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
Theme: LAUNDRY LIST. 4 Theme answers end with words that are laundering activities. Then there’s the revealer.
- 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.
Nicely done. Of course, if it had been *my* LAUNDRY LIST, the phrases would have had to end like this:
- -FORGET ABOUT IN THE WASHER FOR A FEW DAYS
- -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
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.
* 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.