David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword
When your constructor is still in high school, you don’t quite expect to see the stack of JIM BEAM (27a. [Big brand from Clermont, Ky.]), FAKE IDS (29a. [Minor documents?]), and a DIVE BAR (33a. [Producer of cheap shots?]) smack dab in the center of the puzzle. They’re great entries, though!
- 37a. [What ruthless people show], NO MERCY.
- 42a. [“See!”], “I CALLED IT!”
- 2d. [Good thing to keep in an emergency], COOL HEAD.
- 5d. [Crunchy snack], FRITOS. Mmm, I do like Fritos.
- 9d. [Male issue?], GENDER BIAS.
- 23d. [Old Pokémon platform], GAMEBOY.
- 25d. [Woman in a leather jacket, maybe], BIKER CHICK. At last Sunday’s pride parade, there were two groups of BIKER CHICKs, the Organized Chaos motorcycle club and the classic Dykes on Bikes.
- 32d. [Much-anticipated outings], HOT DATES.
- 33d. [Company with a game piece in its logo], DOMINO’S. Good clue.
- 36d. [Get comfortable, in a way], CURL UP. Planning to do just that and watch some kidless TV after I finish blogging, since the kid is downtown for the fireworks.
- 1a. [Neckwear slider], SCARF RING. I do not own such a thing.
- 19a. [Part of the Roman Empire in modern-day NE France], ALSATIA. Typically called Alsace by the non-Roman contingent.
- 23a. [Tooth coating?], GEAR OIL.
- 11d. [Not quite spherical], OVIFORM. Not a common word, but inferrable.
- The whole northwest quadrant was completely empty when the rest of the puzzle was all filled in. Tough to get going in those two corners connected to the rest of the grid by single answers, no?
Most of the juiciest fill was crammed into the middle, with the comparatively dry SCARF RING, GEAR OIL, GARDENA, and NORTE stuff strewn around the periphery.
Four stars from me.
Melanie Miller’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review
Very pleased to see a female byline this week. Besides co-constructor Lauren Pollak a few weeks ago, I can’t recall a woman having the Saturday LAT in the almost two years I’ve been on Team Fiend. Granted, some of that is due to the warranted favoritism shown toward Barry Silk, Broug Wilberson, Mark Bickham, Julian Lim, et al. But given the quality of this puzzle, I’d be happy to see Melanie Miller become a regular in the Saturday rotation.
Had a bear of a time with the SW, as ATMAN [Hindu principle of life] was new to me, and I needed some time to decide whether [Gugino of “Night at the Museum”] was CARLO or CARLA. On top of that, this isn’t the first time in recent memory I’ve wavered between SCREW CAP and SCREW TOP on a clue like [Cork alternative]. In both instances it’s been SCREW CAP, so I’m just going to stick to that from now on.
There were a few obscurities in this one as well, at least to me (and not to toot my own horn, but I feel like I’m a decent judge of general obscurity). Besides ATMAN, we had POOR RATE [Elizabethan property tax to benefit the disadvantaged], KING RAIL [Large, long-billed marsh bird] (to go with our crosswordese bird friends the ERNS). SETAE [Spiders’ sensors, e.g.] stood out as crosswordese as well.
Also, is (The) EVIL ONE a common moniker for [Satan]? I genuinely don’t know.
OK, onto the good stuff. HENPECKED, NANU NANU, KEISTERS, OCTAMETER (clued with “The Raven”), SOWETO, EAGLE SCOUTS, WRAP PARTIES, CALTECH, DARTH, DANSK, SIMS. My first crossing was MAMIE and MARACA (clued nicely as [Rumba shaker]). Was interested to learn that Greenland uses the KRONE (which makes sense, given its ties to Denmark).
To SUM UP, nice puzzle. Not the flashiest puzzle, and a bit of crosswordese here and there, but definitely an enjoyable solve. 3.5 stars. Until next week!
Stan Newman’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” (written as Anna Stiga)
This isn’t a less-rough “Lester Ruff” puzzle from Stan, nor does it have his most-challenging byline, “S.N.” This “Anna Stiga” offering is among the easiest Stumpers in recent months. There were still, of course, plenty of difficult, oblique clues.
Ugliest word: 11d. UNDREW, [Opened, in a way]. I defy you to prove you have ever written or said this word outside of this puzzle. Anyone?
The trivia clues were much more pliable than the stumpy clues:
- 14a. [Adobe’s first video editor], PREMIERE. Plausible but not known from personal experience.
