Constructor: Taylor Johnson
Relative problem: Medium (i.e. regular Monday)
THEME: PIZZA PARTY (62A: Social occasion hinted at by the ends of 18-, 28- and 48-Throughout) — theme solutions finish in CRUST, SAUCE, and CHEESE, respectively:
- UPPER CRUST (18A: Excessive-society, metaphorically)
- WEAK SAUCE (28A: One thing unimpressive, slangily)
- “SAY CHEESE!” (48A: “Smi-i-i-i-le!”)
Phrase of the Day: Joan JETT (39A: Rock’s Joan ___ & the Blackhearts) —
Joan Jett (born Joan Marie Larkin, September 22, 1958) is an American singer, guitarist, file producer, and actress. Jett is finest recognized for her work because the frontwoman of her band Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and for earlier founding and performing with the Runaways, which recorded and launched the hit tune “Cherry Bomb“. With The Blackhearts, Jett is understood for her rendition of the tune “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” which was number-one on the Billboard Scorching 100 for seven weeks in 1982. Jett’s different notable songs embrace “Dangerous Popularity“, “Gentle of Day“, “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and her covers of “Crimson and Clover“, “Do You Wanna Contact Me (Oh Yeah)” and “Soiled Deeds“. […] Joan Jett & the Blackhearts had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame. (wikipedia)
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This felt somewhat WEAK SAUCE, somewhat skinny … crust, somewhat weak TEA. Let’s stick to the “skinny crust” metaphor for now … really, no, scrap that, skinny crust may be scrumptious. The theme appeared skinny. Simply three solutions. And never all of them actually hid / repurposed the pizza components adequately. UPPER CRUST did an amazing job (that “crust” has nothing to do with pizza), however WEAK SAUCE is somewhat … weaker, in that sauce is sauce is sauce, and ditto the “cheese” in “SAY CHEESE!” I feel BIG CHEESE or one thing extra clearly metaphorical like that may’ve been higher. However even when the theme solutions had been excellent, the puzzle stays pretty skinny—only a three-part, last-words-type puzzle. From a structural perspective, the grid feels very poorly constructed, in that TIME BOMBS and DON’T LEAVE are precisely so long as the theme solutions they abut, so that they actually actually appear like / really feel like / wanna be theme solutions … however aren’t. Main distraction. Makes the theme look denser than it’s. I really thought DON’T LEAVE was a theme reply for a bit … however then I noticed I used to be considering LEAF, as in BASIL leaf. Which leads me to the subsequent downside: am I supposed to purchase BASIL as some form of bonus theme reply? It does sit lifeless middle, and also you do discover BASIL on pizzas on occasion. So let’s simply say that I formally reject BASIL as theme-related. I additionally reject that an “Italian mojito” (!?!?!) is a factor (41A: Italian mojito). That’s, I am positive it is a factor to somebody, someplace, however what a totally ridiculous solution to clue BASIL. Mojitos are Cuban. Conceptually and execution-wise, this one feels a little bit of a multitude, which appears very unusual for a puzzle with a theme that’s actually very simple and primary. I do not even actually get the “PARTY” angle. Is it a “PARTY” simply since you’ve “invited” three components into the grid?
As for the fill, it is advantageous, in case you take pleasure in capturing SLO-MO TAE BO in your GOPRO. I child, it is advantageous. Apart from WHAP, what’s that? That is like when the puzzle tried to persuade me that OWLS say WHOO! Do not forget that? In fact you do, it was two days in the past. I spell BLECH with two “C”s (at the least), in order that was bizarre (37D: “Disgusting!”). GEN Z’ER, ugh, no (47D: Many a TikTok consumer, informally). XERs have the “-ER” however ZER!? Oof, does not work. The wikipedia web page for “Technology Z” begins, “Technology Z, colloquially generally known as zoomers…” So there you go. That’s what they’re referred to as, if they’re referred to as something. GENZER is only a determined try and debut a brand new time period [checks database …] Yep, it is a debut. Unsure what else to say right here. I wished CLAROS for 26D: Some high quality cigars. I knew that some fancy cigars got here from Cuba, however I used to be searching for a cigar sort, not a cigar fatherland, is the issue. I discovered “claro” from crosswords. A “claro” is a “light-colored often delicate cigar” (merriam-webster.com). That is your cigar lesson for the day.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]