Nickname of Haiti's Duvalier ousted in 1986 / TUE 4-30-13 / Huckster's pitch / First capital of California / Stimpy's TV pal / Itchy dog's woe
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Constructor: Lynn Lempel
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: NO TWO SOUND ALIKE (40A: What's odd about the ends of the answers to the four starred clues) — last words of the theme answers all have the last same three letters, yet are all pronounced differently:
- 17A: *Triumphs, but barely (WINS BY A NOSE)
- 21A: *First capital of California (SAN JOSE)
- 54A: *Nonfatal amount of radiation, say (LOW DOSE)
- 64A: *Huckster's pitch ("YOU CAN'T LOSE")
Word of the Day: BABY DOC Duvalier (18D: Nickname of Haiti's Duvalier, ousted in 1986) —
Jean-Claude Duvalier, nicknamed "Bébé Doc" or "Baby Doc" (born July 3, 1951) was the President of Haiti from 1971 until his overthrow by a popular uprising in 1986. He succeeded his father, François "Papa Doc" Duvalier, as the ruler of Haiti upon his father's death in 1971. After assuming power, he introduced cosmetic changes to his father's regime and delegated much authority to his advisors, though thousands of Haitians were killed or tortured, and hundreds of thousands fled the country. He maintained a notoriously lavish lifestyle (including a state-sponsored US$3 million wedding in 1980), and made millions from involvement in the drug trade and from selling body parts from dead Haitians while poverty among his people remained the most widespread for any country in the Americas. (wikipedia)
An interesting observation turned into a puzzle. Why not? This puzzle is solid. So solid it's almost dull. Last two theme answers are interesting, and PEJORATIVE is a nifty-looking word (11D: Disparaging), but not much excitement elsewhere. But on the plus side—no dreck either. Fill is so real and unforced that there's hardly anything to talk about. There were hardly any candidates for "Word of the Day." The whole thing reeks of competence. Actually, the fill isn't entirely without interest—there's a big shot of TEQUILA (24D: Margarita need) right in the middle. I'll take it.
What is there to say about this one? No rough spots, no tough spots, all familiar answers. The only remarkable thing I see here is the clue on SAN JOSE. I grew up in California and had no idea it ever had any capital but Sacramento. Wait wait. Wait. So dogs have LICE (which I suppose is true, though I associate LICE much more with people). And then you LOUSE UP or [Botch] something? Those words are, uh, related, aren't they? If not identical? (singular vs. plural). Yes, one is figurative. Still.
OK, that's all I got. Goodbye.