(Reagle, original write-up from 1 Nov 2009)
Zhouqin Burnikel’s New York Times crossword, “Frame Job”—Amy’s write-up
Zhouqin noticed that some phrases start and end with chunks of letters that spell out occupations, and here we have those occupations highlighted by circled letters.
- 23a. [No-hunting zone], ANIMAL SANCTUARY, actuary.
- 32a. [Longtime California senator], BARBARA BOXER, barber.
- 55a. [Info on a parking ticket], PLATE NUMBER, plumber.
- 58a. [Something that doesn’t follow the letter of the law?], MAIL FRAUD, maid. Housekeeper is a less gendered term.
- 77a. [It contains a lot of balloons], COMIC BOOK, cook. Dialogue balloons, that is. Nice clue.
- 80a. [Rap sheet entry], PRIOR ARREST, priest. I’m going to disagree that priest (or other member of the clergy) is a “job,” and I think the Bureau of Labor Statistics agrees with me. That sort of clerical work is left out of the BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.
- 97a. [Weightlifting technique], CLEAN AND JERK, clerk. Whereas this sort of clerical work is covered.
- 115a. [Brazilian tourist destination], COPACABANA BEACH, coach.
Simple, straightforward, quicker than a lot of Sunday puzzles. No trickery involved in piecing the theme entries together.
The longer Down fill is quite good—AMAZON ECHO, WRIT LARGE, DEER TICK, BUD SELIG, CLEAR AS MUD, SILLY GOOSE. And in the Across zone, JOB CUTS, CRUELLA, and RED ARMY are all not so often seen in crosswords.
Five more things:
- 29d. [Distilled coal product], TAR OIL. I don’t have any of this on hand.
- 68a. [City from which Vasco da Gama sailed, to locals], LISBOA. Lisbon, in Portuguese. Did you know the singular of Portuguese is Portugoose?
- 50a. [Marsh birds], SORAS. I call this one crosswordese, along with ARA Parseghian.
- 90d. [Circuit for Serena and Venus Williams, in brief], WTA TOUR. Wasn’t a familiar phrase to me, but it’s solid.
- Toughest crossing: Where 91a. [“Aha!”]/”OH, I SEE” meets 86d. [88-Across + cuatro]/DOCE , HAR, and -IEST.
Not much else to remark on, plus or minus. 3.5 stars from me.
Patrick Jordan’s Sunday Challenge CrosSynergy crossword —Ade’s write-up
Good morning, everyone! Hope you’re all doing well and that you all won some sort of award for your Halloween costume at some Halloween party last night.
Today’s Challenge, brought to us by Mr. Patrick Jordan, was a pretty straightforward solve for me, and I’m sure it was the same for a lot of you on here as well. If any of you are fans of pop culture and a certain reality television show that appears on E!, then this grid was for you, with the entries of CAITLYN JENNER (20A: [New celebrity of 2015]) and KIM KARDASHIAN (53A: [Famous stepdaughter of 20-Across]). Got those two pretty early, especially when the gimmes of TEXAN (2D: [NRG Stadium player]) – referring to the Houston Texans professional football team – and RATIO were inputted into the grid (3D: [Computation often containing a colon]). As groan-including as the Jenner and Kardashian entries might have been to, getting those back-to-back pretty much opened up everything I needed to get the job done in a reasonable time.
Interestingly enough, the last entry I got filled in was one that I, with my Nigerian background, probably should have (and would have) gotten off the bat if I had seen the clue earlier, BIAFRA (43A: [1967-’70 secessionist state]). Growing up, near my elementary school, there was this truck yard that I walked past, and, behind the fencing, was this Rottweiler that was the meanest ATTACK DOG that I had ever come across (32D: [Junkyard guard, perhaps]). Though many times I would walk across the street from the yard, I was enough of a provocateur that, sometimes, I would be on that same side of the street to see that dog and watch it charge towards the fence. All that might have contributed to why I detested dogs when growing up, though that’s definitely not the case now. As a matter-of-fact, I’m somewhat serious in getting a dog. If so, I’m leaning towards getting a boxer. Boxers are so cute, aren’t they?!
Probably my favorite fill of the grid was SACRED COW, which is something that my entries on DOCAF are definitely not (33D: [Entity exempt from criticism]). And, no, I’m not going to have TOXIC in my head (31D: [2004 Britney Spears hit]). Yikes, that was back in 2004?!? Does it even seem that long ago that Britney was a mega star? Ok, maybe it might have been that long ago.
