Deposits of glacial debris / WED 1-20-16 / Pitch-correcting audio processor / Charles who wrote Peg Woffington / Clearly Different eye care chain / Cross-dressing Streisand character
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Constructor: Herre Schouwerwou
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: DRY MARTINI (49A: Cocktail made by combining the ends of 17-, 26- and 38-Across) — theme answers end in GIN, VERMOUTH, and ICE ... there's also a tacked-on answer that's supposed to be a martini-related pun: OLIVER TWIST (60A: Dickens classic ... and, phonetically, two garnishes for a 49-Across)
- EXTRA VIRGIN (17A: Like some top-quality kitchen oil)
- RIVER MOUTH (26A: Delta locale)
- DIAPER SERVICE (38A: Exchange program for preschoolers?)
John Kingsley "Joe" Orton (1 January 1933 – 9 August 1967) was an English playwright and author. His public career was short but prolific, lasting from 1964 until his death three years later. During this brief period he shocked, outraged, and amused audiences with his scandalous black comedies. The adjective Ortonesque is sometimes used to refer to work characterised by a similarly dark yet farcical cynicism. (wikipedia)
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*DRY* MARTINI. It's just a martini. Those are the basic ingredients of a martini. A martini martini. There is nothing—I repeat, Nothing—"DRY" about the martini recipe hidden at the ends of the theme answers. "DRY"ness has to do with the amount of vermouth. The less vermouth, the more "DRY" (you use "dry" vermouth, but more vermouth actually means a wetter martini ...) But, again, without ratios to guide us, who knows what kind of martini we're dealing with? So the whole puzzle is a lie, or at least a misrepresentation. It's important to get these things straight. Your ingredients say martini, your revealer says a specific kind of martini. Boo. Second, that OLIVER TWIST pun, yikes. Tacked-on and groan-worthy. Also, it's clued Terribly. "Olive or twist?" is a question, not "two garnishes." The "or" makes the clue flat-out wrong. "Olive or twist" is, grammatically, one garnish. "I can't decide if an olive or twist works best in this drink." See, singular. Then there's the ICE answer. I mean ... All the gin in the world won't make the taste of diaper go away. Was there no other ICE-ending answer? A diaper-free one? (A: there were, and are, millions).
The fill has its moments—the one I liked best was the POP MUSIC / AUTOTUNE juxtaposition. Nice. Apt. Other places, not so great. I was grimacing and kind of listing to one side as I worked through the IEVER / NAE / READE section down there. Nothing says "I give up" quite like that clue on PART V (7D: Fifth installment of a miniseries). And when's the last time anyone drank Sanka, let alone multiple SANKAS (!?!)? A couple answers stunned me, though not in bad ways. I would not have thought MORAINES a common enough word to be in a Wednesday puzzle (23D: Deposits of glacial debris). Can't remember why I know it. Maybe some scary documentary about the impending end of the planet due to ice melt-off? I was also surprised to see AMA, as clued (59A: Online Q&A session). Are there AMAs outside of Reddit? And what does it even stand for? Ask ... Me ... Another? Hang on, I'll look it up... ah, it's Ask Me Anything, and the internet is telling me it's basically *exclusive* to Reddit, so ugh to that. I mean ugh to "online" when you mean "Reddit and only Reddit." "Online" does not equal Reddit, though Reddit is a subset of "Online." This is basically my point about martini / DRY MARTINI, by the way.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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