Food preservative for short / TUE 12-31-13 / Site of Kubla Khan's pleasure dome / North American finch / One of Spain's Balearics
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Constructor: Tracy Gray
Relative difficulty: Medium
- LIVING LARGE
- HORATIO ALGER
- ROCKET'S RED GLARE
- PREMIUM LAGER
- CHIVAS REGAL
Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), also known as butylhydroxytoluene, is a lipophilic organic compound, chemically a derivative of phenol, that is useful for its antioxidant properties. European and U.S. regulations allow small percentages to be used as a food additive. While there may be some dispute in BHT's use in the human diet, the chemical is widely used in industry wherever oxidation in fluids (e.g. fuel, oil) and other materials must be treated, and free radicals must be kept in check. (wikipedia)
PLAGE there, esp. as Nothing Good Is Being Held in Place there. You go w/ PLAGE and you *still* make us suffer through GLO and ESS? I don't get that. But worse, much much worse, is BHT. I've never heard of it, but I've never heard of many things, so that's not the main problem. The main problem is that a. it is comparatively obscure (NYT hasn't used it in Over Ten Years, and then it was on a Thursday, and, presumably, *necessary* to make some important thematic thing happen); and b. it is an initialism where there absolutely, positively doesn't need to be one. I'm dumbfounded that the constructor, the editor, someone wouldn't take ten seconds to rid the puzzle of BHT. It's not holding Anything in place. You can tear that corner out and refill it a jillion different ways. BHT? I can't even … I don't know. Your ear has to be so tin to think that's a good idea. Mind-blowing.
And then on to the extrinsic problem: this theme has been done before. And recently. And by god the first thing any seasoned constructor does (in this day and age) when pursuing a themed puzzle is check to databases. Has it been done? If so, are you going to do it differently? In this case, yes, it has been done, and no, you're not really going to do it differently. I just plugged *lager* into the cruciverb.com database and found the following grid, but if you'd simply searched ROCKET'S RED GLARE or CHIVAS REGAL, you'd have ended up in the same place:
Due diligence. It's important in the electronic age (in any age, I guess, but especially now—you simply can't construct puzzles as if this database information does not exist; not anymore).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld