Top-selling app of 2010 / SAT 2-14-15 / 2011 Flo Rida hit with lyric she ain't no rock star but she got groupies / Language introduced in 1995 / Torts course taker typically / Old sitcom family name / Ten Days in Mad House muckraker / Olivia who won Razzie / Group with slogan every child one voice / Parlor product made with iron /
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Constructor: David Steinberg
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: Olivia D'ABO (52D: Olivia who won a Razzie for "Bolero" and "Conan the Destroyer") —
(//; born 22 January 1969) is an English actress, singer-songwriter, and voice artist best known for portraying the rebellious teenage sister Karen Arnold in The Wonder Years and recurring villain Nicole Wallace in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. […] D'Abo's film debut was in the supporting role of Princess Jehnna in Conan the Destroyer, released in June 1984. Two months later, she appeared in the supporting role of the peasant girl Paloma in Bolero (1984). [whoa, rough start]
From 1988, d'Abo was in the main cast of The Wonder Years in the first four seasons. Her character, Karen Arnold, was the hippiesister. In 1992, she guest starred in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "True Q" as Amanda Rogers. As the recurring villainNicole Wallace, she made five appearances over six years on television crime-drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent. On the Sci-Fi Channel series Eureka, she has the recurring role of Abby Carter, the ex-wife of Sheriff Jack Carter. (wikipedia)
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This is great work once again from Mr. Steinberg. Smooth, sparkling, wide-ranging, fascinating grid. There is one gratuitous bit of pop culture ephemera that I'm not that fond of as a longer crossword answer, but I am sort of fond of it as a song, so … I'm gonna allow it:
[Spin it for your valentine!]
[See your MAIDENFORM "stockist"!]
So, I got out of there and into the center, which proved oddly easy. After flirting with ESPNEWS at 29A: It names an annual Sexiest Woman Alive, I realized that 30D: Like Confucius, often was QUOTED, and the "Q" made ESQUIRE obvious. Whole center done fast. From there I went into the NE but got stuck (more on that later). So I rode the ONE-TON pick-up into the SE, where I picked up NED and spun some DECCA records and then hit another wrong-answer bonanza. I mentally made the [Big name in scales] SELECTO and got CHUM TOKE OPES, 1 2 3. Turns out the scale was DETECTO, but whatevs, I was in business!
[Yes … the NE … we're coming to that …]
KARATE CHOP. You take your luck where you find it. Anyway, I was not down there long, but I knew I had to go back to the NE, a move I was dreading because Man was I stuck up there. And look at the layout of that corner—it's really, really cut-off from the rest of the grid. There's just these teeny little one-square gateways in and out of that thing, so if you get stuck, no one's coming to your rescue. You're on your own. And the "P" from PRETEXT did nothing to help me get in to the bottom part of that corner, so I was back fighting with the top, where PETERS (20A: Old sitcom family name) and ORCA (18A: Major menace) were killing me, only I didn't know that. I just knew that *something* was wrong. MASS ONEL ORCA PETERS—I had an error in there (two, it turns out). PETERS seemed like the only name that would work, and wasn't that the name of the family on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (oh man, thank god I at least had the show right)? And I was weirdly confident about ORCA. I kept pulling MASS, even though, in retrospect, it seems the most obviously correct of those four Acrosses. Anyway, eventually I remembered the name was PETRIE (!), and when that didn't crack things with the Downs, some combination of pulling answers out and putting them back gave me a glimpse of this pattern at 12D: Top-selling app of 2010: AN-RY… and then I had the biggest "D'OH!" moment I've had in a while. The ubiquitous ANGRY BIRDS! How did I not know!? Self-loathing … rising. ANGRY SOLVER!
ANGRY BIRDS earlier, the most annoying failure of the day was not remembering Nellie BLY, a figure I've discussed at length with my wife (who has a Ph.D. in US History and who specialized in the damn Gilded Age, i.e. BLY's time period). Here's the deal. At three letters, and with that clue (31A: "Ten Days in a Mad-House" muckraker), all my brain wanted was IDA Tarbell. Damn you, common three-letter muckraking crossword names! IDA Tarbell and Nellie BLY are roughly the same age and known for very similar things. But the clue was obviously calling for a last name, so, with IDA sitting in my brain and not going anywhere, I was just stuck. Never mind that I was confusing IDA Tarbell with IDA B. Wells (jeez louise, they practically rhyme). Gah. A lot of superficial knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld