Grammy-nominated psychedelic music act with an animal in its
name / TUE 3-7-23 / Brewpub order that's tart to the taste / Big
fish catcher / 2010s HBO drama series that starred Reese
Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman
Constructor: Enrique Henestroza Anguiano and Matthew Stock
Relative difficulty: Very Easy
THEME: OPPOSITES ATTRACT (42A: Saying about compatible partners ... as suggested by the starts of the answers to this puzzle's starred clues?) — first two words of each phrase are familiar pairs of "opposites"; their juxtaposition constitutes the "attraction":
OFF ON A LARK (18A: *Doing something just for fun)
BIG LITTLE LIES (25A: *2010s HBO drama series that starred Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman)
LEFT RIGHT AWAY (53A: *Made a hasty exit)
OUT IN FRONT (67A: *Leading the charge)
Word of the Day: TAME IMPALA (10D: Grammy-nominated psychedelic music act with an animal in its name) —
Tame Impala is the psychedelic music project of Australian multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker. In the recording studio, Parker writes, records, performs, and produces all of the project's music. As a touring act, Tame Impala consists of Parker (vocals, guitar, synthesizer), Dominic Simper (guitar, synthesiser), Jay Watson (synthesiser, vocals, guitar), Cam Avery (bass guitar, vocals, synthesizer), and Julien Barbagallo (drums, vocals). The group has a close affiliation with fellow Australian psychedelic rock band Pond, sharing members and collaborators, including Nick Allbrook, formerly a live member of Tame Impala. Originally signed to Modular Recordings, Tame Impala is now signed to Interscope Records in the United States and Fiction Records in the UK.
I don't know if the fact that TAME IMPALA's latest album is called The Slow Rush is supposed to be some kind of Easter Egg in this puzzle, or if it's just a wild coincidence, but either way, I appreciated the little wink there, Enrique and Matt. The way I know this is a pretty good Tuesday is that I didn't wince or flinch and when I hit the revealer, I looked up at the theme answers I already had in place and mumbled to myself, "Hmm, nice." OFF/ON, BIG/LITTLE, yes, those are iconic opposites, and yes they are attracted to each other, in a way, as they sit (somewhat ironically) right next to each other at the opening of each answer they appear in. If I wanted to quibble (not really my style ... :) I would say that only BIG LITTLE LIES features "opposites" that are true opposites—that is, words that are being used as literal opposites in their actual puzzle answers. Big in size, little in size, yes. OFF/ON, LEFT/RIGHT, OUT/IN, none of those pairs are being used in their "opposing" senses. That is, they are not opposed to each other by definition. LEFT and RIGHT are opposite *directions* but they do not appear as such in their theme answer. The others are all being used in prepositional ways that have nothing to do with their iconic pairings as "opposites." OFF is not the "opposite" of ON in its phrase, OUT is not the "opposite" of IN in its phrase. So BIG LITTLE LIES is an outlier—but the good kind. The one that represents the truest expression of the theme. Still, I think the fact that the first two words are immediately and clearly recognizable as opposites, even if that's not how they're being used, is enough to make this theme work. I look at the grid, I see OFF/ON, BIG/LITTLE, LEFT/RIGHT, OUT/IN, both words right next to each other in each case ... taken as pairs, dissociated from their immediate context, they are very familiar pairs of "opposites," so ... OK!
I guess I would also quibble a little with the OFF part of OFF ON A LARK. The familiar phrase is ON A LARK. You do something ON A LARK. The OFF feels tacked on and less iconic. OFF ON A SPREE, a TOOT, an ADVENTURE, a TANGENT, etc. Those all sound much more correct to my ear. If I type [Off on a] into Google, here's what it thinks I want:
No LARK in sight. But again, even if it's not right on the money, I think it's close enough. I can't say "no one would ever say that," but I will say that my first instinct was not LARK but TOOT,—not because TOOT is *so* great, but because it sounded more likely *and* because this is the NYTXW, which loves quaint bygone phrases like "on a TOOT." Which reminds me, the fill in this puzzle does, at times, have a kind of quaint, bygone feel to it in places, with STENO POSER BALOO and MA'AM, and then a bunch of time-worn repeaters (ESOS OSO AGO EGOS ICI ITO, to say nothing of that whole RUPEE ETTA ALOT ANA section). I thought the longer answers were really solid, though. TAME IMPALA will be the far far outlier today, in terms of solver familiarity, but like all the other pop culture stuff today, they were in my wheelhouse, so no problems here. I love a SOUR BEER, though I really wanted SOUR ALE there ... not sure why that phrase feels more familiar (43D: Brewpub order that's tart to the taste). Anyway, didn't take me long to sub in BEER. I love SUPERFOODS and I superlove that they clued it as "adspeak," yes, thank you. All in all, an enjoyable little Tuesday. Two good early-week puzzles in a row! Makes me feel good. There's only one thing to do in a moment like this ...
Post a Comment