Fourth god to exist in Greek myth / SAT 4-21-18 / Currency unit equal to 100 kurus / Teacher of lip-reading to deaf / Wite-Out manufacturer

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Constructor: Daniel Nierenberg

Relative difficulty: Easy (mid-6s, but that's with ~30 seconds of "taking screenshots" time—uninterrupted time would've easily been somewhere in the 5s)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: Ron KOVIC (46D: Ron who wrote "Born on the Fourth of July") —
Ronald Lawrence "RonKovic (born July 4, 1946) is an American anti-war activist, writer, and former United States Marine Corps sergeant, who was wounded and paralyzed in the Vietnam War. He is best known as the author of his 1976 memoir Born on the Fourth of July, which was made into the Academy Award–winning film in 1989 directed by Oliver Stone.
Kovic received the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay on January 20, 1990, 22 years to the day that he was wounded in Vietnam, and was nominated for an Academy Award in the same category. (wikipedia)
• • •

Wow. This was easy. Eerily easy. I did my usual thing of throwing down all the short Downs I could make fit at first guess in the NW, and then checking to see where I was at with the long Acrosses. Shockingly, with the exception of ITSY for ITTY (ick), allll of my first guesses up there were right, and all of the long Acrosses fell pretty much immediately. Here's my very first pass at the NW:


And then it just Kept Going. This was a very open grid, with lots of ways to get at every corner, so there really was no getting stuck. Once I committed to ORALIST (I might've ... gagged on that one, a little) and -LYSIS (definitely gagged there), moving down into the rest of the grid was quite easy. The only slight roadblocks were: I wanted SURE for SOLD (25A: Convinced) and then wanted NOT ART for NON-ART (21D: Dada, to its critics), which is a non-answer as far as I'm concerned, but that's non of my business, moving on. I probably had more trouble with CLARET than with anything else in the grid, which is really strange given that I know the word. I think of it as wine and not color, I guess. Just couldn't come up with it. Honestly, there's no more resistance in this puzzle. I could've written in GAY MARRIAGE for 58A: Subject of the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges with no crosses if I'd had to, but I didn't even have to do that, as I'd already plunked THE EYE and DIORAMA down there. No idea about RIGGS (44D: One of the detectives in "Lethal Weapon"), but it hardly mattered—it just filled itself in from crosses. I actually liked most of this grid, just not the ITTY ORALISTLYSIS up top. BRAE is some old school crosswordese (51D: Landform near a loch), but it felt like an old friend more than a nuisance today. If I'm not being bombarded by crosswordese and otherwise bad fill, I'm remarkably cool with the stray quaint old term. An ETUI here, an ASTA there, just fine with me.


Anyway, today I did not NEED HELP. Everything just clicked. I'm definitely much faster solving at night than solving in the morning. And I've also found that if I do a hardish puzzle right before I do the NYT, it helps a lot. Today's pre-NYT warm-up puzzle was Peter Gordon's latest Fireball Newsflash puzzle; these are always replete with very recent and newsy answers—brutal proper nouns, but always crossed fairly. Anyway, it helped me keep up with some current events *and* got me in fighting shape for this puzzle, which I destroyed.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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Kepler's contemporary assistant / FRI 4-20-18 / Topic of mnemonic Eat Apple As Nighttime Snack / Desperately in need of approval in modern slang

Friday, April 20, 2018

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Man, I'm slow when I roll-out-of-bed-solve... (9-something)


THEME: sadly, yes

Theme answers:
  • TWENTY-FIVE / THOUSANDTH (10D: With 26-Down, the place of today's puzzle among all New York Times crosswords)
Word of the Day: HOLT (6D: Otter's den) —
noun
  1. 1
    the den of an animal, especially that of an otter.
  2. 2
    NORTH AMERICANdialect
    a grip or hold. (google)
• • •

ELEPHANT, in room, not forgetting
Firstly, you can shove this self-congratulatory bullshit and start paying constructors somewhere, anywhere near what the puzzles are worth to you, NYT. The peanuts-level pay (fractions of a penny per dollar profit) remains a fantastic embarrassment and ensures that puzzle-making remains largely the purview of a smallish clique of (mostly) white (mostly) guys who would and could do it for nothing. Already well-off white dudes are the Best because they don't harsh your buzz with talk about *money*, ick, how déclassé. And the Powers That Be have always been dismissive and condescending (and largely silent) on this issue. Extremely so. I've got friends who complain all day long (*as they should*) that women and people of color are underrepresented in the world of crossword constructors and editors, but never make a peep about fair pay. About selling your work to a giant corporation, with no hope of residuals, and being paid largely in "hey, look, your name's in the paper!" Why anyone sells to the NYT for less than $750 for a daily is beyond me (it's currently a laughable $300, with a secret $350 level for the oft-published favorites—by comparison, Peter Gordon's *independent* Fireball Crosswords pays $451). I have no problem with the NYT's using the crossword to help fund "real" news? But come on. They could double, triple, quadruple the pay rate and stil just be printing money. TWENTY-FIVE THOUSANDTH crossword? So? What? I mean, this is an institution that took years and years to Put The Constructor's Name On The Puzzle, then even more years to Put The Name Where People Can See It. See, you're supposed to worship the Institution, and the Editor. Constructor shmonstructor. I would love for an honest accounting of just how much money there is, and where the money goes, crosswordwise. Let everyone see. Go ahead. I dare you.


Secondly, and more strongly, you can take DEEP STATE (58A: Entrenched network inside a government), and everything you've done to normalize this racist, conspiracy-theory-driven administration, and shove it very, very far.

Bye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I know it's 4/20, but I swear I did not write this high.

P.P.S. Here, please enjoy this puzzle from Brendan Emmett Quigley and 2018 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament champion Erik Agard?

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