Charles of "Algiers," 1938; Powerful D.C. lobby; Early American patriot Thomas; Monday, May 27, 2012; Brits' thank-yous
Monday, May 28, 2012
Constructor: Kurt Mueller
Relative difficulty: easy
THEME: TONGUE TWISTER — Four two-word phrases whose first words form a common tongue twister, RUBBER BABY BUGGY BUMPER.
Word of the Day: LOEWE (35A Lerner's songwriting partner) —
/ˈloʊ/, originally German Friedrich (Fritz) Löwe [ˈløːvə]; June 10, 1901 – February 14, 1988), was an Austrian-American composer. He collaborated with lyricist Alan Jay Lerner on the long running Broadway musicals My Fair Lady and Camelot, with book and lyrics by Lerner, both of which were made into films.
Today's puzzle is a ROCK SOLID (9D Absolutely dependable) Monday. The three-letter corners were almost universally unlovely --- a suffix, a few partials, some initials --- but, then, that's three-letter entries for you. I find it forgivable, for it facilitates fine fill.
I called it easy, but is it Monday Easy? I'm not sure, since I printed this one out, whereas I normally solve electronically. I did slow down here and there, but I don't think any more than usual. If anyone complains about this being unfair, I expect it will be because of the cluster of SINO ANG BOYER just north of center (34A ___--Japanese War, 30D Taiwanese-born director Lee, 31D Charles of "Algiers," 1938). All standard stuff, standing out solely because the structure is so solid.
Penultimate place goes to LOEWE / LEW. I chose LOEWE for Word of the Day because I always mix up all those Loewe-Loew-Loeb-Lowe words. Still, solvers who love LOEWE might be less likely to like LEW, while lovers of LEW likely lack a love of LOEWE, but solvers who like neither LOEWE nor LEW are likely far and few.
- 20A Sterotypical entree at a campaign event RUBBER CHICKEN -- Politicians politely pack it away anyway.
- 29A One born in the late 1940s or '50s BABY BOOMER -- Weaned post-War, they wanted more.
- 36A Item carried by an Amish driver BUGGY WHIP -- Mennonites maintain means for masochism.
- 46A Farmer's wish BUMPER CROP -- Fertile fruits favored over fields that fry and fizzle.
- 53A The starts of 20-, 29-, 36-, and 46-Across, e.g., when repeated quickly in order TONGUE TWISTER --- I was deliberately not speeding through this, so I paused a few times to consider what the theme was going to be. It was completely opaque to me until this revealer. I got a nice chuckle from it.
- 24A Brits' thank-yous TAS -- My friend teaches at an English-language school in Vietnam with a bunch of Aussies. This word became one of those office memes there one recent day. They told her it was mostly used by kids Down Under, which I gather was the source of the humor (had to be there, I'm sure). I know the word from British film and literature, but not well enough to say it is or isn't commonly used by adults. Of course, it's one of those three-letter bitter pills we had to swallow, but I still say worth it.
- 31D Charles of "Algiers," 1938 BOYER — Another one of those old names I see a lot and never remember.
- 3D ____ Bridge (former name of New York's R.F.K. Bridge) TRIBORO — I seem to remember this drawing complaints once because it was too esoteric, but it always comes easily to me, despite my far-from-New-York upbringing and only a few short visits to The City. It was probably in some TV show(s) I used to watch. Anyway, the Bs in RUBBER CHICKEN had to be crossed with something, and I like this a lot.
- 45D In phrases, something to share or hit THE ROAD — I was a little surprised this wasn't clued by the book or movie. Cormac McCarthy isn't a Monday name, perhaps, but the movie was pretty big. I was relieved, really, since I never liked this one as much as everyone else seemed to. Maybe I was disappointed that it wasn't more like his other books, almost all of which I love.
- 48D A little on the heavy side CHUBBY -- I had to replace "chunky" here.
- 15A Capital of Jordan AMMAN — This was probably easy for most people, but I am terrible at geography, so I had to skip it until I got a few crosses. Late in the week, this same clue might yield "dinar."
Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld