Richard who won Tony for playing Don Quixote / FRI 12-30-16 / Market town in Surrey / Site of Cedar Revolution / King's collaborator / Swimmer in cloudy water / Bovine product mascot
Friday, December 30, 2016
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: Ralph ABERNATHY (9D: King's collaborator) —
Ralph David Abernathy, Sr. (March 11, 1926 – April 17, 1990) was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement, a minister, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s closest friend. In 1955, he collaborated with King to create the Montgomery Improvement Association, which would lead to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In 1957, Abernathy co-founded, and was an executive board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Following the assassination of King, Abernathy became president of the SCLC. As president of the SCLC, he led the Poor People's Campaign in Washington, D.C. during 1968. Abernathy also served as an advisory committee member of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE). He later returned to the ministry, and in 1989 — the year before his death — Abernathy wrote, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: An Autobiography, a controversial autobiography about his and King's involvement in the civil rights movement. (wikipedia)
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MAN ALIVE this was easy. I paused to sip my chamomile tea and eat one of the oatmeal raisin cookies my daughter made for me and still came in well under 5 minutes. I made virtually no wrong moves. Everything just fell into place. Everywhere I looked, I had just the letters I needed to give me the next answer. The puzzle was annoying in this way—not enough crunch or cleverness in the clues. The only resistance the puzzle offered came from LAST NAMES—not that answer, but from the actual last names KILEY (37A: Richard who won a Tony for playing Don Quixote) (??) and, to a much lesser extent, ABERNATHY (I at least knew the latter, though the clue was sufficiently vague that it took me some time to see which "King" the clue was referring to). No bite in the clues (boo), and all significant resistance from proper nouns (boo). This thing needed better calibration all the way around. Also, KILEY is a sore thumb in this puzzle—several times more obscure than the next most obscure thing in this puzzle (except perhaps CARLA, which is at least a common name) (51A: Thomas who is known as the Queen of Memphis Soul).
I experienced some very minor resistance from both of the sweet "drink" clues. I don't get how a CREAM SODA is "soft" except insofar as it is a "soft drink," in which case that clue really really needs a "?" (1A: It's soft and sweet). And I've never ever heard of a PURPLE COW (28D: Fountain drink containing grape juice and vanilla ice cream). Black cow, yes. Brown cow, I think so. PURPLE COW, never. That "C" (from CARLA) was the last letter I filled in down there. But everything else in the SW was so easy that my fountain drink ignorance was of very little consequence. Middle section of the puzzle was definitely the thorniest, but that's only because that's where the two aforementioned problematic proper nouns (KILEY, ABERNATHY) came together. I had some trouble understanding 43D: Lots of characters? (FONTS) (one of the few truly difficult clues), but I barely remember anything else about this puzzle, so poor a fight did it put up. Guessed CHITS (1D: Vouchers) and ROMEO (2D: "O, I am fortune's fool!" speaker) bam bam, and answers started falling and never stopped. I was even able to back into sections effortlessly. Into PSYCH from the -CH, into RICKMAN from the -MAN. Both those answers blew their respective corners wide open by giving a bank of first letters for me to work with. Finished in the SE, with the "N" in CON EDISON my last letter. The grid seems quite solid (not unexpected for a Patrick Berry puzzle), but the solving experience ... barely happened.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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