Patrick Berry’s Friday, 2/21/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

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February 21, 2014 by manvspuzzle

strawberry

Theme: None

***

Something Good: I know this is the easy way out, but…I’m just going to go ahead and say all of it.

***

2 21 14

Where should I begin?  This is a 66-word themeless (not easy to do without making at least a handful of concessions) with nothing to complain about.  Very Berry-esque in that it eschews any gimmicks (scrabbliness, ultra-modern lingo, grid-spanning answers, etc.) in favor of knowable, gettable, squeaky-clean language sprinklies.  There isn’t anything here that a Friday solver worth his or her salt shouldn’t *know*.  Lesser solvers may struggle with OAST, REDCAP, and PEKES.  That’s about it.

And the cluing here really shines.  Lots of (?) stuff, which is always fun.  Great misdirections throughout, and some learning clues (my favorite) here and there.  I especially liked the clues for PROP COMIC (5D: One with a thing for laughter?) and BASES (44D: Rounded items?).

For those of you who like blog-bitchiness, here’s something: almost a quarter of the words in this puzzle end in ‘-S.’  I’m not sure how that stacks up against the average, but it seems like a lot and was the one kinda negative thing I noticed during my solve.  I may just be conditioned to disapprove of plural nouns or verbs ending in ‘S’ because I generally rate those words lower than their non-S counterparts in my own personal word list.

But I can’t say this really bugged me too much.  Just something I noticed.

Not the face-melter I was hoping for today (played pretty easy for me), but pure joy to solve nonetheless.  That’s what happens when world-class editors and constructors come together.  Thanks, guys!

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