Showing posts with label Michael Dewey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Dewey. Show all posts

Mythical king of huns / WED 4-16-14 / Yellowstone bugler / Cuddly sci-fi creature / What scientists use to predict rates of chemical reactions / Arkansas footballers informally

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Constructor: Michael Dewey

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (again, no idea, as the AcrossLite file at the NYT site was Once Again "corrupt") (it's kind of an embarrassment how bad they are at the tech stuff over there) (oh hey, look, I bugged the right person and the file is no longer corrupt. Too late for me, but …)

THEME: "TITANIC SINKS!" (58A: Headline of April 16, 1912) — theme answers are, in whole or, in the case of one answer, in part, related to the sinking of the Titanic...

Theme answers:
  • MAIDEN VOYAGE (20A: Post-christening event)
  • COLLISION THEORY (28A: What scientists use to predict the rates of chemical reactions)
  • TIP OF THE ICEBERG (49A: Small part that's visible)
Word of the Day: ATLI (45D: Mythical king of the huns) —
A legendary king corresponding to the historical figure of Attila. In the Volsunga Saga he is the second husband of Gudrun. (
• • •

This doesn't work. First, there's the not major but still significant problem of this "tribute"'s having been done before—and recently, at a time that made much more sense, i.e. just two years ago, when it was the 100th anniversary of the disaster. Second, there's the tepidity of this theme execution. Weak, obvious, untricky answers, including one (COLLISION THEORY) that has a word in it  (THEORY???) that has Zero relationship to the disaster (the collision is not a theory; what caused the collision is not a theory … boat hitting iceberg caused the collision; there were theories about what caused the ship to sink … at first … but … now we know it was an iceberg, right? So ...). Just so weird / awkward to have all the other theme answers be spot-on and literal (to the point of dullness) and then have this lone outlier, totally unrelated to the Titanic except in a half-metaphorical kind of way. I'm baffled. Why was this even accepted? Further: fill is very much subpar. ATLI is ghastly, bottom-of-the-barrel crosswordese. In fact, it's almost definitive in its crosswordesiness. AGER and EDO and KAT, not much better.

I did like OH BOTHER, appropriately/ironically. Had LEAP for [Bound] at 1A, so not the fastest start. I had MAGI for MARY at 10D: Crèche figure—kinda knew I was wrong, as MAGI are figures, plural, but MA- + "Crèche" = MAGI in my brain. Wanted I GOT IT before I DID IT (50D: Cry of success). Odd coincidence (I assume) that I have seen ECLIPSE (5D: Sun block?) at least three times in the past few days, considering there was a lunar ECLIPSE, what, just yesterday? Thought [Globe's place] as a clue for BOSTON was pretty clever. But outside of that answer and the Pooh answer, there's not much here to love.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Singer Hendryx / WED 2-19-14 / Vermont winter destination / Archipelago constituent / Hungry hungry game creatures / Object of ancient Egyptian veneration

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    Constructor: Michael Dewey

    Relative difficulty: Medium

    THEME: Drill sergeant commands, reclued — things a drill sergeant might give, with an added three-part "response to a military command" (SIR / YES / SIR)

    • FORWARD MARCH (20A: Overly bold member of the "Little Women" family?)
    • COMPANY HALT (29A: Result of bankruptcy?)
    • PRESENT ARMS (44A: What blood donors do?)
    • READY, AIM, FIRE (51A: Motivational words for a boss at layoff time?) — not sure what AIM is doing here. Is that the boss's name? "Ready, Aim? FIRE!"

    Word of the Day: Hungry Hungry HIPPOS (34A: "Hungry hungry" game creatures) —
    Hungry Hungry Hippos is a tabletop game made for young children, produced by Hasbro, under the brand of its subsidiary, Milton Bradley. The idea for the game was published in 1967 by toy inventor Fred Kroll and it was introduced in 1978. The purpose of the game is for each player to collect as many marbles as possible with his or her 'hippo' (a toy hippo model). The game is marketed under the "Elefun and Friends" banner, along with Elefun and Gator Golf. (wikipedia)

    • • •

    This seems competently made, though I found it quite boring. I like the idea of recluing the themers as "?" clues (cute), and the "SIR,  / YES / SIR!" bonus was a nice touch, but there's nothing terribly interesting about the theme answers themselves (kind of monotonous) and there is nothing interesting about the puzzle outside the theme (except maybe DIPHTHONG, a great word). Lots of dull fill—stuff most people aren't really going to notice because they've come to accept it as normal. In today's NYT, dull fill is the stuff you tolerate in order to enjoy the juicy thematic center. What's another OMOO, OTOE, ERE, TEHEE, ESME, etc.? We're largely inured to this parade of crosswordese. So there's really nothing out-of-the-ordinary about the fill here. It's right where the NYT's standards are. Would've been great if you could've avoided NONA, which is highly avoidable proper noun crosswordese, and DIAG., which is just ugly, but honestly there's nothing egregious here.

    Yes, SIR gets repeated, but that's part of the theme phrase, so it can hardly be considered a fault/flaw. I always have trouble spelling SAGET, in that I can't decide on the final vowel: A or E. SAGAT always looks very right, but that may just the influence of ZAGAT talking. Didn't have much trouble otherwise, except in the N., where I didn't register the capital "Y" on "Yodels" in 14A: Relatives of Yodels (HO-HOS) and so kept trying to think of other kinds of alpine wails (unsuccessfully).

    See you tomorrow.
      Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


      Fragrance of roses / MON 1-9-12 / Doughnut shapes mathematically speaking / Fantasy realm of C.S. Lewis / Like Dubai's Burj Khalifa

      Monday, January 9, 2012

      Constructor: Michael Dewey

      Relative difficulty: Easy

      THEME: blank LIKE A bird of some kind

      Word of the Day: SCALAWAG (4D: Rapscallion) —
      In United States history, scalawag was a derogatory nickname for southern whites who supported Reconstruction following the Civil War. (wikipedia)
      • • •

      Another very slight theme. 76-word grid, decently filled. All in all, fine. Completely forgettable, but fine.

      [42A: Rockers Clapton and Burdon] 
      Theme answers:
      • 20A: Soar (FLY LIKE AN EAGLE)
      • 38A: Tell everything to the coppers (SING LIKE A CANARY)
      • 51A: Carefully guard (WATCH LIKE A HAWK)
      Weird thing about solving experience for me was getting all the way to the bottom of the grid before I had a single theme answer or any idea of what the theme was. Had the SCA- of SCALAWAG but couldn't do anything with it, so I ended up riding ICICLE down to ISAAC over to ASIAN down to SNOB over to BUTANE (with some small detours along the way, I'm sure). All very quickly. Then got WATCH LIKE A HAWK, but it wasn't until a bit later, with SING LIKE A CANARY, that I picked up the (very) slight theme. Had some confusion along the way. Started with ILLS for WOES. Read [Number after a © symbol] as [Number after a @ symbol] and so YEAR made No sense. Clue on TALL is pretty ridiculous (11D: Like Dubai's Burj Khalifa). Michael Jordan is TALL. Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. TALL is bathetic in the extreme. Calling that building TALL is like calling the Great Wall of China LONG. Understatement. Clue out of proportion to answer. Absurdity.

      I like how SLIP and KNOT(TY) are right next to each other. I also like how this puzzle has no J. Yes I do.

      Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


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