XW Info

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
by Julian Lim
Wed 10/7/2015
© 2015, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes:

One-named singers worked into common phrases with kooky results. TICKLED PINK worked well for me, now that I actually know who PINK is (learned about her recently ... from crosswords!).

Shouldn't PINK be, well ... pinker?

I did struggle with PRO BONO. I think the other singers are all pronounced exactly the same as the normal word, right? But isn't pro BONO pronounced with a long O, while BONO is a short vowel sound? If that's correct, it felt like an outlier to me. I did get a smile out of the BONO pun, though.

Nice to have a bunch of long fill, DYNAMIC DUO my favorite. Yes, it is a [Nickname for a high-achieving couple], but it'll always be Batman and Robin to me. Man oh man, I hope Joseph Gordon-Levitt reprises his role as Robin from the recent "Batman" trilogy.

Great to get TATER TOTS and DRIVE THRU, too. Even CAKE MIX.

I also liked the tightness of having the singer's name at the start of the first themer, the end of the second, the start of the third, etc. The consistency is elegant.

There are definitely compromises, though. That upper left corner with RECT, the awkward L RON, the partialish IN A LIE, and Shatner's "TEK War" makes for a rough start. I wonder if shifting the black squares on top of L RON to the right would have made for a much better entry than L RON, a ??LR?? pattern amenable to things like OIL RIG, KILROY, WALRUS, etc.

Other gluey bits in the grid, too. ABMS reminded me that little-known acronyms are something Will really wants to avoid (this one may or may not pass his test; I'm not positive). Sometimes I think the entry can be rescued by making all the crosses totally fair, but here, I couldn't quite recall what ABMS were (anti-ballistic missiles). ABRS sounded equally good, with DARN crossing it. Darn it!

Overall, the themers didn't quite do it for me, as they didn't elicit as much of a laugh as I want out of a theme like this. But I did appreciate all the long fill, well-chosen for colorful appeal.

1.Painter Chagall : MARC
5.Kevin who was the 2014 N.B.A. M.V.P. : DURANT
11.Record holders? : DJS
14.Vicinity : AREA
15.One way to be caught : INALIE
16.Basketball star ___ Ming : YAO
17.Amused the singer of "Raise Your Glass"? : TICKLEDPINK
19.Zero : NIL
20.Ore-Ida product : TATERTOTS
21.Bit of campfire entertainment : TALE
22.Time to rise, in poetry : MORN
23.Ruinous end : DOOM
25.Enchantment of the singer of "Raspberry Beret"? : PRINCECHARMING
31.What an unbelievable YouTube video might be : HOAX
32.Some military defenses, for short : ABMS
33.K.G.B. adversary : CIA
34.___ port : USB
35.Favoring the singer of "Sunday Bloody Sunday"? : PROBONO
38.Easter egg container? : DVD
39.Red Lobster freebie : BIB
40.___-Aid : KOOL
41.Cream and eggshell, for two : HUES
42.Medical procedure for the singer of "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free"? : STINGOPERATION
47.Source of ivory : TUSK
48.Tree of Life locale : EDEN
49.Loo : JOHN
51.Fast-food convenience : DRIVETHRU
56.It might puff you up : EGO
57.Coached the singer of "Kiss From a Rose"? : TRAINEDSEAL
59.90° turn : ELL
60.Emmy-winning series set at the Sterling Cooper ad agency : MADMEN
61.Bit of fish food : ALGA
62.26th of 26 : ZEE
63.Word next to a coin slot : INSERT
64.Fraud fighters, for short : TMEN
1.LeBlanc of "Friends" : MATT
2.Diva's delivery : ARIA
3.Four-sided fig. : RECT
4.Betty Crocker product : CAKEMIX
5.Coke Zero alternative : DIETRC
6.Ruined : UNDONE
7.Entranced : RAPT
8.Four of the 12 imams of Shia : ALIS
9.Diarist Anaïs : NIN
10.Shatner's "___War" : TEK
11.Nickname for a high-achieving couple : DYNAMICDUO
12.One corner of a Monopoly board : JAIL
13.Filleted fish : SOLE
18.___ Hubbard of Scientology : LRON
21.When doubled, a drum : TOM
23."Aw, hell!" : DAMN
24.Approximately : ORSO
25.Put forward : POSIT
26.Way into Wonderland : RABBITHOLE
27.Premium ___ : CABLE
28.27-Down offering : HBO
29.David of "Separate Tables" : NIVEN
30.Travels (about) : GADS
31.Central points : HUBS
35.U.P.S. truck contents: Abbr. : PKGS
36.Piece next to a knight : ROOK
37."Alley ___" : OOP
41.Doesn't say outright : HINTSAT
43.Mother superior, for one : NUN
44.Carl who directed "Oh, God!" : REINER
45.Starting time : ADVENT
46.Ticked (off) : TEED
49."Oh, man!" : JEEZ
50.Check out : OGLE
51.Many soccer coaches : DADS
52.Frost : RIME
53.Skipper's position : HELM
54.All the ___ : RAGE
55.___ Bator : ULAN
57."That's not something I needed to know" : TMI
58.Headed up : RAN

© 2015, Jim Horne