Saucer-shaped jellyfish / FRI 4-3-15 / America vaudeville England / 1837 short story collection by Nathaniel Hawthorne / Onetime competitor of Mad magazine / Cartman's first name on South Park
Friday, April 3, 2015
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: "SICK" (24A: Onetime competitor of Mad magazine) —
Sick was a satirical-humor magazine published from 1960 to 1980, lasting 134 issues. It was created by comic-book writer-artist Joe Simon, who also edited the title until the late 1960s. Sick was published by Crestwood Publications until issue #62 (1968), when it was taken over by Hewfred Publications. Charlton Comics took over publishing the magazine in 1976 with issue #109.
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MUSIC HALL … but, no, not as a vaudeville equivalent (14D: America : vaudeville :: England : ___). No idea. Inferable, but I had no idea. Also, BARMY, a word I recognize in retrospect, but couldn't come up w/ at all while solving (22A: Bonkers, in Britspeak). I had BAR-Y and went with BARGY. From Argy-Bargy, which may or may not be a Squeeze album. Hang on … yes, a Squeeze album. Also Britspeak (see!) for "argument." Then there were names I didn't know. W.C. HANDY is basically what N.C. WYETH used to be for me, i.e. a guy whose last name I know, but whose first two initials are a crapshoot (21D: Songwriter with the 1941 autobiography "Father of the Blues"). So that name crossing "SICK" (??!?) was not easy. Caused me to have serious trouble even getting into that damned NE corner. Also, MEDUSAS? (11D: Saucer-shaped jellyfish) … no clue. O'GRADY? (29D: "Sweet Rosie ___" (Betty Grable film)) No clue. None. And then there were a lot of "?" clues, it seemed, so I definitely had to work harder than usual for this one.
NE was definitely the toughest. I was dead stuck. I guessed HILL (9D: Reason to downshift) and then CHUMP (8A: Sucker), and luckily they were both right, as I had zero up there before that. Guessed "SICK" from the SI-, which helped. I'm still kind of hung up on "SICK," especially considering how long it ran. It's true that I was a bit young for that magazine, but I have absolutely no memory of it, whereas "MAD" and "Cracked" are ultra-familiar. I probably started paying attention to those kinds of magazines in the late '70s, so I must've just missed "SICK." I stupidly put in AFRIKAANS for AFRIKANER at 33A: Charlize Theron, e.g., by birth. Clue calls for noun, not adjective. My bad. CONK OUT for SACK OUT held me up some as well. But overall, the struggle was well worth it. No big Wows, but solid and entertaining throughout.