Computer programmer disparagingly / MON 12-18-17 / Nascar devotee / Light friendly punch

Monday, December 18, 2017

Constructor: Bruce Haight

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: INNER DEMONS (61A: Personal struggles ... or, literally, features of 17-, 26-, 36- and 52-Across) — "DEMON" can be found embedded in every theme answer:

Theme answers:
  • CLAUDE MONET (17A: "Water Lilies" painter)
  • PRIDE MONTH (26A: June, in the L.G.B.T.Q. movement)
  • MADE MONEY (36A: Profited)
  • CODE MONKEY (52A: Computer programmer, disparagingly)
Word of the Day: CODE MONKEY
noun
informal
noun: code monkey; plural noun: code monkeys
  1. a computer programmer, especially an inexperienced or unskillful one. (google)
• • •

As an example of this very common type (embedded words with a revealer of INNER whatever and such), this one is pretty solid. You got a good set of themers here—that is, the answers are colorful all on their own, with PRIDE MONTH being the strongest and MADE MONEY the weakest. The only time I really went 'ugh' was at AYS. I mean ... no. AYES, yes. AYS!?!? That's idiotic. But as I say, everything else holds up OK. Despite relatively open corners (which often spell trouble, time-wise), I cruised through this one very quickly, *except* in the SW, where I dead-stopped a couple of times trying to get in, largely because CODE MONKEY was unknown to me (and I had no idea of the theme at this point). Also, the phrase AT A TIME didn't seem at all apt for 48A: Simultaneously, perhaps because 99% of the time you hear the phrase AT A TIME, it's immediately following the word ONE ... which does little to convey simultaneity. Other issues in that corner—I had LEI for TEE; I found 60A: Public health org. far too vague to be any help; 68A: "Fuhgeddaboutit!" coulda gone all kinds of ways; and, you know, AYS. Luckily ELDER, RIM, and the inferred "S" at the end of what turned out to be AYS helped me get MAD DASH, so I wasn't stuck for too too long.


When I was done, I didn't realize there'd been a revealer, so I looked at all the theme answers and thought, "Huh ... it's Monday, so they put MON. in all the answers ... weird." That is seriously what I thought was going on. Not much else to say about this one. Two other errors I had were DUET for DYAD (51D: Twosome) and READY for HANDY (69A: At one's fingertips). SOAPING windows seems like an awful lot of trouble for a Halloween prank. I mean, why not egg? Throw, splat, run. Bada bing. Soaping is a little too close to straight washing someone's windows—how is that bad, exactly? This is not a prank I've ever seen done, or heard of anyone doing (no one that I knew personally, anyway). I have to go now, as I can't stand to look at AYS anymore. See you Tuesday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

Read more...

Egg-shaped Hasbro toys introduced in 1971 / SUN 12-17-17 / Nighttime Cartoon Network programming block / Protagonist in Infinite Jest

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Constructor: Andrew J. Ries

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: "Oh, One Last Thing" — familiar phrases have long "O" sound added to end, resulting in wacky phrases:

Theme answers:
  • STIFF AS A BORDEAUX (24A: Comparatively strong, like some French wine?)
  • VANITY PHARAOH (40A: Egyptian leader obsessed with his appearance?)
  • NEW YORK MEZZO (43A: Certain Lincoln Center soprano?)
  • ROLLING IN THE DEPOT (63A: Shooting craps while waiting for one's train?)
  • I REST MY QUESO (85A: Comment from a cook who cools the cheese sauce before serving?)
  • KOSHER PICCOLO (89A: Woodwind that's O.K. to play?)
  • LOVE IS IN THE ARROW (104A: Cupid's catchphrase?)
Word of the Day: MIRA NAIR (44D: Director of 1991's "Mississippi Masala") —
Mira Nair (born 15 October 1957) is an Indian American filmmaker based in New York City. Her production company, Mirabai Films, specializes in films for international audiences on Indian society, whether in the economic, social or cultural spheres. Among her best known films are Mississippi Masala, The Namesake, the Golden Lion-winning Monsoon Wedding and Salaam Bombay!, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. (wikipedia)
• • •

What are we doing here? I mean ... what? Add-a-sound? That's it? What year is it? This was grating. I learned who MIRA NAIR is—that's the puzzle's one upside. I'm genuinely startled by the rest of it. Startle by how ambition-free it is. How 1998 it is. How not funny the theme clues are. Just startled. Also, a hearty "*&%^ you!" to 102D: Go forcefully (through). I had PLO_ and wrote in a "D" ... and then wondered how [Certain soft drinks, informally] could be DEDS. Wanted to change it to DADS (the root beer), but was 99% sure PHEROMONA was wrong. DEWS!? F*** that S***. Seriously, shove your skater-bro-speak nonsense. The puzzle had already lost me by this point, but finishing here, with this weird cross, took me from mere dislike to contempt. Don't get cute, especially when you haven't bothered to get serious about your *&$^ing theme in the first place. Man, I am swearing tonight. I care a lot. What can I say?


Misspelled PHARAOH, probably because of that stupid horse a few years back, and so that section of the puzzle got rough for me. Between the *G* SPOT and the MODEL *T*, parsing many answers in that area proved difficult. Also, I don't really know who LOUIS NYE is, though the name rings a faint bell (21A: Comedian who was a regular on "The Steve Allen Show"). MIRA NAIR, I absolutely did not know. The whole puzzle, I was thinking that "Mississippi Masala" was "Mississippi Burning" (1988, not 1991). Needed every single cross to get her, and still wasn't sure about it at all. Spelled HASEK like so: HACEK (90D: Goaltender Dominik in the Hockey Hall of Fame). Nope. I'm never ever sure if I've got the vowels right in AMIDALA. Can't believe anyone still knows what WEEBLES are (116A: Egg-shaped Hasbro toys introduced in 1971). They were advertised on TV when I was a kid and *I* forgot they existed. Really helped that for Saturday's puzzle I'd spent several minutes combing through Paul ANKA videos on YouTube (38D: Paul who sang "Lonely Boy"). I forgot that "Rolling in the Deep" was a thing, so ROLLING IN THE DEPOT was by far the hardest themer to pick up. But despite the proper noun trouble (all over), this was a pretty quick solve. Until PLOD / DEDS, that is. Ugh. Sundays, man.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Polanski could've been avoided. You have to *try* to add him to your puzzle. I don't get it. (TESS)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

Read more...

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP