Julian Lim’s New York Times crossword
Beautiful 70-worder from our only Singaporean constructor (more on his background in C.C.’s 2013 interview at Crossword Corner), although it was a tad easier than I was expecting for a Saturday puzzle.
My favorite fill includes BROMANCE, the word RIBALD, EASY-POUR, DIET COKE, BALZAC, ANNE RICE, “OH, YEAH,” Gollum’s “MY PRECIOUS” (though I think that should really be spelled with some extra S’s), MATRIARCH (my mom’s family lost its matriarch in September, and my mom takes her place now), VACUITY, DURIANS (you can buy them in Singapore, but don’t eat them on public transit), and DERNIER CRI.
Did not know: 42d. [“Veep” actor ___ Whitlock Jr.], ISIAH. Not the only famous ISIAH with that spelling—there’s also Isiah Thomas, retired NBA star.
Five more things:
- 22d. [Burgundy or claret], DARK RED. The colors, not the wines. We all wanted RED WINE to fit, right?
- 32d. [It’s named for a Scand. god of battle], TUES. Named after Tyr. Wish we called it Tyrsday, for maximum confusion with Thursday.
- 25d. [Oodles], A GOB. A tad more British Commonwealth than American, no? And is the plural “gobs” more common than A GOB of anything?
- 46a. [To whom Charles Darwin dedicated “Different Forms of Flowers”], ASA GRAY. We used to get a lot of Gray clues for ASA back in the day. Then partials came along (maybe? is that how it played out?) and we got AS A clues instead.
- 16a. [Green machine], ECOCAR. Still waiting for this word to be bandied about in the real world. I don’t see it outside of crosswords.
Four stars from me. I enjoyed the whole solve.
Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Bleak Outlook”—Ade’s write-up
Good morning, everyone!
Hope everyone is doing very well. I think everyone that has had a chance to read my entries on here knows that I rarely make negative assessments. Well, I have no choice but to make some negative assessments in this blog, as the theme is just that, with the four theme answers all being Debbie Downer-type statements.
- AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN: (17A: [Negative assessment])
- JUST DOESN’T CUT IT: (27A: [Negative assessment])
- SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE: (47A: [Negative assessment])
- HAS NO REAL CHANCE: (63A: [Negative assessment])
Would PTUI be the sound some people make when solvers come across “etui” in a crossword (52A: [Seed-spitter’s sound])? That sound definitely wouldn’t be made at the sight/sound of a CHORALE, and that entry looks perfect and regal as it’s smack dab in the middle of it all today (40A: [Kind of hymn]). Made a dumb error typing in “unity” instead of UNITE, and that caused an earworm to creep in as I have Queen Latifah’s “U.N.I.T.Y.” song in my head now…which is far from a bad thing, actually (28D: [Labor organizer’s cry]). It’s raining as I’m typing here in New York, so a game of GOLF would definitely be a good walk spoiled when factoring in that weather (1A: [John Daly’s game]). Because of this weather, it’s time to do some at-home workouts and work on defining my SIX PACK abs…yeah, right (46D: [Beer buy])!!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ARA (9D: [Former college coach Parseghian]) – One of the greatest coaches in the storied history of Notre Dame football, ARA Parseghian led the Fighting Irish to two national championships during his 11-year tenure in South Bend, one in 1966 and one in 1973. He quit coaching in 1974 and, immediately afterward, embarked on a long broadcasting career on ABC, then CBS. Parseghian was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980.
See you all for the Sunday Challenge!
Barry C. Silk’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review
There’s some fun stuff in here: URBAN DICTIONARY is kind of fresh, and I like BART SIMPSON, COPACABANA, MARVIN GAYE, CYBERCRIME, DAY TRADER, IPAD APPS and ADOPT-A-PET.
But even with iPad apps (first released in 2010), Urban Dictionary (founded in 1999) and Bart Simpson (first appeared in 1987), this puzzle felt… old. E.g., MY DAD [1963 Top 10 hit for Paul Petersen]? I propose a moratorium on including songs in crosswords that (a) only reached #6 or below (b) more than 50 years ago (c) even if they were sung by the kid from The Donna Reed Show. While we’re in that era, we’ve got MARVIN GAYE crossing the TYMES. Plus, sitting at 1-Across is The ERRAND BOY [1961 Jerry Lewis film, with “The”]. At least JESSE got a fairly fresh clue [Aaron’s role, in “Breaking Bad”].
Plus, a fair amount of meh or ugh fill: a quick glance reveals OYER, CPL, AMCS, MDII, TYMES, RCAS, TYROL, ADUE, RNS, COL, LYTE, COS, ELEM, ETES.
Fine, but not memorable. 3 stars from me. Until next week!
Stan Newman’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” (written as Anna Stiga)
Nice 70-word grid, a hair on the easy end of the Stumper spectrum (meaning still significantly more difficult than the NYT and LAT’s Saturday puzzles).
Round-up of a dozen things:
- 8d. [Playing unusually well], IN A ZONE. I want this to be IN THE ZONE.
- 22a. [Color like khaki], AMBER. Not really. Khaki is cooler, more neutral. Amber is rich, warm, more orangey.
- 32a. [Budget manager’s responsibility], FLEET. As in Budget rental cars.
- 52a. [Food processor], SALIVA. No kitchen is complete without this!
- 57a. [Solitaire, by definition], ONE DIAMOND. Is ONE DIAMOND truly a lexical chunk?
- 59a. [What Brits call “divans”], BOX SPRINGS. I couldn’t find dictionary support for this, just Wikipedia. The Cambridge dictionary says divan also means “UK (also divan bed) a bed consisting of a mattress and a base, with no boards at either end.” This doesn’t seem like an exact match for BOX SPRING at all.
- 4d. [Had a harrowing experience], TILLED. As in “used a harrow to break up the soil.”
- 9d. [Person teaching by example], CITER. Feels too roll-your-own-wordish to me.
- 13d. [Creator of Forbes’ “most valuable fictional character”], AA MILNE. You wanted ROWLING too, didn’t you?
- 14d. [Tough puzzle], STINKER. That one’s new to me. The Oxford dictionaries include a “difficult task” definition, with the following example sentence: “Tackled the crossword yet? It’s a stinker.”
- 48d. [Proprietor of the Clog Talk blog], DRANO. Dammit! I couldn’t think of anything but DANSKO, the shoe company that sells a lot of clogs. Not sure which type of Clog Talk blog would be duller.
- 51d. [Team seen in the “Ocean’s Eleven” remake], SWAT. I don’t like that. It’s a “SWAT team,” not a SWAT that is a team. [Team seen in the Super Bowl], FOOTBALL. Doesn’t work.
My favorite fill here is a rather dry bunch: OBSTETRICS, ZEPPELIN, NAME-DROPPER, BOX SPRINGS.
3.75 stars from me.