Neil Padrick Wilson’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
The revealer is the partial phrase IN A BOTTLE, 61a. [Words that can follow the ends of the answers to the starred clues]. The starred answers are CARGO SHIP, QUALITY TIME, FORKED LIGHTNING, and TEXT MESSAGE, giving us “ship in a bottle,” “time in a bottle,” and so on.
Five other things:
- 29a. [Scout’s shelter], TENT. Kudos to the Boy Scouts for officially welcoming transgender boys to scouting today!
- 22a. [“Seinfeld” stock character?], SOUP NAZI. Also today, a poster on display at the Holocaust Museum went viral after someone tweeted a photo of it. It’s the early warning signs of fascism: (1) Powerful and continuing nationalism. (2) Disdain for human rights. (3) Identification of enemies as a unifying cause. (4) Supremacy of the military. (5) Rampant sexism. (6) Controlled mass media. (7) Obsession with national security. (8) Religion and government intertwined. (9) Corporate power protected. (10) Labor power suppressed. (11) Disdain for intellectuals and the arts. (12) Obsession with crime & punishment. (13) Rampant cronyism. It’s as if Trump and Bannon are using this as a checklist and trying to meet all the criteria as soon as possible. Read each one and see the parallels. Terrifying, no?
- SWEET TEA is a nice entry, but do not ever serve it to me. Yuck. My grandma had a CHENILLE bedspread I loved. QUAFF is a cool word. On the tough side for a Tuesday puzzle: ARAL, LOA, LEO X, ERNO, ISSEL, EBON, COHAB (who uses that??), and REPIN.
- 32a. [Hilarity, in Internet-speak], LOLZ. I wasn’t sure where we were going to go with the spelling here. Staid LOLS, or LOLZ, or LULZ? Could go any way.
- 43a. [6’11” Channing of the N.B.A.], FRYE. Never heard of this guy. You know what NBA player I heard about today? Kyle Lowry of the Raptors. Along with his team’s president and coach, Lowry spoke out to condemn the Muslim immigration ban as “bullshit.” You can see/read their remarks here.
3.5 stars from me.
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 296), “Ya Gotta Believe!”—Janie’s take
Today’s puzzle delivers one of my favorite kinds of themes: a wordplay-based game in which familiar names or phrases are altered by the addition of a fixed syllable. The syllable in question? See title and believe! (Yup, “-YA.”) Not only do I admire the happily-silly results this addition achieves, I love the way the added syllable falls in the middle of two of the themers and at the end of the other two. And, in every case, the twisted clues point to the new phrase while referencing the original. Smartly done all around.
- 17A. [Fruit named for the author of “To Have and Have Not”?] PAPAYA HEMINGWAY. Papa Hemingway… Corny. And also, funny.
- 26A. [Message for a fan of artist Francisco”?] “YOU’RE GOOD TO GOYA!” “You’re good to go!” (Think NASA.) As for that fan of Francisco: at the suggestion of Placido Domingo, composer/lyricist Maury Yeston (of Nine fame) wrote Goya: A Life in Song which Domingo (with other artists) then recorded as a concept album. Worth a listen!
- 44A. [What the daring bicyclist said to poet Angelou?] “LOOK, MAYA—NO HANDS!” “Look, Ma—no hands!” This one is definitely my fave. I think it’s the juxtaposition of poised, collected Ms. Angelou with the image/sound of that bravado brag that does it for me.
- 57A. [Don McLean song, subtitled “Tofu Serenade”?] “AND I LOVE YOU, SOYA.” “And I Love You So”…
No CLAPTRAP [Nonsense] here, just four smile-making, grid-spanning themers, with lively fill in the remainder of the grid to sweeten the pot. Fill like, well, CLAPTRAP and its opposite, TEA ROSES—which I knew were [Scented flowers…] but didn’t know were […native to China]. Live and learn! There are also two seven-letter entries to like: TAKE OFF [Start of a plane trip], in case you’re going places, and TOILETS [They’re going places?]. (You see what’s going on here, yes?)
Then, we get a load of excellent sixes: the lovely “MAHALO” [Hawaiian “thank you”], some creamy EGG NOG, spicy CREOLE [Cuisine that includes jambalaya and gumbo], an Alaskan KODIAK bear (and it’s also a boat… [maybe wait til it’s ON SALE]), the cannily clued LONERS with their [Asocial network], and “NOT YET…” [“Just a bit longer”…].
