First of minor prophets / THU 7-21-16 / Bitter component of tea / Prominent feature of Bert / 1960s chess champ Mikhail / Advantage for hockey team / Tandoori products
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Constructor: Jason Flinn
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: BAD LUCK (62A: Supposed consequence of any of the three no-nos in this puzzle) — things that are bad luck, represented literally in the puzzle. Thus:
- 14A: With 1-Across, no-no #1 (WALKING [under] A LADDER)
- 19D: With 41-Across, no-no #2 (BLACK CAT [crossing] ONE'S PATH)
- 38D: With 57-Down, no-no #3 (MIR / ROR [i.e. a "broken" mirror])
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MIR/ROR is not like the others, in that describing the two answer parts in relation to one another does not result in your literally saying the bad luck phrase (i.e. it's not "MIR [over] ROR" or "MIR [crack] ROR"), but it's still fits the broad parameters of the theme. The puzzle's only real problem is how weak it gets in the short fill. It's a bit of an old-school crosswordese cavalcade, with ILO, TAL, OLLA, SSRS, IDEM, and ENA all making appearances, and NAANS trying to convince us that it's a plural (at least it's the correct two-A spelling).
I lucked out by guessing 1D: Have an eye-opening experience (AWAKEN) right off the bat, which meant the first letters of all NW Acrosses were locked in place. Still took some work to see WALKING under A LADDER, but I just kept filling in crosses without much hesitation until that answer became clear. Blanked on ED O'NEILL (33A: "Modern Family" actor) at first despite knowing his work well. Had no idea Baba Mustafa was a TAILOR in "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," but, again, crosses. Had IBID before IDEM (44A: As above, in citations), and (my favorite mistake) CORN DOGS before CORN MAZE (thanks, IBID!) (29D: Autumn attraction). Nothing else too remarkable here. Solid work overall.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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