Upstate New York city where Mark Twain was born / WED 3-16-16 / 1970 #1 Jackson 5 song / Title hero of Longfellow poem / Online site for business reviews / Fish said to be named for Mediterranean island / Martini's partner in winemaking
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Constructor: David J. Kahn
Relative difficulty: Easy (minute faster than yesterday)
THEME: DRUNKEN COOK (62A: Preparer of 17-, 27- and 47-Across?) — two-word food items where first word can be a synonym of "drunken":
- FRIED ONIONS (17A: Serving with liver)
- PICKLED PEPPERS (27A: Food in a tongue-twister)
- STEWED TOMATOES (47A: Chili ingredient)
ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, the news department of the ABC broadcast-television network, based in New York City. Muir previously served as the weekend anchor for the flagship ABC News broadcast ABC World News Tonight, and the co-anchor of the ABC newsmagazine 20/20. Muir formerly acted as principal substitute for World News with Diane Sawyer on weeknights, and then succeeded Sawyer in the anchor chair on Monday, September 1, 2014. At ABC News, Muir has won multiple Emmy awards and Edward R. Murrow awards for his national and international journalism. // Muir is one of the most visible journalists in America. According to the Tyndall Report, Muir's reporting received the most airtime in 2012 and 2013. TV Week has called him one of the "12 to Watch in TV News" and TMZ, a celebrity news website, has called him "the Brad Pitt of news anchors" or is Brad Pitt "the David Muir of movie actors?" Muir was listed as one of People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive in 2014. (wikipedia)
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DRUNKEN COOK" was; I figured it was some phrase like, I don't know, "full nelson" or ""dirty martini" or something, and that it was being repurposed here for humor's sake. But it's not. A DRUNKEN COOK is just a drunk cook. That is massively disappointing. The revealer should pop, not fizzle. Too bad NYT puzzles don't have titles—you could've put your "the cook's drunk, everybody!" in the title, and then added DRUNKEN NOODLES and then changed that first themer to FRIED ... something that makes it a 14. FRIED DUMPLINGS, maybe. And there you go: four foods, all two-word phrases, first words all synonyms for "inebriated," no dumb, made-up revealer. Just a thought.
This puzzle was absurdly easy. I had a small regional advantage over some of you, as ELMIRA is in my backyard. I used to teach at the prison there. So 1A: Upstate New York city where Mark Twain was born went in easy, which is always a huge help in propelling you into the puzzle [Update: clearly my brain saw only the words "Upstate New York city" and "Mark Twain" and completely missed the Factual Error about Twain's being *born* in ELMIRA; he was born in Florida, Missouri. He is *buried* in ELMIRA]. I had no idea who David MUIR was (3D: News anchor David). Figured he was some old-timey news guy. Turns out he's younger than I am, although he *does* anchor a nightly network news show, which automatically adds 30 years to your age. I think that math is right. Anyway, I know only two MUIRs, the woods guy and the poet guy, so there was minor hesitation there, as there was with NEB (I had NIB). I think that NEB (41A: Bird's beak) is one of those rare answers where I prefer an Abbr. clue. All answers went straight into the grid without much thought. Toughest part, by far, was trying to figure out the front end of the non-phrase DRUNKEN COOK, and that wasn't terribly hard. The grid, overall, looks nice. Long Downs, sweet (though pluralizing HONOR ROLLS is a little iffy). Hardly a cringer in sight. And the theme concept has merit. But the revealer really hobbles this thing.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. I thought of another MUIR: "The Ghost and Mrs. MUIR"