Tuesday, March 28, 2023
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Harriet’s hubby on previous TV / MON 7-18-22 / Form of an mental’s head it is mentioned / Trendy comfort at many film theaters / Messy slapstick reactions / Nickname for Louise

Constructor: Phoebe Gordon

Relative issue: Medium (probably on the more durable facet of Monday, solely due to the “?” theme clues) (in case your time was slower than traditional, that is in all probability as a result of the grid is outsized (16×15))

THEME: [preposition] [plural noun] AND [other plural noun] — idiomatic phrases that comply with exactly that grammatical sample, clued each actually and wackily (“?”-style), as in the event that they associated to a subject implied by the plural nouns:

Theme solutions:

  • AT SIXES AND SEVENS (17A: In a state of confusion, as in math class?)
  • BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS (40A: Very quickly, as in a ballet studio?)
  • ON PINS AND NEEDLES (63A: In suspense, as in a tailor store?)

Phrase of the Day: “OZZIE and Harriet” (67A: Harriet’s hubby on previous TV) —

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet is an American tv sitcom that aired on ABC from October 3, 1952 to April 23, 1966, and starred the real-life Nelson household. After a long term on radio, the present was delivered to tv, the place it continued its success, initially operating concurrently on radio and TV. By way of seasons, it was the longest operating live-action sitcom in US tv historical past till It is At all times Sunny in Philadelphia surpassed it on December 1, 2021 (although it nonetheless retains the file by way of whole episodes produced: 435). The collection starred the leisure duo of Ozzie Nelson and his spouse, singer Harriet Nelson, and their sons, David and RickyDon DeFore had a recurring position because the Nelsons’ neighbor “Thorny”. (wikipedia)

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Full disclosure: that is the debut puzzle from the daughter of somebody I do know and like—longtime constructor and editor Peter Gordon. I’d not have found this earlier than fixing, however I by accident checked out Twitter, and Peter was, understandably, bragging about it, which is lovable. Anyway, even when I might hated this factor, I would not have mentioned so, or would not have put it in such harsh phrases. Fortunately, I did not hate it in any respect. It is a completely pleasant little Monday … though “little” is actually incorrect, in that the grid is definitely an outsized 16×15! I imply “little” solely within the sense that the theme is just not notably dense or sophisticated—pretty regular for a Monday puzzle. Nevertheless it does have this type of … additional high quality, the place it is bought each literal *and* wacky clues to it, and it is the wackiness that each provides to and complicates issues a bit. “?” clues will are inclined to throw you into figurative considering (or overthinking) mode, and that occurred to me at this time, just a little bit, despite the fact that the literal, regular clue is Proper There (within the first, precomma portion of the clue). The postcomma half includes each studying extra and (inevitably) considering extra, and so thematically this felt considerably more durable than a typical Monday. Extra Tuesdayish. However as a result of the literal clue is true there, we aren’t speaking about an excessive amount of added issue. The postcomma a part of the clue seems to exist largely to present a stronger impression of thematic consistency than the puzzle would have with out it. “Please think about this wacky non-literal context implied by the phrases within the reply” is a pleasant method so as to add to the in any other case merely grammatical / syntactical parallels among the many theme solutions. It is a terrific discover, this set of three themers—all following exactly the identical phrasing sample, all 16 letters lengthy. The remainder of the grid is true over the plate. Nothing showy, nothing horrific. Numerous crosswordese, however the kind you could abide simply superb, not the sort to make you wince and roll your eyes and surprise what the hell. Plus you get (the first step: take drink from) CUP HOLDER and (step two, decide up drink, *sip*, hear one thing humorous, and  …) SPITTAKES within the discount. Oh, and “LADY BIRD” and STARGAZE as well. A stunning quartet of lengthy Downs. It is a neat and polished Monday. Type of textbook (in the most effective sense of the phrase). A promising debut.

Hmm, what else? Properly, I wish to quash the crooked letter fetish, for positive (two units of double-Zs!), however since nothing in any respect is sacrificed within the pursuit of mentioned letters, I can’t be justifiably mad. Get all of your Js and Zs and Qs on, by all means, so long as doing so doesn’t result in my additionally seeing adjoining Rubbish. Onerous to name something within the neighborhood of RAZZ or OZZIE “Rubbish.” The one reply I actually hate on this puzzle is NHLER (49A: Jet or Shark, in sports activities lingo). See additionally NLER, ALER, NBAER and … is MLBER a factor? Oof, I hope not. MLSER? WNBAER? I imply, the place does it finish? It is potential that NHLER is the most typical of all these pressured initial-based -ER phrases. I dunno. I simply know all of them feel and look kinda terrible. However once more, it is one phrase, no matter, no biggie. I had no bother with something within the grid, although I weirdly blanked at S—- for 48D: A part of an act (SCENE). I say “weirdly” as a result of I train performs with acts and SCENEs frequently. I feel my mind simply needed one thing like SKIT (too quick) or SKETCH (too lengthy). Oh, and I not surprisingly took longer on the “?” clue for LIDS than on any of the opposite clues (69A: Jar heads?). I feel I just like the wordplay-ness higher in the event you make “Jarhead” one phrase, as you’d when referring to a marine. I imply, if that is the time period you are punning on (and it’s) why not simply put them collectively. The “?” tells me that you’re ****ing round, so it is superb. OK, that is sufficient for at this time. Hope this was a pleasant cool-down from yesterday’s tire fireplace / barn burner (relying in your perspective). See you Tuesday. And congrats, Phoebe.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]



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