Female lead in Brigadoon / FRI 5-2-14 / 1901 Kipling book / Martin Chuzzlewit villain / Actor Franco of Now You See Me / US chain stores since 1985
Friday, May 2, 2014
Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: DOTTIE West (32A: West of Nashville) —
Dottie West (October 11, 1932 – September 4, 1991) was an American country music singer and songwriter. Along with her friends and co-recording artists Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, she is considered one of the genre's most influential and groundbreaking female artists. Dottie West's career started in the early 1960s, with her Top 10 hit, "Here Comes My Baby Back Again," which won her the first Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1965. In the 1960s, West was one of the few female country singers working in what was then a male-dominated industry, influencing other female country singers like Lynn Anderson, Crystal Gayle, Barbara Mandrell, Dolly Parton, and Tammy Wynette. Throughout the 1960s, West had country hits within the Top 10 and 20.In the early 1970s, West wrote a popular commercial for the Coca-Cola company, titled "Country Sunshine", which she nearly brought to the top of the charts in 1973. In the late-70s, she teamed up with country-pop superstar, Kenny Rogers for a series of duets, which brought her career in directions it had never gone before, earning Platinum selling albums and No. 1 records for the very first time. Her duet recordings with Rogers, like "Every Time Two Fools Collide," "All I Ever Need Is You," and "What Are We Doin' In Love," eventually became country-music standards. (wikipedia)
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LENAPE is a tribe I learned about from crosswords, and knowing it has come in very handy in the past, but today, the word just wouldn't come. Also thought [Big ___] was SUR and have never ever heard of London's HENRIETTA Barnett School (I mean never Ever ever), so the NW roughed me up a bit. In fact, I never really did get out of it. Even when I had it filled in, I just couldn't move south. Didn't know [Strabismus], so even CROSS- didn't help. Thought it might be some kind of cloud (?). So I drifted east and then spread down into the heart of the puzzle and out from there. Didn't properly finish off the NW until the very end, when I was staring down CROSSE-E-ES. I figured the singer must be DOTTIE (never heard of her), but that left the final letter—which I had as an "M" at first, "ADAM'S Pleasure" sounding like a perfectly reasonable title for a Chaplin movie. But CROSSED EMES: not a thing. Then finally CROSSED EYES became obvious. I'm sure I've heard "strabismus" before, but like LENAPE, it got away from me today.
So HENRIETTA, DOTTIE West, Strabismus, "A DAY'S Pleasure," FIONA from "Brigadoon," Physicist ANDRE-Marie Ampère, Fashion designer LEANNE Marshall, DAVE Franco (54A: Actor Franco of "Now You See Me"), JONAS (34A: "Martin Chuzzlewit" villain) … all totally unknown to me. All but proper nouns (or in the case of "strabismus," highly specialized professional vocabulary). Not usually the way I like my difficulty served up. But it's really hard to resist a puzzle with CLICK BAIT as its 1-Across (1A: Modern traffic director?). It's a pernicious phenomenon, but great fill. Also truly loved the marquee answer (Make Your Marquee Count, kids). In case you don't quite understand the answer: FIVE THIRTY-EIGHT is the name of the newish website run by former NYT / current ESPN stats maven Nate Silver (hence [Silver screen name?]). Long answers in all the corners are mostly lovely and solid. A tough but entertaining experience overall.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld