David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword
David brings us a little new(ish) music and some old(ish) music:
- 17a. 1974 #1 hit written by Bob Marley], “I SHOT THE SHERIFF.” This is the old(ish) song.
- 51a. Rapper with the 2009 hit “Kiss Me Thru the Phone”], SOULJA BOY TELL ‘EM. Isn’t he mostly known as Soulja Boy now? And aren’t a lot of aging solvers muttering to themselves about this entry? Rap in crosswords makes some people lose their minds.
Favorite clues and fill:
- 15a. [It often has chips], CHOCOLATE COOKIE. Who doesn’t like that?
- 20a/24a. ADRIEN / BRODY.
- 30a. [Conditioning apparatus], SKINNER BOX. Train your rats.
- 37a. [Extremely long string], GOOGOLPLEX. The number is written with a long string of zeroes. Essentially: 1,000,000,000,IBID,000.
- 42a. [Word menu option?], ROGET. Roget’s Thesaurus offers a rich menu of options for synonyms for a word.
- 58a. [World of DC Comics], KRYPTON.
- 5d. [Assorted], MÖTLEY. I just like this word.
- 13d. [It can kick back], RIFLE. I knew he didn’t mean “kick back and relax.”
- 20d. [Feminist with the 1984 book “Gender Gap”], ABZUG. You can put all the feminist authors in my crossword. I don’t mind at all.
- 22d. [Dial-O-Matic maker], RONCO. Here’s a Dial-o-Matic commercial that seems to say K-Tel is selling it. Maybe K-Tel was a middleman between Ronco and the consumer?
- 27d. [Topper of der Tannenbaum], ENGEL. Who else wanted STERN?
- 50d. [Stooge syllable], NYUK. Most familiar in triplicate.
So lots of goodies, but there’s also erstwhile MCI, plural AHS and NAHS both, SNAX which I am not convinced is actually [Munchies, in ads] (what ads are using “snax”?), OESTE, EDO, X’D OUT, and RETAR. Mostly I enjoyed solving the puzzle, and there were enough good things to ease me past the blah bits.
Gareth Bain’s LATimes crossword – Gareth’s summary
Hi! Yep I wrote the puzzle and now I’m blogging it. I tried finding a replacement, but it was suggested I blog it myself. I know this enrages some of you. I’m sorry. I’m also sorry if this puzzle has given you formication.
I think this one started at PED to PEDANTXING. I learnt of PEDXING signs from US crosswords, fairly early on as I recall – a very odd abbreviation. Here we just use a pictogram. Adding trigrams tends be a good deal more tricky than only one or two letters… Thus, I hope you’ll be a tad forgiving of the two rules being bent in the theme today. The first is the use of plural COWPEAS to build a “wacky” phrase. The second, less known(?) one is that, in 3 cases, the word having ANT added changes pronunciation – PEAS to PEASANT, G.I. to GIANT and PAGE to PAGEANT. Did this you jar you and affect your amusement?
The last part of the theme to be added was THEM. I struggled in vain to come up with a direct and clever revealer. This is a bit more indirect, but I guess it works. Anyway, the answers are:
- [Roadside sign for sticklers?], PEDANT XING
- [Lower-class bovine?], COW PEASANT
- [“Tarzan” character at an Imax?], GIANT JANE.
- [Coat waterproofing application?], FUR SEALANT
My mother struggles mightily with American crosswords. It isn’t so much the American-ese, but the themes and understanding clues. I bring this up because she started solving an early version, and despite having solved several other such puzzles, battled with the concept of a theme with made up answers; I do help her by warning when themes feature letter addition. Still, she tried jamming PEDESTRIANS in where PEDANTXING is. That’s another thing she does – when stymied, writes in answers that don’t fit the clues, and often don’t even match the clues’ parts of speech. I’m writing this in the hope that someone else here has had similar mental blocks and overcame them, so that you can explain to me how to guide my mother!
I do like to include a few really snazzy long non-theme entries. Despite only 53 theme squares there’s nothing I’m really excited to have included. On the other hand, the only answer I really wish wasn’t there is ISAN: I abhor partials, but a central 9 sometimes requires a sacrifice or two. Answers like ALEE, OPAH or STE? Don’t bother me as a solver or a constructor, unless a corner is saturated with them.
I have noticed Rich Norris often adds a number of explicitly American clues to my puzzles. Today, for instance, CASCADE has been changed from referring to waterfalls to a brand I’ve never heard of…
It’d be terribly gauche of me to rate my own puzzle, but I’m anticipating it’ll end up plateauing somewhere between 2.5 and 2.75 stars.
Randolph Ross’ Wall Street Journal crossword, “In the Beginning” — pannonica’s write-up
Literally. And twice.
- 23a. [Cause of a world crisis] INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT.
- 30a. [Seed money] INITIAL INVESTMENT.
- 47a. [Broken ribs and the like] INTERNAL INJURIES.
- 64a. [Birthplace of David Letterman] INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA.
- 88a. [Issue for the Occupy Wall Street movement] INCOME INEQUALITY.
- 100a. [Stock trader’s advantage] INSIDE INFORMATION.
- 112a. [Fraud fighter] INSURANCE INVESTIGATOR.
Seven sizable and solid theme entries, with a good variety of root words. Yes, a substantial proportion with similar in- prefixes, a smaller contingent with inter-, and some others, but it all seems fine to me. Three, perhaps four, of the seven are explicitly financial in nature—or, as I mis-answered for 60d [Not secret] OVERT (correctly, KNOWN)—and appropriate to the venue.
