Jill Denny and Jeff Chen’s New York Times crossword
Neat golf theme here. Finishing a hole two under par is an impressive eagle, one under par is a birdie, and one over par (sad trombone) is a bogey. Is there a limit on the bogey count? I suspect I could nail an octuple bogey. Anyway! In the puzzle, “eagle,” “bogey,” and “birdie” are replaced in familiar phrases by the number ONE or TWO placed above or below the letters PAR in an adjacent answer:
- 17a. [Neil Armstrong declaration], THE TWO HAS LANDED, with TWO under PAR telling us it’s “The Eagle has landed.”
- 26a. [What a parent might warn a child to watch out for], THE ONE MAN. The bogeyman. (Note to co-constructor co-parents Jill and Jeff: Don’t tell your child that there are monsters! Good lord, do you ever want the kid to go to sleep? No bogeyman, nobody in the closet, not a single beast under the bed.)
- 42a. [1961 Tony winner for Best Musical], BYE BYE ONE. Bye Bye Birdie, in which “Birdie” is a man, which is something I learned only in the last year or so.
- 53a. [Average … or a literal hint to 17-, 26- and 42-Across], PAR FOR THE COURSE. Solid reveal.
- 53d. [Org. that’s most likely to appreciate this puzzle?], PGA. A bonus theme word.
The three PAR chunks appear in CAR PARTS, POOL PARTY, and WATER PARK, a solid set.
- 1a. [Person close to 100?], A STUDENT. 100 grade average, not 100 years of age.
- 41a. [Ho Chi Minh City festival], TET. Happy New Year! Although Tết falls on February 19 this year.
- 61a. [Game for which it’s helpful to have hands-on experience?], PEEKABOO.
- 1d. [House work?], ACT. Okay, I don’t get this one. Is “house” synonymous with “theater” here? Ohhh … I think I get it now. The House of Representatives occasionally passes things called acts.
- 27d. [Real imp], HOLY TERROR. My favorite answer in this puzzle.
4.25 stars from me.
Doug Peterson’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Roman Holiday”—Ade’s write-up
¡Feliz Ano Nuevo! Definitely want to wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year as we’re now in 2015. And to kick off the New Year, we have a subtle reminder of what year it is in our grid today, presented to us by Mr. Doug Peterson, who might have a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena dedicated to him. In the puzzle, common phrases and/or proper nouns are altered to create puns by putting a Roman numeral at the front of each theme. It just so happens that if you put those letters together, they spell out MMXV, or the Roman numeral for the year that we’re currently in now (71A: [2015, or what can be found leading off this puzzle’s longest answers]).
- MARCH ENEMIES: (20A: [Foes who do battle every spring?]) – From “arch enemies.”
- MICE SKATING: (35A: [Mickey and Minnie doing figure eights, say?]) – From “ice skating.” I’m actually having images of actual mice wearing teeny tiny ice skates and scurrying across an ice surface. I’m sorry if I just made you have that image as well.
- X-RAY CHARLES: (44A: [Check a British prince for cavities?]) – From “Ray Charles.”
- VROOM SERVICE: (55A: [Pit stop activity?]) – From “room service.”
I can’t tell you how many times my friends and I back in high school would say, “Do you smell what The ROCK is cooking?,” the catchphrase of one of the most famous (fake) wrestlers of all time (21D: [Wrestler/actor Dwyane “The ____” Johnson]). So, unless my memory is failing me, I just saw a new way to clue REBA in a crossword grid (58D: [“____: Duets” (2007 country album)]). I wonder if ENIGMA was a subtle shoutout to one of Batman’s arch enemies, The Riddler, a.k.a. E. (Edward) Nigma (22D: [Puzzler]). Our theme is Roman numerals, yet we have the Spanish word for numerals/numbers, NUMERO, also present (33D: [Uno, dos or tres]). I can remember my mother not moving a muscle and being transfixed to the television any time the WINANS were on television, as my mom was a lover of their gospel music (31A: [Grammy-winning gospel singer CeCe]). Loved the fill of YO HO HO, as the pirate theme is going to continue in our next segment…well, in a way (23A: [Pirate song phrase]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: LSD (2D: [Psychedelic initials]) – The first “sports…smarter” moment of 2015 is a real trip! On June 12, 1970, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter in San Diego against the Padres. Obviously, that’s a noteworthy achievement in itself, but what made this game even more “memorable” is the fact that Ellis pitched that no-hitter while high on LSD. According to Ellis, he had partied all night previous day in Los Angeles, had been dropping acid during that day, then took it the next morning when he woke up, and finally rushed to San Diego to be on time to make his start. He was wild all game, as he walked eight and hit a batter, but he allowed no hits in Pittsburgh’s 2-0 victory. When asked by a reporter after the game if he saw the final out made, Ellis produced one of the most memorable sports quotes ever: “Did I see it? You should have seen it the way I saw it.”
