Cousin of Manx / SAT 2-18-17 / Cold wine and nutmeg drink / Prison in which Timothy Leary was housed next to Charles Manson / Rennin results in them
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Constructor: Steve Overton
Relative difficulty: Medium, leaning Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: SANGAREE (36D: Cold wine-and-nutmeg drink) —
sangaree (countable and uncountable, plural sangarees)
• • •
EAR-TO-EAR (7D: Beam's path?). I should say "interesting clue"—the answer itself isn't that interesting, but that clue! Clever, but brutal. I had EAR-O-AR and still had no idea what I was dealing with. That clue wasn't just the most interesting thing; it was the most difficult thing. I spent 75% of my time in and around that answer. The rest of the grid was mildly toughish, but whatever struggles there were didn't last long. I usually proceed through the grid via crosses; that is, I never hop around unless I absolutely have to. I had to today, a few times, but I was always able to recover quickly. Flamed out in the middle, then rebooted with CLINK / ALEVE / KATE. Misspelled FOLSOM (first "O" as "U") and so couldn't make my way into the SW ... but then TENOR / REDO bailed me out quickly down there. End of SANGAREE (!?) was a total mystery to me—tried to extend "sangria" to SANGARIA. So, again, stuck. But then RAN got me SWEATSUIT, then MANSE, and that corner was done quickly too.
There's not much to talk about here. It was really adequate, really dull. I don't understand why this grid was remarkable enough to publish. Nothing stands out. None of the fill feels particularly original. Yesterday's puzzle had dull clues, sure, but at least the fill was lively. Today, nothing is lively. It's all slightly oldish, with stuff like DERRING-DO and a decidedly non-current cultural frame of reference. But that's not its problem. Its problem is blandness. All I will remember about this puzzle, if I remember anything, is how bad EAR-TO-EAR kicked my ass. The rest? Yawn. LET US PRAY that things improve in the near future.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. Constructors: resist the urge to write yourself into the puzzle (12D). Good fill first, vanity second (or never).
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