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Like old school railroad crossing indicators / MON 12-26-22 / Landslide of moist sediment / Princess who says into the rubbish chute flyboy / 97.5% of a penny / Bitter a part of an orange /


Constructor: Kurt Weller

Relative issue: No Idea (did it Downs-Only to flee potential boredom)

THEME: CLOCKWORK (59A: Epitome of precision … or an outline of 20-, 34- and 43-Across?) — acquainted phrases that additionally sound like verb phrases associated to “working” on a “clock”:

Theme solutions:

  • MAKE A FACE (20A: Stick your tongue out, say)
  • SWITCH GEARS (34A: Move onto a brand new subject of dialog, metaphorically)
  • CHANGE HANDS (43A: Pass to a unique proprietor, as a enterprise)

Word of the Day: “The Wall” (3D: Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” for one => ROCK OPERA) —

The Wall is the eleventh studio album by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd, launched on 30 November 1979 by Harvest/EMI and Columbia/CBS Records. It is a rock opera that explores Pink, a jaded rock star whose eventual self-imposed isolation from society kinds a figurative wall. The album was a business success, topping the US charts for 15 weeks and reaching quantity three within the UK. It initially obtained blended critiques from critics, a lot of whom discovered it overblown and pretentious, however later obtained accolades as one of many biggest albums of all time and one of many band’s most interesting works. […] The Wall is likely one of the best-known idea albums. With over 30 million copies bought, it’s the second best-selling album within the band’s catalogue (behind The Dark Side of the Moon), the perfect promoting double-album of all time, and one of many best-selling albums of all time general. Some of the outtakes from the recording periods have been used on the group’s subsequent album, The Final Cut (1983). In 2000, it was voted quantity 30 in Colin Larkin‘s All Time Top 1000 Albums. In 2003, 2012, and 2020, it was included in Rolling Stones lists of the biggest albums of all time. From 2010 to 2013, Waters staged a new Wall dwell tour that turned the highest-grossing tour by a solo musician. (wikipedia)

• • •

This appeared like a fairly remedial theme at first—components of a watch, huge whoop. But then I learn the revealer clue slightly extra intently and realized that the theme solutions did not simply have watch components as their closing phrases, they appeared to particular issues one would possibly do whereas “working” on a “clock”—somebody engaged in such CLOCKWORK would possibly MAKE A (clock) FACE or SWITCH (clock) GEARS or CHANGE (clock) HANDS. This offers the theme slightly one thing further. Not that it made it any extra attention-grabbing to unravel, however conceptually, a minimum of, it is obtained the form of next-level ambition and magnificence that you simply’d hope to seek out each day in your NYTXW themed puzzles. I am unable to actually communicate to what it was like to unravel usually, as I solved it very abnormally—by trying solely on the Down clues. Downs-only fixing places you into an entire different world, one the place you keep away from the assistance—and the pitfalls—that Across clues usually present. So you possibly can go very very quick, but additionally, you may get very, very caught. I did slightly of each right now. The hardest factor was in all probability (to my thoughts) the iffiest factor within the grid: MUDFLOW. Uh, what? What is … that? Is it … mud … that flows? I used to be not conscious that that was a phenomenon noteworthy sufficient to be its personal reply. I’ve rattling certain heard of MUDSLIDES, however simply MUDFLOWs? Mmm, no. And since I could not get ZINC (7D: 97.5% of a penny) I used to be attempting to make the primary themer into MAKE A …. DATE? Something like that. Really not a fan of the MUDFLOW.

The different principal Downs-only difficulty I had was ANTITOXIN (36D: Venom neutralizer, e.g.). My mind was like “ANTIVENOM!” and I used to be like “look, mind, ‘venom’ is within the clue, it may well’t be ANTIVENOM” after which mind was like “ah nicely, cannot enable you, gonna take into consideration Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ now” and I mentioned “oh come on, mind” but it surely plugged its ears and began shout-singing: “We Don’t Need No / ANTIVENOM!” So infantile, generally, mind is. Probably the funniest a part of Downs-only fixing was getting PENI- (!) over EREC- (!!) there within the SW nook and pondering “nicely, I’ve gotta have an error there … I hope I’ve an error there … as a result of … OK, what is going on!?” I could not consider something that might full PENI- and likewise be allowable in mainstream crosswords. Crosses have been main me to PENIN however all I might suppose was “nicely, that is not a phrase.” Then I believed “oof, it might be an terrible partial.” And then I believed, oh, it is only a verb phrase … OK, then.” Remarkably onerous, from a Downs-only standpoint, was 30D: Bitter a part of an orange (PITH). You suppose, “what number of four-letter solutions can there be?” Well three, a minimum of, I can let you know from expertise. I had PEEL at first (again after I wished CHANGE HANDS to be CHANGE LANES). Then I believed, “nicely, if it is not that, then perhaps … RIND?” Maybe, but additionally perhaps not. Sigh. Your mind actually has to work in bizarre methods to suss out these Down-only dilemmas (or trilemmas). 

I’ve by no means actually heard anybody say “CLOCKWORK” except they mentioned “like” first, or occurred to be discussing a really well-known Kubrick movie. But that is alright. It’s a phrase, you possibly can’t dispute that. Overall, the expertise was entertaining, although I believe a lot of the leisure got here from the self-imposed Downs-only restriction, fairly than from something inherent within the theme or fill. Putting collectively these lengthy Across themers with completely no clues was an journey: MAKE A DATE! CHANGE LANES! CLONE WARS! (earlier than CLOCKWORK, LOL). SWITCH GEARS was the one themer that basically wished to remain put. 

I’m leaving Dunedin tomorrow and can be in transit for a number of days, so after your common month-to-month Clare Tuesday tomorrow, you will have Mali one of many days and I believe Eli the opposite two. Then I’m again for good on Saturday. I’ll fill you in a bit on my NZ adventures then. Here’s an image of me right now on the seaside, the place it was sunny and 75 levels and ice cream vans had lengthy strains and a seal saved attempting to play with all of the surfers who have been on the market floating, ready for waves. Then the seal tried to play with folks simply strolling on the seaside and that was rather less enjoyable, slightly extra scary. But everybody gave Mr. Frolic Seal quite a lot of room and he headed again to sea. Good occasions. 

Oh after which a seagull obtained on my automotive and mentioned ‘hey’; barely menacing, however principally simply … shut. 

Oh, and since [A rainbow may be seen as a good one] is within the puzzle right now (OMEN!), here is an unbelievable full rainbow I noticed strolling residence from Christmas lunch at my mother-in-law’s yesterday:

OK, sufficient pics. See you later this week.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]



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