Flower named for Swedish botanist / SUN 2-26-17 / One-named singer once married to Xavier Cugat / French region around Strasbourg / Christian school in Okla / Potent sushi bar cocktail / Rapper with most-viewed YouTube video of all time / Stop insisting Ra doesn't exist
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Constructor: Josh Knapp
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
- TINY AXE ATTACK (25A: Assault involve a hatchet?)
- STRUT-WORTHY (23A: Fashionable enough for a runway model?)
- CURB YOUR SUN ATHEISM (44A: "Stop insisting Ra doesn't exist!"?)
- TALES OF OWE (64A: Stories from bankruptcy court?)
- HAVE NO FARE (68A: Be too broke to take the bus?)
- MY SIRE LOVES COMPANY (82A: "The king really wants to be around people right now"?)
- UPRISERS' PARTY (109A: Celebration after a coup?)
- DOWNER WOMAN (112A: Negative Nancy?)
adjectiveadjective: aleatory; adjective: aleatoric
- depending on the throw of a dice or on chance; random.
- relating to or denoting music or other forms of art involving elements of random choice (sometimes using statistical or computer techniques) during their composition, production, or performance. (google)
• • •
TALES OF OWE is godawful, and HAVEN OF ARE is not much better (please don't correct me and tell me it's HAVE NO FARE ... my brain has tried to parse it that way and just keeps giving up). But then CURB YOUR SUN ATHEISM is so godawful that it's actually kind of impressive. If you're gonna be godawful, be Epically godawful. The rest of the theme answers are good enough, but the clue writing is really tepid. Funny / adventuresome clues are kind of important in wacko themes, and these clues are awfully, painfully literal most of the time. There were some enjoyable non-theme answers today, most notably MOM JEANS, SAKE BOMB, and WAIT FOR IT ... (that last one strikes me as the most inventive ... though you never know about "invention" these days, what with word lists being sold for hundreds of dollars to constructors too lazy to build their own—to be clear, I don't think *today*'s constructor is lazy; he's a competent, reliable regular. But the mediocre constructor buying a word list in hopes of getting "better" is *definitely* a thing).
This played a notch harder than normal, largely because of the nature of the theme (who knows what "feeling" is going to be "mixed," and in what way?), but also (for me) because of clues I just couldn't grasp easily. You fire a MORTAR straight into the air? 90 degrees? Doesn't it ... come back ... to earth ... presumably on top of you? (1D: Weapon usually fired between a 45˚ and 90˚ angle) (As with AIRSOFT yesterday, I don't know from weaponry. My stupidest mistake today was reflexively writing in ASHE at 4D: With 41-Down, first tennis player to win two Olympic singles gold medals. Tennis, starts "A," four letters—good luck stopping my fingers from typing ASHE. Wanted VALE to be DALE (after I wanted it to be GLEN), and didn't know it was particularly "poetic" (18A: Land between hills, poetically). Forgot who Edmund BURKE was (10D: Philosopher who said "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion") and totally forgot what WOOLITE was (24D: Detergent brand with fabric in its name). Not a huge fan of RISES being in same grid as UPRISERS, and even less a fan of SERIF being not only in same grid as, but practically right next to, SHERIF. Blargh. But overall, this was OK. Occasionally, if infrequently, enjoyable.
If you have 38 minutes lying around today, please consider checking out the latest episode of "On the Grid," my crossword podcast (with my friend Lena Webb). Episode 002 deals with SLOE gin fizzes and EELS ... among other things. Get it here (and find it on iTunes).
[I concur with this analysis]
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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