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Spiral-horned antelope / MON 3-6-23 / Cesar who performed the Cisco Child / Kaitlin of It is At all times Sunny in Philadelphia / Catholic non secular order that based Georgetown College


Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative issue: Simple (perhaps the best Downs-only fixing expertise of my life)

THEME: HUMAN NATURE (55A: Set of traits all of us have … or a two-part description of the solutions to the starred clues?) — options of “nature” (i.e. the pure world: panorama, climate, what not) that begin with a “human” physique half:

Theme solutions:

  • FINGER LAKES (17A: *Area of upstate New York named for its our bodies of water)
  • HEADWIND (25A: *Navigation hurdle for a sailboat)
  • FOOTHILLS (35A: *Climbers’ warm-ups earlier than mountains)
  • PALM TREE (46A: *Supply of shade on a desert island, say)

Phrase of the Day: WINESAP (3D: Apple utilized in cider) —

Winesap is an outdated apple cultivar of unknown origin, relationship not less than to American colonial instances. Its apples are candy with a tangy end. They’re used for consuming, cooking, and are particularly prized for making cider. […] Winesap was a preferred apple in the US till the Fifties. It shops effectively, and its decline in recognition has been attributed to the event and elevated use of managed environment storage which allowed a greater diversity of apples to be bought over the course of the 12 months. // The Winesap fruit is small to medium with a deep, cherry crimson pores and skin and a crisp, yellow flesh. It has average illness resistance together with to mildew and blooms a number of days later than different late varieties. It’s all-purpose, getting used for contemporary consuming, cider, apple butter, and pies. (wikipedia)

• • •

That is some textbook, traditional, old-school Monday stuff proper right here. Lynn Legend not often misses, and that is about nearly as good an instance of her explicit artistry as you are gonna get. It’s extremely arduous to make straightforward, early-week puzzles, and nobody does it higher. You have to preserve it easy (silly), but in addition make sizzle. How do you make Simple attention-grabbing, that’s the problem. Right here, you’ve got acquired a moderately apparent first-words theme going—I might see the physique half angle coming down Broadway)—however then you definitely get this revealer phrase that truly reveals one thing—one other degree, a literal duality, that had been hiding contained in the solutions all alongside. Fixing this one Downs-only was a delight as a result of because the themers got here into view, I locked in on the body-part factor, after which I acquired to the underside of the grid, acquired HUMAN- from the Downs, after which stopped and went again to have a look at the themers in order that I might attempt to guess the revealer phrase. I would been trying on the first phrases within the theme reply, which have been so clearly linked by their corporeality, however now, going again, I regarded on the second phrases and bam, there it was: LAKES, WIND, HILLS, TREE … gotta be HUMAN NATURE! And it was. At all times enjoyable to check out lengthy Acrosses whenever you’re fixing Downs-only. See if you will get them to fly. Earlier, I had the FINGER and thought “What if I put LAKES within the remaining squares?,” and having all these letters confirmed by the Downs, bam bam bam bam bam: very satisfying. In all probability helps that I dwell close to the FINGER LAKES—was there simply yesterday, in truth, seeing the Oscar-nominated animated brief movies at Cinemapolis in Ithaca. However then I believe “What different five-letter phrase might have fairly adopted FINGER?” FINGER FOODS, I suppose. FINGER PAINT, certain. I suppose I simply acquired fortunate with my first guess there. And with all my guesses thereafter. This actually was concerning the best Downs-only fixing expertise of my life. I used to be simply completely happy to have the pleasure of being impressed by a real AHA second (32D: “That is good!”).

The fill would not have something significantly shiny or spectacular about it, however all it has to do is are available in clear, and it definitely does that. Sure, there are repeaters, as there at all times are, however I by no means felt inundated by the overfamiliar. The grid positively has an old school really feel to it, nevertheless it’s a extremely polished sort of old school. Looks like well-crafted grids of yore, from the times when constructors did not have software program to do the heavy lifting. When your weakest entry is one thing innocuous like IS A (23D: “It ___ story advised by an fool”: Macbeth), you are doing it proper. “UP” will get duped in UPEND and SLIP-UPS, however that is such a small factor I doubt anybody however me observed, not to mention cared. Are you able to guess what the toughest reply was for me, from a Downs-only perspective? Properly, there have been two, however the first, WINESAP, I ended up taking down comparatively straightforward once I inferred the “-IN-” (from FR-AR and FI-GER, respectively). The more durable reply was truly CAR KEY (42D: Auto entry merchandise). Largely, I simply could not make sense of the clue. “Entry … merchandise?” I had SALTINE and PASTA on both aspect of it, however needed to run the alphabet at -ARAT (42A: Weight of a diamond) with a purpose to get the “C”—once I was simply -ARAT, all I might consider was MARAT, the radical French revolutionary who was assassinated by Charlotte Corday … which is a really bizarre factor to think about *earlier than* you consider the far more primary phrase CARAT. However your mind does what it does, which is why generally you need to run the alphabet. 
[TFW the crossword is too hard …]
Anyway, total, this was a really pleasing, if all-too-brief, expertise. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]



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