Sam Donaldson’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
This is Sam’s second NYT puzzle in 10 days (and he also had a WSJ puzzle in between the two!). The theme here is BROKEN BONES (55a. [Injuries illustrated four times in this puzzle]), and these are displaced fractures (the broken ends of the bone don’t line up). I’m just glad the bones aren’t compound fractures extending beyond the edge of the grid. We’ve got circled letters displaying a fractured UL/NA, SAC/RUM, TI/BIA, and FE/MUR. SLIP AND FALL (17a. [Take a tumble]) isn’t clued in relation to the theme, but you could certainly take a hard fall and break your arm, leg, or tailbone. The theme is painful, but more solid than those bones.
Sam made this puzzle before he saw Jeff Chen’s CrosSynergy puzzle in which the bone names were broken by black squares but each remained in a single row. He did love Jeff’s version of the broken bone theme, though!
Did not know: 42a. [MTV documentary series about everyday people], TRUE LIFE.
Five more things:
- 31a. [Is ready for the summer weather, for short], HAS A/C. Meh. Stilted phrase.
- 40a. [Chrome dome], BALDY. It works on you, Sam!
- 41a. [Language of Copenhagen, to locals], DANSK. We would also have accepted the Dansk housewares line.
- 9d. [Indian home to Mother Teresa], CALCUTTA. A.k.a. Kolkata.
- 44d. [Overly ambitious student, in slang], GUNNER. I have never once heard this slang usage. Maybe it’s a law school thing from Sam’s day job?
3.8 stars from me.
C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
It has been a while since I have reviewed a C.C. Burnikel puzzle on a Tuesday; it seemed as if hers appeared almost EVERY Tuesday for a period! This theme is a little sneaky, and I almost didn’t catch it! (Even though the relevant clues have stars in front of them!) Here are the theme entries:
- 17A [On the same page] IN HARMONY
- 40A [Auto buyers consideration] CAR LOAN
- 11D [Illegal activity that threatens elephants] IVORY TRADE
- 30D [Jamaican resort] MONTEGO BAY
- 64A [Online business, and a hint to the ends of the answers to starred clues] E-COMMERCE
So we are referencing well known websites such as eharmony.com, eloan.com, etrade.com, and of course, Ebay! In my defense, it doesn’t leap out at you, but rather sneaks up on you at the end. Which is one of my favorite types of theme! 3.8 stars.
Just a few notes:
- 9A [Tony who was a teammate of Carew and Killebrew] OLIVA – Hall of Famer from the Minnesota Twins, but very dated. As a sports fan, it doesn’t bother me, but may irk some.
- 56A [Landlocked African nation] CHAD – Is there anything else to know about Chad? Who is the president? Is there even a president?? I have been watching A Very Secret Service on Netflix, and it makes reference to several countries that are former French colonies. I am only 2 1/2 episodes in, so no recommendation yet, but be warned: it is in French, and there are subtitles!
- 69A [Fee-based entertainment service] PAY TV – As in cable, which many people are cutting. Many channels have a la carte service, such as HBO Now, and in a few years that may be the model to use! Finally I may not have to pay for Bravo! Some of these are called OTT services, which stands for Over The Top. A new clue for a common entry!
- 34D [Auditing giant __ & Young] ERNST – A possible employer…
- 37D [Ali boxing technique] ROPE-A-DOPE – Another remembrance of the recently deceased boxing icon.
That is all for today! See you this weekend!
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 267), “Ruff Stuff”—Janie’s review
Three weeks ago Liz’s “Here, FIDO!” flirted with the idea of a canine-centric theme (i.e., the title was a punny case of misdirection). This week, Liz does give us a canine-centric theme and lemme say from the get-go, the puns run roughshod—or let’s make that “ruff”shod… If puns aren’t your thing, maybe just say “ADIEU” and come back next time—but I really hope we don’t lose you! (And “Ruff,” let’s not forget, is not only an approximation of the sound of a dog’s bark, but is also the name of the pooch in the Mitchell household [Dennis the Menace…].)
The four-leggeds who get the grid shout-out today come to us by way of mash-ups in three examples, by way of more straight-forward punning in a fourth. All are clued in a consistent, […gone to the dogs?] way. If the theme execution isn’t always consistent, the results are consistently amusing (to this solver, at any rate). As I know I’ve said on other occasions, I’m all for puzzles that entertain and (for pun-lovers especially) this one does.
- 17A. [Elvis Presley hit that has gone to the dogs?] “VIVA LASSIE VEGAS.“ So, LASSIE meets “VIVA LAS VEGAS”—you see how this works.) The song may have been a hit, but not even LASSIE coulda saved this dog of a MOVIE. (Apologies in advance to fans of The King and/or Ann-Margret!)
