Bit of exercise in Britain / SUN 4-19-15 / Rebellion event of 1676 / Candle in wind dedicatee / Aid to Zen meditation / Atari 7800 competitor briefly / Bass role in Gilbert & Sullivan opera / Asian stew often eaten with dipping sauce / Gershwin portrayer in Rhapsody in Blue / Largest coastal city between San Francisco Portland
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Constructor: Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: "Double Down" — in Acrosses, two consecutive letters are rebused into one box; Downs that cross those rebused boxes have to be read twice to make sense—first with the first Across letter in place, and then with the second, e.g. "Y" and "L" are in the final box of 5D: One way to complete an online purchase because the answer is PAY PAL (i.e. first word takes the Y, second word takes the L)
- DIRTYLINEN / PAYPAL
- HEARTWARMING / NOT NOW
- GOODNATURED / MAD MAN
- FINALNOTICE / KAL KAN
- LAUNCHPARTY / HOT POT
- EVENINGSTAR / GET SET
- STATIONWAGON / NITWIT
- PAPERTRAIL / RAGTAG
DIRT[YL]INEN, and I thought somehow that "L" came "Down" … and was also somehow supplying the "L" from PAY PAL (!?). Seriously, the "L" in EATS ALONE threw me quite badly for a decent amount of time. I was mystified. Wasn't til much later (maybe KAL KAN) that I "got" it. I had MAD at 46D: Lunatic and that seemed just fine to me. Never occurred to me it was MAD MAN. Actually, now that I think on it, it must've been HOT POT / LAUNC[HP]ARTY that got me on the right track. This brings me to the one thematic element that I like, or at least admire—all of the "double" squares happen precisely at the break between two words in a two-word phrase (or compound word). This is what I mean when I applaud "consistency"—not doing things in predictable ways that have been done before, but in setting the bar high / making the requirements stringent, and still pulling it off. Makes the puzzle more elegant and professional. Shows craft.
Still, I didn't exactly enjoy this. I've seen the basic conceit before (though perhaps it's applied slightly differently here), and solving ended up being more slog than revelation. I know I'm repeating myself here, but the fill remains substandard in too many places. The whole TITI BAABAA TANTARA ASWE ESSA section—everything in and around ESSA, actually—is really hard to look at directly. To say nothing of your EGERs and ITORs and EAPOEs (yipes) and et cetera. Wish more craft had been put into the non-theme stuff. But why should constructors care about that if the editor doesn't? I mean that. RESEED RESAND recycle. Longer stuff is pretty nice, but longer stuff often is. Weirdest moment in the solve was somehow remembering QOM and using that "Q" to get the QUOTA in IMPORT QUOTA (that answer was gonna be IMPORT [blank] forever…). Only I spelled it QOM, because … that is an acceptable spelling of that place (it's how it's spelled in wikipedia). Thankfully, RONNING A TAB is manifestly not a thing.
My friend Patrick Blindauer just informed me that the WSJ has a cryptic crossword this week! By Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon! And it's supposed to be Great. So I'm gonna go do that now. If you'd like to do the same, Here You Go (.pdf).
Gonna go watch some more NBAERs play now even though no one calls them that. Go Warriors.