Barry Silk’s New York Times crossword
Yep, yesterday’s puzzle was Saturdayish and this one’s more like tough Fridayish, as I was one second faster than last Saturday. Fun puzzle, in any event. Lots of zippy, Scrabbly answers in this 70-worder. Here’s the lowdown on the ups:
- 7a. SOCIAL IQ, [A nerd has a low one]. Knowing Barry’s proclivity for the rarer letters, I guessed this was something-IQ and hit on SOCIAL IQ.
- 26a. Total PUSSYCATS are [Unthreatening sorts].
- 34a. Charles SCHULZ, Charlie [Brown drawer]. Tricky clue.
- 42a. BABY SPICE is a tad outdated now, but we have a quasi-mini-theme hinting at girl groups Pussycat Dolls and Spice Girls.
- 56a. Great clue. SUSPENSE is a [Thriller killer?], as in exclaiming “The suspense is killing me!” when watching a thriller.
- 14d. QUIZNOS, [Chain serving Torpedoes and Bullets]. (No relation to the GUN CASE at 3d.)
- 28d. ZONKS, [Drops off, with “out”]. I had ZONES at first, but should’ve known Barry would go for the Full Scrabbly.
- 31d. Total gimme. KANYE WEST, [About whom Obama said “He is a jackass. But he’s talented”].
A question: The 36d clue, [They bear arms]—if these HALTERS are halter tops, then they bare arms but bear nothing at all in the category of arms. Am I missing something here, or does this seem wrong to you too?
32a: [Ab follower] clues ELUL. Ab is a Hebrew month, but not one that gets much play in crosswords thanks to having 2 letters.
Peter Gordon’s The Week crossword for June 22, 2012—Jared’s review
The Week’s crossword has been added to the “canon” of puzzles linked to at the top of this page. Unfortunately you’ll still have to download it to your desktop as an image and print it from there, though Peter claims we should have online access soon.
Let’s see what recent news Peter has worked into the grid this week:
- 14/15a. [Recent celebration for Queen Elizabeth II] – DIAMOND JUBILEE. My goodness, was there a lot of excitement for British people floating around on boats. The Daily Show’s coverage of the coverage was very funny.
- 21a. [Recently approved name of element No. 116] – LIVERMORIUM. Not nearly as audacious a scientific naming as the newly discovered mushroom last year that was officially named Spongiforma squarepantsii (on account of its resemblance to a sponge). Pannonica, is this an example of a taxonomic binomial?
- 34a. [Longtime host of Family Feud] – RICHARDDAWSON. Though Peter never mentions it in his clues, if a long full name is in the puzzle that person almost surely recently died. This is no exception. He did not die from contracting diseases from making out with all the female contestants while their brothers and fathers watched on, powerless to stop it. And frankly, I’m offended by your suggestion that was the case.
- 51a. [Author of Fahrenheit 451] – RAYBRADBURY. See the rule above. Here’s what Bradbury actually said in 2011: “We’ve got too many internets.” I’m guessing that one won’t be his epitaph.
- 64/65a. [Recent astronomical event that won’t occur again until 2117] – TRANSIT/OF VENUS. Finally I have sufficient motivation to try to make it to age 136. I simply have to relive the excitement of a thing passing in front of another thing.
Other fill of note:
- 1a. [1997 role for Leslie Nielsen] – MRMAGOO. This was one of two movies in my life that I have walked out on. The other was Baby Geniuses.
- 44a. [I’ll Have Another, for one] – HORSE. This is the horses’s second mention in as many weeks in this puzzle. Jeffrey, time to start a spreadsheet.
- 8d. [Incan cord used for accounting] – QUIPU.Doug, you’re an accountant, right? Is this still de rigueur?
- 48d. [Year that Nostradamus died] – MDLXVI. I think this is the longest Roman numeral I’ve ever entered in a puzzle. If you enjoy entering Roman numerals in crossword puzzles and you enjoy Peter Gordon crossword puzzles, then you can’t do much better than this.
See you next week.
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “I’m Whipped!” – Sam Donaldson’s review
Today’s puzzle will leave you feeling whip-smart. That’s because it features four entries ending with words that can precede “whip:”
- 17-Across: The [2012 Drew Barrymore film] is BIG MIRACLE. I’m not familiar with the film, but I am very familiar with Miracle Whip. It’s labelled as a “salad dressing,” but in my world it’s the preferred alternative to mayonnaise. There are those who actually prefer real mayonnaise to Miracle Whip. I would make a joke about that, but it’s mean to make fun of those with poor palates. They can’t help it.
