Peter Wentz’s New York Times crossword
Hey, hey! An NYT puzzle with fill that, for the most part, I like. Here’s what’s on my highlights reel:
- 20a. [“Illness” affecting the wealthy], AFFLUENZA.
- 23a. [Join in the attack], PILE ON. In the language.
- 28a. [“Can this be?!”], “WHAT THE …?”
- 32a. [Hit], CLOCKED. Slangy.
- 44a. [Animal with a sweet tooth], HONEY BEAR. I think my aunt once had a St. Bernard by that name.
- 49a. [Author who was the title subject of the Best Picture of 1937], EMILE ZOLA. Full names are cool fill, and no one’s more Zolaesque than this guy.
- 8d. [Something fallen off a shelf?], ICE FLOE. Nice clue.
- 9d. [Market leader], THE FED. Federal Reserve Bank.
- 12d. [Excursions for some rock collectors?], MOONWALKS. Comet harpoonings are a hair less cool.
- 14d. [Did a week-long juice diet, say], CLEANSED. Clue is au courant, but I am not a fan of these “cleanse” and “detox” things.
- 31d. [Al Capone, famously], TAX CHEAT. Isn’t it interesting that the familiar term isn’t “tax cheater”?
- 32d. [One doing the highlights?], COLORIST. Mine is Frank. Remind me to call Saturday morning for an appointment, will you?
- 42d. [Meet someone?], MILER. That special someone at a cross-country meet might be a MILER.
You know me: I don’t care to see noticeable words from the grid in any clues. 30d. [High-seas cry] for YO-HO meets 25a SEA GODS? Meh. Also in the “meh” category: SO THAT’S IT feels a little contrived, and just because it’s in a lot of AHA clues doesn’t make it worthy of the crossword grid. NO OIL, TOO FAST, and LAST MOVES all feel a little unnatural as crossword fill, too. And what about ON POT? Is that a lexical chunk the way “on drugs” is, or contrived?
I’m going with 3.9 stars for this one. Lots of juicy stuff, but a few entries that are pushing it.
Barry C. Silk’s Los Angeles Times crossword —Ade’s write-up
Good morning, everybody!
This is Adesina (Ade, Addie or AOK are acceptable nicknames/aliases) filling in for Andy in a pinch-hitting role to review today’s LA Times crossword. No way I can fill his shoes – especially since I wear size 15s – but I’ll try to right now.
I knew this grid would be right down my alley, since I’m in tune with Mr. Barry C. Silk’s grids more than any constructor who specializes in late-week crosswords. Oh, and it also helps that I’m Nigerian, so AIR NIGERIA was the slam dunk answer of the day for me (15A: [Former Lagos-based carrier]). Above that, SMOKE ALARM almost seemed too much of a gimme, so I actually hesitated on putting that down for a minute or two before eventually seeing that it had to be the answer (1A: [Emergency beeper]). After getting the cluster of long across answers in that Northwest section, I immediately starting chipping away at the long downs in the Northeast, although I was helped by the crossings, including GONE, an answer that confirmed to me how out of touch I am with both the book and the subsequent movie that recently came out (16A: [“____ Girl”: 2012 best-seller]). We have a couple of drink selections near one another with CHAI (35A: [Starbucks offering]) and SMUTTY…well, that’s if you abbreviate Smuttynose, the name of a beer/brewing company (41A: [Full of grime]). Speaking of alcoholic drinks, SAKE is there as well (1D: [Benefit])! Loved the trivia in relation to A-LINE (30A: [Term coined by Dior]). A couple of slip-ups on the Southwest cost me some time, as I initially had “tux” for DVD (36A: [Commonly rented item]) and “emitted” for EGESTED (42A: [Discharged]). Didn’t take too long to untangle myself out of that, and, afterwards, it was pretty much smooth sailing.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SENATE SEAT (57A: [Hill prize]) – For those not familiar with my blogging style one here, I take one entry in a puzzle and then I put a sports spin on it, giving you the “Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day. For today, we’ll mention a couple of Hall-of-Fame athletes who ended up winning a United States SENATE SEAT later in life. Bill Bradley, a Princeton-educated Rhodes Scholar who was a member of the New York Knicks’ NBA championship teams of 1970 and 1973, was a three-term Democratic senator in the state of New Jersey, starting with his election in 1978. Hall-of-Fame baseball pitcher and nine-time All-Star Jim Bunning, who once threw a perfect game as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies against the New York Mets in 1964, won two terms as the Republican junior U.S. senator in the state of Kentucky. Bunning was succeeded by current Kentucky senator Rand Paul.
I thank you so much for the time you’ve given me in my maiden voyage reviewing the LAT. Hope I didn’t let you down with the review, and my apologies to you if I did. Have a great weekend, everyone!
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “It’s a Long Story”—Ade’s write-up
What’s up, everyone?!
If you’ve read the LA Times review today, then I’m glad to have you back to take a look at this grid as well, authored up by Mr. Randall J. Hartman. In it, each of the first words of the four theme answers are synonyms meaning a long, long LONG span of time.
- ETERNITY RING: (20A: [Symbol of love])
- ALWAYS ON TIME: (28A: [2002 chart-topper by Ja-Rule]) – One of my college roommates used to play this song at our apartment…A LOT!
