David Phillips’ Fireball crossword, “Movin’ On Up”
Your mileage may vary, but I found this to be horribly uneven in the cluing difficulty, with the southeast corner taking me about as long as the other three fourths of the puzzle. I even resorted to checking my solution (had SIS for SIB, and a dog TREAT for a boxer’s TITLE). That corner, man, it was like the worst of a Newsday Saturday Stumper, a bunch of vaguenesses that intersected.
The theme is “Movin’ On Up,” and four nonsymmetrically slotted answers are phrases that don’t fit into their allotted space—the answer turns upwards at ON and then back to the right. We have 22a: SLEEP ON IT, 32a: CLIP-ON TIE, 46a: ONE-ON-ONE, and 56a: STAY ON TASK. There are other spots in the grid where an answer could make a jog up and over at a black square, but there aren’t more ON phrases here.
- 19a. [Ward with specialized degrees?], BURN UNIT. Ouch. Burn humor?
- 40a. [“Company” man], ROBERT. No idea who this refers to.
- 45a. [Silk Road locale], ASIA. Wasn’t positive it wouldn’t be modern-day IRAN or IRAQ, so I didn’t fill this in early on.
- 49a. [Hall of Fame punter Ray Guy, throughout his career], RAIDER. Never heard of him.
- 53a. [“Spare me the details”], I WON’T ASK. Feels a hair contrived, maybe?
- 62a. [“Her looks have got no parallel,” according to a Disney song], BELLE. Don’t know my Disney tunes.
- 3d. [Mark of naïveté?], DIERESIS. I prefer the diaeresis spelling.
- 24d. [191% of D], CMLV. Roman numeral math doesn’t redeem random Roman numerals for me.
- 38d. [Having nothing left to lose?], STARKERS. Meaning naked. I don’t typically think of losing in terms of pieces of clothing.
3.5 stars from me. The theme wasn’t as enchanting as I’d hoped, and the (for me) sheer unevenness of the cluing made for an unfun solve.
Herre Schouwerwou’s New York Times crossword
We’ve got five double-pun phrases including a first or last name in each:
- 19a. [Naked “Parks and Recreation” star?], POEHLER BARE. Polar bear. The show’s over, but will continue in syndication for years to come. Last name.
- 61a. [Event at Walden Pond?], THOREAU FAIR. Thoroughfare. Last name.
- 12d. [Clothing line from an Oscar-winning singer?], CHER WEAR. Shareware. First name here.
- 20d. [Offspring of Beauty?], BELLE HEIR. Bel Air. Fictional first name.
- 39d. [The Galloping Gourmet in Germany?], HERR KERR. Hair care. Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet of yore, real last name. He actually had another cookbook out in 2007 but I rarely hear anything about him.
Solid, as puns go.
It’s Thursday, so we get a 74-worder with corners stacked with 7-letter answers. The fill is pretty good, though I could do without ESSA, RDA, ROES, RETAR, and var. EMEER.
Four more things:
- 41d. [Any of about 18 elements on the periodic table], NONMETAL. Huh. According to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, there are 7 elements classed as nonmetals. Maybe the clue is including noble gases and halogens?
- 1d. [Conductor of note], COPPER. As in the metallic element, a conductor of electricity, and not a maestro you’ve never heard of.
- 27d. [Wear, and look great doing it], ROCK. As in: I am rocking these pajamas.
- 51d. [Paige of Broadway and London’s West End], ELAINE. Who?? Not on my radar. I don’t follow musical theater, which she’s been prominent in for five decades.
3.9 stars from me. The RETAR/EMEER debits knock it down below a 4-star rating.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Alternate Endings” — Ben’s Review
It’s another fun-but-frustrating solve this week, where getting the gimmick took a while. As it turns out, I wasn’t getting tripped up by the theme clues this time around – each one had two answers that overlay on top of one another to finish the down clues:
- 17A: Concluding words about David Ortiz’s team? — THEREFORE/THE RED SOX
- 39A: “What is the deeeeeeal with Armageddon? Oh great, here comes my postal worker nemesis”? — HELL ON EARTH/HELLO NEWMAN
- 62A: 3.785 liters of the universal donor type? — ONE GALLON/O NEGATIVE
Even if it felt like I was seeing double on the theme clues, I found a lot to like elsewhere in the fill. Somehow I don’t think Rita ORA‘s “I Will Never Let You Down” is in heavy rotation in BEQ’s house, but I can’t deny that her last name makes for great fill in 55A. With such wide-ranging nods to ELTON JOHN (11D), NE-YO (26D) and Tom MORELLO(13D) of Rage Against the Machine, I was slightly surprised that WILCO (16A) didn’t get a similarly musical clue, but the upper-left corner did seem a bit packed with musicians. 41D and 42D‘s combo of Q SCORES and ULULATE was a fun pairing of unusual fill as well.