- 16a. [“Into the Woods” character], RAPUNZEL. So … this is that Sondheim musical and it has fairy-tale characters in it?
- 22a. [Most Oscar-nominated performer], STREEP. She has 18 Oscar noms. Did we all know this one?
- 34a. [Home of Hotel Taj Plaza], AGRA. Home of the Taj Mahal, too, so it makes sense.
- 41a. [Symbol on Saudi Arabia’s coat of arms], SCIMITAR.
- 14d. [Loser to Napoleon in 1806], PRUSSIA.
- 20d. [Former LBJ aide who ran the MPAA], Jack VALENTI.
- 35d. [Seattle sidewalk stuff, late May 1980], ASH. If you did the Thursday NYT this week, you should have nailed this one.
- 40d. [Butcher on CMT’s first original sitcom (2011)], ED ASNER. Familiar name, especially in crosswords, but that TV show was canceled after one 12-episode season owing to low ratings. Asner played a butcher named Hank, not a guy named Butcher.
- 54d. [“The New Centurions” subject], LAPD.
Sparkliest fill: RAPUNZEL, CONTESSA, SCIMITAR, HIGH AS A KITE, TAP DANCE (great clue: [Squirmy maneuver]), MAD DOG (weird clue: [Bully’s nickname, maybe]), SAY MASS, PROMISE RING, TELL IT LIKE IT IS.
Favorite out-there clue: 46d. [What Puerto Ricans call “tree hen”], IGUANA. Who knew??
Oblique, at-times-mystifying clues:
- 1d. [Shoot-shift procedure], GRAFTING. To shift a plant shoot into a new spot on a tree, for example.
- 64a. [“__ News” (Key Biscayne weekly)], ISLANDER. Never knew Key Biscayne was an island, though the “Key” part should make that obvious if you think about it. In general, newspapers serving towns of 12,000 are not crossword-worthy.
- 7d. [Levels], TELLS IT LIKE IT IS. There are so many things “levels” can mean! This is a classic Stumper clue.
- 30d. [Zip up], ANIMATE. Add zip to, not close with a zipper.
- 47d. [Hit and walked], GOLFED.
Patrick Jordan’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Ram From Behind”—Ade’s write-up
Hello once again everyone! First off, my apologies for being MIA yesterday, and it wasn’t because the toughie of a puzzle authored by Mr. Bob Klahn (which I did solve in a brisk, swift 38 minutes and 22 seconds on Thursday night). Instead, I was editing and booking interviews all day and evening for the Fourth of July for our radio show/stream that was released last night, and now am in airport after airport.
As we speak, I’m at the airport ready to head down to Texas for the week, but definitely wanted to make sure I stopped in – even for a brief minute – to talk about today’s offering from Mr. Patrick Jordan, which consists of the word ARIES, the astrological sign that means ram, being added to the end of common phrases.
- LIP GLOSSARIES: (20A: [Lists of mouth-related terms]) – From lip gloss.
- DRY ROTARIES: (31A: [Traffic circles during a drought?]) – From dry rot.
- LADY DIARIES: (40D: [Journalists kept by Tramp’s girlfriend?]) – From Lady Di.
- TRASH CANARIES: (51: [Disparage canaries?]) – From trash can.
I’ll admit, I have never watched an episode of Jack Webb playing Sgt. Joe Friday in DRAGNET (5D: Show whose main character’s badge number was 714]), but I know I missed/am missing something real good. And although before my time when it was released, I have partaken in (many times) the thriller that is JAWS (1A: [1975 thriller filmed on Martha’s Vineyard]). Those two were my favorite entries, with WELL, MAYBE coming in to take the red ribbon (3D: [Phrase of reconsideration]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: GHOST (4D: [Séance guest, supposedly])– GHOST was the apt nickname of former NFL tight end Dave Casper, who is most well-known during his time with the Oakland Raiders from 1974-1980. In one of the most famous postseason games in NFL history, Casper caught long 42-yard pass late in the fourth quarter to set up the game-tying field goad, and Oakland eventually defeated the Baltimore Colts 37-31 in the 1977 AFC Divisional Round. The game is the fifth-longest game in NFL history, in terms of time elapsed in the game. On that play, Casper ran a post pattern, and the play – and the game itself – has been known as “Ghost to the post.”
Thank you for your time, and I’ll see you for the Sunday Challenge!