Showing posts with label Jim Peredo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jim Peredo. Show all posts

Sinatra's big band leader / WED 9-10-14 / Bandoleer filler / Cleanser brand that hasn't scratched yet / Beachgoer's cooler-offer / Half exorbitant fee

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Constructor: Jim Peredo

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Been There, Done That — "message" referred to in the clue 69A: Where you might see the message formed by the last words in 21-, 32-, 42- and 54-Across (T-SHIRT)

Theme answers:
  • "HOW YOU BEEN?" (21A: "What's goin' on?") (first guess: HOW YOU DOIN'?)
  • "PUT 'ER THERE!" (32A: "Let's shake!")
  • "NO HARM DONE" (42A: "Don't worry, I'm O.K.")
  • "GIVE ME THAT!" (54A: "Hand it over!")

Word of the Day: Tommy DORSEY (52A: Sinatra's big band leader) —
Thomas Francis "TommyDorsey, Jr. (November 19, 1905 – November 26, 1956) was an American jazz trombonisttrumpetercomposer, and bandleader of the Big Band era. He was known as "The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing", because of his smooth-toned trombone playing. Although he was not known for being a notable soloist, his technical skill on the trombone gave him renown amongst other musicians. He was the younger brother of bandleader Jimmy Dorsey. After Dorsey broke with his brother in the mid-1930s, he led an extremely popular and highly successful band from the late 1930s into the 1950s. (wikipedia)
• • •

I have to say that I love the theme answers. The theme itself … we'll get to that. But the answers in their own right, regardless of the theme, make a great set. A colloquial barrage, the first two expressing happiness upon meeting an old friend, the third expressing forgiveness for his friend's stupid loud ring tone, and the fourth expressing less forgiveness. I just like saying all four of these answers in a row. Joy up top, annoyance underneath. As for the theme itself, I've never seen the old/trite phrase "Been There, Done That" on a T-SHIRT. It's annoying enough when someone says it out loud—why would you want to print something that banal and meaningless on a shirt and thus figuratively shout it at everyone you see? I actually haven't even heard anyone say the phrase in something like a decade, maybe more. I feel like it was big in 1993. Anyway, theme shmeme. But theme *answers*, as a set—big thumbs-up.

Fill is average. Maybe slightly below. Long Downs are just fine, but the shorter stuff really creaks. Stuff like JAI and LOA and ATTA and KARTS, which are really just phrase parts, are less than ideal. I was not aware the KARTS could go without the GO. In most cases I think "K" beats "T," but TARTS > KARTS as fill, I think. And UTE / UKE is probably a tie. The team name "Redskins" is flat-out racist and you shouldn't dignify its somehow continued existence by putting it in a puzzle clue—dropping the "red" doesn't make it better. When they eventually change their name, and they will, I really hope they find something more creative than "SKINS." The Washington Skins … would be creepy.

Puzzle was mostly easy. Clue on PER YEAR threw me off (8D: How salaries or rainfall may be reported), as it sounds like the reporting itself is happening only once a year. I'm not sure I even know what "report" means in this context. "Measured"? "Recorded"? Anyway, I probably wanted something like ANNUALLY, and had to wait for crosses to fill it in. I briefly invented a kind of styptic pencil that you use on TICKs (16A: Styptic pencil target). I think it's going to be a big seller. I also CHARred whatever was on my barbecue. I don't associate SEAR with "blackening," or, rather, I associate CHAR with "blackening" more. Couldn't figure out which CD was being referred to, and even when I thought of the financial instrument, I couldn't remember (quickly) what the "C" was or how to abbr. it. CERT. is a less-than-great answer, so I felt ill-rewarded for my confusion. And then lord knows how you spell HOOHAHS. I had 65A: Electric bill abbr. as KWT and thus ended up with HOOHATS.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Theme From Shaft composer 1971 / MON 9-2-13 / Classic computer game set on island / Alternatives to Slurpees / So-called mansiere essentially in Seinfeld episode / Complement of Disney dwarfs

Monday, September 2, 2013

Constructor: Jim Peredo

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "We call it 'maize'..." — ends of theme answers all rhyme with "Maize" (with the 'aize' sound spelled different each time)

Theme answers:
  • 17A: "Theme From Shaft" composer, 1971 (ISAAC HAYES)
  • 25A: Part of a project just before the end (FINAL PHASE)
  • 53A: Condiment that can remove crayon marks (MAYONNAISE)
  • 66A: Intense look (STEELY GAZE)
  • 11D: Team in "Moneyball" (OAKLAND A'S)
  • 33D: The Fonz's sitcom ("HAPPY DAYS")

