Elizabeth Gorski’s New York Times crossword, “Monumental Achievement”
Here’s another in the long series of Gorski 21×21 puzzles with a visual aspect. This time, the “monumental achievement” is the Great Pyramids of Egypt, only without specific reference thereto. PYRAMID is spelled out in the circled letters, and connecting the dots from P to D traces a view of two planes of a pyramid. The theme entries have the word “pyramid” left out of their clues, but all pertain to non-Egyptian pyramids:
- 23A. [ ] is a pyramid CHEERLEADING FORMATION.
- 37A. The mystery [ ] is also an IMAGE ON A DOLLAR BILL.
- 55A. [ ] is also a YOGA POSE. Is that the one where your hands are on the floor and your knees rest on your elbows?
- 66A. In the middle is THE LOUVRE, a Paris attraction that features a [ ].
- 78A. I was waiting for GAME SHOW, but instead got a CARD GAME called [ ]. I haven’t heard of it.
- 89A. This references 66A without mentioning it. [ ] that was the creation of an architect born 4/26/1917 is GLASS DESIGN BY I.M. PEI. Aha! That’s why Egypt’s famed pyramids are left out. The focus is on birthday-boy Pei and his glass pyramid in Paris.
- 109A. We close out the theme with geometry. [ ] is also a THREE-DIMENSIONAL SHAPE.
I saw some cute clues I appreciated while solving, but I don’t recall where they were. I am not at all in the mood to blog right now. Long day of family birthday party action! Am ready for nap. No disrespect intended for Liz’s puzzle, but my [Sitting areas, slangily?] (my GLUTES) are calling out for heavy-duty sofa lounging now.
Mike Shenk’s Washington Post “Post Puzzler No. 3”
I had an incorrect square and made the obvious fix when Across Lite highlighted the square. For 33A: [Preproduction job], I had COSTING, figuring that COSTING or pricing the materials was part of manufacturing. But it’s the CASTING that’s done before TV or movie production begins. 31D: [Arizona governor Brewer] has been in the news, but I’d missed mentions of her name and guessed it was JON rather than JAN.
Favorite and/or toughest clues:
- 57A. [Escapee in a 1997 Spielberg sequel] isn’t a person but a T. REX. I had TRE* and ran through the alphabet all the way to X.
- 16A. [Summer hit] is the Donna Summer hit “ON THE RADIO.”
- 25A. [URL feature] is the SLASH, as seen twice in http://www.crosswordfiend.com.
- 37A. Ah, digital privilege. [Count on both hands?] is TEN fingers—but that doesn’t hold true if you’re born with polydactyly or missing some fingers.
- 38A. [Genial nature] is BONHOMIE. I’m listing this one because it’s such a lovely word.
- 47A. [“Up, get you out of this place” speaker] is LOT. From the Bible? Quote isn’t familiar to me.
- 50A. [It may come to light] clues a MOTH. It’s lepidoptera day! PAPILLON, the French word for “butterfly,” is the [Nickname of prison escapee Henri Charriere] (2D).
- 7D. [Perfect game dozen] are STRIKES in bowling. Tomorrow’s party is at a bowling alley, but I can guarantee you none of the kids will bowl 12 strikes in a game, not even with the bumpers keeping their balls out of the gutter.
- 35D. [Merit inclusion?] is the NICOTINE in Merit brand cigarettes. It’s smokes day! The [Joe Cool trademark] is SHADES. Oh, wait. Joe Cool is Snoopy’s alter ego, right? Different from Joe Camel? My bad.
- 36D. [Pay for poor performance, in a way] is about payback, not paychecks: GET THE AX.
- 38D. I didn’t know BOTTEGA means [Master artist’s workshop]. So Bottega Veneta is making claims there.
- 46D. IRENE is the [1919 musical featuring the song “Alice Blue Gown”]. This may be slightly familiar to me from past crosswords. It might also be completely unfamiliar.
Merl Reagle’s syndicated/Philadelphia Inquirer crossword, “By Design”
You know how “2×4” is pronounced “two-by-four”? In this puzzle, each X stands in for the word BY in one direction, but is an X in the crossing. For example, 24A: [Smart remark?] is “MISSED IT X THAT MUCH, and 123A: [One way to miss] is X A MILE. I dunno, this theme didn’t excite me.
I solved the puzzle last night on paper and circled a few clues for discussion:
- 4A. [Early producer of penicillin] is the drug company SQUIBB, which eventually became part of Bristol Myers Squibb, if I recall correctly. Needed every crossing for this one.
- 52A. [Chef’s spice] clues SAGE. I use “herb” rather than “spice” for the seasonings that are leaf-based, like sage.
- 80A. [Blooey opener] looks so weird. It’s KER, as in “kerblooey.” Also on deck for KER clueing: “kerplunk.” Though really, one prefers not to have KER in the grid at all.
