David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword
Fairly short solving time for a Saturday NYT for me, despite a few things I hadn’t known at all:
- 1a. [___ Street, London’s onetime equivalent to New York’s Wall Street], LOMBARD.
- 8a. [Lurid nightspot], GO-GO BAR. Is that a thing? I asked my husband to fill in the blank, “go-go __.” He did come up with “bar” after a few other words.
- 15a. [Synthetic purplish colorant], AZO BLUE. I know (largely thanks to crosswords) that there are azo dyes. Didn’t know AZO BLUE was a thing.
And now, categories of fill!
- Scrabbly stuff: AZO BLUE and ZZZQUIL crossing LAZARUS, OZZFEST, and MOZILLA; JUNK ART; FUJITSU; and PLAYTEX crossing TRIPLEX. PLAYTEX is clued [Onetime “Lifts and separates” sloganeer]; just once, I wish the newspaper crosswords weren’t terrified of menstruation because I wager far more women use Playtex’s tampons than their bras. If we can have an OVARY …
- From the land of hip-hop: GANGSTA rap and TONE LOC. Now, rap grumblers, you can’t complain about the “Funky Cold Medina” clue. The song came out a quarter of a century ago!
- Freshest fill: ZZZQUIL (… which Brendan Quigley used in September 2012 and Frank Longo used the following month), U.S. LAW (which I may or may not like as fill), JUNK ART (I could make that, I know I could!), Mr. Osbourne’s OZZFEST, IPAD APP, YASMINE Bleeth (she was just featured in a Sporcle quiz of celebs with unusual first names), MOZILLA, ATOM ANT.
- Oldest things in the puzzle: 57a. [Mercury’s winged sandals], TALARIA; and 59a. [Outlook alternative], AOL MAIL.
- Least impressive bits: A LUI, -IDE, SPONGER‘s -ER.
Four stars from me.
Martin Ashwood-Smith’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review
The rare 15×16 LAT, to accommodate MAS’s signature quad stack. A couple of quad-stack chestnuts appear in this one: PEER ASSESSMENTS and while INTEREST PAYMENT is new, phrases containing the word “interest” are old hat. WILD GOOSE CHASES is very nice. I’m not sure about SPARE THE DETAILS as a stand-alone phrase. SPARE ME THE DETAILS, I’LL SPARE YOU THE DETAILS, and SPARE NO DETAIL all sound better to my ear, but none of those is 15 letters long. Of the crossings, the least optimal fill is DEPS (short for deposits, presumably, though “passbook” as used in the clue hit its peak usage in the early 1980s according to Google Ngram Viewer), the plural PSSTS, and the old crossword standbys ESTE and ECASH.
In the NW, I have to confess that I still have no idea what the clue for 1d, LISTS [Joggers of a sort] means in this context. Would have been a DNF if not for the fact that ILYA sure does look more like a name than anything else with the pattern ?LYA. DAYBOARDER [Certain prep schooler] was new to me, but its meaning is fairly self-evident. I’m a NYC resident, but not a hip/cool one, so I’m only fleetingly familiar with THE BITTER END. I’d probably know it better if I’d gone to NYU. I suspect this was challenging for non-residents, though the phrase itself is inferable. Also, what’s A TO doing up there with the clue [Volume One words, perhaps]? This certainly has to be clued as a partial, right? Like, there’s not an encyclopedia out there whose Volume One is “A to”?
OVETT [British miler Steve] is a very challenging name if you were not into track and field in 1980. OPA [WWII cost stabilizing agcy.] is just a random TLA to me. Needed every crossing. Google tells me it was the Office of Price Administration.
Thank Venus for BANANARAMA in the SW; otherwise I might have been solving this puzzle all cruel summer. SPEED CHESS is also a lovely answer, and came to me shortly thereafter. Never heard of NOE Valley in California; the only NOE I’ve heard of is the Fromental Halévy opera, later completed by Bizet (back me up on this one, Brad Wilber!).
