Byron Walden’s New York Times crossword
That reminds me—I have a laundry load to move.—Okay! It’s in the dryer now. Byron’s puzzle (a surprisingly quick solve for a Thursday, I thought) features the laundry RINSE CYCLE, and the letters in RINSE go through a cycle of moving the final letter to the beginning. Elegantly, those 5-letter chunks are aligned in a column.
- 19a. [Draco Malfoy’s housemates in the Harry Potter books], SLYTHERINS. RINSE’s E moves to the front.
- 27a. [Some punk accessories], NOSE RINGS. Now the S slides around.
- 36a. [Red Sox and Yankees, e.g.], INTENSE RIVALS. Would like the answer better as RIVALRY, not RIVALS, but that wouldn’t fit in the grid’s center and the RINSE portion would be out of alignment. You know the horrible sound the washer makes when the load is unbalanced? Can’t have that.
- 43a. [Tricky way to put a ball in play], SPIN SERVE. Tennis? Possibly racquetball or volleyball?
- 57a. [Part of washing … or what’s exhibited by the circled letters from top to bottom], RINSE CYCLE.
Tasty mini-theme: the MALE NUDE, the Village People’s gay anthem “YMCA,” and swimmer Matt BIONDI, who has certainly been photographed wearing little. We don’t even need to bring HEAT and PHONE SEX into it. And how about that corner stack in the bottom, MALE NUDE/PHONE SEX/SANTA HAT? I made the mistake of doing a Google image search for male nude santa hat and you know what I found out? I don’t have “safe search” turned on.
ANYHOO … Other likes in the fill include ABU DHABI, TOILETTE (though I prefer “ablutions”), LAYLA, and BOTOX. Less keen on SAS, OPE, ENL, INRUSH, and DEL.
Clues of note:
- 16a. [Bump-and-run club], NINE IRON. Golf? And the clue was so promising.
- 42a. [Making out on the subway, e.g., for short], PDA. Public display of affection. Get a room!
- 2d. [1971 rock classic inspired by a 12th-century Persian poem], LAYLA. Trivia! Did not know the old Persian poem angle.
- 13d. [Shot in the crease?], BOTOX. You thought this was about lacrosse or hockey or something, but it’s not, it’s medicine. Friend of mine gets quarterly Botox injections to prevent migraines. Thirty-one shots in the head every three months! She is brave (and her brow is always unfurrowed).
As for 47d. [Hobbling gaits], GIMPS: I know the noun is often deemed offensive. Does the verb get off scot-free or is it also hurtful?
4.2 stars from me.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Si Si” — Ben’s Review
Who’s excited for the ACPT this weekend? I’m keeping my expectations for my performance in the competition itself reasonable (my goal is to beat my contestant number in terms of placement), but I’m super excited to hang out with a bunch of crossword people all weekend.
After being a little bored with last week’s BEQ, this week’s felt like we were back on track. That said, this week’s theme completely eluded me for a good hour after solving the puzzle. I thought I’d have to throw in the towel and admit I didn’t realize what was going on between the title of the puzzle (“Si Si”) and the theme clues, but then it hit me: It’s all about the Cs. Or more importantly, removing them from the theme answers to get more well-known phrases:
- 17A: Balls-on-a-string toy from Hollywood? – LA CLACKERS
- 23A: Extremely stylish person who lives next door? – CHIC NEIGHBOR
- 38A: One who grabs purple birds? – MARTIN CLUTCHER
- 48A: Time-honored juicy fruit? – MANGO CLASSIC
- 59A: Attractive phallus? – PRETTY COCK
The rest of the fill in this puzzle was (like that last clue, minus its C’s) pretty okay too. There were a few little fill things that mildly irritated me (ATA and ANO in the same puzzle, with the same fill-in-the-blank style clue?), but there was a lot to like. The theme clues felt a little more solvable than usual – I was able to enter a few straight from the clue without needing any of the accompanying down clues.
I managed to overthink myself out of a faster time in a few areas by stubbornly holding on to the idea that an old IM client was ICQ something or other rather than good old ICHAT (20D). For the rest of the puzzle, though, it felt like this was a solid puzzle throughout.
