Barry Silk’s New York Times crossword
Cute mini-theme: We’ve got the GOOGLEPLEX, that famous 11d. [Corporate headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.], across from a 27d. [Vast number], GOOGOLPLEX.
Because I am tired, let’s take it straight to the random list:
- 15a. [Zero-compromise], ALL OR NONE. I like the answer, but the clue feels off.
- 30a. [Some cable splitters], ROOMIES. Splitting the bill, not literally splitting the wire.
- 51a. [Exhibitionists?], CURATORS. Cute clue.
- 55a. [1970s-’80s sitcom locale], MEL’S DINER, from Alice. AL’S DINER from Happy Days wouldn’t fit.
- 1d. [Where Chamorro is spoken], GUAM. I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad you clicked through to read a little about the Chamorro language, sounds, alphabet, and vocabulary. I like how they traditionally had different words for numbers referring to different classes of things.
- 5d. Subject of the 2013 musical biography “Rhapsody in Black”], ROY ORBISON. Full name, check.
- 38d. Meteorite impact product], TEKTITE. It’s a neat word. Meteorites crashing to earth are so cool.
- 40d. Less outgoing], DEMURER. The dictionary says this is kosher, but would you personally say “more demure”?
- Fill I didn’t enjoy seeing: ELEC, EST, EMER, ATRA, EX’S, ENURES.
- Other entries I rather liked: MAGNOLIA, ALGEBRA EXAM (maybe a bit contrived? but my kid takes algebra tests on occasion), MAKE TRACKS.
3.8 stars from me.
C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword
Hey, another mini-theme! This one is state capitals whose names include month names:
- 27a. [Capital that starts with a month], JUNEAU, ALASKA.
- 45a. [Capital that starts with a month], AUGUSTA, MAINE.
Other things I liked:
- 7a. [Entertainer whose name is Spanish for “churches”], IGLESIAS. You’ve got old Julio and his son Enrique. When my kid plugs his iPhone into the car stereo, we hear Enrique’s “Bailando” (Spanish version). Hip-hoppy. No idea what the song’s about. … Oh, the English version is rather rape-culturey. I’ll stick with Spanish.
- 22a. [__ Chicago], EAST. Heh. That’s a town in Indiana. Everything else that’s east of Chicago is water. There is a New East Side of Chicago, though.
- 58a. [Item required to be included on Nutrition Facts labels since 2006], TRANS FAT. Tasty, tasty partially hydrogenated fats.
- 2d. [Sea ruined by extensive irrigation projects], ARAL. I like the informative clue.
- 4d. [“Doctor Who” airer], BBC AMERICA.
- 41d. [Tart filling], CUSTARD. Filling for a tart, not filling that tastes tart.
There’s quite a bit of clunkier fill as well—OLA, OTTO I, UNAS, OCTAL, NAGY, MOIL, ENID, SET-TOS, AME, A-TEST, EBON, SESE. Include three or four of these in a grid and I’ll barely notice, but get past maybe seven of them and it colors my solving experience.
3.5 stars from me.
Stan Newman’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” by “Lester Ruff”
Yay! An easier Stumper, which is what I was in the mood for this morning. Top 10 bits:
- 59a. [Match point], PHOSPHORUS. Although … possibly it’s the safety match’s striking strip that has phosphorus, with the point of the match containing a different chemical altogether. Cute clue, still.
- 18a. [Gazpacho, essentially], TOMATO SOUP. I miss tomato soup and look forward to being reunited with it.
- 26a. [What a larva may become], EEL. Really? How did I not know this?
- 47a. [Typical hours per day that a three-toed sloth sleeps], NINETEEN. Brother Sloth! You are an inspiration to us all.
- 28d. [Profs’ aides], RAS. This one is not actually a top 10 bit. This is terrible. Resident assistants help the dean of students by living in the dorms and counseling students. Professors’ aides are TAs, teaching assistants.
- Dated slang! 58d WACK and 54d PHAT are clued as opposites. They do land in a similar slang timeframe.
- I ran out of things.
STET, SASE, D FLAT, ETON, and AMTS are rather blah. 3.9 stars from me.
Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Animal Sanctuary”—Ade’s write-up
Hello there, everyone! Hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far! Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, is all about keeping the animals contained. Each of the four theme answers are multiple-word entries in which different animals span two words in the grid.
- BOOZE BRANDS (17A: [Grey Goose and Jack Daniel’s, informally])
- TOOK A PICTURE (29A: [Engaged in photography])
- HARDSHIP POST (44A: [Tough diplomatic assignment])
- UP AND AROUND (60A: [Active once again])
Please tell me you did the entire shout in your mind when filling in DABBA (1D: [Middle of Fred Flintstone’s shout]). Getting that allowed me to parse DRAMA fairly quickly as well, which opened up the Northwest (1A: [Excitement]). Unlike a good number of crosswords that I do, there was no need for a WILD GUESS anywhere in the grid (11D: [Shot in the dark]). I filled in TEAR GAS fairly easy, but after finishing the grid, I read the entry as ‘tea rags’ for some reason (7D: [Riot squad supply]). There’s definitely a lot of HOOPLA in the sports world, as many have called this the biggest sports day of the year, with a big boxing match, an NBA Playoffs Game 7 (San Antonio-LA Clippers), NHL Playoffs and the Kentucky Derby all taking place today (45D: [Fanfare]). As we speak, however, I’m watching a college LAX game with the No. 1 team in the country, Syracuse, and Central New York rival Colgate University (19A: [Overly permissive]). Let’s Go Orange!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ANDREI (9D: [Peace Nobelist Sakharov]) – Over the past quarter century, the French Open tennis tournament has been known for obscure singles champions, both on the men’s and women’s side. It almost happened in 1999, when unseeded Russian ANDREI Medvedev made the final of the men’s singles tournament, where he would take on Andre Agassi. Medvedev won the first two sets, 6-1 and 6-2, but couldn’t close the deal on winning his first major singles title, as Agassi won the final three sets to complete a career Grand Slam. Medvedev retired from the ATP Tour just two years later. Medvedev, if I remember correctly, was one of the last players to play a tennis match while wearing long pants. It wasn’t trousers like the old days (believe it was sweat pants), but definitely remember it.
See you all for the Sunday Challenge!!