Patrick Berry’s Sunday, 4/6/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

7

April 6, 2014 by manvspuzzle

Smurfberry_Bush

Title: AT TIMES

Theme: Common terms that end with -ER are clued with ?s.  Each clue ends with the clause (or whatever) “, at times”.

Theme Answers:

  • 23A  — Clumsy pharmacist, at times? : MEDICINE DROPPER
  • 28A — Dressage rider, at times? : COLT REVOLVER
  • 47A — Old-fashioned barber, at times? : FOAM RUBBER
  • 54A — Inexperienced shucker, at times? : OYSTER CRACKER
  • 65A — No-limit Texas hold’em player, at times? : ALL BETTER
  • 74A — Farmer, at times? : CHICKEN TENDER
  • 84A — Sleeping sunbather, at times? :  BACK BURNER
  • 103A — Dieter, at times? : SNACK COUNTER
  • 110A — Person getting out of a tub, at times? :  BATHROOM SLIPPER

***

Something Good: Theme Consistency.  * Berry * don’t * play * .  If he’s making a theme, it’s frickin *consistent*.  Any other joker submitting a Sunday puzzle with 8 answers may feel entitled to let one be an outlier — maybe a 3-word answer, maybe a 1-worder.  Maybe something else that’s silly.  Who knows?  The point is, PB makes this thing feel clean, cozy, and comfortable.  No outliers.  Consistency throughout.  He loves you.  Love him back, ya jerk.

p.s. Yeah, I see that ALL BETTER is the only non-adjective/noun-combo in the bunch.  But shhhh-sh-sh-sh-shhhhhh…it’s Berry.  Hush your mouth.

***

4 6 14

This dude doesn’t dick around with his 3-letter answers.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.  Let me back up.  I didn’t mean to begin so vulgarly.  I mean vulgarish.  I mean…vuglaristic?  Vuungleriliy.

Ok, let me start again.  The 3-letter stuff.  It’s real good.  22 of them, 20 of which should basically be understood by kindergarteners.  The other two are fine, at least middle-school level.  This is pretty, comfortable, palpable.  Classic Berry.

Depending on which of my posts you’ve read, you may think that my favorite constructor is 1) Patrick Berry, or 2) Brendan Emmett Quigley.  Well the truth is, in the paraphrased words of Uncle Phil (directed at Carlton and Hillary), I love them both differently, but equally.  But Berry’s the firstborn.  So he’s the default favorite.  I have no idea what I’m saying anymore.

Back to the puzzle.  It’s fine.  Good, I guess.  The theme did close to nothing for me, but it was fine enough.  Mostly it reminded me that you don’t need much of a theme concept to publish a NYT Sunday if it’s long enough and tight enough.  I mean, the title is redunk.  “AT TIMES”?  It’s the most minimalist of puzzle titles since I began blogging, I’d say.  Barely keeps this thing together (sure, the clues back it up, but the clues are fluid and could really be anything).  But it’s Berry, so I guess it’s fine.

The fill is like crystal clear spring water on a cool summer evening.  Seriously, try to show me one real flaw.  I doubt you can.  I think IAMB might be the worst thing in the whole puzzle, but again, think middle school.  If you have any sense of Shakespeare at all, that answer should be inferable.  And the crossings are more than fair.

Did you know that Patrick Berry basically says nothing to anyone?  He’s an enigma.  And a genius.  A Genigma, if you will.  Putting out plush product and letting it speak for itself.  No back-and-forth, no defense, no nonsense.  No arguing.  Just solid stuff at all times.  How does he do it?  I dunno, ask him.  If you can find him, that is.  From what I understand he lives in a tent somewhere in the deep south, subsisting on (probably) snared rabbits and rainwater.  If you see him, tell him I said hi.

Ok, I seriously don’t know what I’m saying anymore.  Have a great day.

7 thoughts on “Patrick Berry’s Sunday, 4/6/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

  1. tom pepper says:

    I like Genigma. He could be Papa in the Framily Plan commercial.

    Do you think you could pick a Berry puzzle out of a lineup of him and nine imposters? I think you could. Just count the words in each puzzle you’d like to see replaced. And add a point for every J, Q, X and Z used. Low score is Berry’s every time. Out of 140 words, I want to get rid of LETAT. That’s it. I’m fine with IAMB, I am.

    Favorite misdirect was “Goes to court?” for ASKS OUT.

    • manvspuzzle says:

      This question (about being able to pick Berry out of a lineup) intrigues me so much that I’m working on a special contest post dedicated to it. Look for it later today or tomorrow.

  2. Z says:

    Did you mean “snared coney?”

  3. Z says:

    Oh, and He put the odd one in the middle, making it a feature, not a bug.

  4. Yeah! I’m stoked! This was the 1st Sunday NYT puzzle I completed w/o cheating. I usually drop out around the Wednesday NYT puzzle. Anecdotally, there did seem to be more smaller words in this puzzle to help complete the longer phrases, or maybe I just experienced the Zen of Crossword puzzling.

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