Tuesday, October 10, 2023
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Hello, everybody, it’s Clare for this random Monday in November, filling in for Rex! Hope everyone seems to be having a terrific November and also you’re staying heat wherever you’re. As standard, I’ve been busy watching ALL the sports activities, with tennis, soccer, snowboarding, basketball, and now the Men’s World Cup on TV! I’m by no means pleased this World Cup is being held in Qatar given the quite a few human rights points, and I completely despise FIFA and its rampant corruption, however I discover myself pleased for the gamers, as I can solely think about how a lot this implies to them, they usually didn’t have any say in the place they’d be taking part in. So, I shall watch some and root on the U.S. males’s workforce, although I might most likely solely identify three of the gamers and assume we’re gonna lose very badly. 

Anywho, on to the puzzle…

Constructor: Brandon Koppy

Relative problem: Easy

THEME: WORLD CUP (64A: International occasion the place 17-, 28- and 48-Across might be heard) — every of the theme solutions pertains to the lads’s World Cup 

Theme solutions:

  • VUVUZELA (17A: South African horn that produces just one notice) 
  • OLE OLE OLE OLE OLE (28A: Repetitive cry of encouragement)
  • GOOOOOOOOOOOOAL (48A: Reeeeeeeeally lengthy celebratory cry)

Word of the Day: NEALON (62A: Kevin ___, former “Weekend Update” anchor on “S.N.L.”) — 

Kevin Nealon (born November 18, 1953) is an American comic and actor. He was a forged member on Saturday Night Live from 1986 to 1995, acted in a number of of the Happy Madison movies, performed Doug Wilson on the Showtime sequence Weeds, and supplied the voice of the title character, Glenn Martin, on Glenn Martin, DDS. (Wiki)

• • •

My ideas on the puzzle might be summarized simply: Nooooooooooooooooooo! The theme is clearly well timed, with the Men’s World Cup beginning yesterday and with the U.S. taking part in as we speak (at 2 p.m. EST), however the execution was disappointing, particularly given how a lot room there was to have enjoyable with this theme! You’ve even acquired GHANA (48D: Accra’s nation) already there within the puzzle. They’re on this World Cup and have been additionally within the World Cup within the iconic 2014 group with the U.S., Germany, and Portugal, the place the U.S. simply made it out of the group earlier than shedding within the first elimination recreation to Belgium when Tim Howard virtually saved the entire recreation by nearly standing on his head. I digress. You even have EPIC WIN (26A: Victory of all victories) within the puzzle; how simple wouldn’t it be to offer {that a} World Cup clue? I can identify half a dozen off the highest of my head. Maybe put some workforce nicknames in there (Belgium are the Red Devils, England are the Three Lions, Canada are the Canucks — all of which may very well be fairly simply clued). Or, speak about some gamers (various folks know Messi, Mbappe, Neymar). 

I do know GOOOOOOOOOOOOAL (48A) is enjoyable to say (and sounds even higher in Spanish, significantly when announcer Andrés Cantor does his trademark model, which lasts 20 seconds or extra and, after a breath, is repeated for even longer). But simply throwing a random variety of “O’s” in a theme reply (it’s 12; I counted) feels lazy. And utilizing the crosswordese OLE and throwing it in as an throughout 5 instances feels lazy, too. I do just like the phrase VUVUZELA (17A) and keep in mind seeing these within the World Cup in 2010; I nonetheless have nightmares about how obnoxious the sound is and the way loud they have been. But as an entire, a theme that had a lot potential however was boring is as dangerous as a failed panenka

Beyond the theme, the remainder of the puzzle didn’t fare an entire lot higher, for my part. It’s by no means a great signal when it’s a must to clue your crosswordese off one another like with 27D: Co. honchos as CEOS and 35A: The “E” of 27-Down, for brief as EXEC. I additionally by no means love clues with citation marks the place it feels like all variety of phrases/phrases might work as the reply, and we had a seemingly uncommonly excessive variety of these within the puzzle as we speak with 2D:
“My flip!”
, 11D: “Unacceptable!”, 46D: “___ remorse that!”, 63D: “___ it on me!”, and 15A: “Be quiet!”

There have been nonetheless some good spots within the puzzle. 56A: Salsas, e.g. … or salsa strikes as DIPS is a cute clue/reply. Same with 71A: What was all about Eve? as EDEN. ESOTERIC (39D: Requiring uncommon information) is one among my favourite phrases, in order that was good to see there within the puzzle. I additionally favored ARCANE (66A: Requiring uncommon information) and thought EYE CONTACT (30D: Something to keep up throughout a dialog) was a fairly respectable phrase. RUN WILD (9D: Go loopy) is one thing you don’t often see in a puzzle, so I, in fact, favored that.


  • I realized as we speak the way to spell VUVUZELA (17A). I used to be satisfied that it was spelled “vuvuzuela,” and that’s how I’ve been announcing it, too. 
  • With 25D: Latte artwork medium as FOAM, I keep in mind once I had my first waitressing job and needed to discover ways to make lattes and the like, as a result of I’m by no means a espresso drinker. The first time somebody ordered an Americano, I instantly left the desk and Googled what that was. Thankfully, it was fairly simple to make. 
  • My solely expertise with the EURAIL (12D: Train service to 33 nations) system was when my sister and I have been lucky sufficient to make a journey throughout Europe. We did have one depressing expertise making an attempt to get our tickets, and one other time we needed to sleep exterior a practice station as a result of we couldn’t get a ticket. But, on the entire, the system was fairly nice! 
  • If you wish to see a real GOOOOOOOOOOOOAL, I’ll share one of many best in current reminiscence. My workforce (Liverpool) was on the cusp of qualifying for the Champions League and needed to win all of our remaining video games. We have been tied. On the ultimate play of the sport, Liverpool had a nook kick. Our goalie — sure, you learn that proper — got here all the best way up and scored one of the stunning headers ever, and I nonetheless don’t assume I’ve ever screamed louder. Anyway, right here it’s so you may all marvel at it, too. (Don’t ask me what number of instances I’ve watched this clip.)

Signed, Clare Carroll, a USAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSA soccer tremendous fan

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]



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