Currie who wrote Parliamentary Affair — WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9 2009 — Famed Chicago livestock owner / Ancient Greek portico / Buchanan's predecessor
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Constructor: Peter A. Collins
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: NEW WORLD ORDER (38A: Shake-up in the global balance of power ... and a hint to the circled letters) — letters in "WORLD" are reordered inside four theme answers
Word of the Day: EDWINA Currie (2D: Currie who wrote Parliamentary Affair) — Edwina Currie née Cohen (born 13 October 1946) is a former British Member of Parliament. First elected as a Conservative Party MP in 1983, she was a Junior Health Minister for two years, before resigning in 1988 over the controversy over salmonella in eggs. By the time Currie lost her seat in 1997, she had begun a new career as a novelist and broadcaster. [...] As part of the 2009 TV Show Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Currie teamed up with Declan Donnelly and two other celebrities to release a cover version of the Wham hit song, "Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go)". [She also had a four-year affair with former Prime Minister John Major!]
Well, nut-job conspiracy theorists will Love today's puzzle. I've heard the phrase NEW WORLD ORDER from exactly two sources: 1. George H.W. Bush talking about his vision of a world where diverse cultures live peaceably among one another, and 2. Paranoid crackpots who think the U.N. is going to take our guns and women and force us into gulags. The latter loves loves loves to cite the former's speeches as "evidence" of the global conspiracy to undermine American sovereignty. Just go to youtube and search "new world order" — hard to find a vid that *isn't* posted by NWO conspiracy theorists. Here's one (of many):
So now the NWO believers have a puzzle they can add to their pile of "evidence" that they're being watched by Big Brother. It's a sign! A sign! Call Dan Brown.
Puzzle skewed harder-than-usual for me for reasons that don't quite add up, frankly. Idea for this puzzle is cute enough, but SWORD LILY!? Yikes. Not in my vocabulary. That and EDWINA whoever-she-is tore me up in the NW and made this a slightly slower-than-usual Wednesday. SUDS and HASPED weren't helping me out much up there either. Don't like the clue on "SUDS" bec. clue is plural (5D: Some cold ones) but SUDS isn't really plural, or rather it is, but kind of in that way ALMS is plural, in that you would never see a single SUD / ALM. So BEERS are SUDS? I like SUDS for BEER, but not [Cold ones]. HASPED is fine, just odd (1D: Latched, in way). Rest of puzzle wasn't nearly as much of a problem.
- 17A: Gladiolus (sWORD Lily)
- 23A: They're usually aimed at heads (bLOW DRyers) — found this clue nice and tough, actually
- 53A: Need a nap (feeL DROWsy) — Had INLETS for ISLETS (48D: Keys) and wondered what it meant too FEEL DROWNY. Probably not a good feeling.
- 63A: It's done outside a lab (fieLD WORk) — took a long time to see; not a phrase we have much call for in the Humanities ...
Kind of rough going in the SE as well. Went with STREP for STAPH (49A: Health menace, briefly), which slowed things down a bit there. ANIONS was a gimme and forced STREP out almost as soon as it was in, but with the RenFest diction (LANCE! HARKED!) and the randomish Roman numeral (59D: Year the Vandals sacked Rome, CDLV), that corner didn't GEL (7D: Solidify) as quickly as I would have liked. Sometimes I wonder how things like ANIONS and STOA (32A: Ancient Greek portico) and AXILLA (6D: Armpit) became outright gimmes for me, and yet I still can't spell EWW (29D: "How disgusting!"). I figured the vowel sound needed to be elongated, so I had EEW. That left me with EON for 33A: Captured, which left me thinking "... ??? ... that's not a valid clue for EON."
- 20A: Spic and Span competitor (Pinesol) — I find the smell kind of nauseating.
- 8D: Joseph _____, who lent his name to some ice cream (Edy) — clue is oddly loose and casual. "Some ice cream?" "Hey kid, you know that cone you got in your hand — his name's 'Joseph' now. Say hi to Joseph kid ... say it!" Actually, you can't call him an "ice cream maker," as EDY was technically a confectioner — hence (probably) the odd, loose cluing here.
- 26D: Jet engine's output (roar) — yeah, true enough. Kind of a groaner, but valid.
- 38D: Roger Maris, for the Yankees (nine) — with respect, there is one number NINE (my favorite number), and his name isn't Roger.
- 41D: The Pistons, on the scoreboard (DET) — apparently Magic has some stuff to say about Isiah (one of the greatest DETroit Pistons of all time) in his new book (with Larry Bird), which my mom got me for my birthday. Can't wait til semester is over so I can finally read it.
- 46: Famed Chicago livestock owner (O'Leary) — her cow and the lantern and the barn etc.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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