David Duncan Dekker’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Gonna make this quick, as my abdomen is done with this “sitting upright” business today. Lots of Q’s, X’s, Z’s, etc. Feels a bit like an early Barry Silk puzzle, v. Scrabbly.
Never heard of 28a: QUIFF, [Man’s do with upswept hair in the front]. Apparently the term’s bigger in Europe than here. Am picturing Martin Short’s Ed Grimley character now.
Lots of nice fill: SLACKER, LEGO SET, MAE WEST, SCHMOS, AVEENO (my favorite lotion brand), GLIMPSES, WETSUITS, “WHY, YES,” MASON JAR, and KAMIKAZE.
Five more things:
- 26a. [Alternative to Corn Pops], KIX. I nailed this one quickly. Am a fan of both Kix and Corn Pops, if you must know. (Hey! Don’t knock Kellogg’s Corn Pops. 3 g of dietary fiber, people!)
- 44a. [Major in a 1973 David Bowie hit], TOM. Then there’s the German Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom,” sort of a reworking of Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” ’80s New Wave, catch it.
- 49a. [2012 running mate], RYAN. Wisconsin’s
senatorcongressman Paul R. ran with Romney but has been eclipsed by WI governor Scott Walker, who’s the focus of a kinda funny hit piece in The Guardian today.
- 5d. [Smart comments], SASS. I bet the final S had a number of solvers trying to come up with the plural of a 3-letter word here.
- 8d. [Muslim magistrate], SHARIF. My generation of American pop music fans learned this word from “Rock the Casbah” by the Clash. “Sharif don’t like it. He thinks it’s not kosher.”
Four stars from me. Apparently the puzzle is a triple pangram, which is the sort of feat I can’t get too worked up about because it usually brings about woeful compromises in the fill, but here the fill worked for me. OCA was about the worst thing in the grid, but it had three ordinary English words crossing it.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
Not feeling this one. The puns are all basically “add terminal e” plus “arbitrarily pluralise”. The only one that is truly add “es” and couldn’t work as just add “e” is GANG to GANGES in OURGANGES. You could have a single GOLFGRIPE, a single CIGARETTEBUTTE, a single JUMBOJETE, and a single TINYTIME. You wouldn’t need to change the clues except for altering plural to singular. Simply adding a terminal “e” is a very thin add a letter theme. I’m not sure how many possible theme answers there are, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer was “thousands”. This means of course that the answers are pretty good considered in isolation…
Pretty interesting big stacks are to be found in the top-right and bottom-left: OLIVEPIT and MILANESE is trumped by INUNISON, CAJOLED and GAMEFACE. The latter is marred by the not-really-a-word ESALE.
Mostly a solid effort, but undermined by a surprisingly simplistic theme. 2.75 Stars
Gareth, leaving with you with a classic piece of satire:
Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “A Nation Divided”—Ade’s write-up
Hello everyone! I think I remember how to do this…
Thank you all for being patient with me as I’ve been consumed by running around the U.S. Open to begin the week, then a quick trip out to Minneapolis yesterday. But before we head back to New York in a couple of hours, just want to quickly talk about today’s puzzle, written for us by Ms. Lynn Lempel. Each of the four theme answers are multiple-word entries in which four countries are “hidden” in the answers. In reality, the letters that form the country span the two words.
- ALBERTO GONZALES (17A: [George W. Bush’s second attorney general])
- THOMAS PAINE (27A: [“Common Sense” pamphleteer])
- PEPPER UPPER (50A: [It will boost your spirits])
- MANDARIN DIALECT (65A: [Variety of Chinese with eight subgroups])
When placing in ORGAN DONOR, couldn’t help but think of our fearless leader, Amy, and the circle of people she was with during her transplant, and just how strong and amazing the human spirit is (29D: [Certain lifesaver]). There might be a few people reading this who might have received or have donated an organ to someone else in need of it, and I do hope those of you who have done either are doing well and continue to do well. Tough transition back to crosswords, but I’ll try. A couple of famous wives intersect in the grid, with SOON YI (8D: [Woody’s wife since 1997]) and ONO, who I’m jealous of right now because I want someone famous to tell me that I’m the most famous unknown broadcaster/reporter (21A: [“The world’s most famous unknown artist,” per John Lennon]). Oh, well. Time to skedaddle, as we’re getting closer and closer to boarding time.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: CATFISH (5D: [Big Mississippi aquaculture product]) – Hall-of-Fame pitcher Jim “CATFISH” Hunter was an eight-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, playing his entire career with the Kansas City/Oakland A’s and the New York Yankees. Hunter was the first pitcher to win 200 games by the age of 31, a product of him bypassing the minor leagues altogether and making his Major League debut for Kansas City just a month after his 19th birthday. Hunter passed away in 1999 at age 53 as a result of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
Again, thank you for your patience with me this week. Have a great weekend, everyone, and I’ll see you back in New York City!
