Sneaky shelters / TUE 1-19-16 / Criticized niggingly / Nearest target for bowler / Bubmling detective of film / Eye layer whose name derives from Latin for grape / Eyed caddishly
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Constructor: Byron Walden
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (both oversized *and* harder than usual)
THEME: GONE FISHING (59A: Classic out-of-office sign ... or what this puzzle's author has done?) — theme answers are all past-tense verbs that follow the pattern [some kind of fish]-ED:
- CARPED ABOUT (19A: Criticized nigglingly)
- PERCHED ATOP (21A: Roosted on)
- FLOUNDERED AROUND (36A: Struggled to make progress)
- SKATED ALONG (56A: Proceeded without trying very hard)
Gino Louis Torretta (born August 10, 1970) is a former American college and professional football player who was a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for five seasons. He played college football for the University of Miami, won the Heisman Trophy in 1992, and was a member of the Miami Hurricanes' national championship teams of 1989 and 1991. A seventh-round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, he was a member of several NFL teams, but never became a regular starter as a pro. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010. (wikipedia)
• • •
GONE FISHING without noticing it was a revealer, but I did. Without the revealer, those theme-answer phrases all seem a little wobbly. The second words in the phrases (all of which, interestingly, start with "A") had a tendency to make the answers seem not quite stand-alone. Actually, this is only true in the top half, where the phrases end with prepositions that require objects to make full sense. You can flounder around and skate along just fine, but you have to perch atop ... something, and carp about ... something. So up top, the themers felt weak when I first encountered them. I think the revealer ties everything together nicely, though.
What's weirdest to me about this puzzle is how it managed to have so many way-harder-than-Tuesday-level clues / answers and still come out plausibly Tuesday-level (for me). BADPR was a nightmare to parse (9D: Celeb's arrest report, to the celeb, say). I paid no attention to college sports when I was in college, so GINO Torretta (!?!?) is a name I only just learned today. The only GINO I know is Vannelli (I thought quarterback GENO Smith was a Gino, but ... no). Getting to PIECE from [Gun, slangily], not easy. I had OLD BLOOD before I had OLD MONEY (38D: Aristocratic ancestry), but I realize now I was conflating the answer with BLUE BLOOD, so that struggle's all my fault. EMO POP is dodgy as hell and not a convincing answer at all (48D: Fall Out Boy genre). I'll buy EMO, but POP shmop, man. Still, the hardest answer, for my money, was TAX DODGES. That clue was bananas (35D: Sneaky shelters). I just kept wondering "How can a shelter be sneaky?" I was picturing tents that somehow became animated, a la the brooms in "Fantastia," and then crept around the campsite at night. TAX DODGES! Great answer, but yikes on a Tuesday. Luckily SIR GALAHAD KEPT IT REAL and there were enough easy things for me to keep from fluking up the puzzle too bad.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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