Band with 2007 #1 album We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank / TUE 12-10-13 / 1978 Bob Fosse musical / Annual Vicksburg pageant / Aperitif with white wine
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Constructor: Bill Thompson
Relative difficulty: Medium
- 17A: Pen with a fat felt tip (MAGIC MARKER)
- 31A: Aboriginal healer (MEDICINE MEN)
- 36A: Annual Vicksburg pageant (MISS MISSISSIPPI)
- 45A: Band with the 2007 #1 album "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank" (MODEST MOUSE)
- 59A: Pooh-bah (MUCKETY-MUCK)
Modest Mouse is an American indie rock band formed in 1993 in Issaquah, Washington, by singer/lyricist/guitaristIsaac Brock, drummer Jeremiah Green, and bassist Eric Judy. Since their 1996 debut album, This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About, their lineup has centered around Brock, Green, and Judy. Guitarist Johnny Marr(formerly of The Smiths) joined the band in May 2006, along with percussionist Joe Plummer (formerly of The Black Heart Procession) and multi-instrumentalist Tom Peloso, to work on the album We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Guitarist Jim Fairchild joined the band in February 2009. Their name is derived from a passage from the Virginia Woolf story "The Mark on the Wall" which reads, "I wish I could hit upon a pleasant track of thought, a track indirectly reflecting credit upon myself, for those are the pleasantest thoughts, and very frequent even in the minds of modest, mouse-coloured people, who believe genuinely that they dislike to hear their own praises." (wikipedia)
• • •[DEAR SYNDICATED SOLVERS (if you're reading this on Sunday, Jan. 12, that's you). Please listen to the following pitch. Also, feel free to write me with any comments or concerns. You're well over half my total audience, and yet I hardly ever hear from you. Thanks!]
THE PITCH — [You can scroll down if you've already read it]
℅ Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton NY 13905
Maybe I'll stick a PayPal button in here for the mobile users. Let's see...
For people who send me actual honest-to-god (i.e. "snail") mail, I have this great new set of thank-you postcards that I'm hoping to burn through: "the iconic Pantone color chip design in 100 brilliant colors." Who will be the lucky person who gets … let's see … Pantone 19-2025: Red Plum? Ooooh, elegant. It could be you. Or give via PayPal and get a thank-you email. That's cool too. Anyway, whatever you choose to do, I remain most grateful for your readership. Now on to the puzzle …
Update: I got my first snail-mail donation —look at the cuteness:
• • •
Many of you will never have heard of MODEST MOUSE. You are forgiven.
MUCKETY-MUCK, wherever and whyever it might appear. MISS MISSISSIPPI is not really much of a thing, any more than MISS ANY STATE is. Also MUCKETY-MUCK and MISS MISSISSIPPI don't just do a vowel progression—their second words basically double-up on the first *four* letters of the initial word. So it's simple and loose. But not unenjoyable. Fill is gunky in places (CAN OF, MCII, etc.), but no more than is usual for the NYT these days. The banks of 6s in the NE and SW are pretty well done. I can't tell if M AND M was rejected as a revealer, or if it's trying to be all … subtle and low-key and cool over there in the sort-of-corner. [Update: I am told that Will Shortz called the MANDM answer "a little distracting" because it looks like a revealer but doesn't fully express the puzzle's theme (specifically, the vowel progression part). But if something's "distracting," then why not change it? Ditch it. Easy fix. Change two letters. Any of you can do it. No sweat. I guess the answer wasn't "distracting" enough to merit minimal editorial intervention.]
Difficulty level felt normal. Took me forever to get BLOUSE, and yet I spelled MUCKETY-MUCK right on the first go. Had TASE instead of LASE (29A: Zap with light), SURE instead of SOME (39D: Certain), TEASE instead of TEMPT (54D: Entice), and (best/worst of all) SPHERE instead of "UP HERE!" (48D: Higher calling?). There are SPHEREs in the heavens. They are higher … than you? And you "call" them SPHERES? I don't know. Felt plausible. Perhaps because I had -PHERE and I thought "S" was the only that made a word (and, technically, I was right about that—it's just that the answer was two words).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld