Young salamanders / WED 9-16-15 / E-tailer of homemade knickknacks / Psycho character who is actually corpse / Vehicle clearing no parking zone / Transportation competitor of Lyft
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Constructor: Joel Fagliano and Finn Vigeland
Relative difficulty: Challenging (for a Wed.)
THEME: mall story — familiar phrases containing words that are also the names of stores one might find in a mall... clued mall-i-ly?
- 20A: "Welcome to the mall! Make sure you don't ___!" ("MISS THE TARGET") (get it?)
- 26A: "The food court offers much more than just your typical ___" ("SUBWAY FARE")
- 48A: "Some people hate the next store, but I don't ___" ("MIND THE GAP")
- 55A: "I don't really know the employees in the tech store anymore because there's been a lot of ___" ("APPLE TURNOVER")
//), is an American rapper, songwriter, businessman, and record producer. He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of "Locked Up", the first single from his debut album Trouble. // He has since founded two successful record labels, Konvict Muzik and Kon Live Distribution. His second album, Konvicted received three nominations for the Grammy Awards in two categories, Best Contemporary R&B Album for Konvicted album and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Smack That" and "I Wanna Love You". // He is the first solo artist to hold both the number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 charts twice. Akon has had four songs certified as 3x platinum, three songs certified as 2x platinum, more than ten songs certified as 1x platinum and more than ten songs certified as gold in digital sales. Akon has sung songs in other languages including Tamil, Hindi, and Spanish. He was listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the #1 selling artist for master ringtones in the world. // Akon often provides vocals as a featured artist and is currently credited with over 300 guest appearances and more than 35 Billboard Hot 100 songs. He has worked with numerous performers such as Michael Jackson, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Whitney Houston, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Gwen Stefani. He has had five Grammy Awards nominations and has produced songs for artists such as Lady Gaga, Colby O'Donis, Kardinal Offishall, Leona Lewis, and T-Pain. Forbes ranked Akon 80th (Power Rank) in Forbes Celebrity 100 in 2010 and 5th in 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa list, in 2011. Billboard ranked Akon No. 6 on the list of Top Digital Songs Artists of the decade. (wikipedia)I feel like this video was the inspiration for this whole puzzle—I really want to believe that it was:
• • •
Groany, but certainly well done. It's not clued to Wednesday—took me nearly twice my Wednesday time, so I have no idea what was going on. Seemed like a lot of effort to make every clue (or, you know, most of them) cutesy or ambiguous or hip or all of the above, and so solving was a grind. But the basic theme concept—a very old-fashioned little theme-clue story concept—is solid. I've never been in a mall Target, but I'm sure they exist.
There were a lot of things I didn't know or didn't know well, or clues that were hard for me to grasp.
- 1A: Fancy wheels, familiarly (BENZ) — I had LIMO
- 3D: "Psycho" character who is (spoiler alert!) actually a corpse (NORMA BATES) — I've seen this movie dozens of times. I watch it every Halloween. I had no idea NormaN's mom had a name. WTF?
- 22D: A lot of rich people? (ESTATE) — a very good, but very tough, clue.
- 6D: Some (A BIT OF) — hard to pick up *and* crappy. Not my fav combo.
- 11D: Tobaccoless smoke, informally (ECIG) — ugh. Wanted CHAW. Couldn't get the NE to work at all because [Commotion] was also not bringing up SCENE, and I somehow put MOUSSE in at 10D: Soup or dessert (COURSE). Total mess up there. Also E-CIG is dumb all around. One of the no-go E-words for me. See E-CASH, E-NOTE, E-tailer (!?), etc.
- 31D: Vehicle clearing a no-parking zone (TOW CAR) — I literally have never heard of this thing. Where I come from, we have tow trucks. I also couldn't figure out what "clearing" meant, so yikes.
- 35D: Record holder (ARCHIVE) — ambiguous. Tough.
- 15A: Certain quatrain rhyme scheme (ABAA) — "sub-optimal" would be kind. Also, you just kind of have to guess at As and Bs. Yuck.
- 65A: Woman's name that sounds like its first two letters (EVIE) — Yeah. OK. But EDIE, though...
- 59D: Old World language (ERSE) — aw, c'mon, guys. ERSE? Smh. See also EFTS.
- 63D: 2015 Melissa McCarthy comedy ("SPY") — contemporary clue. Nice. But a huge know-it-or-you-don't, i.e. people who know the word SPY (i.e. all of us) won't necessarily know the movie. But the movie was a huge hit. Fair. Good, even. But again, it added to potential toughness.
- 58D: Transportation competitor of Lyft (UBER) — with all this tough cluing, I have no idea why "Transportation" was added to this clue. Totally unnecessary. [Lyft competitor] — pow, done. "Transportation" is awkward and vague and, I think, superfluous. You might've done something with "cab alternative," but...
- 7D: Bygone game show filmed in a moving vehicle ("CASH CAB") — I have heard of this and it still took a number of crosses for me to figure it out. Lord help you if you've never heard of it. "Bygone"!
ETA BETA THETA ... goodbye.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. check out the little co-constructor bro-hug at 1-Across in today's Mini ... (Mini constructor: Joel. answer at 1-Across: FINN)
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]