Friday, November 2, 2018

Friday, November 2, 2018, David Steinberg


Cheers to Cece who got two of the hardest answers at 17A: "You wanna fight?!" (COMEATMEBRO) and 28A: Game in which I is 1 (SCRABBLE).

So there's a lot to like here, and yet the tone of the puzzle leaves me a little flat. The best example of this comes in the SE corner, where BOOZECRUISE combines with THRASHMETAL and SEXTOY to form an unsavory picture. The aggressive "bro" previously mentioned is another example. Perhaps I'm being too sensitive, but I don't think so. In any case, I'm writing the review, so my opinion is the one that gets posted. Your opinions welcome in comments below.

For those of you unfamiliar or prone to forget these sorts of things, THEZAX refers to the story where the North-going Zax meets the South-going Zax, and neither will step aside. Perhaps this sounds like a metaphor for our current political state (although I'd mention in our case that the North-going Zax is also blocking any moves to the east or west...), and yet Dr. Seuss has been dead for 27 years. How did he know?
Not as good as Honey Nut Cheerios though
44A: Composer of symphonic "verse" (TONEPOET) is technically correct, and yet I'd never call a composer that. For one thing, it's reductive. A composer, even one known for his or her tone poems (such as Richard Strauss, for example), has written plenty of other works which are not in that style. For another thing, a tone poem can refer to plenty of non-musical sources, including in the case of "Also Sprach Zarathustra," a work of philosophy.

But on the plus side, we get NOMEANSNO, HEATHBARS, and BRAZILNUT. So I'm going to stop being a WETNOODLE (really I mean a wet blanket, which I wanted the answer to be), because really, who am I kidding? I could never make a puzzle as tightly constructed as this one, and it was still some 10 minutes of solving which I shared with my teenaged daughter, so all is reasonably well in the world.

- Colum

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