Sunday, November 20, 2011

Actress married to Kurt Weill / MON 11-21-11 / 1970 hit by Sugarloaf / Older woman's plaything in slang / Old dagger / Funnywoman Rudner

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: iTUNES (67A: Where to find the songs in this grid ... or an appropriate title for this puzzle) — songs with a color and some form of "EYE" in the title

Word of the Day: LOTTE LENYA (11D: Actress married to Kurt Weill) —
Lotte Lenya (18 October 1898 – 27 November 1981) was an Austrian singer, diseuse, and actress. In the German-speaking and classical music world she is best remembered for her performances of the songs of her husband, Kurt Weill. In English-language film she is remembered for her Academy Award-nominated role in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961) and as the sadistic Rosa Klebb in the James Bond movie From Russia with Love (1963). (wikipedia)
• • •
Not really a Monday, and definitely not a puzzle for anyone under 30. Old songs with "eye" in them. Two -EYED, one EYES. Cutesy reveal. It's OK, I guess, if you enjoy LAYERs and BRAYERs and CD PLAYERs. Four partials is at least two too many for my taste. I'm guessing that if you know the music and like the music, you'll like this puzzle, and if not, not. I went through a classic rock phase in high school (yes, all these songs were already classic rock 25 years ago), so I knew all the titles, though "GREEN-EYED LADY" was by far the hardest to come up with, mainly because no one today, including most of those who actually lived through the very early '70s, could pick Sugarloaf out of a line-up. I actually listened to the opening of The Who's "Quadrophenia" today (a remastered version appears to have just been released—it's featured on Spotify), so seeing them at 1A was a strange coincidence.

Theme answers:
  • 1A: With 10- and 65-Across, 1971 hit by The Who ("BEHIND / BLUE / EYES")
  • 28A: 1967 hit by Van Morrison ("BROWN-EYED GIRL")
  • 44A: 1970 hit by Sugarloaf ("GREEN-EYED LADY")
No serious sticking points—just a general feeling that the cluing was slightly tougher / vaguer than the usual Monday cluing. Clue on BAR for instance (53A: Legal profession). Perfectly good clue, but there are way more Mondayish clues for that one. I wanted LAW. Nice musical clue on REUNITE, but again, took some crosses to figure out (42D: What the Beatles never did). No big deal. Probably the most interesting feature of the grid is the crosswordesey LOTTE LENYA showing up here in her full-name form. I had to learn both her first and last names as part of my ongoing crossword training, but I don't think I've ever seen them together in the grid like this. Speaking of crosswordese, let's pause a moment to acknowledge the presence of both SNEE (62A: Old dagger) and ELY (66A: Cathedral town near Cambridge), but of whom YOU will be seeing again, if you haven't had your fill of them already.

  • 16A: Hollywood's Howard and Perlman (RONS) — wish Perlman had been replaced with Jeremy. Lots of actors today. MEL Brooks (58D: Funnyman Brooks). RITA Rudner (42A: Funnywoman Rudner). The aforementioned LOTTE LENYA.
  • 23A: Older woman's plaything, in slang (BOYTOY) — disappointingly, not SEX TOY. I guess sex toys could belong to women (and men) of any age.
  • 51A: Who said "The joke's on you, Riddler!" (BATMAN) — it seems he said this at least once in the '60s TV series ... in keeping with the general old-timeyness of this puzzle.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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