Robert Seminara’s New York Times crossword puzzle
I couldn’t tell you what the word “texter” is doing in the revealer clue, 36a. [Texter’s expression spelled out by the starts of 18-, 28-, 46- and 59-Across]. Perhaps middle-aged and elderly texters are still using ROFL, but the kids have left it far behind. LOL works, but ROFL, ROTFL, and ROFLMAO (“rolling on the floor laughing my ass off”) have a distinctly ’90s feel to me. At least the ’00s. Anyway, here are the phrases that play the ROFL acrostic game:
- 18a. [Items for flattening dough], ROLLING PINS. Most kitchens have just one, no? Plural needed to fit theme symmetry.
- 28a. [Secretly], ON THE DOWN LOW. I learned about this term from an NY Times Magazine article about men publicly living as straight men, secretly having sex with men. Huge HIV risk for their wives or girlfriends. Oh, yeah—this one isn’t straight “first word,” it’s “optionally the first two words if you say (or said) “rolling on the floor laughing” rather than “rolling on floor laughing” and didn’t expand the abbrev to ROTFL. Feels awkward.
- 46a. [Some dressing room conveniences], FLOOR MIRRORS. I’ve always called them full-length mirrors. “Rolling on (the) full-length laughing.”
- 59a. [Nitrous oxide], LAUGHING GAS. Good stuff.
I am surprised—as I so often am—to find this much crosswordese stuff in a Monday or Tuesday NYT. This grid’s got AGA, random Roman numeral CMI, spelled-out numeral A-ONE, the AARE River, HIE, ESTER, OGEE, and perhaps AGAR. I wouldn’t want to see more than two of these in any Mon/Tues puzzle that’s billed as being easy.
Three more things:
- 24d. [Long-term hospital patient’s problem], BEDSORE. Unpleasant!
- 40d. [Site of a 2014 vote for independence], SCOTLAND. Alas, they voted “nae.” No, that’s a lie. They just used the English word “no.” I suspect the Scots may say “nae” in crosswords more than in real life.
- 53a. [Mess up, as hair], TOUSLE. That’s a word I’ve always loved. But don’t touch my hair.
Given the list of non-Monday-friendly fill, the weird location of the ROFL revealer, the ON vs. ON THE issue, and the outdatedness of ROFL, I’m going with 3.25 stars for this one.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
Thanks to Brendan for dropping 23a. [Nephrologist’s specialty], KIDNEYS into this puzzle. That spurred me to write a separate blog post trying to drum up potential kidney donors for a friend who recently started dialysis. (Please pass the link along to your social circles! You never know who’s up for donating a kidney.)
Here’s the zippiest stuff:
- 26a. “THANKS, OBAMA,” which meme-minded people say when random crap happens. “Buffalo got 7 feet of snow. THANKS, OBAMA.” Apparently kids who don’t like the healthy school lunch options are now saying, “Thanks, Michelle Obama.”
- 42a. [They may be hard to get into], SKINNY JEANS. Actually, getting out of them is even harder.
- 50a. [“Here it is!”], “ET VOILA!”
- 15d. [Mocking phrase spoken after hearing an unpopular opinion], “… SAID NO ONE EVER.” Example: “I love it when the O words like OLEO and OGEE and OSIER are in crosswords, said no one ever.”
I don’t understand this clue for TKO: 48a. [Puncher’s chance, briefly]. How is the technical knockout a boxer’s “chance”?
And here are five more things:
- 39a. [Young entertainer?], NEIL. Neil Young. Almost went with NEWT, thanks to years of young EFT clues and the NE** pattern.
- 58a. [Just as good as, with “than”], NO BETTER. An 8-letter partial? Eh. Could also be clued as [How someone feels on day 2 or 3 of the flu].
- 43d. [“Community” actress ___ Nicole Brown], YVETTE. Sad to say, I know her better as Helen from the old Nickelodeon show Drake & Josh, which my son watched back in the day. She gives good comedy.
- 49d. [Expensive cut], KOBE. I don’t eat steak so I wasn’t sure if this clue passed muster. Apparently yes: Kobe beef is “cuts of beef from the Tajima strain of wagyu cattle, raised in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan,” Wikipedia tells me.
- 15a. [Polish container], SHINE BOX. I know this is about shoeshines but I want it to be a container for nail polish.
Lots of 3-letter abbreviations here. Maybe 12 of them? That knocks this down to 3.75 stars, though I do like the seed entries of THANKS OBAMA and SAID NO ONE EVER.
