Albino rocker with 1973 #1 hit / MON 12-26-11 / Furrowed fruit / Letters before xis / Physician with daily talk show
Monday, December 26, 2011
Constructor: Gary Cee
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: SEASON FINALE (39A: With 41-Across, good time for a cliffhanger ... or what each of 17-, 24-, 50- and 63-Across) — theme answers are two-word phrases where second word is a season
Word of the Day: EDGAR WINTER (50A: Albino rocker with a 1973 #1 hit) —
Edgar Holland Winter (born December 28, 1946) is an American musician. He is famous for being a multi-instrumentalist. He is a highly skilled keyboardist, saxophonist and percussionist. He often plays an instrument while singing. He was most successful in the 1970s with his band, The Edgar Winter Group, notably with their popular song, "Free Ride". He has albinism. (wikipedia)
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A very tired theme with a very cool revealer—actually, I'm not sure I've seen this theme done quite this way; typically the seasons are in the plural, largely because JONATHAN WINTERS is a grid-spanning 15 letters long and far more famous than EDGAR WINTER. Once I saw the theme (after getting FALL, then SUMMER), I physically deflated a little, but after hitting the nice little revealer, I recovered a bit. Grid is very interesting—it's got the maximum 78 answers, but doesn't feel segmented and choppy the way some high word-count puzzles can. This is largely because of two lovely long Downs (IN NAME ONLY, MOSEY ALONG), and two pairs of 7s (also Downs) in the N and S, respectively. Seasons aren't in order, but that's a small matter. I like the seasonal YEAR END directly over WINTER in the grid. Nice work.
- 17A: What a slippery sidewalk might cause (NASTY FALL)
- 24A: "Last Dance" singer, 1978 (DONNA SUMMER)
- 50A: Albino rocker with a 1973 #1 hit (EDGAR WINTER) — I have no idea why the clue doesn't tell you the name of the song; if "Albino" didn't give the answer away, then sure "Frankenstein" wouldn't have either:
- 63A: Spa locale (HOT SPRING)
Collins' Dictionary of Slang says that the noun "flannel" has been used to mean "rubbish, albeit plausible rubbish" since the 1920s, and the verb "to flannel" has meant "to talk nonsense in a soothing, plausible manner, esp for the purposes of charming a woman one wishes to seduce" since the 1940s. I imagine the original metaphor was flannel's function as wrapping, padding or muffling material.So, yes, wheedle, indeed.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld