December 23, 2013 by manvspuzzle
Theme: TAKE IT TO THE BANK. A “words that can precede…” theme that’s bank-related. Central revealer ties the theme answers together.
- 18A — Mammal with the largest brain of any animal: SPERM WHALE
- 24A — Riding on someone else’s shoulders: PIGGY BACKING
- 39A — “Believe you me!” … or what you can do with the start of 18-, 24-, 53- or 63-Across?: TAKE IT TO THE BANK
- 53A — Young Indiana Jones portrayer: RIVER PHOENIX
- 63A — Dry-ice contraption for theatrical effect: FOG MACHINE
First of all, congratulations to BREASTS (51-Across: Chicken pieces that aren’t legs, thighs, or wings) on making your New York Times puzzle debut today. I’ve been saying for years that I want to see more BREASTS in the puzzle. Great job.
My only real issue here is that I’ve never heard of a FOG BANK. Just spent about 43.5 seconds researching it, and it still seems pretty obscure. I’d bet that no one I know has ever used that term. That doesn’t make it wrong, but that does seem pretty obscure for a Monday theme answer. I think something beginning with BLOOD-, FOOD-, or WEST- would have made me a little happier. But whateva.
I like the revealer. I pretty much like the fill. I had no writeovers or anything, so this seems basically well-edited and put-together. We can all see that the interconnected GEST/MASC/COQ/QUOI is pretty unpalatable, and as a solver I feel like I can feel the constructor(s) forcing that Q on me — kinda like the feeling you get from door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesmen, or the manager at the Moe’s on Kirkwood highway in Wilmington, Delaware (dude, they’re just burritos, get over yourself). I think the ESME/MOET crossing will probably trip some people up today, too.
Other than all of that, I’m happy with this puzzle. I conquered it, cause I’m awesome. Some of you didn’t, cause you suck.
P.S. — I see the pangram. I don’t really like pangrams for the sake of pangrams, but I understand that there are solvers out in the world who actually get totally psyched whenever they get one. Even if *you* don’t like it, it would probably be smart to keep in mind that some people do, and it ain’t all about you, duh. So enjoy this day, pangram lovers! I promise not to get all bitchy about it.