Gary Cee’s New York Times crossword
This theme is all over the place. It’s song titles broken into chunks, cross-referenced clues all over the place, various chunks included in more than one song. There’s an IVEGOT YOU UNDERMYSKIN. ALL YOU NEEDISLOVE. JUSTTHEWAY YOU ARE. IWANTTOTAKE YOU HIGHER. Is that it? Okay, so the ALL and ARE are isolated by themselves, but appear in only one song. Each one has YOU in the middle(ish). It feels slightly like a quote theme with the multi-word portions jammed together.
RAHRAH IWANTTOTAKE YOU APIECE. That one threatens violence.
I’ve only heard of two of the four songs in the theme. Note that “Just the Way You Are” was also a huge hit more recently for Bruno Mars.
63 theme squares, yes? And so we find ourselves with ERES, ILO, KAI, HAIR COMB (! as opposed to …?), A WET, ODAS, IPSO, NITA (could’ve been NIBS or NITS beside EMMA and EPIC), ORLY, and A ROW. I like the GRAPE-NUTS IMPOSTER and THE JETS, though.
I’m not getting this clue for ELK, 7a. [Popular game?]. What on earth is “popular” doing in the clue? To trick you into thinking of popular board games or card games when actually it’s about hunting game animals with no particular degree of popularity?
Props for a fresh theme concept, but the dense cross-referencing action in the clues didn’t make for a very fun solve. 3.5 stars from me.
Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “I’M A Wanderer”—Ade’s write-up
Happy Hump Day, everyone! Hope most of you in the NYC area enjoyed your snow day yesterday. Now back to work (or wherever your destination is for today), and back to crossword puzzle solving. Today’s grid, offered up to us by Ms. Donna S. Levin, presents to us four theme answers in which the letters “IMA” appear consecutively, and shift over by two squares from the first and second theme answer, and from the third and fourth theme answer. Oh, and the ear worm created by the grid’s title and the hit song “The Wanderer” from Dion doesn’t hurt also!
- IMAGINARY LOVER (20A: [1978 hit for the Atlanta Rhythm Section]) – It was a hit, yes, but I’m sure a few people thought the lyrics were a bit creepy. Imaginary lovers never turn you down.
- DECIMAL POINT (25A: [Feature of Melvil Dewey’s book classification system])
- GUESSTIMATES (42A: [Figures in the ballpark])
- SANDS OF IWOJIMA (48A: [1949 WWII movie starring John Wayne])
The first question I have for all of you is who in your life is your BFF (1D: [Soul sister, slangily])? Yes, guys, you can use the term BFF…though I wouldn’t, personally. I’d probably stick with “bro for life” as an equivalent. Second consecutive day seeing ALTIMA in the grid (5D: [Nissan model]). Loved the appearance of MNEME, as well as its clue, as I now am enlightened as to where the word mnemonic originated from (46D: [Muse who inspired Roy G. Biv]). Actually, after starting the grid with BFF, I pretty much jumped around the puzzle, until getting DECIMAL POINT helped me to build the middle of the grid. Speaking of that middle of the grid, there were a lot of answers starting with the letter O: ONSET (30D: [Beginning]), OINKS (32A: [Porcine utterances]) and OBESE (37A: [Like Jabba the Hutt]). Also, ONE TO ONE branches off of obese heading down (37D: [Directly corresponding]). I think the old slogan for Overstock.com was, “It’s all about the O.” Guess you can say that a little bit with this grid as well.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ADAM (3D: [Famous rib donor]) – Our Super Bowl themed “sports…smarter” moments continue with the person who kicked two game-ending, game-winning field goals in the Super Bowl, current Indianapolis Colt ADAM Vinatieri. While a member of the New England Patriots, he kicked a 47-yard field goal at the end of Super Bowl XXXVI to defeat the St. Louis Rams and secure New England’s first Super Bowl. Two years later, he kicked a 41-yard field at the end of the game to defeat the Carolina Panthers in the Big Game. By the way, I was at that first Patriots’ Super Bowl win in person (XXXVI), sitting at the 50-yard line in the second level of the Superdome in New Orleans. Who knew then I was witnessing the birth of the Patriots’ eventual dominance in football?
Have a good day, everyone, and I’ll see you on Thursday!
Tyler Hinman’s American Values Club crossword, “Fun Buttons”
So apparently an AVX puzzle billed as 2/5 on the difficulty scale will play like a Weds/Thurs NYT puzzle for me. It’s not a MTWTF-NYT scale at all. Or maybe the theme is easier if you’re a gamer and know what to anticipate in the theme entries. 37a. PLAYSTATION is the [Device with a controller design suggested by the (aptly placed) four other longest answers in this puzzle], and TRIANGLE MAN, GENERATION X, SQUARESPACE, and STONE CIRCLE (that’s a thing?) refer to the iconic buttons on the PlayStation controller. I have used the X button for navigating Netflix from within our PlayStation but have never played a PS3 game requiring the other buttons.
Solid theme, though it doesn’t particularly resonate with me.
Six more bits:
- 23a. [Star slugger on the last Cleveland Indians team to win a World Series (1948, yikes)], AL ROSEN. Your 1948 does not impress me. #Cubs
- 36a. [Online black market named for a Greek market], AGORA. Have not heard of this one before. Nice to have a modern clue for that entry.
- 67a. [Say something cringeworthy], ERR. Weird clue. Saying something inappropriate is seldom described in “err” terms.
- 10d. [Cleared, as a suspect at the police station], FREE TO GO. Seems solidly in-the-language to me. Nice one.
- 13d. [Airer of Canadian Football League games, briefly], TSN. For real? We’re being quizzed on Canadian cable channels now? I wonder if that’s the channel I saw curling on in a hotel room once.
- 45d. [Cigarette company’s claim (gee, thanks)], LESS TAR. “We’re still going to put some tar into your lungs. You’re cool with that, right?” Love the clue.
Crosswordese representation: ECLAT, EMOTES, LEA, ELY, ESTES, AMAS.
3.9 stars from me.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review
The theme is conceptually simple: OUTEREDGE is interpreted to mean phrases in an EDGE sandwich. The three theme answers all use different configurations: E/DGE, EDG/E and ED/GE. The answers themselves are of the “solid but not scintillating” variety:
- [Fraternal meeting place], ELKSLODGE
- [“The Cask of Amontillado” writer], EDGARALLANPOE
- [Where to read candidate endorsements], EDITORIALPAGE
For such a low-density theme the fill is little rickety: small corners with UDON/AARE, ONEL/UNE/LEVELA, RRS, DIR and ERDE all seem a little… slapdash? Changing the two middles to say SEWER/EROS/AIR and RRS simply to say REB would be editorial changes I’d have considered.
There were some nice choices in the longer fill: UNKINDWORD, SLOEGIN, PIGPENS and UVLAMP. ORANGEADES is ungainly but certainly defensible as an answer. I wonder if the opening CLUE/CREW is a subtle Jeopardy! reference?