NYT 5:41 (Amy)
LAT 11:48 (Gareth, paper)
CS 8:42 (Ade)
CHE 5:56 (pannonica)
WSJ (Friday) 9:05 (pannonica)
David Woolf’s New York Times crossword
Well! With BIG-BREASTED at 1-Across, I assume it won’t be long before we see WELL-HUNG in the crossword. In fact, I’m surprised that 13d: SHRINKAGE wasn’t clued as [Cold water’s effect on the penis, per “Seinfeld”].
These two stacked 11/11 phrases are something I don’t think I’ve seen in a crossword before, and they’re probably why Will accepted the puzzle for publication. They kinda gave things a quote-theme vibe, though, with the clues that were useless to me:
- 15a. [With 17-Across, the B-side to “A Hard Day’s Night”], I SHOULD HAVE / KNOWN BETTER. Never heard of it. Does it deserve 22 squares of this puzzle? With scores of Beatles songs (a hundred plus?) that we’ve all heard of, why include this?
- 60a. [With 64-Across, ignored], IN ONE EAR AND / OUT THE OTHER. That clue doesn’t work for me at all. If something gets or is ignored, it goes in one ear, etc. I’m not seeing the interchangeability here. Also, with crossings like OLIOS, PELOTA, and HEHE, and stacked atop the is-that-actually-a-thing? STAYED LOOSE, just … no.
The TRUE CRIME/RAT POISON pair is nice, but then the other corner has ACT NORMAL with SHRINKAGE and doesn’t carry out the “paired entries in each corner” thing.
Way too much subpar fill in this one. Suffix –EOUS! Whoa. STR, ANYA, LEHR, ADES, OLSIO, HEHE, jai alai’s PELOTA, French crosswordese ETAGE, and SNEE? As for SAME AGE (40a. [Like George W. Bush vis-à-vis Sylvester Stallone]), I don’t think that’s really a crosswordable phrase. And as clued, it doesn’t quite work. The clue feels like it’s looking for something more comparative. In fact, with the second letter in place, the first answer that popped into my head was MANLIER. (What?)
Top fill: APPLE ID, SHTICKS, TRUE CRIME, RAT POISON.
32d. [Critical unit?] clues STAR. 2.75 stars from me for this one. The best thing about the puzzle is that it motivated me to watch the shrinkage clip and that brought delight to my evening.
Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Folk Rock Foursome”—Ade’s write-up
Happy Friday, crossword solvers! Hope you’re all staying warm out there…or, if you are/were in Salt Lake City, hope you enjoyed your 60-degree weather anomaly from yesterday! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, honors the famous musical threesome and sometimes foursome, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Each of the theme answers is a multiple-word entry in which the last name of one of the foursome is included in the answer, though unrelated to the actual music group.
- BING CROSBY (17A: [Oscar nominee for “The Country Girl” (1954)]) – I couldn’t imagine trying to clue Bing Crosby in a grid, given all of the options you could choose from in his career to use as a clue.
- MOVIE STILLS (28A: [Items in some studio press kits])
- NASH BRIDGES (45A: [’90s TV cop show starring Don Johnson]) – I got this before I saw the title of the grid and noticed its theme, and the name of the show was on the tip of my tongue for about a minute before the light clicked on. But all I had to do was read the grid’s title and the light would have clicked on much sooner. Oh well!
- YOUNG LIONS (60A: [’58 Brando film of an Irwin Shaw novel, with “The”])
Before I start, I want to ask if any of you have seen CSN (or CSNY) in concert before in person? If so, definitely share your experience(s) watching them live in the comments (or, if you haven’t seen them live, just share any memory you have listening to the artists). OK, back to the grid. The Northwest has the interesting intersection of APIA (14A: [Capital of Samoa]) and APIARY (2D: [Place with a lot of buzz]). Again, I’m not really flustered by those intersections where the first few letters of each word are the same. That just happens. (Not that I can speak from crossword constructing experience…well, not yet at least.) Probably the most unfortunate earworm comes from SAGET, and now I have the theme song to Full House in my head (4D: [Actor who played the dad on “Full House”]). Now I need to listen to some of his blue comedy that he does during his standup routines to make it go away. I’m sure I won’t be seeing anyone around my area wearing a BIKINI TOP anytime soon, unless they’re doing one of those Polar Bear runs where people jump into an ice cold body of water with just their swimwear on (10D: [Part of a two-piece suit]). Those people are cool…and insane!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ON BASE (8D: [Aboard, to a Dodger]) – Baseball season is around the corner, and our “moment” is about ON-BASE percentage, a major league statistic that was officially introduced in 1984. To get a players OBP, you take the sum of hits, walks and hit by pitches and divide it by the sum of at-bats, walks, hit by pitches and sacrifice flies (but not sacrifice bunts, as that as seen as an offensive strategy by the team more than it is a reflection on the hitter’s ability to get in base). Ted Williams is the career on-base percentage leader, at .4817…or, to put it another way, he reached base almost half the time he came up as a hitter.
