Green spirit / SUN 8-28-16 / Taiping Rebellion general / Fastener with ring-shaped head / Mythical father of Harmonia strangely enough / Hit upside the head in slang / Cousin of lemming
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Constructor: Paolo Pasco
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "The First Shall Be Last" — first letter of a word in each themer is moved to the end of the word, creating wackiness galore:
- RADAR ANGER (22A: Reason to scream "Why won't this damn thing locate airplanes!"?)
- DAME CHEESE (23A: Honorary title in Wisconsin?)
- SENATE IDEA (42A: "Hey, let's gather 100 people to enact laws and ratify treaties"?)
- HEAR PERLMAN (50A: Listen to violinist Itzhak's music?)
- SPRITE DE CORPS (65A: Soft drink favored by the Marines?)
- ASSUMED AMEN (79A: Church response that's taken as a given?)
- INSIDE OPED (87A: Newspaper essay on why not to go outdoors?)
- THANE ALLEN (108A: Woody playing a medieval baron?)
- IM'ED NOVELS (110A: Books written entirely in chat rooms?)
[The meta answer is a nine-letter word]
[please disregard Everything I say in the write-up about the theme being loose]
[Again, why on god's green would you keep this hidden from the solving public, WTF?]
Word of the Day: DOPE SLAP (82D: Hit upside the head, in slang) —
A corrective action that consists of the following:
The Dope Slap is a (generally) lighthearted slap (or knuckle tap) to the back of the skull that is intended as a disciplinary move by one character when another character does, says, or even thinks something that is uniformly stupid, or just to shut them up. The slap is almost always in some way played for laughs; think of it as an attempt at Percussive Maintenance on somebody's brain, and thus occasionally overlaps with Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!. Another variation is a "shut up" poke to the ribs with the elbow. Finally, it may also be performed simply by making a slapping motion in the direction of the target, without any actual physical contact occurring. (tvtropes.org)
- Take open palm.
- Deliver slap directly to the back of the skull.
- Optional: Ask some variant of "What are you, stupid or something?"
• • •
DOPE SLAP, which ... only barely qualifies as a thing, and is certainly not a thing I've ever heard in my increasingly-close-to-half-a-century's existence). Speaking of near dupes, LAO-TSE and General TSO in the same grid? Those two aren't allowed anywhere near each other. The fill on this is very average, and when it's not, it stands out in not-great ways (see DOPE SLAP). EYE BOLT is pretty original, but it's yet another thing I've never heard of. Honestly, sincerely, I thought it was a term for a piercing, like ... a facial piercing of your eye ... lid? brow? Something. At any rate, puzzle was quite easy except for the SW corner, where all the Downs were hard for me, and I thought BAAS (uck) were MOOS and I thought Robert HAYS was Robert something else, possibly RIES (?), and SALES DAYS is blarghy. I do like ABSINTHE though (79D: Green spirit). A lot. But usually just as a rinse in a cocktail like a sazerac. Too much, and it's SANTA HAT time, in that I might literally put on the SANTA HAT that currently resides on one of the three dog sculptures in my living room.
All of you should find the equivalence of [Intellectual] and EGG-HEADED annoying. Uh, you're the Sunday New York Times Crossword, so who are you calling EGG-HEADED, anyway? Clue may as well have said [Like you, probably]. I would've respected it more. Lastly, re: clue on IM'ED NOVELS ... I don't think IM'ing has a very tight connection with "chat rooms"—I'm sure they are technically related, but the association feels thin, in that plenty of kids IM (or used to, when that was more of a thing) completely outside the context of "chat rooms" (a phrase which reeks of 1998). But an online chat is a form of instant messaging, and insofar as such IM'ing might take place in "chat rooms," I guess the clue is at least semi-valid. Feels imprecise, clumsy, and dated, but defensible. (I feel this about NYT clues not infrequently)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. the answer to the meta puzzle is:
REAR-ENDED (a word formed from the moved letters in the theme answers, taken in the order in which they appear in the grid)
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]