Marshy valley / TUE 12-22-15 / Symbol for water potential / Wimple wearer / Popular musical game beginning in 2005 / Fabled mountain dwellers / 1869 romance by RD Blackmore / Collection that despite its name is orderly compact
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Constructor: Tom McCoy
Relative difficulty: Challenging (for a Tuesday ... it's over-sized ... and has a couple weird answers)
- PAJAMA PARTY (18A: Kids' event that goes into the wee hours)
- SUNGLASS LENS (24A: Something in a movie star's frame?)
- TROUSER PRESS (51A: Certain wrinkle remover)
- SCISSOR KICK (62A: Sidestroke component)
Trouser Press was a rock and roll magazine started in New York in 1974 as a mimeographed fanzine by editor/publisher Ira Robbins, fellow Who fan Dave Schulps and Karen Rose under the name "Trans-Oceanic Trouser Press" (a reference to a song by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and an acronymic play on the British TV show Top of the Pops). Its original scope was British bands and artists (early issues featured the slogan "America's Only British Rock Magazine"). Initial issues contained occasional interviews with major artists like Brian Eno and Robert Fripp and extensive record reviews. After 14 issues, the title was shortened to simply Trouser Press, and it gradually transformed into a professional magazine with color covers and advertising. (wikipedia)
• • •
TROUSER PRESS—sounds vintage, like ... from a time when people invented weird niche contraptions, like escargot forks or leg warmers. Whole TROUSER part of that answer was hard to come by, especially since I had SMALLER for SPARSER (47A: Like the population of Alaska vis-à-vis New Jersey), and thus had no idea about all the affected Downs. SUNGLASS LENS ...? What is that? Just one lens in your two-lensed pair of sunglasses? That is ... I don't even know. I want to say it's one of the most made-up theme answers I've ever seen. SCISSOR KICK is delightfully far from actual scissors, whereas SUNGLASS LENS ... is just one half of the two lenses you would normally find in actual sunglasses. At least the other SINGULAR phrases are things one might actually say (yes, TROUSER PRESS, I'm throwing you that bone). SUNGLASS LENS ... I mean, jeez, SUNGLASS HUT is a dumb mall thing, but at least it's a Thing. But SUNGLASS HUT is too short to provide the symmetrical counterpart for TROUSER PRESS. So I blame TROUSER PRESS. Also, TROUSER SNAKE was available and you just *left* it on the table? I've been lobbying for Buzzfeed to get away from the dick jokes in its crosswords, but NYT ... you guys got some latitude. (Speaking of latitude, Loved 29A: Line of latitude ("IT'S UP TO YOU")). Lastly, theme-wise, SINGULAR is not what you'd call a scintillating revealer.
I need to go back to SUNGLASS LENS, because I feel like I must be missing something. I'm not sure I even understand the clue: [Something in a movie star's frame?]. So a movie star wears sunglasses (more than normal people?) and sunglasses have "frames" (the way film has frames, or something is in or out of frame in a movie shot?). But ... just the one lens then? It's a profile shot? Trying Too Hard (TTH). You have an already wonky, weird, arbitrary answer, and you decided to turn the clue into a gaudy neon arrow? I wish the fill had been able to rescue this one, but aside from the big corner answers (which I like) this one's just a bit too OCTO-EKES. Too CLI-RES. Too AESOPS-ROMS. Etc. I need a WHISKEY, so I am going to get a WHISKEY. Good day.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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