Bygone sportscaster Hodges / FRI 4-15-16 / Styles lead character in Boyz N Hood / Plant seen on Sistine Chapel ceiling / Color whose name is French for mole / Gotham building-climbing tool / California's so-called island city / Yankee opposer
Friday, April 15, 2016
Constructor: David Steinberg
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: RUSS Hodges (10D: Bygone sportscaster Hodges) —
Russell Pleasant Hodges (June 18, 1910 – April 19, 1971) was an American broadcaster who did play-by-play for several baseball teams, most notably the New York and San Francisco Giants. (wikipedia)
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FALSIES (despite the attempt at a rescue clue) is leering and creepy, especially over GUY CODE (which really should be BRO CODE, 'cause that's the phrase). Horribly apt that I SAID NO stands between the bros and the FALSIES. All of that taking place next door to BAR TABS makes the whole NW corner seem like a very gross night at the club. The "modern" stuff in the grid feels dated already. See BELIEBER and CHILLAX, in particular. I like DUBSTEP best of all among the modern answers here. Feels freshest. Mostly, the grid shape doesn't allow for anything very splashy or spectacular or even innovative. No answers longer than 8? Hard to have any fun that way. I have a feeling the difficulty level here might be all over the map for different solvers of different ages. Who knows? I know I came in in the low 6s without really trying, so I think that's Easy. Easy or Easy-Medium. Faster than Thursday, actually.
Perspective here is super man/boy-oriented. Like ... DARLA and RUTH are the only female elements in the whole puzzle, and hilariously both of those are clued via male names. Pretty badly gender-imbalanced, this puzzle. We get LAYETTE for the second time this week, so that's ... improbable. I cannot relate to a puzzle that doesn't clue CHANDLER via Raymond. Nor can I relate to a puzzle that thinks repeat / echo clues are so awesome, they should appear not one not two but three times (keeping watch on (28-/23-Down), treat for dog (38-/39-Down), angel hair topper (46-Across/52-Down). If you are at all good at solving, you don't read the clues in order, so the whole sequential/identical clue conceit has always baffled me. It usually means compromising the precision of one or the other or both of the clues. SOEVER is not a thing. In no way SOEVER is SOEVER a thing (7D: In any way). Nor is BASSSSSSSAAAAX or however that's spelled (26D: Big wind). That looks nuts. 90% of you put BASSOON in there first because you are decent human beings who think decent normal thoughts. I had RAMP for RAIL (41D: Skate park fixture), but that and the BASSOON mistake were the only real missteps I had. Oh, one last thing: you do not clue specific human beings as "Bygone" (10D: Bygone sportscaster Hodges => RUSS). No, you don't. A. it feels dehumanizing and wrong, and B. a cursory check of the cruciverb database turns up zero, nil, none, nada, no instances of "Bygone" being used as a clue word when the answer was a specific human being. Oh, sorry—looks like poor Jack PAAR got clued that way once ([Bygone TV host]), though not by NYT. Despots and blades and car makes and map initials are "Bygone." People are afforded less objectifying clue words.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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