December 6, 2013 by manvspuzzle
Loved it. This puzzle is my new best friend. We’re totally on the same wavelength. We’re going to the movies later.
Seriously, I blew through this (that’s relative, of course; for me, “blew through it” means I finished in around 20 minutes). 95% of it fell into place without much thought.
I did unfortunately have to Google a few spots (it felt weird — in my non-blogging life, I would just let it go. But now I feel like I have to submit a *complete* solution if my writeup is to mean anything). AGENA crossing NELLE at the ‘N’ — could easily have been a ‘B’ as far as I was concerned. HARAJUKUGIRLS crossing KIRS at the ‘K’ — no idea. MUON crossing UPON at the U — again, no idea. I still don’t really get UPON (15-Across: Au courant about). OK, just checked the dictionary. “Au courant” means “up-to-date” or “familiar.” Fine. I’ll try to remember that. Sheesh.
Most of this fill was great. MELTED CHOCOLATE made me think about the blurred lines, sometimes, between relevant/acceptable and arbitrary/unacceptable adjective-noun combos. MELTED CHOCOLATE is indeed a thing — I don’t mean to suggest it isn’t. But “melted plastic” or “melted wax” are also real things, but such an adjective-noun pairing would probably be rejected from a puzzle. Why? I dunno. You figure it out.
Back to HARAJUKU GIRLS: wow. Very obscure. I like it, but sorry old people solving the puzzle today. My guess is that no more than 3% of solvers will know this. However, people familiar with Japan, specifically Tokyo, can probably at least infer the answer. I’m not one of those people.
Also liked TUNA ROLL (extra wasabi, please) and TILT A WHIRL. Everything else – meh, just average, which is by no means bad. Nicely-clued average fill is great, of course.
Well-constructed, well-edited, all-around great puzzle from the NYT dream team.