Constructor: Joelf Fagliano
Relative Difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: AARON Sorkin
Aaron Benjamin Sorkin (born June 9, 1961) is an American screenwriter, producer, and playwright. His works include the Broadway plays A Few Good Men and The Farnsworth Invention; the television series Sports Night, The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and The Newsroom; and the films A Few Good Men, The American President, Charlie Wilson's War, The Social Network,Moneyball, and Steve Jobs.
Sorkin's trademark rapid-fire dialogue and extended monologues are complemented, in television, by frequent collaborator Thomas Schlamme's characteristic directing technique called the "walk and talk". These sequences consist of single tracking shots of long duration involving multiple characters engaging in conversation as they move through the set; characters enter and exit the conversation as the shot continues without any cuts. (Wikipedia)
This is perfectly serviceable. It's certainly not going to win any awards, but it's OKAY as far as these things go [8A: "Sounds good!]. I was gratified to learn about the CATOs, of whom I had never even heard of before [5D: "Elder" or "Younger" Roman statesman]. I like the practice of appending "the elder" and "the younger" to people's names (see also the Pitts, the Plinys, et al. I wonder if we'll be doing that with the Bushes in 200 years? Or if it's only a passing TREND [7A: Be very popular on Twitter]?
SKIM [1A: Alternative for those who hate the 1%?] is just fantastic. The humor is a bit hokey and the clue is kinda obvious even, yet it's still pretty glorious. Very glad this was at one-across today.
Regular readers will of course know I'm a Sorkin fan, so AARON was beyond a gimme to me [6A: Sorkin who wrote "Steve Jobs"]. And yet, I haven't seen the film yet. Ugh! Going to the movies can be such a CHORE sometimes [5A: Taking out the trash, for example].
Nothing against KOREA, but what's with this clue [2D: North ____ (nation in the news)]? Fill-in-the-blank clues are almost never a good idea, and the parenthetical here is just begging to be edited out. I can only imagine the thought process was something along the lines of "Hmm, what sort of topical detail can I throw in here to indicate I'm looking for a nation that's been in the news lately...? Ooh, I know; how about none at all?" 200 years from now (when we're all learning about Bush the Elder in history books) people will be doing this puzzle and they're going to learn Jack Shit about what was going on the world at this time, other than there was maybe something going on with North Korea—you know, like there is every week.
Signed, Jonathan Gibson, skim milk the elder of CrossWorld