First obstacle in 1967 R&B hit / TUE 9-15-15 / Daily diary american dream sloganeer / First monument on monument avenue Richmond / City at confluence of Rhone Saone / Product of Nucor Corporation / Jack Ryan's teaching post
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Constructor: Iain S. Padley
Relative difficulty: I don't know. Pretty easy if you know the song, otherwise, who knows...?
THEME: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" —theme answers are parts of the chorus to that song. Obstacle, obstacle, obstacle, goal
- MOUNTAIN HIGH (20A: First obstacle in a 1967 R&B hit)
- VALLEY LOW (34A: Second obstacle)
- RIVER WIDE (45A: Third obstacle)
- GETTING TO YOU (57A: Objective in the 1967 R&B hit)
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• • •
MOUNTAIN HIGH." It's a theoretical, non-specific mountain. In fact, it's a mountain that doesn't exist. Because the whole point is that no mountain is high *enough*, no valley is low *enough*, no river is wide *enough*, to keep Marvin or Tammy from getting to Tammy or Marvin. I think the constructor conflated (as I did, trying to piece this theme together) this Tammy and Marvin duet with another classic R&B song from just one year earlier: "River Deep, Mountain High" by Ike & Tina Turner.
There, both the "River Deep" and the "Mountain High" are stand-alone noun phrases, w/ that weird, semi-archaic syntax thing where adjective follows (rather than precedes) noun. Now, in that song, those things aren't obstacles, but they do stand alone and have not been ripped from grammatical context. So this puzzle is just ... inaccurate and unfaithful to the grammar of the song. Even in the non-chorus part, where Marvin goes "Ain't no mountain high, ain't no valley low, ain't no river wide enough, baby," he's still just holding the "enough" ... the "enough" applies to all three parts. Nowhere but nowhere is a MOUNTAIN HIGH an "obstacle." Seriously, this thing is broken at the level of grammar. Re: the themers, my constructor friend put it much more succinctly than I have: "they're just 4 partial phrases wrongly clued."
Further, the fill is atrocious. I kept taking pictures of it because I needed to document the parts that made me stop and go "ugh." There was ... well, right away—there's no reason for ACER and ARCO up there, yuck.
Most interesting moment was trying to figure out how DON could be right for 12D: Person behind the hits? Took me a few seconds to get that it was a mafia thing. There was not much else interesting about this puzzle.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. this thing where non-themers are longer than shortest themers? No. No-no. Don't do that *unless* you are running the longer answers Down (or opposite direction from whichever direction your themers are going in), in which case it's not a distraction.
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