Debbie Ellerin’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
So much great stuff in this grid! FRENEMIES, FAMILY GUY, KOWTOWS, INNARDS (I’ve always liked that word), RUFFIAN, IPAD MINIS, PET NAMES, SKILL SET, LIVE A LIE, SOBER UP, TIGHTWAD, AFROPOP, KWANZAA, SUN-IN (yep, I tried this in high school or college and it made no appreciable difference), and FLAME WAR. Plus KUMAR! I enjoyed uncovering all these zippy answers as I worked my way through the puzzle.
I took a wrong turn at 37a. [Do-it-yourself wheels], KIT CAR. I know nothing about KIT CARs and tried the much zippier ZIPCAR, which pointed me towards I PREDICT for 35d … and that wasn’t working out so I erased 35d but tried GAMY at 45a, also wrong. Oh, and TRIMMED for SLIMMED at 33a.
I knew ELLIE Goulding and the other names in the grid, except for LIANE Balaban. Hey! She’s apparently not related to actor Bob Balaban. Also did not know the Old Testament partial, 51a. [“Let me ___ pray thee”: Exodus 4:18], GO I. Not a great entry, that.
I complained the other day about PART A in another puzzle. I don’t like it any better here. Not much else to inspire CARPS, though. 4.2 stars from me.
Ed Sessa’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
A tad tougher than normal, but maybe I am losing something in my old age! Yes, I got it done in under eight minutes, but typing is a lot faster than writing, and there were some tough sections in this puzzle. I count 68 words, which is excellent, and this puzzle also has what seems now to me a trademark of LAT puzzles; solid fill! Only a couple of entries that were unfamiliar to me, but also plenty of entries that literally made me smile! 4.2 stars for this one!
A few comments:
- 1A [One not to upset?] APPLE CART – Great clue, although the grammar seems a bit off. Maybe its just me … !
- 20A [Guttural utterance] CROAK – I had GROAN in here first, but when GROANS appeared at 40A, I knew I had a problem!
- 36A [Used in an undignified way] STOOPED TO – Great entry, even though its more of a partial phrase.
- 54A [They often precede garage sales] ESTIMATES – As in, “How much should we ask for this junk?”
- 56A [Fitting place for sneaks] SHOE STORE – A clever clue! Probably the best of the bunch!
- 5D [iPhone movie purchase] E-TICKET – I was thinking of buying an actual movie to watch on my iPhone! Don’t laugh: I have done it before!
- 9D [Art form offering plenty of kicks?] TAE KWON DO – Had this right, but couldn’t spell it correctly! I had KWAN in for a bit. I did not know 28A [19th-century dancer Lola] MONTEZ at all!
- 11D [Informal talk] BULL SESSION – There are a ton of jokes I could say here! Great entry!
- 12D [Wedding planner’s nightmare] BRIDEZILLA – Also a great entry! Is this show still on?
- 13D [City near the Great Salt Lake] OGDEN – A place I still hope to visit soon! Missed the NPL convention!
- 30D [Stirred things up] MADE WAVES – Another awesome entry!
This puzzle was fun! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Brad Wilber’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
Another solid puzzle by Brad, but there are three or four entries in this one that I flat out didn’t know. In some cases, I can blame my own ignorance in not being familiar with certain things, but a couple I am sure would stump most people. Having said all that, I did solve it in just over 20 minutes, so it wasn’t impossible. And I think most people that solve this WANT the difficulty level ramped up, and while that may be accomplished through clever clues, rare vocabulary words also can help that cause. I will mention what I didn’t care for in the comments below. 3.9 stars today for this one. And yes, I had several errors as you can see in the grid image!
- 1A [December dieter’s no-no] EGG NOG – I am mentioning this because I LOVE egg nog, and was particularly excited when it became available year round a few years ago!
- 20A [Girl in “Star Trek: Voyager”] NAOMI – I am not a Trekkie, but my son kinda is, and he didn’t know who this was until I solved it. Evidently she is a young character?? (On a side note, I heard there will be a new Star Trek series on Netflix in a few months!)
- 23A [They’re seen on Southern Hemisphere $100 gold coins] EMUS – A strange clue for this. Why not just say Australian??
- 25A [Spot checker] THE VET – Great clue, but I have an issue with the “THE” inclusion. I am not even going to attempt to do a better fill, because I probably cannot. Still seems like it is not the best entry.
- 32A [Prompter’s spur] THEN WHAT? – This is excellent! One of the best entries in the grid.
- 34A [Linguistic roots] ETYMA – Really?? Again, it is probably needed so as to include some of the other great entries around it, but definitely my least favorite of the puzzle.
- 40A [Test of will] GUT CHECK – Speaking of great entries around ETYMA, this is one of them!
- 57A [Small bulb] ONION SET – No green thumb here, so I do not know this term. I’ll trust that it is a thing!
