Japanese PC maker / WED 2-10-16 / Hobos conveyances / Bodybuilder's dirty secret informally / Celeb parodied by Maya Rudolph on SNL / Exodus hero Ben Canaan
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Constructor: John Guzzetta
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: INTEGER (37A: The first parts of 17- and 22-Across are always this, the first part of 46-Across is sometimes this, and the first part of 55-Across is never this) — first parts of themers are NATURAL, WHOLE, RATIONAL, and IMAGINARY, respectively ... these are adjectives that (when they precede "number"?) do what the INTEGER clue says they do.
- NATURAL DISASTER (17A: Tsunami, for one)
- WHOLE BEAN COFFEE (22A: Grinder input)
- RATIONAL THOUGHT (46A: Sound judgment)
- IMAGINARY FRIEND (55A: Hobbes, in "Calvin and Hobbes")
NEC Corporation (日本電気株式会社 Nippon Denki Kabushiki Gaisha) is a Japanese multinational provider of information technology (IT) services and products, with its headquarters in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. NEC provides IT and network solutions to business enterprises, communications services providers and to government agencies, and has also been the biggest PC vendor in Japan since the 1980s. The company was known as the Nippon Electric Company, Limited, before rebranding in 1983 as just NEC. Its NEC Semiconductors business unit was one of the worldwide top 20 semiconductor sales leaders before merging with Renesas Electronics. NEC is a member of the Sumitomo Group. (wikipedia)
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SEA ROVERS (?!) and STOMA and NEC provided enough resistance to keep things plausibly Wednesdayish, but I'm guessing most people who time themselves will find themselves on the fast side today. As for the theme—I don't care. I look at that Eternal clue on the revealer (INTEGER) and my head hurts. I'm sure that what it says about INTEGERs is true, but this adds nothing to the pleasure of the solving experience. Between the length and tediousness of that damned clue, and the fact that NUMBER is what follows NATURAL, WHOLE, RATIONAL, and IMAGINARY most readily in people's minds, I give this theme a 10 for technical accuracy but a 2 for joy. In fact ... where is "number" here? "The first parts of 17- and 22-Across" are NATURAL and WHOLE ... but don't they need to be "NATURAL number" and "WHOLE number" to be an INTEGER? "NATURAL" is not always an INTEGER. That just makes no sense, grammatically. So I'm really confused as to how this is supposed to work on a basic, literal level. As for the fill, it is pretty much NYT-average; no great moments, but not much that's terrible either. A placeholder of a puzzle. Adequate and forgettable.
Stupidest move by me was looking at 6D: Herod's realm, seeing the letter pattern --DE-, and writing in ... [drum roll] ... HADES. In my defense ... ugh, I don't have much of one, but when my brain scrolled through "realms" that fit that pattern, and it hit HADES, some part of it must've gone "Herod ... bad man ... sure, go with it." This made the north very rough (the only section that played that way). I wrote TIFF for HUFF (51D: Fit of pique). Again, brain misfired here—seems to have merged SNIT and HUFF and ended up with TIFF. Gonna go back to CNN now and catch the tail end of the NH Primaries coverage. Good night.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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