“VIDEO KILLED THOM YORKE” by David Steinberg
<Googles “Thom Yorke dead”> nope! With that out of the way, go solve the puzzle
Video Killed Thom Yorke
Constructor: David Steinberg
Theme: Types of radio form the initials of the theme answers.
- 17A: ALPHA MALE – Ultra-macho dude, just like your average crossword constructor
- 27A: FACEBOOK MESSAGE – Alternative to writing on someone’s wall
- 44A: XYLOPHONE MALLET – Stick used to play a scale of wooden bars
- 60A: RADIOHEAD – “Karma Police” band… or a hint to the initials of 17-, 27-, and 44-Across
Ben: Radio, huh? Whatever the opposite of modern is, that’s this theme. Actually, including XM is a nice touch and does liven this up some. FACEBOOK MESSAGE is a little bland, but the others are nice.
Lena: I dunno… I have a head cold and my eyeballs feel like they weigh one pound each, so maybe I’m just feeling “meh” in general, but this didn’t do it for me theme-wise. Or maybe it was just revealer-wise. Seems to me like it’s RADIO HEADs– the radio types being split up, each letter at the “head” each word.
Ben: It’s been well established that I’m a sucker for long fill, and POSTRACIAL (11D: Like a theoretical America that doesn’t make judgments or discriminate based on ethnic background) is lovely. COPULATION can’t live up to it, but the clue 29D: Reproductive intercourse, how fun! is pretty great.
Lena: POSTRACIAL is good, but I honestly didn’t find anything else terribly impressive. I liked the EXILE clue (58A: Get out of town?) and something about ERODED (46D: Like cliffs that have seen better days) cracked me up because, like, cliffs are cliffs because of erosion.
Ben: Seeing ACIDY, E COLI and EDU all in one small area is unusual for a constructor like David, though in fairness the XY- start doesn’t leave a ton of options. Otherwise this is pretty clean, with just a little RAFA YESES ST PAT type business. Certainly cleaner than your average NYT Sunday (I’m working on making December my first perfect NYT month… uh, ever).
Lena: I think I had ACERB in place of ACIDY for a minute– but I’m soured by both of those. Ha. Ha. That’s on par with (15A: The yoke’s on them!) for OXEN.
Ben: Didn’t know POMELO (5D: Huge Asian grapefruit) and needed every cross. Otherwise, this went pretty fast. I ended up working my way down into the SE before I finished the other side, so I uncovered the revealer with only ALPHA MALE entered in, and initially thought the theme was “initials of Radiohead members”. The only one I know offhand is Thom Yorke, so it seemed more plausible at the time.
Lena: The POMELO is a pretty disappointing fruit. You think it’s going to be this awesome citrus explosion, but it’s mostly just pith and the flesh itself isn’t worth writing home about flavor-wise.
Ben: Plenty of good clues today, not many that stand out as exceptional. My favourite might be EXACTO (6D: “That’s the perfect knife to cut these designs out, bro!”) for the funny mental image of frat arts and crafts. The one for ALIBI is pretty good too (18D: “I couldn’t have eaten the last piece of your birthday cake, I was in… the… room… with… the… guy,” for one).
Ben: Speaking as a professional grader, it’s always a safe choice to put your THESIS at the end of the first paragraph in a five-paragraph essay, but god that model bores me. Why not try framing your question in your first paragraph, and then working your way to a thesis in your conclusion? A little variety, people, that’s all I ask.
Lena: But how are kids going to get good scores on the SAT if they don’t follow cookie cutter essay craftsmanship? Ah, and speaking as a lapsed molecular biologist, the cutesy GENE clue (55D: Something your parents gave to you on your birthday) was not cute enough for me; I would have gone with “early birthday present” or something– it’s not like you get born and *then* your parents slather your body with their GENEs.
Ben: Days Without a Harry Potter Reference – 10. We do have a great “Silence of the Lambs” quote, though, plus a Nicki Minaj lyric from the “serial collaborator” phase of her career. (The song is the remix of “Dance (A$$)” by Big Sean, and it’s terrible — the Nicki verse is the only part that’s even mildly interesting.)
Lena: “Silence of the Lambs” is a favorite movie of mine, so I too enjoyed the coupling of LECTER and FAVA. As I recall we had another SOTL quote a week or so ago– but we will not be distracted from our HP vigil. Except me, right now, because NyQuil.