Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Web Secret #294: Rex Parker

The most successful blogs focus on one thing.

Think about:

Humans of New York

Post Secret

What's My Grief

Notes from the Job Search

But what if you got even more basic?

You would write "Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle."

And get over 30,000 hits a day. And be written about and featured on TV.

Yes, that is all Rex does. Every day he solves the NY Times daily crossword. Of course Rex does more than just put up the grid with the answers filled in. He dissects the clues, explains the themes, educates about the answers using a variety of means including videos and photos.

Here he is:

Explaining the "Word of the Day": HENRI Bendel (16A: Bendel of fashion) Henri Bendel is an American upscale women's specialty store based in New York City that sells fashion accessories, cosmetics and fragrances, gifts and gourmet foods. The company currently operates twenty-nine stores: its flagship New York store, established in 1895 and currently located at 712 Fifth Avenue, and stores in Columbus (Ohio), Boca Raton, San Diego, Aventura (Florida), Troy (Michigan), Los Angeles, Dallas, Short Hills (New Jersey), Santa Clara (California), King of Prussia (Pennsylvania), Costa Mesa (California), Atlanta, Arlington (Virginia), Miami, Palm Beach Gardens, Tampa, Orlando, Chicago, Las Vegas (Fashion Show), Skokie (Illinois), Houston, Oak Brook (Illinois), Las Vegas (Forum Shops), Huntington Station (New York), Mall of America, Canoga Park (California), McLean (Virginia) and Cherry Hill (New Jersey). (wikipedia)

Criticizing a theme: This puzzle has far too much crosswordese and junk. BEI is practically criminal, esp. on a Monday. [Note: the NY Times crossword gets progressively more difficult as the week goes on.] Know how often it's been in the NYT since I started blogging seven years ago? No times. Precisely no times. The last time was in April 2006, and that puzzle was a Thursday. BEI, man, that is a bad and likely Entirely Unnecessary choice up there. I mean, AROO is terrrrrible, but it's terrible in that way you can just blow past. BEI sticks with you. Ugh. Choice to go with NUANCE is probably not a good one. Leaves you with a terminal-U situation—really limits your options as a constructor. So you get the horrid AEIOU and horrider BEI.

Using video to explain a clue: I see that claw game every time I walk into Wegmans, but have never heard it called anything, let alone a CLAW CRANE (22A: Arcade game prize grabber).

It's smart, entertaining and interesting stuff.

Bravo, Rex Parker!

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