Surfboard stabilizer / SUN 10-2-16 / Big name in medical scales / Two-time NL batting champ Willie / Beatles girl who made fool of everyone
Sunday, October 2, 2016
Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
- FREEDOM OF THE PRESS / DEPRESS
- HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS / RENEWS
- BEHIND THE TIMES / AT TIMES
- JUST FOR THE RECORD / PRISON RECORD
- WHAT IN THE WORLD / SMALL WORLD
- THE CHECK IS IN THE MAIL / DEAD MAIL (I don't know this term; I know "dead letter"/ dead letter office)
- FIRST PAST THE POST / GOALPOST
nounnoun: skeg; plural noun: skegs; noun: skag; plural noun: skags
- a tapering or projecting stern section of a vessel's keel, which protects the propeller and supports the rudder.
- a fin underneath the rear of a surfboard. (google)
• • •
SEGmented (if not SKEGmented), so, so, so I liked it fine, I think. Some of these newspaper names are very familiar (e.g. New York TIMES, Washington POST) but others I'm harder pressed to come up with examples for. I know the Detroit NEWS and the Detroit *Free* PRESS. Only MAIL I know is British. Only WORLD I know is defunct (New York). I know no RECORDs. Which brings me to one of the weirdest elements of this puzzle, from a constructor's perspective. I (and I am not the only one) have had puzzles rejected because the rebus element was "too long," which generally meant 5+ letters. But today: PRESS, WORLD, and whoa nelly RECORD. Is that the longest rebused word in NYT history? What is the longest rebused word? (Please, constructors, do not take this question as a dare.)
Theme became clear very quickly, given the 16-square gimme HUEY LEWIS AND THE [NEWS] (1D: Hit band heard on the soundtrack of "Back to the Future"). It was just a matter of figuring out what part of their name was going to be rebused. Worked my way down the length of the answer to find that it was the very end that would be squished. FREEDOM OF THE [PRESS] is a bit spot-on for a theme answer containing newspaper names. Usually, constructors try to come at theme-related words in oblique, non-theme ways, if possible. BENCH [PRESS] would be a good example for a puzzle like this. Or FRENCH [PRESS]. You get the idea. A non-news-related PRESS. But in this case, that obliqueness is probably not essential. I nearly got Naticked by LAST IN (54D: Part of LIFO, to an accountant) / WTO (67A: International commerce assn.). I have no idea what LIFO, though I eventually inferred it was "LAST IN, first out." Is that right? Ha, it is. That one's new(s) to me. And WTO ... I mean, yes, World Trade Organization, but there are so many damn 3-letter agency initialisms that they get muddled in my head. WMF, IMF, WWF, WWE, etc. But I guessed "T" and "T" it was. I've also never heard the phrase FIRST PAST THE [POST] (107A: Like a simple-majority voting system). Seriously. It's ... horse-racing? Clearly, despite HD RADIO and ELI ROTH and SHONDA Rhimes, this one is playing in a cultural world slightly behind and a little to the side of me. These things happen.
SANTA HAT crossing SAINT NICK near its top is pretty cute. DETECTO is a funny scale name (29D: Big name in medical scales). I mean, it's telling your weight, not solving a crime. Oh, I invented a new term today. It's called the "ick line." Please see the row that begins with 80-Across to see what I mean. When it's coast-to-coast junk—it's an ick line. OOXTEPLERNON is the paradigmatic ick line.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. RADIO is in the grid (HD RADIO) and clues (107D: Most music radio stations). This fact doesn't make me nearly as mad as the answer to 107D: FMS. Come on, man. Use it in a sentence you can't the end.
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