Political writer Bai / FRI 4-6-12 / Grandnephew in 1960s TV / Six-time Tony winner of 1984 / Figure on front of Olympic medals since 1928 / Home to school of pre-Socratic philosophers
Friday, April 6, 2012
Constructor: Mike Nothnagel
Relative difficulty: Easy-Challenging
Word of the Day: USAID (57A: Foreign assistance org. since 1961) —
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the United States federal governmentagency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. President John F. Kennedy created USAID in 1961 by executive order to implement development assistance programs in the areas authorized by the Congress in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. The Congress updates this authorization through annual funds appropriation acts, and other legislation. Although technically an independent federal agency, USAID operates subject to the foreign policy guidance of the President, Secretary of State, and the National Security Council. USAID's Administrator works under the direct authority and foreign policy guidance of the Secretary of State. (wikipedia)
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MATT Bai (33D: Political writer Bai) had meant anything to me, I would've been OK, but I'm not kicking myself over that. What I'm kicking myself over is not seeing "LA CAGE AUX FOLLES" for sooooo long. I had "GEAUX" and nothing. Then I CAN'T WAIT (32D: Words of anticipation) and BLOW A FUSE (30D: Lose it) gave me "L-C-GEAUX..." and still nothing. Why? Well, I was looking for an actor. Something about the clue, [Six-time Tony winner of 1984] made me think actor, despite the fact that six is a preposterous amount of Tony for one person to win in one year. But see, I'm only thinking that now. At the time, I was really only processing the first few words. Other big problem there was not knowing USAID and so having UMAID because I was sure that the [Contents of the rightmost column of a table] was some kind of GAMES. LOST GAMES was my first guess. ROAD GAMES? AWAY GAMES? Wasn't til I got LA (not LE) CAGE AUX FOLLES that I was able to see RARE GASES. After that, NE was a bit tricky, but more on par with the rest of the grid. So my time was pretty rough, but my overall experience was that this was on the easy side, and only my personal failings as a solver (and not the puzzle's intrinsic difficulty) are to blame for my below-average time.
Loved GOLDEN BOY (17A: Much-favored person) and actually exclaimed "Wow. Cool." when I got NOT MY CUP OF TEA (14D: Passing remark?). Wish the answer at 28A was DOG SIT and not DOGS IT [Loafs on the job], which is a phrase I know but never hear in real life. I thought OPIE was Andy's son (9D: Grandnephew in 1960s TV). Wow. Weird [OK, it's Aunt Bee—and yes, that's how you spell it—who is OPIE's great aunt; stop emailing me! :)]. Love the clue on ANN (6D: Rule among true crime writers), and as letteral clues go, [Comedic duo?] (for CEES) is pretty good. Had noooo idea NIKE was on Olympic medals (54D: Figure on the front of Olympic medals since 1928). That little answer was temporarily infuriating. I actually had to run the vowels after getting N-KE!
Helper monkeys of the day (that is, gimmes/footholds) were:
- EYRE (15D: "Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt!" speaker)
- ELEA (22A: Home to a school of pre-Socratic philosophers)
- A NOSE
- ESTES (63A: Rob of "Melrose Place")
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. Happy 40th birthday to my little sister, who is home today with a sick child (I hope it's still just one...)