Tenor Carreras / TUE 8-17-15 / Kyle Terminator hero / Slave woman in Uncle Tom's Cabin / Rapper born Shawn Corey Carter / First computer company to run ad during Super Bowl
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Constructor: Bill Thompson
Relative difficulty: took me longer than a typical Tuesday
THEME: MIDDLE EAST —letter string "EAST" appears in the dead middle of five answers:
- GONE ASTRAY (17A: *Left the flock)
- STAGE A STRIKE (23A: *Walk out)
- YEASTY (37A: *Like baking dough)
- FEASTS (39A: *Sumptuous spreads)
- ADELE ASTAIRE (48A: *Half of a brother/sister dance duo)
nounnoun: yawp; plural noun: yawps
- 1.a harsh or hoarse cry or yelp.
- North Americanfoolish or noisy talk.verbverb: yawp; 3rd person present: yawps; past tense: yawped; past participle: yawped; gerund or present participle: yawping
- 1.shout or exclaim hoarsely.
- North Americantalk foolishly or noisily.(google)
• • •
I know SUGARPEAs as "sugar snap peas" (10D: Legume with an edible pod). I think. Here's a scene that just took place in my house. Dialogue is recorded here verbatim.
Me, to my wife, who it turns out was almost asleep until I shouted at her from my home office. "Honey, are you asleep?"End scene. Some of the rest of this fill also felt wonky, like SAYEST (which I wanted to be SAYETH) and ATAHALT (which I wanted to be AT AN END). [Everything one can do] seems overly broad for SKILL SET, which always (to me) implies skills *in a specific arena* [looks at puzzle to see if ARENA is in there ... let's see ... ATARI ... ALETA ... nope, surprisingly, this grid is ARENA-free!]. STAGE A STRIKE feels pretty forced. The other themers are fine. Still, this is yet another in a string of puzzles that would put any novice and/or under-60 solver right off. Where is the balance? The quality control? All the progress that the NYT crossword made in the '90s—breaking with a fuddy-duddy, stuck-in-the-past tradition—feels like it's slowly being walked back. A retreat into past standards as opposed to a bold adaptation to the world as it is. Things are in danger of getting cozy, is what I'm saying. Staid and cozy.
"What? ... yes."
"What is it?"
"I have a vegetable*-related question."
"Is a sugar snap pea a thing?"
"Then what's a SUGAR PEA?"
".......... never heard of it."
This Slate article with the unsubtle title "The New York Times 'Mini' Crossword Is an Utter Disgrace to the NYT Crossword Brand" came out yesterday, and while I don't agree with the basic premise (and never even solved a "Mini" until today), I was happy to be quoted at length, from last Tuesday's blog, discussing the very real rut that the non-'Mini' / grown-up / actual NYT crossword is in.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
*[I know, it's really "legume," but I said "vegetable" and I'm nothing if not faithful to the historical record ...]
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]