Joe DiPietro’s New York Times crossword
Each theme entry is a phrase that’s “[verb(s)] through [noun phrase, possibly with a preposition],” but the “through” is replaced by the verb word crossing through the rest of the phrase:
- 36a. [Has an ad that really stands out], CUTS through THE CLUTTER, 3d. [See 36-Across].
- 29a. [Elude a person’s grasp] SLIP through ONE’S FINGERS, 8d. [See 29-Across].
- 52a. [Succeeds when it matters most], PULLS through IN THE CLUTCH, 25d. [See 52-Across]. COMES would also work for PULLS.
- 54a. [Making a feeble effort], GOING through THE MOTIONS, 30d. [See 54-Across].
I like the “through” concept but it would have played a little smoother with the verbs all working the same way (e.g., CUTS and PULLS but also SLIPS and GOES). The verbs aren’t laid out in symmetrical spots so it’s not as if the letter counts had to be exactly thus.
Five more things:
- 61a. [Brand name in immunity boosting], ESTER-C. I needed every crossing for this one. I was just buying some vitamin C online this evening and don’t recognize this brand.
- 42a. [One of a group of singing brothers], ED AMES. If you’re like me, you’ll be astonished to learn that Ed Ames is still alive. He and his brothers sang in the ’50s, he had some solo “adult contemporary” songs in the ’60s, and he is now 87.
- 46a. [Biochemical sugar], RIBOSE. Is there such a thing as a sugar that is not biochemical? I don’t know what the clue’s getting at. Perhaps our biochemists can shed some light on this.
- 35a. [What could loosen up a lot?], HOE. It’ll take you some time to use a single hoe to break up the soil on your lot. I’m guessing there are machines for larger-scale ground breaking?
- 22d. [Like notepaper and kingdoms], RULED. Consumer alert! Don’t buy the Mead 4-pack of spiral notebooks. The cardboard back is thin and flimsy and Mead has apparently ceded the “quality notebook brand” title it had in the ’80s. #nostalgiaisdead
Loved finding ODE TO JOY in the grid, along with a REUBEN (which I would never in a million years eat, as the rye bread’s the only ingredient I can stomach), BOX-TOPS, DINGBAT, and CLUB SODA. Would rather not have encountered N. DAK., U NU, TERN, and PLU.
Quibble: 37a. [What Germany’s leader lacks?] clues HARD G. But the “leader” of the word Germany is the letter G, a soft G. A soft G doesn’t lack a hard G; it’s just a different sound. If “leader” is being used here to mean “syllable” or “first coupla letters,” it’s a weird change in the usual convention.
3.66 stars from me.
Brendan Quigley’s website puzzle, “[What Goes Around]” — Matt’s review
Words/phrases wrap around the edges of the grid, using the last and then first three letters of grid-spanning entries:
17-A [*Refer to those with similar ideas [“The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” actress Locke]] = (DRA)W A COMPARI(SON), with wrap-around SONDRA.
23-A [*His 43 was retired by the Oakland A’s [Kind of jar used in physics experiments] = (DEN)NIS ECKERS(LEY), with a wrap-around LEYDEN.
36-A [*First aid kit tool [Made curvy waves]] = (MED)ICINE DROP(PER), with a wrap-around PERMED. Doesn’t ring too familiar, but Googles fine.
50-A [*Like really-big news [Ready to drive]] = (EAR)TH-SHATTER(ING), with a wrap-around IN GEAR.
57-A [*Customs requests [Able to receive a soccer pass legally]] (IDE)NTIFICATI(ONS), with a wrap-around ONSIDE.
Familiar idea and without a new twist, so not really an EARTH-SHATTERING theme. But there are five of them at least.
*** Made a mess of the NW corner right off the bat: had VALE instead of the correct DALE for [Lowland], which made the evil [Engaged in a summer’s activity] for ADDED impossible.
*** Linguistic consistency and inconsistency: [U-Boot hazard] at 31-A for EIS is correct (it’s the German word for “ice”), but if you want EIRE for [Cork’s location] at 27-D then you want to call the city by its Irish name, which is Corcaigh.
*** Fun fill: ONE-NIL, GIGOLO, TIMES SIGN, DEER MEAT, RUSTLE UP, STATE BIRD, HARLEM, CRUELLA. GANKS is unfamiliar to me but it’s in the Urban Dictionary!