- 106A. [Land-or-sea vehicle] clues AQUACAR. Does such a thing exist? Where might I buy one?
- 110A. Drew a blank on [Prost of Formula One racing]. Husband said, “Alain. A-L-A-I-N.” Thanks, hon!
- 4D. [Browne of belt fame] is SAM. Who is Sam Browne? Karate belt? Stylist belts to hold up pants? Heavyweight Champion of the World belt? Onward to Wikipedia! “Sam Browne belt” is the name for that diagonal belt across the torso worn in certain uniforms. Never heard of the term before.
- 37D. [It might start “1-800”: abbr.] clues the woeful abbreviation PH. NO.
- 53A. As far as partials go, you can’t get better than this. [“Get ___!” (comment to neckers)], A ROOM. Made me laugh.
- 68D. Really? MANTAN? That seems…obscure. [Actor Moreland of Charlie Chan films].
Mark Bickham’s syndicated Los Angeles Times Sunday crossword, “Missing”
It took me far too long to figure out what the theme is: There’s an ING missing from each phrase, changing the meaning. After understanding the theme, I remained underwhelmed by it, as the theme entries were short on humor. If you’re going to concoct phrases, they or their clues should include plenty of cleverness. I was also a bit put off by what felt like a lot of partials.
Still, 13 theme entries is a lot, and most of them intersect two other theme entries. I also loved seeing SUCCUBI (8D: [She-demons]) and KALAHARI (118A: [Bostwana desert]) in the grid.
Here’s the theme:
- 23A: [Admiral’s tryst?] (FLEET[ing] ROMANCE).
- 37A: [Water cooler gossip?] (BREAK[ing] NEWS).
- 40A: [Knockoff of an Intel product?] (BARGAIN[ing] CHIP).
- 68A: [Site of a surprise?] (START[ing] POSITION).
- 99A: [Issue for the media?] (PRESS[ing] MATTER).
- 101A: [Where insects learn to use their wings?] (FLY[ing] SCHOOL).
- 121A: [Museum featuring bamboo art?] (SHOOT[ing] GALLERY).
- 3D: [Golf tournament commentary?] (OPEN[ing] REMARKS).
- 14D: [Voice teacher?] (PITCH[ing] COACH).
- 28D: [Creek footage?] (STREAM[ing] VIDEO).
- 52D: [Units for timing a track event?] (MEET[ing] MINUTES).
- 72D: [First-quarter shipments?] (MARCH[ing] ORDERS).
- 75D: [Angry lineman?] (CROSS[ing] GUARD).
Doug Peterson’s themeless CrosSynergy crossword, “Sunday Challenge,” or as I like to call it, “Sunday Unchallenge”
When the weekday CrosSynergy/Washington Post/Houston Chronicle puzzles hit at Tuesday/Wednesday NYT difficulty but do not have the word “challenge” in their titles, is it too much to ask that the “Sunday Challenge” pose more of a challenge? The answer appears to be yes. C’mon, truth in advertising! The Newsday “Saturday Stumper” puzzles have indeed been tough of late, so
The grid is good, filled with fresh and lively words, phrases, and names. It’s just that the clues are designed to help the solvers get the answers, not make them work hard to get the answers.
I wish 1A had been FACEPALM instead of DATE PALM ([Middle Eastern tree]). Do you know the term facepalm? It’s akin to headdesk. Not sure why I haven’t seen jawfloor, but I do like this breed of online written shorthand for visuals.
- 36a. [“Bride & Prejudice”] actress Aishwarya ___] RAI has been called, I learned from Roger Ebert, the world’s most beautiful woman.
- 37a. [“Please go on!”] clues “VERY INTERESTING.” This does not have enough Rs to be clued as the Arte Johnson line from Laugh-In.
- 47a. [Felon interested in rock collections] is a JEWEL THIEF.
- 62a. [Four-time gold medalist in diving] is the awesome Greg LOUGANIS.
- 12d. [Bike around the block, say] is GO FOR A RIDE.
- 28d. My favorite answer today is HERKY-JERKY, or [Moving in fits and starts].
- 44d. [They spread dirt] means gossipers, or YENTAS. Whether YENTAS are helpful in doing garden/farm work, I cannot say.
- 50d. [Major account] clues a SAGA. A big account of a story, not a major bank account or advertising account.
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s 6-week-old Boston Globe crossword, “Change in the Weather”
I skipped solving this puzzle and had Black Ink fill in the grid so I could see the theme. “Change in the weather” is interpreted as “change one letter in a weather forecast to change the meaning.” A few of the altered phrases are clued as if they still have something to do with weather, but others are not. I circled the changed letters and no, I don’t think they spell out anything. BVD KICKERS? Er, no.