Old newspaper columnist Joseph / THU 9-10-15 / Leafy plant also known as mountain spinach / 1996-97 Deep Blue opponent / Worker for Deloitte / Butt of many 1970s automotive jokes / First of two columns in fashion magazine / Banned plant growth regulator / High-end bag maker / Conversation interrupter in car maybe
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Constructor: Tracy Gray
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: SPILL THE BEANS (53A: Blab ... or a literal hint to completing five answers in this puzzle) — five Across answers turn down at their last word, which is also a kind of bean, so the "bean" part of the answer (which is also clued separately as a non-bean Down) is kind of "spilling" down the grid...
- a plant of the goosefoot family with leaves that are sometimes covered in a white mealy substance. Several kinds are edible and can be used as a substitute for spinach or sorrel. (mmmm... white mealy substance. Tell me more ...) (google.com)
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But now we get to the Third, and biggest issue I have with the theme, and it's specific to "snap bean." Wikipedia tells me that "snap beans" are also known as "green beans," which are also known as [dum dum DUM] "*string* beans." So there are four alleged "beans" in the grid, except two of them are actually The Same Bean. Can you do that? That seems like a massive foul. There are So Many Other Beans In The World, I can't believe you had to double-dip in the green bean synonym jar like that. What a tragedy.
- 1A: Chophouse orders (STEAKS) — had weird amount of trouble getting started in NW because I wanted T-BONES here, and then even when I mentally inserted STEAKS, I couldn't get anything but TARE to work (2D: Weigh station factor), and wasn't sure of that.
- 31A: Butt of many 1970s automotive jokes (FORD/PINTO) — wrote in EDSEL, thinking "well ... I guess people were still joking about the EDSEL in the '70s...")
- 37D: Chipped-flint tool (EOLITH) — fill in this puzzle is OK, but stuff like this (and ORACH, and ITER) goes on my No-Fly List of crossword fill. Technical and uncommon and only used as a crutch. I'd also put ALAR low on the desirability scale. And RARIN'. And ALSOP, for sure (4D: Old newspaper columnist Joseph).
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