THEME: West Love* — Qu- to W- sound changes at the beginnings of familiar phrases; wacky phrases + wacky "?" clues = everyone's a quinner!
*["West Love" because the puzzle shows love for the "W," which can stand for "West" ... and 'cause I love The Roots]
I believe my description of the Dan Naddor formula, expressed in my last write-up of a Dan Naddor puzzle, applies perfectly again today. Let's see if I can dig it up. Here we go. Allow me to quote myself (from two weeks ago):
Dan Naddor is prolific, and his stuff is pretty solid, but I feel like his grids are becoming very predictable. I knew who the constructor of this was without ever looking at the credit. Lots of theme answers united by letter/sound change. Wackiness abounds. True, lots of folks do that, but I have this feeling he has a master list of 100s of these types of gimmicks that he's just working his way through, cranking them out in high volume (no one appears in LAT more). There's nothing wrong with the grids, which are almost always well constructed. But ... seems like his work should be getting more imaginative and artful, instead of predictable and workmanlike.
Today, just take the hard "K" sound off the beginning of "Qu-" words. Now you've got "W-" words. Resulting phrases are clever enough, but not brilliant. Not astonishing. Not "wow." Would like some "wow." Sadly, today, the non-theme fill isn't as good as I'm used to with DN's puzzles. HELL WEEK is fabulous (3D: College hazing period), and the NE and SW corners are pretty good too, but the rest is pretty blah. An IMAM in an IROC on the ITEN. Unfortunate plural abbrevs. like RNAS and IRAS, and then just the general yuck of CNS, AAAS, SSS, A JOB, CAN OF, etc. As partial phrases go, I kind of like I BEFORE E. But overall, pretty bland.
Crosswordese 101: TIARAS (15A: Headgear on some runways) — so common is TIARA that I can't believe we haven't covered it yet (assuming the CW101 database is up-to-date ... we make PG deal with that). Royalty and beauty weans tend to be the ones wearing TIARAS in puzzles, but don't forget the pope likes a good TIARA too. TIARA is what he calls that bejeweled crown-like thingie he wears from time to time on top of his head. The one with a cross at the tippy top.
What else? (the "T" edition)
What else? (the "T" edition)
- 42A: As you like it (TO TASTE) — like the catchy clue. When too many answers start with prepositions, I start to notice, and not in a good way. TO TASTE is joined today by ON STRIKE and AT NINE. Why this piling up of prepositional phrases should bug me, I don't know. I'm not saying it's rational.
- 42D: Aptly named mod model (TWIGGY) — because she looked like a twig. Literally. People would often pick her up and start to snap her in half, at which point she would cry out, "Hey, I'm a human being, not a twig," to which the would-be snapper would reply, "Well, you could have fooled me."
- 49D: Golden Horde member (TATAR) — the "Golden Horde" sounds like a college team name, like 'Bama's CRIMSON TIDE.
- 38D: 19th Greek letter (TAU) — this was in NYT today as [Cross figure].
- 58D: Actress Carrere (TIA) — she starred in an '80s movie called "Zombie Nightmare" with Adam West, but if you know her at all, you probably know her from "Wayne's World"
- 44D: Raptor's grabbers (TALONS) — The danger of winging your lectures on Sir Thomas Wyatt is that occasionally you can be heard to utter things like "pigeons don't have feet ... they have those grabby things ... TALONS." Don't ask. It was actually a pretty good class.
See you Monday,
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