Longtime comic strip queen / SAT 2-20-16 / Single-speed two-wheeler / Old TV channel that aired XFL games / Cry after Freeze on 1980s TV show / Defendant in 1963 obscenity trial
Saturday, February 20, 2016
Constructor: James Mulhern
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: SHIH-Poo (58D: ___-poo (designer dog)) —
The Shih-poo is a small domestic dog. It is a crossbreed between a Poodle and a Shih Tzu. The name Shih-poo is a portmanteau of the two breed names. // Legitimate breed associations such as the AKC, the UKC, and the CKC, do not recognize the Shih-poo, or any other designer cross, as a breed in its own right. However, some major kennel clubs do accept registration of crossbreed and mixed-breed dogs for performance events such as agility and obedience. (wikipedia)
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PER SE over ALETA (16A: Longtime comic strip queen) made me kinda sad, as did ESE in a puzzle with MALTESE. But, as I say, it's fine. Just fine. It feels slightly dated, in a specifically "I was an '80s/'90s adolescent" kind of way. Maybe when you were a kid you had a FIXIE BIKE (a concept I grasp, but not a term I ever used or ever hear, despite having one as a kid)* and then as a teen in the '80s maybe you start watching "MIAMI VICE" and "Remington Steele" (starring Pierce BROSNAN), and then OFF YOU GO to college where you get into the music of Kurt COBAIN, buying "Nevermind" on USED CD because, well, you're a poor college student and Napster doesn't exist yet.
There were several proper noun gimmes today, which was lucky for me, because I really needed them. Thought 1A: Lives the dream was ___S IT ALL, but IDI helped me put the "IT" in the right place, and thus really got things moving in the NW. Erich Maria REMARQUE, gimme. Never read "All Quiet," but I own a vintage paperback copy, and his name is just really memorable. Kendrick LAMAR (18A: Hip-hop artist Kendrick ___) just won a bunch of Grammys last week, I think (I find that particular awards show, and ... well, most awards shows, actually ... unbearable). His "To Pimp a Butterfly" was a huge critical and commercial hit last year. You'll see him a lot in the future. Not as much as ADELE, but more and more, for sure.
I have heard of internet addiction, but not INFOMANIA (45A: Facebook-checking fixation, e.g.). Seems to have some currency, but as with many MANIA-suffixed words, it's hard to tell if it's supposed to be bad or awesome (see WrestleMania, Obamamania, etc.). Is the "sack" in [Salt sack?] supposed to be a bed? Like ... a sailor (salt) sleeps in a BERTH? Might've been a little too cute for me. But again, overall, just fine. My only real problems were EAR PIECE for EAR PHONE (still think EAR PIECE is better answer) (14D: Bit of Secret Service attire), and SHAR-poo for the damn dog. At one point, I seriously (seriously) considered SHIT-poo. Rhymes with SHIH tzu better than SHIH-poo does, that's for sure. Plus the double-scatological angle just felt right.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
*[update: I did not have a FIXIE BIKE, it seems. I had a simple one-speed, which you stopped by pedaling backward. A FIXIE BIKE has no free wheel ... no coasting ... I could coast on my childhood bike, but there were definitely no brakes. So mine was single-speed, but not "fixed gear." Look, if you want to know more, go here. I really don't get it or care]
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