Wednesday, March 22, 2023
HomePuzzleImage over "i" within the Tropicana brand / TUE 7-5-22 / Swimmer's...

Image over “i” within the Tropicana brand / TUE 7-5-22 / Swimmer’s set / La Posay skin-care model / Properly-orchestrated ruses / Family gasoline which will require mitigation / Begin of a basic breakup letter / Mischievous creature of folklore / COVID-19 slangily

Constructor: Malgorzata Nowakowska and Eileen Williams

Relative problem: Medium (regular Tuesday)

THEME: Taylor SWIFT (49D: Taylor ___, a few of whose hit songs are featured within the solutions to the starred clues) — that is it … it is simply tune names:

Theme solutions:

  • FEARLESS (20A: *Like daredevils, seemingly)
  • BABE (25A: *Toddler in arms)
  • RED (30A: *Visibly embarrassed)
  • BLANK SPACE (34A: *Void)
  • SHAKE IT OFF (41A: *Recover from a minor damage, say)
  • DEAR JOHN (54A: *Begin of a basic breakup letter)

Phrase of the Day: SUDAN (40A: Previously the most important nation in Africa, however since 2011 the third-largest) —

Sudan ( or Arabicالسودانromanizedas-Sūdān), formally the Republic of the Sudan (Arabic: جمهورية السودانromanized: Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a rustic in Northeast Africa. It shares borders with the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, Egypt to the north, Eritrea to the northeast, Ethiopia to the southeast, Libya to the northwest, South Sudan to the south and the Crimson Sea. It has a inhabitants of 45.70 million folks as of 2022 and occupies 1,886,068 sq. kilometres (728,215 sq. miles), making it Africa’s third-largest nation by space, and the third-largest by space within the Arab League. It was the most important nation by space in Africa and the Arab League till the secession of South Sudan in 2011, since which each titles have been held by Algeria. Its capital is Khartoum and its most populated metropolis is Omdurman (a part of the metropolitan space of Khartoum). (wikipedia)

• • •

I’m under no circumstances averse to the concept of a Taylor SWIFT-themed puzzle, however this ain’t it. There may be nothing right here, puzzle-wise. Only a listing of songs. If you happen to love Taylor SWIFT and are thrilled to see all her songs right here, simply think about this theme being completed with an artist you do not like. Or simply … any artist. I imply, if the themers have been simply Beatles songs and the revealer have been merely THE BEATLES, folks can be booing, not on the Beatles (effectively, principally not on the Beatles), however on the weak spot of the puzzle from a conceptual standpoint. There is no wordplay, no cleverness, no nothing however a listing of songs. I imply, it is innocent—you may type of get pleasure from it as a very simple themeless puzzle, which I think about is how lots of people loved it—however I do not get how this passes muster as a NYTXW crossword puzzle. The *subject* is ok, however there may be nothing *puzzle-worthy* within the theme execution. If there have been—if the revealer (SWIFT) actually snapped, or supplied us something moreover merely literal rationalization—it will be very straightforward to miss, say, the odd placement of the revealer, or the non-symmetrical (“bonus”?) themers (since “PER” and “SOWN” should not Taylor SWIFT songs (that I do know of…), “RED” and “BABE” are sort of left hanging out to dry. There’s nothing puzzly about this theme. It is a listing. The shortage of actual puzzleworthiness to this theme makes the entire thing look like a publicity stunt—there isn’t any doubt that social media is already *buzzing* with the thrill of adoring followers (in addition to the grumping of non-fans and “youngsters today” parents). Once more, from my perspective, Taylor SWIFT’s expertise (appreciable, IMHO) is inappropriate. If you are going to pay homage to an artist you want, you gotta do higher than simply listing some hits. 

I guessed the theme proper right here…

… however after I appeared downgrid I did not see any house the place TAYLORSWIFT would match, so I used to be very a lot hoping that one thing a lot cooler than simply her identify can be serving because the revealer. Perhaps there was going to be a remaining SWIFT tune that may find yourself tying every part collectively. She does, famously*, have a lyric about crossword puzzles, in spite of everything. It is even in one in all right now’s featured songs. Surprisingly, that tune is *not* “BLANK SPACE“—it is “RED“: “Preventing with him was like attempting to resolve a crossword / And realizing there isn’t any proper reply.” If you happen to monitor the phrase “crossword” throughout Twitter, as I do, then you have got seen this lyric A Lot. Would’ve been cool to attempt to flip that lyric to a SWIFT-themed crossword. Would nonetheless be cool.

The fundamental high quality of the grid appears high quality, even barely higher than your common Tuesday fare. STORYBOOK and “I OWE YOU” are beautiful (they sound like believable Taylor SWIFT tune titles, truly). I had hassle parsing PUT-UP JOBS, however I’ve no objection to it. “YOINK!” could also be my favourite reply in the entire thing, although I consider it extra as a sound impact *accompanying* the snatching of one thing than the snatch itself. Weirdly struggled proper out of the gate with this one, as I attempted to make FINS work for 1A: Swimmer’s set (LAPS), and could not bear in mind what the hell was on the Tropicana brand (“… banana…?”) (1D: Image over the “i” within the Tropicana brand (LEAF)). However that was very minor as struggles go, and as soon as I obtained traction, the puzzle turned common Tuesday-easy. Did not know ROCHE, however that is about all I did not know right now (27D: La ___-Posay (skin-care model)). I’ve only one main, and predictable, objection to the grid right now, and that is the NW nook, particularly the clue on RONA (19A: Covid-19, slangily). I’ve by no means ever understood giving a cutesy nickname to one thing that killed thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of individuals, that continues to kill them, actually, although everybody’s pretending it isn’t occurring any extra. In actual fact I do not know anybody who has ever used this time period. I simply know that it exists, and I knew very early on that constructors have been going to be tempted to clue RONA this manner. Fortunately, they have not. Properly, principally they have not. 

Sure, the virus is newsworthy, it exists, however mass shooters additionally exist and I doubt anybody’s clamoring to see their names in a puzzle. Cluing ‘RONA this manner is miserable and disrespectful and (most significantly) utterly pointless. There may be nothing forcing you to go the “sassy slang” route right here. And it isn’t like that nook is even good. You should not reclue RONA, you must junk it fully. This is a greater nook, RONA– (and ERAT-) free. I made it in three minutes:

I do not know what constructors and (particularly) editors are considering, however above all, I want they have been considering, “hey, can I spend just a few extra minutes making this nook higher?” Some day…

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]



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