January 7, 2014 by manvspuzzle
Theme: Ironic Slang for ‘Good’. Five theme answers are common phrases beginning with a word that basically has a negative connotation, but in other contexts can mean ‘good.’ Then, as a bonus, there’s a revealer at 62A.
- 18A — Aggressive swarms : KILLER BEES
- 24A — Facilities with padded walls : INSANE ASYLUMS
- 33A — Square root symbol : RADICAL SIGN
- 43A — One of two figures in “The Wizard of Oz” : WICKED WITCH
- 50A — 1969 platinum record for Creedence Clearwater Revival : BAD MOON RISING
- 62A — Question posed while pulling leftovers from the fridge … or a query about the initial words of 18-, 24-, 33-, 43- or 50-Across? : IS THIS GOOD
What’s Good: Theme Consistency*, Theme Density (see glossary for explanation)
*The fact that there are two plurals and three singulars isn’t “consistent” in my brainworld, but what *is* consistent is that all of the ‘good’ words are used in their more literal senses throughout the theme. Niiiiice.
Bickham? I don’t even know him!
I’m fine with this Tuesday offering. It’s probably the Tuesday-est Tuesday puzzle I’ve solved in a few weeks. It has everything a Tuesday should have: relative easiness, crosswordese (STET, EFT, ARNO, OLIO, NTEST, IRINA etc.), awkward partials (IT RIP), forced, barely-in-the-language stuff (NO OIL), and so on. Tuesday-rific!
Keep in mind that, while I’m sort of ragging on poor old Mork Stickem, I really don’t have a problem with any of this. None of what I mentioned above breaks any crossword rules. I’m proud to know things like STET and EFT while my mortal contemporaries just drool in ignorance. It makes me *special.* And in my world, any 5-letter partial is fair game if the constructor needs it. So I guess the question is: did he need it? Check it out:
A big issue with this corner is that it needs a 9-letter down answer that crosses 3 theme answers (meaning that 1/3 of the 9 letters are fixed and unchangeable). This doesn’t leave the constructor with many options. DRESS SIZE, DEER SKINS, KEEP STILL, OPENS FIRE, OPEN SHIRT, and possibly CHEW STICK will all work to varying degrees, but there are lots of other concessions to be made with each of them. If you go with DRESS SIZE (which itself is kinda sparkly), as Mark did, the concessions are minimal, in my opinion. The only big one is IT RIP at 16-Across. So, in the end, I’m happy with IT RIP.
But what do you think? Could you do better? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks, Mark and Will, for a good puzzle!