David Steinberg and Bruce Leban’s New York Times crossword
A 60-letter quip theme fills today’s puzzle without any Thursday trickery: YOU CAN’T TELL PUNS / TO KLEPTOMANIACS / BECAUSE THEY TAKE / THINGS LITERALLY. Cute. I may have heard that before. It’s unusual to see a quip theme that breaks down into uniform chunks and doesn’t leave you with awkward chunks like TO KLEPTOMANIACS BECAUSE THEY. Not generally a quote/quip theme aficionado, but as far as those things go, this one’s presented well. Six more things:
- 35a. [“Die Lorelei” poet], Heinrich HEINE. I never remember which 5-letter German poet I need, Heine or Rilke.
- 52a. [Setting for many old films], TCM. The Turner Classic Movies cable channel.
- 3d. [Highest Hawaiian peak], MAUNA KEA. Nice not to have Mauna ___ as usual. Did you fill in MAUNA **A and wait for the crossings?
- 26d. [Couturier], MODISTE. French fashion word, or Italian? French, and dated.
- 35d. [1980 hit with the lyric “That sweet little boy who caught my eye”], “HE’S SO SHY.” Pointer Sisters; video here.
- 45d. [Tessellating artist], ESCHER. Who else?
NEAP! Oy. Liked seeing SLAMMER/CELLMATE, ZANTAC, and SYNERGY. A surprising four stars from me for a quip puzzle. Plenty of hardish vocabulary (MODISTE, MORNAY, YUAN, HEINE, etc.), suitable for a Thursday puzzle.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Going Up?” — Ben’s Review
After last week’s stellar showing from Brendan, this week’s was a frustrating but fun solve. It’s another week where I was able to figure out the theme/gimmick relatively quickly, but got stuck on all the surrounding fill. As the title suggests, all the down entries with circled letters all include ways of, well, going heading towards the top of the puzzle:
- 3D: The Dalai Lama yours truly rounded up? — TIBETAN I RUSTLED (URINATE)
- 6D: Less-than-spectacular vehicle? — SUBPAR CAR (CRAP)
- 9D: Really awesome PDA? — BOSS IPHONE (PISS)
- 11D: Act out the chorus of Weezer’s “The Sweater Song”? — UNRAVEL KNITTING (TINKLE)
- 29D: Spur a horse on? — WHIP MUDDER (DUMP)
- 36D: Make sure star pitcher has dinner? — GET ACE FED (DEFECATE – nice find, Brendan!)
Your personal enjoyment of the puzzle may vary on your tolerance for toilet humor, but I thought this was great. Where I got stuck was on all of the other fill besides the theme entries. It was really easy to place shorter clues like 18A‘s BEN Gibbard (although I can’t place my finger on why his name was right at the forefront of my brain) and 66A‘s Banana cream PIE, but entries like 8D’s LONG U and 62A’s B-GIRL tripped me up longer than they should have. I also got stuck by thinking that VICE was the “Alternative reporting magazine” the puzzle was looking for at 55A, but that’s just a difference in what “alternative” reporting means these days, I think. Overall, this was a great puzzle, even if I mostly tripped over my own feet on some of the fill. 4/5 stars
Julian Lim’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review
My first thought for the “Radioactive” band was The Firm. That should suggest my musical orientation. IMAGINE/DRAGONS recently released their second album and with it a playlist on the SongPop game I play. A lot of people grumbled that they’d never heard of them then, so we may be in for the same grumbles here. The song “Radioactive” is 9x platinum, and even with the currently buoyant singles market, that’s quite a high number – 1 in 30 Americans (nearly) legally >own< that track alone. The theme features answers ending in words that one might think of when imagining a dragon: a TAIL, WINGS, SCALES and FIRE. This dragon is obviously Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. Otherwise, TEETH would’ve been a final answer…
So, theme answers:
- [*Skedaddling], TURNINGTAIL
- [*Food often served with ranch dip], BUFFALOWINGS
- [*Weigh, with “at”], TIPTHESCALES
- [*Real ordeal], TRIALBYFIRE
It always feels like Julian Lim is particularly adept at squeezing great fill into his puzzles: WHALINGON, quasi-thematic IAMLEGEND, EMAILHOAX and LAYPEOPLE make up a fine foursome of long downs. SPACEK/ALKALI/CANDO/KINDOF/MILDEW are also nice in the medium-length category. I wonder if bottom-right ROOSTS is also intended as a bonus theme answer? Or even SCREAMS?
Lastly, I wonder if I’m alone in clinging to SPACEy over SPACEK?
Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “School Ties”—Ade’s write-up
Hello hello everyone! We’re nearing the end of the week, which means students at schools across the world are getting a little antsy about getting out of school and enjoying the weekend. Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Bob Klahn, is all about school; four theme answers in which the first word in each of the themes could also precede the word “school.”
- FLIGHT RISK (17A: [One might bail if bailed]) – Actually thought to fill this in right off the bat when reading the clue…lucky me.
- CHARM BRACELET (29A: [Bangled band])
- BOARDING PARTY (47A: [Coast Guard team])
- HIGH GROUND (63A: [Superior position])
Random observation: four theme answers, yet only 12 words combined in the clues to the four theme answers. After seeing it a few times in previous crosswords, I’m now trained to think OONA anytime I see a Game of Thrones clue with the accompanying entry being four letters (34A: [She’s Talisa on “Game of Thrones”]). Still haven’t seen the show yet, but, judging from my Facebook timeline, I think the season premiere to its latest season just passed a couple of weeks back. If it wasn’t for the clue to PAAR, which I got pretty easily (49D: [Late-night pioneer from Canton, Ohio]), I probably would have been at sea still with the clue for SWISS (50D: [Canton natives]). It made sense once I got a couple of the letters filled in, but wish it came to my mind sooner. Speaking of entries that I would have had absolutely no shot without crossings, how about NAIAD (52A: [Fountain nymph])? Yowza! I will say that I had fun seeing (and filling out) INAMORATA, as I now have to use that word more often, even if I have to force it in conversations/broadcasts where it’s not really called for (35A: [Flame]). As for the clue that might have been difficult that I absolutely got from the second I finished reading the clue, that would be OTIS (10A: [2012 Grammy winner that samples “Try a little tenderness”]). Not only have I heard Otis Redding a boatload of times because of my dad playing oldies music growing up (and knowing the sample in question), but that song is a pretty much a staple in every single sports arena during pregame warmups! Honestly, when I go to cover a sports game, and I arrive at the arena about a couple of hours before a game while the players are stretching, that song always happens to come on through the PA. For those not familiar with the song, here it is…
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SOCK (69A: [Darned thing]) – American tennis player Jack SOCK is currently ranked No. 35 in men’s singles on the ATP World Tour. Just last week, Sock, 22, won his first senior tour-level men’s singles title, winning the 2015 U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships title in Houston. Last summer, Sock teamed with Canadian Vasek Pospisil to make a surprise run to the Wimbledon men’s doubles final, and once there, they defeated one of the best doubles teams of all time, the Bryan Brothers (Bob and Mike Bryan) in the final to win the title.
It’s TGIF tomorrow! Have a good rest of your day today!