Patrick Berry’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Last week’s Friday NYT pummeled me, whereas this one gave itself to me like a piece of chocolate—smooth, sweet, goes down easy. (Tuesday-easy.)
Favorite fill: WALLA WALLA, IN MEMORIAM (dedicated to Alan Rickman and David Bowie), ZIP CODE, SISTERS-IN-LAW, ONLINE POKER, NINJA, antiquated LADIES FIRST, historical HOMESTEAD ACT, PRETERM, OZONE LAYER, King WENCESLAS, ENSCONCED (this is a verb I might use more than I should), and RIDES OFF.
- 23a. [Number of letters], ZIP CODE. Numbers that appear in the address on the letters you send within the U.S.
- 56a. [Shot blockers], LENS COVERS. I feel like “lens cap” is more familiar … but the clue screamed basketball and I like the mislead.
- 2d. [Boot hills?], APENNINES. Mountain range that runs the length of boot-shaped Italy.
- 3d. [Carol king], WENCESLAS. Not to be confused with Carole King.
- 29d. [Eight-footer?], SPIDER. Not, say, an 8-foot putt on the golf course.
4.5 stars from me.
Tony Orbach’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “On the Case”—Ade’s write-up
Good morning, everyone! Hope you all have a great weekend in store! Today’s crossword puzzle is presented to us by Mr. Tony Orbach, and it’s an interesting take on some fictional sleuths: each theme entry is a common phrase, which so happens to contain a word that also is the last name of a famous fictional detective. The wording of the clues help to create the pun effect. Case closed.
- CROSS DRESS (20A: [Style of outfit for detective Alex?])
- SPADE HANDLE (35A: [Nickname for detective Sam?])
- HAMMER THROW (42A: [Wrestling move from detective Mike?])
- HOLE DIGGER (56A: [Big fan of Norwegian detective Harry?])
For the most part, I stay away from watching viral videos and other things that gain an unstoppable amount of traction, but I admit that I’m always drawn to the bad LIP READING videos that come out sporadically (11D: [Helpful practice for the hearing-impaired]). Though the partial MEN AT won’t illicit a whole lot of positive reaction when filling it in, it definitely should illicit some head bobbing when thinking about their music (33D: [_______ Work (1980s pop group]). Speaking of 1980s musical awesomeness, how about SADE and her hits that helped to define that era (71A: [“Smooth Operator” singer])? Though I was born on Sept. 14, I never really think of myself as a summer baby, like all of you LEOS out there (51A: [Some summer arrivals]). Fun way to end the work week of crosswords!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: IDAHO (28D: [Wyoming neighbor]) – As Amy wonderfully advertised a couple of times on posts in the past, I work at the 4th and 1 Football Camp, a first of its kind as it was the first football camp in North America to combine football with life skills training and standardized test preparation for high schoolers. Even with our emphasis on activities off of the football field and setting them up for success for years down the road, we do end up getting some great athletes in our camp who can use athletics to set themselves up to make college affordable. One of those is Dorian Clark, our first 4th and 1 alum to participate in football at the Division 1 level, and he currently is enrolled at the University of IDAHO. Go Dorian, and Go Vandals!
Have a great weekend everyone! See you tomorrow, most likely while I’m in Massachusetts.
Doug Peterson’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Inside Joke” — pannonica’s write-up
In four sequential segments, [ … a playroom tirade?]: I AM FED UP WITH | MATRYOSHKA DOLLS | THEY’RE ALL SO FULL | OF THEMSELVES. (20a, 36a, 42a, 55a)
This works nicely with one of the marquee non-theme answers in today’s NYT crossword, ENSCONCED, which alas is clued as [Nestled] (not [Nested]).
- 54d [Jan. honoree] MLK, JR. Birthday today. Observed Monday.
- 9a/34a [Fordham University color] WHITE, MAROON.
- 24a [Usher’s offering] ARM, not RAP.
- CHE-like cluing detected: 41a [Moon of Jupiter discovered in 1974] LEDA, 49a [“Ginger __” (1952 Newbery Medal book] PYE, 71a [1886 Haymarket Square event] RIOT, 26d [Word that splits an infinitive in the opening narration of “Star trek”] BOLDLY, 45d [Nudibranch, by another name] SEA SLUG, 61d [Philby who was stripped of his OBE] KIM.
- Unfamiliar with 57d [Conservative columnist Charen] MONA.
- 22d [ __ Bunt (Blofeld henchwoman in the Bond canon)] IRMA. A change from cookbook author Rombauer and filmdom’s La Douce, but I would still prefer to see ‘Soul Queen of New Orleans’ Thomas, or filmdom’s Vep.
- Roman numeral triplets! 19a [Super Bowl XXXV halftime act] NSYNC, 58d [Two before X] VIII.
Three-letter initialisms with a central B: 23a [Org. in TV’s “Blindspot”] FBI, 25a [“Veep” shower] HBO, 28a [Abbr. before a trade name] DBA, 62lesvampiresd [Defunct sports org. that included the Kentucky Colonels and the San Diego Conquistadors] ABA.
- Three stacked place names in the lower left: KABUL / IBIZA / MAGOG.