Literary waiter / SAT 3-25-17 / Coffee in miltary slang / Locale in two James Bond films / Media inits since 1922 / Subject of 1942 film musical Yankee Doodle Dandy / Joey of children's literature
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Constructor: Sam Ezersky and David Steinberg
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: COHAN (51D: Subject of the 1942 film musical "Yankee Doodle Dandy") —
George Michael Cohan (July 3, 1878 – November 5, 1942), known professionally as George M. Cohan, was an American entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and producer. // Cohan began his career as a child, performing with his parents and sister in a vaudeville act known as "The Four Cohans." Beginning with Little Johnny Jones in 1904, he wrote, composed, produced, and appeared in more than three dozen Broadway musicals. Cohan published more than 300 songs during his lifetime, including the standards "Over There", "Give My Regards to Broadway", "The Yankee Doodle Boy" and "You're a Grand Old Flag". As a composer, he was one of the early members of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). He displayed remarkable theatrical longevity, appearing in films until the 1930s, and continuing to perform as a headline artist until 1940. // Known in the decade before World War I as "the man who owned Broadway", he is considered the father of American musical comedy. His life and music were depicted in the Academy Award-winning film Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) and the 1968 musical George M!. A statue of Cohan in Times Square in New York City commemorates his contributions to American musical theatre. (wikipedia)
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FETCHES (3D: Gets), and then didn't know two proper nouns that were placed like sentries right at the western entryways to the SE corner (COHAN, ENID). Other than that, there was literally nothing in this puzzle that presented a problem, nothing that took more than a little bit of puzzling, a little bit of cross-working. This was a very nook-and-crannyed 72-worder, so getting footholds was never ever a problem. The whole thing is footholds. Once again, a 1-Across gimme signaled smooth sailing ahead. I filled in "LIFE OF PABLO" without hesitation—it was one of the most talked-about albums of last year (1A: 2016 #1 Kanye West album, with "The"). There was this whole controversy involving some lyrics about Taylor Swift (to which she publicly took offense), and whether Swift did or did not know about them, and even OK them, ahead of time. I know you all are pop junkies ... read about it here and here if you like. Anyway, regardless of the Swift nonsense, the album was critically successful and I knew it. From there, I put down *seven* Downs in the NW corner, six of which were right (just that aforementioned FATHOMS error...). Grid opened right up.
Somewhat weird that I blanked on COHAN—I could see Cagney in my head very clearly, but I just couldn't for the life of me remember who he was playing. I don't remember who ENID is waiting for (47A: Literary waiter). Geraint? I think it's the Arthurian ENID, but I didn't know she was famous for waiting. That clue was hard. YEA (54A: ___ big) and GILT (30A: Finished elegantly) both slowed me down a bit, but whatever time they cost me was more than made up for when I no-looked *all* the short Acrosses in the NE corner. Just threw all the Downs up—and they all worked. With the exception of SEEPY :( I really liked this grid. Cluing was just OK—more trivia-ish, less clever than yesterday's—but it was good enough. Not sure I woulda gone with the cutesy "?" clue on an abortion-related answer (33A: Classic case of making life choices?). Struck me as slightly yucky and tone deaf. Plus you've got LIFE in the grid (1A) and in another clue besides (16A: Time of one's life, maybe), so maybe ... do something different here. But the ROE V. WADE clue is a minor ding on an otherwise appealing puzzle.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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