(Reagle, original write-up from 20 Dec 2009)
Peter Wentz’s New York Times crossword, “Rebranding”—Amy’s write-up
Fresh and playful theme. Advertising slogans that aren’t great from a grammar-stickler standpoint are “corrected”:
- 23a. [“Corrected” slogan for a tech company?], THINK DIFFERENTLY. Apple’s “Think Different.”
- 33a. [“Corrected” slogan for an office supply chain?], YES, WE HAVE THAT. No idea what this one is about. Googling … Staples used to use “Yeah, we’ve got that,” which is perfectly acceptable, idiomatic English. It’s not formal language, but it’s also not ungrammatical.
- 49a. [“Corrected” slogan for a fast-food franchise?], EAT FRESHLY. Subway, “Eat Fresh,” gross food. Also! Jared Fogle has been transferred to the same federal prison that Rod Blagojevich is in.
- 66a. [“Corrected” slogan for a dessert brand?], EVERYBODY LIKES SARA LEE. “Nobody doesn’t like” doesn’t exactly violate grammar, but the double negative is awkward. And “Don’t nobody like Sara Lee” would mean the opposite, wouldn’t it?
- 83a. [“Corrected” slogan for a hairstyling product?], A DAB WILL DO. Brylcream, “A dab’ll do you.”
- 97a. [“Corrected” slogan for a frozen breakfast food?], LET GO OF MY EGGO. “Leggo my Eggo.”
- 111a. [“Corrected” slogan for a dairy product?], DO YOU HAVE ANY MILK? “Got milk?”
Peter has terrific grid-filling skills, in evidence here. Highlights include STAR JONES (who is dated, yeah, I know), BOLD MOVE, BODES WELL, AS I SEE IT, the BUGGLES (even more dated, but a key bit of MTV trivia), RETRONYM, THE NHL, and LIFELINE. Assorted two-word phrases that work well are AWASH IN, SAT FOR, BOWED TO, and RESORT TO—so much better than a lot of those clunky phrases with little words awkwardly tacked on. The worst entry is AH SO, though at least the clue (22a. [“Duh, I get it”]) avoids even a hint of Asian stereotyping.
Clues of note:
- 6d. [Buggy people?], AMISH. Horse and buggy.
- 21a. [“Language of the unheard,” per Martin Luther King Jr.], RIOT. Nonviolent protests, hopefully, involve being heard.
- 29a. [Keeper of the flame?], WICK. Good one.
- 41a. [Who might say “I’m I. M.”], PEI. Does anyone know what he goes by? Is it Ieoh? Do his friends call him I.M.?
- 53a. [“The Boy Next Door” star, to fans], J.LO. Ha! That movie was supposed to be terrible. Didn’t do too well at the box office. It did, however, feature a first edition hardcover of The Iliad.
- 65d. [Cover’s opposite], ORIGINAL. As in cover songs. Not sure that these are exactly “opposites,” though. Is the opposite of a rock cover perhaps an original smooth jazz or New Age recording?
Did not know: 102a. [Aunt in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”], CHLOE.
Garry Morse’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “La-la Land”—Andy’s review
Really quick write-up today. We’ve got a bunch of two-word phrases where both words contain “LA”, clued in the most straightforward of ways:
- 22a, ALABAMA SLAMMER [Cocktail made with Southern Comfort].
- 28a, VANILLA LATTE [Starbucks order]. Only one with the “la”s in a row.
- 57a, PLATE GLASS [Windows material]. Shouldn’t this be “window material”? I dunno.
- 74a, BLANK SLATE [With “The,” 2002 Steven Pinker best-seller subtitled “The Modern Denial of Human Nature”].
- 100a, BURGLAR ALARM [Security measure].
- 108a, RELATIVE CLAUSE [Modifying words].
- 31d, TORTILLA FLAT [Steinbeck novel].
- 42d, CHOCOLATE LAB [Dog once shunned because it wasn’t black]. I didn’t know this. Source?
This essentially felt like a giant themeless, except way easier. The fill was at the usual Sunday LAT level. One thing I learned from this puzzle is that there are at least 400,000 ATMs in the United States. By far the highlight of this puzzle for me was 10d, I AM NOW [Irritated response to “Aren’t you awake yet?”]. Had never heard of “Candy Girl” or MARLENA, but the lyrics to “Marlena” are pretty disturbing:
Marlena, don’t go, oh no-o-o
‘Cause I love you so-o-o
Never gonna let you go-o, no no no
Marlena, c’mon girl, won’t you give in?
