Erin Rhode’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
I am late to the puzzle this evening, after enjoying the Taste of Ramadan festivities in the neighborhood. Huge buffet after sundown! Great music and singing! Ebru art (Turkish marbling)! Face painting for the kids! Henna tattoos! It was a long and busy day, so it was delightful to come home to a fun themeless by Erin Rhode, a palate cleanser after yesterday’s unpleasantness. And I won’t even grouse that the puzzle played like a Friday for me, because I’m tired and a tough puzzle might’ve flayed me.
Highlights: FOOD COMA! If you’ve had a huge holiday meal that sucks your energy dry, you’ve had a food coma. Next Across answer, a FAT LIP! RED VINES candy, solid (but I prefer cherry Nibs). TOP DOGS (though I started with BIG DOGS and that slowed me down). KIBOSH. The really rather terrible movie, BABY MAMA (good entry, bad cinema, and thank goodness it’s clued as the terrible movie). EMOTICON, clued as [Small show of one’s feelings]. FARCE with a Broad City clue (mind you, I have not watched the Comedy Central show yet, but I know I should! And crossword constructors, the show’s creators and stars are named ILANA and ABBI. They are heading for crossword immortality soon, I know it.). WATER-SKIS and ALONE TIME. And! My favorite entry here, “I CAN’T EVEN.” Sometimes, I just can’t. I literally can’t even.
On the other hand, REPAYABLE feels a little roll-your-own-word to me, and PASS A TEST is a contrived nothingness by crossword standards. Plural DIANAS and ELMOS, and just the one ENA, bleh. Didn’t love “AND I’M OUT,” partly because it’s duplicating part of I CAN’T EVEN.
Three more things:
- 49a. [Oyster cracker?], OTTER. Who doesn’t love otters? Well, oysters, probably.
- 24d. [Who said “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”], EDISON. I dunno, man.
- 6d. [Chaplin of “Game of Thrones”], OONA. Meh. She was on seasons 2 and 3 (in 11 episodes), but we just finished four more seasons without her character.
Four stars from me.
Gail Grabowski’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Watching a thrilling Djokovic/Querrey tennis match as I type this. Wimbledon dealing with a lot of weather issues, and this match has stretched over two days and several rain delays. Djokovic going for a calendar grand slam, so the pressure is on!
Now, about the puzzle! Haven’t solved one by Gail Grabowski in a while. A nice 70-worder that has lots of great entries. A little harder than a normal LAT Saturday challenge. 4.3 stars for a fun one!
- 6A [Where many leading males may be seen?] BALLROOMS – Right off the bat, probably the best clue in the puzzle!
- 24A [Hall of Fame NHL coach Roger] NELSON – I have vaguely heard of this man. He is a little before my time of watching hockey. His Wikipedia page is fascinating as it discusses some of the coaching moves he innovated.
- 29A [Sticks] BOONDOCKS – Or, [Where Derek lives!]
- 49A [Pic Sans Nom, par exemple] ALPE – Why have I never heard of the Nameless Peak?
- 54A [Russian Orthodox Church feature] ONION DOME – I would love to visit Russia one day and see some sights like this. I believe this in one of the more recognizable instances of onion domes.
- 1D [Courses around courses] CART PATHS – Another awesome clue early in the puzzle. My golf game is almost non-existent these days; perhaps I will take it up when I retire in my 60s!
- 30D [It may have a bell on it] CAT COLLAR – Tough clue until you have several crossings. I have had several cats, but never put a bell on one!
Match now in another rain delay! Will post the results in the comments later today! Enjoy your weekend!
Matthew Sewell’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
There is usually a steady rotation of only 5 people that make the Saturday Stumper puzzles for the Newsday. So today is a change of pace for sure, as the constructor is Matthew Sewell, a constructor I can say I am not familiar with at all. I sailed through about a 1/3 of this puzzle in about two minutes, but then other sections were so difficult I stared at the blank areas for what seemed like hours! So in summary: some sections easier than normal, some extremely hard. But a good puzzle nonetheless. Well clued, and extremely challenging. 4.4 stars!
- 15A [Elizabeth knighted him in ’59 for “services to the arts”] ALEC – As in Sir Alec Guiness, who we yanks know best as Obi-Wan Kenobi from the original Star Wars movies!
