Ocean buildup / SUN 4-22-18 / Title city in 1960 #1 song / 1899 gold rush destination / Script suggestion about starting fight scene / Tally in Britain / Supergiant in Cygnus / Early Chinese dynasty / Root beer brand since 1937

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Constructor: Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Challenging (14:50) (I've had a ballgame beer and a martini, tho, so ... !)


THEME: Pluses and Minuses [read: Plus E's and Minus E's] — familiar phrases have E's added to one word and dropped from another word, creating wacky phrases, clued wackily:

Theme answers:
  • STARES AND STRIPS (23A: Makes eye contact before undressing?)
  • FATHER IN ONE'S CAPE (39A: Parent wearing your Superman costume?)
  • NOTE A MOMENT TO SPAR (54A: Script suggestion about starting the fight scene?)
  • JETE-PROPELLED PLAN (78A: Ballet choreography?)
  • HAD LESS HORSE MANE (96A: Was harder for the bronco buster to hold on to?)
  • LEAST BUT NOT LAST (115A: Like the digit "0" in 2018?)
Word of the Day: SEA OOZE (62A: Ocean buildup) —
1.Same as Sea mud
(thefreedictionary.com)

• • •

ERM, no. I mean, specifically, ERM is a terrible answer, and also, no, I didn't really enjoy working out this theme. Every answer felt painful. Like ... E is dropped where? And added where? Why are there Other Random Es In These Answers?! Shouldn't themers like this have two and only two Es? I will give props to the title, which is perfect, but ugh, slog city, working this thing out. I also think SMALL OJ and SEA OOZE (!?) are just junk. I mean, they seem like they came from a purchased wordlist, something a computer recommended and the constructor failed to override. SMALL OJ might've been ok if it had been clued differently, perhaps with reference to, I don't know, its *abbreviatedness* or *beverageness* or anything. Took Forever to get that, and since it intersected two already-hard-to-get themers, ugh, the slogginess. Not knowing the tail end of HYPNOS also complicated things. SEA OOZE, also, come on. And lying right alongside a themer, man, that was rough. Ugh, and with [Giggle syllable] in there (worst crossword clue type ever, could be a jillion things), and the totally enigmatic 50D: Tip of the tongue? (ESE) (!?) (because languages, or "tongues," end ... in -ESE ...), yeesh, that central area was a bear. And for what? NOTE A MOMENT TO SPAR? Pfffft, and I was having such a nice day up to this point. Got some great records this morning because it's Record Store Day 2018! And went to a baseball game this afternoon and saw a Tigers prospect with a great name (Funkhouser!) who struck out Tebow, twice. And it's sunnnnnnny for the first time since, I think, 1936, so ... yeah, my mood was good. And now it's less good. But the martini is still kinda working its magic, *and* I'm listening to Talking Heads "Remain in Light," so ... OK, things could be worse.


Got upended all over the place. Misspelled DIEZ as DIES, which made GRAZE super duper hard to pick up (69A: Eat a little here, a little there). I honestly, repeatedly considered ERASE. Also thought SADIES at first, not SALLYS (111A: Actresses Field and Hawkins). Sally Hawkins was in "The Shape of Water." Which I saw. I just ... Hawkins made me go SADIE. Reflex. I also totally tanked the southern part of the grid, everything around ORIANA, whose name I forgot and botched like nine times before I got it right. ALOP? Oy, no. PIANO, no. IS APT TO, ouch. Is it AS DO I or AS AM I??? Again, all of this stuff crossed *two* themers, so ... Slog City. Maybe some of the theme answers end up being clever or cute ... I guess I can see that. But getting there was awfully painful work. I did love "LA CUCARACHA," though!

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

    Read more...

    Fourth god to exist in Greek myth / SAT 4-21-18 / Currency unit equal to 100 kurus / Teacher of lip-reading to deaf / Wite-Out manufacturer

    Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Constructor: Daniel Nierenberg

    Relative difficulty: Easy (mid-6s, but that's with ~30 seconds of "taking screenshots" time—uninterrupted time would've easily been somewhere in the 5s)


    THEME: none

    Word of the Day: Ron KOVIC (46D: Ron who wrote "Born on the Fourth of July") —
    Ronald Lawrence "RonKovic (born July 4, 1946) is an American anti-war activist, writer, and former United States Marine Corps sergeant, who was wounded and paralyzed in the Vietnam War. He is best known as the author of his 1976 memoir Born on the Fourth of July, which was made into the Academy Award–winning film in 1989 directed by Oliver Stone.
    Kovic received the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay on January 20, 1990, 22 years to the day that he was wounded in Vietnam, and was nominated for an Academy Award in the same category. (wikipedia)
    • • •

    Wow. This was easy. Eerily easy. I did my usual thing of throwing down all the short Downs I could make fit at first guess in the NW, and then checking to see where I was at with the long Acrosses. Shockingly, with the exception of ITSY for ITTY (ick), allll of my first guesses up there were right, and all of the long Acrosses fell pretty much immediately. Here's my very first pass at the NW:
    And then it just Kept Going. This was a very open grid, with lots of ways to get at every corner, so there really was no getting stuck. Once I committed to ORALIST (I might've ... gagged on that one, a little) and -LYSIS (definitely gagged there), moving down into the rest of the grid was quite easy. The only slight roadblocks were: I wanted SURE for SOLD (25A: Convinced) and then wanted NOT ART for NON-ART (21D: Dada, to its critics), which is a non-answer as far as I'm concerned, but that's non of my business, moving on. I probably had more trouble with CLARET than with anything else in the grid, which is really strange given that I know the word. I think of it as wine and not color, I guess. Just couldn't come up with it. Honestly, there's no more resistance in this puzzle. I could've written in GAY MARRIAGE for 58A: Subject of the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges with no crosses if I'd had to, but I didn't even have to do that, as I'd already plunked THE EYE and DIORAMA down there. 
    No idea about RIGGS (44D: One of the detectives in "Lethal Weapon"), but it hardly mattered—it just filled itself in from crosses. I actually liked most of this grid, just not the ITTY ORALISTLYSIS up top. BRAE is some old school crosswordese (51D: Landform near a loch), but it felt like an old friend more than a nuisance today. If I'm not being bombarded by crosswordese and otherwise bad fill, I'm remarkably cool with the stray quaint old term. An ETUI here, an ASTA there, just fine with me.


    Anyway, today I did not NEED HELP. Everything just clicked. I'm definitely much faster solving at night than solving in the morning. And I've also found that if I do a hardish puzzle right before I do the NYT, it helps a lot. Today's pre-NYT warm-up puzzle was Peter Gordon's latest Fireball Newsflash puzzle; these are always replete with very recent and newsy answers—brutal proper nouns, but always crossed fairly. Anyway, it helped me keep up with some current events *and* got me in fighting shape for this puzzle, which I destroyed.

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

    Read more...

      © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

    Back to TOP