Lacking Oomph 4 Letters
Lacking Oomph 4 Letters – Alpine folk dress / SAT 3-26-22 / Ostinato provider in Ravel’s Bolero / Sight from Maui’s shore west / Classic song with the line Give it a lonely heart like Pagliacci And lots of wavy hair like Liberace / Repeat voice role for Steve Carell / Session embrace horizontal groups
Word of the Day: Charles ALSTON (38D: Charles ___, artist who had the first bust of M.L.K., Jr.) — Charles Henry Alston (November 28, 1907 – April 27, 1977) was an American painter, sculptor, illustrator, muralist. teacher who lived and worked in the New York City neighborhood of Harlem. Alston was active in the Harlem Renaissance; Alston was the first African-American supervisor for the Federal Works Progress Administration’s Art Project. Alston designed and painted murals at Harlem Hospital and the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building. In 1990, the Alston bust of Martin Luther King Jr. became the first image of an African American to appear in the White House. (wikipedia)
Lacking Oomph 4 Letters
The thing that was supposed to be sassy and flashy just misses me, for the most part. Like, “LATER, MAN” and “REAL ORIGINAL!” both felt … I mean, they’re real expressions, but they just seem a little arbitrary. “LATER, ___” … MAN, sure, but DUDE, BRO … GATOR? They all work well. I don’t hate these answers, by any means, but my reaction was not “wow, cool.” It was more, “yeah, sure, OK.” Ideally, your slangy thing hits harder than “yeah, sure, OK.” I think “CAN I GET AN ‘AMEN’!?” is solid stone, the strongest thing in the grid, and therefore perfectly placed in the central position chapter (32A: “Who is with me?”). I really think the sign should have a “!” as well as a “?” since it is a very enthusiastic, exciting question, a question that I think was shouted or otherwise exclaimed with a loud voice. But still, great answer, well placed. I’m also a fan of “SAY NO MORE…” (a perfectly spoken little phrase, first seen last year in a puzzle by, surprise, Nam Jin Yoon, my fav themeless constructor…or one of them , anyway. ). I laugh now when I see “MR. SANDMAN” because it appeared in NYTXW not too long ago and someone, I forget who, one of my readers, I think, told me that they failed to analyze the answer correctly and ended up asking. what madam ANDMAN tea. Oh, yes, it was the puzzle that had MRS. MAISEL in symmetrical position (to “Mr. SANDMAN”). So this answer amused me. But two other answers did the opposite to amuse me. I get the idea of a CUDDLE PUDDLE … I’ll try to be tactful and say “off-putting” (34A: Horizontal group hug session). The concept, the cutesy, moist words, just … yeah, off-putting. And especially off-putting when crossed with tonally different again even more off-putting LEPER , which is not a word I would put in any puzzle if I could help it. I had the LONER at first and was very happy with the response. But the long Acrosses weren’t working so I had to pull it and quickly realized it was LEPR. I make a face even when I type LEPER . You can’t see it, but you can imagine it. I also kind of face in RES., which I don’t think I understand well. Is “some phone number.” … RES erve? Ooh, STILL identical? That’s it, right? Phew. OK. Then maybe I won’t like RES under any circumstances. But I would not have given an idea of such a small answer if it had not been mired in the KARIN PUDDLE (see!? … off-putting).
