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Monday, August 22, 2011

1972 #1 hit for Sammy Davis Jr / TUE 8-23-11 / Cousin of Muhammad / Pupil coverer / British boob tube / Frozen dessert franchise

Constructor: Michael Farabaugh



Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)



THEME: Bolt — that's the clue for four theme answers





Word of the Day: ALI (23A: Cousin of Muhammad) —
Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (Arabic: علي بن أﺑﻲ طالب; Transliteration: ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib, [ʕaliː ibn ʔæbiː t̪ˤɑːlib]; 13th Rajab, 24 BH–21st Ramaḍān, 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661) was the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam. Sunni Muslims consider Ali the fourth and final of the Rashidun (rightly guided Caliphs), while Shi'a Muslims regard Ali as the first Imam and consider him and his descendants the rightful successors to Muhammad, all of which are members of the Ahl al-Bayt, the household of Muhammad. This disagreement split the Ummah (Muslim community) into the Sunni and Shi'a branches. (wikipedia)

• • •



Not my favorite kind of theme. Also, a theme that could've gone much deeper—to six answers at least, probably more. Bolt = eat food quickly. Bolt = large roll of cloth. Better to shorten up these answers and add a couple more than just have four, esp. when one is LIGHTNING UNIT (?). That's literally correct, I suppose, but UNIT is painful in that phrase. This puzzle wasn't so much difficult (compared to other Tuesdays) as it was hard to move through quickly. I'd get the front end of a theme answer, but it would not lead easily to the back end at all. UNIT? Bah. Even LEAVE didn't help me get SUDDENLY. IN A HURRY seemed plausible. Crosses there were weirdly hard to turn up, as STOW and WELD and DELL did not come easily. The grid seems mostly solid—I'm just underwhelmed by this type of theme, and by the execution of this particular incarnation of this theme type.



Theme answers:
  • SPRINTER USAIN

  • METAL FASTENER

  • LIGHTNING UNIT

  • LEAVE SUDDENLY

Can't write much more. I have to be up at 4:30am to catch a 6:15 flight. I'll be checking in periodically over the next few days, but you'll mostly be in the hand of capable and entertaining substitute writers—a different one every day! Hope you enjoy the tail end of your summer as much as I plan to enjoy mine (mine will involve a state fair, very dear friends, and probably more alcohol than I've consumed so far this calendar year).



Bullets:
  • 15A: Instrument heard in Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe" (OBOE) — I had no idea that was an OBOE. I nearly wrote in OGEE because I had MEAN instead of MODE at first for 8D: Number in statistics.

  • 33A: The "she" in the lyric "She walked up to me and she asked me to dance" (LOLA) — keeping with the musical theme. Here's a song I actually feel like playing for you.


  • 37A: Frozen dessert franchise (TCBY) — Or, as I always think of it, "I Can't Believe It's Not Yogurt" (it's actually "The Country's Best Yogurt")

  • 64A: Half of a famous split personality (HYDE) — big help when I was flailing away down there in the SW.

  • 3D: They have homes that many people visit (WEBSITES) — this clue feels like a stretch. They have "homes?" Yes, there's a "home" page, but if you are going to use "homes" in a way no one does when speaking about WEBSITES, your clue needs a "?"

  • 38D: 1972 #1 hit for Sammy Davis Jr., with "The" (CANDYMAN) — from "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" — enjoy.


  • 48D: British boob tube (TELLY) — I'm not sure that's equivalent slang. "TELLY" is a neutral term. Also, actor Savalas.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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