City between Boston Gloucester / TUE 5-19-15 / HIV-treating drug / 1961 #1 R&B hit for Lee Dorsey / Hit David Bowie single album 1983 / Minneapolis radio station that carries lot of news, appropriately / Automne preceder / Greta Garbo's mysterious lady co-star / Small freshwater fish / 1990s GM make
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Constructor: Allan E. Parrish
Relative difficulty: Medium (normal Tuesday)
THEME: anagrams of GLEAN —
- FALLEN ANGEL (17A: Lucifer, notably)
- OBLIQUE ANGLE (27A: It's not right)
- JESSICA LANGE (48A: Oscar-winning actress for "Blue Sky")
- CONRAD NAGEL (63A: Greta Garbo's "The Mysterious Lady" co-star)
"Ya Ya" is a song by Lee Dorsey. The song was written by Lee Dorsey, Clarence Lewis, Morgan Robinson and Morris Levy. Levy’s participation in the writing has been previously called into question. In fact, the Flashback release of the single (image) lists only Dorsey and Lewis as writers, as do the liner notes to the American Graffiti soundtrack. // The song was inspired by a children’s nursery rhyme. (wikipedia)
• • •
BRANDI Chastain brings us close to the 21st century, but not quite, and only briefly (6D: Soccer's Chastain). Mostly, our cultural center of gravity is somewhere back around Lee Dorsey's time. At least that song is entertaining. Fill is stale, but has its moments (most notable "LET'S DANCE" and REDHEAD). Sadly, another dated thing about the puzzle is its desperate attempt to achieve pangram status, as if that were an actual accomplishment anymore. Today at least provides me a Textbook example of the Scrabble-f*cking required to get the whole alphabet in there. Is there anyone, anywhere, who thinks the puzzle is improved by the answer OOX? Because that's the cost of the pangram—that ridiculous non-answer (64D: Losing tic-tac-toe row). OOXTEPLERNON* is well pleased. Others ... well, others are probably so acclimated to that kind of junk that they've come to accept it as normal. You should accept bad fill when it gets you something in return. You should not accept it when it's there just so a constructor can accomplish an imaginary feat that most people won't even notice. Embarrassing.
I nearly got stopped cold by PON- (23D: Ride at a kids' fair) / "-A YA" (36A: 1961 #1 R&B hit for Lee Dorsey). I've never seen a PONY at a kids' fair. Honestly, I don't even think I know what a "kids' fair" is. I've only been to real fairs, where there is kids' fare and adult fare in fairly close proximity to one another. My point is that I considered POND and PONG (?) before I got to PONY. PONY as "ride" is accurate, but ... when "ride" is paired with "fair," different, more mechanical rides come to mind. So that was oddly tough for me. I know the song "YA YA" well from my years of oldies-listening in high school, but I didn't know the song's name or the artist's name, so for all I knew it was "MAYA" or something else. Otherwise, the grid was of a pretty typical difficulty level (not difficult). I had DRAM for DOSE (33D: 5 milliliters of medicine) and ANT (?) for TNT (42A: What can make molehills out of a mountain?).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
*OOXTEPLERNON is the God of Bad Short Fill. He made his first appearance, like Jesus in a tortilla, as the central row in this puzzle from Oct. 30, 2009.
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