Octave's follower in some poetry / THU 12-8-16 / Subj group with noted gener imbalance / Groundbreaking 1990s ABC sitcom / Old-timey not / Hoppy quaff for short
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Constructor: Damon Gulczynski
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
- 17A: Singers who go from "solo" straight to "ti"? (LA DODGERS)
- 25A: Comedians who do material on the Freudian psyche? (ID CARDS)
- 37A: "Young 'uns, yer cuzzins are heare" and others? (PA ANNOUNCEMENTS)
- 46A: Shipping containers on Italy's longest river? (PO BOXES)
- 58A: What Stephen King's editor provided for a 1986 novel? (IT SUPPORT)
rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), Ed O'Brien (guitar, backing vocals), Colin Greenwood (bass), and Phil Selway (drums, percussion, backing vocals). They have worked with producer Nigel Godrich and cover artist Stanley Donwood since 1994. // After signing to EMI in 1991, Radiohead released their debut single "Creep" in 1992. It became a worldwide hit after the release of their debut album, Pablo Honey (1993). Their popularity and critical standing rose in the United Kingdom with the release of their second album, The Bends (1995). Radiohead's third album, OK Computer (1997), propelled them to international fame; with an expansive sound and themes of modern alienation, it is often acclaimed as a landmark record of the 1990s and one of the best albums of all time. The group's next albums Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001), recorded simultaneously, marked a dramatic change in style, incorporating influences from experimental electronic music, 20th-century classical music, krautrock, and jazz. Despite initially dividing listeners, Kid A was later named the best album of the decade by Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and the Times. [...] Radiohead have sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. Their work places highly in both listener polls and critics' lists of the best music of the 1990s and 2000s. In 2005, they were ranked 73rd in Rolling Stone's list of "The Greatest Artists of All Time"; Jonny Greenwood (48th) and O'Brien were both included in Rolling Stone's list of greatest guitarists, and Yorke (66th) in their list of greatest singers. In 2009, Rolling Stone readers voted the group the second-best artist of the 2000s. (wikipedia)
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POOP when they mean "inside information" and reminisce about Admiral NELSON while leafing through their Poor Richard's Almanacks as "Downton Abbey" plays in the background and NARY a scone crumb is left on one's plate (ELSIE the spokescow is a major figure in this imaginary world). But seriously, RADIOHEAD and IN THE ZONE are nice answers.
I don't like EX-ARMY, but I once put EX-NAVY in a puzzle, so I am formally barred from legitimate expression of dislike here. The puzzle was pretty easy overall. My only slowness came from wrong guesses, or (in one case) completely failing to understand the phrasing of the clue. It took what felt like forever just to get WOLF (once OGRE went in, anything else was hard to imagine) (1D: Villain in some fairy tales). And I compounded difficulties up there by guessing ROAN (?) over ARAB (2D: Spirited horse). ROAN was a "horse" reflex, and I reflexed wrong. I forgot what Poor Richard's Almanack was. Completely. So ADAGES took some crossing. 5x5s are always dicey propositions—no short toeholds to get you started—and so the NE and SW corners were mildly daunting: only one narrow way in, no way out. They definitely took more thought/time than other parts of the grid, particularly the SW, where I had to back in. Looking at that corner now, though, I must've just not looked at the themer initially, because PO BOXES is obvious from the clue (if you've figured out the theme already). Anyway, there was minor flailing down there.
The clue that threw me the most was 35D: Subj. group with a noted gender imbalance (STEM) (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). I see what the clue is *trying* to do here, but ... a "subj. group" can't have a gender imbalance. Science is just Science. Engineering, engineering. The *field* (which is made up of people —teachers, majors, professionals, etc.) can / does have such an imbalance. But between the abbr. "Subj." (awk) to the context-free quality of the clue, I had no idea what I was looking at, what was being asked for, on a literal level. I was further hampered by having a daughter who takes a lot of STEM classes and wants to be an engineer, and who is being bombarded by promotional material from colleges touting the relative gender parity of their engineering programs (shout-out to tiny OLIN College, an engineering school that has the gender balance of their student population at almost 50/50; hey, there's a new way to clue OLIN—you're welcome, crossword constructors). Anyway, for personal reasons, my brain doesn't make the STEM-is-for-boys connection quite so readily as it's supposed to. Also, who says SCHMO when they mean "jerk"? Maybe someone in the Fusty Tearoom? I don't know. But the only appropriate clue for SCHMO that I know is [Joe ___].
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. the "T" in STEM and the "T" in IT SUPPORT mean the same thing. Judges say ... yeah, that's a dupe. Red card!
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