Daughter of Loki / 4-28-16 / Contemporary of Wordsworth Coleridge / Extinct creature with armored spikes on its back / Nascar stat for short / Rappeller's need / Goldfinger's first name
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Constructor: Kurt Krauss
Relative difficulty: Challenging (mainly because of having to remember exactly how the gimmick works, not because of Inherent difficulty)
THEME: compass directions —Downs run North in the North, South in the South; Acrosses run West in the West, East in the East. Words extending from the center (which is supposed to house a compass rose, the note tells me) start with the relevant words:
- NORTHER (which has the direction meaning of "north" in it)
- EASTMAN (which doesn't)
- WEST END (which has the direction meaning of "west" in it)
- SOUTHEY (which doesn't)
Robert Southey (// or //; August 12, 1774 in Bristol – March 21, 1843 in London) was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-called "Lake Poets", and Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 to his death in 1843. Although his fame has long been eclipsed by that of his contemporaries and friends William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Southey's verse still enjoys some popularity. (wikipedia)
PES and SCH and SATRAP and ADE into one little corner of the grid. Baffling. This lack of polish, or, rather, this reliance on Whatever Works without any care to make it Better, pervades the whole grid. It's choked with ARIL ELOI EFT AURIC SENAT HEL (?!) ELEM NOT I, and there's nothing to mitigate that onslaught. There's just this 1/2 backwards gimmick, which is not so much challenging as it is tedious. Even the clues don't look like they're really trying—mostly one-worders or straight trivia. Come on, man.
Do people know SOUTHEY? I have an English Ph.D. and I took a Romantic Poetry course in college and I've never read him and have barely heard of him. He's totally acceptable as a crossword answer, but he seemed very much like a familiarity outlier today. I wish I liked *something* about this grid, but I don't. SALIVATE and ERGONOMIC are fine answers, but they're not scintillating, and this puzzle really really needs some scintillating to pull itself out of the quicksand of crosswordese and tedium that makes up the rest of the grid.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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