See some of you this weekend in Stamford!
Tony Orbach’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Pulp Product”—Ade’s write-up
Hey there, everyone! I know a fair number of you reading this are getting excited that the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament is just one day away from officially starting, and I hope you all are enjoying your recent puzzle solving before you a) head to Stamford and compete in the tournament, b) order the puzzles and do the tournament at home, or c) sit back at home while you see/hear about what happened at the ACPT. As for today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us today by Mr. Tony Orbach, includes multiple-word theme answers in which each separate word of each theme answer could also come after the word PAPER (69A: [Pulp product…and word that can precede either part of 17-, 30-, 45-, and 62-Across]).
- TIGER TOWEL (17A: [Thing waved by a Detroit fan?]) – Though one letter short, LION TOWEL could also work, with Paper Lion and the Lions football team located in Detroit as well.
- AIRPLANE BAG (30A: [Carry-on or personal item?])
- CHASE BALLOT (45A: [JPMorgan bank shareholder’s voting document?])
- MONEY PLATE (62A: [Gathering place for tithers?])
Another puzzle, and another grid that starts with NATS (1D: [D.C. team that clipped Clippard from its roster this year]). And, in case you’re wondering, Clippard refers to relief pitcher/set-up man Tyler Clippard, who was traded to the Oakland A’s this offseason. Wasn’t too sure of myself when I entered ESCAPE POD as I was reading its clue, but it worked nonetheless (10D: [Way out in space]). Didn’t mind the short two-word entry of THE AX (4D: [Something you don’t want to get at work]). The one thing that I thought about when I saw IT’S ALIVE is Dr. Frankenstein’s exclamation, as well as that exclamation also being used as one of the beginning sounds to the song “Weird Science” in the 1980s movie of the same name (42A: [Shout on encountering a zombie, perhaps]). Mentioning that also has reminded me that the group that performed the song is called Oingo Boingo.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TURK (67A: [Istanbul native]) – Former National Football League player Matt TURK was a three-time Pro Bowl punter, who played for six different teams from 1995-2011, ending his career with the Houston Texans.
TGIF tomorrow!! Have a good rest of your Thursday!
Frank Virzi’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
Simple theme concept with a colourful revealer: STARTERHOMEs means that theme answers’ first words fit the pattern “HOME __”. What really is astonishing though is the grid design and theme density. There are three vertical 15’s – which is already considered sufficient for a theme: ROOMTEMPERATURE, FRONTWHEELDRIVE (My Fiat Panda is a 1.2l with permanent 4WD though. She’s a bit of a freak!), and ALONEINTHEWORLD. STARTERHOME crosses two of the 15’s as does its partner JAMESMONROE (HOME JAMES!), which means FRONTWHEELDRIVE intersects three other themers: middle GAMELEG (I prefer gammy!) is also thematic. Theme density in general doesn’t necessarily offer much to the average solver, but here it results in a somewhat interesting variety of longer answers, so everyone wins.
With such a busy theme, there are inevitably some infelicities: APAR, WPA, ITHE, PIUSII, ETTE, ESSE – but they’re widespread and therefore mostly don’t grate. It’s impressive Mr. Virzi still found room for GOAWOL, GATORADE and an entire MENAGERIE!
Remarks and questions:
- [Turtle in a 2014 film], NINJA. I know that this is referring to TMNT, but the clue still feels awkward to me. What do you think? Also, a musical interlude.
- [Dwyane of the Miami Heat], WADE. From the Magrat Garlick school of naming.
- [Winning football coach’s surprise], GATORADE. Huh? What on earth does that clue mean? At some point, I realised that the letter pattern was suggesting GATORADE, but I couldn’t believe for a second that was the answer!
- [Smith students], WOMEN. I assume there is some university by that name. It sounds like only women follow the economist Adam Smith though…
- [Top-row poet on the “Sgt. Pepper” album] for those of you who have memorised all the famous people on the cover and their positions…
- [Patriotic gp. since 1890], DAR. Surely, given the number of generations since the AR, unless there has been major incest, most Americans are eligible?