There was a certain amount of kvetching today [Friday] on the NYT Wordplay blog by non-"West Wing" fans: how were they to know the name of Allison Janney's character? This prompted equal and opposite reactions from fans, particularly given the serendipity of Ms. Janney's in-character White House briefing last week. One commenter recalled the opening scenes of the pilot where Leo McGarry took issue with "the editor of New York Times crossword" over the spelling of a certain Libyan strongman's name. Another mentioned the opening of the episode "Dead Irish Writers", which is where I want to give credit where credit is due: I remember the joy of recognition while watching that episode from March 2002, because I'd solved your NYT puzzle of January 24, 2002, not long before it; the Bartlets - courtesy of Aaron Sorkin's dialogue - were bantering about a couple of very specific clues (17A and 24A). In the wake of "Blindspot"'s tie-in with David Kwong's NYT puzzle last month, I have to ask: was this planned, or was it just a function of what I assume is Sorkin's being a puzzle fan? I looked back at the puzzle and there didn't seem anything particularly Thursday-esque about it, so I had to wonder. I haven't uncovered any direct references citing a connection between the show and your puzzle, so I thought I'd relive it here while giving you props.
There were no tie-ins as far as I know, in fact, this is the first I'm hearing about this. I have never watched one minute of "The West Wing," and frankly have absolutely no interest in it, thank you very much. But sure as shooting, those two characters are in fact talking about a puzzle written by yours truly. So there it is, I had opined once that it would have been cool to have one of my puzzles solved by a major character in a movie or a TV, and little did I know that it had already happened when I had asked the question.
Share the puzzle. New one on Thursday.
Oh, and one more thing. Mike Selinker (and his crew) proves once again that he is a true hero in the puzzle world.