Ziegfeld Follies costumer / THU 4-14-16 / He gave Odysseus bag of winds / One-named singer born Christa Paffgen / Site where cuneiform tablets were discovered / Societal instability resulting from breakdown in societal values / Gesture made with thumb nose / TRUS 2016 political slogan / Radio listener grp
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Constructor: Jason Flinn
Relative difficulty: Medium (leaning toward Medium-Challenging)
- CHICKEN RUN
Mr. Yuk is a trademarked graphic image, created by the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and widely employed in the United States in labeling of substances that are poisonous if ingested. (wikipedia)
• • •
LAMESTREAM and the colloquial WANNA BET!? But it's really proper noun heavy, in this trivial way that I find grating (clues on ERIC and ADA were especially ugh) (8D: ___ Blair, George Orwell's real name + 46A: ___ Clare, ward in Dickens's "Bleak House"). The puzzle tries to get clever, or innovative, I think, in the south, but it came off like a wreck for me, largely because MR. YUK is new to me. Unless he appeared in a crossword years back and I've forgotten him, this is the first I'm seeing him. He is "iconic" in that he is literally an icon, i.e. a visual symbol. But between him and SNOOK (?) and BOY-O, all spiced with some nicely aged OMOO ... I dunno. Felt a mess. Also, there's some unfortunate arcana in this thing. I've read the Aeneid (not to be confused with the ENNEAD) a million times, so AEOLUS is like an old friend, but I feel like he's not the greatest crossword answer. The bigger problem, though was the AMARNA / ANOMIE crossing, which I think is gonna Natick some people. I blanked hard on AMARNA. I wanted AMEN (AMON?) RA, then SMYRNA ... man, AMARNA. Rough. Thank god I'd heard of the concept of ANOMIE ... but I don't think everyone has. In fact, just now, reader Ben V. wrote me that he was put off by "5D-9D, 20A, 43A, 46A, 66A, 67A, but really just sadangry about getting naticked at 2D/23A." So my intuition about that crossing seems like it might not be too far off.
I like that all the sliding waters are actually moving waters, i.e. no non-moving forms of water, i.e. OCEAN, LAKE ... but I don't know what a "RUN" is, honestly. I've never used that word to describe a brook, stream, small river, rill, creek, etc. I see that Google has this def. as its 11th def. of "run (n.)." I wish RIVER or RILL or CREEK had made it in, as RUN seems small and cheap. I also wish CHICKEN RUN had gotten a movie clue. Cluing overall felt fussy and tough and odd. Many wrong answers at first: XED for DID (35D: Checked off the bucket list, say). WAR for VIE (59D: Battle). Two different answers were plurals that didn't end in "S," so those were tough (4D: Transient things => EPHEMERA; 31D: Lashes => CILIA). I've seen that damned [Take the wrong way?] clue so many times now that it feels less clever, more plagiarized. Usually, it's STEAL. Here, BOOST (another word that required crosses to see). So the theme is nice-ish, but the overall VIBE was kinda crummy.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]