Andrew Kingsley’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
My apologies to the constructor, but your name makes me think of the other Andrew *****ley, from Wham! (Ridgeley), and of Wham! songs like this.
This puzzle seemed a bit harder than the typical Friday NYT, and I even know heraldic crosswordese like ORLE. At least two solvers on Twitter got hung up at that ORLE/LAVABO crossing, and you have to admit that probably 99% of college graduates do not know both of these words.
Highlights in the file: EDITOR’S NOTE (presumably in a manuscript), SATELLITE TV, SPANDEX with its anagram-of-expands clue, “HERE’S HOPING” (which can certainly stand alone as a spoken phrase), and GAME FACE.
Along with 1a/6d, my “prefer not to see” list includes ASE (which I saw in the wild today and tweeted a picture of! but as neither the enzyme suffix nor the Peer Gynt mother), AGA, TITI, OSSA, plural CIAOS and MARIAS, partial A TEN, ZEE, ONT, and HI HO. As for that last one, what “refrain” is meant in the clue, 52d. [Syllables in a children’s refrain]? From Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, from the nursery rhyme “The Farmer in the Dell,” or what?
37a. [Phaëthon’s father, in myth], HELIOS. Phaethon begged his dad to be allowed to drive the car (the sun chariot) for a day, and he basically totaled the car (in that Zeus struck it down with a thunderbolt because that maniac kid was going to crash the sun into the earth). So sure, I can see why Volkswagen named its luxury sedan the Phaeton.
3.3 stars from me.
Jake Scheele’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Emir Bagatelle” — pannonica’s write-up
It took me an embarrassingly long time to understand the title. I suppose I wasn’t expecting it to work just like the theme entries. I thought it was more of a title, or commentary on the theme.
The theme itself is Middle Eastern honorifics punned into familiar phrases.
- 17a. [Urging from a factotum in the Ottoman Empire?] CALIPH, YOU NEED ME (call if …).
- 51a. [New hires getting luggage ready for a Turkish dignitary’s travels?] GREEN BEY PACKERS (… Bay …).
- 10d. [Brusque advice to an insulted royal at an OPEC meeting?] SHEIK IT OFF (shake …).
- 28d. [Rap act from Oman?] SULTAN PEPA (Salt-N-…).
Oh, and that title? A mere bagatelle.
Turns out I have a bunch of obligations and this will be another abbreviated write-up.
- 16a [Circle of virtue] is a clever-ish clue for HALO. Not to be confused with a virtuous circle.
- 42a, unusual definition mined for DEFILE: [Narrow mountain pass]. It has a distinct etymology from the more common transitive verb (though there is an intransitive verb form of this sense).
- 43a [Biblical liar painted by Raphael] ANANIAS. Did not know this. Looks like Ananas.
- 29a [Tropical raccoon cousin] COATI. I sometimes imagine that they live in New Hampshire too.
- 9d [Players] DON JUANS. Not thrilled with the term ‘players’.
- 12d [Bull on many bottles] ELMER. Oh, I was trying to figure out how this was going to incorporate Egri Bikavér. Wow. Anyway, it turns out there’s a relationship between Elmer the Bull and Elsie the Cow – Borden Inc. owned both, originally.
- A one-two of NFL names: 32d [Pro Football Hall of Famer Matson] OLLIE, 33d [Pro Football Hall of Famer Greasy] NEALE. Don’t know either, but I do know of Pro Football Hall of Famer Bob Griese.
- 58a [Digs in the snow?] IGLOO. Fun clue.
- 43d [ __ score] (neonate evaluation)] APGAR. An eponym and a backronym!
- 46d [Titular destination in a 1978 “Bad News Bears” sequel] JAPAN. As you might imagine, the forgettable sequel went over like A LEAD balloon (45d).
- 50d [Soviet WWII counterintelligence] NKGB. I confidently plopped in NKVD and those two letters turned out to be that last I needed to find and correct. (Note the inconsistency of the urls for the two Wikipedia articles.)
- 31a [Gemstone popular in Art Nouveau jewelry] MOONSTONE. I guess I would have expected the CHE to reference Wilkie Collins’ landmark novel here.
Okay, my time’s up. Good crossword.
Pete Koetter’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
The puzzle has one of those [literally] shticks going. Here three word phrases x >OVER< y are represented as x/y with the over implied by the relevant positions of the entries. STYLEoverSUBSTANCE, SIXFLAGSoverTEXAS, TURNSoverANEWLEAF and FALLSHEADoverHEELS.
Puzzle seems marred by a lack of interest in clean short fill. DCCV is just some letters, it’s not even in a busy area, but hey a J is totally worth JDS/OCT/DCCV, right? Not even sure why UWAIT/PHILS/ILE happened but it did. Its opposite area, also quiet and blocked off, has ATH/VOA.