March 24, 2014 by manvspuzzle
Theme: DIRTY WORDS. 3 theme answers are common 2-word terms whose 1st words are synonyms for ‘DIRTY.’ Then there’s the revealer.
- 17A — Not just well-off : FILTHY RICH
- 27A — Low-class diners : GREASY SPOONS
- 44A — Window material in many cathedrals : STAINED GLASS
- 60A — Curses … or the starts of 17-, 27- and 44-Across? : DIRTY WORDS
Something Good: The Theme Answers. They’re all brand-new to the NYT puzzle. Well, except for FILTHY RICH, which was used once in 1982 by a guy named Warren “Filthy” Reich. And they’re all colorful and fun. *And* there’s balance in the plural/singular department (the S on the end of GREASY SPOONS is kinda sad to look at, but at least it’s balanced out by the S in DIRTY WORDS). This is a simple, common theme type, presented very nicely here with interesting answers.
What a cute little fluffy fuzzball of a puzzle. Very quaint, lightly-themed, sprinkled with good long fill. Maximal letters. No forced scrabbliness. Simple and pretty.
SPLIT PEA and THE CLOUD are totally cool. Same with SHEEP DOG. And then mostly average after that. The long stuff is really what shines in this puzzle, although I will also point out that the 3-letter answers are also basically good.
Not that there isn’t some weird stuff here. That northeast corner is kinda blecch. Putting OLEO next to ESAU and then crossing them with ILSA is practically like begging crossword bloggers to get catty. Don’t get me wrong — I knew all of them. No problem for me personally. But on a Monday (thinking of the poor noobs) this sort of crossing is frowned-upon *unless it’s totally necessary.* So is it necessary here? I’d say probably not. In fact, I just spent less than 1 minute refilling that area keeping WILL DO and THE CLOUD, and I’d argue (pretty convincingly, I think) that my version is better. So I’m having a little trouble understanding why that corner looks the way it does.
Other than that, just some weird answers here and there, but nothing unfairly crossed. ACNED is crazy, but at least inferable and real. GESTE ain’t great. All the other little independent areas are actually quite nice. Which makes the northeast that much more noticeable and weird, which is really too bad.
But whatever. This was a fine puzzle for the most part. And for me it was breezy and I blazed through it like some sort of crossword cheetah. Well maybe not that fast. Maybe like a crossword wildebeest.
Ok, see you tomorrow. Thanks, Tom.