Tomorrow won’t feel like a Friday, but I’ll definitely see you then!
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword “2014 in Review” — Ben’s review
Hi everyone! I’m Ben, and (as Matt mentioned last week) I’m going to be taking over the BEQ Thursday Beat here at Fiend. I’m a huge puzzle fan, and I’ve done some blogging elsewhere on the net (which you can find info about on the Fiend Team page), but it’s great to get a chance to do something in both realms for once. I’m especially excited to be covering Brendan’s Thursday puzzles, even if he has completely sunk my ACPT ranking for two years running.
The calendar may have turned to 2015 at midnight, but Brendan’s getting one last look at 2014 in with this week’s puzzle, aptly titled “2014 in Review”. It took me waaaaay too long to figure out what was going on with this week’s theme clues:
20A: All of country singer Tammy’s money? – WYNETTE FORTUNE
(about $900 million, according to a quick Google search – not too bad, but nothing that rang a bell for 2014)
25A: Reason why a boy king didn’t have to pay to sign up for the contest? – TUT WON ENTRY FEE
(still nothing, theme-wise – two-tone? Still not getting anything clueful)
42A: Motto of many an improv comedy troupe? – WE’RE OFTEN NUTTY
(As someone who’s seen and performed their fair share of improv performances, if the improv performers you’re about to see have this as their motto, do not see that show.)
That finally cracked it – these are all anagrams of TWENTY FOURTEEN! That left only one theme clue:
48A: Like a 140-character joke that no one favorited, probably? – FUNNY TO TWEETER
(this includes most of the jokes I currently make on Twitter.)
Some other thoughts on this puzzle:
- 57A: Yogurt-and-cucumber side dish – RAITA. Had I not just had Indian food with friends over the holidays, this may not have been right on my mind.
- 4D: Faucet – WATERTAP. I’m enough of an anglophile to have filled this in without help, but it felt odd the entire time I was writing it in.
- 7D: Maker of the $6800 84 MPG car (I’ll believe it when I see it) – ELIO. I got this one entirely from the across clues, but still needed to Google it to believe it. I join Brendan’s skepticism that this is an actual thing that will be on the roads.
I fully enjoyed this puzzle, despite my own blindness to the theme until 3/4 of the way through, and it was a great start to blogging BEQ’s puzzles this year. I’m giving it a 4/5.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review
The highlight of the theme is the beautiful revealing answer: The rest of the puzzle theme contains six synonyms for yukking it up: GIGGLE, GUFFAW, BURSTOUTLAUGHING, CHORTLE, CRACKUP and TITTER. CUSS is not thematic I assume. I find straight synonym collections somewhat bland, personally (yes, I’m a hypocrite, as I’ve made a few of that theme type in my time). We also get a smiley face, which is somewhat thematic, but a) You can smile without making a noise, and b) most left-right symmetry puzzles look like faces.
ACAP and NETA are supremely ugly. FOHN bothers some people as correctly it either has a umlaut or an extra ‘e’. Otherwise very clean despite a high 3-letter count (it is a plus-size grid). I applaud the effort to include interesting long answers given the mostly short theme: HOMESALE, PREMOLAR and KEEPTIME being the big highlights.
Also, [“The Grouchy Ladybug” writer Carle] for ERIC is definitely a later week clue. He’s much more famous for “The Hungry Caterpillar”, but you just have to spot the pattern!