Word of the Day: GTO (32D: Old Pontiac muscle car) —
The Pontiac GTO is an American automobile built by Pontiac Division of General Motors from 1964 to 1974, and by GM subsidiary Holden in Australia from 2004 to 2006.
It was a muscle car classic of the 1960s and 1970s era. Although there were earlier muscle cars,[1][2] the Pontiac GTO is considered by some to have started the trend with all four domestic automakers offering a variety of competing models. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was ... a puzzle! Done in 2:36, which is "Easy" for me, but I seem to be slightly ahead of the curve today, so I'm gonna knock this one back to "Easy-Medium"—appropriately Mondayish, probably slightly easier than usual. I thought the theme must have something to do with 1A: "What ___ in the 5-Down!" at first. Often, cross-referenced 1-Acrosses are thematic. Since it's Monday, I didn't slow down to figure out what was going on; I just blew through all the crosses. Never noticed the theme until I was done. Two things this theme has that it *has* to have to get into the NYT—a. 6 answers (i.e. a lot of answers), and b. 6 different ways of spelling the rhyme. Just having a bunch of rhyming words would not be sufficient. We could all come up with theme answers that end with rhymes for "maize" ad infinitum—the bar needs to be a bit higher for the theme to be NYT-worthy. I didn't love this, but it's an appropriately easy lark of a puzzle, and the fill is quite clean. It's like a nice, easy themeless that, look, just happens to have a theme. The end.

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Hit 1980s exercise video / MON 1-7-13 / Tech news site / Baldie's nickname / Vehicle of future since 1950s / Singsongy comment in a sticky situation

    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Constructor: Jim Peredo

    Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (for a Monday)

    THEME: METAL MOUTH — actually, metal + body part (or body part + metal)

    Word of the Day: ASWIRL (12D: Spinning dizzily) —
    Moving with a swirling or whirling motion: couples aswirl on the dance floor. (
    • • •

    Lots of great answers in this one. Looking back on it, I think it's a really fine puzzle, but as I was solving, I didn't fully appreciate it. For one, that NE corner beat me up—so many of those answers had plausible alternatives. I tried AWHIRL and ATWIRL, never considering ASWIRL (they're all relatively equally absurd words). Tried BAWL (?) and then HOWL before ever getting to YOWL (19A: Wailing cry). Had TALK TO for LOOK TO (11D: Consult). Worst of all, I had no idea what kind of CAR I was dealing with at 10D: "Vehicle of the future" since the 1950s (FLYING CAR). That clue, more than any of them, irritated the hell out of me. Why are there quotation marks? Who is saying that? Is that the slogan of the (non-existent) FLYING CAR? Quotation marks usually imply a slogan or at least a thing that is actually known to be said, so I was looking for something very specifically associated with the quoted part. Ridiculous cluing. Anyway, that corner was a disaster, but the rest was pretty normal Monday (skewing toward Tuesday) stuff. Yet even when I was done, I didn't get the theme. I had to ask my Facebook group because I couldn't believe it was just ... metals. And at the time I asked, I only noticed four theme answers. Then I noticed that there were two more, but still all I saw were metals. Finally someone clued me in that the metals were all attached to body parts. I would never consider "DOME" a body part (though obviously in this context it is), which is probably why this connection Never occurred to me. SKIN, first thing I think of is body part. HEART, ditto. BUNS ... well,  yes, ditto, actually. DOME, no. FIST, yes. FOOT, yes. Also, BRONZE SKIN is kind of a GREEN PAINT answer. Arbitrary adj/noun pairing. Not very tight. Also, that phrase is the only non-figurative use of metal in the whole puzzle. The skin is literally bronze (in color), whereas in no other case is the "metal" used non-figuratively. I guess the idea is that the skin is not made of the metal bronze, but since bronze is a real color, there's nothing figurative here, which bugged me. So the theme wobbles slightly in places, but it's pretty tight overall, and it's very ambitious, and the phrases it yields are mostly great (hard to hate BUNS OF STEEL and CHROME DOME). It's a really wonderful grid. Probably more a Tuesday than a Monday puzzle, but still quite enjoyable.

    [This. Is. Awesome]

    I think I didn't notice the two Down theme answers because there are two *longer* Down answers that are non-theme. This almost never (ever) happens.

    Another fellow crossworder from my FB group points out that this is at least the fourth time this theme has appeared in the NYT. There's also here (Gorski), here (Kavanaugh), and here (S. Kahn), though, to be fair, today's seems to be the first with six theme answers, so it's the most ambitious (and arguably the best) of them all.

    Theme answers:
    • 17A: Result of tanning (BRONZE SKIN)
    • 28A: Generous spirit, metaphorically (HEART OF GOLD)
    • 44A: Hit 1980s exercise video (BUNS OF STEEL)
    • 58A: Baldie's nickname (CHROME DOME)
    • 3D: What a tyrant rules with (IRON FIST)
    • 38D: Speed demon (LEAD FOOT)
    Some great colloquial phrases in this one, and an especially inventive clue on "AWKWARD" (7D: Singsongy comment in a sticky situation).

    Gotta get back to watching some Kurosawa now. See you tomorrow.

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


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