Wednesday, August 31, 2022
HomePuzzlesEgyptian ophidian / WED 8-31-22 / Dubious food-eating guideline / Type of...

Egyptian ophidian / WED 8-31-22 / Dubious food-eating guideline / Type of meal first bought by C.A. Swanson & Sons / Nickname for Mowgli within the Jungle Book / Flux Nineties MTV collection

Constructor: Joe Deeney

Relative issue: Easy-Medium (although it can most likely outing “Easy” due to the undersized grid (14×15))

THEME: FIVE-SECOND RULE (35A: Dubious food-eating guideline … or a touch to the solutions to this puzzle’s starred clues) — the “second” letter in all of the solutions to the starred clues is “V,” i.e. Roman numeral “5”; in every occasion the letter seems as an preliminary, pronounced “VEE”:

Theme solutions:

  • TV DINNER (16A: *Type of meal first bought by C.A. Swanson & Sons)
  • IV FLUID (24A: *Hospital bagful)
  • JV SQUAD (45A: *Up-and-coming group in highschool athletics)
  • EV CREDIT (57A: *Federal tax incentive for purchasing a Tesla, say)

Word of the Day: IDI Amin (31A: Dictator Amin) —

Idi Amin Dada Oumee (c. 1925 – 16 August 2003) was a Ugandan navy officer and politician who served because the third president of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. He dominated as a navy dictator and is taken into account one of the crucial brutal despots in trendy world historical past. […] Amin’s rule was characterised by rampant human rights abuses, together with political repressionethnic persecution and extrajudicial killings, in addition to nepotism, corruption, and gross financial mismanagement. International observers and human rights teams estimate that between 100,000 and 500,000 folks have been killed beneath his regime. (wikipedia) (my emph.)

• • •

You do not see 14-wide grids very a lot. Seems to me grids are extra apt to bulk up than slim down if they will go off the usual 15×15 mannequin. There’s an excellent purpose for slimming this one down, because the revealer is just 14 letters lengthy, and 14s are actually awkward to deal with in 15×15 grids; plus you’d want one other 14 to stability the revealer out symmetrically when you put it in a 15×15, whereas with a 14-wide grid you’ll be able to simply sit the revealer useless middle. Much extra elegant that manner. As for the theme itself, I breezed by means of the NW and although I wasn’t actually being attentive to “starred clues,” I figured one thing was up thematically with the “V”s after getting TV DINNER and AV CLUB. Then I hit the revealer, and acquired a double dose of pleasure, in that I liked the phrase itself … after which a number of seconds later the thematic import of the phrase hit me, and I preferred that too. “Five” within the “second” place of each themer. And it is not simply that the second letter is “V,” it is that it is pronounced as “VEE” in each case. It could be manner, manner too skinny if the themers merely had “V” because the second letter. Having it as an preliminary, a stand-alone letter, actually tightens the theme significantly … which brings me to the one factor in regards to the theme that I discovered actually jarring and inexplicable, particularly the stray “V” in DMVS (37D: Real ID issuers, briefly). Why would you let *any* non-thematic stand-alone “V”s into this puzzle?! Your complete premise is FIVE-SECOND, i.e. “V” comes second, however now you have launched an auxiliary FIVE-THIRD rule!? I’m positive it was robust to deal with all these rattling “V”s within the grid, however for the sake of sparkle and polish and magnificence, to not point out consistency, you’ll be able to’t let a “V” get away from you want that. Nails + chalkboard.

[“The stars are gonna spell out the answers to tomorrow’s crossword…”]

Outside the theme, there’s rather less to like. I just like the lengthy Downs OK, although the clue on “I CAN DREAM” feels tenuous (31D: “My lotto ticket could be the winner”). The clue phrase feels like one thing a not terribly vivid individual would say; there is not any inflection, no sense that the speaker has any sense of the preposterousness of the chances, which is why it is not an important clue for “I CAN DREAM,” which situates lotto triumph securely in Fantasyland, the place it belongs. There’s additionally no purpose a “busy day” ought to be a BLUR. I have a tendency to recollect busy days higher than unbusy ones. The puzzle has at all times anticipated me to know a bizarre lot about “The Jungle Book,” and MAN CUB went manner past my regular retailer of crossword information (KAA, BALOO, SHERE, and so forth.), but it surely was finally inferable from crosses (5D: Nickname for Mowgli in “The Jungle Book”). I did not love the clue on MINUS (41A: –) as a result of I stored questioning why they’d omitted the clue, or what clue this was the second a part of … took a couple of crosses to see that the sprint was a MINUS image. I had CEDE earlier than CAVE (28D: Give in) and whereas I acquired SCARFS on the primary guess, I held that “C” very loosely, understanding that it might very simply be an “N” (8D: Devours, with “down”) Thought the pun on ELISE (“a lease”) was terrible, however I am unable to but determine if it is so terrible it is good (59A: Good title for a house renter?). My present feeling is not any, it is unhealthy. But issues change.

The worst factor in regards to the puzzle for me was seeing IDI Amin’s silly face in it once more. There are two good causes to banish the dude eternally. First, he was an ethnic-cleansing battle prison of the primary order (see “Word of the Day,” above). It has by no means been fully clear to me why the world’s most well-known murderous dictator (white) is rarely* allowed to look within the grid however IDI AMIN (Black) was a grid staple. Note: not keen on Comparative Atrocity Studies, solely noting that battle criminals are demonstrably extra prone to seem within the grid if they don’t seem to be white. Maybe “overseas” names are simply extra tempting to constructors due to their “uncommon” letter combos. I dunno. The different good purpose for IDI banishment is sheer title fatigue. That man was once ubiquitous, since each his title elements are extremely helpful, grid-wise. To the puzzle’s (and constructors’) immense credit score, his visibility has radically decreased lately. AMIN hasn’t appeared within the #NYTXW in virtually three years, and in the present day’s is the primary look of IDI in 2022. Here’s the final ten years’ value of IDIs; you’ll be able to see how the movement slows to a trickle lately:

supply: xwordinfo

It could be nice if the man disappeared from grids fully. I’m by no means gonna not discover, not touch upon, not disparage the looks of a assassin of this magnitude. Yes, it is simply three letters, but it surely’s an pointless distraction and a major (albeit temporary) downer. Puzzle vibes are actual! Make them good!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

*Did you realize?: HITLER used to look within the grid fairly commonly, principally throughout and instantly after WWII itself. Look at these insane clues!

P.S. in case you someway have by no means heard of the FIVE-SECOND RULE, it is the concept that if meals falls on the ground and also you decide it up earlier than 5 seconds have elapsed, it is nonetheless good to eat. It’s a reasonably good rule: meals I drop on the ground, I nonetheless eat. Food I *discover* on the ground … not a lot.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments