meta 3-4 minutes
Matt here, pinch-hitting for the joonmeister.
It’s Week 2 of my Guest Constructor Month, and Nate Cardin‘s “Side-Eye” asks us to find a two-word phrase.
Four of the five theme entries were clear due to their lengths, but the central across also turned out to be theme:
20-A [Public promotions of products] = ADVERTISEMENTS
28-A [Largest state in Mexico, or the smallest breed of dog] = CHIHUAHUA. I did not know either of those two facts before editing this crossword. Both good to know.
39-A [Works published sequentially] = SERIALS
48-A [Like careless mistakes] = AVOIDABLE
55-A [Heidi Klum’s departing words to contestants kicked off “Project Runway”] = AUF WIEDERSEHEN
Those each have exactly one letter I in them, which would be unremarkable except for the fact that they’re the only five I’s in the grid. Taking a cue from our title, look at the letters to the left and then the right side of those I’s, and they’ll spell out contest answer THROW SHADE, which means to give a disapproving look to, a.k.a. the side-eye. [UPDATE, 3:35 PM ET: not quite. The puzzle’s author e-mails me to point out that while a side-eye is nonverbal, throwing shade is usually verbal disapproval, not just a look. So certainly close enough to hint at the meta, but not the exactly the same thing. Sorry, Nate!] 391 solvers got it, right on-target for a Week 2 of 5.
Very nice – never noticed they were in order (‘throw’ before the I’s, ‘shade’ after them). I just solved the 10 letters as an anagram. Adds to the elegance now that I see that. Nicely done.
I didn’t see at first that THROW SHADE was bordering the I’s. Like Jim, I started out by anagramming the adjacent letters. I nearly went with SHOW HATRED as an early guess. But this seemed harsh as a meaning for Side-Eye, so I plugged on.
I’m glad it wasn’t an anagram, which would have set off my Scowl-0-Meter (patent pending, Amy Reynaldo.) Instead, we had the treat of an apt answer that played appropriately on both the title and technique. I like how Nate made “Throw Shade” itself shade the 5 I’s from both sides.
That THROW SHADE is an anagram of SHOW HATRED is a fantastic find by itself.
This took me until late Monday. I saw there were 300+ right answers and knew it was week 2 and could not figure out how I was being so obtuse. The really stupid part is, pretty early on I did my “what would joon do?” thing and thought “one thing he might do is look at letter frequencies.” But I was too lazy to actually do that – if I had, I probably would have figured it out a lot sooner.
Anyways, this was a really good one. Glad I finally saw it.
I can’t believe there are a ton of rave review yet! This is crossword construction elegance defined. Limiting the entire grid to just 5 I’s that also just happen to have the right letters on either side so that they spell out THROW SHADE in order?! And to not have any stray Is in the fill. That’s a great feat in my eyes (pun intended). Maybe it’s easier to do, I don’t know, I’ve never even attempted to construct a crossword puzzle.
Bravo, Nate! I think this puzzle’s construction is very, very nice.
the conflation of throwing shade and side-eye here (implicitly by the puzzle and explicitly by the review) gave me some serious “caucasian thinkpiece writers circa mid-2014 struggling to explain the word ‘bae'” vibes
loved the meta mechanism though, very artful & satisfying, perfect week 2
I wasn’t attempting to conflate the two terms – giving side eye is certainly one way to throw shade even if they’re not synonymous. I reckoned there was enough thematic tightness to go with it. Glad you liked the mechanic!
I got the answer…no problem. But I interpreted the title to mean “turn the Is on their sides to make a dash.
Ack. When I will ever remember to type things out above each other so that patterns appear? I grokked the “letters beside the i’s” but treated it as an anagram and could not make sense of it. [Anagrams, needless to say, are not my strong point.] Sigh.
Excellent meta with an entertaining answer. Nicely done Nate!
Thanks to Superfruit for making this click instantly.
thanks, matt, for filling in for me!
i dug the meta. a lot of the fill was, shall we say, side-eye-worthy (random codon crossing a 2-wd abbr and a variant geographical name, probably the pièce de resistance), and i ended up with an error on my page (HAGeN crossing ETHeNE, also a two-carbon organic compound), but the meta was very nice.