TUESDAY, Aug. 4 2009 — NPR newsman Adams / Clothing retailer starting in 1969 / Gondolier's need / Arrive on the Enterprise via transporter
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: OBAMA (71A: President born on August 4 whose name can be found backward in 17-, 31-, 47- and 63-Across) — a birthday tribute puzzle
Word of the Day: Yawl (19A: Yawl or yacht => BOAT) —
n. 1. a two-masted fore-and-aft-rigged sailboat with the mizzenmast stepped far aft so that the mizzen boom overhangs the stern.
2. a ship's jolly boat with four or six oars. (US Military Dictionary)-----
This one had a ragged feel — maybe because it's all chopped to hell by black squares. Grid looks like the corpse of Bonnie or Clyde. Seems as if there have been half a dozen OBAMA tribute puzzles in the NYT alone this past year, but the number is probably something closer to three. I like the wacky inventiveness of this one, with OBAMA's name running backwards in the answers. Is it a tribute, or an indication that he's taking the country in the wrong direction? You decide. Was there ever a single Bush tribute puzzle? I misremember. The only other presidential puzzles I can remember aside from this recent rash of OBAMA puzzles is the famous BOBDOLE/CLINTON puzzle of 1996.
- 17A: Envision in one's sleep (dre AMABO ut)
- 31A: Sleepwear component (paj AMABO ttoms)
- 47A: The Chattahoochee River forms part of it (Alab AMABO rder) — iffiest of the lot, by a long shot.
- 63A: Arrive on the Enterprise via transporter (be AMABO ard) — best of the lot, by a long shot.
Puzzle felt about average in terms of difficulty. I stumbled horribly right out of the box when I could not dredge up the Mayflower guy's name. I needed Every Single Cross, in fact. Had AL-EN and was thinking ALLEN until DREAMABOUT gave me the "D" for ALDEN (1D: John on the Mayflower). I've seen the name before, but it's oddly meaningless to me. I wonder if it'll stick this time. I also tripped a bit on WEBCAM, which should have been easy, but I misread the clue (6D: Online video equipment). Specifically, my brain inserted the word "game" after "video," so I was looking for some kind of flipper or button or something. After I escaped the NW, the rest was fairly easy. This puzzle has some fantastic Down fill. BARTABS (27D: What some drinkers run up) and SHADOWED (39D: Tailed) gives it a great noir feel, while JAMPACK (32D: Fill to capacity and then some) and GETS MAD (23D: Sees red) add a dynamic punch. Good stuff.
- 24A: NPR newsman Adams (Noah) — Not the NOAH I would have expected on a Tuesday.
- 41A: Dishful near a restaurant door (mints) — I love this clue. "Dishful" is adorable.
- 51A: Classic family name in Florence (Medici) — wanted DEMICI (!?). Then MEDECI. I think DON AMECHE was impishly cavorting around my brain, gumming up the works.
- 60A: 2006 Verizon purchase (MCI) — a step up from [Early twelfth century year].
- 3D: Clothing retailer starting in 1969 (The Gap) — like me, it turns 40 this year.
- 8D: Big name in morning radio (Imus) — completely off my radar since he lost his MSNBC TV show (which I enjoyed from time to time).
- 38D: Gondolier's need (pole) — true enough.
- 49D: Subject of a Hemingway title (old man) — weird: I did a puzzle yesterday where the clue was [Part of a Hemingway title] and the answer was THE SEA. I, of course, wrote in THE SUN.
- 54D: Fabric for theater curtains (scrim) — maybe "scrim" should have been the word of the day, as I don't know what kind of fabric that is:
- A durable, loosely woven cotton or linen fabric used for curtains or upholstery lining or in industry.
- A transparent fabric used as a drop in the theater to create special effects of lights or atmosphere.
- 59D: Bug chaser? (-aboo) — first thing I put in was "-aloo." Damn you, Sid and Marty Krofft! (click on their names to see the Worst Birthday Song Ever)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]