Silent screen vamp Naldi / WED 1-28-15 / Simple ragtime dance / Classic violinmaker / Gustav whose music was banned by Nazis
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Constructor: Gary Cee
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: I bet you think this song is about YOU — Songs that have YOU in their titles, arranged in pieces, symmetrically, such that the YOU at then center of the puzzle is shared by every title:
- I'VE GOT / YOU / UNDER MY SKIN (1A: With 38- and 46-Across, 1966 4 Seasons hit) (I had no idea they did a version of this song; I don't associate with them At All)
- I WANT TO TAKE / YOU / HIGHER (26A: With 38- and 67-Across, 1970 Sly & the Family Stone hit)
- ALL / YOU / NEED IS LOVE (10A: With 38- and 50-Across, 1967 Beatles hit)
- JUST THE WAY / YOU / ARE (21A: With 38- and 65-Across, 1977 Billy Joel hit)
Oda (Turkish: oda, "a room, chamber") is a room within a harem found in the Ottoman Empire. // During Ottoman period the harem division of the Topkapı Palace was home to the Valide sultan (Sultan's mother); the odalisques and wives of the Sultan; and the rest of his family, including children; and their servants. There were nearly 300 odas in the harem and it housed as many as 500 residents, which sometimes amounted up to 300 women, their children, and the eunuchs. (wikipedia)
YOU, and they are symmetrical. But I don't see what's enjoyable about any of it, except if you happen to like some or all of the songs involved. Remembering songs can be nice. But as a crossword, it's just fussy. Multiply cross-referenced clues, chopped up answers … no pleasure there for me. It's architecturally interesting, in its way, but mainly it seemed messy. Titles smashed to bits. Interesting upon reflection, but not very pleasant to solve. The fill (once again) is remarkably poor in places. It's a 76-worder w/ cheaters, so why the RIV / IPSO, why the AWET / ODAS, why the ERES / ILO / AAU / KAI, why the EHLE / AROW / LOGY, and why the THE JETS? It all felt so terribly unpolished. Yes, everybody likes these songs. They are popular, they are old, they are going to play well with the NYT's core demographic. And there's definitely some decent longer, non-theme stuff in there (weirdly, unusually, that may be where this puzzle is strongest—RUN ALONG, GRAPE NUTS IMPOSTOR! You can have HAIR COMB (?) back, but the other longer stuff is pretty decent. But the short stuff is too often unbearable, and the theme has no appeal except nostalgia.
- 14A: Scope (ROOM) — strangely, this little nook in the north caused me the most difficulty. Took me a while to get ROOM, in part because 7D: Makes a wrong turn seemed so … turn-specific. Took me a while to consider the general ERRS. Also ELK was well (and pretty nicely) hidden at 7A: Popular game? Is it popular? Really? Well, at any rate, I like the play on "game."
- 48A: U.K. neighbor (IRE) — that is a nice attempted save, emphasis on "attempted": still no good to have IRE and IRATE in the same grid.
- 47D: "6 Rms ___ Vu" (1972 play) ("RIV") — Honestly, I went with "WIV." Thought we were doing baby talk play on a Forster title. "Me want woom wiv vu!" I have never heard of this "play." It was probably a big deal when these songs were (more) popular.