Can’t you see that you can’t win?
Never gonna let you go-o
Shame, flirting with the guys on the corner
You’re such a bad girl
Tellin’ me you’re out with your mother
That’s a lie but I still love my Marlena
Hard to believe it only hit #36 over 50 years ago.
That’s all I’ve got. Until next time!
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s CRooked crossword, “Downfalls” — pannonica’s write-up
The theme simply collects a bunch of entities associated with falling, whether it be nominal, figurative or literal. Naturally, and appropriately, they trace descending PATHS (83a) vertically in the grid.
- 3d, [Downfall of 1929] STOCK MARKET.
- 7d. [Downfallen rock] METEORITE.
- 9d. [Downfallen span of song] LONDON BRIDGE.
- 14d. [Downfallen pair] JACK AND JILL.
- 35d. [Downfallen estate] HOUSE OF USHER.
- 38d. [Place of a downfall] GARDEN OF EDEN.
- 60d. [Downfallen figure] HUMPTY DUMPTY.
- 64d. [Downfallen domain] ROMAN EMPIRE.
- 67d. [“The Fall” author] ALBERT CAMUS.
- 79d. [Gear for a downfall] PARACHUTE.
Clue phrasing including conjugations of downfall are noticeably shoehorned but add consistency.
Incidental to the theme: 39d [Fall down] RAIN, 49a [Fall down] DROP, 77d [Lead balloons] FLOPS, 109d [Downhill racers] LUGES.
Conversely, a smattering of items that express or imply the opposite motion: 21a [Stellar nimrod] ORION (many figures in Greek mythology were ‘elevated’ to the night sky in death), 103a [Boost in power] UPRATE. There are more connections to be unearthed, but their relevance is tenuous at best, most commonly reflecting height or something to that effect. Investigating 52a [Snap out of it] ROUSE, I was surprised to learn that it (and by extension arouse) is unrelated to raise – the etymon is Middle English for ‘to shake the feathers’.
Lots of fun interrelations to be uncovered among clues and answers, but I’m not in the mood to be in any way exhaustive about it. Here are just a few, without explanation:
- JUKE, JIVE, JAZZ. (72a, 53a, 14a)
- AVAST, GOB. (44a, 12d)
- ERSE, ERIN, LADS. (87a, 41d, 78d)
Favorite clue: 26a [Bit of rough sea] CHOP.
A no-nonsense theme, well done, and an enjoyable solve.
Brad Wilber’s Sunday Challenge CrosSynergy crossword —Ade’s write-up
Good day, everybody! Only five days until Christmas!
Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Brad Wilber, was definitely an early Christmas present for those who love Sunday challenges and an elegant middle portion of the grid, which Brad provided us today. Of the three, ITALICS MINE both was a gimme and also a (slight) nit to pick on, since I got to learn/know it as an emphasis mine (33A: [Parenthetical note from one who has added emphasis to a quotation]). Obviously, the word “emphasis is in the clue, so just had to rewire my thinking to nail that down. The other two long entries in the middle were a little tougher to fill, with BILDUNGSROMAN being the show-stopping entry standing out right in the middle (36A: [Coming-of-age story]). Unlike that clue, I was more confident about MUSEE D’ORSAY when that entry was filling out for me when knocking down a lot of the down entries in the puzzle (39D: [Paris institution where “Whistler’s Mother” is on view]). The downs were much easier for me, and did those almost exclusively in today’s grid. Though it was NORA DUNN (13D: [Actor in the Sweeney Sisters sketches on SNL]) that broke things open for me in the Northeast, I loved the trivia aspect in the clue to RHODA (25A: [First TV series to achieve a #1 Nielsen rating for its pilot episode]). Definitely an entertaining grid. It had to be, because of the middle stack…and the appearance of COZENS (44D: [Hoodwinks]). And EL CHEAPO (15A: [Bargain-basement]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: MASCOT (42A: [The NFL’s Steely McBeam, e.g.]) – There are Pittsburgh Steelers fans everywhere. I’m sure there are a few who also happen to read this blog (Maybe not my blogs, but DOCAF in general). If so, or even if not,, I hope you know that your team’s MASCOT, Steely McBeam, is creepy-looking. Very much so.
Don’t you agree? Well, I do thank you for the time, anyways, and I hope you have a great rest of your weekend!