Saturday, April 1, 2023
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Basic beer of the Pacific Northwest, familiarly / WED 7-13-22 / French explorer of the Nice Lakes / Function on the suitable facet of the Apple brand / Healthful cereal part / Household title on TV’s Dallas / Salmon plancha fish dish

Constructor: Addison Snell

Relative issue: Medium

THEME: I AM — individuals related to phrases that include the phrases “I’m” (or “I yam”):

Theme solutions:

  • JEAN VALJEAN (24A: “Who Am I?”)
  • GLORIA / GAYNOR (37A: With 39-Throughout, “I Am What I Am”)
  • RENÉ DESCARTES (49A: “I feel, due to this fact I’m”)
  • POPEYE (55A: “I yam what I yam”)
  • YAHWEH (56A: “I Am that I Am”)

Phrase of the Day: “I Am that I Am” (56A) —

I Am that I Am” is a widespread English translation of the Hebrew phrase אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה‎‎ (’ehye ’ăšer ’ehyepronounced [ʔehˈje ʔaˈʃer ʔehˈje])– additionally “I’m who I’m“, “I’ll develop into what I select to develop into“, “I’m what I’m“, “I will probably be what I will probably be“, “I create what(ever) I create“, or “I’m the Current One“. The standard English translation inside Judaism favors “I will probably be what I will probably be” as a result of the imperfective facet in Trendy Hebrew is generally used for future tense and there’s no current tense with direct object of the verb “to be” within the Hebrew language. // אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה‎ (’ehye ’ăšer ’ehye) is the primary of three responses given to Moses when he asks for God‘s title within the E book of Exodus. The phrase אֶהְיֶה‎ (’Ehyeh) is the primary individual type of hayah, ‘to be’, and owing to the peculiarities of Hebrew grammar means ‘I’m’, ‘I used to be’, and ‘I will probably be’. The which means of the longer phrase ’ehyeh ’ăšer ’ehyeh is debated, and may be seen as a promise (‘I will probably be with you’) or as assertion of incomparability (‘I’m the ultimate’). (wikipedia)

• • •

Solely two of those 5 “I (Y)AM” phrases resonated for me in any respect, so this had no actual likelihood of being a puzzle I would get pleasure from a lot. I suppose I can see how there may be one thing amusing about lining up a bunch of various “I (Y)AM” phrases like this, however for me the clear up was barely awkward, barely complicated. The primary downside was not the puzzle’s, however my software program’s—it could’t do italics and so all of the theme clues had been in citation marks, which meant *double* citation marks on each clue (because the clues are all quotations to start with). However leaving that technical glitch apart, there are a couple of different issues. The principle one, the massive one, the completely obvious one, is that GLORIA / GAYNOR is known for exactly one tune, and that tune is just not “I Am What I Am” however one other, a lot a lot (a lot a lot a lot advert inf.) extra well-known “I” tune: “I WILL SURVIVE.” I lived by means of the “I WILL SURVIVE” period. That tune was, and stays, iconic. It was a juggernaut. It went to No. 1 on the US charts. It gained the Grammy for Finest Disco Recording in 1980 (the one 12 months that award was given). It is the queen of feminine empowerment anthems (OK, perhaps co-queen with Aretha’s model of “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”). So … “I WILL SURVIVE” has Cartesian, Popeysian ranges of fame. Whereas “I Am What I Am” … would not. That tune … peaked at No. 102 (!!!!) on the US Scorching 100. In 1983. It did hit No. 3 on the US Dance charts, and No. 13 total within the UK, however if you line that tune up towards the likes of “Les Misérables,” Descartes, Popeye, and (!) Yahweh … it falls a *little* brief on the recognizability scale. “I WILL SURVIVE” has certainly survived, and to at the present time it’s the solely GLORIA / GAYNOR tune 99% of the inhabitants, together with me, can title.* “I Am What I Am,” however, feels like a confession / apology: “Hey, I will admit, I am no ‘I WILL SURVIVE,’ however I Am What I Am, alright? Give me a break.” So even should you thought this theme was cute, you gotta admit, one in all these 5 is just not just like the others. Jarringly so. Not realizing the JEAN VALJEAN tune and being solely kinda sorta aware of that YAHWEH phrase, these are private blindspots, however that GLORIA / GAYNOR tune, that is everybody’s blindspot. The singer’s title is known (once more, due to that *different* tune), so the obscurity of the tune in query would not have an effect on the puzzle’s doability a lot ultimately. Nevertheless it’s bizarre to have your *central* theme clue be *this* a lot much less well-known than all of the others (in addition to this a lot much less well-known than the tune that really made the reply well-known within the first place).

Outdoors the theme, the puzzle feels prefer it was made in OBAMA’s second time period, when hashtag TEAMJACOB and PABLO Sandoval had been peaking, famewise. To see them right here was mildly time-warpy. Authentic “Twilight” followers (TWIHARDS? Are we nonetheless doing that?) are pushing middle-aged now (I child! You are very younger!), and that complete franchise, and notably the “fan debate” about Jacob v. Edward, feels very a lot of the previous (final ebook got here out in ’08, final movie in ’10). And I really like seeing PABLO Sandoval right here, truly, but when “two-time All Star” is the one bar you gotta clear for crossword fame, hoo boy have I acquired some names for you. Let me put this in perspective: Mike Sweeney, Jimmy Key, and Travis Fryman are all *5*-time All-Stars, and except you actually actually comply with baseball, you do not know who these are. Sandoval was within the league extra lately than any of these guys (by means of final 12 months), however nonetheless, his final All-Star look was in 2012. Once more, I am not mad at PABLO‘s being right here; open the baseball floodgates, by all means. Simply … be ready for chaos if a mere two All-Star appearances, neither of them very current, is the one criterion for crossword inclusion. 

Outdoors of some of the themers, there have been no actual hassle spots for me at the moment. Needed SHEEP and perhaps STEED (?) earlier than STEER (35A: Ranch animal). I do know LA SALLE extra as a College than an explorer, however crosses helped jog my reminiscence (8D: French explorer of the Nice Lakes). If you do not know OLY (brief for “Olympia”) by now, you actually ought to pack it away in your crossword beer cooler (9D: Basic beer of the Pacific Northwest, familiarly). It is not precisely widespread, however you do see it frequently. All three-letter manufacturers are gonna present up right here ultimately. Not a lot else of curiosity happening within the fill, so I will cease right here. Have a pleasant day, see you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

*correction: Ms. Gaynor additionally had a giant hit in 1974 along with her cowl of the Jackson 5’s 1971 hit “By no means Can Say Goodbye.” Gaynor’s cowl hit No. 9 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart. I do know the tune higher in each Jackson and Communards type, however Gaynor’s model was legitimately widespread.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]



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