Have a great weekend, everyone! See you all tomorrow!
Joon Pahk and Jeremy Horwitz’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Read Meat” — pannonica’s write-up
Kind of a random pairing: pun mashups of literary titles and cuts of steak. I’m assuming that the best of the three—and the literal centerpiece—was the inspiration for the theme.
- 17a. [Alice Sebold best seller extolling steaks?] THE LOVELY T-BONES (The Lovely Bones).
- 38a. [Kurt Vonnegut book about quintuplets’ regular diet of steak?] PORTERHOUSE FIVE (Slaughterhouse-Five). That reminds me. A few years ago, the New Yorker magazine had a small piece riffing on a perfume meant to evoke books, coming up with their own suggestions and encouraging readers to participate. My contribution was Charnel № 5.
- 60a. [Toni Morrison debut novel about Smurfs and their Steak-grilling competition?] THE BLUEST RIBEYE (The Bluest Eye). I don’t get it. Why make the clue so torturous and drag in the Smurfs when it’s right there, practically on a platter? A ‘blue steak’ is an extremely rare preparation. But not uncooked, that’d be TArTAre (1d). Smurfization isn’t outlandish enough to make it funny, and neither of the other two clues strive for humor.
So, three 15-letter themers. Three famous titles. Three unmistakably steaky cuts. Three pretty-good-or-above puns. Well done. Come on, you knew that was coming. At least I didn’t wait until the end of the write-up.
Favorite clue: 28a [Badger or hound] NAG. Saw the misdirection right away, but was thinking too generally and couldn’t shoehorn VERB into the three squares. See also 54d [Thorn in one’s side] PEST, and 57d [Atrium feeder] VEIN (cardiac misdirection).
Strong grid, good stacking, solid cluing. What I appreciated most in this puzzle—aside from the theme itself—was the parity of the clues. Not too much science, not too much sports, not too much arts, and so on. For instance, YOGI could have been clued as the Yankees catcher but it wasn’t, yet the innocuous and ubiquitous STEVE is given a sports reference. Conscientious constructing and editing.
Pancho Harrison’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “V-Eight” — pannonica’s write-up
- 23a. [Successful acquisition for collector of LPs?] VINYL SCORE (final …).
- 33a. [U or I, in text messages?] PERSONAL VOWEL (… foul).
- 39a. [How a modern bride might choose to walk down the aisle?] WITHOUT VEIL (… fail).
- 63a. [Result of a beer seller overindulging in his own wares?] VENDOR BENDER (fender …).
- 68a. [Swerve most severely?] VEER THE WORST (fear …).
- 90a. [Storage spot for a lab tech’s containers] VIAL CABINET (file …).
- 96a. [Not knowing which way the wind blows?] VANE IGNORANCE (feign …).
- 112a. [Op-ed pieces of fewer than 25 words, say?] SHORT VIEWS (… fuse).
As you can see, the theme trades on the replacement of an initial F-sound with a V one to create new phrases. The consistency is good: in each case the F-sound was first an F- (rather than a ph-) and in every instance the new V-word has a different spelling than the original. My two favorites among the clues are 33a and 96a. For the latter, I also appreciate the coincidence of the E-I-G-N letter sequence of the novel answer unrelatedly replicating the original spelling of feign.
The title refers to the eight instances of the V exchanges, and of course there are no extraneous Vs in the grid, so that’s the sum total. However, I feel like reversing the flow of the theme and will pronounce “V-Eight” as “fate”.
- Hefty long downs: RAIN OR SHINE, TRADE SECRET, BRAKE SHOE, STRAPLESS (nicely not cross-referenced (though crossing) 50a DRESS).
- Picking up the ball from today’s numerous comments regarding the NYT, 80d is [Literally, “merry festival”] JAI ALAI. That’s Basque, not Spanish.
