Andrew Ries’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Fun Friday puzzle, and right in the usual Friday range of difficulty. Highlights include SKATE PARKS (which are for skateboarders), BUYER’S REMORSE, PARODY ACCOUNT (here’s a crosswordy parody Twitter account that might amuse you @FakeTimParker), Václav HAVEL, SKUNK, STOLEN BASES, “SEE YOU SOON,” BETH MARCH, POPEMOBILE, SPANX, and Lady Gaga’s BORN THIS WAY.
Let’s check out some clues:
- 48a. [President who said “If you want to see your plays performed the way you wrote them, become president”], HAVEL. He was a dissident playwright before becoming president of Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic (now Czechia!). I’m guessing he had the sense to not actually give diktats to the theater folks.
- 6d. [Title role in a 1993 film … which sounds like a prize the film won], OSKAR. The movie, of course, is Schindler’s List, which I’ve never seen.
- 19d. [The first one was a modified Ford D-Series truck], POPEMOBILE. Trivia! Good to know.
- 28d. [Aphrodisia], LUST. Not sure I’ve seen this one before. Checking onelook.com … eww, yuck! The Merriam-Webster medical dictionary gives the meaning as “sexual desire especially when violent.” That’s alarming.
- 36d. [George Dickel product], RYE WHISKY. I’m more Irish than Scottish, so I prefer the whiskey spelling. Also, I’ve never heard of George Dickel. Apparently it’s a Tennessee distillery.
- 50d. [Author with a restaurant at the Eiffel Tower named for him], VERNE. More trivia! Also good to know.
Timothy Polin’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “A Prynne String” — pannonica’s write-up
Atypically, I looked at the title before solving, and figured it would have something to do with Hester Prynne, the protagonist of Nathaniel Hawthorn’e’s The Scarlet Letter. Would it be repeated As—a string? No, it’s a more descriptive four-letter sequence: RED A.
- 20a. [Fictional locale often visited by Christopher Robin] HUNDRED ACRE WOOD.
7d. [Checked out suggestively] LEERED AT.
- 33a. [Radio comedian who called television “a triumph of equipment over people”] FRED ALLEN. Not to be confused with Henry “Red” Allen.
23d. [Polynesian performance with dangerous props] FIRED ANCE.
- 43a. [Annual British Commonwealth celebration that was renamed in 1958] EMPIRE DAY. The clue isn’t clear—for good reason, since it would involve duplication—that the new name is ‘Commonwealth Day’.
31d. [Workplace for Quasimodo and Knute Rockne] NOTRE DAME.
- 53a. [“Amen!”, to Yosemite Sam] YOU’RE DARN TOOTIN’. No, no you aren’t darn tooting. Them’s fighting words. Yer darn tootin’, my good sir. But of course that wouldn’t conform to theme requirements.
49d. [1987 Schwarzenegger film] PREDATOR.
Stats: 4 RED/A, followed by 2 RE/DA, then 1 REDA. The two rebus squares flanking the equator happen to be symmetrical, but the other two are not.
The title appears to be a superficial pun on apron string(s). At 9d OFFERED the grid contains one instance of a three-quarter duplication of the rebus string. Not a real theme infringement, but it may have been worthwhile to eliminate it.
- 5d [ __ mi tangere (artistic motif featuring Jesus and Mary Magdalene)\ NOLI. Some interesting echoes and interpretations in our culture.
- The two longest non-theme entries are both digital tech related: 17a [Online installments] WEBISODES, 58a [Nefarious piece of coding] LOGIC BOMB.
- 46a [’Fore] ERE, 35d [“__ the season to be jolly”] ’TIS.
- 21d [Got loafers working better?] RESOLED. Clever clue, but it doesn’t work so well (ha) for me. Preferred the part-of-speech misdirection in 14a [Perfect prose?] EDIT.
- Speaking of parts of speech, for some impulsive reason I really wanted the [First noun in the golden rule] to be OTTERS (25a). “Do unto otters as you would have done to you.” Uh-huh. Down this avenue we also get “To err is human, to forgive is lutrine.”
- Your trenchant Mark Twain quote of the day: 57a [“One is APT TO overestimate beauty when it is rare.”] I daresay that isn’t true of all qualities when it comes to paucity. And honestly, is true of beauty? That’s just, like, his opinion. If he even wrote it.It’s from The Innocents Abroad. Chapter 51. “We found here [Shunem] a grove of lemon trees—cool, shady, hung with fruit. One is apt to overestimate beauty when it is rare, but to me this grove seemed very beautiful. It was beautiful. I do not overestimate it.”
This crossword was purty dern good, in my estimation.
Bart Beisner’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
I’ve never made much secret of the fact that I find these, in their basic form, among the least inspired theme types. Take a common word, today [Port], and rewrite four dictionary definitions to fit appropriate lengths. At least today, the theme phrases are not tortured to fit those lengths, and felt quite natural as definitions – I find it extremely annoying to work crossers to figure out exactly how someone arbitrarily chose to define a particular word… So, a [Port] is CITYWITHAHARBOR, an AFTERDINNERWINE, the LEFTSIDEOFASHIP, and a CONNECTIONPOINT.
I dispute the clue [Taxi alternative] for UBER. Uber is a taxi, even if it is marketed as a taxi alternative…
The clue mentions 11 Disney PRINCESSes, can you name them?
Gail Grabowski’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Beside the Point” —Ade’s write-up
Good day, everybody! Hope nothing eerie happens to you on Friday the 13th! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Gail Grabowski, features theme entries in which the first word in each of the two-word theme answers can also, when standing alone, precede the word “point.”
- WEST BERLIN (18A: [One side of a defunct wall]) – In the future, when a puzzle has the same exact clue, will “United States” or “Mexico” be the answer?
- FINE JEWELRY (26A: [Items made of precious metals and natural gemstones])
- BULLET TRAIN (48A: [Rapid rail transport])
- HIGH SCHOOL (60A: [Institution featured in “The Breakfast Club])
Man, if it wasn’t for crosswords, how many people outside of OCALA would know about Ocala, Florida (31D: [City south of Gainesville])? I hope someone reading this blog is doing so from Ocala and can talk about his/her little hometown. Probably my favorite fill of the day was TRIPWIRE, as that’s definitely the first time I’ve come across that word in a grid (55A: [Trigger on a trap]). More than in any part of the grid, I got tangled up in the Northwest, where I put in “club” instead of IRON to start, and then had to hop around the grid when I didn’t remove that entry immediately (14A: [Golfer’s selection]). Actually just finished reading about the DOJ‘s findings about the questionable (err, terrible?) tactics of law enforcement in Chicago during a number of incidents there and it’s absolutely shocking…and not shocking at the same time (21D: [Fed. division responsible for law enforcement]). Fortunately, this sheds a much-needed light on the importance of improving police tactics and decision-making, not just in Chicago but in other cities. Unfortunately, enough people will look at this news and divert it into talking about “what does this have to do with black-on-black crime there that goes on there” nonsense that’s deployed to take us away from concentrating from shoddy police work from a select number of officers. Being born and raised in a neighborhood where incidents like that were somewhat commonplace, it definitely hits close to my heart. Citizens, let’s do better and be accountable. Police officers, let’s do better and be accountable. That shouldn’t be a divisive thing to say..
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: GLANCE (24D: [Cursory look]) – One of the most engaging personalities I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting in the sports world is longtime women’s basketball coach Stephanie Glance, currently the executive director of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. For many years, Glance was the top assistant to Yow when she coached North Carolina State University and, up until the end of the 2015 season, was the women’s basketball head coach at Columbia University.
Have a great rest of your weekend, everyone! See you tomorrow!