Daniel Larsen’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
The theme pertains to 64a. [Archenemy of Bugs Bunny … who might say things like 17-, 24-, 32-, 42- and 51-Across], ELMER FUDD, who had trouble pronouncing his L’s and R’s.
- 17a. [Small, cute residence?], TWEE HOUSE. Treehouse.
- 24a. [Device for killing mosquitoes?], SWAT MACHINE. Slot machine.
- 32a. [Pouring into a shot glass, e.g.?], WHISKEY MOVE. Risky move.
- 42a. [Relatives of slack jaws?], WOWED MOUTHS. Loudmouths. Awkward, as you’d really never describe anything as “wowed.”
- 51a. [What wakes everyone up in the morning at the duck pond?], QUACK OF DAWN.
Yeah, that mostly works all right.
Four more things:
- 50a. [“Stop joshin’ me!”], AWGOON. “Aw, go on!” is not the sort of phrase that’s got such a familiarity that it makes the slightest sense as a crossword answer. I mean, OH GO ON and AW GEEZ or AW JEEZ are equally plausible here.
- Tough for Tuesday: ROUE, EOE, ASTRA, WYE.
- 22d. [Man’s nickname that’s just wonderful?], MARV. Meh. The question mark because MARV is short for Marvin, not marvelous. Doesn’t work for me.
- 37a. [Fair-hiring inits.], EOE. Among my least favorite 3-letter abbreviations, because the same clue can give you either EEO or EOE, and only the crossings will tell you which one the current puzzle has. Equal employment opportunity vs. equal opportunity employer.
3.5 stars from me. Back to last night’s episode of The Walking Dead now!
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 298), “Love Connection”—Janie’s take
It’s Valentine’s Day, so the perfect time to celebrate love in a puzzle. Conjuring up the re-boot of the TV show from the ’80s and ’90s in the title, Mz. Liz goes one better by using the letters in the name AMOR 53 A. [Valentine’s Day deity who’s hidden in five horizontal answers]—the personification (so to speak) of love—to make a connection between two-word names and phrases. So there’s a lotta love in this theme. Some of it really sings to me; some of it… not so much.
- 16A. FHA MORTGAGE [Gov’t-sponsored loan for home buyers]. Uh, not so much… But this less-than-sparkling entry does get re-purposed to a good end.
- 29A. RITA MORENO [She played Zelda Zanders in “Singin’ in the Rain”]. Much better! She’s also in a rather exclusive group of artists who are EGOT winners, having earned an Emmy (two in Ms. Moreno’s case), a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. Listen to her talking about her long and inspiring career, as well as her experience as Zelda in SITR (at about 3:55).
- 37A. GUANTÁNAMO RIVER [It flows through southern Cuba]. It does. Into GUANTÁNAMO Bay, home to our naval base and yes, that nasty detention center. The best I can say of this one is that it’s a grid-spanner.
- 44A. STEAM ORGAN [Old-time vapor-powered circus calliope]. Back on track! Yes, give me a circus and music to think about and I’m a happy camper.
- 60A. FATA MORGANA [Complex mirage seen in the Strait of Messina]. Ooh—now this is one I like a lot. Like some kind of [Mystical sign] OMEN, it summons up Arthurian mythology and stories of ghost ships all at the same time. This Wiki piece will fill you in quite well.
And we get more “love connections” (also not exactly “love connections”) throughout the puzzle, from several clues and/or the fill:
- [“Kiss, Kiss, Kiss” singer Yoko] ONO. No, not a voice I associate with the sweet/seductive/torchy/soulful/your adjective here delivery of love songs, but the title is appropriate to the day.
- [Sweetie pie] DEARIE. (But not so much BABY, since it’s clued as [Stork’s delivery].)
- [Hindu love god] KAMA. Who might inspire the playing of some RAGAS [Mumbai melodies].
- [What “she wore” in a 1963 Bobby Vinton hit] BLUE VELVET. A love song to the girl who got away but who is, nonetheless, recalled fondly. Also a David Lynch classic.
