Michael Dewey’s Wednesday, 4/16/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

2

April 16, 2014 by manvspuzzle

drops

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.

Theme Answers:

  • 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.



4 16 14

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!

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Michael Dewey’s Wednesday, 4/16/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

  1. Z says:

    Trap the heroes, prepare to cook them over an open pit, only convinced not to by the use of advanced tech/magic, defeat a highly mechanized military unit. Yeah, probably not cuddly.

    As for hilarity, sometimes it pays to have a sacrilegious mind to find the humor in including MARY instead of the MAgi in a puzzle that includes MAIDEN VOYAGE and WOOD.

  2. tom pepper says:

    Definitely a Monday level puzzle, except that I DNF in the NW in the same way I DNF Sunday. Sunday it was IMITATE instead or prIMATE; today it was PRIMAL instead of anIMAL. Had JAY and YOGI, but was so sure of anIMAL that it never came together. Was kinda bummed that it was too easy and too hard at the same time. For me anyway. For a Wednesday.

    Theme answers are a little loosey-goosey, but fine.

    Not Michael’s fault that it’s two years late. It’s just that he was up against two Sunday “Titanic” submissions when he submitted in 2011. I understand from chatting (at the 2012 ACPT) with one of the constructors involved that the reason two Sunday “Titanics” were published is that Will accepted the second, having forgotten he had accepted the first a long time before that. When he realized it some time later, he decided run them both anyway.

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