- 24d [Some organs and motorcycles] YAMAHAS. The logo incorporates three tuning forks, though I suppose they also look like the front forks of a motorcycle. They’re definitely tuning forks, though, as the company began in 1897 making musical instruments and didn’t introduce their motorcycles until 1954.
- Did not know 117a [Food blogger Drummond] REE; nice to see a change from [Riddle-me-__ ].
Sure, there’s a fair share of crosswordese, abbrevs., partials, but I’m not going to provide a litany, and I won’t say they distract out of proportion. These things happen. It’s a good puzzle overall.
Frank Virzi’s Los Angeles Times crossword
Today’s puzzle is a straight-up letter swap: F for C. No cutesy revealer, just 3 x 15 + 2 x 13 = 71 letters of theme. Why F for C? I assume Mr. Virzi came up with one cute change that he liked and then found some more to match. This is quite a broadly-defined theme, so we’re expecting a very high standard of pun. I think these all land, and are colourful, so there we have it. Particularly good are the “themeless-grade” base phrases used. Specifically, we have:
- [Forgeries that are easy to spot?], UPSIDEDOWNFAKES. (CAKES)
- [Dude in the CIA?], UNDERCOVERFOP. (COP)
- [Trivial blunder?], MICKEYMOUSEFLUB. (CLUB)
- [Pancake cook in pinstripes?], YANKEEFLIPPER. (CLIPPER)
- [My fireplace is defective!”?], IHAVENTGOTAFLUE. (CLUE)
Non-theme answers are predominantly short. I decided to ignore the theme again and chip away at these short answers. There are signs of stress in places: LII (the full deck in the clue is 52 cards), LEOIV, ENSE, TOI, ABOO – but they’re at least well-distributed. The grid looks carefully constructed to balance out the inevitable problems of 71 theme squares.
- [“Snow White” character flaw], ENVY. The quotes mean the clue is referring to the story – it’s stepmom with the envy problem.
- [Team whose logo involves a “wishbone C”], REDS. I’m going to pretend that I know what this clues means.
- [Pan for Yan], WOK. A very 90’s clue! His “Yan Can Cook” was on Discovery Channel in South Africa, and I think PBS in the States. He may still be on Stateside.
Always appreciate your comments. You can see what I posted Re: BIG BREASTED and SHRINKAGE at Jeff Chen’s place, the gist of which is that my submission had BIG BREASTED clued w/r/t chickens, and SHRINKAGE clued w/r/t Seinfeld. I don’t agree with the NYT decision to change both of those clues, particularly since it changes the gender of the person being objectified by my puzzle.
Also, you don’t know “I Should Have Known Better?” It’s a pretty well known Beatles song, if not by name then by tune.
A Beatles fan to the point of reading biographies and knowing the more standard catalog, but not a fanatic, so I am not familiar with the song – made the puzzle quite a bit tougher as clued.
That said, I did enjoy the puzzle – nice work stacking those entries. I had no problem with the IN ONE EAR… stack as I have heard that phrase exactly as-is; but as with many phrases, perhaps there’s regional variations as well. I dunno.
Nice puzzle, David. I liked the pair of stacked answers.
I was also disappointed to see BIG-BREASTED but not because of anything to do with objectification. To me, it’s just another sign of the Times’ gradual slide from gentility. I know, I’m old-fashioned.
I would have much preferred a chicken clue—if it worked—but, sadly, “big-breasted” is not a standard phrase ‘in the language’ referring to chickens. I would guess that that’s why Mr. Shortz changed that clue. As for SHRINKAGE, I assume that one wasn’t genteel enough for him, even if BIG-BREASTED was. After all, the one body part is more directly sexual than the other.
Whether I’m right or wrong about Mr. Shortz’s editorial reasons, I’m certain that he didn’t change the clues in order to change “the gender of the person being objectified” by your puzzle, so I don’t really see why that should bother you. If “objectification” is no big deal, it’s no big deal, whomever it’s done to. I suppose I understand your desire to “redress the gender balance” by deliberately objectifying men to show that it can be done, but IMHO political concerns like that should come firmly second to concerns that relate to puzzle quality.
Besides, I humbly submit that your perception of the gender bias in NYT crosswords may be partly colored by the gender bias of its critics. After all, I’ve never seen anyone complain about entries like BEEFCAKE or STUD MUFFIN.