- [Partner of one?] ONLY. “My One and ONLY” is a terrific Gershwin tune. Get a load of George playing his arrangement (and here are Ira’s lyrics, too [though sans “verse”]). (No one plays George like George…)
- [“I AM SO jealous!”]. Not the words you want to hear or have to say today…
- [Weekend lover’s cry] “TGIF!” Works whether we’re looking at someone who loves the weekend or a lover who can only spend time with you on the weekend. And since there’s no hyphen between the first two words, that does seem to favor the second interpretation… ;-)
Other strong fill today would include “RIGHT NOW!,“ Dog Star SIRIUS and MILANESE-style cuisine. And while they don’t inspire the happiest of associations, that noisy JET-SKI and ANIMUS with its [Bad blood] still make for strong fill. PLATE RACKS is nice and long, but I rarely hear that particular phrase and am more familiar with the one-letter-shy DISH RACKS. So is Google Ngram. Or maybe not. Interesting. In the plural form they’re pretty darned close; not so much in the singular.
Coulda lived wonderfully without the crossing of BAAS and AAS. But sometimes that kinda crossing just comes with the territory. Not unlike N-O-P. Which crosses PHR—and which I mistakenly filled in as PAR, and is simply wrong. A PAR. isn’t a [Group of words] but a [Grp. of sentences]. But without checking my crosses and assuming the clue was “off,” I jumped to the wrong conclusion. Oops…
Which brings me to the end of today’s post. While it has some soft spots, between the embedded AMOR and all of the lovin’ bonus fill, this puzzle delivers nicely indeed for the day. Hope yours’ll be a sweet one, and that you’ve a fine week ahead. Keep solving, and whether or not Valentine’s Day signifies for you, I certainly hope the day will be anything but DREAR! “You are the sunshine of my life!”
Melina Merchant’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Don’t Be Cruel” — Jim’s review
In keeping with custom, the WSJ features a puzzle in honor of the day. Love is in the air (well, at least ONE LOVE is in the grid), and HEARTs are the common thread.
- 17a [*Capital, often] METROPOLIS. Heart of a city, I guess? Doesn’t ring as strong as the others.
- 27a [*Plant with an edible flower head] ARTICHOKE. Artichoke heart. Nummy.
- 33a [*Bridge need] DECK OF CARDS. Suit of course.
- 46a [*Bit of February mail] VALENTINE.
- 56a [Don’t be cruel, and what the starred answers do] HAVE A HEART
More entries in keeping with the day: I DOS, [Date]=SEE, [“Every kiss beings with ___”]=KAY, ELOPE, and EROS. If you’re not so into the VALENTINE thing, there’s PESTER, NAG, and ENVY.
Mostly good fill like SHIN BONE, KAFKA, DENALI, CALLER ID, POIROT, etc.
MAHRE was tough [Slalom medalist Phil], IDLERS is roll-your-owny, and then theres this: 40a [Opposite of heter-] HOM. Uh. I don’t think so. The actual prefixes are homo- and hetero-. Random House Dictionary says it’s a “var. of ‘homo-‘ before a vowel.” Can anyone think of an example? Hombre? Homs? Nah. I’m not buying it. Per the usual databases, it hasn’t appeared in a puzzle in 15 years. There’s a reason for that.
Overall, the theme is fine and the fill is good, but I don’t think HOM should be acceptable.
Who knew there was a movie with Bob Hoskins and Denzel Washington? It was 1990’s Heart Condition which currently enjoys a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Per Wikipedia, Washington fired his agent after this film came out. Enjoy Bonnie Raitt’s video.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Hide Your Kids” – Derek’s write-up
OK, I get the idea, but do we speak of animal young as having “children?” Isn’t “children” the word we use to describe young humans? I am nitpicking, because this is really not too complicated! The circled letters contain different types of animal “children!” Circled letters appear below in red:
- 16A [Maintain the same speed as] KEEP UP WITH
- 19A [Converse with the locals in Rome, e.g.] SPEAK ITALIAN
- 36A [What regular exercise helps maintain] PHYSICAL FITNESS
- 51A [“Hmmm … I’m thinking …”] OK NOW, LET‘S SEE – This is phenomenal!
- 57A [What each of the entries with circles reveals] INNER CHILD
See how clever? I still think we rarely refer to animal young as their “child,” but you get the idea. Still makes for a fun puzzle. How about 3.8 stars for this one.
Some other notables:
- 31A [“You’re not __, are you?”] A COP – Who is asking this question?? It can’t be anyone good!
- 44A [Home of Titian’s “Venus of Urbino”] UFFIZI – This is tough. Don’t know how I remember this. It’s a museum in Florence, in case you were wondering.
- 64A [Hair band of the 1980s] RATT – Oh yes.
- 9D [Audrey Tautou’s quirky title role of 2001] AMELIE – I don’t know how I remember this either! She was in The Da Vinci Code with Tom Hanks, and that is the role I remember her most for. Those movies didn’t get much critical acclaim, but the puzzle lover in me enjoyed them thoroughly!
- 30D [“Entourage” agent Gold] ARI – I will have to binge watch this show someday …
- 34D [Onetime Trooper and Rodeo maker] ISUZU – Whatever happened to Joe Isuzu??
- 55D [Site with the tagline “Discover the expert in you”] EHOW – This site always seems to have too many ads!
That is all for this week. Until next Tuesday’s Jonesin’ review!
Mark McClain’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
It’s not Valentine’s Day related! And that is a good thing. Simply enough, it is boat related, with a cute tie-in at the end. The circled letters are all types of boats (and appear in red below):
- 17A [Crude early version of a work of art] ROUGH SKETCH
- 30A [Computer programming glitch] ENDLESS LOOP
- 46A [New York City zoo locale] CENTRAL PARK
- 61A [Lakeside launching aid … and, literally, each set of circled letters] BOAT TRAILER
I told you it was cute! The ketch, sloop, and ark are all nicely utilized, so much so that we probably didn’t need the circles, but this is a Tuesday puzzle, so not too much brain power should be needed! I have helped to dock a boat on a trailer once or twice; it is job I would not want to do by myself! 3.9 stars today.
A few notes:
- 6A [“Oliver!” no-goodnik] FAGIN – Also [Steely Dan singer]. Oh, wait, he’s Donald FAGEN. That’s who I think of when I hear this name, though! Showing my age again …
- 35A [WWII conference site] YALTA – Here’s hoping there isn’t some new World War conference site in our future!
- 55A [Sun protection for kissers?] LIP BALM – Or, at least for me, winter protection!
- 70A [2000s TV series set in California?] THE O.C. – I’ve never seen it. Is it on Netflix? (I checked. It isn’t.)
- 5D [Satirist Mort] SAHL – Definitely crossword famous!
- 24D [Baghdad’s land] IRAQ – Definitely a country that seems to stay in our news, for whatever reason!
- 42D [Actor Chandler of “Bloodline”] KYLE – This is DEFINITELY on Netflix!
- 50D [Motorola phone] RAZR – These were very popular back in the days of flip phones. I think I even had one! There is an Android touchscreen version these days.
Hope you’re having a great week!
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Spliced Gene” —Ade’s write-up
Hello there, everyone! Hope you’re all feeling the love on Valentine’s Day (or, for some, Singles Awareness Day). Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, involves theme entries in which letters G-E-N-E make up those answers’ extremities.
- GENUINE ARTICLE (20A: [Real McCoy])
- GERMAN SUBMARINE (41A: [U-boat])
- GOOD NIGHT IRENE (56A: [American folk standard])
So was the clue to NERDS some hidden message for those who are just that and don’t have a special someone on this Valentine’s Day (19A: [Smart guys who have trouble scoring])? Probably not. Besides, isn’t being a “nerd” in these days? There’s the term “nerd-chic” that’s thrown around for smart guys who are attractive because of their big brains. Rock on, nerds! But I digress. I definitely am jealous of the lucky ones in BEANTOWN who just celebrated another Super Bowl win with their parade last week (5D: [Boston nickname]). Since 2002, I think that’s now 10 parades that have been held because of championships won by the professional sports teams in the city. If North American geography is your thing, this was your grid, with Beantown, WACO (38A: [Home of Baylor University]) as well as MANITOBA (9D: [Winnipeg’s province]). Alright, time to head out and start fixing my laptop. Some gremlins have creeped in and has made life on my computer more difficult than it needs to be right now.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TAB (25A: [Caps Lock neighbor]) – Between 1988 and 2000, TAB Ramos was a fixture as a midfielder on the United States Men’s National Soccer Team, making 81 appearances and scoring eight goals for the Red, White and Blue in senior international competition. Born in Uruguay, Ramos was named the 1994 CONCACAF – the soccer governing body of North and Central America – Player of the Year. Ramos was also the first player ever signed to play in Major League Soccer back in 1995, in preparation for the league’s inaugural season in 1996.
See you all at the top of the hump on Wednesday!