Timothy Polin’s New York Times crossword
Cute theme in this 16×15 puzzle: The musical MARY POPPINS features the word SU PER CAL I FRAG I LIS TIC EX PI AL I DO CIOUS (with each syllable in its own rebus square), and apparently it means MAGNIFICENT, though I have no recollection of that aspect.
Overall, I didn’t enjoy the puzzle much, though. The fill was pretty rough. The slowest going for me was the top middle, where I initially had DIADEM instead of ANADEM (neither is remotely a household word, mind you) and thus had trouble piecing together JAILS, ANNUL, JAM, and LUNA ([1960s-’70s Soviet space program], really? Never heard of it before).
The “I don’t like to see fill words used in clues” people will have noticed GO UP plus the “go” in the clues for 37d and 42d.
53a. [What shadows become as they lengthen], BEARDS? Terrific clue! Completely had me stumped.
ASTA ATNO ILLUSE NORAS EEN SETTE ATIP (!) A-OKAY UTES DIPSO SYS? All triggered my Scowl-o-Meter. I’m guessing solving times are running longer than for the usual rebus puzzle.
A flat three stars from me. Love the rebus, don’t care for its surroundings (although I note that the rebus Down crossings are all good, though FERMIS is not so familiar).
Jacob Stulberg’s Fireball crossword, “No And in Sight”
This is sort of a “Wheel of Fortune” Before & After theme, with the added angle of the first and last words forming an “X and Y” phrase:
- 17a. [What a sneezy, impetuous person whose temperature is changing has?], HOTHEAD COLD.
- 29a. [Spiny-shelled seafood sandwich served at a hall of fame in Cleveland?], ROCK LOBSTER ROLL.
- 34a. [Impervious to mineral-rich liquid that’s strict?], HARD WATERFAST.
- 44a. [Joel and Ethan Coen film remade with a cast of unmixed race, and nothing else?], PURE BLOOD SIMPLE. The “pure blood” concept is repellent to me.
- 58a. [Meeting place on a cantilevered deck where radio transmissions end?], OVER HANGOUT. Overhang, hangout, over and out.
I find myself with nothing to say about the rest of the puzzle. 3.75 stars, I guess? OCTA BEDAUB STYE, meh.
Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Hold Your Liquor”—Ade’s write-up
Good day, people! Hope you’re doing well today. Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Lynn Lempel, is all about hiding the liquor from the sots…at least until Friday comes. The four theme answers are multiple-word entries in which four types of liquor are hidden and span across the two words in each of the answers.
- VAPOR TRAIL (17A: [Vestige of an aircraft’s path])
- GENERAL ELECTRIC (28A: [Primary follow-up])
- TOWERING INFERNO (43A: [1974 disaster film with eight Oscar nominations, with “The”])
- STARRY-EYED (55A: [Dreamily optimistic])
It’s never a good feeling to draw a complete blank on the first answer, but, at least for the first answer going down, DEV was absolutely new to me (1D: [Patel of “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”]). There’s an interesting sight in the grid, with both ARI (41A: [Shapiro heard on NPR]) and ONASSIS appearing in the grid, though unrelated to each other (51A: [Onetime Greek shipping magnate]). Another pair of entries related to each other also are stacked, one on top of the other: CO-PAY (5A: [Insured patient’s share of a doctor bill]) and AETNA (15A: [Handler of many doctor bills]). Just finished talking with a friend who works for a company out of Canada, and she told me about the time she was in Canada and mentioned co-pay to some of her co-workers, only for them to say, “What’s a co-pay?” Another reason to love Canada, huh?! Over the past few months, MR. PEANUT has been pretty popular in grids as well, though not as popular at my place (3D: [Logo sporting a top hat and monocle]). Never been a fan of peanuts or peanut butter since childhood, and I know now that I missed out on one of life’s greatest early pleasures: the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. “PB and J please? Hold the PB!”
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ERVIN (30D: [Sam who chaired the Senate Watergate Committee]) – It must be hard to share the name as a famous person. (Just ask Fiend blogger and non-ABC News man San Donaldson.) So playing in the NBA and sharing the same name as one of the greatest players in NBA history must have been daunting for ERVIN Johnson, the center from the University of New Orleans and not the Los Angeles Lakers legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Before becoming a college star, Johnson worked at a supermarket in Louisiana bagging groceries. Then UNO head coach Tim Floyd got word of the big man working in the supermarket and invited him onto the team. Johnson ended up becoming the greatest player the school ever produced, as he finished 2nd in school history in points and first in rebounds. Johnson was drafted in the first round of the 1993 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, and ended up having a 14-year NBA career.
