Thursday, July 24, 2014
Constructor: David Phillips
Relative difficulty: toughish for a Thursday, until you get the trick
THEME: "Paint It, Black" — put the word IT into four different pairs of black squares
Word of the Day: PETER TOSH (32D: One of the Wailers of Bob Marley and the Wailers) —
Peter Tosh, OM (born Winston Hubert McIntosh; 19 October 1944 – 11 September 1987) was a Jamaican reggae musician. Along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer he was one of the core members of the band The Wailers (1963–1974). After which he established himself as a successful solo artist and a promoter of Rastafari. He was murdered in 1987 during a home invasion. --Wikipedia
• • •
Should I know the name David Phillips? I don't, but this is a very polished piece of work, especially impressive if he's a new constructor.
- (4D: Hit 2012 Disney film) WRECK IT RALPH
- (20A: "Looky here!") CHECK IT OUT
- (59A: Not worry about something annoying) LET IT SLIDE
- (22D: 1966 Rolling Stones hit ... or an instruction to be followed four times in this puzzle) PAINT IT BLACK
Two elegant touches: 1) the letters IT are used as the word "it" uniformly in all four entries and 2) the ITs are symmetrically placed in the grid. A third elegant touch is that no stray ITs appear anywhere in the grid, which would've been slightly unsightly. Not sure if this was by luck or design but if the author is reading this I'd be interested to know in comments.
Two dings on the theme clues:
1) The clue for LET IT SLIDE sounds off. "Not worry about something annoying" is more like "let it go," while "let it slide" means "decide not to punish a minor infraction." This is a minor infraction, though, so I'll let it go.
2) This one rankles a bit, though: I think the revealer clue at 22D should have read "1966 Rolling Stones hit ... or what the constructor did four times in this puzzle." I can't find a way to interpret the clue where the solver is painting IT black. I put IT in white letters in the solution grid, for example, but I didn't paint anything black. If I'm missing a reading of this then let me know in comments, but it doesn't seem as on-target as a visual aspect-revealer should be.
But still, a good use of the letters-in-black-squares idea. And check out that grid: at 72 words, it's wide-open (and clean) enough to be an above-average themeless. Don't miss those internal 4x4 blocks in green in the solution grid above; it's one thing to do a 4x4 box in a corner or edge, but quite another to do it in the center like this with long words beaming out of it in all directions. Bravo.
Lovely week of puzzles thus far, isn't it? A-, C+, A, B, and I'm giving today's puzzle a grade of A-. Hoping for a B on Friday so we have all the letters of "Abacab."
Signed, Matt Gaffney, Regent for one more day of CrossWorld