Some months, as I write these scintillating blog entries, I look back on the months I didn't blog and wonder how come it seemed like those puzzles were so much better than the ones I'm analyzing and critiquing? I've been less than impressed with every single puzzle from last Thursday to today's.
I mean, it's fine. It's passable. The theme is a cute idea: five examples of "Something to follow." Only the very first answer is suspect: DOTTEDLINE. What are we following here? If it's on a form, that's where we sign, not something we follow. Or is it on a roadway? If so, it's a duplication of the best answer of the bunch, YELLOWBRICKROAD. Any thoughts on what was meant by this answer?
And yeah, the second answer just makes the inadequacy of the first answer so much more meaningful. Here is a good example of something to follow (GOODEXAMPLE), only, it's following a bad example, see? The other two are quite good, namely TWITTERFEED and OPENINGACT. Clear instances of things one follows.
Two fine long down answers, especially 11D: Their characters jump off the page (POPUPBOOKS). Great clue, fun answer. 30D: One who wants a ring for bling? (GOLDDIGGER) is not quite as good. I'm sure the blogosphere will be exploding with complaints that this is sexist. That doesn't bother me so much: it's an accepted term with a predominantly gendered definition.
On the other hand, the grid once again teems with names and proper nouns. 1A: Company whose business is picking up (UBER) gets a B, balancing out the brand name with the clever clue. In other spots, we get OLMEC, BENNET (sadly not clued using Pride and Prejudice, which I would have preferred, even though Senator Bennet is contemporary), EDDARD (well known to me), NICOLE, LARA, ASSAM, JUDEA.
Also, WIRER. Just should not exist. And is it okay to cross EMO with EMOJI? They have the exact same root underlying their origin, namely the word "emotion".
The worst offender though, has to be ONEB. Oof.
Here's hoping the turn brings a turn in quality as well.