David Steinberg’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Off With Their Heads” — pannonica’s write-up
I wouldn’t have grasped the full extent of the theme had I not read the notepad instructions. Shifted my opinion from a wow to a wow!
There are 10 across clues with asterisks. The corresponding symmetrical fill—three each in the first and last rows, two in the middle row, and two—must be “beheaded” to fit in the grid, but the shortened versions also spell valid words. It was obvious that those removed letters, in order from top to bottom and left to right, would spell something significant.
A G ATE
N U MBER
T I NGE
O L IVER
I L IE
N O DE
E T HANE
T I DES
T N OTES
E E RIE
ANTOINETTE, Marie Antoinette, she of the French Revolution, an era strongly associated with beheadment by royal decree (and later, popular demand).
But what went unappreciated was the additional level of fiendishness: “This puzzle’s title will unlock the method for entering answers to the starred clues. At the end, a full ‘head count’ will piece together two 10-letter words inextricably linked in history.” So: the new first letters in each of those words also spell a relevant word.
A G ATE
N U MBER
T I NGE
O L IVER
I L IE
N O DE
E T HANE
T I DES
T N OTES
E E RIE
- 1a. [*Banded quartz] AGATE, 5a [*It might be real or imaginary] NUMBER, 10a [*Golden touch, say] TINGE (tough-ish clue), 29a [*”You’ve Got to Pick-a-Pocket or Two” musical] OLIVER(!), 36a [*Björn’s victim in the 1976 Wimbledon final] ILIE, 40a [*Botanical protuberance] NODE, 46a [*Gaseous hydrocarbon] ETHANE, 64a [*Clam digger’s concern] TIDES, 65a [*IRA investment options] T-NOTES, 66a [*Hair-raising] EERIE.
With the theme elements worked out, filling the grid is a relatively easier exercise. Couple of long acrosses in 18a [Natural moisturizer] COCONUT OIL and 57a [Pho or nam ngiao, e.g.] NOODLE SOUP. Plus, HYDE PARK, GLAM ROCK, and a quartet of 7-letter downs.
- Theme-affiliated: 15a [Ominous loop] NOOSE.
- 2d [Conspicuously stylish] ARTY, 52a [“Glee” character __ Abrams] ARTIE.
- Unusual clues: 1d [Dicer’s injury] GASH, 4d [Makes last-minute room for, as an agenda item] EDGES IN (I would have invoked art technique), 17a [Actaeon’s transformed form] STAG, 23a [ __ grouse] SAGE, 41a [Some CPU adjuncts] FANS, 53a [Lou Reed genre] GLAM ROCK (only for a while, in a long career).
- Favorite clues: 24a [Jumper cable?] BUNGEE, 26d [Mirror image] SELF, 39d [It may have feet of clay] GOLEM.
Impressive, entertaining crossword.
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Stir Crazy” — pannonica’s write-up
Basic recipe. Phrases, titles, et cetera, containing a word that can be anagrammed to a food item. On the MENU (57a):
- 23a. [Robin Williams film about a group of dedicated to expired sauce?] DEAD PESTO SOCIETY (Poet’s). See also 90a [Rigatoni and rotini] PASTAS, and 29a [Pizza sauce seasonings] HERBS.
- 36a. [Village People hit inspired by a Starbucks barista?] MOCHA MAN (Macho).
- 40a. [“I Want You to Want Me” band that’s fond of schnapps?] PEACH TRICK (Cheap).
- 63a. [Classic children’s novel about a girl who bakes eco-friendly rolls?] ANNE OF GREEN BAGELS (Gables). Better than those St Patrick’s Day abominations, I suppose.
- 91a. [Diner dish slung by a former Tehran bigwig?] HASH OF IRAN (Shah). See also 3d [Diner sides] SLAWS.
- 93a. [With “The,” Desmond Morris book about a legume in the raw?] NAKED PEA (Ape). Dehisce!
- 112a. [Walter Scott work about a woman growing a trendy veggie?] THE LADY OF THE KALE (Lake).
I guess they’re all titles or proper names, so there’s that homogeneous consistency even if there isn’t a theme-related rationale for it.
- Longfill roundup: ANDROMEDA, I REMEMBER, DETAINEES, PACKS IT IN, MRS O’LEARY, SUPERSEDE.
- Lots of good clues. Here are some highlights: 7d [Wilson and Coolidge] RITAS, 28a [Temple buildings] DORMS, 111a [Hung up, maybe] LATE.
- 89a/97a [Co. name ender] INC, LLC. The clue’s “co.” = “C” in the latter answer.
- 11d [Film __ (moody movies) NOIR. Better to clue it as “Films __”?
- 40d [Brandy flavor] PLUM. As in Slivovitz, which is made from damson plums.
- 41d [Proficiency] EASE, derived ultimately from Latin for ‘adjacent’; 94d [Stands in a studio] EASELS, derived from the Latin for ‘ass’. Think about that next time you call someone a lazy-ass.
Solid theme, clean fill overall, fine puzzle.