Peter Koetters’ New York Times crossword
It’s math meets vegetables: 1d/55a spells out SQUARE ROOTS, and four root vegetables (SHALLOTS, PARSNIPS, RADISHES, POTATOES, all plurals for consistency) appear in the circled squares. Nice to see four different categories (in my personal taxonomy, anyway) of root veggies: oniony, carroty, weird little red round jobbers, and bulbous tubers.
Among the less familiar material in this puzzle, we have these:
- 60a. [Italian P.M. nicknamed Divo Giulio], ANDREOTTI. Who?? And what does that nickname mean?? (Male diva?) I hope he’s in prison and this is a veiled UNSHACKLE ANDREOTTI protest crossword.
- 2d. [Brook], RUNLET. You may not be aware that one definition of run is “small stream or brook.” So perhaps a run and a RUNLET are the same thing, rather than one being a diminutive of the other.
- 35d. [Larklike songbird], PIPIT.
Lots of names with limited cluing possibilities today. LOEWS, EPPIE, ARA, ISIAH, HAAS, and ELKE are a little less flexible than ELLA.
Top fill: The PERSEIDS, MALWARE, IT’S ON ME.
2.75 stars. I know the extra level of checking required by the SQUARE ROOT answers constrains the fill mightily, but having the theme material limited to 11 letters plus 32 circled squares doesn’t provide a ton of entertainment value to make up for INE ITES GTE STR, etc.
Steve Blais’ Los Angeles Times crossword — Gareth’s review
I will be blogging this in between baking chocolate and banana muffins. Please excuse me if my blog post wanders.
Very simple theme: the revealer is 61d. [Canine warning that the answers to starred clues have in common, initially], GRR. The starred answers are all two word phrases fitting the pattern GR* R*. That seems pretty wide-open, as themes go. On the other hand, it allowed Mr. Blais to cherry-pick 5 answers for us:
- 17a. [*One to four inches per day, for bamboo], GROWTHRATE. I like scientific answers my puzzles. Some of you may insist it’s a dry answer, but I really liked it.
- 28a. [*Noted scythe bearer], GRIMREAPER.
- 35a. [*1973 Thomas Pynchon novel], GRAVITYSRAINBOW. Had never heard of it ’til BEQ (I think?) either mentioned it or had it in a puzzle. Either way, the weird name stuck and it was a gimme, whereas before that I’d have needed every blerrie cross!
- 43a. [*Wrestling style that forbids holds below the waist], GRECOROMAN.
- 59a. [*Pearl Jam genre”], GRUNGEROCK.. My Baby’s in Love with Eddie Vedder
I blew through this in between a Monday and a Tuesday time; I wonder though, if I hadn’t known 35a, I may have come in in a more Wednesday-appropriate pace.
- 21a. [Toga party costume], BEDSHEET. Better angle than “Klansman’s costume”.
- 23a. [Take part in a 1920s fad], POLESIT. I don’t have a clue. A pole-sitter is American-ese for someone starting in pole position to me. When in doubt, ask Auntie Wikipedia… OK, how fricking bored do you have to be?? And I thought plankers were peculiar! See, it can be good to have unfamiliar things in puzzles, broaden your mind and all that malarkey.
- 4d. [No page-turner], YAWNER. People say this? Or is it a roll-your-own?
- 8d. [For the full nine months], TOTERM. Neat crossing this with GROWTHRATE.
- 9d. [Garden apparatus], SEEDER. I’ll believe you. Dictionary sez “a machine for sowing seed”; I imagined that. So how’s it different from a seed-drill, then?
- 10d. [Dad-blasted], GOSHDARN. Fun clue/answer pair.
That’s what I had to say, what do you have to say?
Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Baked Goods” – Sam Donaldson’s review
In today’s puzzle, Randy Ross re-imagines four common terms as baked goods:
- 17-Across: SWEETIE PIES become [Baked goods for lovers?].
- 27-Across: WELFARE ROLLS become [Baked goods for the poor?].
- 47-Across: SMART COOKIES become [Baked goods for geniuses?].
- 62-Across: BUNS OF STEEL become [Baked goods for the physically fit?].
I had all but the southeast corner done in just over four minutes, giving me the false hope that I would finish well under the five-minute mark. Little did I know that my own solving Waterloo awaited. I didn’t know DR. HOOK, [Rock’s Medicine Show leader], and all I had was the DR. part, and neither DRE nor TEETH fit the bill. I figured the [Old Dodge model] could have been a NEON just as easily as an OMNI, so that wrong guess slowed me down even further. FUGAL, to my ear, is not a word but a sound effect for sneezing. [Like much of Bach’s music], it completely evaded me. And while I was at it, I tried NIXES instead of KILLS for [Does away with]. If I had solved the print version of this puzzle, all my erasing would have worn holes through the paper.
My funniest mistake, though, was going for RIB as the [Chest protector] instead of BIB. That mistake gave me RUNS OF STEEL, which I somehow convinced myself was correct over BUNS OF STEEL. You see, RUNS gets the fitness element, and STEEL gets the … well, nothing really. Obviously I don’t always think things through before I get swayed. In unrelated news, I’m a registered voter.
There’s a lot of really neat fill here, like TEE UP, LIE LOW, ATE IN, I CALL, J.K. ROWLING, SEEMS TO, PRO-AM, and George WENDT. There’s a healthy array of rare letters to spice things up, with only trifling compromises here and there (hello, AMAS, TASSE crossing ESPOSA, and HYPNO crossing HYPO).
Favorite entry = M AND M, the [Candy with a coat], with honorable mention to PATCO, the air traffic controllers [Union broken by Pres. Reagan] (just because I was happy with myself for remembering it). Favorite clue = [Former center of Los Angeles?] for Shaquille O’NEAL.
Byron Walden’s Onion A.V. Club crossword
Time for rhyme! The theme answers fit that model, but without the sort of spelling change you see in time/rhyme. Note that the grid has left/right symmetry rather than rotational.
- 20a. [Geology 101, dismissively], ROCKS FOR JOCKS. My introductory geology class at Carleton was not a gut course at all. Between that class and a natural history course in the biology department, I was out exploring nature every week that fall. Walking on a bog, checking out rock formations, looking for bugs… good times, good times.
- 23a. [Fundraising frenzy], DASH FOR CASH.
- 43a. [Straight back home after working out?], GAY FOR PAY. This phrase was new to me.
- 46a. [“Sowing the Seeds of Love” duo], TEARS FOR FEARS. What?? “Shout,” “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and “Head over Heels” are the songs I know. Wikipedia tells me the clue’s song came out in ’89, by which time I was no longer listening to top 40 radio.
Favorite fill: ED WOOD, LOOGIES, MR RIGHT, CALUMET (because it’s not just a [Ceremonial peace pipe], it’s also a place name in the Chicago area—Calumet City, Lake Calumet), GRAY AREAS, RATSO/RIZZO.
Who? 11d: [Actor who played Deputy Cletus Hogg on “The Dukes of Hazzard”], RICK HURST? Doesn’t ring a bell at all.
- 37a. [Some of them are brats], WURSTS.
- 15a. [When KC gets the most sunshine?], CDT.
- 28d. [Batteries for seniors?], SATS.