Melvin of Nixon cabinet — TUESDAY, Nov. 24 2009 — German binoculars maker / Toothpaste Bucky Beaver once pitched / PC introducer of 1981
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Constructors: Victor Fleming and Bonnie L. Gentry
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: [Everything Considered] — three multi-part answers share this clue
Word of the Day: ALAN BALL (30A: Oscar-winning "American Beauty" writer) — Alan E. Ball (born May 13, 1957) is an American writer, director, actor and producer for film, theatre and television. He is noted for writing the film American Beauty, and creating and producing the HBO drama series Six Feet Under and True Blood. For his work in television and film, Ball has received critical acclaim and numerous awards, including an Academy Award, an Emmy and a Golden Globe. (wikipedia)
Oversized offering today from The Judge and Ms. Gentry (a phrase I hereby trademark for when these two inevitably go on a cross-country crime spree and I have to write a book about it). Despite having to "see this clue" and "see that clue," I somehow made it through in fairly typical Tuesday time. My big question here has to do with aesthetics. Why not create a mirror image version of this grid so that WHEN ALL / IS SAID / AND DONE can read left-to-right (the way most human Americans read) instead of downhill and backwards? Perhaps that way was tested and found impossible. I don't think it matters much. Just curious. As I said, the puzzle is just fine, and I'm thrilled to see such clean grids two days in a row now.
- 4D: After "in," and with 44-Down, everything considered (the final / analysis) — always makes me think of Nazis, this phrase. Too close to "final solution" for my brain to process without shuddering a little. The newsstand guy in "Watchmen" uses the phrase "in THE FINAL ANALYSIS" a lot when offering his opinions on the world. Until his corner of the world explodes.
- 19A: With 64-Across, everything considered (at the end of the day)
- 34A: With 43- and 48-Across, everything considered (when all is said and done)
Got bogged down around two names I'd never heard of before. LAIRD is a perfectly good Scottish word, but here it's clued as a guy I don't know (55A: Melvin of the Nixon cabinet). LAIRD was Secretary of Defense on the day I was born. I wasn't really into politics back then. Wikipedia tells me that he "invented the expression "Vietnamization," referring to the process of transferring more responsibility for combat to the South Vietnamese forces." The other, bigger "????!" name for me today was ALAN BALL (30A: Oscar-winning "American Beauty" writer). Needed Every Cross to get him. Turns out he's hugely successful, not just a one-off Oscar-winner. Created "Six Feet Under" and the currently hugely successful vampire series "True Blood," both for HBO.
- 11A: Typewriter type (pica) — clue feels like it needs another "type." Is PICA a type of type, or is it the "type" that all typewriters have.
- 24A: Toothpaste that Bucky Beaver once pitched (Ipana) — because space beavers need fluoride more than anyone!
- 25A: PC introducer of 1981 (IBM) — "Introducer" is cute. Pleased to meet you, PC.
- 45A: Actress Long of "Are We There Yet?" (Nia) — would somebody get this woman a decent movie to star in so her clues don't have to be so embarrassing-sounding?!
- 46A: Howard who announced "Down goes Frazier!" (Cosell)
- 13D: Stamford's state: Abbr. (Conn.) — nice shout-out to the former location of the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. My first tournament was the last one in Stamford.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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