Thursday, September 14, 2023
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Constructor: Adam Wagner

Relative issue: Medium

THEME: “Going Off on a Tangent” — the 5 theme solutions are BENT OUT / OF SHAPE (85D: With 86-Down, very upset … just like the solutions to 5 of this puzzle’s clues?). That is: the themers have two parts: the clued component actually goes off on a tangent (i.e. zags diagonally up and to the proper on the finish); the unclued component continues straight (like a traditional Across reply) *and* spells out a form (CIRCLE, HEART, TRIANGLE, STAR, SQUARE). So the bent (clued) reply actually will get BENT OUT / OF SHAPE (i.e. seems to emerge from a phrase that can also be a form (“form” phrases are in crimson beneath):

Theme solutions:

  • INNER CITY (22A: Urban space sometimes with the tallest buildings) / INNER CIRCLE
  • OPEN HEARING (38A: Public court docket continuing) / OPEN HEART
  • RIGHT TRACK (61A: What you are on once you’re making progress) / RIGHT TRIANGLE
  • SUPERSTORM (83A: Major concern for a meteorologist) / SUPERSTAR
  • LEMON SQUEEZER (101A: Certain juicing want) / LEMON SQUARE

Word of the Day: KEENAN Allen (43D: Star N.F.L. huge receiver Allen) —

Keenan Alexander Allen (born April 27, 1992) is an American soccer huge receiver for the Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). He performed faculty soccer at California earlier than leaving after his junior yr. He was drafted by the Chargers within the third spherical of the 2013 NFL Draft. Allen received a number of rookie honors after setting Chargers’ information for receptions and receiving yards by a rookie. In 2017, he was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. [ed: He’s also a 5x Pro Bowler] (wikiepdia)

• • •

Maybe there’s some type of letdown that I’m having right here on the tail finish of Thanksgiving trip / birthday week, as a result of wow I discovered this one very, very tedious. There are particular person solutions right here and there, like WHIZBANG and possibly BONG HIT, that provide some entertaining moments alongside the best way, however for probably the most half this was a slog. The theme was so depressingly void of curiosity, so impossibly one-note. So … these Across solutions go (per the title) “off on a tangent”—that’s, they kick as much as the NE, on a diagonal, at their tail ends. But … why? To what finish? Those “tangents” are simply … nothing. They’re random letters. The letters don’t spell something. They don’t relate to 1 one other. They are utterly random and arbitrary letters, so far as I can see (-TY! -ING! -ACK!). If these tangent-going letters do something … something in any respect, I apologize for being unable to see it. So there’s this inherent pointlessness. Or seeming pointlessness. Then there’s the unclued solutions that simply hold heading Across; that’s, solely the “off on a tangent” reply is clued—the common only-horizontal reply is simply … a believable reply. With no clue. None. Zero. This is enjoyable how? I suppose the revealer is meant to inform us how—all the “bent” solutions (the clued solutions) come up out of a phrase that can also be a “form”—that’s, the clued solutions are bent (obtained it) “out of (a) form” (i.e. the bend provides you one reply, however the persevering with (unclued!) Across reply turns right into a form (CIRCLE, HEART (!?!), TRIANGLE, STAR (!?!?!), SQUARE ). This idea was completely invisible to me till nicely after I’d began this write-up. I believed BENT OUT / OF SHAPE was simply one other (redundant) approach of expressing that the clued themers went “off on a tangent.” The presence of precise shapes within the (unclued) straight-Across solutions … simply did not register. Probably as a result of, as I’ve stated, many time, parenthetically and unparenthetically, these straight-Across themers are Un Clued! So how *can* they make an influence!?!? If you instantly grasped the “out of practice” bit, you’re a extra perspicacious solver than I’m. Or you are simply much less filled with cocktail / chocolate cake.

That nook with the revealer … woof. Tough, exactly due to the revealer (a two-part cross-reference in a tightly enclosed house). If you do not know the revealer (and the way may you with out appreciable assist from crosses), it is tough to get traction. PAVED ROAD was approach too generically (and boringly) clued (104A: Residential development mission). Then I needed EATS for SUPS (!?!) (109A: Has a meal) (nothing in that clue fairly will get on the quaintness of SUPS). And if the Bruins aren’t UCLA, shrug, no thought (I *have* heard of the BOSton Bruins, simply … much less so). But the problem of the nook is really inappropriate—the purpose is, this theme (at the very least the “form” angle) is a tree falling in a forest with nobody to listen to it. And then once you do hear it, it sounds largely like a tragic trombone. 

DANK memes? Whaaaaat yr is it? I have not heard that expression in what seems like a decade, however might be simply 5 years or so. But 5 years could as nicely be *two* a long time in Internet Time. Woof. AGAPE and AGHAST usually are not solely each within the grid, however virtually on high of one another. And ugh x 100 to the very idea of “do not yuck my yum,” which is for delicate infants who cannot bear the truth that some folks don’t love what they like. Grow up. And cease speaking child speak. Also, extra importantly, YUCKED, previously tense, is about as ugly a factor as I’ve ever seen in a grid. Just nonsense. The worst factor concerning the fill, although, was the EWAN / VAN crossing. Why on the planet would you cross names at a vowel like that, when neither of the names is family, and one of many names (VAN) may Easily have been clued in a non-name approach!? That sq. just about needed to be an “A” since is the one title you may plausibly make out of EW-N, and I can kinda image VAN Jones, now that I consider it (I LOATHE 24-hr information and stopped watching it utterly after the 2016 election). But it is an terrible editorial resolution to clue VAN as a reputation there, esp. in case your EWAN is of the non-McGregor selection. 

No thought what a “Pitch Perfect” movie collection is, so I wanted each cross for KAY (43A: ___ Cannon, creator of the “Pitch Perfect” movie collection). Looks like these had been exceedingly widespread films of a sort I’d by no means ever see. Sometimes I’m in contact, however steadily I’m out. Ah nicely. I do know ELENA Ochoa (golfer) however this not-quite ELENA (i.e. ELLEN) Ochoa, that title threw me (14D: Discovery astronaut Ochoa) (ha, joke’s on me: the golfer is definitely LORENA Ochoa). As for UPZONE …  is “city planning lingo” really a lingo that we’re speculated to know now? Seems astonishingly, uh, slender. What is it “up” from? What does “up” imply right here? You cannot even infer it very simply. Is “extra high-density housing and mixed-use improvement” good? It sounds fairly good? Is it … up? There are certainly solutions to those questions, however it is a time period that’s each too specialised and never instantly clear sufficient in its which means. Just as a result of it seems in some wordlist / dictionary would not make it good. The first hit I get after I google it says “Upzoning is simply what it seems like: rising a little bit taller to have extra properties and companies in our communities.” But the clue says nothing about top (of buildings). I’d by no means have thought of that the UP in UPZONE meant “rising a little bit taller,” i.e. literal top. The clue is not any assist. If you are going to introduce skilled argot of a extremely specialised sort, the least you possibly can do is clue it in a approach that makes the time period make sense. This write-up was exhausting. Just explaining the theme, ugh. I would like sleep. See you Monday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 



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