We can’t let Croce lap us! With his latest puzzle up yesterday, and this post about last weeks freestyles just up today, he’s almost done it. Solve the puzzles here and here, and get your head back in the game! (Peter, I’m talking to us here)
Lena: Welp, this Tuesday was a slow grind for me. I’m still staring at a mostly-barren NW right now, in fact. [14A: Comment from the betrayed] HOW COULD YOU? WHY WOULD YOU? I TRUSTED YOU!!!!!!111 “Comment” vs. “question” should have set me on the right course, huh. Woof did that feel good tho.
Peter: That’s a humdinger of an answer. Actually, that whole stack is a stunner. I like that MATH IS HARD (1A: Sarcastic comment after botching a basic operation) made an appearance; I had that on my seedlist for a while because I thought it was what one of the talking Barbies said and then finally ended up using it in a stack and then started cluing and discovered that the quote was actually “Math class is tough” so I turfed the whole thing. But I like that Tim has owned it here. I’ve heard people say this, I think; maybe they’re just misquoting Barbie like I did.
Lena: Somewhere Lawyer Barbie is rolling up her sleeves and opening up her tiny valise…
Peter: Anyway, the only part I don’t love about the stack is A THROW (2D: Per, slangily). Like, I’ve heard A POP and A HEAD and A PIECE but never A THROW. The only situation in which this would make sense to me is one of those radar-equipped pitching booths where they might charge a dollar A THROW or something. Actually, I wouldn’t even like this answer if it were clued in reference to this specific situation.
Lena: I wallowed around in the SE for, like, 4 days and was finally able to climb up North on FLAB [“Chicken wing” material], PIFFLING [35A: Measly], and CABLE BOX [22A: One may have an HDMI port]. I love the word REDOLENT [12D: Opposite of malodorous] but it’s one of those words that if you just throw it into casual conversation people are going to be all “OOOOHHH THAT’S A FANCY WORD” and make you feel uncomfortable. And if you’re using it to describe wine, people are going to straight up hate you.
Peter: I think when people meet me they think my vocabulary and elocution are substandard because I too get uncomfortable about the “FANCY WORD!!!” reaction so I avoid all fancy words but sometimes the fancy word just pops into my head where and when needed and then I can’t think of a suitably unfancy synonym in time so I trip over my words. I also use a lot of run-on sentences so who’s to say these people that I’m meeting are wrong re my linguistic shortcomings?
Lena: I like “avoid all fancy words” as if it’s a fad diet. Let’s see… I had KISS AND RUN for a while for [68A: Airport dropoff area] (pssst, I just typed “dorpoff” instead! AHAHAHA) but that makes no sense– sounds like a Lifetime movie though; a woman steals a car and goes on a kissing spree, ultimately running over the man whose ghost turns out to be her one true love.
Peter: I think this is like the third time that you’ve cited the Lifetime movie formula on this blog. Don’t change.
Lena: You’re right; I won’t. Clue for ET AL [13D: “I won’t bore you with the rest of the names”] is wonderful. Same with [1A: Sarcastic comment after botching a basic operation] for MATH IS HARD. Also [60A: She’s game] for HEN.
Peter: Yeah that HEN clue is top shelf. That SW corner, too; Tim’s long fill game is stupid good in that section. I love love love SHE’LL BE OK, FINE MESH, ANTI-BUSH, EL CHEAPO, and the arbitrary length of AHAHAHA.
Lena: CHIPLEADER [17A: Top dogs in poker tournaments] was hard for me since, as we established last week, I’m only good for basic poker things like ANTE. I guess this just means they have the most chips– they got all the ANTES. ANTE EATERS.
Lena: This was not as difficult for me as Tuesday’s, but there were some doozies. We’re all thinking it: SKYEY. [Cerulean]. Honestly, this is pretty funny to me. Sure it’s the last thing I filled in, but I don’t care– it’s SO crossword. I dunno, all those RE-s and -ERs that get tacked on to the beginnings and ends of words; -IER, -EST, etc. What about SKYEYER? Of course SKYEY turns out to be a real word, meaning just what Tim says it does, but daaaamn that is a ballsy “keep it in” decision. The equally wtf OMEGA DOG [1D: Most submissive member of a pack] makes it worth it to me. I had BETA WOLF. I love OMEGA DOG.
Peter: SKYINGLIEST. Seriously though SKYEY should only ever be seen in a something different crossword clued as [Reminiscent of one of the Inner Hebrides]. But whatever, as you said, it’s a legit actual real-life word in a FLIPPIN DICTIONARY and everything and it’s in support of some niceish fill, so sure.
Peter: Btw, wtf is up with I’M BATMAN (7A: Heroic movie series introduction)? Is that something he says? It’s something my gf’s 4-year-old says, sure, but the dark knight himself? I’ve seen the second and third of the Christopher Nolan movies, and all of the Burton and Schumacher installments, but I don’t remember hearing this line, or, if I did, I don’t recall it having any special significance.
Lena: I thought he just rolled in and said “‘sup.”
Lena: [34A: Gala alternative] for MCINTOSH is a favorite. I was like “FETE TIME?” Surely not, as that would dupe n’ cross with the marquee GETS ME EVERY TIME [“I always am amused by this, for some odd reason”]. I like how awkward the clue sounds. I hear a robotic “ha ha ha” in contrast to the lively and conversational answer.
Peter: Yeah, I think something as simple as [“Never fails”] would work for that one. That clue not only sounds robotic but is also super super easy for a marquee answer like this. Like, I got it off of the GE at the beginning, which helped me break into every section of the grid. Ideally, an answer like this would only fall once you’ve henpecked at the corners a bit; better aha moment that way. I do love the entry, though.
Lena: DESELECT (3D: Cancel a check for?) was a great aha moment for me– my unwillingness to fill in SKYEY kept that corner spotty for me and so it was a much needed victory!
Peter: I really liked the clue for EMOTE (32D: Artificially lengthen a death scene, say). Tim often comes up with fresh new cluing approaches for tired warhorse entries like this. I guess the BRAS clue is fresh, too, but this is not something I’ve ever heard (38A: A popular urban legend tells of their invention by a fictional man named “Otto Titzling”). It was fun to try and parse the name and puzzle out the answer off one letter, I guess.
Lena: The BRAS clue is worlds better than BZF’s [Over-the-shoulder boulder holder]! I’ll never be/your breast of burden.
Peter: Overall, I didn’t like this one as much as Tuesday’s. Like, it was still well put together and I had a heckuvalotta fun with it, but looking back on it now there’s not as much sparkle in the grid. Tuesday’s is breathtaking; this one is just good. My standards for Tim’s puzzles are ludicrously high, though, especially in terms of fill.
Lena: For all my Tuesday struggles I also came out enjoying it more than Friday’s– what doesn’t kill you… Speaking of killer puzzles, time to get cracking on this Tuesday’s! Gotta HAUL ASS!