Best friend of Thomas Tank Engine / TUE 6-3-14 / Deli counter cheese brand / 3 or 5 series car in slang / Brand with tagline Established in Milwaukee 1844
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Constructor: Susan Gefland
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)
THEME: ALL THE TRIMMINGS (60A: What Thanksgiving turkey may come with … as suggested by parts of 17-, 22-, 38- and 51-Across?) — final words of theme answers are kinds of trimming:
- PABST BLUE RIBBON (17A: Brand with the tagline "established in Milwaukee 1844")
- SPINAL CORD (22A: Part of the back)
- LUNATIC FRINGE (38A: Extremist group)
- ALPINE LACE (51A: Deli counter cheese brand)
Word of the Day: ALPINE LACE —
Alpine Lace®Deli Swiss Cheese is made with patience, passion and meticulous attention to detail in an area that's known as the 'Little Switzerland of the Rocky Mountains'.The fertile Magic Valley of Southern Idaho, with its jagged mountains and lush, green pastures, has a climate and elevation closely resembling Switzerland.It is here, in Magic Valley, where Alpine Lace®Deli Swiss Cheese is made following award-winning, cheese-making traditions. Deliciously healthy Alpine Lace®Deli Cheese is made with pure and natural wholesome ingredients. It is a premium cheese made simply and honestly. (some ad site I found somewhere on the internet)
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ALPINE LACE before really, really slowed me down—to the point where I had ALPINE -ACE and made an educated guess at the RRN™ (Random Roman Numeral) there in the crossing (LVI). Never having heard of this answer all of a sudden made every answer around it harder to get. Thought the "Series" in [3 or 5 Series car, in slang] was some specific race, so needed many crosses to see BEEMER. Knew AINGE but went looking for a team name in the adjacent answer (55D: 54-Down was one), and without the themers, -A-ER really looked like LAKER (though AINGE played for the Celtics, so it didn't feel right—but olde-timey clue-crosswordese CAGER was not on my radar at that point). Had RCA for MCA for a bit (64D: Longtime record label). Things just got boggy. Still finished under 4, but just barely—noticeably slower than normal for a Tuesday. I remain a fan of this puzzle—the ALPINE LACE part of it all just kept it from elating me the way it looked like it might early on. This has so much more zip than yesterday's. A very nice easy (-ish) puzzle.
Check out the nice, reasonably contemporary long Downs on this one. I mean, CYBERPUNK's been around for at least 30 years and ENCRYPTED a hell of a lot longer, but they both still *feel* very current. It's a very Scrabbly Tuesday, but with none of that pathetic straining after pangrammitude. Hence, the fill is tight and clean *and* entertaining. Even short stuff like TVTRAY and BULKY have a certain liveliness about them. I tried to watch "Pineapple EXPRESS" this morning, but about fifteen minutes in, a couple things happened: first, I got kind of bored, and second, I realized that I had this movie confused with "The Darjeeling Limited." I kept wondering when Seth Rogen and James Franco were going to stop getting high and get on the train already. I think the clue for PERCY was pretty brutal. Unless you've currently got young kids in your house, how in the world are you supposed to remember all of Thomas's damned friends. I can't even remember ALEXA, and she's in the puzzle every month or so.
Only "faults" I'd point out are S-STAR (69A: Relatively cool red giant) (dislike all letter-STARs; crutch fill) and REIN sharing the grid with REINE, which isn't even a violation. Just more shared DNA than you want in any two answers, ideally.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld