Before we beginone lil' thing just a sec: this site has many lurkers. You know who you are. Some of you lurk but a mere moment, here via Google image search (driven by our relentless alt-tagging on images).
Some of you though, yes we know SOME of you, are lovers of Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues. That's the word you use: “love.” But you've never left a comment, you've never put a couple bucks in the PayPal tip jar, and you've never emailed to say “omg such funny awesum blog pls keep it up thank you erica.”
Consider switching that up this time. Not for us. For you. Do it for you. It'll feel good! We're asking you to participate in the things you enjoy. Participate in your own life. “The only thing I'd want to comment on is your flawed reasoning or grammar,” you say, and hey, that is a-ok brother-sister! This is a safe space for correcting broken logic. Promise.
Alright, to the puzzle. We much to did dislike. Buckle up.
First thing we disliked: appearance of usual puzzle suspects (t/ern, Oreo), and generally easy/particularly uninspiring cluing.
Second thing we disliked: the dum jerk of a theme that we stared at and stared at and could not parse. We had all the clued entries filled in and maybe 1/3 of the theme entries completed by inference, but with no discernable linkage. Thought perhaps the words were included in song lyrics, or a famous poem, or some cultural reference we were not up on (cf Ring in the New Year - January 2011).
Sleepy sweet V looked over at the clipboard, said, “gimme dat,” and instantly said, “it's the months.” And as we groaned with frustrated ego, he added, ”fulllllllllll circle.”
- 1D) JANitor
- 34A) FEBrile
- 43A) MARine
- 44A) APRicot
- 29D) MAYhem
- 1A) JUNiper
- 30A) JULep
- 10D) AUGment
- 18D) SEPulchre
- 22A) OCTane
- 6A) NOVena
- 32D) DECent
- 15A) Getting to the point, record call (8)
(record = TAPE) + (call = RING) = TAPERING
- 17A) Assert tailoring produces stunning creations (6)
ASSERT * anagram = TASERS
Contrast with this account from Charles Monroe challenging then-President George HW Bush at the G7 summit:
Charles Monroe Now, this I remember. Because I just assumed I was going to be arrested. I knew I wasn't going to be shot. That hadn't happened yet, so that's cool. And I'm like, "This is it." And what happened next was amazing because nothing happened next.
I didn't get arrested. He had this thing where he had his hands on the podium, and he kind of moved his hands. I don't know what signals they have, or whatever, but they didn't arrest me. And then the worst possible thing in the world happened to me. He ain't going to arrest me, and he's about to engage me. And I was like, "Oh, my god. The President of the United States is speaking to me right now, and he basically started asking me questions. And I was like, "Holy mackerel." I really almost passed out.
- 26A) Singers backing up headliner (4)
(Singers = RATS) * rev. = STAR
- 31A) Done head to toe, but without depth (3-1)
DONE * first letter to end = ONE-D
- 38A) Bay leaves left out of plant disease (5)
(plant disease = BLIGHT) - (left = L) = BIGHT
- 6D) Be off guard? It's a fuzzy area (3)
NAP (double syn.)
- 8D) Fresh and young, but right away, corrupt (6)
(corrupt = VENAL) + (right = R) = VERNAL
- 9D) Hebrew characters—they have their lives in order (4)
NUNS (double syn.)
- 21D) One crossing your palm with one third of litter of cats (8)
(one third of litter = LI) + (of cats = FELINE) = LIFELINE
- 25D) Small storage unit Michigan takes in is found in Washington (8)
(Michigan = MI) + IN + IS + (Washington = DC) = MINIDISC
- 35D) Teacher finds the legal profession uplifting, swinging both ways (5)
((legal profession = BAR) * rev.) + (swinging both ways = BI) = RABBI
Is it just us, or does it seem like Kevin Spacey must put it in his contract rider that his character 1. sing and 2. be bisexual ?
- 39D) Gull in Swan Lake—it's a step up (3)
(in Swan Lake it's a step = PAS) * rev. = SAP
- 11A) Schedule for members of Polizia, Gendarmerie (6)
PoliziA GENDArmerie = AGENDA
- 16A) I'm ten, holding reporters manuscript in back—that's one way of seeing things (13)
IM + (ten = 10 = IO) + (reporters = PRESS) + (((manuscript = MS) + IN1) * rev.) + (one = I) = IMPRESSIONISM
1With acknowledgements to listener Don.
- 28A) Spin doctor, if there's time at the end, winds up producing this! (9)
SPIN + (doctor = DR) + IF + (time = T) = SPINDRIFT
- 36A) College race that never starts heading west (4)
(race = RELAY) * never starts * reverse = YALE
- 2D) Quaking aspen—they don't go very high on a beach (5)
ASPEN * anagram = NEAPS
- 7D) Sweet choreographic element (4)
chOREOgraphic = OREO
- 14D) Crooks, so-called high-fliers in Atlantic City, perhaps (5)
(Crooks = TURNS) * homophone = TERNS
Anyway. Our initial puzz-tuition was wrong on this one. No need for new geography learnings. It's dum regular usual forever puzzle bird, the TERN.
- 34D) Favorite interior becomes vacant lot (4)
(Favorite = F) + (interior becomes vacant = ATE) = FATE
FAvoriTE * interior becomes vacant = FATE
- Bolted after failing a lot (4)
Yah so actually per Dear Reader Don it's a little less rough than we thought. Notice how Don spotted some faulty reasoning, and had the urge to say something, and did he tamp that urge down? No. He did not. He commented. That's right.
That's it. No tacky this month. Believe it: nothing particularly body-shaming, or slut-shaming, or hetero-normative, or racist, or racist-y, or rapey, or sex-negative, or what now. The whole puzzle was just kinda tacky in form, not in aspect.