Damon Gulczynski’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
I do love THROW SHADE and “DON’T THAT BEAT ALL,” and there are some other sparkly entries, but there were perhaps rather more short answers in the “blah” class than I’d have liked to see. The word count’s an intermediate 66—on the low side but not crazy low.
Other likes: Miss HAVISHAM, FLEXITARIAN, Sagan’s PALE BLUE DOT, TOP-SHELF, NOOGIE, DIETETICS (a friend has gone back to school to study this), and NO FRILLS. The ERNES ATNO NEAP ETTAS IATE SEPT stuff … ehhh.
- 43d. [Like centerfolds, typically], BOSOMY. Really? Enough with the &%*# straight-male gaze. First off, how many magazines still have nekkid centerfolds? Second, some centerfolds feature men with glistening, toned pecs. Third, the vast majority of people who are BOSOMY are not goddamned centerfolds posing for men to ogle them. They are just living their damn lives. I read the clue and answer to my husband, and he laughed derisively. “This is the New York Times?” he asked. I said yes and he said, “Come on!” This is what we get when the puzzles are an all-male enterprise, I guess. [Like women who don’t buy a lot of button-front shirts, typically] reflects reality.
- 33a. [University in Melbourne], FLORIDA TECH. There’s a Florida Tech? I had no idea.
- 28d. [Peddler of religious literature], COLPORTEUR. Seen the word before, sure couldn’t have told you what it meant. I like its Cole Porter echo.
- 22d. [Part of many a scandal], COVER-UP. Surprisingly topical.
- 51d. [Use an e-cig], VAPE. Okay, I think the clue is there just to justify the continued appearance of ECIG in the Times crossword. Vaping is definitely a thing, but I’m not sure how many people who use these doodads call them e-cigs. I am patiently waiting for VAPE to be added to the Scrabble dictionary. How much longer?
- 48a. [One making bank-to-bank transfers?], BOAT. Clearly it’s been a long day because I filled in the plural ATMS here, despite the “one” in the clue and the “bank-to-bank transfers” part that doesn’t describe what ATMs do. Derp.
3.5 stars from me.
Jeff Chen’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
My good buddy Jeff Chen has the LAT challenger this Saturday. An awesome triple-15 stack in the middle of the grid is this highlight here, and all extremely common phrases. A 68-worder with lots of good entries. If I remember correctly, Jeff has a small child. When my son was born, that effectively killed my spare-time puzzle constructing! (It also killed my reading, movie watching, and social life! Probably why I do puzzles still today: they only take a few minutes!) Not too difficult, but right on par with most LAT Saturday puzzles. Let’s do 4.3 stars for this one.
A few notes:
- 14A [“Fish” star] ABE VIGODA – I believe he is now ACTUALLY dead.
- 17A [“Loot” playwright] ORTON – Jeff Orton is the playwright. Interesting character. Also interesting that he was murdered at 34. Around here, us Bears fans all know Kyle Orton, especially since he played his college locally at Purdue.
- 35A [Make trouble] CREATE A NUISANCE
- 38A [1997 Emmy winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series] GILLIAN ANDERSON
- 39A [It might cause quite a shock] ELECTRIC CURRENT – Gillian Anderson is known for The X-Files of course, and the other two 15-letter phrases are excellent. Very well done, but then again, Jeff is a pro.
- 41A [Bible-toting aunt on “Sanford and Son”] ESTHER – Boy, do I remember this character! Hilarious show, and I believe it is still on Netflix!
- 45A [Muppets chimp __ Minella] SAL – Salmonella, get it? Not one of the more popular Muppets, obviously.
- 62A [Best Upset, e.g.] ESPY AWARD – These are coming up, during one of the dead sports times this summer!
- 7D [Neophyte, briefly] NOOB – Would this be weird appearing as NEWB? NOOB has two NYT entries, and, not surprisingly, one if by Jeff Chen!
- 10D [MVP or Super Bowls I and II] BART STARR – This reference is getting a little dated, now that the Super Bowls number into the fifties!
- 27D [Palindromic court star] SELES – Monica SELES is also a bit of a dated reference; her heyday was in the early/mid 90s. Who knows what more she may have done if not for that unfortunate stabbing incident.
- 36D [Indians’ habitat?: Abbr.] A.L. CENTRAL – The Cleveland Indians (runners-up to my CUBBIES last year!) play in the American League Central division. Maybe the best clue in the puzzle!
- 52D [Sanskrit scripture, with “the”] GITA – My Sanskrit is rusty: I have heard of the Bhagavad Gita, but I didn’t know it could simply be referred to as the Gita. My knowledge of a lot of Hindi things is very limited; I have never even tried chicken tandoori!!
