Jason Flinn’s New York Times crossword
This is a two-pronged riff on those themes where the sorts of phrases that normally would only pass muster as clues become entries, and straightforward things that could be answers are shunted over to the clues.
- 17a. [The Olympics or Andes Mints], MOUNTAIN TOPONYM. A toponym is “a place name derived from a topographical feature.” The Olympics and Andes Mints are not place names, they’re things named after places that are mountains.
- 23a. [White and lighted], BLACK ANTONYMS.
- 39a. [Deadly or human], MORTAL SYNONYM. Okay, I’m not loving the flip-flopping between “and” plurals and “or” singular answers.
- 51a. [Wall Street and Madison Avenue], NEW YORK METONYMS. Actually, those aren’t metonyms that stand in for New York City. One stands in for the finance business and one stands in for the advertisting business. Wait, does NEW YORK METONYMS mean “metonyms for ‘New York'” or “metonyms for industries that involve streets that happen to be in NYC”?
A friend points out an angle I had not noticed: the theme answers are -ONYM added to familiar phrases, sort of. Mountain top, sure. Black ant, I think that’s just the ant I think of as the default ant. Mortal syn, well, that’s not a thing when you spell it that way. New York Met, singular feels awkward to me. Or it’s plural New York Mets and ONYM is inserted rather than added to the end? (Please, let us not discuss baseball in the comments again today.) So, kind of a weird concept for a theme, +ONYM(S).
Fair amount of tough fill here:
- 1d. [Arctic residents], SAMI. Also known as Lapps, but the people themselves prefer Sami.
- 23d. [European carp], BREAM.
- People with unusual spellings of names: ERICH Segal, ALEK Wek.
- 25d. [It may hold the solution], AMPULE.
Didn’t love SUPRA (dated), ST. LO, NALA, ODEUM, SAMI, A WHO, LT YR, ESME, KAL, REDYES.
- AEROSMITH, NINTENDO, MONSOON, LOOPHOLE, William STYRON. RAN TRACK is also kinda zippy.
- 28d. [It “refreshes naturally,” in old ads], SALEM. I didn’t see that coming—cigarette slogan when geography and history offer the more usual clue approaches. Nothing more natural than a nicotine buzz?
3.5 stars from me.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Hitching a Ride” — Ben’s Review
It took me a second to get what was going on with the theme entries in this week’s BEQ Thursday puzzle, but once I did, this one totally got a smile out of me. It’s all about Uber these days, and they’ve even staked out a spot in four common phrases to make entries in this week’s puzzle:
- 17A: Math problem from Pythagorus? —OLD CUBE ROOT
- 28A: Intersection where you can buy potatoes? — TUBER JUNCTION
- 48A: “Sorry, I dropped Gustave on the floor”? — FLAUBERT BROKE
- 62A: Bruins who do crude paintings? — DAUBER BEARS
Of the selection, I think 48A’s my favorite (and a nice find!). Other nice clues/answers include 11D‘s “Place where kids can meet kids” (PETTING ZOO) and its partner at 30D, BEER-FUELED. It was nice to see MGMT make an appearance at 58A, even if it’s for the overrated “Electric Feel”:
Overall, not too much to complain about, fill-wise. This was a nice smooth solve. Nicely done, Brendan!
Robert E. Lee Morris ‘s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review
I’m guessing the extra layer of unmixed nuts: CASHEW, PECAN and ALMOND, was an editorial intervention. I know Rich Norris is often concerned that more subtle themes will confuse too many solvers. So just being told there are MIXEDNUTS and having to puzzle them out wordsearch-style would leave to many dots for solvers to connect. Oh, well now we don’t have to think, the theme is handed to us on a plate. So: N(EWSCHA)NNEL conceals a CASHEW, S(PACEN)EEDLE a PECAN, and T(OMLAND)RY an ALMOND.
Despite three additional explanatory short themers, there was quite a nice smattering of interesting long fill: ICEWATER (clued as a freebie, clechoing the MIXEDNUTS clue); PETERPAN (with a clever, but tricky clue [Broadway flier]!); SPEARGUN; and LAGRANGE (also, a difficult name, intersecting another: TOMLANDRY, but the ‘N’ is inferrable).
- [One of the Pep Boys], MOE. No idea. Apparently advertising symbols of an American chain of shops.
- [Aptly named Renault], LECAR. Called a Renault 5 here, and most other places.
- [“Colors of the Wind” singer Williams], VANESSA.] Some bits of pop fluff are too catchy to not link to.
Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “What’s Brewing?”—Ade’s write-up
Hello there once again! I thought I had posted this earlier in the day, but, apparently, it didn’t save. My apologies for that!
We definitely had a fun little challenge on our hands today, delivered to us by Ms. Donna S. Levin. In it, each of the four theme answers are puns on common phrases, with a type of alcoholic brew used as a substitute word. The final/bottom two themes could have been tricky for some solvers.
- ACROSS THE PORTER (17A: [Potential escape route in a brewery?]) – From “across the border.”
- MRS. STOUTFIRE (27A: [Robin Williams comedy set in a brewery?]) – From “Mrs. Doubtfire.”
- AT LAGERHEADS (49A: [Having diametrically opposed positions in a brewery?]) – From “at loggerheads.” The last time you used the term “at loggerheads” was…?
- GÖDEL, ESCHER, BOCK (63A: [Prizewinning Hofstadter book about thought and cognition in a brewery?]) – “From “Gödel, Escher, Bach.” A book with wordplay and puzzles being mentioned in a crossword (sort of). Perfect!
This grid definitely kept me on my toes with some lively and somewhat difficult fill. Was pretty much on to all of it, though CAMPHOR was probably the toughest to get for me (52A: [Redolent moth repellent]). I couldn’t tell you what any of the characters of The Big Bang Theory do for a living fictionally, but ENGR had to make sense, and just put that down almost immediately and hoped it was right…and it was (66A: [Howard Wolowitz of “The Big Bang Theory,” by training (abbr.)]). Also haven’t seen BALZAC in a grid in a long while, but was on to that pretty quickly, too (33A: [French realist who wrote La Comédie humaine]). MOOG seems to be a popular answer in the WaPo puzzles this week, and don’t mind it at all (27A: [Synthesizer biggie]). Again, a tougher than usual solve for me, but very fun.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: A-ROD (35A: [Yank caught up in the Biogenesis scandal]) – As much as you heard about A-ROD in the past few years, you’re going to hear a lot more about him in the next few days, as he is just three hits away from joining the 3,000-hit club.
TGIF tomorrow!! Have a good rest of your Thursday!