Depression-era shantytown / MON 12-14-15 / Baited with incendiary remarks / Wally's kid bro in 1950s-60s tv / Clay monster of Jewish folklore / Submarine in Tom Clancy best seller / Pioneering first-person computer game
Monday, December 14, 2015
Constructor: Timothy Polin
Relative difficulty: Normal Monday, but maybe slightly harder
THEME: PRESIDENT (59A: Title held by the people who lent their names to 17-, 24-, 38- and 49-Across) — just what it says …
- OBAMACARE (17A: National health insurance overhaul)
- REAGANOMICS (24A: Supply-side fiscal policy popularized in the 1980s)
- BUSHISM (16A: Statement such as "They misunderestimated me")
- HOOVERVILLE (49A: Depression-era shantytown)
• • •
SPECIAL MESSAGE for syndicated solvers for the week of January 17-January 24, 2016
Hello, syndicated (i.e. 1-to-5-week-behind) solvers! Somehow, it is January again, which means it's time for my once-a-year pitch for financial contributions to the blog. The idea is very simple: if you read the blog regularly (or even semi-regularly), please consider what it's worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. In making this pitch, I'm pledging that the blog will continue to be here for you to read / enjoy / grimace at for at least another calendar year. This year is special, as it will mark the 10th anniversary of Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle, and despite my not-infrequent grumblings about less-than-stellar puzzles, I've actually never been so excited to be thinking and writing about crosswords. I have no way of knowing what's coming from the NYT, but the broader world of crosswords looks very bright, and that is sustaining. Whatever happens, this blog will remain an outpost of the Old Internet: no ads, no corporate sponsorship, no whistles and bells. Just the singular, personal voice of someone talking passionately about a topic he loves. As I have said in years past, I know that some people are opposed to paying for what they can get for free, and still others really don't have money to spare. Both kinds of people are welcome to continue reading my blog, with my compliments. It will always be free. I have no interest in cordoning it off, nor do I have any interest in taking advertising. I value my independence too much. Anyway, if you are so moved, there is a Paypal button in the sidebar, and a mailing address here:
℅ Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton NY 13905
And here: I'll stick a PayPal button in here for the mobile users.
• • •
PRESIDENT? Yes, it was evident very quickly that the theme answers had presidents' names in them. How in the world do you waste real estate on a revealer? PRESIDENT!? I mean, really. I just stared at PRE- going "No…" in disbelief. Also, BUSHISM feels like an outlier. It's just stuff that Bush said. "Apparently fatuous" stuff, but still, not a general term. The other terms refer to genuine socio-cultural phenomena. BUSHISM are, presumably, finite. And not something you see in the wild. They're just too single-person-specific to be in the same group as these other answers. The slight wonkiness of the theme and the truly bathetic (yes, bathetic) revealer are really too bad, because much of the grid is quite lovely, especially for a Monday. It's pretty low word-count (74, when most themed puzzles, esp. early week, are 76-78), which allows for a lot of snazzy longer answers. SOFT-BOILED is *terribly* clued (29D: Sentimental), as no one but no one would ever say that. I've read a lot of *hard-boiled* fiction, and no one says "soft-boiled" to mean "sentimental." "Soft," sure. Or someone could be a "sap" (by far the most common slang for the sentimental guy). Should've gone the egg route with this clue. But the answer itself is good, as are SWAGGERS and INFIDELS and IT'S ON ME. Loved the contemporary clue on TROLLED (42D: Baited with incendiary remarks). So, all in all, mixed feelings for this one.
Heading back home from beautiful Vermont today. Today I discovered Vergennes Laundry, which, despite having "laundry" in its name, is an Incredible bakery / cafe. I am not saying this idly. I have no stake in their business. I just know that we loved it so much, we ate back-to-back meals. Like … screw this "brunch" stuff. We ate a breakfast of scones and cardamom buns and assorted baked goods (and coffee) and then, THEN, had a lunch of baguette w/ gravlax and leeks, and celery soup (and more coffee). Breakfast, then lunch, without ever even leaving the premises. Then we bought more stuff to go / take home. The clientele was straight out of an LL Bean catalogue. Whole families, impossibly photogenic and well-dressed. But nevermind that. That is neither here nor there. The food, the coffee, the chocolate, etc. Oh my. You. Should. Go.
Have a nice day.
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