Naturally in Britspeak / THU 3-9-17 / Challenge in demanding job / Office-friendly to Youtubers / R&B artist with 2004 hit 1, 2 Step
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Constructor: Jeremy Newton
Relative difficulty: Medium
[in the above rendering, the first "WORK" square is represented by a file folder, while the first "LIFE" square is represented by a house]
THEME: WORK/LIFE BALANCE (55A: Challenge in a demanding job ... or a feature of this puzzle?) — I think the two sides of the puzzle, the little U-shaped black-square formations, are supposed to be SCALES (47D: What someo black squares in this grid represent), on which one WEIGHS the words WORK (rebused into each of four squares 36A: One half of a 55-Across) and LIFE (rebused into each of four squares in 38A: The other half of 55-Across)
- PIECE OF WORK
- SAFE FOR WORK
- LOW LIFE
- "TO LIFE!"
- MATE FOR LIFE
- SLICE OF LIFE
Edward William Brooke III (October 26, 1919 – January 3, 2015) was an American Republican politician. In 1966, he became the first African American popularly elected to the United States Senate. He was elected to the Senate from Massachusetts, defeating former Massachusetts governor Democrat Endicott Peabody in a landslide. He served for two terms, and was defeated by Paul Tsongas in 1978. // Upon the death of Harry F. Byrd Jr. on July 30, 2013, he became the oldest living former Senator, and remained so until his death on January 3, 2015. (wikipedia)
• • •
SCALES. But since the puzzle tells me they are, then sure, I can play along. The gimmick took a little time to hit me—failed to pick it up in the NW, where I started out strong with PSAS ARTY SAY and CIARA, but things quickly broke down from there. Finally sussed it out on the other side of the SCALES. Knowing WORF was *very* helpful, as that "W" made me realize 26D: Good-for-nothing was not LOUT but LOW-something. I threw LIFE across, then soon realized "LIFE" needed to be compressed (i.e. "rebused") into each square to work with the Downs. Had a little trouble figuring out what was being balanced (didn't have revealer yet), but then it dawned on me and the NW got easy fast. After that, the only trouble was BROOKE, whom I'd never heard of. I got SCALES from WEIGHS (45D: Puts on the 47-Down) and never even saw it was part of the theme until I was done.
[Crossword's own MCRAE!]
So, nice work. Decent concept, interestingly executed, and—above all—the fill is fantastic. PIECE OF WORK! VEGAN PIZZA! AS YOU DO! Really nice, especially up top. An overall pleasing experience. Navigating the puzzle was a little dicey, given how ^&$%ing narrow the passageways are from section to section in the grid (the bottom half may as well be an entirely separate puzzle). But there are enough pure gimmes thrown into each section to get you going again if you can't quite make the turn. Is it a coincidence that there's both SLICE OF and PIECE OF in the grid ... and also PIZZA in the grid? Mmm. Hungry now. See ya.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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