1960s sitcom set in 1860s / SUN 1-22-17 / Grammy winning drummer Lyne Carrington / Piano dueler with Donald in 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Constructor: Dan Schoenholz

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Mishmash" — familiar phrase ends in a word which is then repeated with a vowel change, creating a kind of sing-songy nonsense phrase that gets a "?" clue:

Theme answers:
  • POWDERED-WIG WAG (23A: Witty British judge?)
  • JOINED-AT-THE-HIP HOP (38A: Three-legged race, e.g.?)
  • FINGERTIP TOP (55A: Nail?)
  • "OF THEE I SING" SONG (66A: "America"?)
  • LET HER RIP RAP (81A: Grant a girl permission to dis Drake?)
  • NEW YORK KNICK KNACK (98A: Ability to score at Madison Square Garden, e.g.?) (whoever clued this has not seen the Knicks play lately)
  • TRIPLE FLIP FLOP (117A: Diving disaster?)
Word of the Day: RIPRAP (81A) —
Riprap, as rip rap, rip-rap, shot rock, rock armour or rubble, is rock or other material used to armor shorelines, streambeds, bridge abutments, pilings and other shoreline structures against scour and water or ice erosion. It is made from a variety of rock types, commonly granite or limestone, and occasionally concrete rubble from building and paving demolition. It can be used on any waterway or water containment where there is potential for water erosion. (wikipedia)
• • •
I don't have the inclination to deal too much with this inanity today. I'm still filled with hope and optimism after seeing the Women's marches all over the world today, and I'm not gonna let this puzzle get me down. I'd never heard of WIGWAG or RIPRAP, but they both appear to be things, so all the ping-pong ding-dong clip-clop endings are real things, hurrah. The whole thing didn't feel clever so much as awkward. I kept having to think about how the phrase worked, exactly. None of them ever seemed funny. Luckily, the puzzle was so easy that I didn't have time to dwell much on how sub-entertaining it was. Finished in well under 9, which is down near record territory for me on a Sunday. Is my fingernail the top of my fingertip? That seems ... wrong. Directionally wrong. The finger tip is the end. It has no top. I guess the nail is on "top" of my finger, in a way, but the lack of spot-on-itude there (and elsewhere) was irksome. It's "let 'er rip"; the idea anyone's saying that "h" is pretty hilarious. A very enthusiastic elocution coach, perhaps. You don't "hop" in a three-legged race, do you? The "third" leg consists of two legs moving as one, but not ... hopping. What is a triple flip? I am guessing it is a thing where you flip three times, but it's hardly a snappy diving phrase, like a pike or a tuck. There is no "flip" in Olympic diving. Somersaults are involved, but ... you see, all these phrases just feel off. Like carob. It's not chocolate. You can fool some rube who wants to be fooled, but I like chocolate, and you can't fool me.

I had MALT for ICEE (5D: Drink commonly served with a spoon straw) and I did not know COPs were called [Bluecoat]s. I was thinking it was some Revolutionary counterpart to the Redcoat. Beyond those initial hiccups, I don't remember any resistance whatsoever. Fill isn't terrible. It just is. I need to get back to drinking and watching TCM now. Bye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Violinist Kavafian / SAT 1-21-17 / Bulbous perennial / Xmas for Jimmy Buffet / First name in infamy / Dumb Dumber drive destination

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Constructor: James Mulhern

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: TARPONS (33A: Prized game fish) —
plural noun: tarpons
  1. a large tropical marine fish of herringlike appearance. (google)
• • •

This was pretty enjoyable. Had to wrestle with it A WEE BIT, and fell into many traps along the way, but in the end it was slightly more tractable than your average Saturday fare, I think. Couple of nice long Downs, for sure, and then a very solid, serviceable grid, with little in the way of junk. I'd call EDESSA junk (it's certainly high on the list of 6-letter crosswordese), buuuut it really helped me solidify traction in the north, so I'll just give it a polite nod and move along. The proper nouns are a little dated at times (NEVE over BOYER!) but then there's Paul RUDD and BIG PAPI, so maybe things balance out. Oh, ANI. ANI is not good. You can clue it however you like (Skywalker, DiFranco ... some violinist ...), it's always gonna be crosswordese. But the overall state of the grid is strong.


How many holes did I fall into? Let's count
  1. Had the -OW at the end of 2D: Words of understanding and was *certain* that answer ended in KNOW.
  2. Had the O (from YOKO) and U (from RUDD) in the answer for 27D: Works of a lifetime and *confidently* wrote in OPUSES.
  3. Opened the puzzle with an amazing run of Downs (KTEL! BOO! ADREP!) and then, after getting the -UM part ... PODIUM!! (8D: Oration location). 
  4. I don't even feel bad about the MARLINS-for-TARPONS mistake, tbh. I'm only human.
  5. RYE before ALE ... never fail?
  6. Aaaand my favorite wrong answer of the day: for 57D: Appropriate answer for this clue, I had: ANS.
That'll do for today.


Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


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