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Lab-engineered fare, facetiously / SUN 11-13-22 / 1993 R&B hit with the lyric “Keep playin’ that track all night time” / Mesopotamian metropolis / Tree of the custard apple household / Brand name-checked in Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome”


Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson

Relative issue: Medium

THEME: FRANKENFOOD (62A: Lab-engineered fare, facetiously … or a touch to the six crossings of shaded squares) / BUMPER CROPS (73A: Bountiful harvests for farmers … or one other trace to the crossings of shaded squares) — there are six completely different “crop” collisions, or “crossings” within the grid; the crops seem as letter strings inside circled squares inside extraordinary puzzle solutions.

The FRANKENFOOD / BUMPERCROPS:

  • OLIVE / RICE
  • SQUASH / OAT
  • MANGO / BANANA
  • TOMATO / CORN 
  • LIME / CHIVE
  • BEET / MELON

Word of the Day: “HEY, MR. DJ!” (49D: 1993 R&B hit with the lyric “Keep playin’ that track all night time”) —

Hey Mr. D.J.” is a track by American R&B group Zhané, recorded for his or her debut album, Pronounced Jah-Nay (1994). It was launched because the group’s debut single in August 1993 and in addition incorporates a rap from Rottin Razkals member Fam. The track samples “Looking Up to You” by singer Michael Wycoff. The single peaked at quantity six on the Billboard Hot 100 and was licensed gold by the RIAA for promoting 500,000 copies domestically. In Australia, it peaked at quantity 9, whereas reaching quantity 20 in New Zealand. Originally, the track was recorded and launched on the 1993 compilation album Roll Wit tha Flava. // Zhané ( zhah-NAY) was an American R&B duo, greatest identified for his or her 1993 hit “Hey Mr. D.J.“, which reached No. 6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Other common hits embody “Groove Thang” (U.S. No. 17) and minor hit “Sending My Love“, each launched in 1994. The group was a part of Queen LATIFAH‘s Flavor Unit collective [!!?]. (emph. mine) (wikipedia)

• • •

Never good to complete the puzzle with “holy s***, that’s Awful!” however that’s precisely how this one concluded. That SW nook is … I dunno. ACTIVES???? Is that brief for … “lively components”???? I used to be wholly keen to consider that [Some skin care ingredients, informally] had been ACTIVOS, as I had common crosswordese ODESSA at 120A: Mesopotamian metropolis as a substitute of godawful crosswordese EDESSA. Throw within the never-seen-it-in-the-singular VAGARY, and you’ve got one untasty soup down there. Makes TOMATO/CORN sound downright tasty. Which brings me to one in every of my essential issues with this theme: FRANKENFOOD suggests one thing, properly, horrifying, or at the least unappetizing, and, properly, MANGO and BANANA go nice collectively, truly, as do OLIVE and RICE and TOMATO and CORN. And FRANKENFOOD is, because the clue says, “lab-engineered”… which has nothing to do with crossing two pre-existing meals. BUMPER CROPS makes *a lot* extra sense because the revealer right here, since, in each theme reply occasion, two “crops” kind of “bump” into one another and ricochet off at a ninety-degree angle. The FRANKENFOOD factor most likely appeared like a cool concept, and positively provides the puzzle a extremely uncommon double central reveal, but it surely does not actually make sense. It’s ornamental, and so inapt that it is a distraction. Basically, that is an OK theme in case you ditch FRANKENFOOD—it is a cool reply, certain, but it surely’s simply not an correct reflection of what is going on on within the theme. I truly could not even see the theme till I obtained BUMPER CROPS. That is, regardless of having three of the six “crossings” in place, FRANKENFOOD did not assist me see the “meals” that had been concerned in any respect. But BUMPER CROPS. Mwah. There it’s. The solely true revealer.

The fill on this one appeared tremendous. Except for that egregious SW nook, I do not actually have any complaints. And it wasn’t a breeze, both. Not laborious, however I undoubtedly needed to work in locations (in contrast to yesterday’s Tuesday-posing-as-Saturday). I had PECAN earlier than PAPAW (1D: Tree of the custard apple household). I wanted a bunch of crosses to get LASER TAG (33A: Game sometimes performed in the dead of night). I’ve by no means, ever heard of AERObiology (and do not perceive calling consideration to your crosswordese by turning it into one thing semi-obscure like this, however no matter) (69A: Prefix with biology). Again, it looks as if the editor was inexplicably smitten with the concept of duplicate cluing (see 81A: Prefix with biology = ASTRO). Almost all the time makes one of many clues really feel actually clunky … and but he persists with this conceit that most individuals do not discover and nobody actually enjoys. The complete jap part was by far the toughest half for me. AXE HEAD??? (48A: It may be caught on the chopping block). I had HEAD however zero concept what might come earlier than it. I solely ever consider the “chopping block” as one thing metaphorical. Also, ITTY!?!? Ugh. I had EENY (ugh) and ITSY (additionally ugh). Just an terrible little (!) “phrase” to get held up on. Was uncertain of each TONES and FILM, and LATIFAH was moderately properly hidden, and HARD G was doing what it all the time does (ugh) (78A: What gorillas have that giraffes lack?), so yeah, that complete part was a wrestling match, and never a really enjoyable one. Everything else felt fairly regular, difficulty-wise. 

This puzzle had one nice reply, and right here it’s:

I obtained JIF and thought “… terminal ‘J’!?!!? Seven letters ending in ‘J’!? What the hell can that probably be!?” And then I took one have a look at the clue and thought “Oh, wow, sure, Yes. Now we’re speaking!” An awesome reply that I got here at from simply the suitable angle. The remainder of the grid is strong sufficient, however nothing comes close to the dizzying excessive of “HEY, MR. DJ!”

Had TORRENT earlier than TORNADO (89D: Relative of a waterspout). Hilariously, wrote in LON earlier than LIZ (52A: Politico Cheney). That NFL TEAM clue is de facto not good, contemplating just one particular person on the “TEAM” truly does any “mountain climbing” (86A: Hiking group?). In case you had been apprehensive that there was some progressive politician you’d by no means heard of known as FLO, don’t be concerned (83D: Longtime Progressive spokeswoman). It’s capital-P Progressive, and he or she’s simply the longtime spokesperson for that individual insurance coverage company. Binghamton grad! We’re very proud. Have a pleasant day. And completely happy birthday to my mom, with out whom I’d actually bodily truly be nothing. See you in per week, mother!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]



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