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Friday, May 1, 2015
Constructor: David Steinberg
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: Calvin PEETE (48D: Calvin of the P.G.A.) —
Calvin Peete, whose life traced one of sport’s most triumphant arcs — a school dropout with a crooked left arm who did not pick up a golf club until his 20s, did not join the pro tour until his 30s, and still became one of the leading players of his era and the most successful black professional golfer before Tiger Woods — has died. He was 71. (from PEETE's NYT obituary, published yesterday)
• • •
A writer friend of mine wrote me yesterday:
... can you explain why anyone gives a crap about symmetry in crossword puzzles? This is a really odd phenomenon, to me. I don't see how it adds anything except a very faint sense of order and elegance, but it seems to me it comes at enormous expense.
What expense? Well, the need, for example, to have "corners," which often mean a lot of short clues or whatever. Not being a constructor, I am ignorant here, really, but wouldn't all sorts of creativity be opened up if we gave up the rawther stuffy conceit of symmetry?It seems to me to be the equivalent of rhyme to poetry, only way less satisfying.
That said, MONTE CARLO CASINO has "green paint"* painted all over it. But then, *that* said, the rest of this grid is Fantastic. All the other 16s are Good to Great, and though you have some (predictable) wincers in the short crosses (quoth the raven, MNEMvermore), the trade-off is more than worth it. FEROCIOUS ANGEL DUST livens up the center (which, mercifully, doesn't feature a third 16 stack), the grid even manages to squeeze in some interesting longer Downs like JESUS ALOU and HOT SPRING and JAM JAR, which, OK, isn't "longer," but it's still cool. Only real downside for me today was how easy this thing was. I got Downs 1 through 4 in quick succession, with no hesitation, and that pretty much blew open the top section. From there I found it really easy to send out long tentacles into all the sections of the grid. Here's a pic of my progress just after the 1/3 mark:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
*"green paint" is the term for a crossword answer that is more arbitrary word pairing than solid, stand-alone answer.
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