Corey Rubin’s New York Times crossword
So, it’s…a themeless puzzle…in which two of the entries are 30 letters long, split into stacked 15s. I can work with that. It’s a kinda fun twist on the usual Friday format. Here are the incredible 30s:
- 14a, 17a. [With 17-Across, encouragement for a trailing team] is “IT‘S NOT OVER UNTIL / THE FAT LADY SINGS.”
- 57a, 60a. [With 60-Across, risky “Jeopardy!” declaration] is “LET’S MAKE IT A TRUE / DAILY DOUBLE, ALEX.”
And now, here’s the Intersection of First Names of People I’ve Never Heard of section:
- 24a. [Actress Chandler and others] clues ESTEES. We all know Estee Lauder. Who on earth is Estee Chandler? She’s not a big star by any stretch of the imagination—she doesn’t even have a Wikipedia bio. Given that the crossing was another name I didn’t know, I half-wondered if 24a was ESMEES.
- 25d. TONI [Lydman of the N.H.L.]? If you go to Wikipedia and type in Toni, the top suspects are Morrison, Braxton, Collette, Elias (?), Basil, and Kukoc. So, hockey fans, is Mr. Lydman crossword-worthy?
Other things I didn’t know, but that were gettable via the clues:
- 9a. BEEBE, [Deep-sea exploration pioneer]. I went to high school with a kid named Dan Beebe. Any relation?
- 2d. ATHOL is a [Massachusetts city called Tool Town]. This is because the town has the highest per capita quantity of people you could consider tools. No, it’s because there’s a tool manufacturer there. Writer Athol Fugard is far more familiar to me than this town of 11,000.
- 48d. EARLE is clued as [1960s Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Wheeler].
- 50d. I’ve heard of Alan ALDA, of course, but [1985 Oscars co-host with Fonda and Williams]?? That seems weird.
- 58d. MYA is the [R&B singer with the hit “It’s All About Me”].
- 59d. TLC is the [R&B group with the hit “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg”].
Points of interest:
- 18a. Medical terminology! TONUS is [Normal muscle tension].
- 20a. Fresh clue for DADA: [It originated at Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire in the 1910s].
- 35a. [A.A.A. listings] aren’t ROUTES, they’re B AND B’S. That AND wants desperately to be an ampersand.
- 36a. Ooh, nice. AT SIGNS are [Parts of e-mail addresses].
- 61a. My vote for trickiest clue: [Out with the junk, say] clues AT SEA. A junk, of course, is a kind of ship.
- 6d. I like BOLSTERS because you switch its first two consonants and you get LOBSTERS. The clue is the idiomatic [Gives a shot in the arm].
- 8d. Another tricky clue: [Lots are in lots] means lots of SEDANS are in parking lots or car dealers’ lots.
- 10d. Ah, pop culture I know: ENID is the [Often-referenced but never-seen wife on “Scrubs”], married to the head doc.
- 12d. [Stars’ city, informally] is Dallas, the BIG D, home of the Dallas Stars NHL team.
- 27d. IN HOSPITAL is clued [Like many laid-up Brits].
- 33d, 35d. [Java setting] is ASIA (home of this Indonesian island), while [Java, e.g.] is a coffee BREW.
- 43d. [Types a little to the left] clues PINKOS. The opposite, of course, is italics.
- 56d. Is this the debut of SEXT in a daily newspaper crossword? [Send explicit come-ons by cell phone] is the clue. I thought sexting mostly involved the transmission of nude photos. Yes? No? Perhaps one of you who partakes in sexting can shed some light. Don’t be shy.
Raymond Hamel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “LOL”—Janie’s review
LOL, as I’m going to guess most of this audience knows, is text-speak for “laugh(ing) out loud.” Now while Ray’s puzzle has its amusing moments (like the excellent [Hails from Rocky Balboa] for “YO”S), he uses this initialism primarily to tip us off to the puzzle’s gimmick: the initial letters of the three words of each of the three theme phrases will follow the L___ O___ L___ pattern. Comme ça:
- 20A. [Give a slap on the wrist] LET OFF LIGHTLY. No need for corporal punishment, thank you very much.
- 37A. [Take punishment to heart] LEARN ONE’S LESSON. A good idea. Even (or maybe especially) if one has been let off lightly.
- 51A. [Basket contents, perhaps] LOAD OF LAUNDRY.
Interesting how none of the theme fill really suggests a reason for LOL… For that, you might want to look to a grid combo like the symmetrically placed HALF MOON and STREAKER [Nude runner] (though I suppose where streakers are concerned, that’s more likely to be a full moon…).
I enjoyed the snarky feel of SNIPED [Made cutting remarks] and AGLARE [Staring fiercely]. They make for a nice contrast to SOFTIE [One with a big heart].
I also like the way the fill for [Latin singer Anthony], MARC, sits above the fill for [Latin I conjugation part], AMAT—as in “Marc J-Lo amat.” “Latin” does double-duty here, first describing an ethnicity, then naming a classical language. Wordplay in the clues is always appreciated!
Mike Peluso’s Los Angeles Times crossword
The common cold has sapped my will to blog this morning. I didn’t have the same reservations about the theme that PuzzleGirl did, but I was not quite perky enough to notice that -ITY was added to two singulars and two plurals. When I did the puzzle last night, I saw it as “add -ITY or -SITY word endings,” which is ridiculous because -SITY isn’t a word ending. See? I’m impaired by the rhinovirus. So go read PuzzleGirl’s post at L.A. Crossword Confidential, because that’ll make a lot more sense than anything I say.
I liked 2d: ALEXA, but not because it’s the name of Christie Brinkley and [Billy Joel’s daughter]. My Twitter friend Alexa Stevenson published her memoir this month, Half Baked. If you like smart, funny writers (she’s been likened to Calvin Trillin), or gripping odysseys through infertility treatment and the world of premature babies, or non-annoying tales of personal growth, buy a copy of Half Baked. (If you like all three of those things, buy two copies and give one to a friend.)