Not too bad for a Sunday puzzle, which is good because I have stuff to do today. Also I woke up late, so I have less time to do that stuff.
I pulled out 37D Something often underlined and blue: URL because I thought it was funny. The answer makes sense for the clue, but it took a moment to get. I appreciated it. I imagine it was the effort of Dan Margolis, and Will Shortz did not get in the way.
I had forgotten that Sunday puzzles have a title. You’d think that I would remember by now, but I associate puzzle titles to the daily Wall Street Journal crossword and not to NYT.
The title Cinéma Vérité means truth cinema. It’s applicable to the documentary nature of the answers to the long clues. And it’s amazing that the filmmakers for these were able to get such an unencumbered view of the subject matter. It speaks highly of our country’s commitment to freedom of the press for matters in both the private and public sectors.
26A Indy film? (1981): RAIDERSOFTHELOSTARK. In this Indiana “Indy” Jones documentary–one installment of the many harrowing expeditions by this thrill-seeking history professor–we get all the way to the National Archives, and that’s where access ends. But to stay with the exploration team from the start of the endeavor to that building in the nation’s capital is impressive.
36A Road movie? (1950): SUNSETBOULEVARD. Stardom doesn’t last forever, and a character study of someone who won’t give up hope for a return to prominence is not only an eye-opening biography of a tormented once-celebrity fallen into obscurity but a documentary that has staying power, as refusal to let go of what was and recognize what is is a concept that has major implications even today.
56A PG movie? (1992): PATRIOTGAMES. The Troubles are long from over, and British politicians are the target of the ire of the Irish Republican Army. I was lucky to miss out on the annual Orangemen’s Parade on July 12 by a week when I visited Derry/Londonderry in summer 2019. The parade is billed as a celebration of history and culture. It commemorates the victory by William of Orange over King James II. In practice, it a prominent display and reminder of the protestant victory over the Catholics in Ireland. While the swastika graffiti in the Free Derry area was counterproductive if Sinn Féin wanted me to feel for their cause, the Orangemen’s Parade by the Unionists is no extension of an olive branch. Patriot Game gives unprecedented access to a CIA agent who watches the IRA try to assassinate the head of the Northern Irish government then-seated in Northern Ireland. Acting as an American who promotes justice internationally, he does what he can to bring the would-be assassins to justice no matter the cost.
81A Family film? (1972): THEGODFATHER. It is impossible to get a understanding of the Italian Mafia in the United States without watching this in-depth look at the Corleone Family and what it has to face as competition heats up and inter- and intra-family dynamics threaten to make it irrelevant. The Family’s struggles are captured by the filmmakers who also are able to follow law enforcement. As in docuseries like Drugs, Inc., perspectives are shown from the sides of those who operate extrajudicially and from the sides of those who must operate within it. Truly eye-opening and the influence for other raw investigations such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Bosch, and Jersey Shore.
103A Dock-udrama? (1954): ONTHEWATERFRONT. Those who thought this would be about Dock Ellis will be disappointed. Rather, this is a story about a whistleblower complaint and subsequent retribution. There are supposed to be protections here for people who alert to abuses that are detrimental to the public. Of course not everyone who cries foul is considered a whistleblower because the claims must be substantiated. If nothing can confirm such a complaint–independent of the claim’s accuracy–what really can be done? What is really fair to do? A whistleblower complaint by itself is not all there is to an investigation but rather a starting point–an ENTER HERE arrow to a maze.
114A Short film? (1989): HONEYISHRUNKTHEKIDS. Scientific discoveries don’t always have the desired effects. This follows one of the most brilliant inventors of the 20th century, though one who incorrectly opted for shrunk over shrank. His creation of a machine that can reduce the size of normal items dramatically without compromising structural or mechanical integrity could change the world in areas ranging from less-invasive surgeries to beachwear. However, ease of misuse and clear lack of regulation brought about issues that rendered the machine unsafe for widespread use, which is unfortunate for some and beneficial for others.
On another note, I’m disappointed in 115DWhen repeated, a “Seinfeld” expression: YADA. This furthers the battle over spelling between the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. On December 10, both newspapers had clues for this word. However, WSJ used two D’s in YADDA while NYT uses only one D. Assuming nothing happened in Saturday’s puzzles, this is the NYT tacitly sticking it to its neighbor over spelling of a word that has either gone well out of vogue or is just not used by the people I talk to during Covid.
I finished this puzzle in 35:39. That’s less time than it took me to write this post.