(1) Are you suggesting that I said it bothered me? If so, your reading comprehension skills need work. (2) A Seinfeldian SHRINKAGE reference wouldn’t objectify men, it would merely discuss cold water’s effect on highly vascular tissues. (3) The existence of words like BEEFCAKE and STUDMUFFIN has never held men back from societal power. (Cf. “honky” vs. the N-word.) Elected officials, business executives, etc., remain mostly male. (4) Returning to policy of not responding to you when you try to bait me.
Not sure if you were replying to me or no with this, but I wasn’t trying to bait you in anyway, and if I misinterpreted your comments re: 1 Across, I apologize. It’s me who feels uncomfortable with the switched clues, so I read the comments through that lens. Like CY said above, BIG BREASTED really doesn’t work w/r/t chickens (“large breasted” does, however). As someone who previously put FLOOZY in a puzzle, and had a puzzle that included “THE FAT LADY SINGS,” I noticed a trend that I wasn’t particularly proud of, however benign my intentions. My comments were really just trying to address this.
Anyway, that’s all.
Oh, no no no. David—I was replying to CY! (We have a history here.) I much appreciated your note about chicken and Seinfeld, and I love that you’ve noticed your own “trend” without defensiveness.
For what it’s worth, I checked nytimes.com to see how much “big-breasted” and “well-hung” have been used. There was a recent big-breasted turkey citation, but it’s mostly about women’s bodies. And “well-hung” used to appear all the time! (In articles about art exhibits.) Once the penile definition picked up, the Times apparently began to shy away from the term in its art stories.
“Be the change that you want to see”—I think that’s a good thing, David. I don’t have any problem with your trying to buck the trend you see, if you feel it needs bucking. I just wanted to say that IMHO external concerns like that should come after concerns that relate more directly to the quality of the crossword and perhaps to defend Editor Shortz from the suggestion of bias that I read into your words. On rereading them, I think I was being oversensitive in seeing that suggestion in what you wrote. Sorry.
1) No, I was responding to David, and I deliberately left you out of it. Obviously this is a subject that I have moderately strong feelings about (as you do, but on the opposite side of the debate), which is why I sometimes post about it when it comes up here. That doesn’t mean I’m trying to bait you. Actually, I’d rather not upset you, believe it or not. I want you to have a good day!
2) That’s reasonable. For what it’s worth, I’d agree with you, though I’m no expert in what counts as objectification. I was responding to David, though, who said he had preferred the Seinfeld clue specifically because he did see it as objectification of men [thus contributing to gender balance]. (He says it in the post I responded to, but maybe I should also link to the post at xwordinfo he refers to, which goes into more detail.)
3) I understand that that is the feminist worldview (which I don’t mean pejoratively). I’m not dismissing it either, but as a practical matter what it means is that protests of terms d’objectification tend to only go in one direction, which in turn could give someone the wrong impression of exactly how skewed the balance of such terms in crosswords really is.
4) As I’ve said—and I hope you believe me—I really am not trying to bait you. I’ve tried to avoid the subject myself lately, for the most part—don’t know whether that’s come across or not. I may disagree with you on this subject, and we may both have strong feelings about it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect you or don’t appreciate you. Keep that in mind when you read a post of mine, please!
And have a good day! :-)
As to SHRINKAGE, I’m glad the clue was changed. Should we be expected have a command of the episode topics of 20-year-old sitcoms? I don’t. As it was, I was baffled only by the PELOTA/LEHR crossing, unguessable to those who know nothing of glass manufacture and jai alai (surely not a negligible percentage of the crossword-solving population). I agree with CY Hollander below. Difficulty is good on a Friday. Unguessability owing to the crossing of specific bits trivia that aren’t well known–that’s not good on any day.
For better or worse, knowledge of jai alai is essential to all seasoned crossword solvers. Jai alai itself is part of Crosswords 101; then come CESTA (the basket thingy they use to hurl the ball) and PELOTA. There may be a special name for the court on which jai alai is played but that is above my solving level.
They didn’t offer Crosswords 101 where I went to school. But I had heard of “jai alai” and even “cesta.” A search of the Cruciverb database turns up 14 “pelota”s and 10 “lehr”s (and 64 “cesta”s). Maybe two bits of trivia that rate <20 at Cruciverb shouldn't be crossed? Included now and then, sure–but not crossed?
Then again, pelota is simply ‘ball’—a relatively basic word—in Spanish, far and away the second-most common language in the US.