Clue of the day? Almost [Cause for alarm?] for FIRE. But the honor has to go to [The last watch brand you’ll ever buy?] OMEGA. If this isn’t registering, think of where the letter omega falls in the Greek alphabet.
While you’re doing that, I’ll take my leave. Keep solving, all—and til next week: “See ‘-YA!”
p.s. Should you be more of a fan of artist Pablo, here’s a rendering of [Picasso’s muse Dora MAAR].
Edith Tremio’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Farm Team” — Jim’s review
The more I look at this puzzle, the more I like it.
I’m a sucker for using nursery rhymes and fairy tales as fodder for puzzles. Most people, whether they’re parents or not, will at least know the themes if not the specifics involved. So they make for a good arena in which to get everyone on the same playing field.
Usually in the early week, I skim past the theme answers as I work my way through the Acrosses. But this time, the theme entries were so befuddling I kept stopping to try to figure out what they could mean.
- 17a [Old MacDonald had an orbit’s closest point…] What the what kind of clue is that?! Somehow it becomes PERIHELION. I’m not too keen on this as a theme answer; it’s rather technical and obscure. Ultimately though, it’s gettable if you know some of your Greek root words.
- 20a […and on his farm he had a fondness for something…] A fondness for what?!? I hope this is not going where it sounds like it’s going. *scared emoji* Oh, it’s just PREDILECTION.
- 36a […with a World War I leader here…] Where the heck is this going? Now we got PRESIDENT WILSON on the farm. What does he have a fondness for, I wonder.
- 51a […and a Norse explorer there…] Ok, this is just nuts, but sure, LEIF ERICSSON.
- 54a […everywhere a Canadian singer…] And why not? Throw in CELINE DION.
At first I was thrown off by the fact the first three answers start with the same three letters. But turns out that was just coincidence.
If you still hadn’t figured out what was going on (as I didn’t) by the time you hit 46d, it tells you: [“Old MacDonald” refrain, and a feature of the five longest Across answers]. Answer: EIEIO.
Ah, ok. *light bulb emoji* Each entry has EIEIO in it. Not only that, but those are the only vowels in it. Not only that, they are in the correct order. That’s pretty cool.
What else would you expect from constructor Edith Tremio. What’s that you say? How can you expect anything from Edith Tremio if you’ve never heard of her? You’re right. It’s another pseudonym for editor Mike Shenk. It anagrams to “I’m the editor.”
But get this. Not only does it serve as a pseudonym, it’s another theme answer! That’s a sign of a sick mind. Or at least a deviously slick one. Well done, sir! I love it!
(Turns out this exact theme was done by Don Gagliardo in the LAT back in 2005. It’s still pretty cool though. And as goofy and perplexing as they are, I like today’s clues.)
Ok. Enough about the theme. On to the fill. SPEEDOS can cause an EYESORE that’s for sure. (I will spare you what I just witnessed looking online for an appropriate picture to attach here. You’re welcome.) SAPPORO, AMHERST, STIPPLES, HONEYDEW, DIVORCED, and LAVENDER make for interesting long fill. Minor negatives in DEDE, DIV, THRO, ALII. On the whole, not enough to be a distraction, so it’s cool.
Cluing was straight over the plate for the most part, so not much to report there. I did like [It might be on the line] for WASH.
Good puzzle. Cheerio!
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Exaggeration” – Derek’s write-up
This is a clever idea, especially when you get to the revealer at the end. The theme phrases are all obviously much smaller numbers, and then the entry at the end explains it all! I can imagine this might have been tough to execute, especially to find entries that would work symmetrically. Bravo! Here are the aforementioned “exaggerations!”
- 20A [Theme park chain, grossly exaggerated?] A MILLION FLAGS (Six Flags)
- 37A [Morris’s favorite cat food, wildly exaggerated?] A BILLION LIVES (9 Lives)
- 56A [“Gone With the Wind” plantation, insanely exaggerated?] A TRILLION OAKS (Twelve Oaks)
- 69A [Why the exaggeration? Because it’s this number raised to the nth power] TEN
I told you it was clever! 10 to the sixth power is 1,000,000, 10 to the ninth is 1,000,000,000, and of cours 10 to the twelfth is 1,000,000,000,000! Very clever and different! 4.6 stars for this one!
A few more observations:
- 8A [Chunks of fairway] DIVOTS – I need to golf more. I have clubs!
- 28A [End of many failed ’90s businesses?] DOT COM – Fairly easy once you think a minute, but still a nice entry.
