NYT Crossword for Friday, November 25, 2022 by Simon Marotte

Simon Marotte notes:

I'm thrilled to have my first themeless in the Times! I have to give credit to constructors Robyn Weintraub, Nam Jin Yoon, Caitlin Reid, and Ryan McCarty (to name a few) whose puzzles inspired me to challenge myself to construct a fun Friday crossword. Hope this was a gratifying solve!

P.S. Shout out to the Daily Princetonian puzzle section! I've recently joined as a contributing constructor & I highly recommend checking out its website, where puzzles are published every Tuesday and Friday.

Jeff Chen notes:

HAD A BLAST is right! This is my favorite type of themeless crossword, focusing on pure fun, loaded with colorful, accessible long entries, and bulging with highly-toned wordplay clues that pop.

Most every themeless these days is chock full of excellent long phrases — they all have to be, considering the sky-high bar raised by pandemic-bored constructors — but so few turn the wordplay knob to eleven. Today, I ticked off at least eleven clues that delighted.

I usually notice the ones that elevate an already great entry even higher — repurposing "funny bones" to describe LOADED DICE is criminally awesome — but I appreciate wordplay clues for short, ho-hum entries even more. Some speed-solvers will gloss over SCUM, barely reading the clue. That would be a shame since I got fooled so badly by [Film about fish tanks?]. So much for my brilliant guess of NEMO!

There isn't any one amazing grid entry that people will be tweeting about (assuming that Elon Musk hasn't destroyed Twitter by this morning), but I'll take fourteen above-average long entries any day. When NESPRESSO occupies your least interesting 8+ letter slot, I gotta say I GOT NOTHIN' in terms of critique.

I also appreciated that Simon didn't concentrate all his long slots in the four corners. Many 72-word themelesses squish three long entries into each of the four corners, making filling easier since you can work on them independently. I love that Simon branched out, with six long words reaching into the middle. I got a sense of pizazz at every step along the way, not just in the four corners.

Hardly any questionable short entries at all, too. Maybe ADZ is a bit LAZY since adze is listed first in many dictionaries, and IROCS aren't for everyone.

Incredibly minor nits to pick, though, in a magnificent example of how to pull off a standout 72-word themeless.

* This article was originally published here


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