Josh Knapp’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
This grid’s one row taller and one column skinnier than the customary 15×15 to accommodate a stacked pair of 14s: SHERLOCK HOLMES and COLONEL SANDERS. I filled in the Colonel first and half expected the row above to be somebody-CLINTON, but no. (Parliament Funkadelic’s George Clinton doesn’t have a 14-letter name … and there are no good 8-letter words that start with GC anyway.)
I got off to a good start with 1a. [Singer with the 1977 hit “Lido Shuffle”]. That’s Boz SCAGGS, and I’ve heard that song about once a month on oldies radio. I went over 30 years thinking the song was called “One More for the Road.”
I count about 18 proper nouns, including people, places, brand names, and song titles. Works great for me, but not everyone loves names in their puzzle. I appreciated CAPULET and Louisa May ALCOTT, MERCEDES and the PETRI dish guy, “ONE LOVE,” OLD HICKORY—and also LOATHSOME, CRACKPOT (clued as [Harebrained]), SCOFFLAWS, and FLOOR IT.
- 42a. [Polemologists study them], WARS. You don’t say! Learned a new word today.
- 31d. [Agemate], COEVAL. Boy, that’s a word you don’t often hear people using.
- 57a. [Creative classroom], ART LAB. Does anyone actually call it that? “Art studio” makes a helluva lot more sense.
Four stars from me.
Jeff Chen’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Seconds, Please” —Ade’s write-up
Good afternoon, everyone! Hope you all have a good weekend in store. Today’s grid, brought to us by Mr. Jeff Chen, is more fun with puns, as the theme entries are the plural form of common food objects (or the title of a grunge rock band), with the “S” added to the end of the entries helping to execute the pun-filled theme.
- KOBE BEEFS (17A: [Grumblings in a Japanese coastal city?])
- KOSHER SALTS (30A: [Seaman who adhere to Jewish law?])
- TEXAS TOASTS (49A: [“Here’s to Houston!” and others?])
- PEARL JAMS (65A: [Slam dunks by NBA legend Earl Monroe?]) – How many knew of Earl’s nickname, “The Pearl?”
Other than the theme entry of Kobe Beefs, there were other references with ties to Japan in the grid, including the intersecting entries of NOH (56A: [Japanese dramatic art form]) and ITO, who won the silver medal at the 1992 Olympics in figure skating (47D: [Midori on the ice]). Seeing MOO JUICE is going to make me think of that term when looking at milk for probably a few days going forward (2D: [Milk, in diner slang]). Before heading out, I have to post a video of, at the time of watching it in the early 1990s, one of my favorite commercials of all time. A huge part of me now regrets liking this commercial because it does make light of concussions, especially with football players and all the players that have played and are now suffering from CTE. Still, the little kid in me laughs when seeing it again. All I have to say now to introduce this commercial is…I’M BATMAN (3D: [Declaration by the Dark Knight featured in Internet memes]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: RAT TAIL (55A: [Hairstyle worn by assorted young Jedis]) – The RAT TAIL has definitely been sported by athletes across the world, but probably the most famous athlete to sport the rat tail is Roberto Baggio, the Italian soccer great who is best known for his penalty miss at the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final in Pasadena that saw Brazil win the title at the expense of Italy. Honestly, this is a MEAN rat tail(s)!
Thank you for the time, and I hope you have a great weekend! See you tomorrow!
Elliott M. Abrams’ LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
Today’s puzzle features a combination of two theme tropes: clue-answer reversal, and vowel progression. Clue-answer reversal is never my favourite genre, as it usually results in clumsy answers forced in order to fit the required lengths of the grid. If you had SHAQ in the grid would simply [Ex-NBA Center] ever be the clue? The rest, ARABNOBLE, RAZORBLADEMAKER (though ‘brand’ would fit better, perhaps?), OVERWHELM and OPENOYSTERS work. The vowel progression part seems a little wonky in that you have short a, long a, short i, short o, short u. Or do Americans pronounce SHEIK sheck?
Not a who lot to highlight outside of the theme:
- [Fortress of Solitude], JOREL – Wait, Superman has a lair?
- [“Thou,” in the Keats lines “When old age shall this generation waste, / Thou shalt remain … a friend to man”], URN – excellent extra-effort clue, that!
- [1989 Jack Nicholson role], THEJOKER. Balance for JOREL!
- [Dachshund docs], VETS. Would have used “dachsie” myself, although the shortening is indicated by ‘docs’.
- [Many a pro athlete’s pride], TAT. You wanted ABS, didn’t you? I did!