- 44A [Adjective for 2017 (but not 2018)] ODD – Many adjectives could be used to describe last year, and most of them not good! This is also accurate!
- 4D [“Mozart in the Jungle” star __ Garcia Bernal] GAEL – Great crossword word. And a new fresh definition. I have watched a few series on Amazon (Transparent, Bosch, and others), and they are pretty good. I should give this one a shot.
- 27D [Chicago airport letters] ORD – Closest huge airport to me, so this was a gimme. I will be flying out of ORD to get to Stamford!
- 40D [Apple Chief Design Officer Jony __ ] IVE – That voice! I swear they use his voice just to get you hyped to buy their stuff!
- 41D [One of the Bluth brothers on “Arrested Development”] GOB – This is another show that is hilariously funny. On Netflix!
Winter is almost over! Hopefully that stupid groundhog agrees on Thursday!
C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
A fun puzzle by C.C. again. And another puzzle that leaves you wondering what the heck the theme is until you get to the revealer at 60-Across!
- 18A [TV’s “The Practice,” e.g.] LEGAL DRAMA
- 20A [“Bummer!”] WHAT A DRAG
- 38A [Door holder’s witticism] AGE BEFORE BEAUTY – I say this all the time! But now I am getting to old to say it!
- 55A [Procter & Gamble laundry detergent] IVORY SNOW
- 60A [Australia’s “Sunshine State” … or where you might fine the ends of 18-, 20-, 38- and 55-Across?] QUEENSLAND
Get it? We have drama queen, drag queen, beauty queen, and snow queen as referenced phrases. Very nicely done, especially the 60-Across answer. Pretty clever, especially for an easier puzzle. Let’s call it 4 solid stars.
A few notes:
- 5A [Happy gatherings] FESTS – I tried FETES at first. I was close!
- 35A [Submitted tax returns with a click] E-FILED – Ah, ’tis the season! I am getting all of my tax papers together right now!
- 63A [Sch. near the U.S.-Mexico border] UTEP – As in Texas-El Paso, in the town right across from Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. My grandmother used to go there all the time 35-40 years ago. I hear it’s not quite the tourist attraction, now!
- 3D [Second actress to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony] RITA MORENO – Who was the first? Helen Hayes, and it was earlier in the same year that Rita Moreno won her 4th award (1977).
- 36D [Red Sox ballpark] FENWAY – Still on my bucket list for a visit!
- 53D [Pecans and cashews] NUTS – Cashews win this battle for me every time!
Have a great week. See you on Saturday for an LAT write-up!
Gail Grabowski’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “A Real Downer” —Ade’s write-up
Good afternoon, people! Today’s crossword, brought to us by Ms. Gail Grabowski, includes four theme entries in which the final word of each end up being synonyms of each other, all describing the action of going south.
- LEMON DROP (17A: [Slightly sour candy])
- KITCHEN SINK (33A: [Site for dirty dishes, perhaps])
- BERNARD FALL (42A: [“Street Without Joy” Vietnam War journalist])
- LOCAL DIVE (61A: [Neighborhood spot for some brewskis])
I’m pretty sure that the last movie I bought on DVD was the movie referenced in the clue to DARYL (45D: [Hannah of “Blade Runner”]). That was probably 4-5 years ago when I went into J&R Music World in Manhattan and bought it . After that, I’ve just gotten what I needed movie-wise from the Internet (e.g. Netflix). By the way, I need to watch Blade Runner once again. Fun movie. Seeing HELOT brought be back to high school history class, and I’m pretty sure I hadn’t seen/heard the word since then until today (9A: [Serf of ancient Sparta]). Does anyone these days use the term GAL PALS anymore, even in a colloquial sense (55A: [Chicks to hang with])? Maybe I’ll say that to someone when describing a night out with a lady friend(s) in the future. We’ll see if the person who I say it to will look at me like I had five heads or not.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TUCK (25D: [Tailor’s fold]) – Former National Football League defensive end Justin TUCK was an instrumental player on the last two Super Bowl-winning New York Giants teams, both of which defeated the New England Patriots in the Big Game. In his 11-year career (2005-2015), Tuck ended his career with 66.5 sacks, spending the first three years of his career lined up on the opposite side of Hall-of-Fame New York Giants defensive end – and current Good Morning America co-host – Michael Strahan.
See you at the top of the hump on Wednesday!
ADIOS (26A: [“So long, amigo”])!