Matt Ginsberg’s New York Times crossword
Is it Thursday in NYT land? Yes? Then you kinda have to expect some befuddlement. Matt likes to stretch the envelope and poke some holes in it, so Thursday is a good day to find one of his puzzles. This time, he pairs seven 7-letter answers with their next-door neighbors and lists their clues together in no particular order. But to help the solver, Matt and Will tell you right off the bat that these word pairs are anagrams of each other:
- 1A/8A. [World records? * Natural seasoning] clues SEA SALT and ATLASES, not in that order.
- 15A/16A. [Division division * Cut] clues ABRIDGE and BRIGADE, not in that order. Once I figured out where BRIGADE was, the anagram aspect helped me suss out its partner answer.
- 17A/18A. GRIEVED and DIVERGE mean [Was sorrowful * Separate].
- 41A/43A. THICKEN and KITCHEN are clued with [Coagulate * Galley]. Kitchen is never my first thought for galley—first proofreading, then a ship, then a boat’s kitchen.
- 67A/69A. With JoePa (PATERNO), I wanted the partner word to be PRONATE (to walk with the weight shifted to the outside of the feet) but got PROTEAN instead. Clues: [Longtime Penn State head coach * Versatile].
- 71A/72A. [Moderate tempo * Done] clues ANDANTE/AT AN END. Did you find the two multi-word theme answers to be tougher, too?
- 73A/74A. [Like St. Petersburg in 1914, 1924 and 1991 * Drift aimlessly] clues RENAMED and MEANDER.
14 x 7 = 98 theme squares? Whoa! That’s a whole lot.
Toughest clues, best clues, tricky stuff, cool stuff:
- 22A. [Where Joe gets a six-pack?] is the GYM, where he works on his abs.
- 46A. SHED is clued as [Radiate, as light]. Do people talk about light sources literally shedding light on things, or is “shed some light” strictly metaphorical?
- 51A. Did you know [Tailor’s chalk, typically] is TALC? Reasonable (but wild) guess that proved correct.
- 27A, 56A. [Big mouth] pulls double duty as the clue for both MAW and YAP. Love both words!
- 2D. Crosswordese river + trivia! [River that was the ancient dividing line between Rome and Carthage] is the EBRO in Spain.
- 5D. Here’s one of those “word illustrated by examples that distract us from the right path” clues: [Always or forever] is an ADVERB.
- 7D. You know Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss? [Dr. Seuss, informally, and others] clues TEDS. Ouch! Needed three crossings…or maybe it was four.
- 10D. LIVE BAIT can be a [Worm, often].
- 12D. Crosswordese puppeteer Tony SARG is clued as [America’s Puppet Master]. ROVE is also four letters long, and I briefly considered it. But that’s an anachronism now, isn’t it?
- 31D. Am having trouble feeling that BANS and [Blacks out] are fully interchangeable. Example, anyone?
- 33D. ETHYL is an [Antiknock additive]? If you say so.
- 47D. [Link letters] aren’t the LPGA, they’re the HTTP at the start of a URL.
- 52D. I know what a CAFTAN is but [Cousin of a boubou]? Wha…?
- 55D. [Tough hit for an infielder] is a LINER. Baseball, schmaseball.
Doug Peterson’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “University Row”—Janie’s review
Once again, seems like ages since we’ve seen the Peterson by-line and (once again) it’s a welcome addition to the puzzle day–even if the puzzle (like this one) doesn’t draw from the freshest theme territory. Still, the result is solid and it’s entertaining as well. Today, the first word of each of the theme phrases is also the name of a “university”; each is found by itself, in its own “row” in the grid; and two use all 15 squares going across as well. The institutions of higher learning saluted today appear as a part of:
- 17A. DUKE OF EDINBURGH [Title held by Prince Philip]. Mr. Queen…
- 26A. BROWN MUSTARD [Spicy condiment]. I start to salivate just thinking about it. Mmmm. With knackwurst and sauerkraut.
- 48A. RICE KRISPIES [Breakfast brand with a trio of mascots]. Another peppy clue/fill combo: Snap, Crackle and Pop! Haven’t thought about those guys in a looong time. (Hold the brown mustard, please…)
- 63A. TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS [Ancient wonder dedicated to a Greek goddess]. And the other six? Here’s a little refresher.