- FOREVER STAMP: (48A: [First-class option])
- INFINITY POOL: (56A: [Swimming spot with a disappearing edge])
I think the only time I’ve played with a WII is in the displays at electronic stores where you can play the demos (29D: [Xbox competitor]). Actually, I might have played Wii Tennis once in New Hampshire with a friend of mine. Either way, I’ve barely played with a Wii, and might need to do it more, if I can. The first thing I thought of when seeing ZOOM was the Mazda commercials with the “Zoom, Zoom” slogan, which eventually drove me mad (61A: [Take off like a rocket]). Liked the clue to BLEEP, and that’s what probably was needed around me when I commented on hearing “zoom, zoom” again and again (1D: [Reality show interruption, maybe]). For some reason, I read POP ART as “pop tart,” though I guess it’s not out of the realm of possibility to relate those two and hope a pop artist once used Pop Tarts in his/her paintings (50D: [Peter Max display]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: IGLOO (40A: [Home with a dome]) – Between 1967 and 2010, the Pittsburgh Penguins, three-time Stanley Cup champions in the National Hockey League, played at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena/Mellon Arena, affectionately known as The IGLOO. The arena was actually the first retractable roof ever used by a major professional sports team in the United States, although the roof did not open for Penguins games. It’s reported that the first time the roof was opened there for a performance was for a Carol Burnett show in 1962 (the arena was constructed in 1961).
See you all for the Sunday Challenge!
Frank Longo’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
I feel terrible. Commenter Dave S didn’t enjoy the Thursday Klahn CrosSynergy puzzle, and we pointed him to the Stumper. This week’s Stumper was particularly tough, I thought, a good 50% to 100% harder than recent Saturday Newsdays. I managed to finish without Googling but there was a lot of despair along the way. Don’t fret, Dave S! This one is about as difficult as a Stumper ever gets. Next week’s will probably be less crushing.
- 11a. [Small, thin child], WISP. Started with WAIF, which interfered with the long Downs in that quadrant.
- 17a. [100+, most certainly], RIPE OLD AGE. No mention of years in the clue, and with the crossings … I actually had RIPE ORANGE for a bit. Wondered if there was some color or fruit scale where that made a lick of sense.
- 18a. [Nearly impossible], RARE. Not sure what sentence would work for these being interchangeable.
- 23a. [Williams-Sonoma’s HQ], SAN FRAN. So the “HQ” is our cue that SAN FRAN is shortened? Yuck. Almost certainly no one who works in the S.F. HQ is calling the city “San Fran.” Locals hate that.
- 25a. [Bed attachments], MUSSELS. Pondered TASSELS on a canopy bed. Pondered flower beds.
- 36a. [With 37 Across, introduction to marketing], SALES / LEAD. I don’t understand what “introduction to marketing” has to do with it. A person you’re introduced to and to whom you try to sell whatever you’re marketing??
- 41a. [What shortcuts sidestep], MICE. Computer keyboard shortcuts. There are a lot of other sorts of shortcuts in the world, none of which involve MICE.
- 45a. [Hematology adjective], FEMORAL. The medical editor in me doesn’t like this. Hematologists deal with the blood, not the blood vessels (such as the femoral vein). [Vascular surgery adjective] or [Interventional cardiology adjective] would be more apt.
- 50a. [Weekly initiator], TRI. Terrible! TRI is a common prefix, but “triweekly” is nowhere near as common as “biweekly.” (A Google news search for “triweekly” turns up less than 200 hits.)
- 56a. [Storm warning of a sort], PEAL. No idea where a bell peals as a storm warning. Certainly never in Chicago. Is this a sea/port thing? Down on the farm?
- 58a. [One way to say this], ESTA. Zero hint in the clue that the answer is Spanish. Unless “One” is a city in Mexico or something…
- 4d. [How some Oreos are eaten], DEEP-FRIED. Isn’t that more how they’re prepared than how they’re eaten?
- 6d. [Rock music?], LULLABY. This one’s a great clue! And it stumped me for the longest time. Rock the baby, sing a lullaby.
- 8d. [They’re usually tapped after work], IRAS. Not “after work, at 5 p.m.” but “after you’ve retired for good.” *scowl* Nobody uses “after work” that way.
- 12d. [Compression candidate], IMAGE FILE. Couldn’t for the life of me figure out what “compression candidate” was getting at, other than an injury that needs rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Strange little “aha” moment when it clicked.
- 29d. [Comprehensive], FULL-SCOPE. Tried FULL-SCALE first.
- 30d. [Trios starting numbers], AREA CODES. This one was incomprehensible and I felt like there must be a missing possessive apostrophe. Turns out an area code is a trio that starts a phone number.
- 31d. [Its mascot is the fireball Burnie], MIAMI HEAT. I was stumped on this one until I searched my mind for sports teams whose names were about fire, and came up with the Heat.
- 32d. [Crib or cook], POACH. Tried CHEAT first, as cribbing answers is cheating and so is cooking the books. I reckon the clue’s getting at poaching someone’s answers, or poaching some fish in the kitchen.
- 41d. [”Égée” or ”Noire”], MER. Killed me! With that MICE clue crossing the M, and trying SCIENCE and HUDDLE for SCI-TECH and COHERE, oof. I gather the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea’s French names are in the clue.
- 44d. [Next automaker to go public after Ford], TESLA. There was a long gap in US car companies going public, apparently! Tried EDSEL first.
Another note on 42a. [Something found in a ”Ben-Hur” bank], OAR. Clue/entry duplication! Maybe. Is the “Ben” in Ben-Hur and ARI BEN Canaan (54d. [With 55 Down and ”Canaan,” ”Exodus” lead role]) the same?
The fill here is solid, the clues cruel. 4 stars of pain.