Thursday, September 21, 2023
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Constructor: Kyle Dolan

Relative issue: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: REMY Ma (55A: Rap artist ___ Ma) —

Reminisce Mackie (née Smith; born May 30, 1980), recognized professionally as Remy Ma, is an American rapper. Discovered by Big Pun, she got here to prominence for her work as a member of Fat Joe‘s group, Terror Squad. In 2006, she launched her debut studio album There’s Something About Remy: Based on a True Story, which grew to become a modest success, peaking at quantity 33 on the Billboard 200 chart. Ma’s most commercially profitable songs embody “Whuteva“, “Ante Up (Remix)“, “Lean Back“, “Conceited“, and “All the Way Up“.

She is one among solely 4 a number of winners of the BET Award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, which she gained in 2005 and 2017. Ma is the recipient of two Vibe awards, two Source awards, and has been nominated for 3 Grammy awards. Since 2015, she has starred on VH1‘s actuality sequence Love & Hip Hop: New York, alongside her husband Papoose. (wikipedia)

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If you take a look at this grid, it appears to be like effective. Solid. Lots of lengthy solutions, no actual junk. Well, one little bit of lengthy junk, however we’ll get to that. For essentially the most half, grid appears to be like wholesome. But the fixing expertise was unusually disagreeable, and that is (virtually) fully right down to the editorial voice, i.e. the cluing.  “?” clue crossing “?” clue *crossing* “?” clue *adjoining to* yet one more “?” clue, very early on. There are solely 5 such clues in your entire puzzle, however by some means 4 of them are wadded up collectively within the NW (Pop tribute? / Someone to push round? / Show runner? / Bad time to take inventory?). These clues are notoriously [shrug]-inducing at first look, so you progress to crosses … solely to search out it is simply extra “?” clues. Ugh. When “?” clues are spaced out, and (esp.) once they actually, actually land, I like them fairly a bit. But this clumping of all of them up entrance sapped numerous my good will. I *love* Friday and Saturday puzzles—for those who learn commonly, these are those I’m almost certainly to take pleasure in, those almost certainly to shine (sidenote: what this implies is that themed puzzles are literally very exhausting to do effectively, which is why I really like and respect well-executed themes, even when they’re actually easy). But immediately’s puzzle simply did not ship for me. Some of it was easy demographics, i.e. I do not care about a lot of this stuff. Marvel films, as an illustration, or Animal Crossing, LOL. No, not my factor. I did like how the Animal Crossing clue not less than gave me an opportunity to consider REDD Foxx, that was enjoyable. But “Thor,” no. Well, I noticed untold Marvel films earlier than I lastly obtained uninterested in being disenchanted and simply gave up. I even noticed “Thor,” I feel. But who can keep in mind any particular person Marvel film? Anyway, I do know who RENE RUSSO is, effective, I can get her from crosses, I can do that puzzle, however none of it’s actually talking to me. The greater drawback, nevertheless, as I say, was the cluing, which was exhausting to know and regularly had no payoff (unhealthy combo). 

Sometimes “?” clues work. I appreciated [Pop tribute?] for SODA TAX as a result of it is on the cash, and the reply itself is fascinating. The clue appears to be like like one (actual) factor, however finally ends up being one other (actual) factor. Unexpected, intelligent, good. But the BEAR MARKET clue, eerrrrgughwoof, ouch (19A: Bad time to take inventory?). I had the BEAR and no concept as a result of I couldn’t get BEAR to sq. with “time.” BEAR … SEASON? That’s a time. A searching time. But I couldn’t consider any “occasions” that began with BEAR. The complete concept of “time” = MARKET, my grammatically delicate mind simply couldn’t course of. Markets exist in time, however I do not consider them *as* occasions. This is the place “?” clues get irritating: once they’re exhausting … after which the reveal leaves you feeling “what? come on…” somewhat than “oh, yeah, good one.” SODA TAX = “oh, yeah, good one.” BEAR MARKET, yeesh. Worse, far worse was the “?” clue on WEST (34A: What was as soon as attributable to American pioneers?). So “due” is an oft-played with phrase in crossword clues, esp. when it is the Italian phrase for “two” in disguise, as exemplified within the traditional crossword clue, [It’s past due] for TRE. But I can not make the Italian work in immediately’s clue. I get it right down to -EST, nonetheless no concept. As you possibly can see (within the grid screenshot, above), I principally finish the puzzle at this sq., getting the “W” in WEST from WAY AHEAD (34D: Unlikely to be caught). But WEST, man, I can not let you know how groany that’s—worse, it is simply … arbitrary and bizarre. Pioneers headed west, positive, however “due” West? West isn’t “due” to the pioneers any greater than it’s to anybody standing on the globe. Also, the grammar is preposterous. Due west is due west irrespective of who you’re or what you are doing. It’s due no extra to the pioneers than to you or me. “Once due?” Why would due west cease being due west? You could make this due pun another method, a way that makes some sort of sense and isn’t an elaborate, jury-rigged, duct-taped fantasia of a clue. [Ye old name?] = WEST. There. You can have that one free of charge.