There isn’t a lot of longer fill of the non-theme variety, but between the fill and the clues there is lots of “play.” Note the symmetry (and the directional opposites…) in the vertical placement of LIE DOWN [Recline] and SPOKE UP [Made one’s feelings known]. And see how “U” holds the third square in the words that fill out those columns in TRUMPET [Dizzy Gillespie’s instrument] and CRUSADE [Fight for a cause]. Whether by design or chance, these elements add cohesion to the creation.
I also enjoyed seeing OLLIE [Stan’s comedy partner] (as in Stan Laurel and Oliver [Ollie] Hardy); [Game for pint-sized players] as the clue for T-BALL; [Spot of illness?] for the one measly MEASLE; SPIKE, a [Sudden increase] (in fever, for instance, brought on by the aforementioned “illness”); GO NUTS [Freak out]; and “HOLA!” or [“Hi!” in Hidalgo]. (There’s a little and totally charming Off-Broadway show by Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler, btw, called Dear Edwina that features a catchy, clever tune called “Hola, Lola!”) And who doesn’t like being reminded of the tasty product made by [“Famous” cookie guy] AMOS or the compelling films featuring [Actor Gyllenhaal] JAKE? Rhetorical questions.
James Sajdak’s Los Angeles Times crossword
The theme is a quote theme. Eh, quote themes are usually rather dull ventures. What PuzzleGirl said at L.A. Crossword Confidential is a fair representation of my feelings about quote puzzles.
Peter Gordon’s Fireball crossword, “Themeless 3”
Top 4 answers:
- 8D. MATRYOSHKA DOLLS are those Russian nesting dolls. [They nest]. With the final LL in place first, I suspected a GULL of some sort.
- 62A, 46D. Ah, the SCHMALTZ/SHORTZ crossing is fun to say aloud. One is a noted [Puzzling guy] and the other is chicken [Fat].
- 13D. The LEGOLAND theme park is a [Place chockablock with blocks]. We’ve never gone. Would it be worthwhile to make the schlep to Schaumburg?
Top 12 clues:
- 1A. [Give a hand to?] clues STIFF-ARM.
- 22A. [Fit to serve?] is EDIBLE. (Not ONEA, luckily.)
- 26A. [Blue preceder or follower] is NILE: the color Nile blue and the river called the Blue Nile.
- 47A. [“Hair” piece] is a SONG in the musical.
- 55A. [Scourge of surfers] is ADWARE, not jellyfish or dangerous ocean currents.
- 7D. [Angry reaction] clues RISE, as in “get a rise out of” someone.
- 11D. [Having hives, say] is APIAN, as bees have hives.
- 21D. [National income source] is RENTALS—National is a car rental company.
- 33D. I was just showing my son the Fibonacci sequence in his math book yesterday, so I knew the [Fibonacci sequence starter] is ONE. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55… This has something to do with the swirly pattern of a sunflower’s seeds, but I don’t know what.
- 34D. [Tete-a-tetes, e.g.] are SOFAS like this as well as one-on-one chats.
- 45D. [It can be grave] clues an ACCENT mark. No relation to the VANDAL who’s a [Tombstone toppler, say] at a grave site.
- 55D. [Fox Indian] is not SAC! No, it’s APU, the Indian émigré on Fox’s The Simpsons.
Top 1 grumble:
- 3D. [Some Kurdish speakers] are Iranians. Are they IRANIS? Can someone show me a solid, current reference that proves IRANI = Iranian in educated discourse?
Ben Tausig’s Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, “Doubly Painful”
- LIL BOW WOW is the [Young rapper who was Snoop Dogg’s protege, formerly].
- “HOW SOON IS NOW?” is the title of that [1985 Smiths single with the line “I am human and I need to be loved / Just like everybody else does”]. Holy cats, that’s the title? I know the song but had no idea that’s what it’s called.
- In basketball, a three-point shot is delivered “FROM DOWNTOWN.” [NBA announcer’s “threeee!”] is an equivalent exclamation.
- BROWN COWS are [Root beer floats made with chocolate ice cream]. With vanilla, they’re black cows…though isn’t the black cow likely to be a lighter brown than a brown cow?
- The [“L.A. Woman” refrain] MOJO RISIN’ is an anagram of…Jim Orison? No, wait. Mr. Mojo Risin’ anagrams to Jim Morrison.
- [Lightning-fast Bolt] is runner USAIN Bolt.
- [Directed to the video of Will Shortz’s duet with Whitney Houston (http://tinyurl.2g9mqh), say] clues RICKROLL’D. You know what that is, right?
- SANDRA OH is a [“Grey’s Anatomy” actress]. She had a great motorcycle-helmet scene in the movie Sideways, and it’s great to see her full name in the grid.