Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative problem: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: YAW (39D: Turn within the air, say) —

  1. (of a transferring ship or plane) twist or oscillate a few vertical axis.

    “the jet yawed sharply to the fitting”

  1. a twisting or oscillation of a transferring ship or plane round a vertical axis. 

    “making use of the other rudder will have a tendency to cut back the yaw” (oxford languages / google)

• • •

Had a sense this was gonna be a robust effort. Whenever I see bylines from people who find themselves additionally crossword editors, I feel, “OK, this has a shot. David edits the Universal Crossword and I’ve not often been disillusioned in his NYTXW puzzles of late (he is been at it a very long time regardless of being nonetheless very younger by crossword requirements, or any requirements). I assume we must always begin by speaking about the one factor individuals are going to be speaking about—the elephant (poop) within the room: POOP EMOJI (33A: Pile of texts?). Not certain how a lot the NYTXW has dabbled in defecation—looks like very, little or no, if in any respect. There was once a tacit rule in crosswords known as “The Breakfast Test,” which principally dictated that you just would not put something in a puzzle which may spoil somebody’s breakfast. Nothing too bodily, nothing profane, nothing for the squeamish—nothing that would not sit properly along with your meals. That “Test” has been much less stringently utilized to the crossword in recent times, as requirements for on a regular basis speech change / calm down and because the puzzles search to symbolize a wider vary of expertise and language. It’s not that the “Test” does not come into play anymore—you are still not going to see sure physique components / features, or onerous profanity, although you will note, I dunno, ASSHAT or FBOMB or “YOU’RE A JERK!” (13D: Rude response to rudeness). I really feel like “poop” is new territory, although. So congrats to David Steinberg: the Leif Erikson of crossword poop. On the one hand, I assume there is a hazard of opening a complete Pandora’s Box of poop and of issues out of the blue getting very puerile and foolish. But then again (the hand I are likely to YAW towards): that clue! (33A: Pile of texts?). It’s onerous to say no to this reply when the clue is that good. It has all the things you need in a “?” clue. Looks like one factor, however is verrrrrry a lot one thing else. Misdirection in each parts (“Pile” and “texts”)!! I’m not precisely wild about poop being flung across the grid, however when you can justify the flinging with clues which are that good, I’m in.

Speaking of “?” clues, that was the one a part of this puzzle that made me go “please cease.” There have been eight of them, about twice my consolation stage. But my aversion wasn’t too closely triggered in the present day since most of stated clues have been innocuous, and three of them truly landed. And those that landed ended up being on marquee solutions (a super place to point out off a terrific “?” clue). In addition to [Pile of texts?] (mwah!), I favored 17A: Cramming collectively? (STUDY DATE), and 33D: Big matter of concern for senior administration? (PROM NIGHT). All three of the solutions to the successful “?” clues in the present day skew younger, however not in an exclusionary approach. I do know precisely what all these phenomena are even when, within the case of finding out and promenade, it has been some time (jk I by no means went to promenade or out of the home ever besides to go to high school or get McNuggets). This is a effective instance of how a puzzle with a particular cultural / generational heart of gravity, a particular voice, can nonetheless be for everybody. 

I flew by way of this puzzle, for essentially the most half. I acquired ILHAN OMAR with solely like two letters in place (15A: Congresswoman who wrote “This Is What America Looks Like”), and I completely no-looked HANK AARON (60A: “Hammer with a bat”)—the crosses simply got here so quick and thick down there that the longer Acrosses ended up being apparent. There was precisely one semi-sticky a part of the grid for me, and that was the JOKE a part of DIRTY JOKE (38A: Something that is cracked and gross). Would’ve appreciated a “?” clue there, however the clue is definitely fairly literal, regardless of being misdirective, so no want for the “?” It’s a terrific clue, however man it stumped me, which meant my entry into the middle of the grid was not as clean (or fast) as it would’ve / might’ve been. Picking up JOKE was made a lot more durable by my least favourite reply in the entire grid: PJTOP (36D: Half of a night outfit, informally). Both PJS and PAJAMA TOP sound nice to me, however PJTOP (a debut, no shock) feels compelled. I solely acquired that “J” after arriving all the best way at DIRTY-OKE. Along the best way, I had event to surprise if there was such a factor as a DIRTY CAKE (moreover the pornographic variety). I do know there is a NAKED CAKE, so why not? (by no means seen NAKED CAKE in a puzzle … think about {that a} problem). Loved the symmetry of DIRTY JOKE and POOP EMOJI, which feels pointed (!). Also cherished the colloquial power of “C’MERE” (59A: Informal summons)—thought I had an error and the reply was gonna be “SEE ME!” however was pleased to search out each that I didn’t have an error and that the precise reply was much better than the crosswordese I had imagined. 

That’ll do it for me in the present day. Enjoy your day. I gotta work til about midday, however then I’m simply gonna spend the day climbing and consuming and ingesting with my spouse, whose BDAY it’s. Happy birthday, honey.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]



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