Moses novelist / FRI 11-19-10 / Nixon pal Rebozo / 2009 Grammy winner Relapse / Win offset by losses / Colonial stinger / Crab Key villain book film
Friday, November 19, 2010
Charles Gregory "Bebe" Rebozo (November 17, 1912 Tampa, Florida –May 8, 1998) was a Florida banker who gained fame for being a close friend and confidant of President Richard Nixon. [...] Rebozo first met then U.S. Representative Nixon in 1950 through Florida Representative George Smathers. Smathers had recommended Key Biscayne as a vacation destination to Nixon, who eventually set up the Florida White House in the area. While Nixon was vacationing in Key Biscayne, Smathers had Rebozo take Nixon deep sea fishing. Rebozo and Nixon then started a friendship that lasted 44 years. // In 1976, Rebozo was the subject of a bank fraud investigation. The loan application filed with Hudson Valley National Bank (Yonkers, New York), stated that the loan was for real estate when it was actually used as a business loan. Rebozo repaid the loan with interest, and the bank declined to file a complaint. (wikipedia) (That's why he's famous: because he was Nixon's friend—HE MADE THE COVER OF LIFE BECAUSE OF THIS?)
• • •For reasons that aren't entirely explicable, this was perhaps my worst puzzle performance of the year. Embarrassing. Started out great (NW, SW), then things got a little rocky (far N, far S), then a bit rockier (SE), then so rocky that I just stopped (NE). Never heard of NOL. (the worst thing I've seen in a grid in a while) (10A: ___ pros. (court record abbr.)). Never heard of BEBE. Just ... never (I suspect this is generational blindness on my part; I was born during the Nixon administration, and didn't start paying attention to current events til the Reagan administration. Side note: it's kind of cute that this puzzle contains a friend of a president, as the constructor himself counts at least one former president among his friends). Oddly enough, the only reason I was able to solve this corner, in the end, was by guessing the name BEBE from B--E and seeing what would happen if I just wrote it in. I had LOST, AÑOS, SCALP (24A: Massage locale), *and* TOOK TEA and *still* couldn't see either NEONATAL (10D: Kind of ward) or OBSOLETE (11D: Superseded) (went looking for a past tense construction on the latter). But the real, horrible, stupid reason I failed so miserably was my own fault: I just couldn't see OUSTER (28D: Dispossession), and I even ran the alphabet at the second letter position (OA-TER, OB-TER, etc.) and went Right Past "U" without picking up on anything viable. Thus I couldn't see OUTEATS (which I thought was going to be some kind of noun, i.e. "tops" = article of clothing?) (30A: Tops at the dinner table?). SOTTED is ridiculous (BESOTTED, maybe) (24D: In one's cups). With SO--ED in place, I of course wanted the more reasonable SOUSED. [Barbers]=STYLES? "Let me barber your hair for you"? Wow. Half of my annoyance is directed at crappy fill, but the bigger half is directed at the complete breakdown of my crosswording skills.
This puzzle started out strong, with great answers like PYRRHIC VICTORY (4D: Win offset by losses) and GET IT ON (25A: Start a scrap), but then sort of degenerated into a combination of crosswordese (ITER, DR.NO (47A: Crab Key villain of book and film), ORES) and semi-marginal names (TANYA, ASCH (22A: "Moses" novelist), CHET (29A: Lemon on a baseball field), RON ELY (42D: Miss America host after Bert Parks), BEBE). Stuff like NOL and SOTTED and OBOLI (7D: Old Greek coins) make this puzzle hard to love, but most of the rest of it seems adequate, with (as I said) patches of niceness.
- 19A: 1980s-'90s women's magazine (LEAR'S) — neeeever heard of this. Thankfully, I never saw the clue until just now.
- 20A: Rockies rangers (ELKS) — hate ELKS as plural (prefer ELK), but love the basebally clue.
- 38A: Did as suggested in a Gershwin musical? (ATE CAKE) — it is clear that Judge Fleming (the constructor) lives in a parallel universe from mine, as we apparently share almost no frames of reference. I just don't know anything in this puzzle. With "K" in place I could infer this answer, but I can't name a Gershwin musical besides "Porgy & Bess," I don't think (I'm being told "Porgy & Bess" is an opera; sorry). Musical in question here: "Let 'Em Eat Cake" (1933)
- 48A: Ciliary body setting (UVEA) — didn't know what a "ciliary body" was (eye anatomy = yet another knowledge fail today)
- 6D: Colonial stinger (FIRE ANT) — tricky use of "colonial"
- 32D: Deep-fried mouthful (TATER TOT) — (unintentionally) timely, as this crispy treat was a major part of the storyline of this week's episode of "Glee" (tots are taken away from school cafeteria, sparking "Norma Rae"-esque protest)
- 41D: 2009 Grammy winner for "Relapse" (EMINEM) — Hey! The puzzle finally speaks my language! Thank god, because even with EMINEM and EUROPE (40D: Grand tour setting) in place, I had trouble with the SE.
- 48D: Aptly named hybrid (UGLI) — don't think of it as particularly "UGLI."
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