Saturday, June 22, 2019

Saturday, June 22, 2019, Joe Deeney


Over time, you learn a lot about a subject simply by paying close attention to it. In our case, I feel like we've been educated on the limitations of a 15 x 15 grid when creating a crossword. We all delight in sparkling answers, but what are the tradeoffs? It seems that you have two: either you can be stuck with a ton of lousy short fill, or you super-segment the grid so that you can isolate those fun stacks of answers.

Today, Mr. Deeney has created four outstanding stacks in each corner, with some great answers. 16A: Addendum to a common pentad (SOMETIMESY) is great, as is SKIPINTRO, TIPONEILL (wish we had him arounds still), and STATSGEEK. Really, I enjoyed just about every long answer here, and it's a blast to recognize a longer entry off of just one or two letters (I got POLOMALLET off of ___M____T).

I counted 24 3- or 4-letter answers created by all of those stacks, with an additional 8 created by the middle connecting section. So how did Mr. Deeney do?

With one partial (SHES) and two crosswordese (ACME and STET) alone, I'd say pretty good! MORT Zuckerman is the owner and publisher of the US News & World Report, so I guess he's crossword-worthy. Also, clever cluing can make otherwise uninteresting answers more fun. C.f. 17A: Sierra Nevadas, e.g. (ALES), and 32A: What 100-proof alcohol has (KICK).

Certainly the grid is extremely segmented. I found this to be less annoying than on other days because I had so much fun getting those stacks that the flow didn't bother me as much. But it certainly is true that each corner is almost its own mini-puzzle.

So my review ends up being somewhere between SOSO and a RAVE, but closer to the latter than the former.

- Colum

1 comment:

  1. 17:44
    Well, until I saw Colum's time, I thought I'd really torn through this one! I loved the answer KICK, and the clue for that common crosswordese ILIAD was great, too (36A Paris is found in it), even though I wrote the answer right in. RESTRAINTS could've been a little more blue-ly clued, but on the whole, this puzzle definitely gets a thumbs-up from me.