“And I love what you do…don’t you know that you’re toxic.” Darn it! It’s in my head!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: HEARTLAND (11D: [Region symbolizing traditional values])– There are at least two athletic conferences in college sports that have today’s feature entry in its title. The HEARTLAND Conference is a Division II athletic conference that was formed in 1999 that features schools mostly from Texas and Oklahoma, while the HEARTLAND Collegiate Athletic Conference is a Division III athletic conference that originally was formed in 1987 as the Indiana Collegiate Athletic Conference, as all of its founding schools were located in the Hoosier State.
Thank you so much for your time, and, just in case you’ll be running the New York City Marathon, I’ll see you at the finish line! (No, I won’t be running in it, but I’ll be hoping to capture reactions from people who finish the race for a possible story.) Have a good rest of your Sunday!
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s CRooked crossword, “What’s the Hurry?” — pannonica’s write-up
Apologies for posting this write-up so early.
- 23a. [Trek for pioneers in no rush?] GOLD AMBLE (gold rush).
- 25a. [Ride to work that’s not too rapid?] POKY TRANSIT (rapid transit).
- 36a. [Gain success, but not so quick?] GET RICH SOMEDAY (get rich quick).
- 51a. [Far from instant aid for umps?] LEISURELY REPLAY (instant replay).
- 72a. [Disaster, but not right now?] APOCALYPSE LATER (Apocalypse Now).
- 86a. [Non-express delivery service] PONY EVENTUALLY [Pony Express).
- 102a, [Less-than-urgent treatment?] RELAXED CARE (emergency care).
- 104a. [Track for cars lacking speed?] TOOTLEWAY (speedway).
For each, as you’ve no doubt noticed, the correct word for the original version of the phrase appears in the clue as an additional prompt.
See also, symmetrically paired 28d [Need near a cup] PUTTER and 73d [Took it easy] LOLLED. Try not to see also, 79a [Make great haste] HIE, 13d [Fast jet, for short] SST.
- Toughest crossing: 106a [God of the east wind] EURUS (sometimes Euros), Stanford hoops coach VanDerveer] TARA. The other Anemoi are Zephyros, Boreas, and Notos (west, north, and south, respectively), plus the subsidiary Kaikias, Apeliotes, Skiron, and Lips (northeast, southeast, northwest, southwest).
- Creative seeming letter-jumble fill: 105a [Star of John’s walrus song] I AM HE.
- 28a [Little flycatcher] PEWEE. Not a reference to Little League baseball (nor Pee-Wee football). Besides, you can’t play the teepee/tepee/tipi game with peewee.
- Continuing: 32a [Nautical adverb] ALEE, 56a [Flier from a coop] ESCAPEE, 111a [Film title beekeeper] ULEE, 6d [“Tine Alice” writer] ALBEE, 8d [Spike in filmmaking] LEE, 15d [Springy cord] BUNGEE.
- 88d [James who played The Thing] ARNESS. In reference to the 1951 Howardhawksian The Thing From Another World, not one of the more recent Fantastic Four superhero movies, nor the 1982 John Carpenter remake.
- 85d [Long-ago epoch] MIOCENE, part of the Cenozoic era, aka the ‘Age of Mammals’. See also, 58a [Warm-blooded sort] MAMMAL.
Fine puzzle. Not much in the way of clue playfulness, aside from the themers, but solid and enjoyable.
Jacob Stulberg’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Repossessed”—Andy’s review
This puzzle is very much in the Before & After genre: two possessive phrases are mashed together to make a single, doubly possessive phrase (you’ll see what I mean). Themers:
- 22a, NOBODY’S FOOL’S GOLD [Cheap metal lacking an owner?]. Nobody’s fool + fool’s gold.
- 38a, SCHRODINGER’S CAT’S PAWS [Victims of a physicist’s scam?]. Schrodinger’s Cat + cat’s paws.
- 54a, PRINTER’S DEVIL’S FOOD [Rich kind of cake baked by a newspaper employee?]. Printer’s devil + devil’s food.
- 79a, DESTINY’S CHILD’S PLAY [Easy jobs that are meant to be?]. Destiny’s Child + child’s play.
