Finn Vigeland’s New York Times Crossword, “Attending Physicians” — Amy’s write-up
Well played, Finn! The theme revealer’s THE DOCTOR IS IN, and familiar phrases get a familiar “doctor” inserted to form a goofy new phrase:
- 23a. [Result of shaking a soda too hard before opening?], DR PEPPER SPRAY. Pepper spray, violent; Dr Pepper, fizzy.
- 34a. [Noted sexologist, in her infancy?], BABY DR RUTH. I cost myself some time by filling in DR BABY RUTH, which is … not right.
- 48a. [“The paternity results are in … it’s the protagonist of a long-running BBC sci-fi show!”?], DR WHO’S YOUR DADDY. Okay, while “Who’s your daddy?” is a familiar taunt, I was thinking of Maury Povich’s show and “you are the father,” and tried to get DR WHO IS THE FATHER to work. Doctor Who geeks will grouse that the protagonist is “the Doctor” and not “Dr. Who.”
- 64a. [1970s-’80s Sixers star and friends?], DR. J CREW. Nice!
- 85a. [Controversial TV personality’s magical sidekick?], THE WIZARD OF DR. OZ. Feels a little stilted to me.
- 98a. [Hurt a Bond villain?], DO DR. NO HARM.
The theme is fresh and fun. What really sparkled for me here, though, was the fill. Among the highlights are AT SIGNS, GOO-GOO crossing “OH, BOO-HOO,” READ ONLY (because hey! Merl Reagle noted that Reynaldo anagrams to that), SUPER BOWL MVP, J-LAW near JDATE, SETH ROGEN, FRAT BROS, “HUG IT OUT,” and SAN FRANCISCO. “Hug it out” derives, I think, from Entourage; here’s a foul-mouthed clip.
Five more things:
- Did not know: 90d. [1961 Michelangelo Antonioni drama], LA NOTTE. Italian for “the night.”
- 5d. [Resort area in northeast Pa.], MT. POCONO. There’s a single Mount Pocono? I only hear about “the Poconos.”
- 52d. [Bird so named because of its call], NENE. The Hawaiian goose says “ne ne”? I did not know that. Which state bird has the call that sounds like “whip”?
- 62a. [Maiden name of Harry Potter’s mother], EVANS. Really? There’s so much “Lily Potter” business in the movies, I’m not sure I ever heard Evans in there.
- 81a. [Kind of pick], AFRO. Good clue. A British museum had an exhibition of picks a few years ago. Picks are more than 5,000 years old!
4.25 stars from me. Enjoyable solve!
Ron Toth & C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Going to School”—Andy’s review
Hey, remember this C.C. Burnikel puzzle? And this C.C. Burnikel puzzle? I sure do, because I predicted long ago that there would be a third entry in this series. Granted, I thought it would be baseball term-themed and not fish name-themed, but potayto/potahto.
To recap: theme clues consist of a single word (in this case, they’re all fish), and the theme answers are non-fish-related meanings of those words. You can see what I mean below:
- 23a, ONE AND ONLY [SOLE].
- 25a, GLIDE ON ICE [SKATE].
- 41a, STROKE OF LUCK [FLUKE].
- 45a, LOW VOICE [BASS]. I think this is the only one that changes the pronunciation.
- 68a, BEAM OF LIGHT [RAY].
- 92a, TOLL ROAD [PIKE].
- 94a, MOAN AND GROAN [CARP].
- 115a, CARD EXPERT [SHARK].
- 117a, MOWER BRAND [SNAPPER]. Never heard of this mower brand.
I don’t know if it was just that I solved this as soon as I woke up, but there were vast swaths of this puzzle that I found impenetrable for a good long time. Something seemed particularly challenging about the cluing–maybe it was vaguer than usual, or more intentionally misdirecting (e.g., cluing OMEGA as [Watch company logo] rather than [Watch company]). Decidedly un-Sunday-LAT-like cluing, which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing.
The theme is fine. It felt mildly clever the first time I solved one of these about a year ago, but the novelty has worn off for me. I could really just copy and paste my last review of this puzzle, which basically said:
1) Unexciting theme. Last time I said “unexciting, if solid,” but since we’re on Round 3 of this theme, I’m going to skip the “solid” part.
2) Plenty of good long fill, including [I HOPE SO, MANDATORY, INDULGE ME, TALL ORDER, MAGRITTE, OMNIVORE, EDIE FALCO, OCEANARIA, DEAR SANTA, and I DON’T CARE].
4) In lieu of a “fun clue,” a clue that stumped me: [Spells during a vacation] for CATSITS. Whenever someone uses “spells” (completely legitimately) to mean “gives someone a break,” it sounds wrong to me. This may just be a thing I will never internalize.
Didn’t like that MAPS was in the grid and the clue for MILE was [Map unit]. So many places in this grid where I put in the wrong word and had to take it back out: YACHT for RACER [Regatta entrant]; ROVER for PROBE [Space exploration vehicle]; IN INK for IN PEN [How many autographs are signed]; etc. etc.
I take issue with the clue [Many an Ivan] for TSAR. There were three IVANs who were TSARs: Ivan IV, V, and VI. Most Ivans were/are not, in fact, TSARs. This would be equivalent to cluing U.S. PRESIDENT as [Many a George]. You might be able to get away with [Many a tsar] for IVAN, but not vice versa.
I wonder how many more puzzles with this theme C.C. & Rich Norris have lined up? I’m gonna go write that baseball-themed puzzle I predicted last year and submit it just to find out if Rich already has one in the queue.
Until next week!
Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post crossword, “Audio Mixing” – Jenni’s writeup
My kid had an end-of-school-year party last night; the last boy left at 11:30 and the remaining girls didn’t go to bed until after 12:00. I was on call and was paged at 5:15 and never got back to sleep. This post may not do the puzzle justice…
It may have been my mental fuzziness, but I didn’t suss the theme until I got to the revealer down in the SE. The theme answers are identified with asterisks because they’re scattered around the grid.
- 32a [He co-wrote “Soul Man” with Isaac Hayes] = DAVID PORTER.
- 25a [CBS’s broadcast of “The War of the Worlds”, e.g.] = RADIO PLAY.
- 40a [Problem caused by bad eggs] = FOOD POISONING. Does this pass the breakfast test?
- 55a [Beyonce and Taylor Swift, e.g.] = POP DIVAS. Because any woman who wants to control her public image is a “diva.” I’m not dissing Evan – I get that this phrase is in the language. I’m dissing the attitude that keeps it in the language.
- 68a [Bygone production label for “The Sixth Sense”] = HOLLYWOOD PICTURES. Was that the working title?
- 85a [Exposed] = LAID OPEN.
- 99a [Diagnosis after initial diagnosis] = SECOND OPINION.
- 116a [Dismantle] = STRIP DOWN. That doesn’t entirely work for me. Is “strip down” the same thing as “take apart?”
And the revealer at 119a: [2005 Apple release…and a literal feature inside the answers to the starred clues] = IPOD SHUFFLE. All the theme answers have the letters I P O D anagrammed somewhere.
So that’s the theme. Now I need to figure out how we’re replaced the teenager’s cracked phone and how much we’re making her pay for it. Sorry for the truncated post. Ah, summer….
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s CRooked crossword, “Sitcomments” — pannonica’s write-up
27-across says [Source of answers to the starred clues] SEINFELD. Accordingly, the theme is coinages or popularizations from that iconic television show that have to varying degrees entered the popular lexicon. 73d [Stand-up material] QUIPS.
- 29a. [*”And so on and so forth”] YADA YADA YADA.
- 39a. [*Morally shaky donee] REGIFTER.
- 44a. [*Space invader] CLOSE TALKER.
- 63a. [*Suitable as a lover] SPONGEWORTHY.
- 69a. [*DOn’t be stingy in a stall] SPARE A SQUARE.
- 93a. [*One biased against the ADA] ANTI-DENTITE. Slight implicit dupe (“dent-“).
- 97a. [*Year-end holiday] FESTIVUS.
- 104a. [*Snacking scofflaw] DOUBLE-DIPPER.
- 109a. [*Dictatorial sort] SOUP NAZI. One of the rare instances where you’ll see NAZI in a crossword.
Oh, and there’s one more, without a symmetrical complement and, at 1a, appearing before the revealer: [*Steinbrenner, to George] BOSS. Admittedly, it’s a clever clue, but the payoff isn’t enough to justify the awkward location. Too much theme ZEAL (111d).
I presume one’s appreciation for this crossword is essentially correlated to one’s affection for the show.
- Know your ancient Mediterranean leaders! [Winning general at Actium] AGRIPPA; good ol’ Marcus Vispanius. 100a [Great king of Persia] XERXES; the elder one.
- 25a [Peru’ Mario Vargas __ ] LLOSA, 36d [Argentine plain] LLANO. Was curious to see if there was a name for the Spanish digraph LL; the best I could find is elle or doble ele.
- 5d [Burrowing rodent] MOLE RAT. Catchall term applicable to members of three different Muroid families.
- 83a [David Price stat] ERA. I’m just going to assume that he plays for the Boston Red Sox.
- 102a [Shankar’s ax] SITAR. Hilarious clue.
- 60d [Soul singer Thomas] IRMA. Welcome change from cookbookery’s Rombauer.
- 67d [Irrational numbers in math] SURDS. From m-w.com: “Both surd and its more common cousin absurd come from the Latin word surdus, meaning “unhearing, deaf, muffled, or dull.” Absurd traveled through Middle French before arriving in English in the early 16th century. Its arrival preceded by a few decades the adoption of the noun version of our featured word directly from Latin, which referred to an irrational root, such as √3. By the early 17th century surd had gained a more general application. The adjective describes speech sounds that are not voiced-for example, the \p\ sound, as opposed to the voiced \b.”
- 72d [1960s SeaWorld draw] SHAMU. Not anymore, not a transferable name? Not that that would invalidate the clue. Nor that I will look it up. Soapbox: that whole exploitative model needs to end; it seems the momentum is increasing.
- 76d [New form of a tune] REMIX.
Ya, I think it’s fitting to choose the NY Post version of a compiled Seinfeldisms list.
Patrick Jordan’s Sunday Challenge CrosSynergy crossword —Ade’s write-up
Apologies to everyone, but just posting the grid for today after a longer-than-expected night/morning in Philadelphia covering a soccer game. Did the grid just now, though I’m definitely still feeling zombie-like after getting home. Fun grid from Mr. Patrick Jordan, especially since it has a phrase that I use more than almost any other: JEEZ LOUISE (39A: [“Fer crying’ out loud!”]). Yes, there’s UIES in the grid that drove me crazy (38A: [Brief reversals?]), but then seeing JOISTS, especially after I’ve been on a Do-it-Yourself binge in terms of looking up houses lately, was fun to see (39D: [Ceiling supports]). Alright, my head is about to crash onto this laptop, so I better make this next graph quick.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: MANTLE (9D: [Geological layer that’s about 1,800 miles thick]) – The Mick. New York Yankees. Enough said.
See? That was quick! Have a great rest of your Sunday!