Herre Schouwerwou’s New York Times crossword
Greetings, crossword fans. Doug here. I’m filling in for Amy, who’s a bit under the weather tonight.
It’s rare to see a quote theme on a Thursday, though the hyphen in the last entry gives it a slight Thursdayish twist:
- 20a. [Beginning of a quote by Ogden Nash, with punctuation] I COULD HAVE.
- 27a. [Quote, part 2], LOVED NEW YORK.
- 43a. [Quote, part 3], HAD I NOT LOVED.
- 54a. [End of the quote], BALTI-MORE.
The quote is clever, but not laugh-out-loud funny. And it was fun to tease out the hyphen in the last line. Not much else to say about that. Let’s look at the rest of the puzzle.
- 37d. [Fashionable 1980s item resembling a bit of astronaut’s attire], MOON BOOT. Wait a second. Moon Boots were fashionable? I wore those things as an ’80s kid, and I looked totally stupid. Great entry though.
- 11d. [Perfect night for a pillow fight], SLEEPOVER. Is this also from Ogden Nash? “Perfect night for a pillow fight / A downy bashing would be smashing.”
- 10d. [Girl who challenges stereotypes], TOMBOY. One of my favorite old-timey superheroes is the awesome Tomboy. An ordinary girl who ran around and beat the crap out of criminals. “Mention the name Tomboy and the underworld shudders and crawls into its hole.” Comics were strange and wonderful in the ’50s. Tomboy only made four appearances and has since fallen into the public domain. Come on, Hollywood. When are we finally going to see Tomboy on the big screen?
The fill was generally nice in this one. I also liked SLOVENLY, OK THEN, ART TATUM, PIED PIPER, and EUCHRE. The Pied Piper is also a comic book character (a Flash villain), but you’ve probably heard enough out of me about comic books. I’ll leave you with one more bit of doggerel: “Congrats on the debut / To Herre Schouwerwou.” Does it rhyme? I have no idea.
I’m not sure what’s been up with me and the last few BEQ Thursday puzzles, but I found this week’s entry more frustrating than fun. Despite my brain being in full Mystery Hunt mode, I literally couldn’t figure out the theme going on here until after I had solved the puzzle and walked away for 5 minutes.
All the theme answers felt crossword-y, but I just couldn’t parse what was going on that linked them to their single letter clues and the title. Then, finally, I thought about what 17A, SULKING FACE, defined: a pout, or more accurately, a P(OUT). Suddenly, everything made sense:
BLANK OUT = _OUT
- 23A: R(OUT) = ASS KICKING
- 32A: L(OUT) = CRUDE DUDE
- 42A: G(OUT) = BIG TOE WOE
- 51A: T(OUT) = TRACK MAVEN
- 61A: B(OUT) = BOXING MATCH
What may have added to my theme-blindness this week was a bunch of fill that was just outside of my Crosswordese knowledge. I’ve never heard of 25D‘s Andre GIDE (or his books), IRE isn’t my first thought for another word for spleen, and Alan Dershowitz isn’t the first person who comes to mind when I think of YALE LAW. Admittedly, no one is, but certainly not Alan Dershowitz. 65A‘s IN A TRAP and 47D‘s SKYCAM also irked me this week – both had decent clues, but neither answer scanned as the smoothest answer to their respective clues.
But enough griping for now; I swear there were things I enjoyed about this puzzle as well. As far as current events go, it was nice to see AMY Pascal’s Sony emails get her a little bit of crossword infamy at 69A, and thanks to the Bachelorette, we finally have an alternate clue for OTERI! How did I miss that news? I also liked seeing shoutouts to DALEK and the DUO Daft Punk. All in all, there were some bright spots, but I finished this puzzle more frustrated that fulfilled. Maybe I just wasn’t doing it right.
Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “What is the Question?”—Ade’s write-up
Good morning, everyone! I think there should be a mandate out there that states that at least one crossword per month should deal with something Shakespearean. Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, fills January’s quota, as each of the six theme answers start with letters that, combined, make up the famous line in HAMLET (73A: [One posing a famous question found at the starts of 17-, 27-, 34-, 44-, 52-, and 64-Across]), “To be or not to be…”
- TOOTH FAIRY (17A: [One doing nocturnal dental work?])
- BEANPOLES (27A: [Skinny Minnies])
- ORGAN STOPS (34A: [Parts of some church pipes])
- NOTTINGHAM (44A: [Locale of a Robin Hood nemesis]) – My thanks to pannonica, who, in the comments section a couple of days ago, cleared up the Robin Hood/Ivanhoe question that I had posed the other day.
- TODAY SHOW (52A: [Program first hosted by Dave Garroway, with “The”]) – Nice little bit of trivia! To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I spent more than a 10-minute span watching a network morning show uninterrupted. Anyways, which network morning show do you prefer?
- BEER CHASER (64A: [Boilermaker component])
SEVENS may very well be the most common roll, but, knowing my luck, my most common roll would be snake eyes (1A: [Most common dice rolls]). I’m hoping a few friends and I will come through with our plans to head to the casino that’s now in the Queens section of New York City, so I can know SOONER or later whether my opinion on my dice playing is founded (51A: [Oklahoma athlete]). Initially wrote in “errors” instead of ERRATA, which only held me up for a small bit before I realized my, um, error (14A: [Listed mistakes]). During lunch today, I’m going to text my old science professor and ask her if she ever taught us about ACTH (60D: [Pituitary gland product, briefly]). If so, and I didn’t remember, then I might be in a little hot water! There’s been a lot of GRAND JURY news lately, so, I guess this is a timely entry – as well as very nice fill (36D: [Its proceedings are always sealed]). And the entry of RADIO had to be a shout out to me, as not only have I been/still am an on-air personality on the radio and Internet, but I definitely possess the face for radio as well (35D: [Contact, in a way]). *Cymbal crash.*
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: DAYAN (9D: [Israeli leader who joined the Haganah at the age of 14]) – Unlike the famous Israeli general referenced in the clue, this DAYÁN, Dayán Viciedo, is Cuban, and he is currently a starting outfielder (for now) on the Chicago White Sox baseball team. He defected with his family from Cuba to Mexico in 2008, and, later that year, signed a free agent deal with the White Sox organization. His nickname is “The Tank,” as he packs a wallop (240 pounds) in a not-so-tall frame (5-foot-11). Last year, he hit 21 home runs, with his best season in The Bigs coming in 2012, when he hit 25 homers and had 78 rib-eye steaks (baseball slang for RBI, just in case you needed a new way to clue the ever-popular RBI in a future puzzle).
Have fun for the rest of the day, and I’ll speak with you all on Friday!
David Steinberg’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
I’m losing what little motive I had to keep doing this. Day after one puts up a blog, and tries to encourage interaction, but no-one really wants to talk about the LA Times it seems. So I don’t really have much incentive to rush off and put this up, do I? I thought now that I’m solving on paper it’d be colourful to include the grids. It’s not as though anyone needs them to check the answers since they’re freely available from Across Lite and the applet.
The puzzle features CREAM anagrammed in TH(EMARC)HHARE, S(MEARC)AMPAIGN, and DAN(CEMAR)ATHON.