Native-born Israeli / THU 1-19-17 / Leader targeted in 1989's Operation Nifty Package / Bill Haley's backup band
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Constructor: Jacob Stulberg
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: ROBBY Mook (37D: ___ Mook, Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign manager) —
Robert E. "Robby" Mook (//; born December 3, 1979) is an American political campaign strategist and campaign manager. He was the campaign manager for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, which lost to Donald Trump. // Mook worked on state campaigns, leading up to Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign. Mook then joined the Democratic National Committee, and worked for Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign as a state director in three states. // Mook managed Senator Jeanne Shaheen's campaign as she ran in New Hampshire for election to the U.S. Senate in the fall of 2008, served as the executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2012, and as the campaign manager for Terry McAuliffe's successful 2013 gubernatorial campaign. (wikipedia)
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This puzzle must've been constructed a while a go. At least a couple years ago. Because it's basic premise is manifestly false—a point that would be more glaring only if this puzzle ran *tomorrow*.
["I won't let you down / I will not give you up"]
MICHAEL for getting me going today (30A: George who sang "I Want Your 7-Down"). He was the first answer (besides the incidentals KEEP, SES, and OFA) that I got, and he gave me SEX (!), which (along with MATT Groening) opened the NE up quickly. Mostly I found the puzzle tough, though the clock says my time was quite normal. Botany and fabric and other topics I'm bad at seemed to keep coming up, and those southern corners are horribly sequestered. Teeny tiny narrow entry points. I actually needed the theme to get going in the SE (felt like cheating), because the only thing I knew cold down there was NORIEGA (61A: Leader targeted in 1989's Operation Nifty Package). The long Downs down the middle were great (STEEPLE CHASES / TOP O' THE MORNIN') (14D: They present hurdles / 15D: Cork opener?)—interesting phrases, cleverly clued—which somewhat offset / distracted from a little roughness in the short stuff. Worst cross for me was SHOCKS / CPI. The latter (4D: Economic benchmark, briefly) I can now infer (Consumer Price Index)—now that I guessed SHOCKS, which is super hard to get to from [Blows]. Yikes. But I guessed right, my time was normal, the theme works pretty well, so I'm calling it a good day.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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