Chess situation in which any move is bad move / SAT 9-3-16 / Oversize hip-hop tops / Old letters in mail / Four-time all-star third baseman of 1960s-70s / Second largest body in asteroid belt / Goddesses guarding gates of Olympus / Political writer/blogger Klein / Dona pacem latin hymn / Singer with 1954 album Frontier Badlands
Saturday, September 3, 2016
Constructor: Damon Gulczynski
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: ZUGZWANG (32D: Chess situation in which any move is a bad move) —
Zugzwang (German for "compulsion to move", pronounced [ˈtsuːktsvaŋ]) is a situation found in chess and other games wherein one player is put at a disadvantage because they must make a move when they would prefer to pass and not move. The fact that the player is compelled to move means that their position will become significantly weaker. A player is said to be "in zugzwang" when any possible move will worsen their position. (wikipedia)
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My 1-Across Theory of Speed-Solving is borne out once again. Here is my opening gambit (note the chess language, in honor of ZUGZWANG, whatever the hell that is):
EYESORE > BE SORE (take that, yesterday's puzzle!). Had to guess on one of the ZUGZWANG crosses—not shockingly, a proper noun cross (NEDS). Again, constructors ... careful! Yeesh. Every letter of ZUGZWANG is gonna be an uninferrable mystery for most solvers, so the crosses need to be managed thoughtfully and humanely. Most of the crosses seem appropriately fair, but NEDS is borderline. Don't see why there couldn't be a driver named Red Jarrett. Seems reasonable. Anyway, NEDS is probably the best guess there, and it was my guess, and the right one. So no foul, party or otherwise. Near foul, but no foul. My condolences to everyone who tuned in to the MOO CREW, though.
SOC SAC! Hurray for goofy symmetrical pairs: SOC SAC: It's like ZUGZWANG, but with more throwing dirty socks at a laundry bag. Speaking of dirty socks, the SE corner. NO BIS could INCENT me to like ESTO corner. And why can't this puzzle give the late, great GENE Wilder a little love? I understand if you couldn't quite make the DAHL clue work (maybe a long way from the author of the book to the actor who starred in the film adaptation) (19A: Charlie Bucket's creator), but the GENE clue? The GENE clue? Come on, NYT. Sigh. Anyway, R.I.P., GENE.
My almost-16-year-old has decided to take up crosswords. The results are both heartening and hilarious. Here are some Tweet-updates my wife sent me today on the girl's progress:
See you Sunday.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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