Hit a four-bagger / TUES 9-25-18 / Casino game / Go a mile a minute / Goat's call

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hi, all! Happy end-ish of September. Hope yours has been better than my super rainy one in DC! The way it somehow manages to be hot, humid, and raining all at the same time is something. I'm currently watching my Pittsburgh Steelers winning their game, so I'm happy — though I will say it is kind of hard doing a crossword while also trying to watch your team play. Maybe that's why I found this puzzle harder than normal...

Constructor: Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Pretty challenging

THEME: MAN SPREADS (30D: Crowds one's seatmates, in a way... or a hint to the circled letters) — "MAN" spreads from the top to the bottom of the puzzle.

Theme answers:

  • SUBWAY (2D: With 12-Down, places where a thoughtless person 30-Down)
  • TRAINS (12D: See 2-Down)
  • MOVE (36A: With 40-Across, comment to someone who 30-Down)
  • OVER (40A: See 36-Across)
Word of the Day: ROE DEER
The European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), also known as the western roe deer, chevreuil, or simply roe deer or roe, is a species of deer. The male of the species is sometimes referred to as a roebuck. The roe deer is relatively small, reddish and grey-brown, and well-adapted to cold environments. The species is widespread in Europe, from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia, from Ireland to the Caucasus, and east to northern Iran and Iraq. (Wikipedia)
• • •
I didn't like this puzzle. I found it harder than normal, and I never had any sort of "aha" moment. I thought it was uninspiring fill mixed with weird answers that don't work, surrounded by a strange theme.

I had problems with several parts of the puzzle. Come on, ROEDEER (64A: Eurasian animals with antlers)? Who's ever heard of those before? And, crossing with ELBERT (49D: Mount __, highest peak in the Rockies) and LOA (60D: Hawaii's Mauna __) made it that much harder. LOA could have been any one of: kea, koa, lea, or loa. 38D could easily have been "vertices" instead of VERTEXES  (which isn't even a word). I kept trying to make "vertices" work. Also, HEP (57A: Cool, to a jive talker) is a very strange word. And I haven't even gotten to my biggest nit, which was MAXWELL ANDERSON (59A: Pulitzer-winning playwright for "Both Your Houses"). First, who is that? Second, that's such a big answer in the puzzle; how can that be a relatively obscure guy? I think the puzzle creator just did a Google search to find someone whose name starts with "M" and ends with "N," and is 15 letters long.


  • I kept trying to make nsfw work for 14A instead of NUDE (14A: Like photos that violate one of Instagram's community guidelines).
  • CALVIN (11D: Comics boy who says "Reality continues to ruin my life") and Hobbes is my absolute favorite comic. I so vividly remember having and reading those books as a kid; they were such a big part of my childhood.
  • I'm a Warriors, not Spurs, fan, but MANU (36D: Four-time N.B.A. champ Ginobili) Ginobili is one of my favorite players. I'm just sad he finally retired.
  • I'm lucky I knew how to spell AMY POEHLER (29D: "Parks and Recreation" star), but that definitely could have tripped me up.
  • I'm not sure I've eve used (or even heard) the word VAMOOSED (41D: Skedaddled) before, but I've decide it's fun.
That's it... Hope everyone has a great week!

Signed, Clare Carroll, a very tired law student

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Country below Hungary / MON 9-24-18 / Vegas hot spot / Alcohol that's transparent / Unattractive fruit

Monday, September 24, 2018

Constructor: Michael Black

Relative difficulty: Easy (2:44)

THEME: JEOPARDY (18-Across) and WHEEL / OF FORTUNE (34-Across) — each is a "Popular program shown back to back with" the other

Theme answers:
  • ALEX TREBEK (23A: Host of 18-Across)
  • VANNA WHITE (49A: Co-host of 34-/36-Across)
  • PAT SAJAK (54A: Co-host of 34-/36-Across)
Word of the Day: VIJAY Singh (49D: Golfer Singh who won the 2000 Masters) —
Vijay SinghCF (Hindi: विजय सिंह), IPA: [ˈʋɪdʒəj sɪ̃ɦ]; born 22 February 1963), nicknamed "The Big Fijian", is an Indo-Fijian professional golfer who was Number 1 in the Official World Golf Rankingfor 32 weeks in 2004 and 2005. Vijay was the 12th man to reach the world No. 1-ranking and was the only new world No. 1 in the 2000s decade. He has won three major championships (The Masters in 2000 and the PGA Championship in 1998 and 2004) and was the leading PGA Tour money winner in 2003, 2004 and 2008. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2005 (but deferred his induction until 2006). He won the FedEx Cup in 2008.
An Indo-Fijian practicing Hinduism,Singh was born in LautokaFiji and grew up in Nadi. A resident of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, he is known for his meticulous preparation, often staying at the range hours before and after his tournament rounds, working on his game. (wikipedia)
• • •

What is this? I'm not blogging this. This is not a theme. There's nothing here. Seriously, this concept is so rudimentary, so boringly straighforward, I sincerely cannot believe the puzzle was accepted. The grid as a whole is OK, but this theme is astonishingly substandard. Nothing in the execution of the theme causes it to rise above the most boring TV Guide trivia quiz. Sub-TV Guide, in fact. Actually, I apologize to TV Guide, even though I'm not sure it still exists—their puzzles are unpleasant and trivia-heavy, but they expect you to know much tougher answers. Why does this puzzle exist? Is there an anniversary? Did the TV shows offer financial consideration for this? If so, can they get their money back, because this is bad. Objectively.

Five things:
  • 49D: Golfer Singh who won the 2000 Masters (VIJAY) — knew it instantly, but spelling ... I think I got the MTV VEEJAY (?) spelling in there, and then I went with VEJAY, which is like a typo'd VE DAY ... this was the one moment during the solve where I felt like the wheels were gonna come off. For no good reason
  • 1A: Just one year, for Venus and Serena Williams (AGE GAP) — nice clue/answer to open. SERENA WILLIAMS was a long answer in a puzzle I solve immediately prior to solving this one, so she was on my mind, as she often is.
  • 43D: Ditch for cutting timber (SAWPIT) — this is the one WTF answer in the grid? I have never seen this term, ever. Why are you cutting timber in a ditch? Nevermind, I don't really care. I just know that this is a pretty technical / obscure term for a Monday. Not that it slowed me down much.
  • 9D: Onetime Apple product (iBOOK)— discontinued 12 years ago ... coincidentally (?), this blog turns 12 tomorrow (9/25/18)
  • 35D: Does one's taxes online (E-FILES) — it's how all the E-SPIES do their taxes 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


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