Old you're going to like us sloganeer / WED 1-13-16 / Equine nibble / Frost mixed with pebbles / Pond admired from back porch / Poison used on TV's Breaking Bad / Type of laptop to printer connection
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Constructor: Jeremy Newton
Relative difficulty: Challenging
THEME: THREE R'S (39A: Elementary education ... or feature of the last words punned upon in 17-, 29, 49- and 66-Across) —last words in theme answers are supposed to be puns (!?!?!) on words -ending in RR(O)R:
- ROCKY HOAR (17A: Frost mixed with pebbles?)
- CLERICAL HEIR (29A: Priest getting what's coming to him?)
- REARVIEW MERE (49A: Pond admired from the back porch?)
- SHEER TEAR (66A: Chiffon mishap?)
• • •
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.
• • •CHINA SHOP + ROCKY HOAR) , and *both* have "?" cluing, so, having done a billion puzzles, I see stacked, long "?" clues, naturally I think "they're both themers." The fact that the *next* long Answer (PEN NAMES) *also* had a "?", and was *also* (like CHINA SHOP) not a themer, made the whole top part seem like some kind of cruel joke: all the long answers have "?" clues, but only half of them are themers somehow? Yuck. In a well-made grid, you'd ditch the "S" in CHINA SHOP (or, rather, you'd ditch that white square, before you even filled the grid). But here, the puzzle is already at 78 words and can't go higher, so we get the awkward non-theme on top of theme thing. Then there's the matter of "What is the theme?" The revealer points to words being punned *on*. So ... it points to words that aren't here? The original words? This is a long, long way to go for a "joke." Further, those aren't "puns" so much as "mispronunciations." Lastly, MERE? As a "pond"? I see that it's "literary," and maybe I've seen it before, like in, I don't know, "Faerie Queene" or something, back in grad school, but holy mackerel.
More problems: SIDE TWO? Yikes. I am so used to A-SIDE SIDE A B-SIDE SIDE B that SIDE TWO looks bonkers (26D: "Hello Goodbye" to "All You Need Is Love" on the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" album). Also, the phrasing on that clue makes it sound like it's cluing the relationship between the two songs (that is, what "Hello Goodbye" is "to" "All You Need Is Love"), rather than describing a gamut of songs running *from* one song "to" the other. Rough rough rough. Hard clues everywhere. Some of them are quite good, but man, save something for Friday / Saturday. The ZIT clue, for instance (23A: Bad spot for taking prom pictures). There's not even a "?" on that thing to let you know you're being had. That's at least the third trick clue in the upper third, and that's not counting themers. Then there's non-tricky, simply tough stuff. [PX patron] in three letters? Couldn't that be like a million different military abbrs., in theory? I've never heard of "Grand TIER" (opera house section). Again, WTF? I wrote in LOGE at first, I think. And does this puzzle really have Hitler in it? Really? Really? Hitler? *The* Hitler? I assume ADOLF is not the [First name in infamy] because Coors sucks. (Oh, sorry, that's ADOLPH Coors, not ADOLF ... I guess you're pretty limited if you're gonna *insist* on going with ADOLF in your grid) (it's not like you *need* ADOLF Hitler down there, so I have no idea what the rationale was for including him). In conclusion, this wasn't a Wednesday, and the revealer was just strange, and the puns aren't. Not really. Some of the cluing in this puzzle is quite clever. But this should've been a Thursday, for sure. It's tricky enough, and definitely Challenging enough.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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