Luxury wheels until 2004 / TUE 7-7-15 / First premier of People's Republic of China / Lamar who married a Kardashian / Musical piece whose name is Italian for joke / Transport for Calvin Hobbes / Classic NYC venue for punk rock
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Constructor: Daniel Raymon
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: ILL conceived — theme answers contain two "ILL"s
- CADILLAC SEVILLE (3D: Luxury wheels until 2004)
- HILLBILLY (21A: Hayseed)
- ILL WILL (37A: Hostility)
- CHILL PILL (54A: What a stressed-out person may need to take)
- MILLARD FILLMORE (11D: Last Whig president)
informalnoun: bimbo; plural noun: bimbos; noun: bimbette; plural noun: bimbettes
- an attractive but empty-headed young woman, especially one perceived as a willing sex object. (google)
I SAY ... no. I BALKed like crazy at this one. I guess this puzzle was deemed worthy because of the two long Downs, themers intersecting other themers. Maybe that's considered ... special? I don't know. I know that "ILL"x2 is mildly weak sauce as a concept, and I Know know that the fill here is not up to standards. At best it just lies there (except in a few instances—SCHERZO, for instance, is nice). At worst it's a heap of decaying, rotting building material—this house won't stand! CMVIHIESALIA ... that is not a load-bearing stack. BAHATA! FOOZHOUODOM! These things are fun to say, but they make poor construction material. I ughed out loud at the VASISL cross. This is NYT at its worst, this attitude: theme = passable, fill = who cares!?
CADILLAC SEVILLE is impressive as a 15, but the answer loses all that bulk impressiveness by being bygone and by not really having two "ILL" sounds. That first "ILL" is on an unstressed syllable, so you kind of eat it. In all the others, you hear the "ILL"s quite distinctly. But as outliers go, it's not a disaster. More of a disaster is BIMBO. Cluing it as if it wasn't gender-specific (58A: Dumbbell) doesn't make it less gender-specific. It's a slur, and it's a slur used almost exclusively against women, and while it's dated, and doesn't really pack the punch of other gendered slurs, it's still creepy. You know the solving base is majority female, right? BIMBO is also totally unnecessary. Every constructor I know could redo that SE corner inside of five minutes without using a slur against women. Guaranteed. Also without STERE and ECONO, but we'll start with the basics.
This puzzle also had the bad fortune of following Lynn Lempel's lovely Monday puzzle, where there was neither a VAS nor a BIMBO in sight. Might go redo that puzzle now.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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