Cey Darling of baseball / FRI 9-18-15 / Some tiltyard paraphernalia / Like Blofeld in Ian Fleming's You Only Live Twice / Protest song on Pink Floyed's Dark Side of Moon / Yellow-skinned fruit / Scandinavian coin with hole in it / Source of some political gaffes
Friday, September 18, 2015
Constructor: Gareth Bain and Brad Wilber
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: IONOSPHERE (20A: Bouncer of radio signals) —
- the layer of the earth's atmosphere that contains a high concentration of ions and free electrons and is able to reflect radio waves. It lies above the mesosphere and extends from about 50 to 600 miles (80 to 1,000 km) above the earth's surface.
- a region similar to an ionosphere above the surface of another planet. (google)
• • •
CABOT COVE (though my brain kind of wanted CABOT'S COVE and even CABOT'S GROVE), and there was that pat-self-on-the-back moment when I managed to remember what MARTINETS were, nailing it with just the back end in place (57A: Disciplinarians). And the longer Downs are really nice in places (esp. MAKE NICE and SPREAD 'EM ... really like the clue on RED EYES, too). But a lot of the rest was just fill. OK stuff, not interestingly clued. And a bunch of suboptimal stuff. Not terrible, but there really is a good amount of it: OBSOLESCE as a verb is ... well, it's real, but no one ever uses it. DNALAB always makes me cringe, not because it's not a real thing. It's a crossword staple now. But I see that answer, from a constructor's standpoint, as something that software really overpromotes. I think of it as that answer that my computer always tells me could go somewhere, and I'm like, "no, computer, I'm ignoring you for now. No thanks." Actually, it's probably been in one of my puzzles; and may be again. But I just don't like it. Personal taste. More objectively unideal are ETCETC UTILS RECTO NEURO STENO MOHS ROSH RONS REA AMENS AGAPE GOAPE ATP ADAR ACTII. None of this is godawful on its own. But the cumulative dross feels excessive. It kind of drags the delightful parts down a bit. [full disclosure: my GOAPE prejudice rivals, if not exceeds, my DNALAB prejudice]
Whole thing felt pretty easy. Had one struggle + breakthrough moment that was pretty satisfying: HOT MIC. I had the terminal -IC and ... couldn't imagine what could go there (30D: Source of some political gaffes). Was imagining a single word (never a good assumption, esp. late week). Most of the rest of this puzzle fell without much struggle. I went from the NW (here you can see my "Murder, She Wrote" superpowers taking over...):
I need sleep. And so to bed.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. the Wall St. Journal started a daily puzzle this week. I've done all of them this week, and they're pretty good. They're skewing easier and somewhat less ambitious than NYT puzzles right now, but only one answer has made me howl and throw things all week—that's pretty good. Today's puzzle is a contest puzzle (and an easy one at that) by Matt Gaffney. Here's a link to the .PDF. Maybe someday (fingers crosses) the puzzle becomes available in .jpz or .puz format... but for now, I'll print it out. Bookmark the WSJ puzzle page. It'll be a nice addition to your solving day.
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