- 95a, ROSEMARY’S BABY’S BREATH [Singer Clooney’s delicate flowers?]. Rosemary’s Baby + baby’s breath.
- 116a, LORD’S DAY’S JOURNEY [Aristocrat’s sunrise-to-sundown trip?]. Lord’s Day + day’s journey.
Six long themers, all of them winners! And, as if that weren’t enough, the ballast fill is full of long, interesting entries like MR. BURNS, SILLY STRAW, MINOTAUR, I THEE WED, and BYE NOW. Special appearances by BETSEY Johnson, AISHA Tyler, KEANU Reeves, and JARED Allen (of the Minnesota Vikings — thank goodness for him and Jared Leto). Tons of solid fill, nothing to gripe about. I enjoyed this one!
Until next time!
NYT: Are you sure JOB CUTS isn’t a themer?
Today’s Boston Globe Sunday puzzle (by Henry Hook) had this to say:
“We are sad to report that Henry Hook, a longtime creator of Globe Magazine puzzles, including today’s, has died after a long illness. A brilliant puzzler, Hook had produced crosswords for this publication with co-constructors Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon since 1986. We, like his legions of fans, will miss him. –The Editors”
I’ve already written the Globe urging them to consider Brendan Quigley as his replacement, who subbed for Henry this summer during his illness. Who else but Brendan could fill Henry’s irreverent shoes? Plus, Brendan’s a Boston guy.
We didn’t like this one much better than last week’s slog.
1. There were a good deal of bizarre fill that will be completely forgotten soon (AMAZON ECHO? I didn’t even know it now, and no one will have heard of it in a decade or two) or is terrible crosswordese (many of which you mentioned, like ARA or, much worse, RETIP, which is not a word! It’s not even good in Scrabble, and those people allow GRRRL and ECOFREAK).
2. It’s All Saints Day. So where is the nod to Halloween or even to some saints? Or sinners? Costumes, maybe?
3. The jobs-within-phrases weren’t all that special. They were pretty short, and one of the (only) two really long ones was a bit forced (who says they’re going to the COPA CABABANA BEACH?), just to get the pedestrian word ‘coach’. Meh.
What we did like: the COMIC BOOK clue, YES DEAR, and politicos BARBARA BOXER and John EDWARDS; we’d completely forgotten about him and had fun checking out the Wikipedia page about him. Turns out he’s gone back to practicing law. I wonder if he spends time with his out-of-wedlock child whom he lied about for so long.
2.5 stars. I hope next week isn’t as disappointing as these last two.
Surely you weren’t expecting Halloween costume themes two Sundays in a row.
My birthday is Halloween. I could hope!
Didn’t love seeing BARBARA BOXER, not for political reasons, but because BOXER is also a job, so it brought down the theme elegance just a tiny bit.
Good point. And this puzzle had enough problems already.
I can’t help but wonder if Patrick Jordan is editorializing with this symmetrical pair of downs in his CS Sunday Challenge:
5d. [“Great job!”] WELL DONE crossing CAITLYN JENNER
38d. [Couldn’t stand] DETESTED crossing KIM KARDASHIAN
In any case, a fresh, fun puzzle with lots of great entries– I especially like HACIENDAS, ATTACK DOG, and SACRED COW.
LAT again impossible to solve without a computer – which I refuse to use as a cheat sheet. Others may use one as a crutch but I prefer to use my God-given brain.
Not sure you’re aware of this, but there are indeed many solvers who complete the LAT without looking up the answers to the clues online.
Poll them. Thousands of people must use these sites – there are about 20 sites each with literally hundreds of “hits” each day (just look at the ads that support them – if you get few hits, you get few ads). If the numbers support you percentage-wise, then I’ll shut up.
I found today’s LAT much easier than the reprinted WP from Reagle and the NYT, although I completed those without assistance also.
My paper print out of the LAT has nary a question mark by any clue, which is how I flag entries that are unfamiliar to me but demanded by the crossing. I double check them later and try to remember them. Indeed, the only stray mark on my LAT is a checkmark for the call out to “Flowers for Algernon.”
Bob, I wasn’t always able to solve this easily. Practice, practice, and effort to remember new answers has paid off. But I didn’t blame the constructor when I used a dictionary, globe, atlas, list of Greek letters, and Google.
Mostly good puzzles today, but my favorite was What’s the Hurry? So very amusing!