Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lightning-fast Bolt / 9-26-11 / 1941 chart-topper Maria / Part of 2005 Harry Potter title / 1987 Stanley Kubrick classic

Constructor: David Gray

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: BACK (67A: Word that can follow the start of 20-, 38- or 50-Across) — Football theme, with theme answers beginning with words QUARTER, HALF, and FULL, respectively:

QUARTER POUNDERS (20A: Some McDonald's burgers)
HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (38A: Part of a 2005 Harry Potter title)
FULLMETALJACKET (50A: 1987 Stanley Kubrick classic)

Word of the Day: DUANE Allman (26D: One of the Allman Brothers) —
Howard Duane Allman (November 20, 1946 – October 29, 1971) was an American guitarist, session musician and the primary co-founder of the southern rock group The Allman Brothers Band. He is best remembered for his brief but influential tenure in that band, his expressive slide guitar playing and improvisational skills. // A sought-after session musician both before and during his tenure with the band, Allman performed with such established stars as King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Herbie Mann. He also contributed heavily to the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos. // In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Allman at #2 in their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, second only to Jimi Hendrix. His tone (achieved with a Gibson Les Paul and two 50-watt bass Marshall amplifiers) was named one of the greatest guitar tones of all time by Guitar Player. / He died in October 1971 in a motorcycle accident. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a very nice little Monday. There's nothing very showy about it, but the theme answers are lively and the theme itself is solid and multi-layered. Progression of first words makes sense in its own right, but then throw in "BACK" and you've got an appropriately autumnal football theme. I spent much of the day watching and listening to football, including watching my Lions come back from 20 down and beat the Vikings in OT. It'll be nice when they actually beat a solid, winning team, but they can only play who's on the schedule, so I'll take what I can get.

This puzzle was very easy, even for a Monday. I was butterfingers on my keyboard, continually botching input, and I still beat the 3 min. mark by a good 15 seconds. Got all the 15s with no hesitation. Needed many crosses to get LOADED DICE for some reason (10D: Items for gamblers who cheat — I think of a pair of dice as *an* item), and forgot briefly about DUANE Allman, but other than, it was just fill in the blanks / wrestle with the keyboard. Oh, I had I'M HERE for IN HERE (5D: "Yoo-hoo" response) and misspelled USAIN (USEIN?) at first. These are all very minor things, but they'll add seconds to your time. I wonder how many people are going to claim (once again) never to have heard of USAIN Bolt (59A: Lightning-fast Bolt). Every time he appears, I'm surprised by how many people shrug and go "who?" Not knowing DRAYS, I understand.

I'm currently obsessed with the year 1980—watching movies and listening to music from that year like crazy. Why am I telling you this? Primarily because I'm currently listening to a band called KROKUS. Seeing that name in the grid would make me exceedingly happy.

Enjoy your Monday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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