Worker at Omnicrom Group / WED 6-29-16 / Fodder's place but not mudder's / 100 points to jeweler / Despised figure in Fiddler on Roof / Natty neckwear / bisschen not much Ger /
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Constructor: John Lampkin
Relative difficulty: Medium (felt Easy, but clock said otherwise)
THEME: gratis — clues (which all follow the pattern [It ___]) suggest something for which you don't have to pay, but answers take the clues in other, unexpected directions:
- WEATHERVANE (19A: It's on the house)
- DEAD BATTERY (53A: It carries no charge)
- EMPTY CHAIR (27D: It's free)
- RAVE REVIEW (10D: It's complimentary)
• • •
DEAD BATTERY? Seems a much more natural phrase, and still literally applies to a DEAD BATTERY. Oh, right, I see. You've got [It's free] as one of your other theme clues. OK then. I guess "carries no charge" will have to do. Inelegant, but acceptable/necessary. Didn't mind the double [Pub offering] but the triple was irksome. Pubs don't offer SUDS. ALE and BREW are not slang, so the non-slang clue fits. SUDS needs slang in the clue to fly. Felt similarly about GELÉE, but in reverse. That's a formal word—one used way way less than simple GEL—so "goop" hardly seems appropriate. For GEL, sure, "goop." But GELÉE needs a less downscale word.
Not sure why you clue ARI as an abbr. except for the sole purpose of getting people to guess STL first (9D: Cardinals, in stats). "In stats" is a ridiculous phrase. It's not anything "in stats." It *is* something "in football stats," but then no one would step into your little trap. Traps should be clever! Speaking of clever, that COLLEGE clue (29A: Emerson or Dickinson). Now that's a trap. Or, rather, an incredible misdirection. Needed many crosses before I stopped looking for something to do with 19th-century American literature. Had HAM IT (a la PIG IT!) instead of HAM UP (26D: Overplay), IVORY before CAMAY (33A: Brand once billed as "the soap of beautiful women"), I LOSE before I LOST (24D: "You beat me"), and DIG DOWN before DIG DEEP (41D: Try one's utmost). Else ... you know, a puzzle. It's a puzzle. It's nice.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. here a little something on yesterday's HAREM clue and the broader problem it represents.
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