Like an unfortunate torero / MON 1-25-10 / Classical opera redone by Elton John / Onesie wearer / In poorest of tastes as a novel
Monday, January 25, 2010
Constructor: Holden Baker
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Some convoluted golf stuff, with circled letters providing visual representations of golf scores, two of which are represented by their familiar terms (BOGEY / EAGLE) in the grid, in unclued but (apparently) arrowed (?) answers. This is what I'm told the grid looks like in print.
Word of the Day: ABATTOIR (5D: Slaughterhouse) —
- A slaughterhouse.
- Something likened to a slaughterhouse: "The hand of God and mankind's self-inflicted blows seem equally heavy ... giving a strong cumulative impression of the world as an abattoir" (Manchester Guardian Weekly).
[French, from abattre, to strike down, from Old French. See abate.]
Yet another "F#@% You" to online solvers, as for the third time in five days, we get a grid designed for print and but not replicated accurately in any form the NYT cares to distribute online. I wish I could share the hate mail I'm already getting about this novelty grid trend — good solvers and constructors writing me and asking me "WTF!?!?!" Why not provide a .pdf of the puzzle? This would allow those of us who don't get the paper to print out a version that looks *identical* to the puzzle in the paper. I've nothing against the odd wacky grid, but give me the opportunity to solve it as it was designed. I'm a paying subscriber. [addendum: the NYT site (finally) some time today added a .pdf file of the entire puzzle — it's here]
The bigger issue today is that the puzzle is a design failure. I mean ... a huge failure. Why are there circles depicting "ONE under PAR" and "TWO over PAR," but *NO* "BIRDIE" or "DOUBLE BOGEY" in my grid? Why are there arrows pointing to terms represented by one set of circled words (BOGEY and EAGLE) but no arrows (because no terms) involved with the other set of circled words? It's baffling. I did this puzzle in a ridiculous 2:52 (using the arrow-less, online grid), so it was super easy. Absurdly easy — the least the puzzle could do is be interesting, or at least consistent. I'd settle for explicable. No idea how something like this gets the green light. I really like the tetrad of ABATTOIR, BALLPARK, CODIFIED and PARABOLA, and it's hard not to love TRASHIEST (37A: In the poorest of taste, as a novel), but the rest is terrible. SSTS and SSE and ESSES and AGOB (!?) crossing ATALE and then EFOR and oh my god I have to stop because I'm making myself sad.
- 41A: Exactly what's expected (par for the course)
- 15A: [See grid] [except you online solvers, screw you guys] (bogey)
- 69A: [See grid] (eagle)
- 49A: Classical opera redone by Elton John ("Aida") — but you knew that. I'm just trying to find something to write about.
- 72A: Creation that's almost human ('droid) — here's part two of that 70-minute critique of "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" that I mentioned yesterday:
- 4D: Like an unfortunate torero (gored) — yeah, that's pretty unfortunate. I like the understated quality of this clue.
- 6D: Onesie wearer (tot) — is there an official age range for "TOT?" I think of infants as wearing onesies. Not sure how old one can be and still be a "TOT."
- 29D: Gadget for someone on K.P. duty (parer) — peeling, or paring, I guess, potatoes, stereotypically. Though the kid on the right appears to be working on apples.
- 35D: Mountain road features (esses) — wanted RUTS or, in Costa Rica, HOWLER MONKEYS.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]