Pianist Peter / TUE 4-2-13 / Weight loss surgeries informally / Title fish in Pixar film / African republic colonized by freed American slaves / One-named pop star with 2001 hit Whenever Wherever
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Constructor: Ian Livengood
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: POPE FRANCIS (63A: Official elected March 13, 2013) — lots of clues and answers related to this guy
Word of the Day: SHAKIRA (11D: One-named pop star with the 2001 hit "Whenever, Wherever") —
Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll ( ... born February 2, 1977), known mononymously as Shakira [...], is a Colombian singer-songwriter, dancer, record producer, choreographer, and model. [...]In 2001, Shakira crossed into the English market with her third album Laundry Service, which sold over 15 million copies worldwide; her first English single "Whenever, Wherever" became the best selling single of 2002. Her success was solidified with her fourth and fifth albums Fijación Oral Vol. 1 and Oral Fixation Vol. 2 (2005), the latter of which spawned the best-selling song of the 2000s, "Hips Don't Lie". [...] Her official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" became the biggest-selling World Cup song of all time. On YouTube, the English version of the music video is the 7th most watched video of all time with over 500 million views. Since 2013, Shakira has served as a coach on the fourth season of the American version of The Voice.Shakira has won many awards including five MTV Video Music Awards, two Grammy Awards, eight Latin Grammy Awards, seven Billboard Music Awards, twenty-eight Billboard Latin Music Awards and has been Golden Globe-nominated. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and she is the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, having sold over 70 million albums. Her U.S. album sales stand at 9.9 million. Outside of her work in the music industry, Shakira is also involved in philanthropic activities through charity work and benefit concerts, notably her Pies Descalzos Foundation, her performance at the "Clinton Global Initiative" created by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and her invitation to the Oval Office by President Barack Obama in February 2010 to discuss early childhood development. (wikipedia)
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Hey there. Liz wrote yesterday that I was going on a "long hiatus," but that was inaccurate. Unless you consider one day "long," which I'm guessing not even my most ardent fans (hi mom) do. I was just swamped with work—a big pile of it that I probably could've gotten done earlier in the week, but I was on break so screw that. So it's back to blogging tonight, though I'm gonna have to be quick about it. It's back to work for me in the (early) morning.
This theme is timely-ish, though it's awfully straightforward. Just ... some stuff about the new pope. The end. The puzzle does have two things going for it—a Lot of theme answers, and a very polished and entertaining grid. The upper left is a little wobbly — So Many Prefixes (esp. if you include LIPOS, which I do) — and PNEU is a flat-out abomination, but most of the rest is very good. The NE, with MAN CAVE (22D: Room with a pool table, wet bar and TV, say) and SHAKIRA and "COME, NOW" (12D: "You've gotta be joking ..."), is especially good. The clue on THE WAVE is fantastic (41D: Stand-up routine in a stadium?). I love that Ian went for MASH / SEXT instead of MATH / TEXT, though it definitely caused me to lose a little time. I had TEXT in place, but had to then fix it when I (thank god) checked the cross and realized there's (probably) no such song as "Monster MATH" (there should be a song called "Monster MATH," there really should). I wonder if any speedsters (or just moderately inattentive people) finished with MATH / TEXT and then had a lot of trouble finding their error. Seems possible. I was pretty fast today—would've been faster if I'd remembered that the damned GUARD was SWISS (which I only just learned for the first time a month or so ago). Didn't have any real hang-ups today. Just minor stuff. Thought NERO was NIRO (32A: Pianist Peter)—that may have been my biggest hiccup of the whole solve, and it's not much of one. Oh, it also took me many crosses to see "I KNOW" (29D: "You're preaching to the choir!"). But this is very minor stuff.
- 3D: 63-Across, e.g. (PONTIFF)
- 17A: Predecessor of 63-Across (BENEDICT XVI)
- 21A: Sign that 63-Across was elected (WHITE SMOKE)
- 37A: Original home of 63-Across (ARGENTINA)
- 57A: Protector of 63-Across (SWISS GUARD)
- 45D: Current home of 63-Across (VATICAN) [shouldn't this clue end [...with "the"]?]
OK, gotta get to sleep now. In case you missed my late addendum yesterday, here's a link to yesterday's episode of the radio program "Life Elsewhere," which featured interviews with me and Merl Reagle and a couple of other folks.