Queen pop music nickname / SUN 6-26-16 / OutKast chart-topper / Supercontinent of 200 million years ago / Subj for radio astronomer / Food feelings after big meals / River tributary of Thames / Tree with catkins / Seal of Solomon others
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Constructor: Priscilla Clark and Jeff Chen
Relative difficulty: Medium (assuming you know all the MLB teams)
THEME: "Sports Page Headlines" — phrases that look like baseball headlines are clued as ... I don't know, something else:
- MARINERS BATTLE PIRATES (23A: Conflict at sea) (bad outlier—all the others are about losses)
- TIGERS CAN'T HANDLE CUBS (47A: Parenting problem at a zoo) (how are these not "?"'d?)
- YANKEES DEFEAT REDS (69A: Cold War synopsis)
- PADRES BOW TO CARDINALS (94A: Show of respect at the Vatican)
- NATIONALS TOPPLE ROYALS (120A: Overthrow of a monarchy)
Koss Corporation is an American company that designs and manufactures headphones. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin since 1958, the company invented the first high fidelity stereophones. Koss continues to design and manufacture headphones and audio accessories. (wikipedia)
Are NATIONALS ... what are nationals? They're just citizens of a particular country. Does the puzzle mean "nationalists"? I can't imagine a political headline of "NATIONALS TOPPLE ROYALS." And "Yankees" is not a term associated with the Cold War. Google [Yankees Reds Cold War] and you get some baseball sites, some Cold War sites that explicitly exclude the word "Yankees" from the search, and also you get a one hit for the official blog of the NYT Crossword itself (telling you how great this puzzle is, no doubt). This is botched left right and center, at the thematic level. As for fill, it's fine. Acceptable. Neither great nor terrible. But the theme is D.O.A. and then some. The only one of these that works on any level is TIGERS CAN'T HANDLE CUBS (it's cute to imagine). None of the other team names *really* go together. They're forced. And in the service of what? Bland, boring, monotonous.
No real trouble except in the HAN / TOTO section. I don't remember TOTO harassing the Cowardly Lion. I wanted FEAR there. Or maybe GNAT, I don't know. HAN I know as a Chinese ethnicity, not as characters. GEM did not come easily at all for the Pink Panther clue. HOVER CAR seems made-up. I absolutely needed to know TIGERS were a baseball team to get that section, which made me pity all the non-sports fans who do the puzzle. Normally, I don't pity these folks at all, but today, it's just the *one* sport, and there are ten different team names to get here. You should be able to get them all, but I can see non-baseball fans getting slowed down badly. *I* got slowed down just by mentally scrolling through all the teams trying to find the right one. Ugh. Death this puzzle was. Next!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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