Epitome of cool with the / THU 2-25-16 / Style with illusory motion / Cactus flower eaters / Ratio involving height weight for short / Neighbor of Miss Gulch / Insert your least favorite Congressman here / america's diner is always open sloganeer
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: CRASH SITES (49A: Focal points of many F.A.A. investigations ... or a description of 18-, 24- and 40-Across?) — well-known websites "crash" (?) into each other, forming wacky phrases, clued wackily (i.e. "?"-style)
- AMAZON VINE (18A: South American monkey's handhold?)
- YAHOO POLITICO (24A: [Insert your least favorite congressman here?])
- VULTURE GAWKER (40A: Bird watcher upon spotting the rare California condor?)
Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension is a platform game originally produced for the Amiga by Gremlin Graphics in 1992. It was later ported to several other platforms and followed by Zool 2 in 1993. (wikipedia)
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RHEUMYness in the SAXE-y SE notwithstanding). So style points for originality of grid shape. The theme doesn't quite work for me, though. I'm failing to feel the CRASHiness of the themers. It's more like JUXTAPOSESITES. ABUTSITES. It's just one site name followed by another site name. "CRASH" is a stretch and a half. Further, the site pairs are arbitrary and there are only three. I don't think of VINE as a "site." It's an app ... or a 6-second piece of video I sometimes see on Twitter. Not in the same ecosystem as, say, GAWKER. I also didn't know New York Magazine's Culture Vulture had become just VULTURE, but the name is correct, so no problem there. Seems like you could've made this Sunday-sized if you thought the theme was so great. JEZEBEL SLATE TWITTER BING DROPBOX. Lots of options out there. These weren't that funny—well, cluing on YAHOO POLITICO was decent, but the other clues were dull.
The fill ... IT'S OK. NYT average. Hardest clue for me by far was 36A: "Junk" (HEROIN). I had HERO-- and no idea. Even after I put in all the letters, I stared at it for a second, figuring I'd misread something. Then I got it. Junk. Junkie. H. Horse. Smack. I don't think I've seen / heard "junk" for a while, and we've got something of an opioid epidemic up here. Clue is fine, just baffled me. Had ARUBA for IBIZA (nowhere near each other, not sure what I was thinking) (28D: One of the Balearic Islands). For some reason the inclusion of a monkey in the AMAZON VINE clue threw me off terribly. Got AMAZON fast but was scrolling through monkeys trying to figure out what came next ... also scrolled through potential handholds ... ended up with TITI and RUNG. Neither, obviously, worked.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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