Ernest nicknamed Texas troubadour / TUE 1-13-15 / Billboard's top rock group of 2000-09 / Resident of so-called Chicago of Japan / Prize annual international award for mathematics / Eating non-halal to Muslims / Prefix with plasty
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Constructor: Michael Blake
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: NICKELBACK (58A: Billboard's top rock group of 2000-09 … or where to find a 23-Across (before 1939) or 17-Across (today))— stuff on the back of a nickel
- MONTICELLO (17A: Tourist attraction in Charlottesville, Va.)
- AMERICAN BISON (23A: Largest wild animal in the United States)
- E PLURIBUS UNUM (47A: "Out of many, one")
Ernest Dale Tubb (February 9, 1914 – September 6, 1984), nicknamed the Texas Troubadour, was an American singer and songwriter and one of the pioneers of country music. His biggest career hit song, "Walking the Floor Over You" (1941), marked the rise of the honky tonk style of music. In 1948, he was the first singer to record a hit version of "Blue Christmas", a song more commonly associated with Elvis Presley and his mid-1950s version. Another well-known Tubb hit was "Waltz Across Texas" (1965) (written by his nephew Quanah Talmadge Tubb (Billy Talmadge)), which became one of his most requested songs and is often used in dance halls throughout Texas during waltz lessons. Tubb recorded duets with the then up-and-coming Loretta Lynn in the early 1960s, including their hit "Sweet Thang". Tubb is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. (wikipedia)
• • •This puzzle forced me to remember NICKELBACK, and for that I will never forgive it.
["I don't wanna hear that song no more"]
Looking this over, I really have to say more about how subpar the fill is here. For an easy puzzle, there's way way way too much DAT and AGIN and ATEM here. Way way way way too much. "ERES ECRU!" Fill is just sad all over. The answer that's jarring me the most, however, is CUE TIP. It sounds like a real thing, but it does not look like a real thing. This is because 99% of the time, if someone says "CUE TIP," what they are really referring to is a cotton swab or the rapper in this video:
Clearly cues have tips. Still, there's something off-seeming about CUE TIP. Also OSAKAN, which is an answer that has long been used, but … it's not great. And once again grid construction is the issue: with EPLURIBUSUNUM and NICKELBACK locked into place, you've got -S-K--. There's not much *but* OSAKAN that can go there. In fact, I'm not sure there's anything. Hang on … well, there's Levi ESHKOL, but since you're already screwing up your face and going "Who?" I'm gonna say OSAKAN is actually the better choice. But the theme answer arrangement really paints the constructor into a corner there.
Hoping for more scintillating fare tomorrow. This week's been limping along a bit, puzzle quality-wise.