*** [Renaissance Faire beverage] = MEAD at 24-A. Have you ever tried mead? It’s the bison steak of alcoholic drinks: try it once and you think, “Interesting, but I see why this isn’t as popular as bourbon/beer/wine/steak from a cow.”
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Spreading the News”—Ade’s write-up
Hello there, and a happy Thursday to you all. The theme to today’s grid, offered up to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, was one I didn’t get at all until about five minutes after I finished the grid, even with the aid of the reveal at the end of it. But once my brain got out of its fog, then the light turned on. Each of the theme answers are proper nouns or phrases in which the very beginning and very end letters of each can combine to form a word that’s usually associated with the title of a newspaper. The reveal, PAPER CUTS, is last theme answer (57A: [Painful slices (and a hint to 17- and 36-Across and 11- and 25-Down)]).
- POP ARTIST: (17A: [Robert Rauschenberg or Roy Lichtenstein]) – They’re in the mold of Michael Jackson and Shakira, right? Ooooohh, you mean Pop art!! My bad! (Post)
- GLORY BE: (36A: [“Praise the Lord!”]) – (Globe)
- TAMMY GRIMES: (11D: [Actress who won a Tony for “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”]) – (Times)
- STAGE MOTHER: (25D: [Audition annoyance]) – Usually see it as “stage mom,” but no matter how you state it, I’m sure she’s equally as annoying. (Star)
I want to hear someone yell IT’S A LIE in a courtroom setting for real, because it sounds like something you would only really see/hear in movies (23A: [Dramatic courtroom accusation]). You might hear something like that, say, in a joint congressional hearing, especially with that representative from South Carolina (Joe Wilson) a few years back. Speaking of South Carolina, I have a couple of friends who attended CLEMSON and they, along with other alumni, get a little peeved when people pronounce the university name with a “z” (Clem-zin) sound instead of an “s” sound (49A: [Palmetto State school]). Loved the couple of earworm opportunities in the grid with a few music references, including ROTTEN (30A: [Front man Johnny of the Sex Pistols]) and MOJO, which got me thinking of the popular Muddy Waters rendition of the song (67A: [Got My ____ Working”]). Speaking of that song, here it is…
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: CAM (58D: [Carolina Panthers quarterback Newton])– Lots of sports clues in this puzzle, including one of a person who’s a personal friend of mine, DORIS (31D: [Basketball sportscaster Burke]). But we highlight CAM Newton, especially since he is in the news prominently right now as he was treated at a local Charlotte hospital on Tuesday after being injured in a two-car crash right outside of the Carolina Panthers’ team facilities and home stadium Newton, 2010 Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, suffered two fractures in his back, but is expected to make a full recovery.
See you all on Friday, and have a good day!
Ian Livengood’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review
This seems to be one of those not-in-my-wheel-house puzzles. I’ve never heard of the novel that’s the basis of this puzzle: THINGSFALLAPART. I know the name Chinua Achebe in the abstract. It seems to be set among the Ibo people, beloved of crossword constructors! The theme answers all have THINGS bookending them: three are TH/INGS and one is T/HINGS. That’s a big letter chunk to do this with! It is aided by the S and the fact ING is a common suffix. I appreciated that, in three of the four answers, the plurality forms an important part of the phrase – it’s not just tacked on to make the puzzle work!
- [Archers’ protection], THUMBRINGS. Don’t know what those are, but with clue, pretty self explanatory.
- [L.A.-based comedy troupe], THEGROUNDLINGS. Rings only the vaguest bell. Go crossings!
- [Scoldings], TONGUELASHINGS
- [Magi], THREEKINGS.
A 10/14/15/14/10 theme will always require a very delicate hand to fill the grid! Especially in the middle, most down answers are crossing two themers. Ian is well-known (I think?) for filling dense grids with aplomb. Here we get RAVENCLAW (learnt by osmosis, never read/watched Potter) and RISINGSUN – given a specific clue, again unknown to me, presumably to avoid it being a 9 letter partial. Also lively are CHINOS and ITSADEAL. Not much to debit either. MIA’s clue, [Fla. airport], is an unusual angle, but it’s a perfectly valid entry. Also clued weirdly is [Platter player], PHONO. Never heard this dated term before! Favourite clue [Verb, for one], NOUN – ha-ha!
4 Stars. A lot of long unknowns (to me), but I still admire the construction.