" was at the heart of the puzzle was a Big breakthrough, as before that I had the group as THIRTEEN ... OLD something? But "old" was in the clue, so ... I had no idea. Wanted "colonies," but it "didn't fit." Until it did. Most of the other state abbrevs. weren't that hard to come up with once I figured out the theme, which actually happened fairly early. But there was a lot WTF-ery in the fill, esp. in the Proper Noun category. Didn't know either CALIENDO (44A: Impressionist Frank) or SILVA (42D: Best-selling thriller author Daniel ___), so luckily that "I" was totally inferrable. "DARK STAR"? (19A: 1974 John Carpenter sci-fi film)?? Never heard of it. But again, pretty easy to guess / get from crosses. Worst section of the puzzle for me, though, involved this PERRI person. Didn't know OSCINE (though I'm pretty sure I've seen it before) and didn't know PERRI, so RECUR (31A: Come and go) was actually the hardest word in the puzzle for me to get. I hadn't gone back and counted yet, but I thought another colony might be involved. I had OSSINE and RESU(ME) and ... I guess that would've made her name PERMEI ... why not? Seems as plausible as PERRI. I was *stunned* to find out PERRI was contemporary. "Jar of Hearts" is a really awkward-sounding song name, and since it was clear she was only in this puzzle because her name was weirdly spelled, I assumed she was going to be of the bygone variety of entertainer. I mean, if your most famous song is "Jar of Hearts," and I've never heard of it, you must be from some other generation. Which is true. Just ... a generation *younger* than me. Not older. It begins. I guess now if you have one song that went to #17 (?), you can be in the puzzle? Still, any way you cut it, PERRI is cruddy fill, and proximity to OSCINE was nasty. FORK OVER was pretty nice, though (4D: Pay), and given the severe strictures of the theme, I'd say this came out OK. Mild thumbs-up.
Wow. Listening to "Jar of Hearts" right now. I have never heard a word or note of this song. I guess this is what happens when a song is famous mainly for being featured on TV shows / movies I have no interest in watching. In fact, if you ever catch me watching "So You Think You Can Dance," you'll know it's time to put me down. You hear that, honey? Down!
- 13A: Waikiki warbler (DON HO) — "ON HER Majesty's Secret Service" was the thing that tipped me off that something weird was afoot. SCATHE / SCOTTS confirmed it. But back to "NH"—I put in "ON HER" and then thought "what in the world could have an 'NH' in that position?" And here you go. Ho.
- 22A: Inarticulate comebacks (OHS) — "Inarticulate??" I beg to differ. Oh yes I do.
- 42A: Priebus's predecessor as Republican Party chairman (STEELE) — he's now a punching bag at MSNBC. Still, way more likable and far better at that chairman job than Priebus is, that's for sure.
- 55A: Cheerleader's asset (SPIRIT) — I had 50D: Heed the alarm as RISE (not the correct ARISE) and (thus?) I had this answer as SPLIT. It's *almost* a perfectly good answer.