Chinese-American fashion icon / THU 2-19-15 / Game of Thrones patriarch Stark / Archaeological site along Nile / Silent Spring topic for short / Pacific port from which Amelia Earhart left on her last fatal flight / City that supplied granite for Egyptian monuments
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Constructor: Jason Flinn
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: LOOPS (51A: What the paths of three answers in this puzzle include) — three answers go up in a loop (signified by circled squares) before returning to the answers' original plane of existence:
- PAPER AIRPLANE (26A: Classroom projectile)
- ROLLER COASTER (60A: Theme park part)
- SHOELACE (62A: It may be on the tip of the tongue)
• • •
PAPER AIRPLANEs actually do—kind of fly off weakly and then nosedive or hit the dog in the ass or something else similarly unceremonious and unimpressive. There's just three themers, first of all, so there's not a lot to admire, even if the concept itself were admirable—which, in a way, it is. It's kooky fun. It's just … PAPER AIRPLANEs mostly don't loop, and a SHOELACE is not ever "on the tip of the tongue" [of the shoe]. Look at the tip of your shoe's tongue—go ahead, I'll wait. [hums "I Love You, Honeybear" while he waits for you…]. OK, see? The tip is sticking up there all proud and SHOELACE-free. The laces are on the tongue, over the tongue, for sure, but not "on the tip." No sir. Then there's the biggest problem: PAPER AIRPLANE—or, rather, PAIRPLANE, which is the answer you get in the Across. That … is nonsense. The other theme answers give you non-nonsense: a SHOE is a thing, a ROASTER is a thing. A PAIRPLANE is gibberish. So theme idea is cool, but execution is weak and wobbly. Add a loop answer, clean up the cluing, and then maybe. It's a hard theme to pull off because you have to depart from *and return to* a letter in the answer (i.e. the lowest answer in the 'loop' gets used twice). But if you can't do it right, then just don't do it.
["Everything is doomed / And nothing will be spared / But I love you, Honey Bear…"]
LAE, as always, is The Worst thing in whatever grid it's in; today, it's just below AWW). WENT COLD, FIRE AWAY, DOTCOM, BITCOIN, GOES BAD, NAUSEATE, ATYPICAL … I like all of those. ANNA SUI I'm cool on (27D: Chinese-American fashion icon). In her full-name form, she's pretty fresh fill. But her name always makes me think "crutch fill." All the common letters and vowels … I don't know, I just can't get excited. It's like AMARNA. Valid, but crutchy. I like R. CRUMB, though (50D: "Keep in Truckin'" cartoonist). Hell, I'm teaching R. CRUMB next week. Double hell, I ordered a collection of his comics just today (as a reward to myself for refraining from buying the $350 Complete Zap Comix Box Set, which I may still cave in and buy… someday). He's one of the greatest cartoonists of all time, even if his work has a real capacity to NAUSEATE, at times.
TAE BO is not an [Exercise option] unless it's 1997.
See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld