Fatty cut of fish at sushi bar / SUN 3-13-16 / Modern carpe diem / Section of foreign travel guide maybe / Neophyte in modern slang / Two 1980s White House personages / Self-help guru who wrote Life Code / Wooden arts crafts piece
Sunday, March 13, 2016
Constructor: Tom McCoy
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "Don't Sue Us!" — Circled squares represent the ® that indicates a registered trademark.
- POPSICLE® STICK
- TUPPERWARE® PARTY
- VELCRO® STRAP
- XEROX® MACHINE
- FRISBEE® GOLF
- TEFLON® PRESIDENT
- PING-PONG® TABLE
- a pale, fatty cut of tuna used for sushi and sashimi. (google)
• • •
XEROX MACHINE? Clued in a completely straightforward way? Where's the joy, the love, the fun? I did have to expend energy figuring out the theme, which is highly unusual, but ... that was an afterthought. The puzzle was completed. Getting the theme was not a pleasurable struggle. I thought for sure the aha moment was gonna be big—Sunday-sized! But mostly I was just annoyed at myself for not seeing it sooner. Seems obvious, in retrospect.
I have never heard of the sushi meaning of TORO, so that will be the one thing I take away from this puzzle. I did enjoy the very long Downs, but most of the rest was bland. Solid, competent, perfunctory (especially the cluing). Mostly the clues are so short (for reasons of physical space in the Sunday magazine) that they don't have room to be very interesting, but even so, a little spice would've been nice. NOOB was a nice choice at 121A: Neophyte, in modern slang. Beats NOOR for freshness. I like that the POE clue was given over to so much POE (44D: Writer of the line "Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December"). But the clue on TERSE is one of those "jokes" that is lost on me, for a couple reasons. First, is "Describe yourself in three adjectives" something anyone actually says to anyone else? The situation seems highly contrived. Is it an interview? I guess so. Second, I get that the whole point of the "joke" is that the respondent is so TERSE that she gives only one adjective, but ... if I asked for three, then give me three or get out and take your facetiousness with you. My main point here is that, with clue real estate so scarce, maybe use it better? Or less cornily, at any rate.
I did like 24A: One for two of four (SEMI) because I really had to think about how the hell that even works. I (mostly) knew it was a tournament-related clue, but somehow I couldn't parse it. Four semi-finalists play two SEMIs, so a SEMI is a game "for two of (the) four" remaining people/teams in a tournament. Sorry if I'm overexplaining. This clue really did hurt my brains, and so I'm feeling the need to return to the scene of the crime.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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