11:53 (on paper) - should I stop saying that now??
I remember a time - back when I first committed to doing this crazy thing where we write reviews of the NYT xword daily - yes, I remember, I say, a time when a quad-stack would have sent me into paroxysms of despair. We haven't seen many of them since Martin Ashwood-Smith took his leave from constructing. I was under the impression that Mr. Shortz had outlawed them.
But here is a really top example of the genre. There are seven 15-letter answers in the grid, four in the top stack, one in the middle, and two at the bottom. That's a little more manageable than a dual quad-stack, for sure. I rank the answers in the following order:
1. THATSATALLORDER - excellent start to the puzzle at 1-across, with a complete phrase.
2. ARAISININTHESUN - also nice to have the complete title, and a fine movie as well.
3. SPAREDNOEXPENSE - it feels a bit like a partial, but that X is very nice.
4. VICTORIASSECRET - for the clue: "Where people may order push-ups" - hah!
5. MAKEAFRESHSTART - this is really fine. Just the others are better in my opinion.
6. EACHONETEACHONE - hmmm. Is this a real phrase? [Googles] - oh, yes! Actually, very interesting, as it appears to have originated among African Americans during slavery. I'm moving it up to 3. Only I'm not actually going to move everything around. Just imagine it in your mind.
7. INDEPENDENCEAVE - just because of that abbreviation. I know it wouldn't fit otherwise.
Really, though, those are seven top-notch exemplars. Really top drawer. (Somebody's been watching a certain movie this holiday season...)
So, in exchange, we do get a bunch of not such great short answers. ACAKE and ANIF right near each other, with the following names: THIEL, SOSA, OCHS, and RHETT. Mind you, I do like DOSAS, so that's in its favor. Oh, and ABCDE. That's particularly arbitrary.
But I enjoyed solving it (Cece helped), so that's all good. Good continuation to the turn. Looking forward to tomorrow!