Fashion designer Jacobs / TUE 6-2-15 / Opera singer Pinza / Weizman 1990s Israeli president / Arlo's partner in funnies / Coveted late-night gig
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Constructor: Bruce Haight
Relative difficulty: I don't know. I kept stopping to sigh and shake my head and take pictures of my grid. Medium?
- BEACH EROSION (20A: Problem cause by ocean storms)
- PITCHER OF BEER (34A: Bar order for the whole table)
- LEARN THE ROPES (43A: Pick up basics)
Ezio Pinza (May 18, 1892 – May 9, 1957) was an Italian opera singer. A bass with a rich, smooth and sonorous voice, he spent 22 seasons at New York's Metropolitan Opera, appearing in more than 750 performances of 50 operas. At the San Francisco Opera, Pinza sang 26 roles during 20 seasons from 1927 to 1948. Pinza also sang to great acclaim at La Scala, Milan, and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.
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BEACH EROSION). In the others, BEER and LEARN just stick out there on the ends of their respective answers, like one of those colored toothpicks that sometimes get stuck in sandwiches. Or like a piece of fluff that really doesn't belong on a sandwich at all and isn't really edible. But the sad theme is just a sad theme. A kind of run-of-the-mill sad theme. Unacceptable for a puzzle of the NYT's stature, but not, in and of itself, a crime against humanity. It's the shamelessly terrible fill that's the real issue here. Did you see the NW corner? Did you? Here, let me refresh:
The fault, once again, lies entirely with the editor, who a. never should've accepted this puzzle, and b. once he'd accepted it, should've … what's the word? … right, *edited* the damned thing to make it far less ABBR-ABRA-BAABAA-Bominable. An assiduous editor would've rejected it with a note indicating that the theme concept was indeed solid, but that the execution (including theme answer choice and overall fill) needed to be considerably improved. Then maybe you end up teaching a novice constructor something about professional standards. And maybe the puzzle he later resubmits to you is good. And we are all the better off for it. But this is not the puzzle world we live in. I thought this was a CHER tribute puzzle half way in. I think I might've liked it *slightly* better if it had been.
Go buy the Indie 500 puzzles ($10 for Play-at-Home option, under "Register"). You won't rue it. Oh, and the clue on NATE (44D: Silver of fivethirtyeight.com) reminds me—there is a World-Class Nate Silver-related clue in one of the Indie 500 puzzles (don't worry, he's in the clue, not the answer, so nothing's been spoiled). So good, I said "wow" out loud while solving (much to the annoyance, I'm sure, of the competitors in my vicinity).
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