Paolo Pasco’s New York Times crossword
True story: I tried to remember the Simpsons episode that involved 55a. [Goddess of wisdom, to Homer], ATHENE. Whoops, not that Homer.
Solid 66-worder here. Did not care to see SAGOS, ANITRA, and ESTOPS in the northeast corner, and the adjacent I’M IT/CAN IT duplication was not welcome, but overall, lots of fun stuff.
- 16a. [Person having one too many?], BIGAMIST. I already had TEDTalks’ BIG IDEAS in the grid and fretted that we were getting a BIG dupe, but no.
- 18a. [1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme film], TIMECOP. I saw that one. Did not see his other compound-word movies, Bloodsport and Kickboxer. Kicktime! Bloodcop! Copboxer!
- 29a. [1990s sitcom set in New York], MAD ABOUT YOU. Somewhat dated reference now, but man, I probably watched every episode back in the day.
- 34a. [Daydreaming type], WALTER MITTY. Solid. Was trying to think of a generic term, like wool-gatherer.
- 14d. [Money source since 2009], KICKSTARTER. I have been waiting months for some promised books I backed on Kickstarter. This sort of thing is not uncommon in the crowd-funding world.
- 16d. [“Reason” that doesn’t explain anything], BECAUSE I CAN. You know what answer I’d love to see in a puzzle? BECAUSE REASONS.
- 30d. [Measure of volume], BEL. Sound volume, not space volume. Not sure that anyone actually uses the BEL. The decibel is far, far more common.
- 51d. [Subj. of the opening scene in “Ghostbusters”], ESP. With the Zener cards. I wonder if that scene will be reprised in the upcoming remake starring Melissa McCarthy.
3.9 stars from me.
Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “All In”—Ade’s write-up
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Friday! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, could also be titled, “All in the Family,” as in, each of the five theme entries puns in which the letters “ALL” are added to common phrases and terms.
- BALLAD LANDS (17A: [Regions where Sinatra and Bennett are popular?]) – From “badlands.”
- BALLOON DOCKS (23A: [Places where zeppelins are secured?]) – From “boondocks”
- PASSING SHALLOTS (39: [Handing over some edible bulbs at the dinner table?]) – From “passing shots.”
- TWIST TALLIES (50A: [Inventories of a Chubby Checker hit?]) – From “twist ties.”
- SAFE BALLETS (62A: [Dance companies where nobody gets injured?]) – From “safe bets.”
Pretty cute theme, and to have five theme entries in the grid was extra fun. CRAT was easy to spot, but, one of these days, that answer should be an homage to Mickey Mouse (2D: [Pluto chaser?]). Although, now thinking about it, a cartoon dog was, in some episodes, owned by a cartoon mouse. Interesting, to say the least! How many people remember what the letters TNN stood for before its transition to being the channel for the macho man (11A: [Spike’s former name])? I’m pretty sure it stood for The Nashville Network, as it did a lot of country music-themed television. Although maybe unintentional, the intersection of TRENCH COAT (11D: [Stereotypical garment for a detective]) and GOTH was pretty slick, with a black trench coat being the garment of choice for people who want to pull off the goth look (30D: [Style with dark clothes and heavy eyeliner]). Although he’s not the subject of the “sports…smarter” moment, many congrats to NOVAK for defending his Wimbledon title that he won last year, defeating Roger Federer in the men’s final last week (12D: [Tennis star Djokovic]). And just like he did after his first Wimbledon title in 2011, Novak decided to eat some of the Wimbledon grass after he won the title. (This picture is from 2011.)
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: DALTON (18D: [Bond portrayer Timothy]) – Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy DALTON has already become a polarizing figure in the Queen City in his four seasons as a professional. In each of the four seasons he has been in the league, the downtrodden Bengals have made the playoffs, with Dalton being the starting quarterback each season. Unfortunately, the Bengals have lost each of their four playoff games with Dalton under center, as he has thrown only one touchdown and six interceptions in those four games combined. Dalton is a two-time Pro Bowler, but patience is wearing very thin with the fans in Cincinnati. So much so that he’s getting booed by his home fans at a celebrity softball game, one of the preludes to this past Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati.
Have a great Friday, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
Alice Long’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “The Doctor Is In” — pannonica’s write-up
This is one of those low-energy, low-impact cookie-cutter themes that I presume veteran constructors jot down in idle moments and pull out every so often—like a readymeal from the freezer to be popped in the nuke-rowave—when they don’t feel like doing serious prep or cooking. It even has an eye-catching, spiffy label, its effortlessly apt punned title.
This is not to say it’s a bad crossword – no, not by any means. Merely that it isn’t exactly a gourmet experience. It’s the sort of thing that Shenk can do in his sleep: run-of-the-mill insertion theme, solid construction, varied cluing.
What’s up is this: each long across answer is augmented by the inclusion of the bigram DR—the abbreviated title of doctor—to create a wacky-style phrase.
- 23a. [Constitution creator who gets an early start?] MORNING DRAFTER (morning after). That morning constitutional.
Have I mentioned that I miss Grooveshark (despite its unfairness and illegality)?
- 34a. [Find an apartment near the Plaza de Espana?] LIVE IN MADRID (live-in maid).
- 49a. [Possible result of firing at an unmanned flier?] HOLE IN DRONE (hole-in-one).
- 67a. [Sci-fi setting that curtains for visitors?] PLANET OF THE DRAPES (Planet of the Apes).
- 84a. [Results of climate change in the Arctic plains?] TUNDRA MELTS (tuna melts).
- 97a. [Cowpokes, when their herds refuse to budge?] CROSS DROVERS (crossovers).
- 114a. [Ghostly spirits?] INVISIBLE DRINK (invisible ink).
Two of the seven locate their inclusions somewhere other than at the beginning of a word. They’re the most unexpected and by this virtue the most interesting of the bunch.
- My standard rundown of similar and/or allied clues or entries: 28a/101d [Epitomes of innocence] LAMBS/BABES. 101a/108d [Swampy area] BOG/MIRE. 77d [President Erdogan’s capital] ANKARA, 78d [President Essebsi’s capital] TUNIS – interesting way to jazz up standard geography material. 31a [Jazz club units] SETS, 97d [Jazzman’s skill] CHOPS, 1d [Extemporizes] VAMPS.
- Favorite clues: 91a [Stren with a bow] ISAAC, 95a [Do Child labor?] COOK, 120a [Record holder] SLEEVE. 38d [Lead character] INITIAL, 74d [Ithaka starts with one] IOTA (for the subtle nudge via kappa).
- Dupe-ISH (59d) between 22a [Top 40 hit for Coolio] TOO HOT and 95d [“West Side Story” song] COOL.
- 39a [Trapezium, e.g.] BONE.
- 57a [Tear] RENT. Merriam-Webster indicates this is exclusively the past and past participle of rend, whereas tear is a present-tense construction.
- Word of the day: 121a [Rushes back and forth] DARTLES.
Solved once; call me in the morning.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review
It’s the week of the Open, golf’s premier event, and today’s puzzle is tied together by NINEHOLES: a [Quick round…]. Nine other short answers fit their clues when HOLE is inserted at their end. It’s a clever conceit, but one that translates into a somewhat repetitive solving experience. To recap there’s: PORT(HOLE), SCREW(HOLE) ??, WORM(HOLE), LOOP(HOLE), BLACK(HOLE), BLOW(HOLE), SINK(HOLE), WATER(HOLE), and PEEP(HOLE). The puzzle’s shape has atypical left-right symmetry to accommodate this theme arrangement.
[“Pure, stripped down” genre, per Tommy Ramone], PUNKROCK is the pick of the non-theme answers, and is nicely clued to boot. What’s the difference between “pure, stripped down” and “boring, one-note” again? (I listen to a lot of punk rock). Another musical clue is [“Terribly strange” age in Simon & Garfunkel’s “Old Friends”]. Refresher! I went the wrong way and put TOOHOT for [Goldilocks complaint] before TOOBIG. Unknowns were well-spaced: [Stadium in St. Pete, with “The”], TROP – I don’t want to know what that’s short for! And [Big name in air conditioning], TRANE.