- 27-Across: The [Amish transport] is a HORSE AND BUGGY. I wasn’t familiar with the term “buggy whip,” so I just asked my fiancee what it meant. Not missing a beat, she said it was a long whip used to drive a horse-drawn buggy. It has a short rope to it.” While she said that, I Googled the term and found this definition on Wikipedia: “a horsewhip with a long stiff shaft and a relatively short lash used for driving a horse.” I am so marrying up.
- 48-Across: The MORAL MAJORITY is the [Organization founded by Jerry Falwell]. The “majority whip” is the third-highest ranking member of the majority party in Congress.
- 65-Across: The [1980 Robert DeNiro movie] is RAGING BULL. If you’re not careful, you can get addicted to crack…ing a bull whip.
There’s lots of fun fill here, including THE MOB, LAS VEGAS, YUMMY, and STRAW MAN. I like how the 13s are centered in the grid so that the four black L’s can frame the midsection–it’s a nice visual touch.
Favorite entry = LAB RAT, the [Maze runner]. Favorite clue = [In class, they can be taken or taken away] for NOTES. Clever! But I also thought [Amendment regarding federalism] is a great clue for an entry like TENTH. In the wrong hands, we might get a more strained clue, like perhaps [Beethoven’s unstarted symphony].
Bruce Sutphin’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
Seems like mere months ago that Bruce was a newbie constructor dipping his toes in the LA Times pool, and here he is now with a solo “Saturday Stumper” under his belt.
I got off to a swift start with the GLISSADES/GRIMACED crossing (1a. [Gliding dance steps], 1d. [Showed discomfort]). The whole top half, in fact, felt much easier than the bottom half.
- 15a. [PepsiCo product since 2001], RICE-A-RONI. A refreshing drink!
- 17a. [Czech-born sports great], IVAN LENDL. Full name? Czech.
- 27a. [Perfect game spoiler], GUTTER BALL. In bowling, not baseball.
- 41a. [Two-time ”Rolling Stone” cover subject in 1981], ONO. Interesting clue.
- 55a. [Where Knievel jumped 13 cars on two consecutive nights], ASTRODOME. I was thinking it would be something like Snake Canyon.
- 7d. 1989 National Radio Hall of Fame inductee], DON IMUS. Full name? Check. Sort of rhymes with “animus.”
- 9d. [Cholesterol component], SILENT H. With SIL in place, I wondered if SILICON could be in cholesterol molecules.
- 14d. [Something set in stone], FOSSIL. Quite literal.
- 28d. [Quietly forward], BCC. Blind “carbon” copy. In “quietly forward,” forward is a verb, not an adjective.
- 30d. [Metaphor for repetitious futility], WHAC-A-MOLE. Not to be confused with Whac-A-Roni or Rice-A-Mole.
- 33d. [Crib sheet user], TOT. Sheets in an actual crib, not a means of cheating on an exam.
- 35d. [Originally, a castle-wall slit], LOOPHOLE. Who knew? Not I.
- 37d. [Sleepers], SOFABEDS. Not people who are sleeping.
- 45d. [It may be taken to prevent sunburn], SIESTA. Good clue.
- 56d. [Ward healers] RNS. Playing on a political “ward heeler.” RNs work in hospital wards.
- 40a. [Clarity, for short], RES. I have no idea what the connection between this clue and answer might be. Anyone?
- 49a. [Coconut kernel], COPRA. Old-school crosswordese.
- 4d. [Empathic one], SENSER. Can you use this word in a sentence that doesn’t sound stilted?
- 6d. [About 120 square yards], ARE. Why? Why?? Why clue it as the unit of measure my dictionary labels “historical,” a fusty bit of crosswordese (because who the heck knows this unit other than longtime crossworders?), when it is a perfectly flexible verb?
- 27d. [Burner hookup], GAS TAP. Meh.
- 36d. [Prepares to display], ENFRAMES. Or … just FRAMES. Who uses that EN-, anyway?
- 44d. [Stop on the Copenhagen-Jutland line], ODENSE. Crosswordese town in Denmark. Mnemonic: It has the DEN of Denmark in it. And it’s inside -OSE, the chemical ending for sugars, and a Danish pastry is sweet! There you go.
