Peter Collins’s New York Times crossword
Quickly, because I was working till an hour after the puzzle came out, and because I need sleep: Theme is CHOPPED LIVER, and the letters in LIVER are “chopped,” or scrambled, in SUPERVILLAIN, SAVILE ROW, NAVEL RING, and DEVIL RAYS.
Not sure why the English language has both INHUMAN and inhumane. Really, we could probably do with just one of these.
Puzzle hit squarely in the expected Wednesday difficulty level.
The Scowl-o-Meter was not pleased with ONE-D, RETAG, EXO-, ADM, IDENT, TRA, and INSP, but it actually liked the in-the-language plural EMAILS.
3.8 stars from me. Over and out.
Patti Varol’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “G-Rated”—Ade’s write-up
Hello there, everyone! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Patti Varol, is a grid that the little wee ones can enjoy, as each of the theme answers is a multiple-word entry in which the first word also could be used immediately after the word “kid.” The final theme answer, KID FRIENDLY, serves as the reveal (58A: [Suitable for the whole family, or an apt description of the first words of the answers to the starred clues]). I guess two of the clues actually refer to words that, in most instances, would be a word associated with friendliness to a child. I guess the third one is friendly, if you like his music (which many people do).
- SISTER IN LAW (16A: [*Pippa Middleton, to Prince William])
- SKIN AND BONES (22A: [*Scrawny])
- ROCK OF GIBRALTAR (36A: [*Monolith off the Iberian Peninsula])
- STUFF HAPPENS (47A: [*”Deal with it!”]) – If you replaced “stuff” with what most people actually stay in that instance, that wouldn’t be so kid friendly, huh?
I’m also certain that this is the first crossword that I’ve ever done which has featured kilowatt hours, or KWH (58D: [Util. bill unit]). Odd fill, but definitely not unfamiliar. Not a religious watcher of Seinfeld, so the PUFFY reference was a little lost on me, though I’m sure others put that down without hesitation (50D: [Like an infamous “Seinfeld” shirt]). Our constructor gave a nice little plug to BOCA BURGER, so maybe, after reading this, they’ll ship her some free patties (27D: [Veggie patty brand]). Initially had ‘kayak’ for CANOE, and that slowed me down for a little bit (63A: [Rapids transit]). With the time I finished this in, I pretty much decided to really mosey when solving the puzzle…wait, actually, no. Did this while on the New York City subway heading home late last night, so I had to look around every now and then to make sure no one would make a mad dash for my laptop and run out of the subway car. Again, moseying!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: FRED (35D: [Couples on the links]) – One of the most consistent golfers of all time, FRED Couples is most remembered for two things: 1) his win at the 1992 Masters, and 2) his unorthodox golf swing which, although led to some of the longest drives off the tee on tour, led to a lot of back issues during his career. Despite that, Couples was one of the best. Between 1990 and 1992, Couples recorded a top-three finish at each of the four majors, including his Masters win. He also led the tour in scoring average in both 1991 and 1992. Couples was named to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013.
Thank you for the time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
Jeff Chen’s AVCX crossword, “Wearing Thin” — Matt’s review
No one in crosswords had heard of Jeff Chen five short years ago, but he’s now become not only a top crossword writer but a top blogger as well. And this is his AVCX debut, so let’s see what he’s got in store.
Many clues in the grid have two parts, the second in parentheses. Too many to type them all out (Amy doesn’t pay by the word), but let’s take the first three down:
1-D [It’s always behind you (or … cheap Milwaukee beer)] = PAST, or PABST if you include the B.
2-D [Brilliantly colored sashimi fish (or … host who gave 30-Down his start)] = OPAH or OPRAH if you include the R.
3-D [Sup (or … a steak namesake)] = DINE, or DIANE (as in “Steak Diane”) if you include the A.
That spells BRA, and look at what they cross at 17-A: [Ruling (or, more modestly, intelligence)] = (BRA)IN POWER. So IN POWER, or BRAINPOWER if you include that B-R-A from the downs.
See what’s going on? Check out the reveal at 62-A: [Like clothes so sheer, they’re barely visible, and a hint to this puzzle’s theme] = SEE THROUGH. Isn’t that clever? The BRA is see-through, since it’s only half-visible — you can leave it out of the acrosses and downs and they still make sense.
The others (highlighted in the grid above) are a DRESS in IP ADDRESS, a ROBE in MICROBE, and a SCARF nicely hidden in NASCAR FAN. And note that all of these have to leave a cluable word without their clothing: IPAD, MIC, and NAAN bread.
That is one beautiful crossword. Upper-deck home run. The concept itself is novel and interesting; its implementation is logical and elegant, since you can “see through” the entries convincingly; there are several layers to discover, each giving a nice a-ha moment; and the execution is precise and maximized — there are four pieces of hidden clothing, which looks like the maximum you could do well in a 15×15 grid, they’re symmetrically placed, and they’re well-chosen, leaving nice entries behind after the clothing is removed from the equation.
4.85 stars, which I think is the highest rating I’ve ever ever given to a puzzle I blogged at Fiend. If you haven’t subscribed to the AVCX yet, maybe now’s the time.
Tom McCoy’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review
Very clever theme! Odd revealer placement – bottom row in two parts PRIME/TIME – but where else can it go with a 14/13/13/14 theme? Yes, it’s a 14×16 not a 15×15 – oddball! Each entry consists of PRIMENUMBER/UNITOFTIME/WORD. All the entries themselves are excellent as stand-alone answers:
- [*It classifies ancient times based on metals], THREEAGESYSTEM. Stone, Bronze, Iron.
- [*Typical worker’s break], TWODAYWEEKEND. Three-day weekend for me coming up! But I worked last weekend so… it balances.
- [*Possible reason for marriage counseling], SEVENYEARITCH. Nearly this…
- [*Justification for eating food that’s fallen on the ground], FIVESECONDRULE. Really no justification needed. Bacteria and fungal spores are applied on contact, but they’re most likely harmless commensals. They’re floating in the air anyway. “Just don’t leave it around long enough for stuff to grow on it” is a better rule!
Despite being crammed with theme answers, the puzzle didn’t feel that constrained. Having an extra row seems to help in this regard. More space between the theme answers! I think Mr. McCoy is onto something! [Lefty’s writing concern], INKSMEAR speaks to me in volumes (Amirite, Jeffery?). Another one I appreciate is [Trig or calc, to a Brit], MATHS – I’m not a Brit but that’s what I call it; crosswords rarely acknowledge English speakers as being anything other than American/British. I’m always fascinated by [“It’s okay, I guess”], MEH – Do people ever SAY this, or just type it? My mother doesn’t read crossword blogs, otherwise I’d say [Call-home opener], HIMOM. There is a carefully distributed smattering of regular-grade crossword-ese: the NNE, ERAT, ACTI type, but with a dense and interesting theme one hardly notices. The worst thing here might be OATEN or a slightly forced plural RODINS – that’s saying something!