TGIF tomorrow! See you…in a few seconds!
Gareth Bain’s LA Times crossword – Ade’s review
Hello once again! It’s Ade here once again as Gareth handled constructing today’s fun puzzle that you all got to solve. It’s all about vowel replacements, specifically changing the letter “A” to the letter “E” in common phrases/proper nouns to create puns.
- LET US PREY (17A: [Cats’ request on seeing birds through the window?]) – Anyone else have an image of a cat wearing a mitre, like I have in my mind right now?
- HEY FEVER (25A: [Attention-getting craze?])
- THE DOCK OF THE BEY (41A: [Ottoman ruler’s pier?])
- DEY SHIFT (52A: [“L.A. Law” actress’ work period?])
- REY OF HOPE (66A: [Optimistic Spanish ruler?]) – Initially put in “rei of hope,” as I, apparently, wanted Spain’s Iberian neighboring ruler to be just as optimistic!
Haven’t been doing as many LA Times crossword puzzles lately, but, judging by today’s offering, I should do a whole lot more of them. Seeing ABE VIGODA and not just “Abe” was part of the fun show today (38D: [Sal Tessio portrayer in “The Godfather”]). Didn’t pick up ALTIMETER (3D: [Skydiving device]) right away, even after placing down CPAS at the very beginning, which gave away the “A” that should have made that pretty easy (1A: [Pros handling returns]). I was thinking more high-heeled shoes instead of socks for the DARNS clue (52D: [Fixes, as a heel, perhaps]). Speaking of high-heeled shoes, if a heel breaks, is that the end? Has anyone tried to glue it back on or send it/them to shoe repair? Just thinking out loud. This puzzle also allowed you to brush up on your Hebrew, with ALEPH (7D: [Hebrew alphabet opener]) and AARON (19A: [Brother of Miriam]). When I went to New Orleans for the Super Bowl in 2002, I was on a steamboat that was hosting a private ESPN party, and I remember one of the cooks telling me about étouffée for the first time and if I liked CRAYFISH and other seafood (9D: [Ingredient in the stew Étouffée]). When I told him I really don’t eat seafood, I remember him telling me in his deep – REALLY deep – Cajun drawl that “this food will make you enjoy living!” I guess that was an opportunity missed, huh?!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SALE (18A: [Fire ____]) – For you baseball fans out there, I hope you’re up to date on the remarkable record that Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris SALE just tied late last month. With his 12 strikeouts against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 30, Sale tied Hall-of-Famer Pedro Martinez as the only two pitchers to ever strike out double-digit batters in eight consecutive starts. Taking his current greatness to the next level, Sale also joined Sandy Koufax as the only two pitchers since 1900 to strike out at least 12 batters while allowing one or zero runs in the same game in three consecutive starts. Sadly, his team, the Chicago White Sox, are not very good this season, so his accomplishments might be buried amidst all of the other storylines in this 2015 Major League Baseball season.
LA Times devotees, I thank you so much for your time and I hope I ably replaced Gareth and his usual commentary on grids to your satisfaction. Have a great rest of your Thursday!
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Beginner Puzzle” — Ben’s Review
As it turns out, I was parsing the title incorrectly – one more re-read and I would have realized that seeing it as “Begin NER Puzzle” would have helped me more quickly crack what was going on with this week’s theme entries:
- 17A: Gainers from Garfield’s nemesis? — NERMAL DIVES
- 24A: Roman emperor who’s 100% sure? — NERO POSITIVE
- 39A: Two days spent with a chemical weapon? — NERVE GAS WEEKEND
- 49A: Part of a Greek sea spirit’s hospital that’s no longer functioning? — NEREID ER DOWN
- 61A: Thing that keeps a geek running? — NERD BATTERY
The combination of Greek mythology with faulty hospital equipment tripped me up on 49A, but the rest came pretty quickly, even if the theme didn’t. As far as this week’s music shout-outs, DEF JAM gets the 1A spot (“Frank Ocean’s label”) and the DUO (18D) Sparks gets a nice mention as well. “Beat the Clock” popped up somewhere recently, but I also dig Neko Case’s cover of their classic “Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth”
Elsewhere in the puzzle, I got tripped up by not being familiar with the expression “by DINT of” (1D), but ended up getting it from the acrosses. I also kept trying to enter the SAT as the “Brain test” briefly called for at 35D, but it turns out an EEG was needed in the end. On the plus side, I knew the XKCD joke referenced in 38A (“Sudo make ME A sandwich”) and immediately nailed that a PUNSTER is “One whose ‘humor’ induces wincing” (25D). The rest of the fill felt pretty straightforward here – this was a nice start to my Thursday.