Vic Fleming and Bonnie Gentry’s New York Times crossword
It’s late, I am tired from staying out late playing with a 3-month-old baby, and I’m going to speed-blog this puzzle.
Theme is this: 58d. LINE is a [Word that can follow each part of the answers to the six starred clues]. Those answers are HOT WATER, HARD TIME, BOTTOMLAND (which I’d never heard of before), AIR SUPPLY (aw, why wasn’t this clued as the sappy “All Out of Love” ’80s band?), BUS SERVICE (service line … that’s for tennis? Had to think about that one for a while), and DATE BREAD (that’s a thing?). Theme works all right, but it did not particularly entertain me.
Was stumped for a while by the clue 38a. [Hated to death, say?], for ANAGRAM. I always appreciate one of these anagram example clues.
The Scowl-o-Meter was triggered a few times:
- 18a. [Prepare, as leftovers], RECOOK. No, that would be reheating or rewarming. The cooking process only happens once.
- 54a. [Made illicit], TABOOED. The verb form is listed in the dictionary, but I don’t think I’ve ever encountered it in the wild.
- JAI alai, plural ETHANS …
Surprised (not unpleasantly) to see TEJANO in the grid (50d. [Selena’s music style]) rather than in a clue for the late SELENA.
Updated Wednesday Morning:
Mangesh ‘Mumbaikar’ Ghogre’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s Review
Hmm, I don’t remember seeing nicknames in by-lines before (except CC)… If you’re confused, Mumbaikar is the demonym for Mumbai, and Mangesh is of course from Mumbai.
His puzzle is most unusual: it has left-right symmetry and is 14×16. Why? His theme answers are 10, 14, 12, and 12 letters long. These don’t pair up, hence the symmetry; this ordinarily requires odd theme-answer lengths, but not if your grid has an even number of columns. Clear? No? You have one more burning question don’t you. Why not just use different theme answers? Well, I’m guessing there weren’t a whole lot of options. Plus, this set are very lively and fun, and in the end that probably counts for more than rigorous adherence to crossword traditions…
(Actually, I tried coming up with a more conventional set of theme answers and it wasn’t too hard: CABINCRUISER, CALLCENTER [hah], WALTDISNEY, COREBUSINESS. So the reason seems to be down to whimsy: keeping all the theme answers as men’s full names. I’m all for whimsy though!)
Ok, moving on. The revealing answer is fresh (somewhat modern, and not found in the clue database I checked anyway) and punchy too. As the clue fore COREBUSINESS explains, there are three abbreviations, commonly seen after business names, to be found in the other three long answers. LTD (Limited) is in WALT DISNEY; INC (Incorporated) is in CALVIN COOLIDGE; and LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) is in RUSSELL CROWE. Except for LTD, these aren’t used in South Africa (I don’t know about India…) so I was trying to figure out if they’re mutually exclusive and/or form a complete set, but I’ve just found myself more confused; so some entrepeneurial commenter is going to have to help us out!
There’s lots to admire outside of the theme in Mangesh’s grid: in the corners we have GREWOLD, ALGERIA, VERYODD, RUBICUND, the contemporary USBPORTS and WOODSHED. The bottom-centre has IDUNNO, SOBEIT, ENIGMA and NOSEIN (I’m not familiar with that term personally, but it looks like a choice bit of fill, although I clung to NOcoIN for a goodly time!). I also liked seeing the plural MINIMA, but not everyone is as fond of technical terms! It’s opposite side features the linked IPAD and SIRI (with a more helpfully explanatory clue than the last time we saw her!) It’s also nice to see CGI getting more crossword traction. Also, the only slightly weak answers on my list are EUR and TRA. Thumbs for adhering to rigorous standards of fill!
Finally, two clues I’d like to mention. GREY was clued as [Overcast, in London] but we’d have also accepted [Like Mumbai skies, in monsoon season]. Secondly, I’m not too big a fan of [Garden pest] for ANT – [House pest] sure; but I think most people want ants in their gardens? Because they’re a vital part of a healthy eco-system…
To conclude, an interesting, off-beat puzzle with fun fill: 4 stars.
Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Chemical Reaction” – Dave Sullivan’s review
Earlier this week, I mentioned that I thought I had reviewed just one other quip puzzle than the quip on that particular day. Well, here’s number three, just a few days hence:
- WHEN I HEARD
- THAT OXYGEN
- HAD HOOKED UP WITH
- I WAS LIKE OMG!
So the chemical reaction here is O (Oxygen) with Mg (Magnesium) producing OMg, or “Oh My God!” to texters. Now if joon is reading this, I wonder if he can tell us if these two chemicals would really react with each other and create this compound? And if so, what would it be like? As far as quips go, this one was quite good–both “hooked up with” and “I was like” sound very Valley Girl to me. As far as the rest of the puzzle goes, I find Bob’s puzzles the hardest of the CS bunch to begin with, and this one played almost like his super-gnarly “Sunday Challenges,” since the theme entries were not clued other than as parts of the quip. WATUSI for [Early ’60s “tribal” dance] was a fun find; here’s a video of it. The clues for GENERA ([Biology classes]) and TAROT ([Cards worth a fortune?]) also brought a smile to my face.
My FAVEs were the paired (and adjoining) entries: [Rolled food] for SUSHI and [Round food] for PIE as well as [“I’m satisfied”] for AAH next to [“Satisfied?”] for SEE. UNSET for [Not yet scheduled] seems a bit awkward to me, but not so much so that it deserves an UNFAVE award.
Ben Tausig’s Ink Well crossword, “The Good Guys”
This theme plays out on a couple levels:
- 18a. [Second U.S. astronaut in space, after Alan Shepard], GUS GRISSOM. He’s a man whose initials are G.G.
- 22a. [Jazzy composer of the early 20th century], GEORGE GERSHWIN. Ditto.
- 36a. [Gangster who coined a term on September 26, 1933, when he yelled “Don’t shoot, [67-Across]!”], MACHINE GUN KELLY. Wait, what? We were playing the G.G. game and now there’s an old gangster nickname with a cross-reference in the clue.
- 50a. [Journalist who published info leaked by Edward Snowden], GLENN GREENWALD. G.G. guy again.
- 56a. [Pioneering black sportscaster], GREG GUMBEL. Got his big start on the Channel 5 news here in Chicago. We thought of Bryant Gumbel as Greg’s brother, not vice versa.
- 67a. [See 36-Across], G-MEN. And there you have it, the theme all wrapped up in a bow. You could just have the four G.G. guys and this revealer, but it’s so much more interesting to learn the derivation of “G-men.”
So I liked the theme, which calls on a range of name familiarity from the early 1900s to the late 1900s to 2013, plus etymology.
Five more things:
- 5a. [Nigerian currency], NAIRA. Not the most familiar word.
- 47a. [Pirate’s body?], SEA. Body of water, wooden leg optional.
- 2d. [What some third-wave feminists identify as], PRO-SEX. “Sex-positive” is the more common term, I believe.
- 6d. [“Much ___ About Nothing” (“Simpsons” episode)], APU. This clue would be insanely hard without the parenthetical.
- 52d. [Skywalker, e.g.], REBEL. Fresh clue. My son is learning about the Civil War in social studies, and it is quite possible that he is learning more about it than I ever have. They’re watching the History channel’s Gettysburg.