Author: Caleb Madison
Theme: Rock bands with names that include facial features.
- 20a: "She Don't Use Jelly" band (THE FLAMING LIPS). Not my favorite song by these guys, but here it is in case you missed it. I much prefer "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell" off the "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" album.
- 34a: "All Star" band (SMASH MOUTH). Big radio hit here, but again I think the rest of the album was better. Judge for yourself. Compare it to, say, this.
- 42a: "Lua" band (BRIGHT EYES). This one I didn't know off the top, but I've heard of the band. Even if I hadn't, it's a reasonable enough name to figure out.
- 53a: Confronting unpleasant consequences of one's actions (and a hint to this puzzle's theme) (FACING THE MUSIC).
This is nice, modern theme by 15-year-old Caleb Madison, who made his constructing debut with the New York Times this past May. I like that the title is also the name of a band.
- 25a: With 6-Down, figure on a controversial New Yorker cover of July 2008 (BARACK / OBAMA). I'm not going to reprint the picture here. If you haven't seen it, it's easy enough to find. In order to be effective, satire has to be unmistakeable. Cut a little too close to people's actual perceptions and you walk a dangerous path.
- 1d: Hit video game set on an island (MYST). This was a such a unique game, with no shooting and no hype. A real groundbreaker.
- 9d: Painter of "The Starry Night" (VAN GOGH). I will always be reminded of the gorgeous Don McLean song when I think of Van Gogh.
- 25d: Ian's role in "The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Return of the King" (BILBO). This is a little tricky in that the Ian with the most prominent role was Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf. Ian Holm played Bilbo Baggins. Still, I love all things Tolkein, so it's fine by me.
- 1a: 1968 massacre site (MY LAI). Kind of brutal to start off at 1-across with a massacre, but we'll let it slide.
- 6a: One of five Norwegian kings (OLAV). Sometimes it's OLAF, so you have to check the crossing.
- 16a: Iolani Palace's island (OAHU).
- 17a: "Coming of Age in ___" (Margaret Mead book) (SAMOA).
- 23a: Sistan and Baluchestan is its largest province (IRAN).
- 24a: Gut reaction? (OOF). Cute. Goes well with 37d: Reaction to a slap on the wrist, maybe (OUCH).
- 33a: Beatnik's "Gotcha" (I DIG).
- 41a: Less tentative (SURER). Blatant filler. Nobody says they were surer about something.
- 45a: Poodle pal of Clifford the Big Red Dog (CLEO).
- 46a: Subj. of the book "The Meaning of Everything" (OED). Oxford English Dictionary. Of course, as a crossword fanatic you knew that.
- 47a: Onetime singing partner of Paul (ART). Reference to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.
- 48a: Title character in a Robert Louis Stevenson book (MR HYDE).
- 51a: Posthumous Pulitzer winner James (AGEE). People whose last names contain 70% vowels live forever in puzzles. Get to know them.
- 60a: 2002 A.L. Cy Young Award winner Barry (ZITO).
- 5d: Bold alternative (ITALIC). Nice clue.
- 7d: "Rosemary's Baby" author Ira (LEVIN).
- 10d: Artistic theme (MOTIF).
- 21d: Torah containers (ARKS). If you don't know this from the Bible, you should know it from "Raiders of the Lost Ark".
- 32d: Paroxysm (THROE). Love both words, the clue and the answer.
- 36d: Sedaris of "Strangers With Candy" (AMY). The name sounds vaguely familiar. Maybe.
- 39d: Puppeteer Lewis (SHARI).
- 43d: "Smokey and the Bandit" ride (TRANS AM).
- 44d: Hand for Hook (SMEE). I played Smee in a middle school production of "Peter Pan", back in the mid-70s.
- 51d: Muscleman Charles (ATLAS). Hero of comic-book-reading nerds and geeks everywhere.
- 53d: Paul Bunyan's dog (FIDO). Logical, even if you didn't know it.
- 54d: The whole shebang (A TO Z).
- 55d: County in east-central Arizona (GILA). It's a river and a monster, it might as well be a county as well.
- 58d: Character who said "You used to be a much better liar, Sam" (ILSA). Of "Casablanca".
Suns of Bitches:
None, for the second day in a row. This is probably a record.
I really liked this puzzle, mostly because I'm big into music and this puzzle was full of direct and indirect references to some phenomenal tunes. Not much else that hasn't already been said. Would that all Tuesday's were this enjoyable.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.