Country singer Williams / MON 11-2-15 / Finnish tech giant / Auto pioneer Ransom E / Prefix with pathetic
Monday, November 2, 2015
Constructor: Loren Muse Smith and Andrea Carla Michaels
Relative difficulty: Medium (normal-ish Monday time)
THEME: BOOBY TRAPS (58A: Dangers for the unwary ... or a hint to the starts of 17-, 23- and 47-Across) — first words are also bra types:
- PADDED CELL (17A: Place to put someone who might hurt himself)
- MIRACLE WORKER (23A: 1962 film about Helen Keller, with "The")
- PUSH UP DAISIES (47A: Baby grand, e.g.)
Lucinda Williams (born January 26, 1953) is an American rock, folk, blues, and country music singer and songwriter. // She recorded her first albums in 1978 and 1980 in a traditional country and blues style and received very little attention from radio, the media, or the public. In 1988, she released her self-titled album, Lucinda Williams. This release featured "Passionate Kisses", a song later recorded by Mary Chapin Carpenter, which garnered Williams her first Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1994. // Known for working slowly, Williams recorded and released only one other album in the next several years (Sweet Old World in 1992) before her greatest success came in 1998 with Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, an album presenting a broader scope of songs that fused rock, blues, country, and Americana into a more distinctive style that still managed to remain consistent and commercial in sound. It went gold and earned Williams another Grammy while being universally acclaimed by critics. Since Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, she has released a string of albums that have also been critically acclaimed, though none has sold in the numbers of her 1998 breakthrough. She was also named "America's best songwriter" by TIME magazine in 2002. (wikipedia)
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PUSH UP DAISIES and thought, "Ooh, I like that answer" (even though, as my wife points out, the only version of that phrase anyone ever actually uses is "pushing up daisies"). Then I got to the revealer, and ... mixed feelings. Very mixed. I love the whole bra concept, but don't love the juvenile slang "BOOBY." It's like an 8-year-old boy came up with the revealer. I see that various breast cancer awareness groups are using the word "boobies" in their names, but this doesn't make me like it any more. Grown women don't, as a rule, call them BOOBIES. None that I know, anyway. Weirdly, "boobs" seems fine. Normal. Grown women use that term. There's something about that added "y" that takes it into kiddie-language territory. So, to sum up: Love the idea of a crossword about bras / breasts, do not like BOOBY TRAPS as a revealer because of the implied tee-hee tone. Like I said. Mixed feelings. Conceptually, I think the theme works quite well.
I was a little slow today because of a series of mistakes. Had PADD- and went with PADDY WAGON (it fit!) for 17A: Place to put someone who might hurt himself. Also, I own many (most) LUCINDA Williams albums, and still needed many crosses to get her name. I would never clue her as "country," though that's certainly a genre in which she sings. But as you can see from the wikipedia description above, it's not primarily how she's known, despite the fact that she routinely wears a cowboy hat in promotional photos. I saw her in concert a decade or so ago, in Manhattan. The very special guest that night was not a country music star. It was Elvis Costello. So, yeah, "country" is not inaccurate, but not spot-on. I also had LOAN for LEND (38D: Furnish temporarily), which caused a surprising amount of trouble for such a small-seeming mistake.
The fill is stale and generally not good, but no one's really gonna notice that.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. Annabel was feeling under the weather tonight, which is why she's not blogging the first Monday puzzle of the month (as she normally does). She'll be here next Monday. Or tomorrow. Or whenever she can fit it in her busy college schedule.
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