C.W. Stewart’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Two false impressions while solving this. First, working through the top left corner, I felt a very strong sense of déjà vu – to the point of wondering if I wasn’t solving today’s offering, but perhaps last week’s. Progressing through the grid I realized I was mistaken, but I must have solved a puzzle with similar opening words recently. Second, after getting the first theme entry – 18a [Where to get cash] ATM MACHINE – I was certain the gimmick was RAS Syndrome (Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome). But I was incorrect on that account as well.
Here are the other three:
- 26a. [Where to see splits and strikes] BOWLING ALLEY.
- 47a. [Where to keep needles and thread] SEWING BASKET.
- 61a. [Where to find valuables] JEWELRY BOX.
And the revealer, underpinning them all, down in the southeast corner: 69a [Things associated with 18-, 26-, 47- and 61-Across] PINS. Technically it’s a PIN and three pins, but I suppose it works well enough. And incidentally PIN is part of perhaps the greatest RAS example of all: PIN number. Mini-brainstorm session: any alternative pin that would be less of an outlier (and also ten letters)? WRESTLING [MATCH], no. GOLF MARKER, maybe, but then there are two sportsy themers. SLANG FOR LEG, no, and kind of lame. So I guess it’s alright. I do appreciate the parallel cluing, each beginning with “Where to …”
- Pairings. 30a [Sci-fi subject] ALIEN, 66a [Sci-fi subjects] UFOS. 10a [British sports cars, for short] JAGS, 68a [ __ Martin: British sports car] ASTON.
- Buybacks: 20a [Foamy brew] BEER, 24d [20-Across serving] PINT. 38d [With 43-Across, umbrella drink] MAI | TAI.
- As to my introductory comment, it must be conceded that JAVA, ALEE, ALAS, AS A RULE, UPEND, and even JAMB are extremely common in crosswords. Nevertheless, I’d swear to seeing them all together not long ago.
- 41a [Id controller] EGO. Isn’t it more that the id and ego are both regulated by the super-ego? And just what of the elusive super-id?
- Lingering mis-fill: 37d [Part of Lawrence Welk’s cadence] A-TWO. I had AND A.
Rather clean fill, some stuff a bit beyond Monday-level, low CAP Quotient™, decent enough theme. About average crossword.
Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Trail Mix”—Ade’s write-up
Hello there, everybody! Hope you had a good weekend, and for those in the NYC area, hope you enjoyed the weather today, which reached 70 degrees. Umm, what?!?!
Well, the weather ended up being a real nice day to sit outside and do a crossword, and this grid for today, brought to us by Mr. Bob Klahn, featured four theme answers in which the first five letters in each answers started with the same five letters, T-R-A-I-L, but in a different order with each answer.
- TRIAL MARRIAGE: (20A: [Provisional plunge])
- LATRINES: (34A: [Army heads])
- RAT LINES: (41A: [Rope ladder rungs]) – It’s possible I’ll never climb another rope ladder again now that I know slang term of the rungs.
- ART LINKLETTER: (59A: [Spokesman for and hearty endorsers of Milton Bradley’s The Game of Life]) – Wasn’t his face on the dollar bills in the board game?? Pretty sure it was!
Honestly, no clue to BEER will be better than the one that we just saw for it right now, and I so hope that story is true (40A: [Secretary of ____ (cabinet position that a 2007 Chicago Tribune article stated that President Madison tried to create in 1809)]). Was on the same wavelength with the constructor on CAB, but initially thought “taxi” when I first read the clue, and just had to readjust and put in the alternate word for taxi (30D: [It may be called on account of rain]). Actually, was pretty surprised I didn’t think of baseball when first reading that clue. JOBIM was a real toughie for me, even though I’ve heard his song so, so, so many times (19A: [“The Girl from Ipanema” composer]). I think this is the second consecutive Klahn puzzle which featured AKIMBO, so now I know what to look for next time…and/or now I know what position to take up as I ready myself to start solving a puzzle of his (50A: [Arms position]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: DERBY (32D: [Hardy headgear]) – Pretty simple entry and explanation for today. What the word “rivalry” means in America is what “DERBY” is to England (and most of Europe), as a derby is essentially another term for a rivalry, even though it really means just a sporting contest, regardless of whether it is a “rivalry.”. The term is usually used in soccer, and my favorite soccer “derby” is the Merseyside Derby, between English Premier League teams – and city neighbors – Liverpool and Everton. What’s your favorite derby?
Thank you for your time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!