David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Whoa, I wasn’t expecting the puzzle to tumble as fast as a Tuesday puzzle. Unusual grid pattern, with the stair-stepped 9s stacked in the middle and flanked by 15s.
Good fill: ORDER AROUND; “WHEN I’M SIXTY-FOUR”; RICE PILAF; LOVE BEADS; edible TOMATO PASTE, BROWNIE, and RISOTTO; AIR HORN; LOU REED; WALDEN POND.
Did not know: 11d. [2009 million-selling Justin Bieber release], MY WORLD. Apparently this was his debut EP. Wait, he’s only been a recording artist for 6 years? And he’s still not gone yet?
Five more things:
- I filled in ERIS instead of IRIS for 24a. [Goddess who caused the Trojan women to riot in the “Aeneid”]. Riots, goddess of discord, ERIS seemed solid. IRIS can be clued as a flower, an eye part, a camera term, a song, a name … seldom gets the myth treatment.
- Not keen on the AMEBA spelling (26d. [Slide presentation?]), but it is the former name of a cool dance troupe in Chicago, now known as Aerial Dance Chicago. They do such cool work, and amoebae really don’t take flight, so the new name fits better.
- Now, some women take POLE DANCE classes for fitness, as the pursuit provides a tough workout for muscles of the core, arms, and legs. The clue here is all gross with the male gaze, though: 38a. [Provocative performance]. At least the BRA clue assumes a female “you”: 35a. [Something you may need to get off your chest]. Underwires, am I right?
- Blah fill: ETAS, ENS, ELOI, ENIAC, ETE, OTOE.
- Fifth, I ran out of steam.
Pam Amick Klawitter’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
This puzzle, by Pam “Identity Crisis” Amick Klawitter, features a somewhat muddled theme. To accurately pin said theme, we must resort to the vague “answers’ final parts are a container, and the whole is reimagined in some way.” With JUSTINCASE, the case is not a container, but is reimagined to be one: [Where to keep the newest merchandise?]. A MITERBOX is sort of a container so the first part is changed: [Where to keep papal headgear?]. [Where to keep bustiers and halters?], TOPDRAWER is an idiom based on a container, but the top part is changed. A DITTYBAG is a type of container, though one I’ve never heard of! The clue [Where to keep tunes?] takes the first part literally. With [Where to keep clock components?], HANDBASKET, a HANDBASKET is presumably a container, though it survives mostly in idiom form.
The LA Times has a two partial rule (see here), which this puzzle circumvents, sort of. [End of a host’s query], ORTEA and [Reveling, after “on”], ATOOT are pretending they’re not partials. [“__ Family”: 1979 R&B hit], WEARE on the other hand, is clued straightforwardly.
[MLB best-of-seven series] ALCS was a total mystery while solving. I assume that’s AL + championships or something similar.
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “What a Yoke!”—Ade’s write-up
Happy New Year! I hope you’re doing great and had a great time ringing in the New Year! Oh, and if you pretty much stayed inside and slept immediately after the clock struck midnight, then you’re in good company, as that’s just what I did.
Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, creates puns from phrases by changing the first word, which starts with a J and has that accompanying sound with a similar-sounding word that begins with a Y.
- YALE BREAK (17A: [Spring hiatus for Elis?]) – From “jail break.” If a Thin Lizzy tour stopped in New Haven, that entry is what they would sing.
- YAK IN THE PULPIT (28A: [Preach?]) – From “jack-in-the-pulpit.”
- YANNI ON THE SPOT (49A: [Greek singer under pressure?]) – From “Johnny-on-the-spot.” Probably my favorite theme of the four, even with the Thin Lizzy earworm taking serious effect right now!
- YULE THIEF (66A: [Grinch?]) – From “jewel thief.”
All of the theme entries were pretty strong, so that makes the solving experience even better. Not too much else to talk about, though that’s not an indictment on the grid’s fill at all. Actually liked the clue to TEN, and, for those that are not fans of the conference, you can say that the league can’t count (65D: [Big ___ (NCAA conference with 14 teams)]). Honestly, let’s just let the clue to BATH take us home with a laugh to start 2016 (54D: [“I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw that my ____ toys were a toaster and a radio (Joan Rivers)]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: NINTENDO (40D: [Super Mario Bros. developer]) – Although known for being a video game giant, did you know that if it wasn’t for NINTENDO, the Seattle Mariners baseball franchise would probably be in Florida right now? In 1992, the late Hiroshi Yamauchi, then owner of Nintendo of Japan, became the first non-North American majority owner in Major League Baseball, when Nintendo bought the Seattle Mariners in 1992. Before that, there were strong indications that the team was getting ready to move to Miami. The team is currently owned by Nintendo of America, which is based in Redmond, WA.
Thank you so much for your time, and, once again, Happy New Year to you all!