Chaiken who co-created L Word / WED 11-12-14 / Mexican cigar brand / Baseball hall of famer mistakenly listed in chanukah song as Jewish / Slangy commercial suffix / Playwright who wrote what is originality undetected plagiarism /
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Constructor: Daniel Landman
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: BROKEN / RECORD (37A: With 40-Across, repeat offender? … or something found, literally, in four rows in this puzzle) — letter string "RECORD" is "BROKEN" (by black squares on four different lines:
- GRANDMÈRE / CORDS
- EIRE / COR / DESERT
- RACIER / ECO / RDAS
- PEREC / ORDAINING
Word of the Day: HORSE CAR (11D: Transportation in Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A.) —
1. a streetcar drawn by a horse or horses.2. a railroad car or a truck for transporting horses.[1825–35, Amer.] (thefreedictionary.com)
• • •
IAL, PSSTS, ORAMA), the damage done to this grid is really inexcusable. If you need a nine-letter word ending in "RE-" how in the world do you end up with French "GRANDMÈRE"? I want to say there are roughly a jillion English words / phrases that would've fit the bill. That's just the first of many odd choices. I call this kind of theme a "canshould," i.e. just because it *can* be done, doesn't mean it *should*. Again, I can imagine this theme concept in different, more experienced hands being pulled off nicely. But in the theme rows alone you've got EIRE, COR, RDAS, and PEREC (?!). And then, hoo boy, the rest of the grid is just drowning in suboptimal stuff. I knew before I got out of the NW that this puzzle was gonna be trouble. Fill problems are probably most intense in the N, with PSSTS PPD SPEE and COR all falling under the to-be-avoided category, but DECI EDUCED ESOS AER ADV GAI ABONE and the aforementioned IAL and ORAMA, not to mention ECO TEAMO INGE ULNA SRS and other ultra-common dull stuff. The grid simply isn't worth the theme concept. Are the long Downs OK? The long Downs are OK. But they are nowhere near justifying this grid. Should've been sent back with a note: "Good idea—send it back with a Much cleaner grid, and I will happily reconsider it." But instead: Good Enough! Run it! A friend of mine just wrote me a message with virtually the identical observation: the proper response to this was, "Good idea, but as is, no."
I just can't get over PSSTS and IAL. It's not like I haven't seen them before, but in a grid already hamstrung by subpar fill … more than one PSST? That just strains credulity. And the only time I wanna see freestanding "IAL" is if Gore ever writes an autobiography with that title.
- 62A: Georges who wrote "Life: A User's Manual" (PEREC) — I have only ever seen this name in crosswords, and Only Ever With This Clue. It's klassic krosswordese. See also SPEE. Old-timey non-fun.
- 63D: No great catch (CAD) — this clue struck me as very odd. I don't think of a CAD as someone you catch at all. A schlub is no great catch.
- 67A: Name hollered in the "Flintstones" theme song (WILMA) — I actually wrote in YABBA. As I drifted off to other parts of the grid, a little part of my brain was going, "You know YABBA's not a 'name,' right?"