#1 spoken-word hit of 1964 / SAT 12-28-13 / Jonathan's wife in Dracula / Vino de Spanish wine designation / Castle of Hungarian tourist draw / 1975 hit song about tramps like us / Phoenix suburb larger than Midwest city it's named for
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Constructor: Frederick J. Healy
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: "RINGO" (7D: #1 spoken-word hit of 1964) —
The song's actual sung lyrics are limited to the title word alone, performed by an unidentified male chorus. Throughout the rest of the performance, Greene talks about the legendary gunfighter. His words tell the story, in a first-person account, of a Western lawman and his relationship with a notorious gunfighter, Ringo, presumably based on the outlaw Johnny Ringo. It has been pointed out that the song does not fit the known historical facts of the life of Johnny Ringo. However, this did not damage the song's popularity, as it shot to the top of the US Billboard charts on December 5, 1964. It also peaked at #1 on the "Easy Listening" chart, where it remained at the top for six weeks. The single also peaked at number twenty-one on Hot Country Singles chart. In Canada, it hit #1 on the RPM top singles chart on December 7. The song was written by Don Robertson and Hal Blair.
GUNK. Old school crosswordese (SSA SSR SRTA UIES etc) and foreign fragments (PAGO MOLTO etc.) and DESE and DANL just run too thick throughout this thing. Cluing seemed off in a bunch of places too. Floppy disks are PASSÉ? "PASSÉ" is "no longer fashionable," and floppy disks have nothing to do with fashion. People don't use them any more because they have been superseded by better technology, and modern machines simply don't run them. When does a bully say "ANYONE ELSE?"? After he beats one person up and then turns to the crowd of onlookers? This feels like a cartoonish depiction of a 1940s bully. Also, seems like it could easily be said by a victim of bullying who just pummeled the hell out of one of his abusers. Maybe the phrase rang truer, bully-wise, in days OF OLD. A lot of this puzzle felt slightly OF OLD. Bert LAHR! William INGE! "RINGO"! "RINGO" was Not on my radar. I do like that "RINGO" crosses GUNSLINGER, since the word "GUNSLINGERs" appears in the song's first line.
JUMBO FRIES is not a thing, so that was terrible. LARGE FRIES, a thing. JUMBO SHRIMP, a thing. JUMBO FRIES, not. Also, a side is only "gut-busting" if the portion is large and you eat all of it. In the art of challenging cluing, there's an occasionally fine line between clever and nonsensical. Consider [It's not drawn due to gravity] for SMILEY FACE. I hated this at first. Then I got it—and by "it," I mean "the meaning of 'gravity' in this context." You draw a SMILEY FACE due to levity, not gravity. Gotcha. Hard, but in the end, fitting.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld