Constructor: Chase Dittrich and Jeff Chen
Relative problem: Simple
THEME: ___ IN THE ___ — theme solutions are acquainted phrases that observe that sample (besides one in every of them simply has “IN,” no “THE”). The primary clean is stuffed by letters which can be *lacking from the clue*; the second clean is stuffed by a phrase that’s *synonymous with the clue* … so the reply finally ends up describing the clue, thus:
- KICK IN THE PANTS (20A: _N___ERS) —”Ok-I-C-Ok” truly seems IN THE PANTS (i.e. within the phrase for “PANTS”: OkNICKERS)
- ACE IN THE HOLE (25A: CRAWL SP___) (CRAWL SPACE = “HOLE”)
- PAIN IN THE ASS (42A: _EABR___) (PEABRAIN = “ASS”)
- HOLD IN CONTEMPT (49A: COLD S__U__ER) (COLD SHOULDER = “CONTEMPT”)
Phrase of the Day: Leopold AUER (22D: Violinist Leopold) —
Leopold von Auer (Hungarian: Auer Lipót; June 7, 1845 – July 15, 1930) was a Hungarian violinist, tutorial, conductor, composer, and teacher. Lots of his college students went on to change into distinguished live performance performers and academics. […] Auer is remembered as one of the vital necessary pedagogues of the violin, and was one of the vital sought-after academics for presented college students. “Auer’s place within the historical past of violin taking part in is predicated on his educating.” Many notable virtuoso violinists had been amongst his college students, together with Mischa Elman, Konstanty Gorski, Jascha Heifetz, Nathan Milstein, Toscha Seidel, Efrem Zimbalist, Georges Boulanger, Lyubov Streicher, Benno Rabinof, Kathleen Parlow, Julia Klumpke, Thelma Given, Sylvia Lent, Kemp Stillings, Oscar Shumsky, and Margarita Mandelstamm. Amongst these had been “a number of the biggest violinists” of the 20 th century. (wikipedia)
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This began out badly (for me, for the puzzle), however ultimately acquired lots higher. I could not do something with the NW nook at first move—besides INRE, so I simply had this cruddy little little bit of crosswordese sitting there. I made some headway within the north (EATIN‘ was the very first thing I wrote within the grid with confidence (15A: Backyard of ___ (punnily named snack model)), however then bumped into Outdated Crosswordese violinist Leopold AUER and Absolute Non-Phrase NO EAR after which paused and sighed just a little. Felt prefer it was going to be one in every of These Days (those the place I proceed to not perceive why puzzles with non-demanding themes proceed to have such subpar fill).
Ahead momentum kind of died there, however I picked up the gimme Téa LEONI and adopted crosses simply all the way down to the underside of the grid by way of ANTIDOTES. At this level, I nonetheless hadn’t a lot as checked out a theme clue. I prefer to dig into the brief stuff earlier than I am going after the massive recreation, and this puzzle had A Lot of brief stuff. Went again to the NW and acquired my first nice shock—I might wished KOANS earlier at 4D: Riddles in Buddhism nevertheless it would not match, nevertheless it seems I used to be mainly proper; I simply wanted the extra elaborate ZEN KOANS! Now we’re speaking. I really feel like at this level, the puzzle acquired up off the ground and began truly displaying some life. After which I sorted the NW and at last appeared on the first theme clue. The “aha” at that second was potent as a result of I acquired it immediately—the reply, and the entire theme idea, in a single bolt! I had a lot of KICK IN THE PANTS in place that I truly largely “knew” the reply earlier than wanting on the clue. I had that one second of [squint] “huh?” after which bam, I plugged “Ok-I-C-Ok” into the pants (i.e. KNICKERS) and all was revealed.
The execution of the theme works out very nicely right through, with rock strong theme solutions and remarkably believable clue creations. I’ve simply two points, one massive one small. The “massive” is the concept that “ASS” = PEABRAIN. I might see it was going to be PAIN IN THE [something], however would not write in ASS as a result of, nicely, that is not what PEABRAIN means. “ASS” has to do with habits and PEABRAIN has to do with intelligence, and whereas I can see somebody yelling each insults on the similar individual, they do not really feel very equal to me. My “small” subject is that there isn’t any “THE” within the remaining themer. You get three blank-IN THE-blanks solely to finish with a themer that is simply blank-IN-blank. Generally final themers are anomalous in a manner that makes them spectacular, exceptional in some shocking manner. This one simply felt like a weak off-brand model of the others. Puzzle ended extra whimper than bang. However nonetheless, total, massive thumbs-up to the theme as we speak.
I watch “Stranger Issues” frequently and nonetheless struggled to get ERICA (58A: Position on “Stranger Issues”). She is a secondary character, however a memorable one. That’s, the character is memorable. Her character title, apparently, not a lot.
I initially had “Se7en” as being a film concerning the Seven SEAS, which … would (in all probability) have been a decidedly much less gory film (36A: The “seven” reference by the movie title “Seven” = SINS). Are children nonetheless saying TURNT? I attempted to make LIT stretch to 5 letters, no cube. Had no concept Khan Academy did LSAT prep. They apparently do actually each tutorial topic and standardized check, so it is not essentially the most useful or attention-grabbing clue. Utterly forgot that BEANIE Infants ever existed. What a time-specific fad that was, yeesh. However that fad was instrumental within the launch of EBAY, so … it was a bizarrely necessary time-specific fad, I suppose. You should not have “Acts” in your (cutesy) PLAY clue (10A: Acts as one?) once you’ve acquired ACT within the grid (even when you have tried to clue it as one more standardized check) (39A: Examination taken by many jrs.). I do just like the cutesy PLAY clue, although. “Acts” taken collectively as “one” kind a PLAY, good. I completed up with BETS, which I wanted each cross to get (54A: Goes over or underneath, in a manner). The “Goes” threw me. Playing stuff usually throws me, as I simply do not care. My favourite error as we speak was once I thought Persian for “nation” may be IRAN. Fairly badass to only title your nation “Nation,” I assumed. However alas, it was simply the “nation” suffix –STAN.
See you tomorrow.
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