Onetime stage name for Sean Combs / MON 2-22-16 / Fireplace smoke escapes through them / Presidential Palace in Paris / Fictional Plaza Hotel girl / Indian in many an old western
Monday, February 22, 2016
Constructor: Ed Sessa
Relative difficulty: Medium (i.e. normal Monday puzzle) (3:00)
THEME: DOWN-AND-DIRTY (22D: Done in a quick but effective manner ... or like the answers to the three starred clues?) — themers run Down and are (in various senses of the word) "Dirty":
- CHIMNEY SWEEP (4D: *One as "lucky as lucky can be," in "Mary Poppins")
- SUCKER PUNCH (24D: *Sudden, unprovoked slug)
- X-RATED MOVIE (9D: *Showing at an adult film theater)
Sean John Combs (born November 4, 1969), currently known as Puff Daddy or Puffy, and formerly known as Diddy and P. Diddy, is an American rapper, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur. Combs was born in Harlem and grew up in Mount Vernon, New York. He worked as a talent director at Uptown Records before founding Bad Boy Records in 1993. He released his debut album No Way Out in 1997, which has been certified seven times platinum and was followed by successful albums such as Forever (1999), The Saga Continues... (2001) and Press Play (2006). In 2009 Combs formed the musical group Diddy – Dirty Money and released the critically well-reviewed and commercially successful album Last Train to Paris (2010). (wikipedia)
• • •
Such a nice little theme, thus such a tragedy that the theme cluing has to go and step all over it. First, DOWN-AND-DIRTY isn't clued right. There seems to be some conflation with "quick-and-dirty." "DOWN-AND-DIRTY" conveys neither speed nor expediency. Look it up. No, don't bother. I did it for you:
1. Intently and fiercely competitive, often unscrupulously so: a down-and-dirty political campaign.2. Bawdy; lewd.
Why not have an accurate clue? Take the time to be accurate? There is no reason to just be wildly wrong about what the term actually means. Also, why the non-lyrically-supported clue on CHIMNEY SWEEP. "Chim, chimney/ Chim, chimney / Chim, chim, cher-ee / A sweep is as lucky / As lucky can be." A "sweep." It's a "sweep." Not a "CHIMNEY SWEEP." If you are going to use the lyrics to clue the term, then the lyrics oughta bear you out. I know that "sweep" is short for CHIMNEY SWEEP and I don't care. Precision. Also, do "adult film theaters" still exist? Porn is ubiquitous, but are "adult film theaters" even semi-common establishments any more. That clue's not wrong, but definitely needs updating. All this cluing inaccuracy / laziness is galling when the theme is so nice. It's nice. Take the time. Do it right.
Fill is not good but not bad. Except ASKA, which is in fact bad (not that fond of NETFUL either). Astonishing that FLUES clue didn't cross-reference the CHIMNEY SWEEP clue. I mean, I'm not usually a big fan of the cross-referencing, but those two answers are crying out to each other. I am kind of hung up on CLV right now, imagining that (barring a complete teardown) I'd've gone with CLE. I asked Twitter what they best possible CL_ answer was, and sportswriter Diane Firstman shot back with CLA (Meredith), mostly as a joke, but I looked it up and holy $&%^ that is an actual (former) baseball player's actual (nick) name (CLA = short for "Claiborne," his middle name). Better yet, his real, non-nickname, his first name, is OLISE. If only he had been a major, or even minor star, we could've mined his name(s) for year(s). His early career was incredibly promising. Consider: "He did not surrender a run in 28 consecutive appearances, a span of 332⁄3 innings from July 18 through September 12 . That streak set a franchise record, eclipsing Randy Jones' 30-inning scoreless streak. The 332⁄3 scoreless innings also tied Orel Hershiser's mark in 1984 for the second-longest streak by a rookie since 1970. It now stands as the second-longest scoreless stretch by a rookie relief pitcher in the live-ball era (1920)" (wikipedia). Alas.
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]