NYT Crossword for Wednesday, December 14, 2022 by Matthew Stock

Jeff Chen notes:

Break it up! LUCKY BREAKS = lucky objects broken across grid entries. The fresh term SESH (slang for "session") is inside HORSESHOE — talk about a lucky break!

NUMB / ERSE / VENOM works, although ERSE is called out on many editors' spec sheets since dictionaries list this word as "dated." Scottish/Irish fiction fascinates me (Read The Scorpio Races!) so I'm fine with it, but it's not the best to highlight. A shame that symmetry didn't allow for NUMB / ERS / EVENED. I might have pushed to flaunt symmetry (the horror!) for this purpose.

NUMBER SEVEN ... them's the breaks for those of us from different cultures. Being Taiwanese-American, I go both ways with lucky numbers, but I draw the line at lucky bird poop.

I loved how wildly HORSESHOE broke across ABHOR / SESH / OEUF, so much so that I hardly minded OEUF, also called out on specs sheets everywhere. It'd be fun to brainstorm, trying for similarly wild splits like SHOO / TIN / GST / AR.

RAIN / BOW and SHAM / ROCK fill out the concept. It's a shame that they split mundanely along syllabic lines.

It felt jarring to break lucky things. Would UNLUCKY BREAKS create a stronger a-ha? VLADIMIR / RORSCHACH, MOCHA / INLET / TERSE, etc.

A couple of great cluing touches helped liven the solve. Even this baseball non-enthusiast enjoyed [Left base?] as THIRD. And it's so hard to enliven common entries like DOE and ATM, but [Mommie deer-est?] made me laugh, and [Where bills get passed] misdirects so well toward congress.

"Broken words" puzzles tend to suffer from start-and-stop syndrome — there are a ton of short words by necessity — but there was enough to keep me engaged, especially with the ingenious last themer split.

* This article was originally published here


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