Elsewhere in the puzzle, a bunch of the little 3- and 4-letter words kept frustrating me since they’re not necessarily the most recognizable terms. Italian PM Aldo MORO (7D), Dictator Lon NOL (28A) and the constellation ARA (54D, which is apparently ALTAR shaped, after consulting clue 59D) aren’t really in my crossword vocabulary, but they didn’t get too much in the way of an otherwise great puzzle.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review
I found the precise phrasing of the theme answers difficult to suss. I think that may be why this ran on a Thursday. The theme answers represent three occasions when one might sniff: illness, sadness and smelling something rank. So: IVECAUGHTACOLD, THISISREALLYSAD and WHATSTHATSMELL.
The light theme leaves acres of space left in which Mr. Wechsler can play. He has opted for a design with big corners. Bullets because I’m late:
- [Bit of plankton], ALGA and [Canis and Felis], GENERA – biological intersection to open!
- [Shepherd’s ___], PIE. Which mostly goes by cottage pie in these parts.
- [Some road signals], BLINKERS. Which mostly go by INDICATORS in these parts.
- [“Alice in Wonderland” (2010) star Wasikowska], MIA. Also one of the most popular names for bitches these days it seems. Along with [Cocker spaniel of film], LADY and ROXY. DANGER probably fourth.
- [NYC-to-Montauk], LIRR. Three times in two days!
- [Barnyard meal], SLOP. Not if you’re at all serious about farming. Garbage in, garbage out.
- [“Dont Pass Me By” songwriter], RINGO. Strange, I thought clues were asking for the surname unless specified? My go to “Don’t Pass Me By” song is by Zimbabwean child-singer David Scobie. At 14 he had voice eerily similar to Neil Diamond!
- [Food often served seared], SCALLOPS. Never eaten them. I’m no culinary sophisticate.
- [Classic two-seated roadster], MGS. My brother owned an 81 MGB until he got married and childed. It was nominally a 3 seater, if the third person was a yoga adept.
- [Barbecue morsel], RIB. Tried COB first. PSA: Corn cobs block a dog’s small intestine rather too effectively.
- [Ed.’s pile], MSS. Got a whole bunch of correspondence back from Rich Norris tonight! Some good news, some not!
Well-executed minimalist theme! 4.25 Stars. Gareth
Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Let Nothing Come Between Us”—Ade’s write-up
Hey everyone! Hope you all have been enjoying the last day in April. Today’s crossword, brought to us by Ms. Lynn Lempel, has a slick theme: each of the four theme answers are two-word entries in which the final letter of the first word is a “U,” and the first letter of the second word starts with an “S.”
- IMPROMPTU SPEECH (17A: [Address that requires quick thinking])
- TOFU SALAD (25A: [Vegan’s lunch choice, perhaps])
- FLU SEASON (46A: [Reason for taking a shot])
- HINDU SCRIPTURES (51A: [Writings like the Bhagavad Gita])
I’m pretty sure that I never owned a TONKA truck as a kid, but totally remember playing with it extensively at my friend’s house (25D: [Mighty Dump Truck toymaker]). Now that I think about it, and given my personality now, why was I so enamored with toy trucks then? I should have been much more of a Hot Wheels, race car guy. The clue to PET SHOP, honestly, made me think of all the amazing Labradors that I’ve come across recently, including Jen Tanner’s lab, who always is one of the superstars of the ACPT every year (34D: [Place for lab supplies]). Two of the entries I liked a lot was the sweet vocabulary of MELANGE (18D: [Hodgepodge]) and FROG PRINCE, which makes me want to read that short story once again (27D: [Royal damsel’s true love in a Brothers Grimm tale]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: O’BRIEN (32A: [Conan seen by night owls]) – Tonight is the NFL Draft, and the draft in 1983 was famous for having six different quarterbacks taken in the first round of the draft, including Ken O’BRIEN, who was taken 24th overall by the New York Jets out of UC-Davis. Although O’Brien was a two-time Pro Bowl (1985, 1991), it just so happens that two of the next four picks in the NFL Draft happened to be players that would make the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino and Washington cornerback Darrell Green. If you’re a Jets fan, that nugget shouldn’t surprise you at all!
TGIF tomorrow! Have a good rest of your Thursday!