Hand-blown wine bottle that's also title of 1968 Beatles song / MON 3-28-16 / Pear-shaped string instrument / Opposite of bench player / Did stylized ballroom dance / Early caucusgoer
Monday, March 28, 2016
Constructor: Gary Cee
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: APPEALING (35A: Winsome ... or like the ends of 17-, 24-, 51- and 58-Across, to a punster?) — last words in theme answers are all foods that you "peel":
- ADAM'S APPLE (17A: Bump on the neck)
- HOT POTATO (24A: Issue that's too dangerous to touch)
- TOP BANANA (51A: Grand pooh-bah)
- GLASS ONION (58A: Hand-blown wine bottle that's also the title of a 1968 Beatles song)
Glass onions were large hand blown glass bottles used aboard sailing ships to hold wine or brandy. For increased stability on rough seas, the bottles were fashioned with a wide-bottom shape to prevent toppling, thus making the bottles look somewhat onion-shaped. (wikipedia)
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GLASS ONION is, so the puzzle wasn't a total loss. As for what a "punster" would do—look, if that "punster" were any good, he/she wouldn't be making this truly awful and tired pun. I get that that is the *point* of many puns—they make you groan. And I also get that, as an avowed pun-disliker, this puzzle isn't really *for* me. And yet this pun is so cheesy and third-grade that I feel like, even from a pun-lover's perspective, this has got to be disappointing. It is somewhat interesting that all the peeled foods appear at the end of non-food phrases. And I appreciate how clean the grid is, overall. And I don't even mind that the puzzle skews pretty old (CLASSIC rock, including the Beatles' "GLASS ONION," and SHEMP and ARP and STAN Lee and really nothing recent). Puzzles are allowed to do that from time to time. But yikes, that pun.
I think the clue on HOP UP is odd. I can't really use it in a sentence to replace [Increase the energy of]. "Let's HOP UP this party?" You can get "hopped up" on, let's say, goofballs. But "HOP UP" is more of an invitation to get on a stool or someone's lap or a horse or something somewhat elevated that you sit on. Any other usage feels a little awkward. I think I wanted PEP UP at first. Otherwise, there were very few hiccups or missteps in this one. Tore straight through it with little hesitation. Maybe I waited to figure out what letter shape the [Letter-shaped girder] was going to be. In fact, I'm sure I did. But nothing else was even slightly vague or unclear. Straightforward, familiar words, terms, places, etc. That is, a Monday.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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