Hoppy brew for short / WED 1-14-15 / Millrose Games highlight / 501st royal daughter / Cousin of calypso / Borat portrayer Baron Cohen / Bit of cash in Kashmir / Band with 1987 6x platinum album Kick
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Constructor: Caleb Emmons
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Unexpectedly Roman — common names / phrases are clued as if certain parts were Roman numerals:
- LEMONADE MIX (17A: 1,009th juice drink?)
- PRINCESS DI (11D: 501st royal daughter?)
- IV DRUGS (39A: Four prescriptions?)
- XXX RATINGS (30D: 30 consumer reviews?)
- XL TEE SHIRTS (61A: 40 concert souvenirs?)
The Millrose Games is an annual indoor athletics meet (track and field) held each February in New York City. They started taking place at the Armory in Washington Heights in 2012, after having taken place in Madison Square Garden from 1914 to 2011. The games were started when employees of the New York City branch of Wanamaker's department store formed the Millrose Track Club to hold a meet. The featured event is the Wanamaker Mile. (wikipedia)
• • •LEMONADE MIX and PRINCESS DI?" The others are compromises. What's the big difference? Well, you probably can tell, but I'll spell it out anyway. See, MIX and DI are words/names that the clues convert to Roman numerals. This means the Roman-ness is totally hidden, completely unexpected, because MIX and DI are not already abbreviations. That is, their letters have not already been converted into initials / symbols. This makes the conversion extra cool. Converting XXX RATINGS (not really a phrase to start with) to 30 RATINGS does not involve much imagination and produces little to no "aha" feeling. To simplify: MIX-to-1,009 is not a conversion I could see coming, whereas IV-to-4 … is. Where is Otto DIX!? LIV Ullman!? Hell, even CD PLAYER would've felt more in-the-pocket than XL TEE SHIRTS (which both looks absurd written out ("tee?") and is not likely to be said as written, i.e. people still say "extra large" most of the time…). Sometimes good theme ideas should just remain ideas unless and until you have a full complement of Good Theme Answers.
WEDNESDAY PUZZLE aka "AMOR ON A STICK!"
The fill is once again labored and subpar, with the possible exception of MAXED OUT (which is sadly offset by its ridiculous symmetrical counterpart, ON A STICK). Everywhere you look, musty, tired fill. You see it. I see it. Everyone sees it. Why is this still happening? This has been a rough week for the NYT, an unexpected and unwelcome return to form after a pretty good holiday run of puzzles. Second ASAP we've seen this week. Second WAS, too. These are the things one notices when there is next to nothing interesting in the puzzles to talk about. SQUASH over KETTLE is a nice little juxtaposition. That's all the good will I have to spend on this one. There's always tomorrow. Dum spiro spero. Etc.