David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
This was an impressive grid. 66 words by my count, and lots of wide-open real estate. Always a challenge to squeeze in Qs, Js, and Xs; I think this grid is an F and a Z away from being pangrammatic. And great, lively fill to boot. Only a couple of clues that I don’t quite get; will explain them in the list. Hence, the list of interesting entries:
- 5A [Armstrong contemporary] ALDRIN – You were thinking Louie Armstrong, too! Just admit it!!
- 16A [Letters that delight angels] SRO – I know this is Standing Room Only. What do the angels denote? Is this a Broadway/theater thing?
- 25A [New England stock] CLAM BROTH – I love this clue. Is this what one uses to make clam chowder? I would assume so. Never cooked it myself…
- 34A [English monarch after whom a brickwork building style is named] QUEEN ANNE – I did not know this. From the images in Google, these are the houses that have a cylindrical element in the front corner or corners. Very nice, although long, clue.
- 38A [“Take a chill pill!”] JUST RELAX – Favorite clue/entry of the puzzle.
- 50A [Cell] MOBILE PHONE – Great vague clue.
- 29D [Show of disrespect] BRONX CHEER – This is definitely a “New York thing!”
- 45D [Deli item that’s 14-Across backward] NOVA – This is a new one on me. Evidently it’s also a New York thing? I’ve never seen nova in Indiana!
Again, a great puzzle, especially coming from someone so young. 4.2 stars. Can’t wait for the hard weekend puzzles! See you then!
Todd McClary’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Gone Girl”—Ade’s write-up
It’s Friday, people!! I hope you all are doing great, and have some nice plans for the weekend! Hopefully, if you’re a guy, some of those plans will involve a lady friend, which is the opposite of what was going on in today’s grid, brought to us by Mr. Todd McClary. In it, each of the four theme answers is either a common phrase or proper noun that has been altered so that the letters “HER” are excised from the original term. Fun with puns on a Friday!
- LIFE WITH FAT (17A: [Shortening manufacturer’s memoir?]) – From “Life with Father.”
- BIRDS OF A FEAT (27A: [Magic trick’s doves, for example?]) – From “birds of a feather.”
- THE HOUSE OF US (48A: [Weekly celebrity magazine’s publishing headquarters?]) – From “The House of Usher.” Here’s a little Edgar Allan Poe (almost) for us today!
- WOULD YOU RAT (64A: [Game in which players decide if they will become informants?]) – From “would you rather.” By far, my favorite theme answer of the bunch.
This has been the best week in terms of African geography and information in crosswords, and it continues today with NIGER (40A: [Major river of Western Africa]) and ABUJA, the capital of the country of my heritage (20A: [Capital of Nigeria]). I originally thought I had put in something incorrect in the Northwest when I saw NO–N emerge, but, after being able to decipher it, seeing NO FUN was actually…pretty fun (3D: [Far from pleasant]). Also, I put in “ally” instead of ARMY initially, and that definitely tripped me up right at the end (31D: [Fighting force]). Outside of the missing lady in the grid, it also seemed like we were in a courtroom also, with both ALIBI (2D: [Suspect’s excuse]) and OATH residing in this puzzle (34D: [Witness stand statement]). I doubt I can make a good SEGUE to the “sports…smarter” clue, so I might as well just go to it right now (29D: [Smooth transition]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: THE WHO (5A: [“Tommy” rock band]) – I think a lot of you are familiar with the GMC commercial currently running which features THE WHO song “Eminence Front.” Did you know that the commercial takes place at AT&T Park in San Francisco, home of the San Francisco Giants, or that the pitcher featured in the commercial is actually current Giants left-handed pitcher – and three-time World Series champion – Jeremy Affeldt? Here’s the spot…
Enjoy the weekend, everyone! See you tomorrow!
Mark McClain’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
Mark McLain presents us with a familiar Friday letter addition shtick. Today’s letters are GA, and this is hinted at by GEORGIAONMYMIND. Plus points for an interesting, 15 letter revealer, but the connection between GEORGIAONMYMIND and “add GA” is not as tight as would be ideal. So many great covers of this song, but here’s Willie! Only three theme phrases today, though they’re all 15’s. [Red army unit?], BLUSHINGBRIGADE and [Druid baker’s recipe?], PAGANCAKEBATTER were both very clever. [Missed the bird’s nest under the eaves?], FLEWINTOAGARAGE felt too stretched and convoluted for my liking.
Today’s grid design had few longer answers outside of the theme. On the other hand, there was some excellent clues: [Likely to elicit a nod?], BORING and [Like alpha, but not bravo], GREEK were both homeruns! [Two of Rory McIlroy’s major wins, familiarly], PGAS was not a usage I was aware of. The PGA Championship is the final of golf’s four majors. The 2015 edition was last week, and was won by Jason Day, finally breaking his duck after many near misses! If only he spelt his name unusually, he might get in crosswords! Another mystery clue was [Stamp purchase], COIL. Didn’t know that was a thing, but apparently it’s just a roll of stamps.
Gareth, leaving you with the song we all thought of on seeing DADDYO…