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LAT Sat. 4/18 Scott Atkinson


An Xword without a theme is like a meal without carbs: it's a meal all right, but it's unsatisying.  I guess they all can't be gems, but this puzzle is more like paste.  For example:

* "Unstoppable" for ONAROLL is not very good.  Someone on a roll is in fact stoppable; he just hasn't yet been stopped.
* "Polar outburst" for BRR is also weak.  Brr is a sound suggesting cold; it is not an outburst, which is loud and demands attention.
* And I would not cross DUGONGS with VULGARIA at the u's because they are two rare words.  Unless the aim is to make the puzzle difficult, it seems a bit unsporting.
* I also did not like "1 for H, e.g." for ATNO because no one really uses that abbreviation.  The clue would better have been "___ time...."
:(On the plus side, "Common yuletide mail" for CATALOG and "'Gimme _____!'..." for ANO [better than the typical "year in Mexico"] are clever, and the grid is challenging to construct.    :)


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