Peter Wentz’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Well! Look at all the snazzy fill in this puzzle. CONDOLEEZZA RICE through the middle, with 11 of its 15 letters crossed by answers of 8 or more letters. So much good stuff, I can easily forgive that one OMSK in the corner. ABOUT A BOY, BILLY ZANE, and TYRESE from cinema. A DUMPSTER sans fire. Holiday GINGERBREAD, COLD-HEARTED, and BAR MITZVAHS stacked in the middle. NINE HOLES of golf and an ICE PALACE. Two news anchor references in NEWS DESK and SAN DIEGO clued via the Anchorman movie (“Stay classy, San Diego”). CARJACKS, MEATHEAD … I like this puzzle.
Granted, there are a lot of names (people, titles, brand names), but I do well with those. Your mileage may vary, and you may be crying foul about some of the crossings. JONI Ernst crossing J. COLE, COLMES and KULIK crossing a movie and an actor, those seem to be the likeliest trouble spots.
- 1a. [Go over again, as one’s writing?], BACKSPACE. Clever clue.
- 33a. [13 things?], BAR MITZVAHS. Traditionally done at age 13, though earlier this year, a Holocaust survivor had his bar mitzvah a full century (!!) late.
- 6d. [Category for un Premio Nobel], PAZ. Nobel Peace Prize, in Spanish. Apparently this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Bob Dylan, can’t be bothered to clear his schedule for a trip to Stockholm to receive the honor in person.
- 9d. [Consider in a lascivious way], EYE UP. Who says that? “Look [someone] up and down,” I’ve heard. Never heard EYE UP.
4.5 stars from me. A 66-worder with smooth fill and tons of sparkle.
Jim Leeds’ Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Andes Expedition” — pannonica’s write-up
Andes, and “ES”. Up front.
- 20a. [Top seller of leafy greens?] ESCAROLE KING (Carole King).
- 27a. [Book subtitled “How Drought Sufferers Pay Homage to Precipitation”?] ESTEEMING RAIN (teeming rain). “Teeming rain” vs “pouring rain”.
- 46a. [Cry of protest at having to produce prose for an exam?] ESSAY IT ISN’T SO! (Say it isn’t so!”).
- 55a. [Tenet of dieting?] ESCHEW THE FAT (chew the fat).
Excepting the first, these are painfully clunky or borderline nonsensical in clue or answer, or both.
Long downs: 3d [Material eliminated from Wimbledon’s court surfaces in 2001] FESCUE GRASS, 24d [Marine puffers] BALLOONFISH. Uncommon name for the latter; see the list of alternate names for what are typically called pufferfish or blowfish here. Unusually, there are a pair of lengthy non-theme across entries, and they significantly overlap the first and second themers: 18a [Struck back] RETALIATED, 58a [Negotiations leading up to a treaty] POURPARLER (etymology: French, from Middle French, from pourparler to discuss, from Old French, from pour for, before + parler to speak). Fairly sure both FESCUE and POURPARLER are at least moderately obscure.
Two seriously tough crossings: 15a [ __ Isaacs Menken (infamous 19th-century actress)] ADAH and 6d [“__ mio dolce ardor” (Gluck aria)] O DEL, and 43a [ __ Potts (youngster in “Beauty and the Beast”] CHIP (I’m assuming this is the Disney version, which holds little appeal for me) and 44d [Chief god of ancient Memphis] PTAH. There are a bunch of other in my opinion arcane entries (e.g. SNEE, GAINES, VITI), but their relatively easy crossings make them gettable.
Favorite clue: 58d [P.O. box] PKG.
Alan Olschwang’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
ITWONTMATTER/HOWFARYOU/PUSHTHEENVELOPE/ITLLSTILL/BESTATIONERY. That’s the quote. For most of the puzzle, you had to solve around these words, and then you got enough for the message to appear, and you went, “oh”. Yes?
There’s really not too much else going on here, either…