The Chronicle of Higher Education has a special issue this week, so no crossword.
Evans Clinchy’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
It’s late, I have an early start tomorrow, let’s do this quickly.
Likes: ABDUL-JABBAR, CHEERLEADER, quaint old PERIWIGS (though I prefer the perukes spelling), DRACONIAN, RADIOLOGIST, ONE-TWO PUNCH, GARTER SNAKE, EPHEMERAL, BAHRAIN, and the funny LOUIS C.K..
- 30d. [Master], SAHIB. This clue might be decades old and a little gross. I mean, Oxford Dictionaries defines sahib as “a polite title or form of address for a man,” and this guide to Indian English says it means “boss” or “person of higher status.” This [Master] clue smacks of the original colonial usage in which brown people were expected to address certain white people as sahib. Can we move into the 21st century, please? I’d love to hear what any desi readers think.
- Least enjoyed fill: EDOM, IRANI, TBAR, ADANA (really?? A Churchill conference site and yet it doesn’t appear in crosswords nearly as often as A Bell From ADANO??), ANE.
- 60d. [Almond ___ (candy)], ROCA. Almond Roca is a brand name. It’s crunchy toffee, with chocolate. It’s delicious.
- 64a. [Author Chinua Achebe, by birth], IBO. Second time the Ibo people have come up in my day. First time was telling a writer I follow on social media, Ijeoma Oluo, that Facebook was suggesting another Ijeoma (a FB friend of a Nigerian crossword guy) as a potential FB contact. Ijeoma #1 told me that it’s a very common Ibo name. (Ibo and Yoruba are two major ethnic groups in Nigeria.
- Over 20 proper nouns? An awful lot for a 72-worder. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest (cultural and world literacy!), but many solvers grumble about a plethora of names.
3.75 stars from me.
Todd McClary’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Mixed Breeds”—Ade’s write-up
Happy Friday, everyone! Have to keep this short, as I’m in the middle of reporting a sporting event from a different city for at least seven consecutive days (came back from Boston, now I’m heading to Stamford, CT…for a hockey game). Today’s grid, brought to us by Mr. Todd McClary, has a great theme: the entries are puns that play off the actual names of dog breeds, with the first word of each theme consisting of an anagram of the first word in the actual breed’s title. Or something like that.
- KEYS TERRIER (17A: [Small breed found on laptops?]) – Skye terrier.
- SHINGLE SHEEPDOG (27A: [Herding breed that barks “Roof! Roof!”?]) – English Sheepdog.
- CINEMAX HAIRLESS (48A: [Smooth-skinned breed leashed with premium cable?]) – Mexican Hairless.
- BASEST HOUND (63A: [Hunting breed frequently awarded “Worst in Show”?]) – Basset Hound.
Very fun grid, and liked seeing IDINA, as it reminded me of John Travolta’s massive fail at the 2014 Oscars in trying to pronounce her name (43A: [Menzel of Disney’s “Frozen”]). For those of you representing South Dakota, you’re in luck with PIERRE today (9D: [Capital on the Missouri river]). Don’t worry, South Dakotans, I know how to pronounce that city’s name correctly! There’s a prevalence of two-word actions in this grid, with HONK AT (31D: [Warn, while behind the wheel]), ICE IN (29D: [Leave stranded during winter, perhaps]) and SHAKES ON (53A: [Agrees to, as a deal]). Again, after I say that I have to make this blog short, I don’t. Let’s see if I can make the next graph short as well. I doubt it!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: HESTON (4D: [Prominent NRA spokesman of the early 200s]) –No, not going to talk about Moses from the The Ten Commandments in this space. On June 9th of last year, San Francisco Giants pitcher Chris HESTON threw a no-hitter against at Citi Field against the New York Mets. In the no-no, he struck out 11, walked none and hit three batters. Heston faced three batters in the ninth inning and struck them all out, becoming the first pitcher to strike out the side in a no-hitter with a maximum of three batters faced since Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965 against the Chicago Cubs.
Thank you for the time, and have a great weekend!
Tom Pepper and Marcia J. Brott’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
I’ve left this rather late… Let’s see. Fun theme, if a touch loose. Second part of theme answers are vague locations; first parts are either a mammal or a bird. The theme answers are reimagined such that they are all [animal] is in [location]. The quintet are HIPPOCAMPUS (the word either refers to a mythical sea monster, or a part of the brain); SWANDIVE; CROWBAR; MOUSEPAD; and KITTYCORNER.
- [’80s defense prog.], SDI. Will forever be associated with Civilisation for me.
- [Moon observation], MARE. Lunar “sea”.
- [iPhone, e.g.], PDA. Um, who is still referring to things as PDAs?
[Panda maker], FIAT. I drive a Fiat Panda!!! I didn’t know they were a thing in the States!
- [Honey alternative], SWEETIEPIE and [AFI’s third-greatest movie villain], DARTHVADER – fun stack, though incongruous.
- [War on Terror epithet], AXISOFEVIL and [“Ingenious gentleman” of classic fiction], DONQUIXOTE. Another interesting juxtaposition. Is it strange that I dropped DOCTORAZIZ (also Scrabbly!) off the D?