Doug Peterson’s New York Times crossword
Four lively theme answers end with words that, as verbs, are synonyms:
- 17a. The DAILY JUMBLE! Tyler Hinman and I used to race on the Jumble on the Chicago Tribune website. I’m pretty sure Tyler entered all the answers and solved the jumble/anagram part in under 10 seconds once. In other Jumble news, @FakeWillShortz did a Jumble riff on the #humblebrag concept the other day.
- 28a. The IPOD SHUFFLE. Anyone else thinking of “The Curly Shuffle” or “The Super Bowl Shuffle” right about now?
- 47a. Colorful phrase, a MAD SCRAMBLE.
- 63a. LEMONADE MIX, feh. I’m off powdered drink mixes these days.
I like the theme all right, and I like the exclusion of a wrap-it-all-up-and-tie-it-with-a-bow explanatory answer.
I’m surprised to see a partial at 1a, and surprised to see fill like ELIA NEVA LONI EPEE in a puzzle by Doug P. Fresh. Plus that RIFLER at 22d! The clue, [Ransacker], is every bit as awkward as that answer. The UNCLASPing at the end of a hug seems a tad weird, too.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “In a Roundabout Way”
We’ve got a 68-word themeless crossword with plenty of fun long answers this week:
- 14a. “NOM NOM NOM,” what the LOLcats say when they can, in fact, haz cheezburger.
- 18a. DOBBY, [Harry Potter’s house elf]. Not a long answer, but fun for anyone who’s read/seen the Potter series. (Dobby is the one who looks like Vladimir Putin, which outraged Putin.)
- 20a. Favorite clue: [To some, a “rat with wings”] is a PIGEON. Mm-hmm.
- 33a. The Razzie, or GOLDEN RASPBERRY award, is the [Worst Actor winner’s prize]. Hey! There’s a Sporcle quiz for that—all the actors who’ve won that dubious honor. I missed six of them.
- 52a. LISA MARIE Presley was [Michael’s wife, for a while]. Michael Jackson, of course.
- 4d. ANWAR SADAT, [Egyptian president of the 1970s]. Hosni Mubarak just didn’t want to stop being president after Sadat.
- 12d. “TO BE FAIR…” can be a [Devil’s advocate phrase]. To be fair, Newt Gingrich isn’t…you can complete the sentence yourself.
- 20d. PERT PLUS! We had to stop buying that when we got our second bottle with an “off” chemical smell to it.
- 24d. [Hogs] is a verb and that’s what BOGARTS means. I learned of the word via this song when I was in Prague in ’97.
- 29d. “GUESS AGAIN!”
Allan E. Parrish’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Neville’s review
It’s the old switcheroo at the end of this puzzle’s theme answers. Care to show off your four-letter anagramming prowess?
- 17a. [Bakery cookware] – MUFFIN PANS. What is the difference between a muffin pan and a cupcake pan?
- 28a. [Quiet times for baby … and mom] – AFTERNOON NAPS. I’ve only experienced one side of this coin, and I don’t remember it.
- 44a. [Ability to focus] – ATTENTION SPAN. What?
- 58a. [Crisp cookie] – GINGER SNAP. Put cookies in the grid and I will like your puzzle. Have you ordered your Girl Scout cookies yet?
Yes, it’s a classic anagram theme with a four-letter word. But it’s exhaustive and well-executed. That’s great for a Tuesday puzzle.
Let’s talk about the EPOXY of this puzzle. I enjoyed the symmetric Scrabbly letters of TEXMEX and ZSA ZSA “Nine Times” Gabor. The crossing APEX and ACME might’ve had a neater effect had the clues been the same. Unfortunately, I think a lot of this puzzle’s ZEST was LOST through some names that I learned from crosswords – OMOO, YMA Sumac, “Well, Did You EVAH” and No. 4 on the Shortz List, ESAI Morales. (Go check out that link now if you missed Matt Gaffney’s article last week.) Of the long vertical entries, EMPTY NET is by and far my favorite.
Not much more to say here – maybe my attention span is fading!
Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “In the Beginning” – Sam Donaldson’s review
If constructors were paid according to the Scrabble scores of their grids, Lynn Lempel would be making a mint off of this puzzle. Rare letters abound here, and they upstage a theme that, while certainly common enough, still delivers on the entertainment value. The four theme entries are common terms with an IN added at the start, in each case changing the first word enough to yield a new, wacky phrase that is a clued accordingly:
The theme entries are nice enough, though only INCOME OF AGE struck me as really good. One would think there are lots and lots of possibilities with this theme, so only really good ones should make the cut. Like I said up top, the fill is the star of this show. I thought a third Z had made its way into the solution when I tried IZE as the answer to [Suffix for graph or magnet] (guess who read the first and last words of the clue and little else?), but the suffix was ITE, maybe the only blemish in an otherwise fine grid. Two more appearances by “of” bother me not, as I liked LOTS OF TIME and OUT OF TURN. I didn’t know “LEDA and the Swan” (a Yeats poem, apparently), but it was gettable through crossings.
I didn’t know Euro-punk ’80s artist ADAM ANT was known for being [Unshakable], though he was always considered a goody two-shoes.