Some atom smashers briefly / THU 6-16-16 / Lolita's workplace in song / Ancient Greek coin / 2016 Key Peele action comedy / Source of gravity / Source of gravy
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Constructor: Timothy Polin
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: DROP IT (29D:"Move on!" ... or how to decipher the 16 starred clues) — just take "it" out of the clues. Then they (mostly) make sense.
Word of the Day: LINACS (40A: Some atom smashers, briefly) —
A linear particle accelerator (often shortened to linac) is a type of particle accelerator that greatly increases the kinetic energy of charged subatomic particles or ions by subjecting the charged particles to a series of oscillating electric potentials along a linear beamline; this method of particle acceleration was invented by Leó Szilárd. It was patented in 1928 by Rolf Widerøe, who also built the first operational device at the RWTH Aachen University in 1928, influenced by a publication of Gustav Ising. (wikipedia)
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KEEP AT, not liking the "it" in the clue at all, and then realizing I'd misread it in the first place. The puzzle tried to make up for theme death, I think, by getting super cute with the clues, but too often that just came across as irritating. And why is this 16 squares tall? Oh, right, the "revealer"? Ugh. Today is (another) day when I really really wish the NYT had titles for the daily puzzles. It's ridiculous that it doesn't. It's like not naming your kids. The ERSTwhile (and far superior) NY Sun puzzles all had titles. All the indie puzzles have titles. Gives the puzzle identity and allows constructor flexibility NOT to put a dumb revealer in the grid. I was dropping "it" before I ever hit the revealer anyway, so it's not like the revealer *did* anything.
LINACS was new to me (40A: Some atom smashers), and I'm never ever going to remember it. Particle accelerator I've heard of, plural LINACS, no. But it's a thing, so I'll just deal. The most brutal clue in the puzzle (not a bad thing, though definitely a frustrating thing) was 23D: *Source of gravity, i.e. "source of gravy." Starting SINE-!?!? SINEW ... BONE? Wait, those are two different things. SINEW STEW? You not only have to drop the "it," you then have to understand that gravy is a ****ing metaphor for easy money. It's a job that requires little to no effort. A largely ceremonial but possibly lucrative post. A position without ("sine") care ("cure"). I have never heard of TONE ARM (is that just ... the arm ... on my turntable? ... Oh, I see; I just call it the "arm" as there is no need to distinguish between *kinds* of arms on a turntable because the turn table has just one arm; but I'm weird that way). So between LINACS (mystery), SINECURE (tough), TONE ARM, and my having written GET SET instead of GOT SET, I was not sure I was going to be able to finish my puzzle:
I could see GORGE, which is what I wanted, but then ... other boxes ... what do they do? But I figured it out. I'm guessing at least a small handful of people will have hear neither of LINACS nor of SINECURE and that will prove disastrous. Most folk probably worked it out.
Well, looks like write-up was normal-sized after all. So there.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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