- 22A [It’s debated in song in “Hamilton”] TREATY – Have not seen this play yet, but have played the soundtrack. The music is actually as good as the rave reviews I keep hearing! How long until it plays in northern Indiana, or even Chicago??
- 23A [Self-starter’s byword] SEIZE THE DAY – This stumped me! I don’t think I realized that a “byword” can be a full expression!
- 42A [California company with a Rocket Road address] SPACE X – Great clue. I think you too can fly into space for a large sum of money!
- 47A [’94 Oscar nominee as Jo March] WINONA RYDER – Tough clue! Who remembers the nominees??
- 51A [Train technology] MAGLEV – Still curious why these don’t exist in the U.S. Maybe because of all the bureaucratic red tape we have here?!
- 63A [Airbnb listing] CONDO – This stumped me as well! I had ?O?D? and just never thought of CONDO. Had hotels and houses on the brain!
- 6D [Settle down] ALIGHT – Another great clue. I had SOOTHE from the H only from 23A. No wonder the NE corner took me so long!
- 10D [Project Mercury food source] TUBE – Still another great clue! I was almost going to put in TANG, and no way I was thinking of HOW the food was delivered!
- 28D [Burr, for one] ROTARY FILE – Yes, I was thinking Aaron Burr! Hamilton still rattling around from 22A!
- 41D [Song performed at both Obama inaugural parades] ALOHA OE – Makes perfect sense, since he is from Hawaii. But only having ALO????, I was thinking of a song starting with the word “a”!
I could list more, but we will stop here! Enjoy your holiday weekend!
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “You’re Under Arrest” —Ade’s write-up
Good day, everyone! Here’s hoping you’re starting your Fourth of July weekend in style. Today’s crossword solution, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, includes theme entries in which the letters “LAW” span across the two words within the answers. The fourth theme entry, LAW BREAKER, acts as the reveal (59A: [Criminal (and a hint to 17-, 28-, and 44-Across)]).
- WALLA WALLA (17A: [Evergreen State city])
- WELL AWARE (28A: [Completely plugged-in])
- STEAL AWAY (44A: [Leave quietly]) – In my best Robbie Dupree voice: “Steal away! Why don’t we steeeeal aaaaaaaway…into the night!”
I think I need more thunderstorms that force me to retreat into a cafe near the Brooklyn Bridge to pass through more often! Fastest time ever since doing CS/WaPo grids. I thank you very much, Mother Nature. Lots of music to sink your teeth into in this grid, and you can take your pick at which will give you an earworm today. Along with “Steal Away,” I personally have the song referenced in the clue to VALLEY in my mind as well (22A: [“Harper ______ P.T.A. (1968 chart-topper by Jeannie C. Riley]). More tune-inducing entries include ALL SHOOK UP (30D: [1957 chart-topper by Elvis Presley]), ELLA (7D: [Contemporary of Billie and Dizzy]), and ADELE (63A: [“Rolling in the Deep” vocalist]). Has anyone heard of the phrase referenced in AS A (23D: [Crazy ____ betsy bug])? Unless I missed it uttered in a movie or something, can’t say that I have. Thought about the phrase much more than the crosswordese that is “as a.”
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: MILLER LITE (3D: [Beer with the ad “Great Taste, Less Filling!”]) – Who is Bob Lenz, and how did he revolutionize televised sports and sports marketing? Lenz, while working as the creative director for the McCann-Erickson agency’s New York office in the 1970s, coined the now-famous catchphrase for MILLER LITE, which used many famous sports celebrities in its “Great Taste, Less Filling” ad campaign that spanned from 1974 to 1991. Not only did light beer become pretty popular in the US because of it, but beer advertising was never the same as well, especially when it came to advertising during sporting events. New York Jets’ fullback Matt Snell was the first athlete to pitch Miller Lite, but the first Tastes Great-Less Filling “argument” came in 1976, involving then Boston Celtics head coach Tommy Heinsohn and NBA referring legend Mendy Rudolph. Here you go…
See you all for the Sunday Challenge!
Damien Peterson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “In Dependence” — pannonica’s write-up
Is the centrical 72-across an unannounced revealer? [1992 Nirvana single] IN BLOOM. Not only does it seem to reference the mechanics of the theme—prefixing IN- to base phrases to wacky effect—but it evokes the visual spectacle of exploding fireworks, a staple of Independence Day festivities. If not, I would accuse the entry of stepping on the theme’s toes. Nor does its symmetrical partner, 60a [Ashore, perhaps] ON LEAVE, explicitly reference the theme, but of course 4 July is a vacation day for most in this country.
