Lumberjack contests / THU 1-28-16 / Mother of Eos Selene / fishy deli order / Former liberal informally / Home of Carthage Palace / Souvenir of Russian trip / Burlesque co-star 2010 / Seeker of elixir of life /
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: BALLOON (39A: Party staple suggested by connecting this puzzle's special squares) — if you connect all the "HE" squares (symbol for "helium"), you get a round shape, which I'm guessing is supposed to be a helium-filled BALLOON
- I CHEATED / ALL HERE
- CHER / HENCE
- SEETHE / ALCHEMIST
- RHEA / HENNA
- THEA / BATHE
- HELIUM (?) / ACID HEADS
- TUNA HERO
- ACHE FOR
- TITHE / THEO
1. Consisting of two; double.2. Music Consisting of two or a multiple of two beats to the measure. (thefreedictionary.com)
• • •
ACHE FOR and "I CHEATED" and ALL HERE. I've never heard TUNA HERO, only TUNA SUB, but maybe that's regional (58A: Fishy deli order). I also don't believe in ACID HEADS. POT HEADS, of course (they're the ones ON POT). DEAD HEADS, so I'm told (I like how DEAD from DEAD SPOT intersects HEADS, making a little DEAD / HEADS crossing...). ACID HEADS seems over-improvised. It's one of those answers crosswords keeps trying to convince me is real, like ROLEOS and Laura INNES (sorry, Laura; not buying it!). Fill has rough patches, but is mostly lively and fun. The theme as a whole doesn't work that great. You can call it a BALLOON, and I see that there is HElium in those squares, but nothing about the BALLOON says "floating." It's a circle. It's just a circle. So there's nothing very BALLOON-specific (again, besides the HELIUM). Some way to simulate floating, which is to say, some way to simulate a string (for example) would've been nice. Not sure how one would do that. All I know is ... circle is circle is circle. It's a circle. Visually. That is what it is.
[update: apparently there was a string in the paper / pdf. Just not for us lowlifes who solve in AcrossLite or directly on the NYT app. Once again, the NYT fails to indicate this. Here you go]
DUPLE is a ridiculous non-word. I'd've done everything in my power to cull it. Not a big fan of RADO, either, though that, presumably, is a word people actually utter (when, say, they're buying a high-end Swiss watch), unlike DUPLE, which no one ever says ever. DUPLO is a kind of chunk faux-Lego, if I remember correctly. Crossing A NICE with A COLD is kind of an atrocity. Two bad partials ... crossing? Maybe the theme was taxing this grid more than I imagine. Anyway, I mostly enjoyed this. Didn't have too much trouble except for in and around DUPLE. I really need to stop writing that word. It's driving me a little nuts right now.
See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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