Patrick Berry’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
There was food. There was traffic. I am tired. Glad this puzzle was on the easy side for a Friday.
Didn’t know an ALCOHOL RUB was a [Sore muscle treatment]. I like LESSON PLAN, TEA CADDIES, Pax BRITANNICA, HEAVEN-SENT, RISING STAR, SPACESUITS, “ME FIRST.” Frowned at the CATSUP spelling, as I am on Team Ketchup. Once had one of those brandy ALEXANDERS and it tasted like a dessert.
Never heard of 45a. MAE [“___ West Lips Sofa” (Dalí piece)]; you can read about it here.
Having trouble seeing the sentences these could be interchangeable in: 29d. [Has every right to do] and EARNS.
Four stars, over and out.
Greg Johnson’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Rules of Engagement” — pannonica’s write-up
- 17aR [23/38/53 Across was one for Simon & Schuster] BESTSELLING BOOK.
- 23a. [With 38 and 53 Across, Dale Carnegie debut of 1936] HOW TO WIN FRIENDS | AND | INFLUENCE PEOPLE.
Difficult for me to be excited about this one, as I have pretty much negative associations with the theme subject. At best, it’s proto-pop psychology and exceedingly banal. At worst, it’s a training manual to apply a palatable veneer to sociopathic individuals (Charles Manson, notoriously, but also myriad business executives and especially CEOs). Somewhere in between, it’s an inveterate salesman’s hucksterism codified. I readily confess that these feelings may be highly idiosyncratic.
- 59a [Niche for Duchamp] DADA. Certainly it was a movement he was associated with, but taking the breadth of his art and ideas into consideration, the clue feels unnecessarily pigeonholing. I realize it’s characterizing DADA as a niche and not Duchamp, but even so it feels inaccurate, perhaps because that was an expansive and varied—almost amorphous—movement.
- Call me crazy, but I kind of like the letter mashup in 71a [ __ cable (video-transfer aid] HDMI, transitory as the technology (standard?) may be. It works in this moment.
- 3d [What might be filled with Joy?] DISHWATER. Cute clue, but perhaps infuse would have been a better word choice?
- 50d [Spike on a cello or double bass] END PIN. So that’s what it’s called.
- 22a [Tobiko or kazunoko, on Japanese menus] ROE. Of flying fish and herring, respectively.
- 12d [Filmmaking series] TAKES. Clever.
And … cut!
Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Downsizing” —Ade’s write-up
Good day, everyone! How’s everyone holding up after Turkey Day dinners from last night? I know I’m holding out OK, but definitely raiding the fridge for more after blogging right now. Today’s crossword is from Mr. Martin Ashwood-Smith, and the first words in all of the theme entries happen to be synonyms of each other. Although I definitely hope none of you get the heave-ho anytime soon.
- SACK RACING (17A: [Competition that involves hopping])
- CAN CRUSHER (27A: [Recycling device])
- FIRE ESCAPE (46A: [Apartment building safety feature])
- AX MURDERER (63A: [Lizzie Borden, allegedly])
Like the clue to NO-HIT, as I didn’t think of the reference to sports for a while when seeing it (36A: [Having perfect pitch?]). Saw the clue for SLIME and immediately wanted to put on “ooze” for it, but then saw the five letters and adjusted just fine (43A: [“Ghostbusters” goo]). I always wanted to buy those Hi-C “Ecto Cooler” drinks when I was young, with the boxes having Slimer, the green blob that became part of the Ghostbusters logo and lore, on the front of the box. I think I heard recently that Hi-C is brining those boxes for a limited time. Only real hangup that caused me time was putting in chirp for CHEEP (30D: [Baby bird’s sound]). Oh, and I just noticed that there’s both AXLE (56D: [Wheel-supporting shaft]) and AXEL in the grid as entries, too (16A: [Figure skating feat]). Not sure if that was intentional, but it was nice to pick that up right now. Alright, time for leftovers.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ENERGY (48D: [Get-up-and-go]) – One of the most well-supported team in the NBA Developmental League in terms of attendance, the Iowa ENERGY basketball team is located in Des Moines, IA and is an affiliate of the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA. In 2011, the Energy won the D-League title, defeating the Rio Grande Valley Vipers two games to one in the Finals series.
Have a great rest of your Friday and a great weekend, too!
Francesca Goldston’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
The theme is NONO, and NO is subtracted phrases. It is generally found that subtraction leads to less satisfying answers than addition or substitution does. I’d say that’s the case here: CAN YOU HEAR ME W is tortured, as is (NO)AHWEBSTER – and it uses the same Webster, rather than say Emmanuel Lewis. MI(NO)RLEAGUE and POCO(NO)MOUNTAINS round out the set. I’ve only vaguely heard of those mountains, but I’m not American.
The mysterious […”Meatballs”…] (never heard of the film, or the actor…) clue partially evades the ickiness of SPAZ as answer.
[Early anesthetic], ETHER. Still used here by some in avian medicine. ALCOHOL also gets an anesthetic clue…