- 28A. [Black Sox slugger Jackson who has gone to the dogs?] SHOELESS CUJO. Or, Stephen King’s scary CUJO meets the immortal and, sadly, (probably unfairly) disgraced SHOELESS JOe Jackson.
- 42A. [Bubbly drink that has gone to the dogs?] ASTA SPUMANTE. This is that more straight-forward pun I mentioned, playing on ASTi SPUMANTE. Funny concept here. Mr. ASTA also put in an appearance in “Here, FIDO!”
- 56A. [Figure skating maneuvers that have gone to the dogs?] TRIPLE TOTO LOOPS. And this one’s an even funnier concept, imo. TRIPLE TOe LOOPS meet up with Dorothy Gale’s “little dog.” As impressive as well-executed TRIPLE TOe LOOPS are, I’d really love to see what those TRIPLE TOTO LOOPS look like.
Presenting this quartet of CRITTERS in this fresh way shows a lot of INGENUITY on Liz’s part. Those two bolded words, btw, are joined by some other terrific entries. Had to laugh at the [Doing some needlework] TATTOOING combo, as Liz is an expert cross-stitcher (but at 14 letters, CROSS-STITCHING wasn’t gonna fly; nor TATTING at seven). Besides, this is the kind of smart, “think outside the box” pairing that keeps solvers on their toes.
It’s in good company, too, with PLUSH TOY—which seems to play nicely off of LUSHLY. It’s “A-OK” in NASA-speak and fine by me, too, to encounter JANE / AUSTEN in my puzz. While absolutely accurate, the “NO SALE” [Register words] pair took me aback some. In this era of computerized, even ROBO-style cash registers, is the “NO SALE” option still seen any more? Or referred to with those words? It all seems A TAD quaint, no? Not unlike the [7 on an old phone] PRS pair. These days “Q” joins the fun at 7. And the absent-on-an-old-phone “Z” now gets in on the action at 9. Clearly this is a boon to the once state-of-the-art (now p-in-the-a) alphanumeric method of texting!
Finally, we get our grains today by way of those [Feedbag filler] OATS and [“…and that AIN’T hay!”]. Cole Porter used the latter phrase in his deliciously-wrought song from Kiss Me, Kate, “Always True to You (in My Fashion),” in which Lois, the secondary leading lady tries to assure her jealous, cash-strapped boyfriend Bill that while other (very deep-pocketed) gents may turn her head, her heart belongs to him. It’s no surprise that it’s hard for him to ACCEDE to her argument when she lets him know that (among many other suitors): “From Ohio Mister Thorne / Calls me up from night ’til morn, / Mister Thorne once cornered corn and that AIN’T hay.”
And on that high note, “CIAO!” for today. Keep cool, keep solving and c’mon back for more next week!
Mary Lou Guizzo’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Ice Breakers” — Jim’s review
Solid theme today from Mary Lou as she finds four phrases, two of them grid-spanners, that break the ICE. Try them out at your next cocktail party.
- 17a. [Notorious criminal] PUBLIC ENEMY
- 28a. [Swimming or cycling] AEROBIC EXERCISE
- 44a. [Crime lab staff] FORENSIC EXPERTS
- 58a. [Stunning swimmer?] ELECTRIC EEL
It’s nice that each -IC word ends slightly differently (-LIC, -BIC, -SIC, -TRIC). FORENSIC EXPERTS made me grumble a little bit. Would’ve rather had FORENSIC EVIDENCE, but it’s too long. Maybe if the clue was something like [They’re often called to testify] or something related to being an expert witness at a trial. But really these are nice, solid theme entries that break the ICE consistently. Well chosen.
More good stuff: MELTDOWN, PAYDIRT, REENGINEER, and ROAD RACING. Grumble-worthy stuff: PPM, SNARERS, DO UP, ORD, and the EERO/LEER/ALDA corner. I’ve been to Fort ORD near Monterey, Calif. It’s really not crossword-worthy anymore.
Some difficult proper names for a Tuesday: 15a [“The Clan of the Cave Bear” heroine] AYLA, 45d [Juan’s wife] EVA (didn’t realize we were talking about the Peróns until I started writing this up), and toughest of all 37a [Shakespearean actor Edmund] KEAN. Ouch. Okay, reading about him on Wikipedia is very interesting (his final words are alleged to be, “Dying is easy; comedy is hard.”), but this name will be unknowable by the majority of Tuesday solvers, I’d wager. Granted, that’s a tough section of the grid to fill, bounded by two themers and with 28d ending in F.
Clues of note:
- 7a. [Private transportation?] is JEEP. Not so much anymore, though. For the most part, JEEPs have been replaced by more rugged vehicles such as the HMMWV (Humvee).