@pannonica, I hadn’t known that. That makes the crossing a lot better, in my view.
Jai alai is played at a fronton .
I confidently put in WELL ENDOWED to start the puzzle with 1A. Oh well.
I got as far as WL (that’s the beginnings of an E) before seeing “Schoolyard retort” when I crosschecked with 2 Down.
Any puzzle with Shrinkage is 5 stars in my book.
Athletes are very regularly told to “stay loose.” So even if it’s not good for “keeping things casual,” it’s still a perfectly reasonable lexical entity in my book.
WHY SHOULD WE PAY FOR THE CROSSSYNERGY PUZZLE WHEN IT IS FREE IN THE WASH POST?
It’s now paid for there by the advertisers—you can’t get the puzzle without watching an ad first.
Do you object to the existence of NYT crossword subscriptions?
I like not having to sit through the ads, not having to update my Flash player to view those ads to get to the puzzle, and not having to click thrice to get to a printable version in order to solve the way I want to solve. It’s in my email, two formats, the night before. I forget what the subscription is, but it didn’t seem like much for those tradeoffs.
STR, ANYA, LEHR, ADES, OLSIO, HEHE, jai alai’s PELOTA, French crosswordese ETAGE, and SNEE? As for SAME AGE (40a. [Like George W. Bush vis-à-vis Sylvester Stallone]), I don’t think that’s really a crosswordable phrase. And as clued, it doesn’t quite work. The clue feels like it’s looking for something more comparative.
I had the same problem as Amy with SAME AGE. That one just doesn’t quite work, I feel. As for crosswordese, I don’t have a major issue with it in general, as long as a crossword is fair, so for me crosswordese only starts to become a problem when two such words cross each other, as was the case with PELOTA and LEHR, today. I managed to dredge PELOTA out of memory, but outside of crosswords, I can’t say I remember ever seeing the word. REED [College] crossing LEHR as well made this area even more problematic, IMO, although perhaps REED is just well-enough-known and/or guessable to avoid unfairness.
I did like the pair of doubled-up 22-letter answers, though. That buys this puzzle a pass from me.
Hey, it’s Friday! Some of us know LEHR, some don’t – but who wants a Monday every day? I thought the NYT was a very good one..
Difficult is good—I don’t bother with Monday even on Monday—but it’s not the same as “unfair”. To me, a “fair” crossword is one for which the average solver can arrive at its solution using knowledge he already has, possibly with the aid of educated guesswork, which still leaves ample room for difficulty. The main reason I like the NYT crossword in particular is that it’s usually very good on this front: it can be difficult, but only very rarely does it present me with a grid where even after seeing the solution I can think “This wrong solution looks just as plausible to me as the correct one.”
I did happen to remember PELOTA (though not LEHR) from seeing it in previous crosswords, but, had I not, I didn’t think I’d have had any way to figure out the letter that belonged there, which is why I thought of it as unfair. OTOH, above, pannonica notes that PELOTA is Spanish for “ball”—and, now that she notes that, I can think of some English cognates as well, such as pelt or pellet—so I’ve changed my mind: it was fair.
I feel like LEHR is the real obscurity in this puzzle. I didn’t remember it but figured it out from the crosses. I assume, though, that’s where the last name “Lehrer” comes from? If so, that makes it at least somewhat interesting.
No–“Lehrer” is just the German for teacher, as I have now confirmed. Not as interesting then.
More likely the surname comes from the German word for teacher.
Proving once again that minor Beatles beats major most else, I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER is a terrific song. Please Google it and watch/listen to the clip from the movie.
Proving once again that minor Beatles beats major
…even when it’s the same song.
I was surprised to see that the Beatles’ song topped out at about number 40-or 50-something. I can remember thinking it was a great song.
Sports answers and the stacked entries made it quite easy for me.
I have a feeling that I’m in for a forehead-slapping moment, but I’ll ask anyway. In the CS puzzle, 57 down, clue is Pet, answer is snit. Will someone please explain? Thanks.
Heading 2. It’s not colloquial for me either.
CS 57 down: As to Pet = Snit, the phrases “in a pet” = “in a snit” work for me. I guess you have to be of a certain age…
Thanks, P. Ulrich – never heard that phrase, and I don’t recall seeing it in a puzzle.
I do think “in a pet” is very old fashioned, like something my grandmother would have used. I think it is derived from “petulant”. Or maybe the other way around.