- 22a. [Wire the newsmagazine’s offices] INSTALL FOR TIME. Initially I thought the clue’s “wire” meant “send a communiqué” and the answer was to be INSTANT MESSAGE, or INSTAGRAM something-or-other.
- 30a. [Sound heard at low-budget comedies?] INDIE LAUGHING. The clue would more naturally be phrased with in rather than at, but of course that’d be a no-no.
- 46a. [Royalties from “A Farewell to Arms”?] INCOME TO PAPA.
- 64a. [Walesa, focused on his cause?] INTENT POLE.
- 67a. [Assignment for a mob enforcer?] INJURY DUTY.
- 82a. [Huggies?] INFANCY PANTS.
- 96a. [Walk taken on a hunch?] INTUITION HIKE.
- 109a. [One who coped with uncomfortable shoe liners?] INSOLE SURVIVOR.
Alas, aside from the question of IN BLOOM, the spell is broken by 16d [Very quickly] IN A WINK. Not that AWINK on its own carries much significance.
I usually don’t go in for inter-crossword comparisons, but as I solved this just after today’s NYT and there were a couple instances of uncanny similarity, there’s a certain compulsion:
- Across in the upper right in the Times is 9a [Fight memento] FAT LIP. Solving there, I held back, thinking it could also be SHINER. So naturally, upon encountering this puzzle’s 21a [Fistfight souvenir] in practically the same location—in went FAT LIP without hesitation. But here it was indeed SHINER.
- Then, a three-letter vertical traversing the last three rows. In the NYT it was 62d [Accounting abbr.] YTD, the WSJ proffers 110d [Pay stub listing] NET. Note also that the other puzzle also contains 31a [Get in the end] NET.
Confession: I’d been more enthusiastic about the similarities than might seem reasonable because I’d misremembered another pair as being one from each puzzle when in fact it was a deliberate set from the Journal. 35a/112d [Capitol Bldg. worker] REP and SEN.
Biggest snag in the solve: 10d [Honored formally] FÊTED for CITED (see also 24a [Expression of respect] HOMAGE); this plus the uncertainty of whether 6d [Drop off] ––LL would be LULL or FALL or something else gave the across answers a strange cast. 6a [Jack, e.g.] –ACEFAR– (not to mention how the preceding 1a [Does a dairy chore] MILKS primed me to think of FARM) FACE CARD, 20a [Extremely, informally] –LL FIRE—. (ALL FIRED. Does the clue need a with “up” qualifier? Does informally impinge on the theme? Do I have to scour the rest of the clues for other in- infractions? Answer to that last one: no.)
- 27a [Paris, to Hecuba] SON. What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba / That he should weep for her? / What would he do, Had he the motive and the cue for passion / That I have? (–Hamlet, II, ii) Also, 71a [“Help me, Cassius, ___ sink”: Shakespeare] OR I.
- Favorite clue: 83d [Worker in the ledger domain: Abbr.] CPA. Runner-up: 75a [Stuck in the sea] HARPOONED.
- Least favorite clue: 111d [Business that produces sweaters] SPA.
- 62a [Do holder] GEL, 58d [Does dos] STYLES. 23d [Stock securer] LASSOER, 65d [Threat for a rustler] NOOSE.
- 43d [Hurtle] CAREEN. Predictably, I prefer CAREER for this sense.
- 76d [Nation whose largest island is Babelthuap] PALAU. Babelthuap!
- 18d [Scalloping apparatus] DREDGE. Nothing to do with tailoring or papermaking. (See also NYT 49a [Oyster cracker?] OTTER; I’m not giving up.)
- 84d [“Black Magic Woman” band] SANTANA. No matter how much I tried, could not get FLEETWOOD MAC to fit here. Also, 89d [Tea merchant Thomas] wouldn’t accommodate TWINING, because the correct answer is LIPTON. Oh, and 118a [Chorus from toadies]? That’s right, BREKEKEKEX KOAX KOAX does not fit. YESES (meh).
Fun crossword. I give it eight babelthuaps.