Wednesday, September 13, 2023
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Constructor: Doug Burnikel and Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative issue: Challenging *for a Monday* (that’s, it performed sluggish … which is not less than partly as a result of it is outsized)

THEME: Take the “A” Train …  — themers all begin with phrases that seek advice from subterranean mass transit techniques:

Theme solutions:

  • SUBWAY SANDWICHES (17A: Black Forest Ham and Cold Cut Combo, for 2)
  • METRO AREA (26A: Region encompassing a metropolis and its suburbs)
  • TUBE SOCKS (49A: One-size-fits-all hosiery)
  • UNDERGROUND FILMS (62A: Nonmainstream productions like “Pink Flamingo” and “Eraserhead”)

Word of the Day: AUGER (44D: Tool for boring holes) —

any of varied instruments or units with a helical shaft or half which can be used for boring holes (as in wooden, soil, or ice) or shifting free materials (akin to snow) (merriam-webster.com)

• • •

This felt off in a whole lot of methods. First, it simply felt tougher than most Mondays. It’s constructed bizarre, so there is a Lot of longer solutions and white area, particularly within the center, so though there’s additionally a whole lot of quick stuff, I felt like I used to be having hassle getting toeholds. Plus the fill and cluing was slippery. Really couldn’t provide you with WHUP (2D: Clobber however good). WHAP? WHOMP? WHOOP? Looking at it now, I suppose I see it, nevertheless it’s nonetheless extra sound than “phrase” to me, so … yeah. ALOO is a meals partial that I knew however wanted crosses to recollect (18D: ___ gobi (curry dish)). “I WAS RIGHT” wasn’t simple to get off first letters. TOETAP … bizarre, toughish. DOGGONEIT … wasn’t completely certain what it was gonna be or how one can spell it. Never heard of this explicit OCHOA, however since I knew different OCHOAs, I received it with some crosses (10D: Ellen ___, first Hispanic lady in area). Still, I needed to *work* much more than I often do for Mondays. And that is OK, besides the payoff wasn’t nice. This themer set is bizarre. SUBWAY SANDWICHES felt unusual, in that nothing about both of these sandwiches within the clue recommend SUBWAY specifically. And the clue on TUBE SOCKS was befuddling—I had the SOCKS half after which no thought. Was not conscious that the obvious lack of sizes was a distinguishing function. Also, have not seen anybody put on TUBE SOCKS unironically because the early ’80s. A bit odd to have UNDERGROUND FILMS clued as “Nonmainstream” if you’ve already received [Not mainstream] as a clue in your puzzle, and for principally the identical factor (INDIE). But the worst factor in regards to the theme, from an execution standpoint, is METRO AREA. All the opposite themers repurpose the preliminary phrase—taking it out of “subway” context and placing it elsewhere (sandwiches, socks, motion pictures). But the METRO AREA is particularly the place that the METRO takes you round. There’s not even an tried separation between the theme reply and the theme idea. It’s weak. Anemic. Half-hearted.

The fill can be subpar in lots of locations, esp. the S and SE (which incorporates, fittingly, SSE). ORO UAE ETRADE LEN AMMO MOE SSE. It’s only a bit gunky down there. It’s higher elsewhere, however not too significantly better. I couldn’t observe the logic of the clue on INDOORS (21A: Away from the solar, say). Really looks as if the clue is suggesting one thing akin to “within the shade,” not all the way in which INDOORS, the place … you wouldn’t essentially be “Away from the solar” (“say” or no “say”). Just odd. Also odd: having “canine” in your IDTAG clue (19D: Attachment to a canine collar, informally) if you’ve already received it in your grid, DOGGONEIT! Worst second for me, by way of my very own efficiency, was writing within the unsuitable AUGUR. There actually should not be two phrases that look and sound a lot alike. AUGER is a noun, a software for boring. AUGUR is primarily a verb (“portend”), although within the historic Roman world, an augur was somebody who foretold the desire of the gods particularly via finding out the flight conduct of birds, which sounds cool, if scientifically doubtful. I’m about to re-re-re-re (advert inf..) embark on a studying of Virgil’s Aeneid this week. Gonna hold my eye out for chicken stuff. You hold your eyes on the birds as effectively, good folks of Crossworld, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]



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