- 46d. [Point in the right direction?] is EAST. Best clue in the puzzle right there.
- LOO at 59d and ROLL at 63a both have befuddling clues. LOO is apparently an [Old card game] and ROLL is a [Frank wrapper] (me, I normally put hot dogs in a bun). I would’ve enjoyed that crossing much more if it took advantage of the fact that LOO ROLL is the British term for toilet paper.
Finally, one more proper name of old: 1a [Co-star of TV’s “Daniel Boone”] ED AMES. He was born to Ukrainian Jewish parents but went on to play Cherokee tribesman Mingo on Daniel Boone. He is also famed for the tomahawk throw on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show which is recognized as one of the top moments in the Carson era. According to Wikipedia, it’s “been called the longest sustained laugh by a live audience in television history.” See it again here:
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Wake Up” —Ade’s write-up
Good morning, everyone! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, includes three 15-letter entries in which the first word also can be added to the end of the words COME TO, which acts as the fourth theme entry – and the reveal of the grid (67A: [Regain consciousness (and a phrase that precedes the first words of 20-, 36-, and 51-Across]).
- ORDER IN THE COURT (20A: [Judge’s cry])
- JESUS OF NAZARETH (36A: [Central figure in Christianity])
- BLOWS HOT AND COLD (51A: [Vacillates])
I was thinking of the possibilities of 15-letter theme entries that started with “papa” or “daddy,” but wasn’t too successful. Closest I could come was “Papa John’s Pizza,” which is just one letter short. Better yet, good that that didn’t work, especially since, in my opinion, Papa John’s is terrible. OK, back to the grid, and, my word, I haven’t heard CONTAC in a loooong time (47D: [DayQuil competitor]). Seeing the old logo took me back to the 1980s, as I totally remember seeing this around the house as a kid.
More a little later, as I’m about to head on a bus with almost 40 high schoolers with football gear on. Yes, the bus will smell like fresh roses!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: HOSE (4D: [Fire engine accessory]) – This grid gave me such a hard time with coming up with something here! But I have! Presbyterian College is a school located in Clinton, SC, and their athletic teams are nicknamed the Blue HOSE. Why the Blue Hose? It’s in honor of the football teams in the early 20th century that wore blue socks.
See you at the top of the hump on Wednesday!
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Brexit” – Derek’s write-up
Talk about a timely theme! This portmanteau has been omnipresent in the news for the past month or so, so it was only fair that it be lampooned in a puzzle! Each answer is a phrase missing BR, thus a “BR exit!”
- 19A [“I want every non-war symbol you got” request] EACH OF THE PEACE (breach of the peace)
- 31A [Method of accentuating poker hands?] ACES FOR IMPACT (braces for impact)
- 40A [All-poulty production of a Steinbeck novel?] EAST OF CHICKEN (breast of chicken)
- 55A [Ability to tell one conjunction from another?] AND RECOGNITION (brand recognition)
It seems as if all of them are at the beginning, so that is nice and uniform. Certainly timely, if nothing else! 4.5 stars just on that alone!
Just a few notes:
- 6A [“___ Degree” (Morningwood song)] NTH – A new clue for this!
- 16A [Armbones] ULNAE – I never know if this is ULNAS or ULNAE?
- 22A [“Slammin’ Sammy of baseball] SOSA – Still a Hall of Famer in my book! Even on steroids, you still have to hit the ball! And there are several in the Hall already that have used PEDs in the past!
- 35A [Baymax’s friend, in a Disney movie] HIRO – I was like, “Who is this??!!” but these characters are from Big Hero 6, a Disney movie I actually saw!!
- 65A [Rhode Island-based insurance company] AMICA – I have never heard of this company. I had AETNA in there at first. I will have to brush up on my Rhode Island companies!
- 1D [Spanish-born NBA star ___ Gasol] PAU – Now a San Antonio Spur, I believe!
- 8D [Chant in the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop”] HEY HO – If you say so! Haven’t heard this song in years! I will find it on YouTube…
- 11D [Voice actress Kath of “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “Rugrats,” and “Animaniacs”] SOUCIE – Never heard of this lady either, and my older kids watched all of these shows when they were little!
- 33D [Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s former org.] IMF – I believe this guy was involved in some crazy scandals …
- 38D [Ludd from whom Luddites got their name] NED – I feel like I am learning a lot from this puzzle!
- 46D [Pacific Ocean phenomenon of lower water temperature] LA NIÑA – I thought this was El Niño. I wonder what the difference is? I need to look this up too!
- 56D [Some “Gods and Generals” extras] REBS – Another movie I haven’t seen! Or was it a miniseries … ?
I keep telling you all how uncultured I am! Enjoy your week!