“WORK HARD, PLAY HARD” by David Steinberg
Nah, no more hard work this week, k? Kick back, relax, and solve this puzzle— it’s almost Friday!
Work Hard, Play Hard
Constructor: David Steinberg
Theme: Job-related puns about people at a party.
- 17A: GARBAGEMAN – At the 57-Across, the ___ got wasted…
- 24A: CARPENTER – …the ___ got hammered…
- 37A: ROCKET SCIENTIST – …the ___ got blasted…
- 47A: CAB DRIVER – …and the ___ got lifted!
- 57A: LABOR PARTY – Social democratic group… or where each of this puzzle’s subjects went too hard?
Ben: Puns! I hate puns.
Lena: I like some puns– but not these ones, really. A pun has to really make it “hurt so good” for me to ultimately enjoy it, and these don’t even make me groan.
Ben: Theme answers are fine, although except for ROCKET SCIENTIST they’re not that flashy, so if you don’t like the jokes this isn’t the puzzle for you (I am in that camp). Also, ROCKET SCIENTIST and CAB DRIVER aren’t manual LABOR in the same way the others are, so the revealer didn’t really land for me.
Lena: Yeah, ROCKET SCIENTIST seems pretty cushy in my opinion. Maybe mentally exhausting, but… who actually builds the rockets? Eh, nevermind. The theme just fell flat for me.
Ben: On the plus side, lots of long fill to keep me entertained. Particularly liked MOVIN’ OUT (9D: 2002 musical that took its name from a 1977 Billy Joel song), which I’d never heard of (the musical, not the song), and RICK PERRY (34D: Former Texas governor who dropped out of the 2016 presidential race). Well, I don’t like Rick Perry, but I like him as fill… you know what I mean.
Lena: My favorite clue is 63A: Blondes picked up at a bar? (ALES) — nice! My other favorite clue is 45A: Carry out illegally? (ROB) — very nice; these both must have been satisfying to come up with! Fitting together a grid, for me, is a very different kind of satisfaction than molding words into a dynamite clue– the latter leaves me amped up, but the former leaves me relieved and exhausted.
Ben: The clue for OPEN MRI (52A: Exam with subjects that haven’t been covered?) is great. It totally fooled me, since I was still thinking about an AP SCORE (25D: Certain standardized exam results).
Lena: Ah, yes! Add OPEN MRI to my Good Clue Pile– interesting fill, too. Not super common, but the “uncovered” part lets you confidently fill in OPEN.
Ben: Lena, I’m assuming you will approve of STIR (54D: Mix up a martini) — I seem to remember you have strong feelings on this subject. Are we still cool if I admit I prefer vodka to gin in martinis?
Lena: Haha, yes that elicited a big grin on this face! And, yes, we are cool because although my preference is gin, as any bartender committed to proper hospitality should never make a guest feel bad about their personal tastes. That said, I think it’s okay to encourage someone to try something new or a different incarnation of something they claim to not like, SO if you ever get the change you should try Plymouth gin– it’s gently ginny. Maybe someday we three bloggers will find ourselves sitting at the bar together, cheersing to… I guess probably crosswords.
Ben: Usually I like the BZF clues, but I have to admit that 29A: Super-___ (possible comic book hero whose power is the ability to be very conscientious and rule-abiding) doesn’t really work for me. I get what it’s going for, playing as a cross between super-hero alteregos and psychological superegos, but I think it needed another pass. Loved IDIOT though (10D: The answer is IDIOT <– Person who enters the wrong answer for this clue).