Andrew Bell Lewis’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
We have a new puzzle constructor! OK, not really: This is a pseudonym for Matthew Sewell and Brad Wilber (SEWELL AND WILBER, get it?). Very nice puzzle today. Obviously extremely challenging, as usual, but there is stellar fill in this one. Yes, there are a lot of correction marks, especially in the upper left! I learned a new word (or perhaps got reacquainted with one!), and was thoroughly stumped by a few entries I would never see in real life (OPERA HAT??). A solid 4.6 stars for this collaboration, and here’s to many more from the very talented “Andrew!”
Lots to like in this one:
- 17A [Vehicle providing rural connectivity] DATA MULE – As in computer data. That is a huge issue in some areas near me, including the small town where I now work.
- 20A [ __ Antoinette’s Parfumerie (Disneyland boutique)] MLLE. – Disney. Ugh.
- 28A [Winner of 33 Daytime Emmys] JEOPARDY! – I was many of these when I was on Sports Jeopardy! a couple of years ago. Season 1, Episode 2 on Crackle. I have been lax in my Jeopardy! viewing the last few weeks. The stress of moving!
- 46A [Colour adopted for an 1836 boat race] ETON BLUE – Brad said Matt bailed out a section of the puzzle with this entry. It doesn’t look that blue to me!
- 62A [Poncho-like vestment] CHASUBLE – [Priest garb] would have been too easy! This is that word I learned/relearned.
- 4D [Patsy’s undoing, maybe] FRAME JOB – I think this may be the clue I like the best! Were you thinking “Patsy who?” I think that was the intent.
- 13D [Idealist’s retort] I CAN DREAM – Excellent entry here! Only one NYT hit at xwordinfo.com, and I figured there would be zero! Better clue here; the NYT had [“Wouldn’t that be nice.”], which seems to ambivalent, especially for a Tuesday puzzle!
- 34D [What you must make connections for] DOT-TO-DOTS – I actually enjoy the difficult ones that are made now. David Kalvatis has several books that I have purchased, and the website conceptispuzzles.com has dot-to-dots included among their many excellent logic puzzles. There goes your Memorial Day!
- 47D [America’s top-selling novel before “Gone with the Wind”] BEN-HUR – I had no idea. Also, fun fact: I have never seen the movie! (I have seen Gone with the Wind!)
- 49D [“You ain’t never had a friend like me” singer (1992)] GENIE – This is tricky. Why no caps? It is a lyric from the song “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin. More Disney. Ugh.
- 52D [Frequent debater of 2016] RUBIO -Why does this seem sooooo long ago??
- 53D [Bruin rooter] UCLAN – I never cared for this “term,” but I also don’t live in SoCal, where they may actually use this term. But that is just me!.
Hope everyone enjoys their holiday weekend!
Julian Thorne’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Threepeats” — pannannannonica’s write-up
Made-up three word phrases featuring trigrams strung together in the center. Middle of each ‘threepeat’ is a full three-letter word.
- 23a. [Pig’s decor that’s just thrown together?] HASTY STY STYLE
- 38a. [Himalayan friend reacts to spotting a yeti?] NEPAL PAL PALES.
- 51a. [Fancy parties thrown in honor of a queen?] REGAL GAL GALAS.
- 76a. [Obsession with Caesar?] ROMAN MAN MANIA.
- 90a. [Give a fraction of one’s loot to a church?] TITHE THE THEFT.
- 109a. [Duplicate Shaq (but not Ryan or Tatum)?] CLONE ONE ONEAL.
- 16d. [Delivery boy for Just Greens has his hands full?] SALAD LAD LADEN.
- 53d. [Prank by a mutant from “Them!”?] GIANT ANT ANTIC.
Note also that the framing words are all five letters in length, so the tripled triplets are bracketed by two letters on either side. No, they don’t spell anything meaningful. Fairly impressive though. I did find the subgroup of GAL, MAN, and LAD somewhat distracting.
- My morning mindset was such that I persisted in improperly parsing some clues. 25a [Serving staunchly] LOYAL TO, 12d [State to be worth] VALUE AT, 21d [Like legends] RETOLD.
- Also, had trouble letting go of WRY for 5d [Subtly humorous] as it turned out to be DRY.
- 58a [Dome toppers] CUPOLA. And this one faked me out by being about actual domes rather than bald pates. I tell ya.
- More literalness: 81a [Word in un dictionnaire] MOT.
- 42d [“The Good Dinosaur” dinosaur] ARLO. Hey, not Guthrie or comicmate of Janis! Thanks Pixar!
- 29d [His “Enak’s Tears” is on display at MoMA] ARP. (Parenthetical title: “Terrestrial Forms”) 46a [Earth, in some sci-fi] TERRA.