London mayor Johnson / TUE 11-6-12 / Game in which orange ghost is named Sue not Clyde / Memorable 2011 hurricane / Jungle swinger / German philosopher who wrote true is wholeNuisance that keeps returning
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Constructor: Erik Agard
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: SECRET BALLOT (1A: With 74-Across, voting system that affords anonymity ... or the theme of this puzzle?) — non-consecutive circles within each presidentialish theme answer spell out, OBAMA, BIDEN, ROMNEY, and RYAN (one name per theme answer)
Word of the Day: BAD PENNY (73A: Nuisance that keeps returning, in metaphor) —
"BAD PENNY -- The phrase usually is heard in this country (U.S.) as 'A bad penny always turns up,' meaning that a no-good person can be counted upon to come back again and again. The expression was originally English and the unit of currency referred to was the shilling. Sir Walter Scott, in one of his early nineteenth-century novels, whereto: 'Bring back Darsie? Little doubt of that. The bad shilling is sure enough to come back again.'" From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988). (phrasefinder.org.uk)
• • •BAD PENNY," with the big exception being that I've heard of (and apparently use) "weak tea." Why is the penny bad? Is it ugly? Erik tells me that Google tells him it's counterfeit. You took it, likek a schmuck, and now you can't spend it, but for some reason you haven't chucked it, so ... it keeps coming back. I'm sure we can all relate to this. But back to the puzzle—Nonconsecutive circles ... I've never been a fan. You can likely do this with any presidential race. At least all the theme answers are exactly 15 *and* have some election-oriented flavor, though honestly these theme answers don't really cohere well at the level of presidentialness. I do like the cleverness of the "?" clue on RIGHT ON THE MONEY, though.
- 17A: Song sung by a patriotic politician ("GOD BLESS AMERICA")—or, you know, there's this:
- 36A: How a director of campaign advertising works (BEHIND THE SCENES)
- 45A: Exactly ... like a conservative's plan to lower taxes? (RIGHT ON THE MONEY)
- 65A: Religious belief of eight U.S. presidents (PRESBYTERIANISM)
It appears, by the placement of the candidates within the grid, that Mr. Agard is suggesting that OBAMA/BIDEN will come out on top. We'll see. Should be quite a RHUBARB (16A: Heated disputes).