Bahla fort site / FRI 1-10-14 / Word puzzle popular since 1930s / Menelaus kingdom / Symbol of liberty in French Revolution / 1978 disco hit featuring warning don't fall in love / Body of water belatedly added to course of Erie Canal
Friday, January 10, 2014
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: Lawrence KASDAN (7A: Lawrence who co-wrote "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi") —
Lawrence Edward Kasdan (born January 14, 1949) is an American film producer, director, and screenwriter. He is best known as the co-writer of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Kasdan has been confirmed to be co-writer for the upcoming third trilogy of Star Wars.
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THE FRIDAY PUZZLE: This puzzle is so insanely well made that I'm going to make a point of finding all its faults. Otherwise, my review would just be me shaking my head in awe. So, here are the ways in which this puzzle sucks:
- MACHOS? (35A: Domineering men). Really, a noun? The dude sang "Macho, macho man" … but he did also sing "I want to be a macho!" Damn it! OK, scratch #1.
- IN A PET? No one has been IN A PET since the '50s, and even then no one liked it. The only person who can properly be said to be IN A PET is a vet, during surgery or perhaps certain routine examinations.
- OATERS? What year is it? We're still pretending this is current!? [but even as I write this I'm noticing it's Right Beneath CRACK SHOT, which is so perfect … Damn it!]
- EPPS and TERI are modern(ish) crosswordese and, despite being marginal and far apart from one another, together they nearly destroy the whole puzzle.
- Barry Manilow.
- KRISS KROSS should clearly have been clued as the youthful rap group who pioneered the Backwards Clothes Movement of the early '90s. So what if they actually spell their name KRIS and not KRISS? I think my point is still valid. Actually, I just want to play this:
OK, enough of that. In reality, what you have here is a 64-worder that is so smooth that it almost seems unremarkable. There was nothing odd or tortured or alien, not even a decent candidate for Word of the Day. What did it have? A cavalcade of long answers, almost all of them perfectly in-the-language phrases, five of them Right Alongside One another. That center is so fat and so white and he drove CHEAT SHEETS (a fantastic answer) right through it!? Honestly, it's not fair. I guess the grid doesn't have many Scrabbly letters. You could knock it for that. But let me tell you, constructors revere this guy for a reason—his grids exhibit a high level of difficulty, but without pretension and (most importantly) with flawless execution. I can't find any real crap, even in the short stuff. My only (genuine) complaint was that it was too easy. I was done in 4:38. Too smooth. I've seen more superficially dazzling themelesses, but I've never seen someone go under 68 words with such ease. Almost nonchalance. Most people's grids start to buckle somewhere, sometimes pretty badly, when you start to get down into those depths. But this thing isn't even breaking a sweat. Look on his works, ye mighty, and despair.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld