Bret Harte/Mark Twain collaboration / FRI 10-3-14 / Combined Latin Jamaican Hip-hop genre / Onetime Minnesota governor who ran for GOP presidential nomination nine times / Urban Dictionary fodder / Pfizer cold flu medicine / Muslim name that means successor to Muhammad / Hebrew Hammer of Major League Baseball
Friday, October 3, 2014
Constructor: Tracy Bennett
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: Ronald NEAME (23D: Ronald who directed "The Poseidon Adventure") —
Ronald Elwin Neame CBE BSC (23 April 1911 – 16 June 2010) was an English filmcinematographer, producer, screenwriter and director. As cinematographer for the British war filmOne of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1943), he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Special Effects. During a partnership with director David Lean, he produced Brief Encounter (1945), Great Expectations (1946), and Oliver Twist (1948), receiving two Academy Award nominations for writing.Neame then moved into directing, and some notable films included, I Could Go On Singing (1963),Judy Garland's last film, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969), which won Maggie Smith her first Oscar, Scrooge (1970), starring Alec Guinness, and the action-adventure disaster film The Poseidon Adventure (1972).
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STASSEN?) (NEAME!?!?!). For every I'LL TRADE YOU, there was a TSETSES or ISDUETO to undercut it. I want to like GOAT RODEO, but I've never heard of it. Ever. I had G-AT RODEO and honest-to-god thought the answer was GNAT RODEO (come on, doesn't that sound like a good name for a Situation that's gone absurdly out of control? Much easier to control goats than gnats. I'd imagine. Never heard of ROOT ROT (2D: Horticultural problem caused by overwatering), so no help there. In the end, despite my affection for stuff like ALPHA FEMALE, I have to give this one a mild thumbs-down—the deciding factor being a super duper rough patch that includes a bevy of adjacent clunkers: NEAME (again, !?!?!?!), NROTC (dear lord that's bad fill) (looks like the vanity plate of a neurotic), and KHALIF (whose name is that? I get that it's *a* name, but … yikes).
- DIMETAPP (38A: Pfizer cold and flu medicine) — I haven't seen or thought of this brand in forever, so when my brain wanted it, my Other brain was like "Are you sure that's a thing?" And because the horrific NEAME / NROTC / KHALIF runs right through it, I kept doubting it 'til the bitter end.
- "D.C. CAB" (10A: 1983 action comedy with the tagline "When these guys hit the streets, guess what hits the fan") — One of my least favorite 5-letter answers. A movie that time would've long forgotten had it not been for the weird letter combinations that make it (occasionally) convenient in crosswords. Every time I see it, I think "crutch." See also (moreso) "AH, SIN" (51D: Bret Harte/Mark Twain collaboration).
- EARLE (16A: Band-Aid inventor Dickson) — EARLE is the NEAME of the NE corner (except slightly more inferable).
- REGGAETON (65A: Combined Latin/Jamaican/hip-hop genre) — Approved! This gives the grid some contemporary flavor, some life, some sparkle.
- YENTE (29D: Musical matchmaker) — ugh, my least favorite YENT-. How many damn endings are there for that letter string? YENTL, YENTA, YENTE … YENTI (the Jewish Abominable Snowman?)
- STADIUM (3D: Kind of rock) — first of all, again, it's ARENA rock. Second of all, this clue (the whole clue type, actually) is absurd. It's a word that can precede "rock," but it's not a "kind" of rock any more than SEA is a [Kind of anemone] or HOT is a [Kind of dog] (to steal two example friends of mine came up with earlier in the day before this puzzle came out because yes we talk about this **** all the time…). [Kind of rot] = ROOT? I think not.