Jeff Chen’s and Matthew E. Paronto’s Tuesday, 2/11/14 *DEBUT* (for Matthew) NYT Crossword Puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

2

February 11, 2014 by manvspuzzle

raptor

Theme: LAUNDRY LIST.  4 Theme answers end with words that are laundering activities.  Then there’s the revealer.

Theme Answers:

  • 17A — Say that neither side benefited : CALL IT A WASH
  • 23A — Strand : LEAVE HIGH AND DRY
  • 34A — Start being printed : GO TO PRESS
  • 48A — Join a community again : RETURN TO THE FOLD
  • 55A — Extensive enumeration … or what’s formed by the ends of 17-, 23-, 34- and 48-Across : LAUNDRY LIST

***

What’s Good: Theme Consistency.  The 4 non-revealer theme answers are all *actions* in the same *tense.*  Anything other than this would have been inelegant and complain-worthy.

***

2 11 14

Nicely done.  Of course, if it had been *my* LAUNDRY LIST, the phrases would have had to end like this:

  • -WASH
  • -FORGET ABOUT IN THE WASHER FOR A FEW DAYS
  • -REWASH
  • -DRY
  • -LAUGH AT THE IDEA OF PRESSING
  • -THINK ABOUT FOLDING BUT NEVER ACTUALLY DO IT
  • -WEAR WRINKLY CLOTHES TO WORK EVERY DAY MUCH TO WIFE’S DISAPPOINTMENT
  • -REPEAT

So that would be a tough puzzle to make.  I basically liked this.  It did feel like a debut, but reading Matthew’s notes* over at XWordInfo.com, I see how much work was put into this by 3 dudes (Matthew, Jeff, Will).  I think it all came together nicely, and I’m glad the constructors didn’t give up on it after the first rejection.

I think what really makes this feel like a novice puzzle is the 3-letter stuff.  First of all, there are lots of them (23).  Second, only about 5 of those 23 (22%) are words that would be ranked very well on my own personal word list (which may or may not mean anything to *you*).  Everything else is less-than.  Not saying they all aren’t totally passable and fine, but I feel like, as a constructor with a few years of experience under my belt, I can see the lack of word list management (or maybe Matthew doesn’t even have one — I didn’t when I started, either).  Just an interesting (hopefully) observation.

The rest of the fill is good enough.  The cluing overall is good.  The whole think is just Tuesdayrrific.

Thanks, guys!

* I’ve decided not to look at those anymore before blogging.  Consider this the last time I know what anyone has to say before I write about the puzzle.

2 thoughts on “Jeff Chen’s and Matthew E. Paronto’s Tuesday, 2/11/14 *DEBUT* (for Matthew) NYT Crossword Puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

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