PM who won 1957 Nobel Peace Prize / FRI 3-18-16 / Picasso masterpiece with French title / It flows for nearly 2000 miles in Asia / Hotel Impossible airer / Sir William so-called Father of Modern Medicine / Corsairs Rangers of 1950s
Friday, March 18, 2016
Constructor: Michael Wiesenberg
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: LESTER PEARSON (34A: P.M. who won the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize) —
Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson OM CC OBE PC PC (Can) (23 April 1897 – 27 December 1972) was a Canadian scholar, statesman, soldier and diplomat, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis. He was the 14th Prime Minister of Canada from 22 April 1963 to 20 April 1968, as the head of two back-to-back Liberal minority governments following elections in 1963 and 1965. (wikipedia)
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RUST. There are definitely some weak and flaky parts along the edges. I think the NW put a very bad taste in my mouth that the rest of the puzzle just couldn't fully get rid of. AMIR is not and will never be redeemed by being in the title of a "comedy web series" (6D: "Jake and ___" (comedy web series)). It is and always will be a terrible variant of EMIR. No fair dressing it up as talented young people. If AMIR were a one-off, crosswordese-wise, I wouldn't find it that remarkable, but that corner alone has ESTEE and NTEST (hello, old friend) and MOIRE (1D: Op art pattern), a word I admittedly irrationally hate with the fire of several suns, mostly because I've never seen it anywhere but crosswords and can't really define it and know in my heart of hearts that no one but no one "likes" it and that it only exists in a puzzle because the constructor desperately needs that sweet sweet friendly letter pattern. [Exhale] Then there's "I HATE war" (!?). F.D.R. at his most eloquent, I'm sure.
Things improve after that, considerably. The NE holds together nicely, with a TANGLE of varied and interesting answers and only ELOI to CREPE me out with its crosswordesey ghastliness. Then central stack seems fine, and I might've really enjoyed it if I'd had Any Clue who LESTER PEARSON was. Not often that the marquee, central answer is a complete unknown to me, but today is one of those days. This unfamiliarity would play a crucial role at the very end of the puzzle, which is the only time I really had to struggle with this one. I ended up here:
The killer clue here was 32D: Says one can make it, say. I envisioned someone standing on the sidelines of a race, or on the other side of a tightrope, encouraging a competitor / tightrope walker. "Come on ... you can make it!" It's the referent of "one" that's the trouble here. Anyway, I put RAVES in here without knowing why. Perhaps the sideline encourager has lost her damn mind. This gave me P-EES at 36A: Friends, in slang, which was confusing. "BFFS ... B F F-ies ......... PHEES? Please let that be wrong." It was. Also looked at -I- AHEAD (34D: Be in store) and could imagine only GIT AHEAD ([Succeed in Dogpatch?]). Total wreck. Eventually I decided LIE AHEAD had to be right, then PEEPS, then (aha) RSVPS, and there we were. Done.
After the NW, the only objections I had were ... the extended -ER family (you know, the DYERS and the CARERS and whatever the hell a so-called OSLER is) (the ANSWERS and ALDERs and STEWOVERs, on the other hand, are all fine people). The puzzle creaks, but it holds up.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. belated thumbs-up for the clever clue on VERBOSE (29D: Denoting the style in which one might consider this clue to be written).
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