Author: Ogden Porter (Peter Gordon)
Theme: Commemoration of a historical event of 50 years ago today, as immortalized in song by Don McLean
- 3d: With 10-Down, February 3, 1959 (THE DAY THE/MUSIC DIED).
- 5d: With 8-Down, singer in a fatal plane crash on February 3, 1959 (THE BIG/BOPPER). his real name was jp chesterton.
- 39a: With 66-Across, singer in a fatal plane crash on February 3, 1959 (BUDDY/HOLLY). also a great song by weezer.
- 58a: Singer in a fatal plane crash on February 3, 1959 (RITCHIE VALENS).
- 49a: Song referencing February 3, 1959 (AMERICAN PIE).
this is a nice theme and a fitting commemoration to a major event in american cultural history. the lengths don't work out for a 15x15 crossword with standard rotational symmetry, so instead we have a 15x16 grid with mirror (left-right) symmetry. works for me.
there's no "official" video of this song, of course, since it predates the MTV era by quite a bit. and i didn't love any of the live versions i found on youtube. so instead, here's a somewhat goofy version with the original recording and odd still pictures interspersed. but at least you can click on play and then listen to the song while you read the rest of the blog.
- 30a: Google your own name, e.g. (EGOSURF). that's one of the great neologisms of modern times. here's me. there's some weird stuff floating around in there, but it looks like it's all me (as opposed to some other joon pahk) in the top 50 hits.
- 9d: Painter Georgia (O'KEEFFE). this always looks like a typo. there's something existentially unnerving about the way the Es and Fs pile up.
- 10a: War room fixture (MAP). "gentlemen, you can't fight in here! this is the war room!"
- 14a: Norwegian pop trio (A-HA). i feel like i've seen this clue very recently. anyway, they're the one-hit wonders who gave us "take on me."
- 19a: Urich TV role (SPENSER). robert urich, of "spenser: for hire."
- 22a: Roz portrayer on "Frasier" (PERI gilpin). crossword celebrities: learn them, love them.
- 23a: Like the night sky (STARLIT). this is an appropriate fill word in an "american pie"-themed puzzle, because don mclean's "other" (much lesser) hit song was "vincent (starry starry night)." not a bad song, but nowhere near as iconic as "american pie."
- 26a: Actual (DE FACTO). usually it's IN ESSE, but DE FACTO is much more common outside of crosswords.
- 29a: Third baseman Ron who started three 1970s All-Star Games (CEY). approximate ranking of baseball players in crossworld: 1. ott 2. alou (various family members) 3. a-rod 4. cey 15. minoso 42. zito. what's a guy like mark teixeira to do? (get the yankees to pay him $180 million, that's what.)
- 33a: Prepare for takeoff? (UNTIE). cute.
- 38a: Planck contemporary (BOHR). i appreciate a good physics reference, even if it's to quantum mechanics. my best friend from grad school declared that he "didn't believe" in quantum. this was a bit of a problem, because he was in theoretical particle physics.
- 48a: With 68-Across, star of "Sextette" (MAE/WEST). never heard of the movie, but she's certainly famous enough.
- 65a: Like the score for the first play of a Scrabble game (EVEN). that's because the first player has to play through the pink double word score in the center of the board.
- 4d: Endust company (SARA LEE). what's endust? is that a ... dust product?
- 7d: Antepenultimate word of "Casey at the Bat" (HAS). i love the word antepenultimate, meaning third-to-last. "mighty case has struck out" is how it ends.
- 31d: Lachrymose (SAD). tough clue for an easy word, unless you've, say, sung mozart's requiem.
- 37d: O. neighbor (WVA). not sure i understand this clue. is it supposed to be "Oh. neighbor"?
- 43d: The first century started when it ended (ONE BC). there was no year zero, of course.
- 47d: Sex drives (LIBIDOS). i can't give this the "sexual innuendo" tag, because there's no innuendo.
- 50d: Part of "TMNT" (MUTANT). teenage mutant ninja turtles, teenage mutant ninja turtles, teenage mutant ninja turtles, heroes in a half-shell. turtle power!
- 61d: Drops on the lawn (DEW). i've seen this clue too many times for it to trick me again.
Suns of Bitches:
- 44a: Eel-and-rice dish (UNADON). i know UDON. i know UNAGI. this is neither, but it sounds like it might be both.
- 26d: Couple (DUAD). DUO, yes. DYAD, okay. but DUAD? really?
- 57d: Former E! anchor Jules (ASNER).
one of the things i'm going to miss about the sun puzzle is peter's willingness to take risks and break some rules if a theme warrants it. this puzzle is a good example. i wouldn't have known it was the anniversary of the famous plane crash if not for the puzzle, and solving it has enriched my day.
see you next time.