Daniel A. Finan’s Sunday, 1/26/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

26

January 26, 2014 by manvspuzzle

fin

Theme: Over ___ (or) Under ___.  There are 6 pairs of theme answers.  In each pair, one answer is a thing, and the other answer is literally *over* or *under* the first answer, providing a very apt synonym.  For example, NO WAY JOSE is literally *over* MY DEAD BODY.  Get it?

What’s Good: Hmm.  There’s a lot to like here.  But I’ll go with the 7-Letter Answers.  There are 18 of them, and they’re all pretty good, except LOUSIER (22A — Worse), of course.

1 26 14

***

Nice.

Straightforward stuff, tasty wordplay, well-executed, not boring.  I need this on Sunday if I’m going to get through the puzzle without falling asleep.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Daniel Finan was born around 1980.  I’m also going to go out on a limb and guess that he (not Will) wrote the clue for LIBYANS (62A — “Back to the Future” villains).  Of course I might be wrong, but this strikes me as an 80s-kid factoid, and kinda non-Shortz.  I’d love it if someone in the know could tell me whether I’m right or wrong about this.

Another day of not-great short stuff, pretty much overshadowed by killer long stuff.  This is seeming more and more like one of the usual kinks of this massive crowdsourced puzzle — either the short stuff is good *or* the long stuff is good, not both (often, not always).  And I’m not complaining.  I believe wholeheartedly that 3 or 4 great constructors could swoop in and start turning out crystal-clear puzzles on a daily basis.  But I’ll quit solving at that point.  I like a little more flava than that.  I want things to be a little dirty.  No joke.

When some puzzle nastiness happens, we, the solvers, whether we know it or not, rely heavily on the editor to make us forget about the stuff that bothers us.  That’s what happened to me today.  I didn’t even *notice* DPS or ODI or ASK A or ERSE or ON AN or SANT or STNS or BOERS or whatever else I’m noticing now.  So what’s to complain about?  Nothing, actually.

I don’t know what I’m saying anymore.  Great puzzle.  I’m tired.  Going to bed.  See ya.

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