Bluesman Willie / Talker-upper maybe / THU 10-8-15 / Old court org / Old company whose logo featured torch / Carrots lettuce humorously / 1980s social policy / Alchemist's quest

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Constructor: Stu Ockman

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Longest common word in the English language ... that does stuff" — [sigh] some kind of word trivia thing, I guess...

Theme answers:
  • SPOONFEED (17A: ... that has its letters in reverse alphabetical order)
  • DESSERTS (21A: ... that forms another word when read backward)
  • UNCOPYRIGHTABLE (39A: ... that has no repeated letters)
  • QUEUEING (54A: ... that has five consecutive vowels)
  • TORTUROUS (62A: ... that is spelled entirely from the last dozen letters of the alphabet) [dozen??? that is ... arbitrary]
Word of the Day: ROSE TOPAZ (10D: Pink gem) —
a rose-pink form of topaz produced by heating yellow-brown topaz
  (???) (
• • •
TORTUROUS pretty much says it all. This was a dismal, joy-killing puzzle. "Who ****ing cares?" was the only thing running through my head as I tried to put this thing together. This isn't wordplay. This isn't knowledge. This is trivia from some word website, and it's a very, very poor excuse for a crossword puzzle theme. As if the theme weren't depressing enough, the fill was laugh-and/or-cry-out-loud terrible in places. So, here's an unwritten cross-referencing rule: don't cross-reference crap answers that no one but no one is going to be happy to see under normal, non-cross-referenced circumstances. Cross-referencing foreign crosswordese ... that's the work of someone who hates fun, or cares not at all what a solver's solving experience is like. You should be ashamed that you had to resort to both OTROS and ESOS in your grid, but the fact that you're highlighting this colossal failure suggests you don't know that it is, in fact, a colossal failure. Yipes.  And someone needs to lose their job over that SW corner, specifically over USLTA, the single worst crossword answer I've seen in months, if not all year. Was there a Lesbian Tennis Association? What did I miss? When your (5-letter!) abbr. is a. *bygone*, b. hasn't been seen in *any* puzzle in 6 years, c. is in the cruciverb database only four times *total*, and d. isn't even holding anything good together (you've still got USMA and ELHI in there!) ... man. Man oh man OMOO. "Tin ear" is a generous term for what's happening here.

I gotta get back to the baseball game. The sooner we all forget this thing, the better. . . dammit! The baseball game's over. Oh well, I still gotta go. I just ... can't ... with this puzzle. Good day/night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Four of 12 imams of Shia / WED 6-7-15 / Red Lobster freebie / Amused singer of Raise Your Glass / Coke Zero alternative / Nickname for high-achieving couple

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Constructor: Julian Lim

Relative difficulty:Very very easy

THEME: Mononymous singers — familiar phrases that contain words that are also the names of one-named singers; answers are clued wackily, as if they had something to do w/ said singers...

Theme answers:
  • TICKLED PINK (17A: Amused the singer of "Raise Your Glass"?) (I do not know that song)
  • PRINCE CHARMING (25A: Enchantment of the singer of "Raspberry Beret"?)
  • PRO BONO (35A: Favoring the singer of "Sunday Bloody Sunday"?)
  • STING OPERATION (42A: Medical procedure for the singer of "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free"?)
  • TRAINED SEAL (57A: Coached the singer of "Kiss From a Rose"?) 
Word of the Day: Kevin DURANT (5A: Kevin who was the 2014 N.B.A. M.V.P.) —
Kevin Wayne Durant (born September 29, 1988) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays with the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He has played the small forward position for the Thunder, formerly the Seattle SuperSonics. Durant has won an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, four NBA scoring titles, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and an Olympic gold medal. He has also been selected to five All-NBA teams and six All-Star teams. (wikipedia)
• • •

Solved this faster than both the Tuesday and the Monday puzzles, so ... not sure what happened there, but I think this one's clued Much too easily. I was getting theme answers just by looking at the answers w/ a handful of crosses in place. Never saw clue for DYNAMIC DUO because I had the tail end and just wrote in the rest—what else was ...-ICD-O gonna be? I like Chagall's work so MARC = gimme. I watched a lot of "Friends" so MATT = gimme. I do a lot of crosswords so TEK = gimme. Etc. This thing didn't push back At All. Took me a little while to see exactly what the theme was, but that's just because I didn't have much time to think about it—I was too busy filling in answers as fast as I could type them. I wrote in DARN for DAMN (23D: "Aw, hell!").  I think that is literally the only "mistake" I made all puzzle. I'm kind of on the fence about the theme. It's just one-named singers whose names are in familiar phrases. That doesn't strike me as that interesting or ambitious. But it's probably just playful enough to pass muster. But (but!) the fill was a little south of good. My mood never quite recovered after I got DIETRC :( and LRON :( :( one after the other. ABMS OOP ORSO ALGA ULAN. It's just a bit clanky. First rate Scrabble-f*cking in the SW. So it's a mild negative from me today, I think. But very, very mild.

Gotta get back to baseball now. When I came up here, it was the 6th inning and Houston was up 2-0 on the Yankees. Let's see what it is now ... whoa, looks like Houston increased its lead to 3-0. Still, that could disappear in a hurry. Gotta get back to watching it live. I've got picture from ESPN and audio from Astros radio. Best of both worlds (if I mute the commercials). Later...

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


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