From a development standpoint, it is a jaw-dropping achievement. A daily 140-word 21×21 is troublesome sufficient since it’s a must to fill themeless-esque expanses of white house. A 130-word themeless is possibly an element of two tougher — though it is extra actual property to fill, you do not have to cope with any pesky themers.
Dropping down from there has an exponential impact. Difficulty degree would possibly double once more slicing to 126 phrases. Then double once more to 124. Pushing to 120 phrases is sort of a moonshot.
Clever use of cheater squares, Brooke and Will nibbling away on the grid’s 4 corners. That makes filling these areas far more attainable. Not a foul visible impact, both.
The center of the puzzle … I would not even try one thing like this, a feat much more troublesome than Ryan McCarty’s trademark themelesses that includes gigantic middles. The undeniable fact that they stuffed this, interval, is astonishing. To do it with some superior entries like FACE TATTOOS, GAY PRIDE PARADE, and HULA DANCERS is much more spectacular.
All that stated, the solver in me loved a few of the different Sunday themelesses extra. There was a lot impartial materials taking over precious lengthy slots, like PREPARATIVE, CONCURRENCE, NOT OCCUPIED, DEDICATE. I’d slightly break up a few of these, clawing again the flexibility to jazz up different lengthy entries like DETENTIONS, ERRONEOUS, TOTALED UP, REFUSALS. I loved Will’s latest Universal Sunday themeless greater than this one.
A few unbelievable clues, like a HAT TREE giving a bowler (hat) a “hook,” and GAY PRIDE PARADE was made even higher with the wordplay in stroll out.
Experimentation is never the improper factor to do. I hope the NYT will proceed working occasional themeless Sundays.