Julian Lim’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
I’m too tired for sentient blogging. Less than 6 hours of sleep last night when I really prefer 8!
Best bits: CARD CATALOG (mostly electronic now), GAME OF THRONES, GOT INTO HOT WATER, SENEGAL, C.J. CREGG (did you see that Allison Janney reprised her West Wing character last week at the White House?), NOGUCHI (and note that CJ CREGG and NOGUCHI have just one proper name crossing out of 14—and JAGUAR could easily have been clued as the animal instead, so there’s no excuse for crying “Natick”), MAKE THE BEST OF IT (good thing to do after you 14-Across), RECRIMINATION, DO A GOOD TURN, CAT SCAN, JAGUAR, and CHIFFON.
There’s plenty of short fill that is uninspired, as you would expect with stacks of long fill. 15d: REPEN is pretty awful. Funky grid. There are probably clues worthy of remark, but I’m fading fast.
3.8 stars from me.
Jules P. Markey’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “The Deck Has Been Stacked” – Jenni’s write-up
I love the CHE puzzles. The themes are interesting, the fill is fresh, and it’s a fun way to start the puzzle weekend. In this puzzle, all the themers are going down and they have circles to tell us which part is salient to the theme:
- 3d: [Enclosure with a rebate request] = PROOF OF PURCHASE. At first glance, I thought the circles enclosed all of PROOF and we were headed for a TGIF drinking theme. I took a second look and realized it was ROOF. Ah.
- 28d [First lady from 1946 to 1952, familiarly] = EVITA PERON. “Evita” was her nickname; her actual first name was Eva. We need the nickname to get the circles around TAPE.
- 7d: [Event where seals are put through their paces?] = TUPPERWARE PARTY. Burping seals, not barking seals. I just ordered some Tupperware the other day as part of a fundraiser for my choir. The circles focus us on UPPER.
- 9d: [Chowderhead] = NINCOMPOOP. Great one-word insults, both of them. The circles are around POOP. I was scratching my head at this point – no idea what the connection was.
- 11d [Noguchi sculpture in Philadelphia that pays tribute to Benjamin Franklin] = BOLT OF LIGHTNING. I have driven past the sculpture and had no idea what it was. I’m glad to know. The circles emphasize FLIGHT.
ROOF, TAPE, UPPER, POOP, FLIGHT. When in doubt about a theme, check out the title – ah-hah! The DECK is stacked. ROOF deck, TAPE deck, UPPER deck, POOP deck, FLIGHT deck. Now it makes sense. A few other things:
- Apparently there’s a TAPIR in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” (1a) I don’t remember that, but then again I saw that film once and it was almost 40 years ago.
- I went the wrong way with 6d [Virus spreader, at times] because I was thinking of viruses that infect humans. The answer is EMAIL. We are all vectors.
- David hates SCOTTS lawn care (22a) because they promote the use of herbicides and pesticides. I hate them because of their idiotic commercials.
- Love a WKRP shoutout (36a), this time clued with Venus Flytrap. “My children…”
- 69d [Doctor who invites you take his word for it?] is not cluing one of my more pompous colleagues, but rather Dr. ROGET.
What I didn’t know before I did this crossword: that Gustav MAHLER wrote something called “Songs of a Wayfarer.” My musical education was apparently sadly lacking.
Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Are We Done?” —Ade’s write-up
Happy Friday, everybody! Hope you have a fun weekend ahead. Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Bruce Venzke, involves four different phrases that mean the same, with “we’re done” as the clue for each of the theme entries. Obviously, I don’t have to type the same clue four times when typing out the theme answers, but I’ll do it anyway.
- THAT’S A WRAP (17A: [“We’re done”])
- END OF STORY (62A: [“We’re done”])
- PULL THE PLUG (10D: [“We’re done”])
- CALL IT QUITS (23D: [“We’re done”])
Not sure how many people thought there was/is a jazz musician named KARL Malone, as opposed to the Hall of Fame basketball player for the Utah Jazz (37A: [Jazz great Malone]). Above that, probably my favorite clue/entry combo was for REAL EASY (31D: [Like duck soup]). I guess UH UH can come out as a grunt, but I know I don’t feel as if I’m grunting when I say that (16A: [Grunts meaning “No way!”]). It’s a straightforward grid, but nothing there that really pops out, especially with the concept of the theme and just thinking of other ways to phrase the same clue.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: MATTE (50A: [Finish option]) – Who was the first person to run for over 100 yards in the Super Bowl? The answer is Tom MATTE, who rushed for 116 yards on only 11 attempts for the Baltimore Colts in their loss to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. Because of that performance, Matte still holds the Super Bowl record for yards per carry (10.55) in an Super Bowl game.
Have a great weekend, everybody!
C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
It’s heterograph time at the LA Times! Today features answers that are OFFCOLOR because they contain a heterography of colour. Two are at the beginning of their phrases, and two at the end.
- [Lost it, BLEWAFUSE]
- [Entertained the kids, in a way, READALOUD]
- [Cottage site in the Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four]
- [“Bonanza” star], LORNEGREENE
The rest of the grid was pretty quiet. Nothing too flashy, except maybe BBKING, but smooth like you’d expect from a seasoned constructor.
- [Storage place], CDROM. Quaint!
- [Play set], SCENERY. Excellent, succinct clue!
- [Lack of get-up-and-go], ANEMIA. Why is this always clued so vaguely?