Bygone Ottoman rulers / THU 1-14-16 / Immortal flower in Paradise Lost / Dog attacking newsstand / Longtime Law order actor / Boyfriend singer to fans / Features of urban ancient Rome
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Constructor: Jeffrey Wechsler
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
- "TRAY DIPPER" (18A: One who might cause a spill at a cafeteria?)
- "PAPER RACK BITER" (23A: Dog attacking a newsstand?)
- "SHE'S HEAVING LOAM" (32A: Answer to "What's her job in the garden supply store"?)
- "LEIGH SHOVES YOU" (46A: What happens after getting in Vivien's way on a movie set?)
Word of the Day: HALON (47D: Fire-suppressing compound) —
• • •
SPECIAL MESSAGE for the week of January 10-January 17, 2016
Hello, solvers. Somehow, it is January again, which means it's time for my week-long, once-a-year pitch for financial contributions to the blog. The idea is very simple: if you read the blog regularly (or even semi-regularly), please consider what it's worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. In making this pitch, I'm pledging that the blog will continue to be here for you to read / enjoy / grimace at for at least another calendar year, with a new post up by 9:00am (usually by 12:01am) every day, as usual. This year is special, as it will mark the 10th anniversary of Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle, and despite my not-infrequent grumblings about less-than-stellar puzzles, I've actually never been so excited to be thinking and writing about crosswords. I have no way of knowing what's coming from the NYT, but the broader world of crosswords looks very bright, and that is sustaining. Whatever happens, this blog will remain an outpost of the Old Internet: no ads, no corporate sponsorship, no whistles and bells. Just the singular, personal voice of someone talking passionately about a topic he loves. As I have said in years past, I know that some people are opposed to paying for what they can get for free, and still others really don't have money to spare. Both kinds of people are welcome to continue reading my blog, with my compliments. It will always be free. I have no interest in cordoning it off, nor do I have any interest in taking advertising. I value my independence too much. Anyway, if you are so moved, there is a Paypal button in the sidebar, and a mailing address here:
℅ Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton NY 13905
And here: I'll stick a PayPal button in here for the mobile users.
• • •
LEIGH SHOVES YOU," which is the clear winner of the day. Was "She's Leaving Home" a single? The other songs are very, very famous. That one, by comparison ... less so. But there really aren't that many Beatles songs that will spoonerize well, so I think it's fine. There's only one really good Beatles spoonerism that this puzzle missed (or just couldn't accommodate): [Competitive sunbather's goal?] => MAX TAN! You could also go with [Sensation experienced by one solving a corny crossword?] => PUNNY HIGH, [Casino exhortation to actor Marvin?] => "BET IT, LEE!", or [Nickname of Comedian Bruce, back when he was a mob enforcer?] => LENNY PAIN. But I think MAX TAN is the one you could actually get away with. There are some unfortunate aspects to this puzzle. One big problem is the flat, dull revealer—my kingdom for a puzzle title (which obviate the need for space-hogging, cruddy revealers like this). When I first encountered trouble up top with the themers, I just went looking for the revealer clue (usually the last long answer), saw "Group..." and just filled it in instantly. Your revealer should never be that transparent. There's also the issue of this puzzle's less-than-great fill. HALON is of course bananas, but the bigger issues are ICER and DEYS and both ERS and ORS and EVO, AINTI, ELY, LAPP, STE. And there's no color in those big banks of Downs. MISUSERS? Side-eye + frowny face there. If you always start explanations with "SO...", you have SOITIS. That's how I'm reading that answer, at any rate.
[the only acceptable clue for BLING in 2016]
Always nice to see crossword constructor Tony ORBACH's dad in the puzzle (41A: Longtime "Law & Order actor), and I really like the misdirection on the RAPPER clue (11D: Drake, e.g.) and the punny (!) clue on BERRA (6D: The catcher in the wry?). Get it? 'Cause he played catcher. And his humor was ... wry? I guess? Sure. I need to go to bed now, as I've been up since 4:15am due to screeching carbon monoxide alarm (malfunctioning battery, said the team of firemen in our house before sunrise). So, yeah, that's all, folks.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]