The giant Sunday canvas provides opportunities to tell stories. Who doesn't enjoy an engaging tale? I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU is a fun way to describe that awe-struck feeling I got when first feeling the baby kick inside Jill's belly. CARRY THAT WEIGHT was appropriate for the two hours (2:30-4:30 am) we spent walking up and down the halls of Swedish Medical Center when she decided that sure, why not see if it does further induce labor (it didn't)?
HURTS SO GOOD … I bet Jill would beg to disagree. More like, kill Brad.
Curious plot twist, the twins in BABY ONE MORE TIME. Felt a bit soap-opera-ish since there was no prior indication or foreshadowing. Kind of lost me at that point, but I like a feel-good ending with THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT.
Glad that Brad featured Diana Ross's catchy I'M COMING OUT. I almost forgot that Salt ‘N Pepa and Usher were thematic too, since their songs (PUSH IT and SCREAM) are so short. This was much better than a recent music puzzle, but I'd have loved even more selections that better catered to the diverse audience that the NYT crossword serves.
During my solve, I bogged down in the tons of 3-5 letter entries, making things feel choppy. Perhaps it was the grid design, with so many regions nearly separated from each other … almost womb-like! Okay, let's go with that.
More connectivity would have made for better solving flow, as would a better dispersion of the long bonuses. As much as I enjoyed OPERA HOUSE and CAMERA CREW right off the bat, having a few sparkly long entries in the middle would have helped the grid's feng shui a ton.
Excellent job on the cluing, several clever bits of wordplay helping keep my attention. [Wanna-bees?] for PUPAE (early stage of bees) is delightful, as is an OPERA HOUSE for "trill seekers". Ha! I didn't get how COGITO leads to a sum, but some research jogged my memory of "cogito, ergo sum."
Fewer than average gluey bits, which is great! If Brad only had escaped with one less of ETAPE ESTOP ENERO …
Although the story felt forced toward the end, still, an enjoyable concept for Mother's Day.
Man, oh man, Brad's "interview" had me rolling in the aisles! I enjoyed his debut puzzle almost as much. CROSSWORD BUFF, what a fun bit of wordplay.
For all of Will Shortz's intent to promote intellectual topics and fine arts in the NYT crossword, he has a soft spot for certain juvenile humor. Only a few days ago, he ran one on POTTY MOUTH, and today's bares his tendency further.
(Nod to Brad.)
I enjoyed so many of the themers, all of them working well. I particularly enjoyed ending the puzzle on FULLY RECOVERED, a cheeky (sorry) way to bring up the rear. (Help, I can't stop!)
My big question: isn't SORE POINT a bit risqué, even for this puzzle? I know people get sunburnt at nudist clubs, but this is quite a graphic image.
(Ignore me. Please!)
Fun clue for LADLES, too. They "hit the sauce," indeed. All it takes is a handful of these to elevate the fun factor.
Impressive debut, Brad doing a better job of execution than many experienced constructors. Restraining himself to only a handful of EEN EINS ESTA minor glue while making the most of his long bonus slots — ESCAPE PLAN EINSTEIN SMIRNOFF — takes a lot of iteration, time, and care. Well done.