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Gee, I guess it's my week to kvetch about the NYT - Crosswords Without Pity [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Crosswords Without Pity

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Gee, I guess it's my week to kvetch about the NYT [Sep. 7th, 2006|01:58 pm]
Crosswords Without Pity

xword_critique

[530nm330hz]

First, I was disappointed in the theme. I saw the number clues, did the seven-segment-and-flip trick in my head, and expected an extra level of indirection. 1A => 5338 => BEES => HIVE? No, go back one step. (Hmmm... I wonder if an entire cryptogram crossword would be interesting to solve.)

Second, I once again take issue with a clue (22D). (And I'm not normally in the nit-picker's league. The NPL, yes, but not the npl. :-) An IPO isn't a stock option. Unless this isn't supposed to stand for "Initial Public Offering."

Third, I was surprised to see DOA (50A), especially clued as "E.R. status", which I would think violates the "no death nor disease" guideline.

Fourth, the fill seemed weak to me. REDIG jumped out, and there are a lot of forced abbreviations.

Fifth, there were three pairs of cheater squares. I realize that the central theme entry was thirteen letters long, but surely it could have been reworded (ENTERTHENUMBERS / INTOACALCULATOR / TURNTOSEEANSWER) to avoid the cheaters.

Now maybe I'm being too harsh. I haven't sold a puzzle yet, so who am I to criticize? On the other hand, as a solver, I felt let down by this puzzle. It seemed like a cute gimmick that didn't go far enough and wasn't sufficiently tightly executed. (Now I feel like Nina Garcia.)

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: mabfan
2006-09-07 06:42 pm (UTC)
1. I liked the number clues once I had finally figured them out. I didn't expect an extra level.

2. An IPO is sometimes an option to buy stock, if you define option more broadly than it is in the phrase "stock option."

3. DOA...hmm. Yeah, that's odd.

4. REDIG was weak.

5. What's a cheater square? I did think the phrase DISPLAYDIGITS was non-intuitive.
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[User Picture]From: mello_cat
2006-09-08 05:53 pm (UTC)
I like your alternative explanatory theme answers, they sound more natural to me than the ones in the puzzle. 'Course they add six more fixed squares to the puzzle, which might make it harder to fit in all the "real" theme answers. I've never tried to build a puzzle with this kind of theme so I have no idea how tough it is to get workable grid and fill. You do have a lot of flexibility in the placement of the shorter theme answers, but that may just mean you spend a lot of time fiddling with things and going down ultimately fruitless pathways. Could be an exercise in frustration.

I didn't expect anything trickier in the theme department, so no letdown for me there. The DOA clue did catch my attention (as did the "excrete" clue) - I thought the clue for DOA was normally restricted to a film reference, but looking at the database I see I'm wrong there. There have been a handful of clues that reference hospital status in the NYT prior to this one, so I guess it's been deemed OK.

The entry that mystified me was "Milk cap game piece" POG. Never heard of it. Perhaps I led a deprived child or it's a more recent thing?
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From: crossword_fiend
2006-09-08 10:29 pm (UTC)
Karen, I think we're about the same age, and Pogs were a kid thing when we were too old for such games. Wikipedia tells me it was a craze in the early to mid-'90s.
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