Singer Julius of early TV / TUE 7-23-13 / Bygone Ford van / NBC newsman Richard / Styptic pencil targets
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Constructor: Jean O'Conor
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: BEACHGOER (59A: One packing up the answers to the seven starred clues, maybe) — all beach items have non-beach clues
- 17A: *Abrupt reversals of opinion (FLIP-FLOPS)
- 23A: *Uninjured, after "in" (ONE PIECE)
- 26A: *Hoosegow (COOLER)
- 36A: *Scandal damage control (COVER-UP)
- 39A: *Across-the-board (BLANKET)
- 49A: *Ghostly figures (SHADES)
- 51A: *Kind of insurance policy (UMBRELLA)
Word of the Day: Richard ENGEL (53D: NBC newsman Richard) —
Richard Engel (born September 16, 1973) is an American journalist and author who is NBC News's chief foreign correspondent. He was assigned to that position on April 18, 2008 after being the network's Middle East correspondentand Beirut Bureau chief. Engel was the first broadcast journalist recipient of the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism for his report "War Zone Diary".Prior to joining NBC News in May 2003, he covered the start of the 2003 war in Iraq from Baghdad for ABC News as afreelance journalist. He speaks and reads Arabic fluently and is also fluent in Italian and Spanish. Engel wrote the book A Fist in the Hornet's Nest, published in 2004, about his experience covering the Iraq War from Baghdad. His newest book,War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq, published in June 2008, picks up where his last book left off.
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Hrm. I found this one deeply unpleasant to solve. It was clued too hard for a Tuesday, but more than too hard, it was just annoying. Too choppy, too many abbrevs, a stupid partial for a theme answer, and in the end just a bunch of beach stuff. The grid isn't terrible, really. Long Downs are nice. But with eight theme answers (that's a ton), the fill creaks a little in spots. Perhaps it's remarkable that it's as good as it is, given the theme constraints. Long way to go, a lot of fuss, for a very little pay-off, theme-wise.
OHO "jolly"? In what universe? You know it's fundamentally different from "HO HO HO," right? If Santa caught you masturbating, he might say "OHO!" I don't know if his tone would be "jolly," though. Never happy to see Julius LAROSA—I know him, now, but I still don't like him (as an answer; I never met the man, obviously) (33A: Singer Julius of early TV). A pretty obscure piece of high-end crosswordese. Could not get from "furniture protection" to PRIMER to save my life. I was like "Uh ... ScotchGuard? WTF?" ECASH is ECASH, i.e. E-terrible. I have only ever seen the phrase "styptic pencil" in crosswords. Do people use those? Don't we put Band-aids on "NICKS"? I had -ICKS and still didn't know (35A: Styptic pencil targets). TICKS? And ["Daughters" rapper]?? That is some Saturday cluing for NAS. Crazy. I mean, it's a rapper in three letters, so not *hard*, exactly, but I'd never heard of it. Turns out it's the third single from his 2012 (!!?) album. He is not famous for that. Guaranteed. Song *was* nominated for a Grammy, but my point stands. Not famous. Peaked at #78. Not famous. Fine clue. Just not for Tuesday.
Lastly, I think I'd've clued SOPUP as [Beginning of heart-to-heart with small dog].
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld