Hearts minds military maneuver briefly / MON 11-21-16 / Alley shopping area for Harry Potter / Pop with no fizz / Amusement park with Nitro roller coaster / Qs Hostess brand
Monday, November 21, 2016
Constructor: John Lieb
Relative difficulty: Easy (though I solved the online / AcrossLite version, which just had regular old cluing...)
THEME: AGAINST ALL ODDS (60A: How an extreme underdog wins ... or this puzzle?) — in newspaper version of the puzzle, there are *only* even-numbered clues; then there are the theme answers, which begin with non-odd numbers, and the grid shape, which is 14x16 instead of the usual 15x15—so even the dimensions aren't "odd":
- ZERO VISIBILITY (16A: Driving condition in a blizzard)
- TWO THUMBS UP (22A: Approval from Siskel and Ebert)
- FOUR TOPS (29A: R&B group with the #1 hit "Reach Out I'll Be There")
- SIX FLAGS (45A: Amusement park with the Nitro roller coaster)
- EIGHT MEN OUT (50A: 1988 film about the Black Sox scandal)
Nitro is a steel roller coaster designed by Bolliger & Mabillard at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, United States. It opened on April 7, 2001, as the fastest roller coaster in New Jersey and the tallest on the East Coast of the United States. It has been ranked number three in the Golden Ticket Awards Best Steel Roller Coaster every year from 2007 to 2012. It was ranked number four in 2013.
• • •
TWO THUMBS UP).
There are many SIX FLAGS theme parks, so 45A: Amusement park with the Nitro roller coaster seems ... let's say, overclued. That roller coaster is at SIX FLAGS Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. But there are SIX FLAGS all over the place. Per USA Today, "SIX FLAGS operates parks in 19 locations." SIX FLAGS is a fine stand-alone answer. Just not as (so specifically) clued. Speaking of weak clues: 57D: The Bible's Garden of ___ (EDEN). That is a clue that has given up on life. That is a clue that doesn't want to be a clue. That clue suffers from ennui. That clue phoned Phoning It In and told it to phone it in. That clue is the FLAT SODA of clues. That clue exists solely to make the clue [Cosmetician Lauder] look good.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. ADES is the worst please everybody stop stop stop using it. Thanks.
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