Three-time Grammy winner Steve / MON 9-14-15 / Google smartphone released in 2014 / WTF with Maron popular podcast / Where Buddhists worship / S on dinner table
Monday, September 14, 2015
Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel
Relative difficulty: Just north of normal (3:12)
THEME: CROWN (64A: Royal topper ... or part of the logos of 16-, 21-, 38- and 53-Across) — corporate entities (and who doesn't love those!?) that have crowns in their logos, just like the clue says...
- LOS ANGELES KINGS (16A: Hockey team that plays at Staples Center)
- BUDWEISER (21A: Super Bowl advertiser with Clydesdale horses)
- ROLEX (38A: Luxury watch brand)
- HALLMARK CARDS (53A: Busy company around Mother's Day and Valentine's Day)
Stephen Fain "Steve" Earle (//) (born January 17, 1955) is an American rock, country and folk singer-songwriter, record producer, author and actor. Earle began his career as a songwriter in Nashville and released his first EP in 1982. His breakthrough album was the 1986 album Guitar Town. Since then Earle has released 15 other studio albums and received three Grammy awards. His songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Shawn Colvin and Emmylou Harris. He has appeared in film and television, and has written a novel, a play, and a book of short stories. (wikipedia)
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SVELTE and SCORNS respectively, and we should probably be grateful—they undoubtedly made it easier to make those relative open areas around the long Downs come together in smooth Monday fashion). ADANO is really the only answer that I wouldn't want anywhere near my grid. Otherwise, acceptable-to-nice fill. I was especially surprised by ANDROID ONE, a very up-to-date answer (2014!) and a brand I'd never heard of. You can redo the puzzle pretty easily (i.e. inside of 15 seconds) with ANDROID APP there instead; that's probably more common and more gettable, but it's not better. It leaves you with PYE as your only real option at 65-Across, and PYE is as bad if not worse than ADANO, so ... hurray for ANDROID ONE.
Mirror symmetry is necessitated by the theme answer assortment, i.e. the four examples are all different lengths, and therefore wouldn't work in a more conventional rotational-symmetry grid (where answers have to pair length-for-length, except the middle one, which can just sit there, assuming it's got an odd-numbered letter count). But why chuck a perfectly good theme because rotational symmetry won't work? Just be creative! Mirror! If only because it looks and feels different than your average Monday, I approve of this puzzle. Not big on flogging corporations, but as a puzzle, this is fine work.
- 13D: Dugout figure (BATBOY) — gah. I love baseball, but this took me far too long. Needed four crosses to pick it up. Part of me was thinking of "dugout" as a canoe ... that's a thing, right? Ah, yes. It is. Good.
- 51D: "Get what I mean?," informally ("Y'KNOW") — I like this and yet I feel like it should be "YA KNOW?" I want to pronounce the version that's in the grid "eek-no."
- 4D: "Good heavens!" ("OH GOD!") — Got the GOD part no problem, but went with MY. When I hear the expression in my head, "MY GOD" has a lesser charge. "OH GOD" seems like a reaction to an atrocity, or an expression of deep dread/anxiety/fear that something will be horribly wrong. "MY GOD" seems like how you'd react to someone's tale of how bad traffic was this morning.
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