If last week was Super Tuesday, is today Not-So-Super Tuesday? Less-Than-Impressive Tuesday? I find that the part of my brain that enjoys American politics (and I really do, even in the face of certain types of idiocy out there) is the same part of my brain that loves cheering for my favorite sports teams. Which means that it's an us-vs-them mentality, the very thing that has made our government so incapable of actually governing. That could be a problem.
So, the crossword, right? This was actually a top-notch Tuesday offering, spoiled by one little thing, which I'll get to soon.
I tried trApped at 1A: Unable to escape (INATRAP). But since PAX was obviously the answer at 7D, I took it out immediately. I give 1A a straight B. It's fine. But what about 15A: Cuckoo, from the Yiddish (MESHUGA)? How crazy is that (literally)? Yes, it's the NYT, so Yiddish, amirite? But still. I can only think of Billy Crystal and Martin Short. Darn. Now I can't find any references to this online. But it was a short film about two old Borscht Belt comedians at the end of their lives and a song they sang together.
Anyway, I love the four corners of this grid, each with a triple stack of 7-letter answers. I also enjoyed USURP right next to THANE (following up on Sunday's Shakespeare theme). STALEMATE was a nice gem right in the middle of the grid.
The theme was fine. A type of fur is found on the outside of each answer, thus acting as a "coat". Couldn't it be done without the circles? Once I had "sable" from SETTHETABLE, I was able to figure the theme out. I would have liked the surprise better. But I guess it's a Tuesday.
Problem? Oh, right. MAMIE crossing MAME. They're the same name. They are both a nickname for Mary. There is no question that's a flat out dupe, and they even cross each other! That's a problem, only made up for by the fact that, well, it is Auntie Mame, after all.
Otherwise, I enjoyed it.