- 59A [Indian-American fiction Pulitzer winner for 2000] LAHIRI – I’m so stupid I thought this was the title! Jhumpa Lahiri won for her novel, The Namesake, which according to Wikipedia was made into a movie. I am so uncultured…
- 1D [Confiscate, as property] ESCHEAT – Ouch.
- 2D [Move like a mastodon] GALUMPH– Double ouch! Two toughies next to each other! (I looked them both up; they are indeed words!)
- 12D [Powdermilk Biscuits, per Keillor’s faux jingle] HOT ITEM – Enjoy this video!
- 13D [Pro tennis, since 1968] OPEN ERA – First entry I filled in! But I love tennis, so…
- 21D [Gershwin musical with “Someone to Watch Over Me”] OH, KAY! – Now that I see it, I think I have heard of this at some point in my existence. Again, my unculturedness rears its ugly head!
- 24D [Arc seen in fountains] SUNBOW – One of the best entries in the grid!
- 42D [Home of the Herb Alpert School of Music] CAL ARTS – OK, someone will have to explain this entry to me. I looked it up, and it seems as if the school is at UCLA. Am I wrong? Am I missing something??
Lots of comments for a puzzle I had some complaints with! Enjoy your weekend!
Patti Varol’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Rated PG” —Ade’s write-up
Good day, everybody! I hope you’re all doing great and, once again, staying cool and hydrated! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Patti Varol, involved five two-word theme entries in which the first word starts with the letter “P” and the second word starts with the letter “G.” Two of them are sports references, which is the perfect time to let you know about Indiana Pacers star forward Paul George, who changed his number from 24 to 13, so he could become even more marketable and possess the catchy nickname “PG-13.”
- PINOT GRIGIO (17A: [Italian dry white wine])
- PAUL GIAMATTI (24A: [Harvey Pekar portrayer in “American Splendor”])
- PORTRAIT GALLERY (37A: [Smithsonian institution])
- PUTTING GREEN (50A: [Where one may end up after a long drive])
- PERFECT GAME (59A: [The last one was pitched by Felix Hernandez in 2012])
I really have to be more up-to-date on the current dramas and shows on television, as the clue to SFPD did not ring any bell for me (1D: [“Murder in the First” org.]). Now, if that entry mentioned Dirty Harry or Bullitt, then I would have been made in the shade. Also was at somewhat of a loss at SIA, but, now looking her up, I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to some of her music without knowing who the artist was (42A: [One-named Australian singer of “Breathe Me”]). Loved the switch-up with the reference to Lara in crossword puzzles, with LARA’S THEME featuring today (30D: [Melody throughout “Doctor Zhivago”]). Wasn’t sure I knew it was called that until today, but I definitely remember the melody. This grid could definitely made you thirsty, with MAGNUM (6D: [Large wine bottle]) intersecting both Pinot Grogio and FRESCA (14A: [Grapefruit-flavored diet soda]). All of those would definitely go down well after having some SKIRT STEAK, if you’re a meat eater (11D: [Meat often used in fajitas]). No steak for me right now, as a turkey sandwich is in the fridge and awaits my consumption of it in about another couple of minutes.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ARTE (35A: [Uffizi works]) – Arturo “ARTE” Moreno is currently the owner of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the first Mexican-American to own a major sports team in the United States. He bought the team from the Walt Disney Company back in 2003. He’s also the man responsible for changing the team name from “Anaheim Angels” to the “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” back in 2005.
See you all for the Sunday Challenge!
Pancho Harrison’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Assert Yourself” — pannonica’s write-up
In which Ies are inserted into existing phrases, injecting them with humor, it is hoped.
- 23a. [Whiny question to Sasquatch on a road trip?] ARE WE THERE YETI (are we there yet?).
- 33a. [Transportation for the three wise men?] MAGI WHEELS ( mag wheels).
- 40a. [Description of a virtuous blonde?] SO FAIR SO GOOD (so far so good).
- 67a. [Soccer field, say?] GAME PLAIN (game plan).
- 74a. [Opposed to rural spreads?] ANTI FARMS (ant farms).
- 98a. [Source of cleaning tips?] MAID MAGAZINE ( Mad magazine). Only themer with an I already present.
- 107a. [Attila the Hun’s motto?] BORN TO RUIN (born to run).
- 124a. [Group drooling while drilling?] SALIVATION ARMY (Salvation Army).
To state the obvious, this would have been more dramatic—and much more difficult to construct—had the pivotal letter been excluded from all other areas of the grid.
Quite a number of those allied clue/answer clusters that I’m in the habit of highlighting in these write-ups. Not going to list them today.But you, you feel free to hunt them up if you like.
- Nifty minor echo in the proximate verticals 36d [It’s south of Georgia] ARMENIA and 70d [How lovers might walk ARM IN ARM.
- Also faintly tickled by the overlapping of musician TOM Waits and photographer NAN Goldin. (86d & 92d)
- 117d [Check the fit of] TRY ON. It’s been a very long time since I visited the Cloisters.
All right, that’s it. Anodyne crossword,