Jim Hilger’s New York Times crossword
It took me forever to find the theme. 18a, 61a: [With 61-Across, some beachwear … which literally can be found five times in this puzzle], WRAP-AROUND SUNGLASSES … where? Eventually I found them. In the top row, the last two letters are SH and if you wrap around to the left of that row, you finish the word with ADES. Row 5 has SHADE and S(ty). The center row has (nata)SHA and DES(pair). Row 11, (ba)S and HADES. Bottom row, SHAD and ES(s). I would like the gimmick better if it hadn’t started us off with ADES at 1-Across. (A noted constructor, in an email completely unrelated to tonight’s NYT, wrote “ADE isn’t really a word, despite what crosswords have claimed forever.” It’s true. Check a dictionary.)
I actually had one square wrong. Where 5d: [Spiraling] and 15a: [G.M.C. truck] met, I gambled on ATWIRL and TIERRA. Turns out it’s ASWIRL (which is in the dictionary I checked, unlike ATWIRL) and SIERRA. I guess the dictionary thing overrides my disgruntlement that we didn’t have a more obvious SIERRA clue (referencing mountains, perhaps). I was leaning towards ROME instead of ROMA for 14a: [Ruler of Gallia and Britannia, once], but 4d: [1974 Peace Nobelist] pointed towards the Japanese SATO more than the nonsensical SETO. (That’s Eisaku Satō, former prime minister, honored for his anti-nukes work.)
Favorite fill: 3d. [Adviser on dos and don’ts], EMILY POST. I had the E and I and couldn’t see how ETIQUETTE EXPERT would fit. I also liked how neighbors THE and CAN were clued as a unit … though I confess the toilet definition comes to mind before the prison one.
I didn’t love most of the fill, though. One EMEER variant, one ALETA, and any number of ALEROS go a long way. They go too far, in fact. Over the edge. I would like those answers to wrap around the grid … and fall off it entirely.
Doug Peterson’s Fireball crossword, “Mobile Alabama”
There’s no comma between the city and state because that’s the theme—the abbreviation for Alabama, AL, is mobile, and that letter pair moves within a word to form a different word.
- 20a. [Line from a young basketballer who idolizes Shaq?], I WANT TO BE O’NEAL. Riffing on Garbo’s classic line from yesterday’s movie quote puzzle, “I want to be alone.”
- 34a. [Roller-skating revue featuring Chippendales dancers?], MALES ON WHEELS. Originally Meals on Wheels.
- 42a. [Alaska?], STATE OF DENALI. State of denial.
- 56a. [Heated “Myra Breckinridge” debates at the book club?], VIDAL ARGUMENTS. Valid arguments.
Nice assortment of base phrases, though the valid arguments are a tad duller than the others.
Here are the clues I liked best:
- 49a. [Budgetary metaphors], PIES. Every day this month, you can vote for the Munchies: People’s Choice Food Awards. I make a point of voting for Hoosier Mama Pie Company, which is AWESOME and I’m not even a pie person, and New Glarus Brewing Company, because their Spotted Cow cream ale is worth the trip to Wisconsin (New Glarus doesn’t distribute their wares outside of America’s Dairyland). And there are crossword tie-ins for both: It was Nancy Shack who told me about Hoosier Mama, and Doug Brown has brewed his own knock-off Spotted Cow because he doesn’t live in Wisconsin anymore.
- 2d. [TV show inspired by the 1975 New York magazine article “Night-Shifting for the Hip Fleet”], TAXI.
- 5d. [Sound quality], FITNESS. Because if it is sound, it is fit.
- 21d. [Bell or truck preceder], TACO. Nailed it with zero crossings.
Unfortunate parts of this puzzle: None, really. It’s Doug, you know? You expect no different.
Marti DuGuay-Carpenter’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Jeffrey’s review
Theme: Worned out stuff
- 20A. [Post-marathon sounds?] – FATIGUED PANTS
- 37A. [Golfer’s outdated set of clubs?] – TIRED IRONS
- 43A. [Casualty of an all-night poker game?] – POOPED DECK
- 55A. [Problem for Sherlock when he’s out of tobacco?] – EXHAUSTED PIPE
- 2D. [Country’s McEntire] – REBA. She was on “Hee Haw” several times.
- 40D. [Prophetic attire worn by most doomed characters on the original “Star Trek” TV show] – RED SHIRT. Wanna see some RED SHIRTS on “Hee Haw”? Pfft You Were Gone
- 54D. [Florida attraction] – EPCOT. R. I. P. Annette Funicello. Can’t find any shots of her in EPCOT, but here she is at Disneyland. Singing the line “Let the Tweeters tweet”.
I’m worned out. See you next week.
Aimee Lucido’s AV Club crossword, “Grating”
I haven’t seen a hidden-words-in-longer-answers puzzle in which the circled squares alternate with regular ones like this before. It’s most elegant in 36a, where the pattern holds to the answer’s end. Each phrase has a hidden 4-letter cheese:
- 20a. [Criticize symbolically, as a political figure], BURN IN EFFIGY, Brie.
- 36a. [Episodes of excitement about scientific discoveries or new Star Trek movies, e.g.], NERDGASMS, Edam. Terrific answer, that.
- 43a. [Globalization proponent’s pursuit], FREE TRADE, Feta.
- 58a. [What 20-, 36-, and 43-Across each do], CUT THE CHEESE. You wanna open a window in here?
Five more things:
- 9a. [AIM alternative], GCHAT. Do many people still use AIM?
- 33a. [Collegiate stand locales], KEG. I don’t think keg-stands had been thought of yet back when I was in college. That’s a headstand/handstand on a keg? No, it’s when you’re dangled over a keg/doing a handstand and chug as much as you can upside down. That can’t be healthy. See also: DO SHOTS.
- 46a. [Adventure game partly inspired by Jules Verne], MYST. Did not know the Verne angle.
- 71a. [Emulate politicians engulfed by scandal, say], DENY. Great clue.
- 4d. [Adult men who enjoy Hasbro horse toys], BRONIES. They appreciate My Little Pony. One of my son’s friends is a brony.
I agree with the CRAYOLA clue. Roseart crayons/pencils/etc. are nowhere near as good as Crayola crayons, Dixon Ticonderoga pencils, etc.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Musical Compositions”
Oh! There’s the theme. I couldn’t find it, and then it popped out at me. (Matt’s booked solid today so you get an abbreviated Amy write-up.)
The long answers are hiding four-letter stage musicals: RENT in LEDGER ENTRY, AIDA in AIR RAID ALARM, HAIR in THAI RESTAURANTS, NINE in BORN IN EAST L.A., and FAME in the “is that really a thing” HELL OF A MESS.
Not sure why 46d: [Stoppage times?] clues NIGHTS. Stoppage of what? Why the question mark?
Anyone else have AIR RAID SIREN and then AIR RAID ALERT before the ALARM came out?
Fave fill: GAYDAR, ICE POP, ROLL CALL.
Toughest corner: The ASYLA/SOEUR/SPASM bit.
Least desirable fill: Boy, look at ESSO, ASEA, ONE-A, IN A TIE clued as [Knotted], and ORONO.