April 16, 2014 by manvspuzzle
Theme: Titanic crap. 4 theme answers are kinda related to the whole Titanic story in a roundabout (and humorous) way. Actually, the 4th one isn’t roundabout and humorous; it’s just a straightforward reference. And the first one is only roundabout if you suspend disbelief a little. Also, this is apparently the 102nd anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
- 20A — Post-christening event : MAIDEN VOYAGE
- 28A — What scientists use to predict the rates of chemical reactions : COLLISION THEORY
- 49A — Small part that’s visible : TIP OF THE ICEBERG
- 58A — Headline of April 16, 1912 : TITANIC SINKS
Something Good: Hmm. A lot of my normal “something good” things don’t apply today. But I feel comfortable singling out the mid-range fill. I’m talkin bout the 5-8 letter stuff. It pops out at you, as it should, and was obviously a focus of this constructor. There are 49(!) 3- and 4-letter words, and they’re basically a big spoonful of plain oatmeal. Same with the theme. But that stuff in the middle? It’s aiight.
Wow, what a great idea for a Monday puzzle two years ago. That would have been the date of the 100th anniversary of this whole thing, and the timeliness back then would have made everything here shine a little brighter.
As it stands today, I would want the theme answers/clues/concept to blow my face off with ingenuity if I’m going to care about the 102nd anniversary of anything. Even 2017 would probably feel more apt with this one. Why? I dunno. It’s a catty psychological thing. Maybe you feel differently.
In a vacuum, the theme is still a little clunky. It almost works. It *wants* to work. Honestly, I think it’s MAIDEN VOYAGE that brings it down. There’s no real trickiness or hilarity to that answer. 4/16/12 really was the MAIDEN VOYAGE of the Titanic. That’s just reality. The other two are basically amusing in a similar way (to each other), so MAIDEN VOYAGE stands out as less-than. Not unlike Jack Dawson vis-à-vis Cal Hockley, but without all the sexiness.
What else? This is the 4th time in the Shortz-era that EWOKs have been referred to as “cuddly” (5A — Cuddly sci-fi creature). Hmm. Not sure I agree with that. I dare you try to cuddle with an Ewok. I freakin *dare* you. See what happens. You know they carry rocks and spears and knives and stuff, right? And they’re not afraid to fight. Probably about as cuddly as a highly-evolved black bear.
Not much more to say. The puzzle played extremely easy, no issues filling it in. The big issue is that the theme gives me a bit of a sinking feeling.
If you’re in the Northeast today (as I am), enjoy your heartbreaking mid-April snowpocalypse. I was just grilling in shorts and a t-shirt on Monday!