This wasn't a discouraging slog by Patrick Berry --- for me it was challenging enough to make me keep grinding --- but it was a slog nonetheless. The theme, which I thankfully was attuned to ahead of time by looking at the title ("Triple Spoonerisms"), is such that the fill is utter nonsense.
So, yeah. Triple spoonerisms. Clued as they are written, not tied into the original phrases at all. I'm afraid this is ugh and groan time.
- "What caused the nosebleed on the playground?" is BEAK OF LAD STRUCK (streak of bad luck).
- "Tagline in an ad for Elmer's Glue-Ale?" is THE STUCK HOPS HERE (the buck stops here).
- In one of the few that make sense and is somewhat amusing, "novice parasailer's fear?" is TERROR OF BAD GLIDINGS (bearer of bad tidings).
- "Best place to buy a platter of fruit-flavored sodas?" is THE FANTA TRAY SALE (the Santa Fe Trail). Seriously, this is just brain-numbing. It's word garbage and there's no cleverness to it, other than the fitting of such a long phrase into a crossword. It's "wordplay" in its most simplistic form.
- "Containers for electric guitars?" is ROCK STAR CASES (stock car races). This one isn't even clued well. Not all rock stars carry electric guitars. Very few electric guitars are carried by rock stars.
- I have a sneaking liking for PALE HAIRY MASS ("description of a yeti?"), which I was tempted to put in even before I knew of the theme, but dismissed as too silly. It wasn't too silly. It's a "play" on the phrase Hail Mary pass. Suggestion for making this cleverer: blend the original into the clue and answer, like, say, "Description of yeti messing up last-chance football throw."
A FUNGO is a ball thrown into the air by the batter. Or it is a special bat made for this practice. Baseball! It's the National Pastime of the NYT Crossword.
I've heard the word BEDSIT several times, but I guess I never bothered to nail down its definition: a one-room apartment, what a Yank might call a studio, if it wasn't being called just a rented room.
Somehow I came up with the name of Napoleon Dynamite star Jon HEDER.
"FISA warrant objective" is TAP. FISA stands for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
UPN, network of "Veronica Mars," which I never watched, was just mentioned April 4.
Irritating clue: "They're easy to take" turns out to be GELCAPS. That's not clever, just vague!
Clever clue: "Lash with a bullwhip" is LARUE. That really got me scratching my head for a long time. "More rare, perhaps" is REDDER.
You know, I hate to NIT, but while there was a lot of good fill and some admirably oblique clues, I think the theme turned this one into a DUD. Basically, YECCH. No MOE for me!