David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Either this Friday puzzle was as hard as a tougher Saturday puzzle, or my brain’s operating in low gear after the Cubs-related sleep deprivation. (The cheering, shouting, “Go, Cubs, Go” singing, honking, and pyrotechnics on my block continued past 1 am. Victory parade Friday morning!)
Four of the first five Across clues contain “pot”: one ceramic, one poker, one anagram, and one leafy drug.
Fave fill: ICELANDIC, CHEAP DATE, HOT STONE MASSAGE, “WOW. JUST … WOW,” SLOW DANCE, SUNDRESS, STOWAWAY, BLACK WIDOW (I know the spider, not the cocktail, and I had BLOODY MARY first … I also had a TESLA in place of the WEBER at 14a, don’t remember the difference between tesla, weber, and gauss.), and SNOW CRAB.
By the way, the weather was perfect today for all the obligatory Wrigley Field pilgrimages. And I was able to pick up some World Series Champions T-shirts (there were lines down the sidewalk just to get into the shops) … and an Addison Russell minifigure (Pinoy pride!) and, dammit, a Cubs license plate holder, because I’ve been driving around with a cracked plastic plate holder for too long.
Five more things:
- 19a. [Professional boxer?], MOVER. As when you pay the movers to pack your belongings in boxes rather than just having them move the boxes you’ve packed. Tricky clue!
- 23a. [Talk like a pirate, say], SWEAR. I’m no pirate, but I have a colorful vocabulary.
- 44d. [“What a knockout!”], OO LA LA. I hate the term “knockout” used this way. The Oxford Dictionaries folks include an example sentence with a “he,” but it feels like it’s usually applied to women.
- 58a. [Serving of ahi], TUNA STEAK. What a waste of a perfectly good fish, when instead it could be used to make good ol’ Mexican-style tuna salad imported from Poland.
- 3d. [Solvent], ABOVE WATER. Raise your hand if you thought the clue was looking for a chemical noun rather than a metaphorical financial adjective.
4.25 stars from me. Really smooth fill here.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
Four theme answers are TAKINGASPIN today, in that SPIN is added to them, making “wacky” answers. The changes are quite wild and woolly today. RAG to RASPING is a traditional change; E to SPINE is a little cheap; BEACH to BE SPINACH is… adventurous. Changing the one-word answer TEAMSTER to two-word TEAM SPINSTER is also quite a wholesale change. I feel decidely ambivalent about this technique, which I have also seen BEQ in particular use before. It is partly forced by the difficulties of inserting four letters like SPIN.
- [Vito Corleone talking bobblehead?], RASPINGDOLL
- [Goal of a holistic chiropractor?], SPINEHARMONY. Ugh, holistic – meaningless word, that usually turns out to be the opposite of what it’s implied. And it was coined by a South African nogal!
- [As a group, emulate Popeye?], BESPINACHFANS
- [Maiden aunt mascot?], TEAMPSPINSTER
A more interesting “rest of the puzzle” than we’ve had so far this week. Spoken-word SOTHISISIT, full ONENOTRUMP (doubling as a helpful message for next week), tough vocab LORGNETTES and the clue of the puzzle [What a kid is prone to make in winter?] for SNOWANGEL.
Clue I don’t understand at all: [It faces forward in a stop sign], PALM???
Doug Peterson’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Up for Debate” —Ade’s write-up
Happy Friday, everyone! Quick pit stop today, though I definitely have to mention that I had the honor of sitting next to today’s crossword constructor, Mr. Doug Peterson, at a New York Yankees game this August and looked on as he played POKÉMON GO on his phone (10D: [Cell phone game in which one may catch a Pikachu]). Outside of the fact that it was a million degrees outside, that was definitely one of the highlights of the year for me!
Fun theme today, as the clues to the theme entries, all relating to some sort of debating, turn common phrases into puns.
- SIMPLE SUBJECT (20A: [Debate topic for rookies?])
- DARK MATTER (35A: [Debate topic that leads to grim arguments?]) – I initially put in “gray matter.”
- EXTRA POINT (43A: [Debate topic not originally on the agenda?])
- SWIMSUIT ISSUE (53A: [Debate topic for beach fashionistas?]) – I remember my dad cutting out the pictures of the models when I received my first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in the mail back in 1994. He did it the year after, but then stopped trying after that.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: PLUM (24A: [Smooth-skinned fruit]) – The 2016 Associated Press Women’s Basketball Preseason All-America Team was announced yesterday, and one of the five players who made the esteemed list is University of Washington senior guard Kelsey PLUM, who finished fourth in Division I in scoring last season, at 25.9 points per game. Her scoring exploits helped to carry the Huskies to their first Final Four appearance in 2015.
Thank you, everyone! See you tomorrow from West Point!
Alan Olschwang’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Along Party Lines” — pannonica’s write-up
Timely crossword, tardy write-up. Also an abbreviated one.
On the matter of abbreviation—four rebus squares in this puzzle, with the shortened forms (first three letters) of each major US political party (REPublican, DEMocratic) running in different, but consistent, directions.
- 17a. [SoCal region that sometimes encompasses Palm Springs] INLAND EMPIRE.
5d. [It typically has a no-parking area around it] FIREPLUG.
- 27a [Cruise spoiler] MAL DE MER.
11d. [Tense used in “I will have finished my to-do list by then”] FUTURE PERFECT.
- 47a. [How some series can be binge-watched] ON DEMAND.
25d. [Target in a self-defense class, maybe] PRESSURE POINT.
- 55a. [Scatterbrained oversight, in un-PC humor] BLONDE MOMENT.
46d. [“House” co-star] OMAR EPPS.
Republicans going down, down, down, down? I’m okay with that. Most especially this year.