Patrick Berry’s New York Times crossword
68 words, pretty much a perfect grid. It’s Berry. This is what we expect. Lots of crisp longer fill—INSIDE MAN, NEW MEXICO, and HIT OR MISS crossing “I’M SO SORRY” up top. FALSE TEETH and ILLITERATE. SKELETONS, an ANTINOVEL, and SWEET ‘N LOW crossing GHOST TOWN. ONE AND ONLY crossing DARYL HALL. Eight more things:
- 22a. [“The Cryptogram” playwright David], MAMET. Never heard of the play, figured it was new. Nope, 1994! Wikipedia mentions nothing of cryptogram puzzles in the plot summary.
- 38a. [___ mouth], POTTY. If you have a potty mouth, you will enjoy the Strong Language group blog. Here’s today’s post by Iva Cheung on “emphatic affirmatives,” such as “damn straight” and “fuckin’ A.”
- 34a. [Deity with 99 names], ALLAH. Islamic trivia I didn’t know.
- 36a. [Member of a pop duo whose debut album was titled “Whole Oats”], DARYL HALL. Did not know that album title! It’s so goofy for a Hall & Oates album.
- 52a. [Literary term popularized by Sartre], ANTINOVEL. I once took a college course on plays and antiplays. Do anticrosswords exist? Discuss.
- 8d. [Excellent, slangily], ACES. This puzzle is aces.
- 12d. [Wood choppers of old], FALSE TEETH. Cute clue.
- 26d. [What plangonologists collect], DOLLS. Last weekend, I think it was, we had another of these weird collector words that I didn’t know. Obscure word.
Nancy Cole Stuart’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Three Squares” — pannonica’s write-up
Pressed for time this ayem, so this will be an unfairly brief write-up. Wee little bitty revealer located above the longest acrosses in the lower right corner: 111a [Square that can follow each of the three words in each starred answer] BOX. Those referenced theme answers are plausible phrases conglomerated from … well, just as the revealer describes.
- 22a. [*Sport where you might offer tips for bowlers?] HAT CHECK WINDOW (hat box, check box, window box).
- 33a. [*Cleated sneakers, a soccer ball, etc.] PENALTY KICK GEAR (you’re clever, you can supply the extended originals here).
- 50a. [*Sound often followed by oohs and ahs?] FIRE CRACKER BOOM.
- 68a. [*Product of a smoker’s hobby?] CIGAR BAND COLLECTION.
- 85a. [*Oatmeal served with a silver spoon?] LUXURY HOT CEREAL.
- 102a. [*Item that might consist of bits cut out of magazines?] BLACK MAIL LETTER.
- 115a. [*Person sitting next to a heckler, e.g.?] CAT CALL WITNESS.
Weakest phrases: LUXURY HOT CEREAL and CAT CALL WITNESS. Collocations that are commonly compound words: catcall, firecracker, blackmail.
- 8d [Tibetan transport] YAK, 103d [Andean transport] LLAMA, 104d [Andean people] INCA. 124a [Scopes out] EYEBALLS, 87d [Scope out] OGLE.
- Toughest crossing for me: 80d [Capture] SEIZE, 101a [1980s Pakistani president] ZIA. Considered SEIGE and SEIVE [sic et sic] before seeing the correct answer. Not entirely sure why.
- 62a [Snack for a flicker] ANT; “flicker”? Like some animal with a flicking tongue? 20d [“Return of the Jedi” critter] EWOK; since they’re highly sentient, with sophisticated language, I don’t feel “critter” is an apt appellation. 40a [“We Got the Beat” group] GO-GOS; I called this out in another crossword recently – clue needs a “with-the” qualifier.
- Favorite clue: 49d [Music for the masses] HYMN, runner-up: 15d [Place that has lots to offer] MOVIE STUDIO.
Solid theme, solid construction (including some good long non-theme entries), laudable cluing: enjoyable crossword.
Mike Buckley’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review
We get a second dose of wacky homophone action with today’s puzzle by Mike Buckley. This collection consists of two-part phrases where each part is separately replaced by a homophone. The doubly-changed phrases are clued wacky-style. A very imaginative theme indeed! Also impressive is the use of intersecting downs to space out the five answers better. We have:
- [Composer Dvorak in hiding?], CACHEDCZECHS. Cashed cheques.
- [Demands for quiet from the downstairs tenant?], CEILINGWHACKS. Sealing wax.
- [Wildebeests slowing down?], BRAKINGGNUS. Breaking news. The second part is not a homophone in South African English. GNUS = NOOZ. NEWS = NYOOZ. FWIW.
- [Walked by a campsite?], PASSEDTENTS. PAST TENSE.
- [Poor jousters?], WEAKKNIGHTS. Week nights.
Fill is very clean. As alluded to, the theme arrangement facilitates this to some extent, but that does not diminish the accomplishment. I’m not sure I buy ASEASYAS as a “lexical chunk”, though. Top fill answer was the mythical [Lover of Slue-Foot Sue], PECOSBILL. Never encountered Sue before, even in clues for SLUE!
- [More than square], CUBE was a very opaque, and clever, clue.
- I wonder if [Fuzzy Endor native], EWOK is acceptable to Pannonica?
- [One who keeps it in the family], NEPOTIST. I think there’s something wrong with me as I thought of incest first… Ew.
- [“The Kids Are ___”: 1979 The Who documentary], ALRIGHT. Also one of their biggest hits, but as it’s Friday…
- [Subject for Italian anatomist Fallopius], OVARY. For whom the oft-tied tubes are named…
Robust puzzle. 4.25 Stars
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Casual Friday”—Ade’s write-up
Good day, everyone! It’s Friday, and Mr. Randall J. Hartman definitely wants to let us know what time of the week it is with today’s crossword puzzle and title. In his grid, each of the four theme answers is a multiple-word entry in which the first word could also come after the word “casual.”
- EVENING STAR (17A: [Venus])
- ATTITUDE CHANGE (27A: [Rosier outlook, say])
- ENCOUNTER GROUP (47A: [Sensitivity training venue])
- LIVING LARGE (63A: [Enjoying an extravagant lifestyle])
I am sure many of you have had some amazing CORDON BLEU dishes, but, because I’m not a ham eater, I am not one of them (11D: [Chicken dish with ham and cheese]). It’s a shame since I really do almost like every dish that includes chicken. There’s been a few clues recently in the past few days on here that have referenced IBERIA, with the actual name of the area being featured as an entry today (5A: [Spain and Portugal]). Even though NO JIVE is definitely a dated term, I still love its presence in the grid (48D: [“Honest, man!”]). Someone please tell me that you’re thinking what I’m thinking right now after mentioning “no jive.” Barbara Billingsley in the scene from Airplane! Of course!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ICE UP (44A: [Freeze over]) – How in the world can I take this entry and give it a sports spin? Let’s just hand it over to then-Carolina Panthers wide receiver – and trash talker extraordinaire – Steve Smith, Jr., who had a few poignant words towards then-New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib after a Monday night football game in 2013. “ICE UP, son! Ice up!” (Video is definitely worth watching if you’re a sports fan!)
Enjoy your Friday, and I’ll see you tomorrow!!