THURSDAY PUZZLE — If an indication of a very good puzzle is one which leaves a solver smiling on the finish, then I posit that the signal of a very good theme is one which makes you snort. Perhaps you chuckle a bit, too. Typically, it’s possible you’ll simply be astonished that somebody considered the concept.
I did a bit of every as I solved Adam Wagner’s puzzle. You keep in mind Mr. Wagner — he simply made his New York Instances debut on April 20.
Mr. Wagner does a wonderful job of describing his theme in his notes under, however I’ll say that I respect a humorous shock and this puzzle positively accommodates one.
5A. I used to be not conscious of the Vancouver Canucks’ mascot Fin, a lot much less that he’s an ORCA. If I hadn’t gotten it via the crossings, I might have seemed it up, as a result of it’s my puzzle and I can do what I need.
9A. I requested Jade, the Extraordinarily Spunky Border Terrier, how she felt about this, and she or he wholeheartedly agreed. She could be very anti-bath. However “Pet peeves?” is a good clue nonetheless.
23A. In Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novella, “Coronary heart of Darkness,” the character of KURTZ is a mysterious megalomaniac and evil imperialist, who acknowledges the utter depravity of human nature approach too late.
24A. Vinyl is again once more! For the primary time since 1986, says the clue, long-playing data, or LPS, outsold CDs.
40A. If solely we have been speaking about ice cream cones. On this clue, the “sticky stuff that drips down the aspect of a cone?” is PINE SAP dripping from a pine cone.
62A/63A. OK, that’s cute. I favored the 2 consecutive “Yesssss!” and “Nooooo!” clues for SWEET and DAMN.
3D. Beloved the sound of this clue — “‘ … to not point out every little thing else that would go flawed!’” and its reply. The phrase OR WORSE appears like a partial, however I’ve heard it used by itself as a follow-up to somebody’s woes.
11D. To “Take away shortly, as a Band-Assist” is to TEAR OFF. Ow. That stings simply studying it.
27D. “Kitty litter?” just isn’t hinting on the stuff that cat house owners hold in a field for his or her feline associates. It’s a humorous, if not barely nauseating, clue for HAIRBALL, as a result of kitties depart that round like they do litter.
33D. I’m all for up-to-the-minute clues and entries. I’m all for staying on high of present tendencies and popular culture. But when anybody can clarify to me what’s occurring in this article between a TikTok gamer and the singer-model-dancer-influencer-chartered-accountant Addison RAE, I shall be eternally grateful. Ms. RAE is among the highest incomes individuals on TikTok at age 20 — she has been on the platform since solely 2019 — and good for her. Go get these endorsements and rake it in.
58D. The initialism for the Black Lives Matter racial justice motion makes its debut with this puzzle. You like to see it.
We don’t see many quip themes ’spherical these components anymore, as a result of it’s very laborious to get them “proper.” By “proper,” I imply that the breaks within the quip on every line learn in a enjoyable and satisfying approach (i.e., not lower up into random items) and, after the entire years that the Crossword has been printed, the quip feels recent. It ought to be one thing that’s both significant or hilarious.
Mr. Wagner’s quip falls distinctly into the hilarious class. His quip is definitely a haiku he wrote, which makes issues harder for the solver, as a result of we’re primarily requested to learn his thoughts if the crossings aren’t any assist. That may flip off some solvers to quip themes, however I’m going to present this a go, just because it’s so humorous. And it’s eminently doable.
Right here is the haiku. I’ve hidden it behind a number of hyperlinks so readers can select how a lot they need to reveal.
Oh, by the best way, that final phrase, LONG? It’s a rebus. Mr. Wagner squeezed it into that final sq. to emphasise the frustration of that closing line coming in a single syllable too lengthy.
Now that’s humorous. Properly executed, Mr. Wagner.
Till 2020, the one solution to submit a puzzle to The Instances was via the nice previous United States Postal Service. I at all times favored submitting that approach — it made me really feel tremendous cool to jot down “Will Shortz” on the envelope.
Solely downside is, in case you learn the submission tips rigorously, you’ll notice you’re not truly supposed to jot down “Will Shortz.” You’re supposed to jot down “Will Shortz, Crossword Editor.” Which looks as if a small distinction … besides I’m penning this envelope by hand, and I’ve already centered “Will Shortz” on the web page. So now right here I’m having to cram “Crossword Editor” in more and more tiny print off to the precise as I hopelessly careen towards the margin, in the end rendering the previous few letters of “editor” so absurdly small that you simply’d want an electron microscope to decipher them.
I’m undecided what it was about this typesetting blunder that screamed “crossword theme,” however one thing tickled me concerning the thought of getting to cram a bunch of letters right into a rebus sq. on the finish of a row as a result of I couldn’t adequately predict how a lot area I wanted to suit a theme reply. And one thing tickled me much more concerning the futility of it being a haiku, as if writing a phrase sufficiently small would someway make it not depend towards the poem’s syllable limits.
Finally, I’m actually pleased with this one. I really feel as if there’s numerous “me” in it. Hope you loved!
A number of different issues:
1. It’s odd what number of pet-related bits of wordplay I included each on this grid and my earlier one, contemplating I’ve by no means had a pet. I’m going to have to speak to my therapist about this.
2. I hope you agree that I used to be capable of save PINESAP and LPS with enjoyable clues!
3. Because of Joel and the entire editorial crew, particularly for the clue goodness on BUSES, and for the enjoyable interaction at 62/63A.
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