Irish statesman Cosgrave —FRIDAY, 11/20/09— Only private non-American to address joint session Congress 1989 / Cape Cod components / Net Nanny no-no
Friday, November 20, 2009
Constructor: Alan Olschwang
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: lots of phrases with "UP" in them (or, none)
Word of the Day: LIAM Cosgrave (24D: Irish statesman Cosgrave) — Liam Cosgrave (Irish: Liam Mac Cosgair; born 13 April 1920) served as the Taoiseach of Ireland between 1973 and 1977 and is the son of W. T. Cosgrave, Head of Government from 1922 to 1932). [seems his father, William T. Cosgrave, was a much bigger deal ... and why have I never seen TAOISEACH in a puzzle?] (wikipedia)
A fine Friday outing, though the stuff that's supposed to be flashy (JAZZERCISE — 1A: Tae Bo alternative / ZOLAESQUE — 4D: A la the founder of literary naturalism) is stuff we've seen before, so the wow factor is a bit dampened. Also, three phrases with "UP" in them (RE-UP, STORE UP, ANTES UP)? What's that about? At two, I thought, "well that's no good." At three I thought there might be a theme I was missing. You'll let me know if that's true. In addition to the UPs, there was an IN, an ON, and an OUT. I was going to say that JAZZERCISE is not and never was a [Tae Bo alternative] in that nobody did JAZZERCISE after 1985, but I'm wrong. Somehow, it still exists. As for ZOLAESQUE, it's one of the more memorable answers in the movie "Wordplay" — when Trip Payne (solving on stage in the finals) finally figures it out he exclaims something like "Oh dear god!" in a completely disbelieving tone. Good stuff.
Only section that was truly effortless for me was the W-to-SW passage. Even without knowing LIAM, I was able to ride the momentum from ZOLAESQUE straight down the western seaboard. Picked up ZIPLOC (51A: Baggie biggie) off just the "O," and since KRIS was a gimme (63A), I had the "Z" and the "K" that would have made OZARKS easy even if I hadn't seen it (and almost this identical clue — 45D: Buffalo National River locale) only a month or so ago.
NW took a little work because even though JAZZERCISE was a fat gimme, GABLE ROOFS sure as hell was not (17A: Cape Cod components). Thought "Cape Cod" might be, I don't know, a drink? TABLE ROOTS? House type somehow didn't occur to me, and even if it had, I don't know that I could have told you the kind of roof such a house involved. Had JAB instead of JOG for a bit, which didn't help matters (1D: Nudge). SAFE was also invisible to me for a while — 9D: First call? is a pretty sweet clue. How in the world I remember ERSKINE Bowles's name, I have No idea (10D: 1990s White House chief of staff). Lucky me.
Last stand and toughest part for me was the SE. Despite having had a very public bout with "Ochlocracy" in a previous puzzle (I lost), I could Not remember its definition today. You win again, "Ochlocracy!" I had to piece MOB RULE together, which took some time. PETRI DISH was easy (33D: Germs grow in it), but I had CORE for CRUX (38D: Central point) and clearly had no idea what to make of 50D: Double whole notes (breves). I think BREVES are fancy coffee orders to me. That first "E" in BREVES was the last letter to go in the grid, and I just stared at that blank space for many, many seconds, wondering what in the world kind of word CU-D could make. CUAD? Maybe some letter in BREVES was wrong ... Finally just ran the alphabet. CUED! (56A: Ready to be played) D'OH! At some point I had ON CD for this answer. Also, for 56D: Firm wheels, for short, I had LIMO.
- 11A: English pop duo _____ & Dave (Chas) — though I'm sure I've said this before: "Who???"
- 22A: Only private non-American to address a joint session of Congress (1989) (Walesa) — the year Really helped here. "Private non-American" is a weird phrase.
- 25A: Sharpness gauge (IQ test) — needed "EQUUS" to get this one (21D: 1977 Richard Burton film)
- 34A: Net Nanny no-no (smut) — I can't wait for the musical adaptation of this clue: "No, No, Net Nanny!"
- 36A: Breaking capacity, briefly (SRO) — "breaking" = over, I guess.
- 53A: TV neighbor of Ralph and Alice (Trixie) — Norton's wife on "The Honeymooners"
- 2D: Baptist leader? (Ana-) — nice clue.
- 11D: Umbrella bird's "umbrella" (crest) — man, that's a stupid-looking bird. The Elvis impersonator of the bird world.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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