Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle: Go all in in poker lingo / THU 8-4-22 / After-dinner drink made with creme de menthe / Letter-shaped piece of piping / Tobiko or ikura at Japanese restaurant

Constructor: Ella Dershowitz

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME:

POP-UP SHOP (60A: Temporary spot to do business … or a hint to answering 17-, 35- and 41-Across)

Theme answers:

Word of the Day:

Sam RAIMI 

— the letters "SHOP" sort of … pop up in three different longer answers (this basically means that from the "S" you go up one for your "H" then over one for your "O" and then back down to the row you started on for your "P" and the rest of the answer:) —

• • •

with Shaun, my best friend of 31 years, at
Sleeping Bear Dunes in northern Michigan
(not pictured: our spouses)

This was a very easy Thursday puzzle. Much easier than yesterday's puzzle, for me, insofar as I was able to fully understand and complete it. This one has a much tighter, neater, cleaner, more elegant concept, though it wasn't obvious. Or, rather, the revealer wasn't obvious. I knew what was happening with the whole "SHOP" thing very early, but I was just guessing at the rationale until I hit the revealer, which the theme perfectly expresses. I had fun trying to guess what the revealer might be. Mainly my problem was that I didn't know if the gimmick involved "SHOP" or "HOP" (since the answer seemed to be, you know, hopping up one row and then back down again). Actually, at first I thought the theme related to premium cable TV channels, in that I thought

BRITISH OPEN

involved all the letters headed straight up from the "S" in "

OHSNAP

" (so … BRITI and then SHO straight up and then the answer continuing on with PEN). So I thought SHO (or Showtime) had somehow popped up, and later on I'd be running into, I dunno, HBO or something.

Screen%20Shot%202022 08 03%20at%2010.30.15%20PM

Figured out what the hopping letters were *actually* doing with the next themer, but still couldn't decide if shopping or hopping was involved. Thought maybe that the formation of "SHOP" into a kind of box was going to lead to a revealer like "BOX STORE" but I guess those are usually called "big-box stores" (unless they actually sell boxes).

Screen%20Shot%202022 08 03%20at%2010.32.59%20PM

While I enjoyed wondering what the revealer was going to be, there was not any point at which I got genuinely stuck or challenged at all, which is kind of a disappointment on a Thursday. High-payoff trickery is what I want on this day of the week, and it was in short supply. The hardest answer for me was actually

ESP

(39A: Abbr. meaning "in particular"), which bugged me so much I actually threw it out to the house (i.e. my wife and friends) to see if they could get it so I wouldn't have to think about it any more (my non-solving friend Steve got it immediately). Why would you get cute with crosswordese like this? Why turn a repeater like

ESP

from innocuous to lamentable like this? You've got the fake "ability"

ESP

and the "Spain on an Olympic scoreboard"

ESP

, who exactly was clamoring for weird abbr.

ESP

? Beyond that, nothing very remarkable, bad or good, about the fill today.

GROWTH SPURT

is a winner. Everything else is just OK.

While I enjoyed wondering what the revealer was going to be, there was not any point at which I got genuinely stuck or challenged at all, which is kind of a disappointment on a Thursday. High-payoff trickery is what I want on this day of the week, and it was in short supply. The hardest answer for me was actually, which bugged me so much I actually threw it out to the house (i.e. my wife and friends) to see if they could get it so I wouldn't have to think about it any more (my non-solving friend Steve got it immediately). Why would you get cute with crosswordese like this? Why turn a repeater likefrom innocuous to lamentable like this? You've got the fake "ability"and the "Spain on an Olympic scoreboard", who exactly was clamoring for weird abbr.? Beyond that, nothing very remarkable, bad or good, about the fill today.is a winner. Everything else is just OK.

HAM

). 

PSI

= "pounds per sq. in." (4D: Inflation spec), so it's the air kind of inflation, not the economic kind.

UFOs

are "dishes" because of their shape (14A: Dish seen around the world?). I don't know why a

BOW

is a [Finishing touch, so to speak]; I mean, I get the finishing touch part, but it seems literal to me. Put a bow on it. Nice final flourish. I guess it can be used metaphorically? Pretty sure it's the ribbon bow and not the bend from the waist kind of bow. Guess

HYPOS

are "hypotheticals." News to me.

LIESL

is really coming at us this week. Weird. Hoping you all have a wonderful stretch of puzzles coming your way during my absence. I won't be looking at crosswords, or puzzles in general, or anything involving a grid. Maps? Nope, too griddy, don't need 'em, won't use 'em. Gonna drive around L.A. by feel, and by shouting at other drivers and pedestrians for help with directions. It's gonna work great. See you later.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on

Anything need explaining? "Cuban" is a sandwich (hence).= "pounds per sq. in." (), so it's the air kind of inflation, not the economic kind.are "dishes" because of their shape (). I don't know why ais a []; I mean, I get the finishing touch part, but it seems literal to me. Put a bow on it. Nice final flourish. I guess it can be used metaphorically? Pretty sure it's the ribbon bow and not the bend from the waist kind of bow. Guessare "hypotheticals." News to me.is really coming at us this week. Weird. Hoping you all have a wonderful stretch of puzzles coming your way during my absence. I won't be looking at crosswords, or puzzles in general, or anything involving a grid. Maps? Nope, too griddy, don't need 'em, won't use 'em. Gonna drive around L.A. by feel, and by shouting at other drivers and pedestrians for help with directions. It's gonna work great. See you later.Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook