Fireball is a contest this week. The review will be posted once the entry deadline has passed.
John Guzzetta’s New York Times crossword—Andy’s review
Let’s dive right in, shall we? First, there are three theme answers spread across black squares:
- 17a/18a, TOOT / HIS OWN HORN [With 18-Across, what a boastful guy might do]. An odd choice of base phrase, but it turns out to be necessary for the theme.
- 35a/37a, DO UNTO / OTHERS [With 37-Across, start of an ethical rule]. “… as you would have them do unto you” is roughly how I remember that ending.
- 54a/57a, SPREAD TOO / THIN [With 57-Across, overextended].
And, oh hey, there’s a revealer at 52a, [Formal term for the gap suggested by 17/18-, 35/37- and 54/57-Across]. So what’s a DIASTEMA?
So it’s a GAP TOOTH (TOOT HIS OWN HORN, DO UNTO OTHERS, SPREAD TOO THIN). Quick question: Why wasn’t GAP TOOTH the revealer? It could easily have been clued as something like [Feature suggested by…]. Not sure what putting the unfamiliar DIASTEMA adds that wouldn’t be better served by GAP TOOTH (or TOOTH GAP). The only explanation I can think of is that maybe the phrase is more commonly GAP TEETH than “tooth,” and the separated letters were TOOTH rather than “teeth.” If that’s the case, though, then I don’t think the revealer works, since the “gap suggested” by the entries is TOOTH GAP.
That all is nitpicky, I guess. This has a shockingly low word (69) for a weekday puzzle. The fill is solid throughout, though there aren’t a ton of constraints. I liked some of the long stuff, like SEED PEARLS, RUSTLED UP, AMOUNT TO, and REVEILLE. A little weird to have MADDEN and NFC so close, as well as DO UNTO and SURE DO, but c’est la vie.
I was hung up for a while on 26a, [What comes before a clue?]. Tricky, tricky: it’s GET, as in “GET a clue.” Which I have now done.
Solid Thursday. Until next week!
Heidi Moretta’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “In Re:” — Jim’s review
Theme: The first words of various phrases or names are sandwiched by the letters R and E. Hence, we have words that are “in R E.” Somewhat reminiscent of the NYT mini puzzle from yesterday (GLO = “L in GO” = LINGO).
- 18a [Inveigh against Target Field players?] REVILE TWINS. Evil twins. Did not know what inveigh meant. In fact, I didn’t know it was a word. As it’s used in the clue, it looks like a proper name.
- 25a [Stop for a Vintners’ Expo visitor?] RED WINE BOOTH. Edwin Booth. Nice find changing “Edwin” to “red wine.” I didn’t recognize the name, but Mr. Booth was one of the most popular and well-known American actors of the 19th century. He is often overshadowed by his bro who shot that president. Yeah, that guy.
- 43a [Logistical concern for Amazon shipments?] ROUTE OF ORDER. Out of order. Nice. Did you hear that Amazon is looking for a location to build a second but equal headquarters? Yup, it’s got Seattle’s city leadership up in arms that perhaps someday Amazon might pull up stakes completely.
- 54a [Possible commemorative choice for renaming Boston Common?] REVERE GREEN. Evergreen. The clue makes all the difference. My feeling is that verbal phrases (like REVILE TWINS above) are inherently weaker than noun phrases. This phrase could’ve easily been clued as [Adore CeeLo?] and it would have been fine. But I prefer the imaginative clue Mike Shenk came up with because it provides a more tangible feel.
It took a little while to figure out exactly what was going on here. The matter was confused by the fact that the first two entries both had RE and IN in them. But once I caught on, I enjoyed the wordplay, and that made it worth it.
Not a lot of sparkly fill today aside from BIRD SONGS. I also like EREWHON, but Samuel Butler’s book title has always gnawed at me. I can’t look at it without wanting to transpose the W and H. *shakes fist* Butler!
LIGHT DIET [Convalescent’s fare] struck me as green paintish. Is this something that people actually say? The clue is also unfortunately timed after the recent news coming from a Florida nursing home.
There are a couple more icky bits in 26d ERTE and 58a ROAR AT. The rest of the fill, though, is functional; it’s the theme that takes the prize in this grid.
Lots of clues to get through:
- 21d [Grant Wood, for one]. IOWAN. If you don’t know this painter’s name, learn it. His most famous work is American Gothic, and he seems to pop up in WSJ puzzles on a not-infrequent basis.
- 13d [Sportin’ Life gives her a dose of happy dust]. BESS. What a crazy clue that, to this moment, I still don’t understand. Is Sportin’ Life a magazine? If so, what kind of happy dust did they give to BESS Truman? Ha! I couldn’t be more wrong. It’s opera. Sportin’ Life and BESS are characters in Gerswhin’s Porgy and Bess. The happy dust is cocaine.
- 29a [Norman delivery]. ARIA. That’s Jessye Norman the soprano, another operatic name I didn’t know. In other opera news, I did hear today that Dame Kiri Te Kanawa announced her retirement.
- 30a [Lewis with the 2008 #1 hit “Bleeding Love”]. LEONA. From opera to pop. Sadly for me, my musical interests lie elsewhere, but apparently this was the biggest-selling single in the UK and US in 2007 (per Wikipedia).
- 32d [Product from un penseur]. IDEE. IDEE translates to “idea,” and penseur translates to “thinker,” as in “Le Penseur de Rodin.”
- 33d [It may come to a head]. BEER. This clue would also work for “idea.”
- 47d [“Gaspard de la Nuit” composer]. RAVEL. According to this site, RAVEL set out to create a fiendishly difficult piece of music, and he succeeded. Apparently, the mere mention of it is enough to frighten most pianists. But watch the video below to see part of it (Scarbo, the most difficult portion) performed masterfully by Ukrainian-American Valentina Lisitsa (the video starts out quietly, but gets louder as it goes).
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “No Great Shakes” — Ben’s Review
This week’s BEQ is a quote puzzle! I tend to dislike these, but my interest was peaked by the quote being from John Oliver, who I think only lags behind Samantha Bee in terms of incisive political humor these days:
- 17A: Start of a quote by John Oliver — DEMOCRACY IS LIKE
- 28A: Quote pt. 2 — A TAMBOURINE
- 37A: Pt. 3 — NOT
- 42A: Pt. 4 — EVERYONE CAN
- 52A: Pt. 5 — BE TRUSTED WITH IT
I’m not sure on this one, y’all. This feels like a joke that works best when you’ve got the speaker’s exact cadence – seeing it written out doesn’t quite have the same effect from a comedy perspective.
Aside from that, I liked FILAS (though I tried to have it be PUMAS for too long), KOOL and the Gang, LATERAL, LEMON TORTE, SKIMP ON, KELLY RIPA (who has the same enumeration as Brian DUNKELMAN, co-host of S1 of American Idol), I GOT NOTHIN’, and PEARL GRAY. Less fond of the plural IGAS, STOP GO traffic (which really needs an -and- between those two words, IMO), and other too-common fill like TET.
Clive Probert’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review
Our letter addition puzzle this week has come a day early. Hear “T-” is added to four long answers: SINGLES(T-)BAR, LOSEYOUR(T-)SHIRT (the weakest by far, as the meaning isn’t changed much), GIVEADOGA(T-)BONE (I have no idea what “Ruth’s Chris” is supposed to mean), and OEDIPUS(T-)REX. Nice concept but not particularly or elegant interesting wacky answers for me.
The grid design is challenging – 11/14/14/11 is a difficult arrangement, but everything is held together surprisingly well. The STODGY stuff is there, but carefully distributed so it doesn’t stick in the teeth. I don’t really see much in terms of answers or clues I feel the urge to comment on.