David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up
Each theme phrase has something in common. I admit I didn’t figure out what until I got to the revealer.
- 16a [*Expense independent of production] = FIXED COST.
- 23a [*How Clayton Kershaw pitches] = LEFT HANDED.
- 36a [*One of a dozen for a sweetheart] = CUT ROSE. This one’s not really in the language.
- 47a [*Something to make up] = LOST GROUND.
- And the revealer: 58a [Like either word in the answers to the five starred clues] = PAST TENSE. So now we know. This is not a particularly scintillating theme.
A few other things:
- 13a [Question asked with an open mouth] = WHA. I liked this answer better than the theme.
- 27d [Specifics, slangily] = DEETS. Also fun.
- 20a [Does something naughty] = IS BAD. So is this clue/answer pair.
I can’t muster enough interest in this puzzle to write any more.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that the MCLAREN was a sports car.
Gary Cee’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Gut Feeling” — Jim’s review
Feeling uptight about today’s puzzle? Just GO WITH IT, as we’re told at 61a [“Follow your instincts,” and a literal hint to the starred answers]. Ergo, our theme entries are phrases that include GO and IT.
- 17a [*Mexican deep-fried pockets] GORDITAS. The Taco Bell Cheesy Gordita Crunch has 490 calories, earning it a D+ on caloriecount.com.
- 23a [*Penguin’s home] GOTHAM CITY. I haven’t started the new season of Gotham yet. No SPOILERs, please.
- 36a [*Honest intentions] GOOD FAITH
- 50a [*Popular search engine results] GOOGLE HITS. I know what you’re wondering. How many GOOGLE HITS does “GOOGLE HITS” get? The answer: 237k, which isn’t all that much actually.
I don’t see any reason why the answers have to necessarily start with GO, seeing as how IT is allowed to roam around as it pleases, but again, I’ll just GO WITH IT. Aside from that peculiarity, the theme works and is mildly interesting.
I found more to like in the corners (well, three of them). Each one has a vertical 7-stack with interesting fill like BOO-BOOS, “TRUST ME,” APOSTLE, and SPOILER. Plus there’s DOGLEGS, WHATSIT, and TIFFANI [Thiessen of “White Collar”] (and also of Saved By the Bell and 90210).
The NE corner was rather ugly though with uncommon CATSUP, and SAC crossing ASTERS. My dad insists on using CATSUP over ketchup, but then, that’s my dad. He also calls soy sauce CATSUP. So I looked up the connection and found this on the internets: “Ketchup comes from the Hokkien Chinese word, kê-tsiap, the name of a sauce derived from fermented fish. It is believed that traders brought fish sauce from Vietnam to southeastern China.”
But I don’t really mind CATSUP. I do mind SAC clued as [Tribe allied with the Fox] and then crossing that with ASTERS clued as [Twentieth anniversary tokens]. That seems unnecessarily difficult. Change ASTERS to ASTERN and CATSUP to DATSUN and you get SAD at 8d and ANN at 13d.
- 51d [Italian ice choice] is GRAPE. I wouldn’t think GRAPE would be a choice at all for real Italian ice. The GRAPE flavor we have here in the states is not one you’d find outside of America. But then I found this picture.
- 54d[Ed Norton’s workplace] is SEWER. Honeymooners trivia. Did not know this. I knew Ralph Kramden was a bus driver, but would never have known Norton’s job.
- 22a [1970 American League MVP Powell] is BOOG. Whew. That’s digging pretty deep. Thank goodness for crosses.
Overall, a solid outing.
Aimee Lucido’s AVCX crossword, “Giving the Slip” — Ben’s Review
Today’s AV Club puzzle was a little late, but I didn’t expect it to be as messed up clue-wise as it was when it finally arrived. Luckily, that was all part of the plan for Aimee Lucido’s puzzle today (with a 3/5 difficulty rating):
- 17A: Make a mistake, as the constructor did somewhere in this puzzle — DROP THE BALL
- 26A: Make a mistake, as the constructor did somewhere in this puzzle — EFF UP
- 36A: Make a mistake, as the constructor did somewhere in this puzzle — FALL SHORT
- 51A: Make a mistake, as the constructor did somewhere in this puzzle — BE OFF
- 59A: Make a mistake, as the constructor did somewhere in this puzzle — MISS THE MARK
The mistakes aren’t in the fill (at least as far as I could tell while I raced through it on my lunch break today), but the clues themselves. For instance, EFF UP refers to the clues at nearby 11D and 12D — “Corrected with a reffed pen” and “Green ort of 2016” have been EFFED UP and are actually “Corrected with a red pen” and “Green effort of 2016”, for PROOFED and RECOUNT. The eff from 12D has been moved up in the clues to 11D. The other errors work in similar ways. It’s a cute theme, but I’m still not sure I caught everything that was going on in the clues.
Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Last Licks” —Ade’s write-up
Good day, everyone! Before talking about today’s grid, want to wish my older brother (and awesome roommate) a happy birthday! Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, involves theme entries in which the final word in each of them is also a word used to describe someone or some team being victorious, and usually doing so emphatically.
- POUNDING THE BEAT (17A: [On foot patrol, as a police officer])
- MIRACLE WHIP (26A: [Mayonnaise alternative]) – Whether it’s mayonnaise or an alternative, I make sure not to have that ever contact my taste buds!
- SPINNING TOP (47A: [Child’s mesmerizing plaything])
- FATHER KNOWS BEST (57A: [Classic television show starring Robert Young])
Finally got to finish another puzzle below six minutes, as I was trying to push for that for the past couple of weeks. So thank you, Alan, for the grid that allowed me to do it! No matter how many times I see a clue for SOLTI, it seems that I always need the crossings to get it right (5A: [Longtime Chicago Symphony conductor Sir Georg]). I’m sure this has happened before, but I don’t think I’ve ever noticed both ALOU (14A: [Baseball family name]) and ALOE in the same grid, at least until today (53A: [Skin cream ingredient]). I guess Felipe Alou could have capitalized on a baseball-mad Montreal when he was manager of the Expos by selling Alou’s Aloe, or something that could incorporate some sort of word jingle. This grid also highlighted types of passes in sports, with both NO-LOOK (48D: [Like some dazzling basketball passes]) and SPIRALS, which I threw regularly in football practice when I was a quarterback in high school (5D: [Well-thrown football passes]). Sadly, those spirals weren’t so prevalent when it came time to do it in the actual games!!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: AGASSI (12D: [Tennis star with eight Grand Slam singles titles]) – Here’s the breakdown of Andre AGASSI’s eight career Grand Slams: four Australian Open titles (1995, 2000, 2001, 2003), two U.S. Open titles (1994, 1999), one Wimbledon (1992) and one French Open title (1999). Agassi also won the Olympic gold medal in tennis in 1996.
Thank you for the time and I’ll see you all tomorrow!
Matt Skoczen’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
POPUPADS is interpreted today to be the trigram SDA occurring in the middle of four two-part themers running vertically. An elegant touch is that the S is not part of a plural except for in OBJETSDART, but that’s a fancy-schmancy French plural, so it’s actually fun! The rest are singer-turned-actress DORISDAY, CENSUSDATA and central MRSDASH.
Minus points for gratuitous EEO. There must be 50 ways to fill that corner…