VUVUZELAS looks like a solution that thinks it is being present however is definitely being very 2010 or every time that phrase entered the final lexicon on account of fan’s blowing them at one of many World Cups, I neglect which (oh, look, South Africa, 2010! Nailed it). I’ve seen the reply quite a few occasions and it was a gimme;  it is principally misplaced any freshness or luster it would’ve had. It had its second, the second handed. I notice I’m principally describing half of the solutions in any given crossword, however by some means, VUVUZELAS appears frozen in a really specific second in time. Apparently they’ll trigger critical listening to harm. Just FYI. Hardest factor concerning the puzzle ended up being the actual fact that there have been So Many solutions the place I might get the primary phrase and do not know what was imagined to observe. Here’s the grid, at peak “What Is The Next Word!?!?”

As you possibly can see, I’ve obtained BEAR one thing, DRY one thing, SUN one thing, and PET one thing all lined up and … not shifting ahead. I had DRY HANDS at first. So I used to be caught in numerous locations, and caught on this very particular, very irritating sort of method. Four (4!) completely different solutions the place the primary phrase does not give me the following? That’s some very unhealthy luck. Worst second of the puzzle for me, although, got here when struggling mightily to make any sense of the SW. Bad sufficient that I do not actually actually know what SEA NETTLE or SUNBURST are … they appear like acquainted phrases, however I didn’t know the mere clearing of cloud cowl was a SUNBURST, as an illustration. Sounds extra … astronomical. Anyway, tough part. Never would’ve known as BACOS a “meat substitute” (I would’ve thought it was truly bacon). The clue on ZEROSTAR was brutal (good, however brutal) (33D: Awful, or worse). Even after I obtained the “Z” from the “oh is that how we’re spelling it?” ZHUZH, I had no concept. And talking of issues with the editorial voice / cluing, what the hell is “Sockdolager“? It’s so terrible to make use of one among these olde-timey phrases nobody is aware of, esp. for a phrase which is itself olde-timey (although not less than acquainted) (LULU). I do know bocks and lagers and the actor Clu Gulager (RIP), however “Sockdolager,” oof, that’s up there with essentially the most nonsense phrase I’ve ever seen in a clue. It’s just like the clue is *attempting* to make the expertise disagreeable. And then … all these SW solutions I’ve been discussing run by means of, or are adjoining to, the Real drawback on this SW nook, which is … PET CUSHION. Cushion!?!? I had PET and couldn’t make *something* out of the latter half. There are canine beds and cat beds, however PET (?) CUSHION (?), er, perhaps in your SEA NETTLE? Maybe it is a advertising and marketing factor, the place mentioned “cushions” are made for use by all method of creatures. But in actuality, in your own home, they’re canine and/or cat beds. Cushion, jeez. “Where’s the canine?” “She’s on her PET CUSHION.” No. Never.

[CLU GULAGER! LEE MARVIN! JOHN CASSAVETES! ANGIE DICKINSON!]

Gonna go have espresso with my cat now. She has “cushions” galore to select from, however she does not use them. She’s extra a sofa / flooring / lap / paper bag sort of gal. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]



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