Constructor: Stu Ockman
Time: 22:50. Got incorrect at 20:50; prob was ALDAL-TAUT for ALDOL-TOUT. Oh well. Man, it's been a long time since I googled. Felt some temptation tonite...I googled the Baywatch babe Ms. Eleniak in a Sunday some weeks ago and got a v. nice picture of her derriere...IIRC that was in fact my last NYT puzz googling. Couldn't remember her name just now...put in ELENA (yep, that's dumb) and SNO and REPO. Eventually figured out that it was ERIKA and SKI and the beginning of RACIAL PROFILING...all done w/o using artificial enhancement:) My big muck-up w/ this one was getting confused by ALP running up within PLATA as part of NATIONAL PASTIME and thinking that ALP running straight up was the key to all the thematic answers. An early solve for the usually early to bed MR, so no pace-car comparisons; am guessing this will be a pretty hard TH.*
CrossWorld buzz: Very good. The rising ALP theme is groovacious and could be the basis for other puzzes by Stu O. or similarly inclined constructors...SKI AAR and ROCK LEDGE are nice alpine complements...maybe a puzz w/ ALP going down as well as up and criss-crossing thematic answers woulda been even groovier. Nice execution of the theme. Fine on the rest...so it seems to me in my slightly sleepy state right now...ALDOL passes the "it's ok to use one semi-fake word to do necessary work" test...not feeling like counting the words and the blacks now.** Think the PLATA confusion on the theme that felled me is a feature rather than a bug...it's fine to set traps for CWers on Thursday. Will be interested to see what Rex and the Rexeans have to say in the morning.***
CrossOver buzz: Good. A bituva discount b/c the theme for all its cuteness is kinda inside baseball-y. Also, the PLATA thang is a bit unfair to casual solvers, much as MR deserved his/its solving woes. Off to bed...
*Six minutes behind sanfranman59; ahead of tushnet by a minute.
**80W, 38B...kinda explains the dullish feeling on the solve...lotsa short stuff...sticking w/ my initial ratings, but my morning after sense is to bump them down a notch given the extra wordage. High love-hate variance in the Rexean responses w/ a tilt toward the latter...yep...gimmick puzzes will often do that.
***Agree w/ Rex on it feeling kinda dull-ish while solving...appreciate nanpilla's pointing out the connection between this puzz and a Blindauer ACPT ANT puzz...Thomas Hite shared my PLATA problem and suggests a possible fix for the fake ALP...good for him though I share his doubts about LULAS...learned while checking out his LULAS idea that LULA is the original first name of Carson McCullers AKA Lula Carson Smith...maybe ya could do a lemons-to-lemonade puzz in which unexpected name connections are thematic.