Gary Cee’s New York Times crossword
“X in Y” is the theme here, rendered visually with the X word literally appearing “in” the Y word, by way of crossing it in the grid:
- 14a, 2d. [With “in” and 2-Down, with respectful humility], HAT in HAND.
- 19a, 12d. [With “in” and 12-Down, as a precaution], JUST in CASE.
- 24a, 25d. [With “in” and 25-Down, blue ribbon earner], BEST in SHOW.
- 53a, 41d. [With “in” and 41-Down, heir to the throne]. NEXT in LINE.
- 62a, 55d. [With “in” and 55-Down, use without proper respect, as a name], TAKE in VAIN.
- 68a, 60d. [With “in” and 60-Down, prepare for an ambush], LIE in WAIT.
Solid theme with ironclad symmetry. The theme necessitates a dozen cross-referenced clues, though, which tends to irk more solvers than it delights.
Just as in Dan Feyer’s Tuesday puzzle, this one’s got a lot of proper nouns—I counted 22. Plus there is some not-so-familiar vocabulary. To wit:
- 45a. [South American monkey], TITI. Knowing of the famous Lake Titicaca in South America, I am wondering if the TITI throws caca. Maybe right into the lake?
- 29d. [Lyric poem], EPODE. I know this from crosswords and not from studying English lit.
- 54d. [Literary Hun king], ATLI. A romanticized version of Attila the Hun, as described in Icelandic sagas. I think Tyler Hinman and I once named our pub quiz team after Atli. I’m feeling inspired. I want to write about a kinder, gentler Atli. Atli the Clement.
- 33d. [English architect Jones], INIGO. A name I have known for as long as the EPODE, and also through crosswords. Furthermore, I once worked with a woman who named her baby boy Inigo, and that kid is probably about 18 now. Maybe he’ll become famous and give us a fresher-than-The Princess Bride clue for INIGO.
- 34d. [Tenor Ronan ___], TYNAN. Are you up on your Irish tenors?
The longer fill in this puzzle is pretty fancy, and more broadly familiar than much of the shorter stuff. We’ve got TRAIL BIKES, I SURRENDER, WENT TO POT, SATIN DOLL, FERVENT, and METAPHOR all lighting up. Alas, the Scowl-o-Meter was triggered a good bit more often than one hopes.
I don’t care for RUB IN (31d. [Apply, as lotion]) sitting in the middle of a puzzle that plays games with “X in Y” phrases. Is it supposed to be thematic?
Tony Orbach’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Plunging Necklines” – Dave Sullivan’s review
Constructor Tony Orbach continues the downward trend in recent CS puzzles (smiley emoticon here) by giving us 4 theme entries that “plunge” downward and begin with a type of “neckline”:
- [Stew that might be made with a snapper] is TURTLE SOUP – I think “turtlenecks” went out in the 80’s, right? Maybe that means they’re due for a comeback.
- [Navy yard activity] is BOATBUILDING – I had never heard of a “boat neck,” but see below for a picture of what seems familiar to me, I just never knew what it was called.
- [2005 political thriller starring Natalie Portman] is V FOR VENDETTA – Didn’t this become a TV series, or am I thinking of something else? V-necks are another type of top.
- Another nautical clue, [Shipmate] is CREW MEMBER – Are crewneck sweaters different from boat necks? I missed that episode of Project Runway.
Interesting theme idea; just wish boat neck was more familiar to me. I’ve just started raising bees in my backyard, so the entry BROOD, clued here as [Flock], was my FAVE. In the bee world (and many other animals I think), “brood” are the young that are raised by the adults; it also means to “worry” or “be deep in thought,” I guess as a hen would be as she sits on a brood of eggs. [Edited to add: I wrote this before finding the same entry in today’s NYT!] My UNFAVE entry was missing the opportunity to clue YELP as the online rating site ([Cry out] was used instead).
Jerome Gunderson and Marti DuGuay-Carpenter’s Los Angeles Times crossword
A hooker! I had to stare for a few seconds post-solve to get Ms. DuGuay-Carpenter and Mr. Gunderson’s theme… The four longest across answers’ first words are anagrams of each other. It feels a bit naked without a revealer, still, a nice find! There aren’t that many sets of five letters you can do that with, especially without using the letter “S”. We have:
- FLIEDTOLEFT, [Hit a ball caught by Ted Williams, say]. FLIED makes me wince! I assume it’s the standard for this meaning, I’m not too clued up on baseball terminology.
- FIELDHOCKEY, [Outdoor sport with sticks]… in America. Over here we call it “hockey”.
- FILEDACLAIM, [Tried to collect unemployment benefits, say]
- FIDELCASTRO, [Longtime Cuban leader]
Other notable bits of the puzzle:
- Just plain fun answers:
- HOODIE, TIPPYTOE and TAGSALE
- KERR, [“The Galloping Gourmet”]. I needed all the crossings for this. A British TV chef, apparently. Old British TV chefs are not one of my strong suits… Still, a perfectly legitimate clue/answer.
- OLEANDER, [Poisonous flowering shrub]. The kid behind me when I was growing up ended up in intensive care after making a bow and arrows with the wood… It’s dangerous stuff!
- FATBOY, [Oxymoronically named British DJ ___ Slim]. A gimme for me, but I’m actually surprised to see him! Didn’t think he was so well-known Stateside! He was originally the bassist from The Housemartins. Here’s a videoof one of his better-known songs…A basic theme, but plenty of interesting stuff in the fill: 3.25 stars!
Ben Tausig’s Ink Well crossword, “AC/DC”
“AC/DC” is slang for bisexual, someone who “goes both ways.” Four theme answers contain GO both ways, i.e. GO and OG, and the other two explain the theme:
- 17a. [Pair of satanic nations, in the bible], GOG AND MAGOG. GO is coming and going both ways twice, if you allow overlap.
- 24a. [Cartesian phrase], COGITO ERGO SUM.
- 29a. [Part of a Cookie Monster costume], GOOGLY EYES. I love googly eyes.
- 43a. [Engage in 61-Across, as it were, or what each of this puzzle’s theme answers literally includes], GO BOTH WAYS.
- 50a. [Ruined], GONE TO THE DOGS.
- 61a. [Certain flexible attraction], BISEXUALITY.
It’s about time our bi friends have been the subject of a crossword theme! Not everybody is straight or gay, you know.
- 5a. [Doctor who started a labor movement?], LAMAZE. He is not a union leader.
- 28a. [Lucy Lawless character widely interpreted as queer], XENA. Kinda meshes with the theme. (See also: 55d. [Musician Michael who’s dated men and women], STIPE.)
- 41a. [Jewish event that might include cutting remarks?], BRIS. Yeow.
- 69a. [Mr. or Ms. Right], THE ONE. My closest bi friend found her Ms. Right before she ever met Mr. Right. There were plenty of Mr. Not Quite Rights.
- 11d. [December temp], MALL SANTA. Temporary worker, not temperature.
- 31d. [Homer put one on Marge’s finger when he proposed], ONION RING.
- 45d. [Lady-parts, slangily], HOO-HA. If you are in government and you use this term, you should resign immediately. (Unless you mean the “commotion, fuss, kerfuffle” HOO-HA, which is totally fine.)