British PM between Churchill Macmillan / WED 11-30-16 / Preceder of barbara clara / Iraq war danger for short
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Constructor: Molly Young
Relative difficulty: Medium
- iLIFT (14A: New push-up bra from Apple?)
- iBALL (8D: New sports equipment from Apple?)
- iSTRAIN (12D: New colander from Apple?)
- iSHADOW (40D: New tracking device from Apple?)
- iDROP (52D: New parachute from Apple?)
- iLASH (66A: New whip from Apple?)
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC (12 June 1897 – 14 January 1977) was a British Conservative politician who served three periods as Foreign Secretary and then a relatively brief term as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1955 to 1957. [...] His worldwide reputation as an opponent of appeasement, a "Man of Peace", and a skilled diplomat was overshadowed in 1956 when the United States refused to support the Anglo-French military response to the Suez Crisis, which critics across party lines regarded as an historic setback for British foreign policy, signalling the end of British predominance in the Middle East. Most historians argue that he made a series of blunders, especially not realising the depth of U.S. opposition to military action. Two months after ordering an end to the Suez operation he resigned as Prime Minister on grounds of ill health, and because he was widely suspected of having misled the House of Commons over the degree of "collusion" with France and Israel. (wikipedia)
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GRIM, for a boatload of reasons. As soon as I worked out iLIFT in the NW, all hope drained out of me. A bunch of *&$^ing "i-" words? Nonsense words? All over my grid? Lord, why? At that point, I didn't see the "eye" pun, but once I did, I didn't care. It didn't add anything pleasurable to the experience of putting fake i-products in the grid. Further, the theme material here is Obscenely thin. 34 squares by my count. That is Nothing. Your thinnest themes usually have ~40. And there are a ton of potential themers on the table. iPATCH and iTEST and iLINER iLIDS iCHART iLEVEL iCANDY iTEETH etc. etc. Then there's the matter of non-theme i-answers in the grid—a serious elegance f*&%-up. If your (superthin) theme involves i-starters, then no other answers should be i-starters. It's not hard to do. In fact, this grid almost does it, but for the inexplicable IBID / IED crossing, and then INA. Why is no one thinking of these little details? Again, there's hardly any theme here. No pressure on grid. Make it nice. And the fill, ugh. It's probably not too far below NYT average, but I mentally checked out at BOTA (30A: Leather bag for wine). With so little theme pressure, grid should've been soooooooo much better than it was. There is a germ of an idea here, but it's very awkwardly and poorly expressed here.
Appears the puzzle was considered overeasy at some point and so some of the clues were toughened up. That EDEN clue, yeesh. Prime Minister for like 2 years in the '50s? Sure, I know that ... :( ... That one's position near BOTA made that section a little rough-going. I had FORESEEN before FORETOLD (42A: Predicted), conflated WMD and IED and ended up at first with IMD, totally blanked on the meaning of [Perfidy] (!?!?) (DECEIT), and then misread 1D: Casual greetings (HIS) as a singular and wrote in HEY. There were what felt like a bunch of non-theme "?" clues too, esp. up front. Still, low 4s is a pretty normal Wed. time for me.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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