Edit: Now I am laughing because the phrase “in a pet” reminded me of the Groucho Marx quote:
“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read”
See comments from this past Sunday’s post.
CS 10 across: I thought it was really tricky cluing BALI as a “South Pacific island”. Java Sea (technically Pacific) on the North and Indian Ocean on the south, it could have just as easily been an Indian Ocean island.
The clue references the musical, and the famous song “Bali Ha’i”.
edit: Or perhaps not, as it lacks quotation marks. I think that was the intent, though.
Ah, the musical, not the ocean. Not really up on musicals.
CHE: Other than fitting into the grid, I don’t understand why the first and third themers have the entire title with the steak added while the middle book title is changed to the steak name.
That isn’t quite true, as the original of the first title isn’t The Lovely (or The Lovely S) nor is the name of the steak a T (though it may be called that casually). All three themers are just punned versions.
NYT – Once I solved it, I liked it very much, but it took me a while (understatement). Is the number of comments almost a record?
This meaning of “buxom” has taken over and pushed out all the previous meanings as in “pliant” and such. Still it is more “full-figured” rather than just referring to BIG BREASTED, though the resemblance to “bosom” is the culprit, I think. As for the original clue, was it more “Like a hormone-fed chicken”?
I assumed ISHOULDHAVE/KNOWNBETTER fell under “we’ve all heard of”??? RATPOISON (specifically of the warfarin / super-warfarin type) is not my favourite substance in the world – dogs and cats incidentally poisoned can spend weeks getting vitamin K & blood transfusions, and still not make it. Think about your neighbours!
You have just broken the “Gareth Rule” which states Gareth can post his LA Times review as late as he wants with the notable exception that he can not add a comment until such review has been posted.
Did Gareth make that rule?
I always solve the NYT first, then the LAT. You haven’t noticed that yet?
I wouldn’t equate “well hung” with BIGBREASTED. Perhaps “barrel-chested” would be a better choice. Personally, I don’t see either as sexist (if that’s the implication), merely discriptive.
Breasts in women are a secondary sexual characteristic in a way that a man’s chest just isn’t. So the penis and yarbles must take their turn! And yes, WELL-HUNG isn’t sexist, just descriptive.
The penis and, um… yarbles are not secondary sexual characteristics at all. FULL-BEARDED, perhaps?
What the heck are “secondary sexual characteristics”?
It’s a health class/sex ed/biology class term: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/puberty/Pages/Boys-Secondary-Sex-Characteristics.aspx
Come and get one in the yarbles, if you have any yarbles, you eunuch jelly thou…
Sorry, but I’m a big fan of Clockwork Orange, and I’m assuming that’s where Amy got the term.
Oh, I’d actually taken the term a little differently, as referring to those differences between the sexes that are less than essential. (Here’s a source for that sense. The other is new to me, but I see how you could describe WELL-HUNG as referring to a secondary sexual characteristic in the sense Amy had in mind.)
I’m always interested in seeing how the average rating on the NYT compares to Amy’s. Usually, it’s so close that I thought for a while that people were very influenced by her. We did a little experiment where she noted her own rating but withheld it, and concluded that the ratings seem to independently land close to her view. So, it is interesting to me when the two deviate, as they do today.
I was mildly surprised but not distressed about BIG BREASTED. “Well hung” seems more judgmental to me, because “well” implies a quality assessment. Would its opposite be “ill hung”? Is that less of a happy situation than being small breasted? Strictly linguistically speaking, I mean.
Ill Hung? Wasn’t that a nickname for King John?
You mean Kim Jong?
I think that the deviation between Amy’s rating and the average rating today for the NYT has a lot to do with “I Should Have Known Better.” If you know this terrific song, it might raise your rating, since it takes up a lot of space in the puzzle. It would offset some of the items that are not as good. If you don’t know the song, you might find the name a bit flat, besides the irritation of not thinking it a famous enough song. I love the song – it’s one of the Beatles’ best.
Congrats to Frank Virzi and Rich Norris for a delightful (and rare) themed Friday in the LAT. Such a fun solve! It’s really a Thursday – 42 blocks, 5 theme entries, and 71 (!) theme letters – but who cares what day a good puzzle is published? Clever letter switch, clean fill, punny theme, a pleasant diversion. Wish more crosswords could be like this one.
Themed Friday LATs are not rare. They occur once a week.