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.
Agree on this NYT. Nice fill, smooth solve, came in at just a tad longer than an average Tuesday time for me. I was a big fan of “ozone layer” and “homestead act”, both taking me back to my school days.
(I think Marilyn Monroe would say that in some of her movies, in that awed, whispery voice, but I cant lay my hand on it…).
Wonderful puzzle, it is awesome to see so much wit in the clues. Friday does not have to unfathomable to be entertaining.
Agree with all who enjoyed this Friday NYT: Very elegant indeed. On the other hand, the CHE gave me trouble and took me much longer, but is always appreciated.
Amy – great description of how this puzzle went down. Patrick Berry is so smooth in his execution. I know going into one of his puzzles I am going to be challenged and still connect with his fill and clues.
Thanks to Mr. Berry for another wonderful puzzle.
Easy, smooth solve for me as well.
American online poker suffered what has been called Black Friday several years ago. The laws related to online poker vary from state to state. In some states there is an express law stating that online poker or gambling onlne in any form is illegal. In others, it is not so clear. What is clear is that many years ago, there was a federal law enacted that made it illegal for financial institutions to accept funds that went to offshore gambling sites. For quite a few years after that, lack of regulation allowed the poker sites to continue. On Black Friday, the government shut down POKER STARS (my site) and two other major sites and American players could not access their money. Some players got sites in other countries and continued to play. I was very fortunate that I had cashed out most of my winnings the week before the shutdown, but some people were left with up to a million dollars or more that they could not access.
Since that time, new sites have periodically opened (BOVADA, BETONLINE to name two), but they have far fewer players and online poker in the United States is not what it used to be.
The new frontier is fantasy football sites. Ironically, most of the best fantasy football players are professional poker players. They make hundreds or even thousands of bets each week covering almost every conceivable outcome. Their skill at the mathematical aspect of poker carries over to the fantasy sites and their big bankrolls allow them to dominate the casual players.
Is Gareth ever going to post? I loved the LAT, as difficult as it was. Great theme!
I agree with Harry!
NYT: Rare for me to have a puzzle where the long answers get filled in as fast as the short answers. Usually I have to get a lot of the little fill done before doing the long ones. Very smooth indeed. (Not that it was so easy to begin.)