Martin Ashwood-Smith and George Barany’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Martin knows how to assemble stacks of 15s, and here there’s a lively quad-stack intersecting three 16s. AMASSED A FORTUNE, timely HURRICANE SEASON, AFRICAN ELEPHANT, and STICKS AND STONES are terrific, and their crossings are solid (I never like ECASH, but two partials and 12 good-to-great crossings, that’s about as good as you’re gonna get with a quad-stack). I really like GREAT BARRIER REEF and MAKING AN ENTRANCE. Not so sure about TEN THOUSAND YEARS (11d. [What “Banzai!” literally means]).
I’d have enjoyed a “wretch” reference in the INK-STAINED clue, a shout-out to journalists. Liked seeing LEE KRASNER, even though I totally spaced on her name when she was in a recent trivia quiz (photo with Jackson Pollock … I knew Marcia Gay Harden played her in the movie but couldn’t dredge up her name then). I like OSRIC the courtier from Hamlet, SEASICK, and SEINFELD. I needed to work the crossings for DANAIDES (36d. [Eternal water-pourers in Hades]), but I like mythological beings so I don’t resent the crossword struggle.
Less keen on crosswordese bits like ELENI, E.A. POE, and ESTE, but these were outweighed by the stuff I liked.
48a. [Dixieland sound] made you think of Dixieland jazz, didn’t it? Instead, it’s the Southern DRAWL. Good feint.
Four stars from me.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
It’s an add a letter theme, or actualy an add two letters – “HA”. The best answer is the central THEFRENCHALP(HA)S, with a clue referencing Bichon Frises; I guess that adds to the incongruity, whereas a Dogue de Bordeaux would have been less surprising. The other three are (HA)BITSANDPIECES, BILLYBUDD(HA) and SA(HA)RANWRAP. The revealer is ICOULDUSEALAUGH – a lot of real estate in a letter addition theme!
My favourite answer was THREEPUTT, even though it’s a little “green paint”… Not sure it’s always a disappointment, many duffers are long inured.
My favourite clue moment was the gratuitous [as of fan mail] in the AVALANCHE clue.
Today’s mystery answer was NABORS – I know Pyle from crosswords. I guess everybody needs good NABORS.
Leaving you with NAS and Junior Gong, because he’s worth looking at as more than a crossword crutch:
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Undercover Boss” —Ade’s write-up
Hello everyone! Happy Friday! Can only put up the grid today, given other responsibilities I’ve had the past couple of days, including today. Here it is, with Mr. Randall J. Hartman bossing his grid around by sliding in “BOSS” into common phrases and/or nouns, creating the puns.
- TRAIL BOSS BLAZER (17A: [Sports jacket worn on a cattle drive?]) – Trailblazer.
- MOB BOSS RULE (25A: [Don Corleone’s admonishment “Never tell anybody outside the family what you’re thinking again”?]) – Mob rule. Man, that’s a long clue.
- PIT BOSS BULL (43A: [Hogwash from a casino bigwig?]) – Pit bull.
- PARTY BOSS ANIMAL (55A: [Elephant, for the head of the Republican National Committee?]) – Party animal.
Not too warm on the theme, as the theme answers seemed real forced. But, hey, it got done, and it was pretty quick work. Sorry once again, but I have to head out. Hope you have a good rest of your Friday! Will come with it much stronger for tomorrow’s blog!