Constructor: Hoang-Kim Vu and Jessica Zetzman
Relative issue: Medium
THEME: “LEAVE ME / OUT OF IT” (45D: With 42-Down, “I do not need something to do with this!” … or a touch to the solutions to the starred clues) — it’s important to ignore all of the “ME”s within the grid as a way to make sense of the solutions wherein they seem; that’s, “ME” has been added to plenty of phrases, creating phantom (unclued) phrases—when you “depart ME out of it” … now all of your clues make sense:
MEN (4D: *Flax material)
MEDIAL (20A: *Name once more, on a rotary telephone) MEAD (24A: *Promo) MELEE (18: *Spike ___)
MEIN (26A: *Minimize of pork) MENORAH (37A: *Grammy-winning Jones)
MENDS (22A: *They could be cut up or bitter)
MENTS (10D: *Courier and Papyrus for 2)
MED (48A: *Necessary closing doc)
- “I’M HO
ME!” (51A: *Lead-in to texter’s perspective)
MES (59A: *#5 on Billboard’s Finest Rappers of All Time checklist) MERV (64A: *One parked at a park, in short)
Phrase of the Day: SERRA da Estrela (25D: ___ da Estrela (Portuguese mountain vary)) —
Serra da Estrela (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈsɛʁɐ ðɐ (ɨ)ʃˈtɾelɐ]) is the best mountain vary in Continental Portugal. Along with the Serra da Lousã it’s the westernmost constituent vary of the Sistema Centraland likewise one of many highest within the system. It consists of mainland Portugal‘s highest level at 1,993 metres (6,539 toes) above imply sea degree (though the summit of Mount Pico within the Portuguese Azores islands is increased). This level just isn’t a particular mountain summit, however quite the best level in a plateau, being often known as Torre (“Tower” in English). Torre is an uncommon summit in that it’s accessible by a paved street. The height has a topographic prominence of 1,204 m (3,950 ft) and its mum or dad peak is Pico Almanzor, in Spain. […] The Cão da Serra da Estrela (Estrela Mountain Canine) is a breed of livestock guardian canine that takes its title from this area.
Queijo Serra da Estrela (Serra da Estrela cheese) is a delicate cheese from the area of Serra da Estrela. The recipe is greater than 2000 years previous. It’s constituted of cardoon thistle, uncooked sheep’s milk and salt. The cheese is delicate and gooey. The cheese turns into tougher and chewier as time goes by. (wikipedia)
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A kind of puzzles the place I used to be tempted to go down and discover the revealer early, simply so I might get the gimmick faster and transfer issues alongside. Truly, I *did* go down to search out the revealer, however I simply appeared on the clue, noticed it was lengthy and complex and two-part, and simply went again to hacking away on the grid up high. Puzzles with unclued solutions are at all times (effectively, typically) a bear of a problem. You kinda sorta anticipate the clues to play honest, and for the solutions to match the clues. The solutions do, after all, match the clues … ultimately … as soon as you determine the entire “ditch ME” angle. However getting began with none tips—tough. I knew one thing very gimmicky was afoot fairly early, because the NW nook was tremendous straightforward after which … nothing. Fortunately, the celebs on the related clues let me know that the solutions I could not get had been robust *for a cause*. A really robust model of this puzzle would not have bothered to star the clues. I feel I’d’ve revered that model extra, nevertheless it undoubtedly would’ve taken me longer. As for the theme, effectively, there’s a number of it. I might put this within the class of Extra Constructionally Spectacular than Enjoyable To Resolve, although it wasn’t a drag, by any means, and there was one thing … authentic and fascinating concerning the explicit problem of seeing across the ME’s. Principally including ME’s would not actually add any enjoyment—it simply modifications the phrase—however there was one massive exception: “I’M HOME!” I really laughed at that one. That’s some very inventive, utterly transformative ME-adding. You have actually gotta break up the “actual” reply (IMHO) and repunctuate it and switch the letters into precise phrases and all the things. Simply Add “ME” and watch your overfamiliar texting initialism take thrilling new kind! I additionally kinda favored the conversion (!) of NORAH Jones.
There aren’t any uninvolved (i.e. non-thematic) ME’s on this grid, which is good. Provides the puzzle a pleasant consistency. A stray “ME” could be distracting. And this is likely one of the few instances you are ever going to see clues for two-letter phrases—as a result of they seem within the grid as ordinary-looking four-letter phrases (MEAD, MERV). In order that’s one other attention-grabbing characteristic of this puzzle. Do not care a lot for the gotta-read-it-backwards high quality of the revealer, so I am at present simply studying it the common manner, L to R, in Yoda-voice: “OUT OF IT, LEAVE ME!“
Nearly all the issue on this puzzle was in uncovering / discovering the theme. I do not know once I figured it out. Hold on, I took a screenshot shortly thereafter, let’s take a look:
I should have seen that REDIAL was “hidden” or concerned ultimately in 20A: *Name once more, on a rotary telephone (REMEDIAL), after which seen that ME’s had been additionally concerned within the NE a part of the grid as effectively, although once I took this screenshot, I hadn’t labored all of it out completely (you’ll be able to see I’ve AMENDS as an alternative of EMENDS in there—most likely only a hasty first stab). As soon as the theme dropped, the issue dropped as effectively. There have been a couple of issues I did not know, however they did not maintain me up a lot. By no means heard of that Portuguese mountain vary, or of LOLA Kirke (50A: Actress Kirke of “Mozart within the Jungle”). LOLA had me barely frightened for a bit, since four-letter ladies’s names can go All Sorts of Methods, and he or she seems in a thickly thematic space *and* crosses one other reply I used to be having bother seeing (48D: Put out = DOUSED). But it surely all got here steadily collectively. I simply circled that part till the letters had been plain, after which completed up within the SE, the place … look, I do know I’ve complained previously about duplicate clues (the place typically certainly one of them feels pressured) and cross-references (which may awkwardly ship you throughout hell and gone simply to search out the second a part of your reply), so this will sound bizarre, however I am unable to consider that the clue on ENVY did not get the identical remedy because the clue on EMMY (67A: Award that seems like two letters of the alphabet). I imply, they cross one another. They each sound like two letters of the alphabet. That is a paired cluing alternative made in heaven. However as an alternative of [Sin that sounds like two letters of the alphabet], ENVY simply will get the dullish [Member of a noted septet]. I am unable to consider the puzzle has me out right here advocating for cutesy clue twinning, however instances are unusual, what can I say? See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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