Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Constructor: Matthew Sewell
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
- BLOCK HEEL (17A: Platform sandal feature)
- REBOUND GUY (23A: Boyfriend after a breakup, perhaps)
- PASS JUDGMENT (30A: Render a verdict)
- DRIBBLE GLASS (40A: Novelty shop buy)
- SHOOT 'EM UPS (49A: Space Invaders and Asteroids, for two)
Shoot 'em up (also known as shmup or STG) is a subgenre of the shooter genre of video games. In a shoot 'em up, the player character engages in a lone assault, often in a spacecraft or aircraft, shooting large numbers of enemies while dodging their attacks. There is no consensus as to which design elements compose a shoot 'em up. Some restrict the definition to games featuring spacecraft and certain types of character movement; others allow a broader definition including characters on foot and a variety of perspectives. Shoot 'em ups call for fast reactions and for the player to memorize levels and enemy attack patterns. "Bullet hell" games feature overwhelming numbers of enemy projectiles. (wikipedia)
• • •BLOCK HEEL, though the HEEL part was easy enough to infer. The concept of the "rebound" in dating is familiar enough to me, but the phrase REBOUND GUY felt slightly off, like there was another "rebound" phrase more commonly used ... and yet I can't come up with it. I think of SHOOT 'EM UPS as westerns, and I played Space Invaders and Asteroids as a kid and literally never heard anyone call 'em SHOOT 'EM UPS. Love the phrase, but to this Gen X'er's ears, the '70s/'80s video game clue seemed INAPT. But again, basic theme concept here is sound and the answers generally pleasing. The fill on this one is a mixed bag. Excellent pair of Downs in the NW corner (I'm partial to olde-timey sports slang, and PALOOKAS definitely fits the bill) (2D: Inept boxers, in slang). Most of the rest is just OK, but there are several pretty awful parts. I consider SECADA (21A: Jon with the 1992 hit "Just Another Day") and OSSIAN (35A: Bard of Gaelic legend) desperation fill, and there shouldn't have been any need for desperation today. And I consider SURETÉ beyond desperation (21D: ___ du Québec (police force)). You've fallen into the foreign word vat and can't get out. Not at all a commonly known word, even for someone like me who had many years of French in school. It *is* crossed fairly, but that SURETÉ / TEACUP cross held me up more than anything by far (36A: ___ Chihuahua (tiny dog)) . SECADA could easily have tripped me (his brief period of fame quite behind us now) but as I said: Gen X'er. Still listened to radio / watched MTV a lot in 1992. I know SECADA. Guiltily.
So, yeah, OK puzzle. If there hadn't been all this dumb Scrabble-f***ing around the margins of the puzzle, maybe the fill could've been stronger, but maybe not. Except SURETÉ, none of it was particularly egregious. See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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