Exposer of Standard Oil During Progressive era / FRI 5-6-11 / TV catchphrase starting 2004 / Little bitty tear singer 1962 / 1999 Ron Howard satire
Friday, May 6, 2011
Ida Minerva Tarbell (November 5, 1857 – January 6, 1944) was an American teacher, author and journalist. She was known as one of the leading "muckrakers" of the progressive era, work known in modern times as "investigative journalism". She wrote many notable magazine series and biographies. She is best-known for her 1904 book The History of the Standard Oil Company, which was listed as No. 5 in a 1999 list by the New York Times of the top 100 works of 20th-century American journalism. She became the first person to take on Standard Oil. She began her work on The Standard after her editors at McClure's Magazine called for a story on one of the trusts. (wikipedia)
• • •I did this puzzle in 3:32. Let that sink in. I'm still letting it sink in. I could barely believe the timer when I was done — I knew I was going fast, and at about the halfway mark, I could smell the barn, as it were, and really turned on the gas, to mix metaphors. But 3:32!? I was hoping for a torrid (for me) mid-5s. That's about what my record Friday time had been. Until now. It sometimes takes me 3:32 to do a Monday. This grid is really, really lovely, so I'm going to focus more on that now, but ... I've never mind-melded with a puzzle this much in my life. Never. My first thought for virtually every clue ended up being right. I mean B-SIDE, ENE, LET ON, INANE, and off to the races. Didn't know/remember DONEN (19A: "Singin' in the Rain" co-director), but it hardly mattered. Couldn't get SEVERELY straight off, but from the SEV- guessed the next two letters (-ER-), which gave me "EDTV" (21D: 1999 Ron Howard satire), VIGOR, MR. T, bam bam bam. At that point, I floored it and couldn't believe that no answer was going to bother getting in my way. Not one. I just knocked them all silly. I mean, I actually got faster in the second half, knocking out "KIND OF BLUE" (27D: Classic Miles Davis album) and KWIK-E-MART (32D: Where Buzz Cola is sold) off of just their initial Ks. All over but the shouting at that point. Coup de grace was absolutely bowling over the only answer that had a shot at slowing me down — everything about the clue at 61A: Exposer of Standard Oil during the Progressive era says "you don't know it!" but ... I had the ID- and ... my wife is a Progressive era historian, and a women's/labor historian to boot, so IDA submitted to my will like the good little girl that she apparently wasn't in real life, god bless her. Finished with SOME PEOPLE (57A: "The nerve!") and looked down at timer. And gaped. And here we are.
BLING BLING is so dated it makes me laugh (1A: Gold watches, e.g.). Trump is enjoying new publicity these days as Clown-in-Chief, so YOU'RE FIRED was a piece of cake (11D: TV catchphrase starting in 2004). I own "KIND OF BLUE" (great chapter on it in Fred Kaplan's book "1959") as well as two ADELE albums (first one's better). That I nailed a "Simpsons" clue will astonish no one. Loved the clues for ANT FARM (28A: Glass house, of sorts) and TIMBUKTU (51A: Nowheresville). Didn't know Minnie's dog, but with F--I staring at me, guessing wasn't hard. I wish the clues had been tougher, because this grid seems worth savoring. But apparently young Natan and I share a brain; great for me, sad for him, as I am twice his age, and just discovered gray hairs in my nose not 10 minutes before solving this puzzle. Anyway I can be Natanesque, I'll take.
- 26A: Linda of Broadway (EDER) — she reminds me of that EDEL guy who wrote the multi-volume biography of Henry James, in that she has a very convenient crossword name that I know only from solving puzzles.
- 35A: "The moon is ___; I have not heard the clock": "Macbeth" ("DOWN") — easy for anyone familiar with the work of John Steinbeck.
- 47A: She punished Echo (HERA) — Echo helped Zeus nail some nymph or other (I think), so HERA made it so that Echo could not speak, but could only repeat the last word she heard.
- 60A: Indiana town that's home to the International Circus Hall of Fame (PERU) — Well I sure as heck didn't know this, but had the -RU before I ever saw the clue, and PERU just felt right ...
- 62A: Desde Madrid a Mallorca (ESTE) — don't know much Spanish, but this looked like a direction clue, and I had -TE, so, like PERU, this went right in.
- 7D: Vietnam War Memorial designer Maya (LIN) — Also [Guy I went to high school with Paul].
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