I think I know too much about David Steinberg. Or perhaps I have made too many assumptions based on the little knowledge that I have. I know primarily that he is young. A crossword wunderkind, according to some. I know, also, that he is spearheading a project to digitize and render searchable and analyzable all the crossword puzzles run in the New York Times prior to November 20, 1993, the date the current editor, Will Shortz, assumed that role. He is obviously wise beyond his years, extremely well-versed in crossword clues and answers, and the possessor of a mind to be reckoned with. Still, I sometimes can't shake the feeling that some of his fill is more "looked up" than "known." Am I prejudiced against him unfairly? Am I jealous? Does it matter? And doesn't "looking up" eventually, ideally, mean "knowing?"
I have seen him respond to accusations leveled in the comments of another blog about how he "couldn't possibly know" certain things. He argues that he puts a great deal of time, care, and research into his puzzles, and I don't doubt that it's true. Why should it matter that SEXYSADIE (62A: She "made a fool of everyone," in song) came out nearly thirty years before he was born? It's a song by the most influential and popular band ever. Why shouldn't he, too, have gone through a Beatles phase? I loved the movie "Breaking Away," and maybe he does, too. And maybe he went a step farther than I did and noticed who directed it (YATES (61A: "Breaking Away" director)). OTIS (19A: Old sitcom sot)? Hey, the Andy Griffith Show is probably still in reruns somewhere, and besides, it's famously fertile ground for crossword names, so why shouldn't he be familiar with all the characters? (Besides, using the crosswordese "sot" in the clue could almost be seen as helping, in that it refers to another bit of crosswordese… or maybe I'm over-thinking it.)
OK, I'm glad we've had this talk. I think I've come to a better place about the situation. David, if you're reading (we've appreciated your comments in the past, and if you're still checking in, Thanks!), I'm going to say right now that I'm over it. I'll still complain a bit about ARIOSI (46D: Some opera passages) and KIP (9D: 100-at currency unit), and CONDOR (31D: Hole in one on a par 5 hole) and ARAGONESE (60A: Like Francisco Goya) seem a bit recherché, as Frannie put it, but overall, this was a very nice grid.
Frannie started this off with some good long fill like APOLLOXII (15A: It included a moonwalk), EXHALES (7D: Uses a drunkometer, e.g.), and CLARITIN (13D: Big name in allergy relief), but it still took us quite a while to fill things in completely. And speaking of that "drunk-o-meter" clue, this puzzle seemed a little alcohol-heavy for having been made by a minor! STOLI (16A: Spirit of St. Petersburg?) (nice!) crossing/mixing with COKEZERO (12D: Tab alternative), ROSSI (6D: Martini accompanier), and then a MOJITO (34A: Havana highball) ("highball" here seems a stretch)? Sounds like somebody is looking forward to college! :)
My favorite clue/answer might have been NEST (41A: Beech house?), and Frannie's was META (29A: Prefix with data), but only 'cause she's a nerd. She also enjoyed 26A: Turn the air blue (SWEAR), but only after we understood was meant by that odd construction. There were other good things, but this is getting pretty long, so I'll leave it to our myriad (ok, two, sometimes four) commenters to mention their own favorites.
Good luck, everyone, in the ACPT!