Monday, January 18, 2010
Constructor: Adam Cohen
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Game show catchphrases
Word of the Day: Clinton DEWITT (5D: Early New York governor Clinton) —
DeWitt Clinton (March 2, 1769 Little Britain, Province of New York – February 11, 1828 Albany, New York) was an early American politician who served as United States Senator and the sixth Governor of New York. In this last capacity he was largely responsible for the construction of the Erie Canal. Unlike his adversary Martin Van Buren, who invented machine politics, Clinton became the leader of New York's People’s Party. Clinton is an authentic but largely forgotten hero of American democracy, according to Daniel Walker Howe (2007). Howe explains, "The infrastructure he worked to create would transform American life, enhancing economic opportunity, political participation, and intellectual awareness."
First of all, congratulations New York Jets for a. pulling off the huge upset over the Chargers, and b. providing football viewers with the weekend's only interesting game. For the second weekend in a row, 3/4 of the games just sucked. This one actually came down to about the final minute. I managed to pick All Four Games this weekend incorrectly. So when I say there will be a Saints / Jets Super Bowl ... well, you know how to bet.
This puzzle was wicked easy. Got hung up in two places and still finished just a hair's breadth over three minutes. Didn't know DEWITT, so that got me off to a slow start. Then at the end, I had much hesitation in the west. First with NO TIP, an answer I don't like at all, as it is not a solid self-standing phrase (40D: "Reward" for poor service). My mom used to insist that a 2% tip was the real way to let a waiter/waitress know he/she was terrible, but we never ever saw her use that maneuver, even when we were in NYC in the '80s and got treated poorly virtually everywhere we ate (tourist bumpkins that we were). ICAHN I know but forgot, so needed crosses (39A: Corporate raider Carl). And RECON didn't come easily (26D: What a drone airplane may do, for short), perhaps because our drones are now best known (or so my recent reading suggests) for bombing things, mainly Taliban and other terrorist hide-outs in mountainous areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan — drones likely controlled by some teenager with a joystick in northern VA.
- 20A: Game show catchphrase #1 ("Can I buy a vowel?")
- 37A: Game show catchphrase #2 ("Survey says ...")
- 43A: Game show catchphrase #3 ("Come on down!")
- 55A: Game show catchphrase #4 ("The password is ...") — that might be the hardest of the bunch for today's audience. Certainly was for my wife (who did not live in this country when that show was popular). Well, there was that attempted "Password" revival in 2008-09, but I don't think anybody noticed that.
- 42A: Neighbor of a petal (sepal) — huge victory of the day was not hesitating for a moment on this one. Right off the "S," bam. I say "huge victory" because there was a time when I had Never Heard of this word (learned it from crosswords). From WTF to gimme! Love when that happens.
- 54D: Shelley's "__ the West Wind" ("Ode to") — my wife had "ONE TO the West Wind," which sounds like some kind of ancient sacrificial rite.
- 31A: Medieval martial art (tai chi) — never like when word "medieval" (derived specifically from European history/literature, medium aevum, "the middle age," between the Classical (European) Age and the (European) Renaissance) is used to refer to things non-European. Plus, TAI CHI originated in the 13th century, but it's a contemporary practice for millions of people, so calling it "medieval" just seems weird.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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