Everybody loves a word ladder, right? That the beginning and end are opposites (BLACK (unrated)/WHITE) makes this one especially nice, and Mr. Poole manages to work in a double-revealer of sorts by giving both names of a common game. Very nice.
All the five-letter words (nine of them!) constrain the board a bit, but I think he's done a good job of keeping things reasonably decent. Outliers include LEMAT (2D: Actor Paul of "American Graffiti"), ICAHN (28D: Corporate raider Carl), TEY (46D: Josephine who wrote "The Daughter of Time"), AMERCES (25A: Slaps with a court fine), and DANELAW (42D: Rules in force in England before the Norman conquest). Not exactly what I think of as early week fare.
Still, there are some quality non-theme answers. SLAPDASH (41A: Haphazard) is great, KISSERS (10D: Mouths, slangily) is good (I tried to fit in "pie holes," but alas...), and STRETCH (19D: Something to do immediately after waking up) is fun. And I like how OTHELLO was turned into a mini-Shakespeare theme with GENTLEMEN (58A: Twosome in a Shakespeare title) and ELSINORE (27A: Where "Hamlet" opens).
OK, as I look around, I keep seeing things like EPH, MII, GENL, LOCOS, SEV (very weak), EEO, TEL, and REBAG. So there were a lot of compromises. Still, somehow, I like the theme, and it's not all bad. I know, I know, sounds like faint praise, and it's as though the central entry (STALE) is calling out for reviewers to pick it out and run with it, but for some reason I still liked it.
Whew, that's a lot of compromise. REBAG?? Oof. I had to back my way into the NW corner. My first confident answer was ANO. Still, there's a remarkably good amount of decent fill as well. It was a huge undertaking, but on the whole I liked it.
Untimed, but around 20 minutesReplyDelete
The NW and SE slowed me down since I am not too familiar with the game. However, the word ladder helped immeasurably, and the remainder of the grid was fair, though some of the fill, I agree with Horace, is a bit on the obscure side for a Wednesday. I tried LOonS where LOCOS goes, but once I figured out the word ladder and that BLACK/WHITE pair, the SE fell (OCCAM went in off the clue, of course).
I kept trying to find a summer word that Julio could be part of, but I guess only the French get "été" and for Spanish it'll be AÑO instead.ReplyDelete
For me the fun part was having both OTHELLO and REVERSI.
I'm more of a fan of REBAG (and, even, I guess, DANELAW) than I am of TIPPI, LEMAT, or TEY. The first set are deducible, maybe even bordering on cute.
Thought GENL was nice. Although a bit archaic as an abbreviation I suppose, it is a real one, not just made up on the spot for the puzzle.