Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017, Bill Clinton and Victor Fleming


Mr. President, we acknowledge ye. Long known as an expert cruciverbalist, who routinely fills in his grids in pen, it's a pleasure to see his hand in the creation side of things.

And there's a nice minitheme going on. The most obvious is 25D: "It's the ____, stupid!" (ECONOMY), which Clinton's first campaign used as its refocusing phrase. Also present are GIBILL, a nod to his first name, and 21A: First lady after Lou (ELEANOR), referring to Herbert Hoover's wife, but also reminding us that had things gone slightly differently last November, this puzzle would have been written by the country's first First Man (First Gentleman? First Hubby?).

From a crosswording perspective, it's a perfectly serviceable themeless. I had bits and pieces here and there - I had HiP at 8D, then ALEG at 22A, followed by GIBILL, but then it was the SE corner that opened things up for me. This corner is exactly what I mean by serviceable: I don't like TERR, ARA, or DRAWEE. The rest are average. 62A: In the way it used to be (OLDSTYLE) - I really wanted "old school", but it wouldn't fit.

The main long answer, THINKINGABOUT, is really meh. But you do get HIAWATHA and IGNOREIT. 38D: Residents of Cambridge, England (CANTABS) should really be Cantabrigians. 61A: Laceless, say (SNAPON) wanted to be "slip on", right?

Tough clues included 9A: Heavy metal shortage? (ANEMIA) - a very specific heavy metal being missed here, namely iron. I liked 9D: They're never minor (ADULTS) better. I'm not entirely clear on 4D: Order repeated before a hike (HUT) - I get that it's referring to football, but how is saying"hut!" an order?

1A: Jumble (MISHMASH) - B+. Fun word.
Fave: ATTHAT (59A: Where people are often told to look). This is so odd I have to like it.
Least fave: COS (30A: I.R.S. Form 1120 filers: Abbr.). Taxes, companies, abbreviations. Bad trio.

P.S. Oh, wait. I see now. No wonder that middle answer is so uninteresting on its own. There is a real theme going on here: DONTSTOP THINKINGABOUT TOMORROW. That makes the puzzle much much more interesting.

- Colum


  1. 13:16
    I enjoyed it. The self-indulgence didn't bother me. Lots of proper names I know nothing about, but was able to work them through the crosses.

  2. 13:39
    The campaign theme song theme eluded me, too, but it makes it that much better. I agree with Mr. Berman, the self-indulgence thing is almost a requirement on these celebrity puzzles, isn't it?

    Some old crosswordese (I think you might have to be a former president to push ATTU through these days...), but overall, I had fun.

  3. ~15 minutes while waiting for my brother to exit the aircraft.
    Every time I see DORAGS ET59 is brought to mind. Fun enough puzzle, but a bit easy for a Friday.