Kwame advocate pan-Africanism first P.M. Ghana / TUE 3-16-10 / German design school founded 1919 / Film bomb of 1987
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Constructor: Paula Gamache
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: LOADED (52A: What 3-, 13-, 14- and 28-Down may be) — theme answers represent four different senses of the word LOADED
Word of the Day: Kwame NKRUMAH (27A: Kwame ___, advocate of pan-Africanism and the first P.M. of Ghana) —
Kwame Nkrumah (21 September 1909 - 27 April 1972), was an influential 20th century advocate of Pan-Africanism, and the leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1952 to 1966. // He generally took a non-aligned Marxist perspective on economics, and believed capitalism had malignant effects that were going to stay with Africa for a long time. Although he was clear on distancing himself from the African socialism of many of his contemporaries; Nkrumah argued that socialism was the system that would best accommodate the changes that capitalism had brought, while still respecting African values. [...] Nkrumah was also perhaps best known politically for his strong commitment to and promotion of Pan-Africanism. Having been inspired by the writings and his relationships with black intellectuals like Marcus Garvey, W. E. B. Du Bois, and George Padmore. With perhaps Nkrumah's biggest success in this area coming with his significant influence in the founding of the Organization of African Unity. (wikipedia)
Short write-up today, as Daylight Savings is making time seem to disappear faster, and I gotta get to work. This one was OK — especially liked the crossing of BOOZEHOUND and BLOTTO (31A: Stewed to the gills) — but the theme feels a bit wonky. Specifically, TRICK QUESTION just doesn't seem like it belongs. A "question" "may be loaded," but I can't imagine saying that a "TRICK QUESTION" is LOADED. A question is a "TRICK QUESTION" or it is a "LOADED question." A LOADED TRICK QUESTION ... that seems redundant. I can't imagine anyone's saying it or thinking of it, unlike the other theme answers, which fit the LOADED concept nicely.
Biggest baffler of the day, for me, was NKRUMAH, someone I'd never heard of and whose name, well, has nothing inferrable about it. Needed every cross. Stands out garishly against the otherwise ordinary and familiar fill. Neither wife nor I have ever heard the expression OFF HOUR (36A: Period of low activity). She considered OFF DAY (didn't fit). I actually wrote in OFF YEAR because I had the "R." That answer seems pretty ... I don't know, weak? Especially for a central answer. DUDED UP hurts my teeth (45A: Dressed to the nines). It's quaint and cutesy in a way no one I have ever known has ever spoken. Wrote in ATARI for ASCII (47A: Computer data acronym) and CART for LIST (9D: Grocery shopper's aid), and impressed myself by getting ETHANOL (49A: Gasoline additive) off the "E" and then immediately getting OXIDE (50D: Water or rust) off that "O." I am notoriously terrible with sciencey answers — they all bleed together in my head. So the fact that I took these out one-two without hesitation felt like ... something. Yes, I know it's sad that knowing words that a seventh-grader might know brings me a feeling of pride. It is what it is.
The grid shape is unusual, in a good way.
- 3D: Tippler (BOOZEHOUND)
- 13D: Donkey, for one (BEAST OF BURDEN)
- 14D: "How many months have 28 days?," e.g. (TRICK QUESTION)
- 28D: Rat-a-tat tat weapon (MACHINE GUN)
- 15A: Radames's love, in opera (AIDA) — learned it from crosswords! Never seen any version of "AIDA" in my life, ever, but I know lots of trivial things about it from hundreds of crossword clues.
- 21A: Film bomb of 1987 ("ISHTAR") — synonymous with "bomb" in the late '80s; see also "Heaven's Gate," "Bonfire of the Vanities," and, later, "Waterworld."
- 35A: Lucy of "Kill Bill" (LIU) — crossing LIEU (32D: Place)! This amuses rather than offends me.
- 8D: German design school founded in 1919 (BAUHAUS) — I know this because of my friend who is a modern German historian. And because of these guys:
- 47D: Formerly common rooftop sight (AERIAL) — a nice, up-to-date clue.
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