Tuesday, September 19, 2023
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Constructor: Kanyin Ajayi

Relative problem: Very Easy

THEME: perhaps? — there are some suggestive symmetries, however theme? I do not suppose so …

Word of the Day: Paulo COELHO (35A: Paulo who wrote “The Alchemist”) —

Paulo Coelho de Souza (, Portuguese: [ˈpawlu kuˈeʎu]; born 24 August 1947) is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist and a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters since 2002. His novel The Alchemist turned a global best-seller and he has printed 28 extra books since then. (wikipedia)

• • •

A literary puzzle for me, a literature professor, on my birthday (true story). I completely crushed this puzzle, as a lot of you’ll have as nicely, since it’s principally a Tuesday / Wednesday-level themeless. Hmmm, maybe if you’re utterly unfamiliar with “WIDE SARGASSO SEA” (16A: Jean Rhys novel that is a response to “Jane Eyre”) and “THINGS FALL APART” (56A: Chinua Achebe novel that is a response to “Heart of Darkness”), the puzzle would possibly’ve performed extra like a Saturday for you, however these titles are CANTERBURY TALES-level acquainted to me, so whoosh, I lit them up. I actually preferred the literary pairing there, one grid-spanning post-colonial novel echoing the opposite. But that wasn’t the one symmetrical echo. HIT OR MISS will get paired with RIDE OR DIE, after which there are the TWOSOMES who TIE A KNOT. I do know, technically the time period is “tie the knot,” however I nonetheless select to see this as a mini matrimonial theme, which will get TIE A KNOT a go on its EAT A SANDWICH-ness. TIE A KNOT is (okay)not good, however as a part of a matrimonial twosome with TWOSOMES, it magically turns into good. So you have bought your self a themeless puzzle right here, however there is a sure consideration to symmetrical pairings that provides it some semi-thematic playfulness. I actually preferred it, on the entire. 

LOOPER was by far the toughest factor on this grid (45D: Key piece of an overlock stitching machine). I wrote in LOOMER at first as a result of …. uh …. “stitching machine” and LOOM appeared to have one thing to do with each other, clothes production-wise. Thankfully, I knew that the Chinua Achebe title was not “THINGS FALL … A MART!” so I used to be in a position to change LOOMER to LOOPER—which is a fairly well-known film, directed by Rian Johnson, whose “Glass Onion” simply opened this weekend (so excited to see it!). I’d’ve liked a film clue for “LOOPER,” however as an alternative we get this considerably obscure stitching machine terminology … and it nonetheless would not actually sluggish me down in any considerable means. There have been another issues I did not know. Gemma CHAN, for example (40A: “Crazy Rich Asians” actress Gemma). But crosses made it clear it will be CHEN or CHAN, after which COCOA sealed the deal (it is CHAN!). I had SAN earlier than SAO, however that did not final lengthy. I had COEHLO earlier than COELHO, however that did not final lengthy. I forgot Kyle LOWRY existed, however then I remembered (could not inform you a factor about him, however I observe basketball sufficient to know his identify) (26A: Six-time N.B.A. All-Star Kyle). If there have been different pauses or hesitations in my fixing expertise, they have been minor. Overall, this puzzle was SASSy and I loved it. 

Bullet factors:

  • 1A: Influential e-book sellers? (BLURBS) — it is a superb clue. I hate (most) BLURBS—they’re (largely) embarrassingly related of their hyperbolic / cliché language. And do they actually “promote” books!? Sigh. OK. Anyway, my emotions concerning the blurb business apart, this clue is nice.
  • 23A: Finish that is tough to the contact (STUCCO) — sincerely tried to make STUBBLE work.
  • 3D: Locale in Dante’s “Inferno” (UNDERWORLD) — so … Inferno, then. “Inferno” means “Hell,” which is the UNDERWORLD. So that is like cluing HELL as [Locale in Dante’s “Hell”]. Unless Dante’s “Inferno” is mostly a story concerning the legal UNDERWORLD and I’ve been educating it flawed all these many years … solely potential. 
  • 44A: Bugs’s archenemy (ELMER) — OK, you are stretching “arch-” fairly skinny right here. ELMER is a dope who by no means poses any real menace to Bugs. This is like saying The Harlem Globetrotters’ “archenemy” is The Washington Generals. Come on.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]



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