Rules maven Edmond / FRI 10-18-19 / 2016 film about 1967 Supreme Court case / Hired one is called moirologist / Ulan Siberian capital / Epithet for uninformed / Giant in health beauty products

Friday, October 18, 2019

Constructor: Jamey Smith

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (7:17)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: VOILE (16A: Fabric for a wedding dress) —
a fine soft sheer fabric used especially for women's summer clothing or curtains (
• • •

This was grim. All the things that make a Friday undelightful—not a lot of sparkle, off cluing, weak fill, and (not the puzzle's fault, exactly) just way off my wavelength, both content-wise and just ... voice-wise. Not for me, at all. Hell of a lot of trouble with the top part, from referring to ITEN (bad fill, don't call attention to bad fill!) as a "lower artery" to horrid legal Latin at 1D (IDEM) to TERABIT (not -byte??) to IVORY as an artist's medium (!) to AVOCADO clued in relation to yellow (?) to AMWAY clued via health and beauty (I didn't know it had a focus ... I had ALMAY ... is that something?) to whatever that word for professional MOURNER was (not even gonna look at that clue again) to WINED (ugh) to the weak assertion that rom-coms are "typically" DATE MOVIEs—what does that even mean? I'd venture to say that the "typical" attendee of any movie, rom-com included, is not, in fact, on a date, so the cluing is ... awkward, off, weird, wrong. You mean that a rom-com is a common type of DATE MOVIE; so say that. Yeesh. This whole thing is yeesh. By EMONEY (woof! dear lord, bring back ENOTE if it means I'll never have to see the ridiculous EMONEY again ... that's not a word, that's a recently departed rock star's signature)

I don't believe anyone really says ILLITERATI, and if you do, you're probably the kind of smug I'd rather not know. I misspelled TURNSTYLE thusly, and then imagined that the minor offender was a HOPPER. That clue there, again, woof, no, that pun is awful (54A: One committing a fare-ly minor offense?). There is no such thing as a C-TEAM, truly there is not, any more than there's a Y-TEAM, please stop at the letter B and go no farther. Had SAND for SURF (50A: It's a shore thing). Haven't read Vonnegut since I was a teenager so clue on ELIOT mean jack to me (27D: ___ Rosewater, recurring character in Kurt Vonnegut novels). Elaine CHAO is yet another ghoulish member of this ghoulish administration who probably belongs in jail. And UDE ... what is there even to say about that atrocity? (55D: Ulan-___, Siberian capital). Nothing. Good bye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Outdated postal abbr / THU 10-17-19 / Grimalkin / Rowdy concertgoer maybe / Big name in small planes / Cybermemo / 1980s Pontiac sports car

Thursday, October 17, 2019

WARNING / ALERT / IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you are solving in the newspaper, then your puzzle is different from everyone else's. Please go back in time and enjoy the write-up I did for your puzzle LAST MONTH, thank you. (Everyone who downloads the puzzle or solves in the app, keep reading)


Constructor: Randolph Ross

Relative difficulty: untimed, on paper, but I'm gonna say "Easy-Medium"

THEME: joined at the hip — clues are ALLCAPS words or names that have something in common and have been run together, overlapping at last letter of first word and first letter of last word. Each word; these clues visually represent familiar two-word phrases where the first word means (roughly) "joined" and the second word is whatever kind of thing the clue words are. So:

Theme answers:
  • SPLICED GENES (20A: WILDERAYBURN) (Gene WILDER + Gene RAYBURN (an old talk show host))
  • ATTACHED HOUSES (22: HACIENDADOBE) (can a hacienda not be made out of adobe? These "houses" don't seem distinct enough from one another)
  • COMBINED FORCES (43A: MILITIARMY) (militia + army)
  • UNITED STATES (48A: UTAHAWAII) (state of Utah, state of Hawaii)
Word of the Day: MARLENA (27A: "Days of Our Lives" role for more than four decades)
Marlena Evans is a fictional character on the NBC daytime drama, Days of Our Lives, a long-running serial about working life in the fictional town of Salem. She has been played by actress Deidre Hall since 1976, but the character was absent from the show from 1987 to March 1991 and again from January 2009 to September 2011. Marlena was created by scriptwriter Pat Falken Smith and executive producer Betty Corday, and has become one of Days of our Lives' most well-known characters. Hall made her debut on the soap on June 21, 1976, currently making her the second longest running actress on the serial, surpassed only by Suzanne Rogers (Maggie). (wikipedia)
• • •

An interesting theme completely wrecked by atrocious fill. The theme concept here isn't bad—kind of obvious, but clever in its way. But I feel like I could've guessed most of them without any help, or with little help, from the crosses (the only one I had issues with was COMBINED FORCES, as I wanted a lot of other different first words like JOINED or UNITED or ALLIED or something ... COMBINED actually took a bit). The themers were not tricky. Once you get the gist of the theme, there it is, you see it, cute, great. Now you've got to fill in the rest of the grid, and oof. Ouch. Yipes. I have "ugh" "no" and "ouch" written alllll over my puzzle print-out. Let's start with the name parade in the NE—so much real estate on old TV actor a physicist a soap role (?????) and GAL GADOT (whose name I can never spell (I'm always Waiting for Gal GODOT), but that's on me). And that little corner in the NE, why ... just why? Why the terrible ONTV (16A: Where "Star Trek" and "Mission: Impossible!" originated) and more terrible KTS (12D: Gold standards: Abbr.)? You can do annnnnnything up there, and you do that? Astonishingly poor judgment. And then, let's take a look around, shall we? It won't be pleasant, but here we go: AFUSS. Sigh. Lord. Come on. A terrible partial? Crossing an old ("old" is a theme today) Pontiac model (29D: 1980s Pontiac sports car)? Next to the woeful UNARM (it will always be "disarm" and only "disarm"). And then ENOTE? ENOTE!? Stop, [Cybermemo]!?!? Ugh. Only someone who thinks "COSMIC!" is an actual exclamation could like this fill, my goodness (42D: "Far out, man!"). And then D'ESTE!? Not ESTE, which is common/irksome enough, but D'ESTE!? And RFD, which I know only from old (there's that word again) TV, i.e. "Mayberry R.F.D."? It's all so rough. So Rough. Oh well, I liked LEADFOOT (37A: Highway speedster) and QUARTETS, and there *is* a nice shout-out to yesterday's puzzle (34D: Like the worst dad joke = CORNIEST).

Five things:
  • 3D: Ticket category (ADULT) — I got PAYS then PLACID then ran the Downs coming off of PLACID and got them all right ... except this one. I wrote in AISLE.
  • 34A: Grimalkin (CRONE) — Grim what now? If I've seen this word before, I forgot it ("this word" = "grimalkin" — I *have* heard of CRONE!). Cool word. Storing it away.
  • 54A: Locker room shower? (ESPN) — old cluing trick, where "shower" means "entity that shows something" (as opposed to "descending moisture") (P.S. congrats to the Washington Nationals on their first trip to the World Series—I assume their locker room was showered with champagne after Game 4 of the NLCS)
  • 7A: Deg. for an animator (BFA) — kinda hate "degree" clues because who knows? I always have to leave the first square blank on this one, as it could easily be MFA (the deg. I'm actually more familiar with). 
  • 58A: K'ung Fu ___ (Confucius) (TSE) — really enjoying* the "anagrams of EST" mini theme going on there at the bottom of the grid: quartETS over SET over TSE (crossing D'ESTE!). Really... something (*not actually enjoying)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


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