1968 Heineken acquisition / THU 2-11-16 / Fair-hiring watchdog for short / Secret identity of Dick Grayson / Reddit Q&A session briefly / Dweller on upper Mississippi / Gifting someone with clock in China / Perfect Elements maker
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Famous people, initially — seemingly random words are actually meant to be read as two initials + a noun meaning "guy" or "woman"—so answers are famous men / women who fit the profile:
- MARIE ANTOINETTE (17A: Malady?) [her initials are "M.A." and she's a "lady"]
- TOM ARNOLD (22A: Tamale?)
- LINDA EVANS (30D: Legal?)
- ROY ORBISON (27D: Roman?)
• • •
TOM ARNOLD and LINDA EVANS date this puzzle terribly, as they were relevant 20 and 30 years ago, respectively, and have not been relevant since. MARIE ANTOINETTE and ROY ORBISON are both timeless, so no problem there. My general feeling is that, with so many options available (in theory), the names you go with should be either legendary or current. TOM ARNOLD and LINDA EVANS are neither. Perfectly good crossword answers, just ... when you have options, it's harder to justify them as your choices.
Fill-wise, fine. Weak points, strong points. SPIT TAKE, always good (4D: "You did WHAT?" reaction). I had TIME SUCKS for TIME SINKS, so that cost me (34D: Mindless but addictive app games, e.g.).
The wikipedia definition of TIME SINK(S) focuses on games, though not on the games themselves, but on certain features in the games that encourage / force players to spend more time in the game without making progress. "Players may use the term disparagingly to describe a simplistic and time-consuming aspect of gameplay, possibly designed to keep players playing longer without significant benefit." TIME SUCK(S) googles better, but only slightly. I use TIME SUCK. I will never use TIME SINK(S). That said, I think it's a reasonable answer, even as clued, and certainly the most interesting answer in this grid.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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