Well, well, well... another rebus puzzle. This time a spiral of, what is it, 79!? rebus squares swirling from the NW all the way to the [WH][IR][LP]O[OL] in the center, passing along the way other swirled items like a SNAILSH[EL]L, a [YU]LELOG, the MIL[KY]W[AY], and the G[UG]GENHEIM. Kind of cool idea, and the execution is lovely, but the entry of all those rebus squares, at least on a laptop using the Web interface, I found to be something of a slog. So much pressing of the Escape key...
There are a lot of multi-word answers, too, like [CO][LL][AR][ST][AY] (38D: Dress shirt insert), G[AS]F[IR]E (26D: Certain stovetop hazard), and [YU][CC][AP][LA][NT] (24D: Desert bloomer). which also got a little tiring. As did things like [ST]A[TA]L (13D: Relating to national governments), FIT[TO], AMBI, and AMS.
But it wasn't all bad. I liked P[LI]N[TH] (6D: Bust supporter), SK[O]SH (21D: Smidgen), and F[LA]M[BE] (39A: Like cherries jubilee), and others.
I love a rebus, as you all know, but maybe this was just too much of a good thing.
Moving on, I'm giving even odds on Patrick Blindauer's name coming up on one of the next two days. Others with slightly longer odds are Chen, Silk, Steinberg, and maybe even B.E.Q. And, of course, we are sharply reminded at this time of the untimely passing of Merl Reagle.
Anyway, I'm still enjoying the week, and I look forward to two more puzzles of it. Now I'm going to go over to xwordinfo.com to find out if this is the most rebus squares ever in a NYT puzzle.
See you tomorrow!
Wow! This was a pretty amazing technical feat, which I figured out at 7D: Capital ESE of Istanbul ([AN]K[AR]A). I enjoyed the working of things out, and the very amazing workings of those answers which were part rebus and part normal answers. I agree that many answers were subpar. I will add [TO][KY][OG]A[ME]S to what you've said above. [ST]A[TA]L is an answer I will be happy to never see again in a crossword puzzle. S[HU]D[DE]R!! Entering the answers on the iPad was likewise a bit of a chore. Still, I enjoyed it.
It took me quite a while (>20 mins.) to figure out the rebus, but once that happened, I was able to fill in the squares (and circles) at a good pace. For me, due to the difficulty with figuring out the rebus, this ran a bit longer than normal for a Thursday. [TH][RA][CI][AN] was the hardest rebus fill for me, though many of them were tough due to the way they were broken up, like [HU][MB][UG][GE]D and S[ID][EL][IN][ER]. I was very impressed with this puzzle; quite a feat. And to have both SPAM (I've been to the museum) and MIL[KY]W[AY] (I've been to Jon Lomberg's Galaxy Garden on The Big Island) in there is quite nice. I thought one could only burn a [YU]LELOG, not eat it; I've learned something today.