Barry Franklin and Sara Kaplan’s New York Times crossword
Hey, look! It’s friends of the blog Karma Sartre and Sara, making their joint debut in the New York Times. Congratulations to you both.
I felt a little slow because I didn’t understand the theme at first, but then it dawned on me. 37a: SPLIT INFINITIVE is used to clue four other answers, each of which is an infinitive that means “to split.” You’ve got the Kardashianesque TO DIVORCE, your split-town TO PULL UP STAKES, your split-it-halfway GO FIFTY/FIFTY, and your split-…I don’t know what both splits and shatters… TO SHATTER.
Now, 37a is clued as a [Grammatical infelicity], but really, it isn’t. The real grammar experts will assure you that it’s kosher to split an infinitive in English.
Lively fill includes the RIGATONI ALLIGATOR and the SHARKSKIN TRIFECTA. Aren’t those great? The rest of the fill is fairly ordinary, with some of the yuckier 3s (SIL, ERI, INF) inapparent to me while solving because their crossings were easy enough that I never even saw those clues. I did see the clue for OOOH, though, and I don’t like it when answers add extra vowels to length a sound.
Raymond Hamel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Such a Tease” – Sam Donaldson’s review
Our theme features five two-word entries where the first word can also be a synonym for “tease.” No, seriously. I’m not pulling your leg. See for yourself:
- 17-Across: A KID BROTHER is a [Younger sibling] that my brother and sister both had but which I did not.
- 35-Across: The [Soft toy] is a RAG DOLL. R-A-G-G, D-O-L-L. Rag doll! Click here if that means nothing to you.
- 54-Across: The [“No Country for Old Men” actor] is JOSH BROLIN. I’m given to understand that he won this role by the flip of a coin.
- 11-Down: Something that is RIB-TICKLING is [Very amusing], though I think actually tickling an exposed rib would cause more discomfort than joy, both to the tickler and the ticklee.
- 24-Down: I didn’t know that the guy who would RIDE SHOTGUN was the one who would [Guard the strongbox, in westerns]. That little knowledge nugget makes this my favorite clue and answer.
I liked the assortment of brand names, everything from AMANA and AJAX to CLOROX and CONAGRA. There was even ELLA Moss, a brand I know nothing about. And any puzzle with a reference to a Seattle MARINER is fine by me. With the exception of ON A ROLL, clued as [Hot, in Vegas] and not as [Where to spread some butter], the longer fill was kinda dull. ARRANGER doesn’t exactly sparkle, you know?
Interesting to see ARM crossing ARMIES–if they weren’t so close together I probably wouldn’t have noticed the duplicate three-letter sequence. There’s nothing wrong with it, of course (ARM crossing ARMPIT or FOREARM would be a problem), but it does stand out. The best clue, by far, was [Takes back the lead?] for ERASES (it helps to read “lead” as rhyming with “bed” and “red”).
David Cromer’s Los Angeles Times crossword
Quick review this morning— The theme has four 15-letter answers with sound-alike clues:
- 17a. [Sachs] = GOLDMAN’S PARTNER.
- 27a. [Sacks] = FIRES FROM THE JOB. The “the” part is fairly arbitrary, but ONE’S and A don’t fit the theme’s grid constraints.
- 48a. [Saks] = NEW YORK RETAILER. With stores nationwide.
- 64a. [Sax] = WOODWIND IN A BAND. Or playing solo, or in an orchestra.
I did this puzzle last night when I was too sleepy to blog it, so it’s not fresh in my mind now. Let’s take a look at several clues:
- 37a. [“Awakenings” actress] is Anne MEARA, comedy partner and spouse of Jerry Stiller, mother of Ben Stiller, solver of the New York Times crossword.
- 8d. [Plaster of Paris component] is GYPSUM, a soft mineral on the Mohs scale. (My kid was just quizzing me on the Mohs on Monday. I’m foggiest on the ones in the middle.)
- 10d. [Daytime fare] is a MATINEE. I was thinking of TV programs rather than theater performances or movies.
- 50d. [Ancient Egyptian temple complex] is KARNAK. Is that roughly the same name as Johnny Carson’s seer character?
- 29d. [Took in again] clues RESAW. No. No, no, no. You see it again, you don’t “re-see” it. And you can’t resaw a piece of wood where you’ve already cut it. Wonder if the constructor tried like hell to make this RENEW but the surrounding fill just wouldn’t work out.
Tyler Hinman’s Onion A.V. Club crossword
Nice theme. Tyler took four familiar phrases and stuck an “i” before the second word to make an unholy Apple mutant:
- 17a. [Where to store depressing material online?] is in the DARK iCLOUD. I forgot the iCloud existed for a while there.
- 27a. [Tablet for a single guy?] is a BACHELOR iPAD.
- 42a. [Buggy music player?] is LOONEY iTUNES. This one doesn’t quite hang together for me. Buggy ≠ loon(e)y.
- 55a. [Music player holding songs about busting out of prison?] clues ESCAPE iPOD. I don’t have a prison-break playlist. Do you have songs to recommend?
Favorite answer: 9d: MAD PROPS, or [Respect, yo]. Also good: ELBOW ROOM, “HEY THERE,” THE UNIT/GLUTEUS sandwich, and “ZIP IT.” Not sure TTYL has been in crosswords before; this [Quick goodbye?] is short for “talk to you later.” I’m grateful it’s not “t2yl.”