Brad Wilber’s Los Angeles Times crossword
I just hit the blogging skids this morning and have zero inclination to blog despite liking this puzzle all right. Who needs paragraphs?
- 1a. [Small big-eyed flier], ELF OWL. Not to be confused with pollo, a.k.a. EL FOWL.
- 14a. [Where to pick up leaves in bags], TEA SHOP. Loose tea leaves.
- 28a. [The toe of an Asian “boot”], OMAN. On the Arabian Peninsula, which is technically part of the Asian continent.
- 34a. [In one’s slip?], MOORED. If one is a boat, that is.
- 36a. [Junk food, to a nutritionist], EMPTY CALORIES. Great fill, tastes great, more filling.
- 42a. [Groom’s bagful] OATS. Horse groom, not bridegroom. Can usually make it down the aisle without needing to snack on granola.
- 47a. [Hail at the luau], ALOHA. As in “Hail, hail!” rather than frozen precipitation.
- 3d. [Blog readership, collectively], FANDOM. Hello, fandom! Some blog readers are haters rather than fans, there to troll. Not here, though. Fiends are nice people.
- 5d. [Stemless symbol], WHOLE NOTE. Music, not roses.
- 6d. [“Dress cut down to there” wearer of song], LOLA. In Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana,” not the Kinks’ “Lola.”
- 7d. [Fleance’s father], BANQUO. In Macbeth, Fleance is a character whose name I don’t recall at all.
- 11d. [What the “arrant thief” of a moon “snatches from the sun,” in Shakespeare’s “Timon of Athens”], PALE FIRE. Also a Nabokov novel.
- 21d. [Shudder-inducing nature, in modern slang], ICK FACTOR. Some men in the Michigan legislature apparently think the word “vagina” has too much ick factor, though they have no objection to presenting legislation that governs female reproductive organs.
- 24d. [Not very innocent-looking], VAMPISH. A word I’ve never used.
- 27d. [“The Rite of Spring” quartet], OBOISTS. Had no idea.
- 36d. [Winged undersea mollusk hunter], EAGLE RAY. Had no idea.
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s Wall Street Journal Saturday Puzzle, “Roundabout”
I didn’t really warm up to this puzzle until at least 20 minutes into it, when I had finally made some decent headway and no longer felt dumb. The evening before, I’d solved about six Kosman/Picciotto cryptics from The Nation (all I have left to do is every April, May, and June puzzle!) in a row so I was pretty sure my cryptic muscles were in top shape. But no, the variety cryptic monkey clung to my back and laughed at the regular cryptics with their numbered answer spaces.
Speaking of variety cryptics, (1) I just gave a stack of variety cryptics from old Games/World of Puzzles issues to Dan Feyer because I was never going to get around to them, and (2) today’s mail brought me an entire book of variety cryptics self-published by Roger Wolff. I loved Emily and Henry’s book of old Atlantic cryptics, but as Roger says in his introduction, there’s really nowhere to publish variety puzzles (unless, he refrains from saying, your name is Cox and/or Rathvon). It may be a while before I dig into Roger’s 50 Variety Cryptic Crosswords, but in the meantime, those of you thirsting for a new source of variety cryptics can order the new book on Amazon.
Back to Emily and Henry’s circular “Roundabout.” My first attempt at making headway was to fill in the middle answer in the Radii answers I’d figured out, and then fit Ring d’s answers through those. Man, that didn’t pan out for a good long while. Kept plugging away and whaddaya know? Everything came together. Except for those two uncrossed letters I got wrong. In Ring c, [Threesome keeping one servant in “The Taming of the Shrew”] asked me to end up with a Shakespeare character from a play I’d never read—and not a famous one, either. I went with TRIN(I)E but the answer turns out to be TR(AN)IO. Wait, who? At least the other mystery name had no uncrossed letters and is a recognizable name: [Writer Moravia let boar loose], ALBERTO.
Finally, you work your way into the innermost Ring g to get CIRCUNAVIGATORS, and at long last have some idea what goes into the unclued spaces in Rings a-f: Phileas FOGG, John GLENN, Nellie BLY, Captain COOK, Charles DARWIN, and Francis DRAKE.
Favorite clue: [Underwater plants inspire amazement in garden beginners], SE(AWE)EDS.