Soul singer Adams / TUE 11-24-15 / 3-D image in medical diagnoses / It's thing 1981 hit by Whispers / 1978 Cheech & Chong comedy
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Constructor: Gary Cee
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: SPIN CYCLE (60A: Washer action ... or a hint to four consecutive letters inside 18-, 23-, 38- and 49-Across) — SPIN "cycles" through four different formations within the theme answers:
- UP IN SMOKE (18A: 1978 Cheech & Chong comedy)
- KEVIN SPACEY (23A: Academy Award winner for "American Beauty")
- STEVEN SPIELBERG (38A: Besides Charlie Chaplin, only film director on Time's list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century)
- HMS PINAFORE (49A: Gilbert and Sullivan operetta set on a ship)
Oleta Adams (born May 4, 1953, Seattle, Washington) is an American soul, jazz, and gospel singer and pianist. [...] // In 1985, Adams was discovered by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, founders of the English band Tears for Fears, while she was performing in a hotel bar in Kansas City, Missouri whilst they were on a US tour. Two years later, they contacted her to invite her to join their band as a singer and pianist on their next album, The Seeds of Love. // In 1989, the album was released and the single "Woman in Chains"—sung as a duet by Adams and Orzabal and with Phil Collins on drums—became her first hit.
Fontana Records and restarted her solo career in 1990, assisted by Orzabal who co-produced her new album, Circle of One. The album received much critical acclaim and (after a slow start) eventually peaked at no.1 in the UK in 1991 after she scored her biggest hit to date with her Grammy nominated cover of Brenda Russell's "Get Here". The song reached the UK and US Top 5 and became popular during the 1991 Gulf War conflict as families of deployed troops in the region embraced the tune as a theme song. 1991 also saw Adams sign to independent music publisher Fairwood Music (UK) Ltd. and contribute to the Elton John/Bernie Taupin tribute album, Two Rooms, on which appeared her version of John's 1974 hit "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me". Adams' version became another top 40 hit in the UK.// Her next album, Evolution (1993), was also a commercial success, making the UK top 10. It also featured her self-penned adult contemporary single "Window of Hope". Her 1995 release, Moving On, saw Adams move more in the direction of R&B, and she also reunited with Roland Orzabal for the duet "Me and my Big Ideas" on the Tears For Fears album Raoul and the Kings of Spain the same year. Two years later she released the Christian themed album Come Walk with Me. (wikipedia)
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This theme feels like it must've been done a million times, but I could find just one. Sadly, it was very recent (2013) and had 3/4 of the same theme answers:
[IS IT SAFE?]an LAT puzzle, not an NYT. You can see how a. SPIN CYCLE might lead you to just this idea, and b. this idea would lead you to these exact theme answers. Once SPIN CYCLE clicks in as a possible revealer, the number of roads and possibilities narrows considerable. Thus two constructors working completely independently arrive at virtually the same place with their themers. It happens. As for the puzzle's quality: fine. Mildly entertaining. The fill is decidedly OLD TIMES (59A: Days of yore), a bit stale. That NW corner for sure should've been redone, as the POTOK (1D: Chaim who wrote "The Chosen") / OLETA (14A: Soul singer Adams) crossing is something only a constructor's mother could love, and will Natick at least a small handful of people who have not been doing crossword puzzles every day for 20 years. ASSAI OMANI ESTEE ASSES ASPS NOES YSL ... none of it terrible, but when you pile up the over-familiar like that, it gets a bit suffocating.
MASH NOTE (5D: Love letter) and OVER HERE! (20A: Helpful cry during a rescue mission) are wonderful, as is SLURPS (6D: Eats noisily). Embarrassingly, I barely remember what a PET SCAN is (45A: 3-D image in medical diagnoses), and my father was a radiologist (sorry, dad). The scans that leap most readily to mind are CAT and MRI. But PET came back to me, eventually. It stands for "Positron Emission Tomography," only one word of which I can actually define. Sigh. I was only a mildly APT science pupil (36D: Perceptive, as a pupil) (meanwhile—non-humble brag—my daughter's report card just arrived and she got 115 in AP Physics. 115!? I am both proud and mildly embarrassed by the goofy fictional inflated "weighted" numbers they give students these days) (Oh, and let me undo the non-humble brag somewhat by telling you that her lowest grade, by far, was in ... English. [... crickets ...] If this is what passes for teen rebellion, I guess I'll take it.). Please give at least a smattering of polite applause for the TOKE / SMOKE crossing, which is adorable.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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