Robyn Weintraub’s New York Times crossword
Fun theme! Familiar board/party games double up:
- 17a. [Tornado monitors?], TWISTER CHECKERS.
- 29a. [What the only detective on a case has?], CLUE MONOPOLY.
- 48a. [What a remorseful Iago might have said?], “SORRY, OTHELLO.”
- 62a. [Doubleheader … or what 17-, 29- and 48-Across are?], BACK-TO-BACK GAMES. I’m not sure if this is a contrived phrase or if sports people use the phrase.
I might have liked the theme even more if the revealer had been swapped out in favor of a fourth game pair. Any suggestions of other 15-letter combos?
- 3d. [High-pitched group with a 1958 #1 hit, with “the”], CHIPMUNKS. Would be helpful to provide the title of said 1958 hit, no?
- 6d. [Rush-hour subway rider, metaphorically], SARDINE. It’s because commuters are often packed in oil.
- 46d. [Half a police interrogation team, maybe] GOOD COP.
- 35d. [“Lost in Yonkers” playwright], NEIL SIMON.
I’ve got a grammar question about one clue: 10a. [Uttered, as a farewell], BADE. Not sure about this one. Is it the farewell that’s being bid, or the person who’s being bid farewell?
Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Floor Leaders” – Dave Sullivan’s review
Five types of floors end four theme entries in today’s CrosSynergy puzzle:
- [NCAA hoops tournament, familiarly] was THE BIG DANCE – I like the mental image of basketball players asking each other out to a dance; a “dance floor” is where it would happen.
- [Falls behind in a footrace] clued LOSES GROUND – as anyone who has travelled to Europe knows, the first floor is NOT the ground floor. The ground floor is either “floor zero” (and floors below that are negative!) or it is rez-de-chaussée in French-speaking countries (abbreviated as R.C.). Pretty confusing–I hit 1 in elevators too many times on our recent trip when I wanted the ground floor.
- [Insignificant amount] was A DROP IN THE OCEAN – “ocean floor.”
- Something I’d rather not think about, a [Nag’s destination] was a GLUE FACTORY – are there such things anymore? A “factory floor” is where things are manufactured, and I’m using “things” in the very technical sense of the word.
- [Peer-to-peer music swapping, e.g.] clued FILE TRADING – a “trading floor” is where traders in the stock market work. So much of that is now computerized, I wonder how many traders actually talk with one another on a physical floor?
Interesting theme and pretty dense grid with five entries. My FAVE goes to the clue [Pass out at the table] for DEAL. Nice misdirection there. E-BONDs are a bit obscure ([WWII investment option]), but since I believe these were the common savings bonds we were all given as children when we were in school, I’ll give it a pass (or maybe those were EE bonds now that I think about it). My UNFAVE goes to dictator Mobotu SESE Seko, who has the distinction of being installed by the US and then proceeding to amass an incredible fortune at the expense of the citizens of his country of Zaire. He’s also known for multiple human rights violations there. Keep him away from our puzzles, please!
C. C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s review
Colour themes are a well-worn theme trope. I’m going to wager that numerous “shades of red” puzzles have been done in the past. It’s possible this particular theme has been done too; however it was fresh to me, and unexpected! I saw the red part early and confess I rolled my eyes a bit. Then I got to REDCROSS (8-letters, which is why the puzzle is 16×15) and was impressed at the creative spin this puzzle has! Two pairs of answers intersect at parts that are shades of red. It’s worth noting that one each of the down answers and the across answers are at the front / back of the word; an unusual touch, but also a bit of refreshing variation facilitated by the revealer. (Normally it would be too confusing and make the theme too difficult to spot.)
Ok, the theme answers:
- 21a, [*Small fruit first cultivated in Oregon], BING CHERRY. I briefly considered that a “phrases beginning with search engines” theme at this point.
- 41a, [Humanitarian symbol, and a hint to what happens where the answers to starred clues intersect], RED CROSS
- 58a, [*Vin Scully will be its 2014 Grand Marshal], ROSE PARADE. I have no idea who Mr./Mrs. Scully is, and only a vague idea of what the Rose Parade is. It’s in California? Yes!
- 12a, [*Chain named for a Stones hit], RUBY TUESDAY. Classic song!
- 24a, [*”Clue” suspect], MISS SCARLET.
Generally this slightly larger grid played quite lively, with an offbeat feel due to the unusual arrangement of theme answers. Personal favourites included DOTELL, TRIVIA, INTROUBLE, LASCALA, ITSADEAL, MISHMASH, IMDEAD, CHARIOT, HOTOVEN (initially I considered it a “red car” answer, but then I realised that it’s used in those extremely pedantic cooking instructions!), LASIK, CHARADES, and TOPEKA. That’s quite a list, nê? Similar to Amy’s objection above, I wasn’t overly pleased to encounter murderous dictator PAPADOC Duvalier, but on balance a most entertaining smorgasbord of answers!
Ben Tausig/Taussig’s Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, “My Bad”
This week’s theme is about mispelled words (sic).
- 17a. [Name on the label of the world’s most popular soft drink, until the year 1009], COCO-COLA. Wrong year in clue, answer should be COCA-COLA.
- 24a. [IcyHat, e.g.], TOPCAL ANALGESIC. Should be IcyHot, TOPICAL.
- 45a. [Genre associated with LDS]. PSYCEDELIC MUSIC. LSD, not the Mormons, and PSYCHEDELIC.
- 58a. [Programming language created by Bill Gates and Woody Allen in the 1970s], MICROSOOFT BASIC. Paul Allen, not Woody Allen, and MICROSOFT.
I love the LDS/LSD swap, don’t you? It embodies just the right amount of dissonant surprise.
Five more things:
- 33a. [Letter similar to a German Eszett], BETA. Lo, the many times I have edited a medical paper by an author who had no idea how to get a beta into the manuscript, so they used ß instead of β. The former is equivalent to “ss,” while the latter is a Greek “b.”
- 4d. [Leader repeatedly praised in the (doctored) Mandarin edition of Bill Clinton’s “My Life”], MAO. Would you rather have 90% of your book available to the Chinese readership, or none? Because 100% is not an option for the Chinese censors.
- 7d. [Giant play opening, e.g.?], SNAP. The New York Football Giants, as opposed to large people, an adjective, or the San Francisco Baseball Giants. When I test-solved this puzzle, the clue seemed cruel as the Giants had not won a game, but now they have.
- 23d. [Like Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani], QATARI. He’s quite young.
- 25d. [Moves very much unlike Jagger, more like sludge], OOZES. Heh. Will Mick ooze when he’s in his 90s?
3.75 stars. I like intentional errors so much more than the inadvertent ones.