Showing posts with label Red-eyed birds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Red-eyed birds. Show all posts

Late NPR newsman / TUE 4-10-12 / Physician Sir William / Adorn with jewels / Red-eyed birds / Railway encircling city / Bruce of Sherlock Holmes films

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Constructor: Gregory Philip Butler

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: ROLE REVERSAL (51A: Plot device used in "Freaky Friday" ... or a hint to the interior of 20-, 26- or 42-Across) — ROLE can be found reversed (i.e. as "ELOR") in three answers

Word of the Day: BLOATER (22A: Smoked herring) —
Bloaters are a type of whole cold-smoked herring. Bloaters are "salted and lightly smoked without gutting, giving a characteristic slightly gamey flavor" and are particularly associated with Great YarmouthEngland. Popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the food is now described as rare. Bloaters are sometimes called as Yarmouth bloater, or, jokingly, as a Yarmouth capontwo-eyed steak, or Billingsgate pheasant (after the Billingsgate Fish Marketin London). (wikipedia)
• • •

If you have a halfway decent theme idea (and I think this one qualifies), why oh why (oh why) would you design a grid that is so massively flawed that no one will remember or appreciate what you've tried to do? First, this theme needs at least one more "ELOR" phrase to feel worth it. There must be other phrases that work, and it's not like a 15x15 grid can't accommodate 5 (total) theme answers. But this is a minor quibble. The main quibble, the big Q, is what the hell is going on with the fill. Let's start with the only part of the puzzle that most people are going to remember: the BLOATER / SCHORR crossing. BLOATER!?!?! The second I had that in my grid, I would no longer have that in my grid bec. a. it's ugly and b. it's obscure. Redesign the grid. You've got a bunch of less-than-optimal stuff over there anyway; tear it down. SATIABLE!?!? Tear. It. Down. Even worse than BLOATER is crossing it with SCHORR (6D: Late NPR Newsman). First, it's some northeasternliberalelitist Bull*&$% to clue him without even a first name? On a Tuesday? Second, to cross him with BLOATER? Even if I knew SCHORR (and I knew it ... by sound ... 'cause he was on the *radio* ... you know, the R in NPR ...) there's no reason I know that it's two Rs at the end. I definitely considered BLOATEE / SCHOER. Silly, you say? Silly? Have you met BLOATER? Look at BLOATER and tell me BLOATEE is silly. Look at POOLER (!?!?!) (5D: Car ___) and tell me BLOATEE is silly. The entire NW quadrant of this puzzle is an utter disaster. The rest is just adequate-to-unfortunate.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Longtime Nicaraguan president (DANIEL ORTEGA)
  • 26A: Instrument that's played by turning a crank (BARREL ORGAN)
  • 42A: Citrus fruit originally grown in Brazil (NAVEL ORANGE)
I honestly can't believe this was accepted as is. "Great theme idea, inadequate fill. Revise and resubmit"—how hard was that? (It wasn't)

I like the part where TOS crosses RST. Genius.

I've heard of a beltway, and a waistline, but not a BELTLINE (36D: Railway encircling a city).

Now if you'll excuse me, OSLER and I are going to go BEGEM some VIREOS (48D: Physician Sir William) + 36A: Adorn with jewels + 43D: Red-eyed birds). Oh, that OSLER—he's A REAL POOLER with the BARREL ORGAN, I say. PSHAW! Etc.

A crosswording friend of mine just posted the following to the Facebook thread (that I opened when I first finished this puzzle and wanted to vent): "It's a 72-word themed puzzle; whoop-de-doo. The word limit is 78; if your fill is this bad, you should be using all of that." Why did I write anything tonight? I should've just let that quotation stand in for my whole write-up.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


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