Fireball write-up coming Sunday night in the 11/10 post. Contest puzzle! Non-impossible meta!
Nikki Gloudeman at Ravishly interviewed me for her article, “Does The New York Times Crossword Puzzle Have A Sexism Problem?” Gloudeman asks: “But if solvers are pretty much equally divided among the genders, and there was a time when female constructors served in an equal capacity to men, is it really true that men like to do puzzles more? Or is it, perhaps, that this is a false and damning presumption entrenched at the top?”
Matt Ginsberg’s New York Times crossword
The theme is Passover:
- 37a. [See 19- and 54-Across and 11- and 41-Down] clues PARTING, which parts RED and SEA at the unclued 36a and 39a.
- 19a. [Leader of a noted 37-Across], MOSES.
- 54a. [Location of the 37-Across], EGYPT.
- 11d. [Beneficiary of the 37-Across, in modern times], ISRAELI. *nose crinkles* I don’t like this substitution of ISRAELI for the biblical Israelite.
- 41d. [Loser on account of the 37-Across], PHARAOH.
This was the passing over that’s memorialized in Passover, which is also known as 25a. [Feast of unleavened bread], PESACH. Passover takes place in the spring (usually March or April), so it’s highly unusual that PESACH is not tied specifically to the theme (it’s opposite SPARSE and not something relevant) and that the puzzle’s running in October. Matt said he submitted the puzzle this June—I wonder if began working on it after last Pesach?
I liked OBI-WAN, HEDONIST, warm ST THOMAS and HONOLULU and SAO PAULO, BEER PONG, PTOMAINE poisoning, and “I’M ON IT.” But I wasn’t wild about EERIER, plural AVAS, EBAN and SADAT dangling unthematically in an ancient Israel/Egypt theme, ODD ONE (is that any different from STRANGE ONE? ODD ONE OUT would be better), IDAS, OSTE-, NISI, and ALEE.
3.5 stars from me.
Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Like Falling Off a Log”—Ade’s write-up
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!
I hope this puzzle today was a mere bag of shells for you, as the theme of today’s grid, produced for our solving pleasure by Mr. Bruce Venzke, is composed of four three-word entries that would be said by many to describe easy tasks.
- NOT A PROBLEM: (17A: [“Smooth sailing!”])
- SIMPLE AS ABC: (27A: [“Couldn’t be easier!”]) – Thought it would be “simple as pie” for a second.
- NOTHING TO IT: (47A: [“That’ll be a snap!”])
- PIECE OF CAKE: (64A: [“A Walk in the Park!”])
The “ear worm alert” entry of the day is won by BAHA, and, if you have their hit song stuck in your head now, good luck trying to get it out anytime soon (56D: [____ Men (“Who Let the Dogs Out” group])!! I have a sweet tooth that almost rivals anybody else’s, but, for the life of me, I have never been a fan of the CREAM PIE (33A: [Coconut or Boston confection]). Weird. Not only do we have Olav with a “v” today instead of an “f,” it’s in plural form, OLAVS (53D: [Five Norwegian kings]). A friend of mine just landed in NARITA to continue work in Japan after moving from Chicago, so I definitely am wishing her the best of luck…as well as giving her a shout out here (48D: [Airport serving Tokyo]). Outside of the theme answers, none of the other entries really stood out, though FILIAL gets an honorable mention (8D: [Befitting offspring]). And as I’ve said before on here, I need to watch more HBO (66A: [“Curb Your Enthusiasm” network]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ELAM (11D: [Retired NFL placekicker Jason]) – One of the most reliable kickers in NFL history, three-time All-Pro kicker Jason ELAM played 15 of his 17 seasons with the Denver Broncos, from 1993-2007. (He played for the Atlanta Falcons in 2008 and 2009). Elam was a member of the Broncos’ two Super-Bowl winning teams after the 1997 and 1998 seasons, and, in 1998, he tied a then-NFL record for the longest field goal made with a 63-yard field goal converted in a game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Friday’s getting closer!! Have a great day, everyone, and I’ll see you tomorrow.
Gail Grabowski’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s review
Thanks to Doug for filling in for me with aplomb!
A fairly simple letter string addition puzzle, without a revealer, not that one is really necessary here. All the phrases have the prefix SUR tacked onto them; additional tightness is provided by the fact it is the first word each time, although if you were lucky enough to spot this, you get three free letters each time! I think that latter fact is why Rich Norris chose to run this on Thursday, not Friday, as he usually does with themes of this nature. I found the entries consistently amusing, and quite elegant in their changes:
- [Scoop a major news magazine?], SURPASSTIME
- [Sheriff of Nottingham’s plan?], SURROUNDROBIN
- [Hearst Castle?], SURREALESTATE. Why is Hearst Castle surreal? It just seems big… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearst_Castle
- [Banner advertising overstocked shelves?], SURPLUSSIGN
One across is always important in determining the solver’s initial reaction to the puzzle. It sets the mood. [Actor who spoke the line, “I’d show him who was king of the forest!”] is a great clue to offset the use of LAHR!
OCA/OCALA is a big trap for the non-crossword-ese-literate! This assumes OCALA isn’t a universally familiar city to Americans, but I don’t >think< it is.
Random observation: [Window units, briefly], ACS – Americans abbreviate their abbreviations much more than those using Commonwealth English. We talk about aircons. See also ads (US) versus adverts (us).
Other choice morsels in the puzzle included:
- [“You can’t be serious”], COMENOW. Lovely bit of colloquial language!
- [Anxious place to be], HOTSEAT
- [Purse counterpart], MANBAG. Explain handbags to me. I manage to survive out in the world with just a wallet, a cellphone and car keys just fine.
- [Frank quality], CANDOR