Reasons For High Bounce Rates
I was lucky enough to know NONPAREIL and DIRNDL and FIFA, all of which really helped me open up the grid. I did not know ALSTON, though I feel sure I had heard of him before. His crosses were all fair, though STA. didn’t mean anything to me (49A: Bank in London, for example: Abbr.). I guess there is a Bank … Station? And I guess it’s in London. I guess it’s a train … station. Ah, looks like light rail and Underground. Although I have never heard of Bank STA ., there was nothing else that “S” could really be, so this is a fair cross for ALSTON. Also did not know ILYA – there were both IVAN and IGOR in there at one time (47D: Slavic form of Elijah). The hardest thing in the grid for me was probably ASNAP, just because I never expected the “A” (53A: Child’s play). There were “LIES!” before “LIAR!” but that seems like a perfectly reasonable “mistake,” and it didn’t hold me back for more than a few seconds or so. I need (“need”) to go see “All That Jazz” now. Because, well, it’s on, and only the fact of on-ness adds an artificial sense of urgency that I’m succumbing. good day Unidentified Protein / MON 11-22-21 / Game that goes up and down fast / Shpeak indishtinctly / Member of a DC squad
THEME: GENRE (67A: What does 17-, 29-, 45- or 61-Across start with, in bookstores)—themes begin with the genres FANTASY, MYSTERY, WESTERN, and ROMANCE:
Word of the day: St. OLAF College (40D: Minnesota’s St. ___ College) — St. Olaf College is a liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota. The school was founded in 1874 by a group of Norwegian-American pastors and farmers led by Pastor Bernt Julius Muus. The college is named after the King and Patron SaintOlaf II of Norway and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The college was visited by King Olavin 1987 and King Harald VandQueen Sonja of Norway in 2011. As of 2017, the college enrolled 3,035 undergraduate students and 256 faculty. Minnesota; Northfield is also home to its neighbor and friendly rival Carleton College. Between 1995 and 2020, 154 St. Olaf graduates were named Fulbright Scholars and 35 received Goldwater Scholarships. Among undergraduate colleges in the country, St. Olaf ranks 12th in the number of graduates who went on to obtain doctoral degrees. (wikipedia)
This is a perfect Monday theme concept and perfectly good Monday theme answer. Really wish the clues were better, more accurate, more specific, more fun. The sign on FANTASY BASEBALL was annoying because there is nothing “baseball” about it at all. “Sports fan” makes it sound generic, so FANTASY SPORTS or FANTASY LEAGUE or something like that seemed more likely. FANTASY FOOTBALL also definitely exists. Would it hurt you to baseball up the sign a little, or at all? Maybe the cluer thought “hobby” somehow evoked “national baseball,” which baseball somehow still technically is, but “hobby” is just a word and it didn’t evoke baseball to me at all. Colorful clues help Mondays be fun instead of just walks in the park. Do not skimp on details and specifics! The sign on MYSTERY MEAT was even worse. Give me a context! Where would I hear that! Give me some sense of the reputation as a “meat” usually evokes. Paint a dang picture! But no, we found the mystery sign [unidentified protein]. That’s just [synonym for ‘mystery’] + [synonym for ‘meat’]—not intelligence or humor or thoughtfulness at all. Just a waste of a fun cluing opportunity. The reveal was also disappointing, in that it was anticlimactic and probably totally unnecessary. I can look at the themes and see the GENRES very easily. If GENRE is all you have for a reveal, why not just have one? Even the sign on GENRE feels like it misses the mark. FANTASY, MYSTERY etc., these GENRES whether you are “in a bookstore” or not. It’s not like, as a series, you would ever mistake them for anything but GENREs. They are GENRES wherever you are, whatever art form you’re talking about. Movies, for example. All this redundancy and sickness could be avoided by eliminating the revealer entirely. The fact that GENRE is not even in the final position Across makes it more difficult. It’s sad to see a good theme idea poorly handled in the details like this.
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The fill is fine, though honestly I stopped to take a deep breath in fear when I hit STABLE. before I even got out of the NW corner. Felt like a full omen, and a bad one. But it was just a bad abrev., no biggie. What was a biggie, though, was all the nonsense. The UP and OPEN BUTTONS are too close to each other for a repeat of “UP”, because UP appears in the same position both times (the preposition after a verb). But what was a minor ding becomes a major one when you throw UP BOW into the loot. UP UP UP, three UP… you’re out. Three UP three down. Regardless, I’ll work on the baseball metaphor later, the point is that littering your grid with UP is careless. It suggests a failure