- Inevitable infringements (incidental? insignificant?] 6d [Accommodating place] INN, 1a [Spent a lazy day] SLEPT IN, but not 67d [Cross letters] INRI (Iēsus Nazarēnus, Rēx Iūdaeōrum).
- New clues for: ERNO, 72a [Conductor Dohnanyi], not Rubik. LENA, 42d [Headley of “Game of Thrones”], not Horne, or even Dunham. Contrastingly, old clue for 84d GUMMO: [Milton Marx’s vaudeville name], rather than Harmony Korine’s 1997 film (set in XENIA, Ohio, by the way).
- Pairings I enjoyed: 70d [Depths of despair] NADIRS alongside 71d [Rugged ridges] ARÊTES. 60a [First name in Notre Dame football] KNUTE Rockne, sitting atop themer INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA—South Bend is roughly 140 mi (225 km) due north of Indianapolis.
- 46a [“This is boring!”]. Very tickled by the implied vocalized “SNORE!” Possibly my favorite fill because of that spin.
- Scurrying through the puzzle, seeing a clue like 2d [Word with head, bread, red or dead] carries the portent of having to stop and think abstractly too much—all those words that need to be connected! And they rhyme, so distracting! Please don’t misunderstand—it’s a great and clever clue for LINE, especially since the relationship is consistent (LINE always follows the given words, though three are compound words and one remains two words). It’s just that it overwhelms if one is solving in a certain style.
- Conversely, 5d [Some sculptures] TORSI is awkward and overused in crosswords, and the clue is almost always the same or nearly the same. Bleah.
- 33d [Bad news from a “Shark Tank” shark] I’M OUT. Am guessing this is some sort of poker television show, even though it sounds related to the British Dragon’s Lair entrepreneur program(me). Funny, I think typically of card sharps, not card sharks. Loan sharks, pool sharks, yes, but not card sharks. To the Ngrams! … Well, I stand corrected.
- 97d [Deceptive doings] FAKERY. Sort of thinking of Amy Winehouse’s “Me and Mr Jones” now. NSFP(rudes)
- Which sort of segues into 66d [Lady Gaga song “You __”] AND I. Perhaps ANDI OSHO will hit the big time soon?
- Last, 34d [Nation formerly called Pleasant Island] NAURU. See also, 114d [Coral island] CAY.
Oh wait, that can’t be last. I just have to end with 52d [Irrational number] SURD. Whence absurd, and I’m a fan.
Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Day of Thunder”—Ade’s write-up
Hello there, and a happy World Cup Friday to you all!
There are a few people out there that are in tune to puzzles offered up by the near incomparable Mr. Bob Klahn, and bless your heart if you are routinely in his wavelength. You guys are amazing, and I really mean it!
NOT THIS GUY, however! This puzzle kicked my (fairly sizable) butt!! Finished it, I did, but look at the time to see how much this grid put me in a sleeper hold before I awoke just in time before being counted out. The theme is fairly simple, as hidden in the three theme answers in the word THOR (59D: [God with a weekday named after him who can be found in this puzzle’s three grid-spanning entries]). So that was simple, but the cluing was just too much for me much of the time. But hey, it’s a Friday, so you have to expect some venom in at least one puzzle on this day (if you do multiple crossword puzzles).
- GREAT HORNED OWL: (20A: [Provincial bird of Alberta])
- LIGHT-HORSE HARRY: (39A: [Henry Lee III, familiarly]) – So R E LEE’s pops gets some love in a crossword puzzle. Like father, like son!
- HIGH EARTH ORBIT: (54A: [Most weather satellites have one]) – Of course I knew that!! Umm…maybe.
After finishing, the first four or five words that came out of my mouth were SKYEY, skyey, skyey, and skyey (33D: [Azure]). That answer summed up my solving experience in a nutshell. Never heard of the term, the clue didn’t help too much and seeing it in the grid after typing it in fully made me think it was a wrong answer. But again, SKYEY? That licked me something fierce.
Some of the tough cluing was really slick, including the clues for STACKS (30A: [Arranges unfairly, or fairly well]) and TRIAL (4D: [Matlock matter]). As an elementary school kid, I watched way too much Matlock and not enough of the TV shows a preteen should have been watching. Being an old soul helped out immensely when knowing THE EAGLES fairly easily (35D: [Rockers who reunited to release “Hell Freezes Over”]). But all in all, this was such a tough nut to crack, and regardless of it for cracked, it happened! Now off to dip my head into cold water.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: CORK (19A: [Port five miles from the Blarney Stone])– No dipping my head in water yet, because I have to do the “sports…smarter” moment. I’ll use CORK, as the substance (and not the name of the port) is used, by some baseball players, to illegally tamper with a baseball bat, loading the substance inside the bat to make it lighter and supposedly speed up their swing when hitting the baseball (which, in turn, should make the ball go farther). Probably the most popular athlete when it comes to being a crossword puzzle entry, Sammy Sosa, was caught using a corked bat during a game in 2003. Sometimes, it’s not cork that’s used to load up wooden bats, as former New York Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles had super balls shoot out of his bat in a game in Detroit in 1974 after it broke. Here’s video of Sosa’s bat breaking in 2003, exposing the hidden cork.
Thank you so much, and now for that cold shower!! Have a great weekend!