Crossword Fiend commenter Bananarchy, a.k.a. Peter Broda, has a new puzzle blog called Cross Nerd. He’s constructing crosswords over there, both themed and mini-themeless (11×11? 11×13? Why not?), all in the Onion A.V. Club vein (i.e., be prepared for salty language). The emphasis is on freshness of fill rather than impressiveness of grid design (which is generally a philosophy I approve of). (Was that too many parenthetical remarks?)
John Dunn’s New York Times crossword
WATERCOLORS are lovely, aren’t they? The word serves as a unifying principle for this theme, which features five bodies of water that pair a color with a term for a body of water: the mythical BLACK LAGOON, the RED RIVER, GREEN BAY, the YELLOW SEA, and “BLUE BAYOU.” Golden Pond narrowly misses out on qualifying for inclusion. There are probably a handful of colors that fit “__ Lake” but I can’t think of a famous one.
I like that only YELLOW SEA is clued as a factual geographic body of water—the other four give you a fake place, a movie, a song, and a city.
I haven’t got much to say, good or bad, about the rest of the fill. Hey, it’s Tuesday! You’re not likely to find much to remark on, unless there are things to complain about. Overall rating, 3.5 stars.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “The Worst of 2011”
I always enjoy Matt’s year-end roundup of laughable tripe:
- 17a. [Adam Sandler cringefest that topped many “Worst Movie of 2011” lists] is JACK AND JILL.
- 25a. [HP tablet released in July 2011, then discontinued six weeks later (then revived later in the year!)] is the TOUCHPAD.
- 34a. [Metacritic’s lowest-rated Fall 2011 TV show] was CHARLIE’S ANGELS. The series was canceled quickly.
- 43a. [His “Seeking Major Tom” made Pitchfork’s “Worst Album Covers of 2011” list] clues WILLIAM SHATNER. Totally missed this one. He released an album this year?
- 49a. [Doomed Netflix offshoot on CNET’s “20 Worst-Named Tech Products”] is QWIKSTER. Boy, Netflix had a rough few months there. Raise rates! Split into two companies! Name one of them Qwikster! Retract everything except the rate increase!
- 63a. [Tackle box item turned hair accessory that was one of Yahoo!’s “Worst Trends of 2011”] is a FEATHER LURE. Wait, what? This really happened? I don’t think the trend reached Chicago. Plus, this is bogus. If any sort of fishing lure is going to make it big as a fashion accessory, it’s gotta be the brightly colored rubber worm. Feathers are boring. They don’t jiggle.
Overall rating, 3.5 stars.
Jeff Chen’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Neville’s review
- 4d. [Bogeyman deterrent, so it’s said] – NIGHT LIGHT
- 8d. [Organization leader, in slang] – BIG ENCHILADA
- 21d. [Unobstructed progress] – CLEAR SAILING
- 32d. [Chatterbox’s output] – BLUE STREAK
- 26d. [Airport handlers, and in a way, what the first words of 4-, 8-, 21- and 32-Down are] – SKYCAPS
This is pretty cute – I like it when we have a good excuse for vertical theme entries. Nothing BRUTAL in this Tuesday puzzle. Let’s take a look at some compound bullets.
- 22a. [Unintended radio broadcast silence] –DEAD AIR. An awkward moment, to be sure.
- 55a. [High-tech business] – DOT-COM. We’re due another bursting bubble, aren’t we? (I shouldn’t say that!)
- 57a. [Kook] – ODDBALL. Also, one of eight on a billiard table.
Favorite bit of visual imagery: the HAWK at 5d. swooping in on a CHICK. Very cool.
Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Sounds Fishy to Me” – Sam Donaldson’s review
It’s a short post today for a variety of reasons, so let’s get to it. The theme entries are names of fish that have been clued as though they were nouns completely unrelated to the sea:
- 20-Across: The LARGEMOUTH BASS is clued as [Voluble ‘NSYNC member Lance?]. Lance Bass was one of the singers in ‘NSYNC.
- 31-Across: The SPOTTED RAY is de-fish-ified into [Actor Romano suffering from the measles?] If Ray Romano had the measles, he might well be referred to as “spotted ray.” Would that also mean he looked green around the gills?
- 40-Across: The COMMON CARP is clued as [“You left the seat up,” e.g.?]. I didn’t know that there was a “common” carp–is there an uncommon one too?
- 51-Across: The FLATHEAD MULLET becomes a [Haircut that’s a cross between a Marine’s and Billy Ray Cyrus’s?]. Mullets are easy to recognize in the water–they’re all business up front and a party in the back.
The theme is cute enough, but I was more impressed with the fill. The long Downs were helpful in sussing out the theme entries (my favorites were ETHAN ALLEN and METROPOLIS). Bonus points for having METROPOLIS cross LOIS Lane, [Clark’s crush] (as in Clark Kent, not William Clark of Lewis & Clark fame).
[Gamer’s console that debuted in 2001] was an interesting clue for XBOX, largely because I had no idea that the Xbox has been around that long. I just got my first Xbox two days ago–and that’s my first ever gaming system. I knew I was behind the times, but not that far behind. [Canoe alternative] made no sense to me as a clue for BRUT–turns out Canoe is a well-known cologne brand, like Brut. But the clue that seemed to give me the most trouble was [Give the axe to] for CASHIER. I had forgotten that “cashier” can also be a verb meaning to dismiss someone from official duties. Since most grocery store checkout clerks are not usually in positions of authority, I don’t think one would cashier a cashier in the ordinary course. But you could cashier a manager (though a cashier would not do the cashiering, of course).