THYMINE and AA MEETINGS were nice answers, and helped me break into the SE. Smooth sailing from there.
I’ve expressed before that I tend to find quad stacks less pleasing to solve due to the compromises in the surrounding fill they require. But, I think people who like quad stacks will like this one just fine too. Until next week!
Brad Wilber’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
I could’ve sworn I clicked the “start” button for the timer but apparently I missed it because my finishing time was 00:00. Brad’s puzzle was far less vexing and intractable than many a recent Stumper, so I’d guess it was in the 8-minute range.
My internet connection has been spotty of late (speed of 125 Mbps when it works, or 0 Mbps when it’s in a mood) so I’ll be brief here.
Top fill: ESKIMO PIE, VERTIGO the movie, a dental CLAIM FORM, ADAM LEVINE, VITRIOL.
Letter of the day: V as in WOODSTOVE/VITRIOL, VERTIGO/VETTE, GAVE/VERBAL NOUN, ADAM LEVINE/V-NECK, VIOLA/VIS, TIVO/AT A REMOVE.
- 26a. [Crumpled], GAVE (as in “gave way”).
- 34a. [Dental work?], CLAIM FORM.
- 53a. [Birch-beer brand of yore], NEHI. Sodapop + yore = NEHI, a crossword law. The trick is recognizing that birch beer is a sodapop and not caring that Nehi pop is still sold.
- 58a. [Bottle’s non-liquid contents], MODEL SHIP.
- 11d. [It might prompt a flush to go down], I CALL. This is about poker and not poop.
- 23d. [Plotter’s creation], GRAPH.
Did not know this term: 28d. [“To know me is to love me” starter], VERBAL NOUN.
Disputed clue: 6d. [Skin-care lotion], TONER. Toner is a clear liquid, not a lotion. Lotion is defined as a “thick, smooth liquid.” Ain’t nothing thick about toner.
Four stars. Over and out.
Tony Orbach’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Snow Job”—Ade’s write-up
Hello everybody, and I hope you’re having a very good start to your Saturday!
It’s definitely still the summer, but today’s puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Tony Orbach, takes us into the winter months for a bit. In it, each of the five theme answers multiple-word terms in which the first word is a word that also can immediately follow the word “snow.”
- MAN FRIDAY: ([17A: Male personal assistant])
- GLOBE THEATER: ([23A: Shakespearean showplace reconstructed by actor Sam Wanamaker])
- TIRE OUT: ([38A: Lose vim and vigor])
- BALL BEARINGS: ([50A: Antifriction machine parts])
- FORT MYERS: ([62A: Florida city where Thomas Edison and Henry Ford had winter estates]) – Also, the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins.
Love the contrast between the crossings at the very top, with BLURB (1A: [Words of praise on a book jacket]) and BOMB (1D: Big flop]). We see “rues” in grids as an entry over and over, but definitely the first time I’ve come across ROUÉS, in plural form, in a grid (30A: Lotharios]). Coincidence that NO CLASS (10D: [Lack of good manners]) lined up perfectly with IN STYLE (46D: [Fashionable]) going down the grid? Now I’m not a huge classic rock historian by any means, but I’m pretty sure that “Reason to Believe” was the Side A in relation to SIDE B referenced in this puzzle (6D: [Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” was one]). Any Rod Stewart fans want to chime in to confirm this for me before I go looking it up and proving myself to be a classic rock genius/doofus?
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: RUST (28D: [Sign of corrosion]) – Many people may not remember this, but there was a time in our lives when the New England Patriots were not a good football team. And by “not a good football team,” I mean the worst of the worst! The 1990 season was the franchise’s nadir (until “Spygate”) as the team, led by first-year head coach Rod RUST, went 1-15 and became only the third team in NFL history at the time to lose 15 of 16 regular-season games. That was Rust’s one and only season in charge of the Patriots.
See you all for the Sunday Challenge!