David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Well, that clue is straight-up incorrect. 26a. [Midsize bra parts], B CUPS? No. Factually wrong. I don’t understand why the male constructor, male editors, male fact-checker, and test solvers (both male and female!) didn’t catch that. I mean, it’s super-easy to Google that sort of thing and learn something, instead of showing your ignorance right there in black and white. Heck, you don’t even need to Google it. Just ask pretty much any woman: “Is a B cup considered midsize?” They’ll tell you it’s actually on the smaller end of the spectrum. Crikey, how unaware do you have to be to think it’s basically A, B, C and a little more? Cup sizes go up to, I dunno, K or L or M. I have friends who are F or G or H. (Any leering comments will be deleted.) It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that B ain’t midsize.
Also, we’re tired of seeing *CUPS bra clues in the damn crossword. Boys! Knock it off. (That said, I’m working on a fund-raiser puzzle pack, and a top woman in the business plans to make a boob-themed puzzle, and both of the editors are women, and that is where this sort of thing works.)
Instead, let’s include CUP(S) in the grid, and clue it by way of athletic cup sizes. Here’s the NuttyBuddy athletic cup. They have an extra-small, but they call that size Hammer. Small is Boss, medium is Hog, large is Trophy, and XL is Mongo. (See also: “magnum”-sized condoms.) Note: There is only three quarters of an inch of depth separating the XS Hammer from the XL Mongo. Also note: Women’s sizes don’t have to shore up our egos.
So anyway. This 68-word puzzle was a little easy for a Saturday NYT. Nice bits: CRAFT SHOW, REMOULADE, the mini-theme of “I’LL PASS” and “YOU’RE ON,” BO PEEP, and RAP BATTLE. (Have Bo Peep and a rap battle been mentioned in the same sentence before?) And TURPITUDE, I like—are there kinds other than moral?
Never heard of BEER DARTS and it sounds like a really bad idea. NO FAT is a yucky answer (nonfat and fat-free sound better), the A AND E channel never spells out that ampersand (I don’t care for the crutch of spelling out numbers and punctuation in ways they’re not used in the wild). In the blah filler category, we have OPIE, CBER, plural FORES, ODEON, LEA, LEM, IRE, dated Sydney OMARR … felt a little stodgier (DECADES OLD!) than you’d expect from a younger constructor like David. I’m used to a good bit more sparkle from David, as he’s set the bar high with many prior gems.
22a. [Intriguing meeting], TRYST?? “Intriguing”? Because it involves a modicum of intrigue to sneak off to have a tryst? That must be what the clue’s getting at, but without a question mark.
3 2/3 stars from me. How’d it treat you?
Samuel A. Donaldson’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
I get to blog a puzzle from one of my colleagues! This makes me feel like I should construct another puzzle; it’s only been over 20 years since I made my last one! I promise: when I finish my Masters courses I will make more!
In the meantime, this puzzle is a gem. I tripped up a bit because I don’t know how to count to ten in Italian, and because 11D could have been DIGIPAL in my twisted head instead of DIGITAL, which not only makes more sense but is easier! A solid 4.6 stars for this 64-word puzzle with what seems like to me like zero icky entries! Well done, Sam!
A few notes:
- 7A [Elegant pool entrance] SWAN DIVE – As opposed to the not-so-elegant cannonball!
- 24A [“30 fo 30” documentary series airer] ESPN – Founded by Bill Simmons, I believe, who is one of several sports journalist personalities that have left there and cannot stand the “mothership” anymore. The documentaries are quite good though, whether you are a sports fan or not.
- 37A [Producer who developed “The Jeffersons”] NORMAN LEAR – One of my favorite shows of all time!
- 54A [Men’s department fixtures] TIE RACKS – Or [Men’s closet fixture], although some people rarely wear them anymore.
- 6D [Coke holder] POP-TOP CAN – I don’t hear pop cans called this much around here; is this a regional term?
- 12D [“No need to be scared of me”] I DON’T BITE – Best entry of the puzzle!
- 46D [Windows 7 precursor] VISTA – I am old enough to remember this, and also old enough that it was long enough ago for it to be tough to remember!
I could go on, but you get the idea. A fun Saturday challenge! Have a great weekend!
Frank Longo’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
I am finally getting the hang of Frank’s puzzles, after a solid 2+ years of wracking my brain with his creations! Of course, I say that because I actually solved one of his in under 30 minutes, but this only means the next one will be dastardly hard and reduce me to near tears. But I will enjoy this one while it lasts! The key for me was getting 35A with only a few letters; it seems as if it should have been 4 or 5 word phrase. I also had SPACE PODS instead of SPACE JUNK at 38A, which caused a minor clog in the middle. I finished in the upper half of the puzzle where you see the cursor. The lower half definitely played a little easier for me. Frank is still a master at these. 4.4 stars.
Just a few things:
- 14A [Business casual option] CHINO – This was tough. I don’t think I own anything made of this material.
- 22A [Oscar winner as a self-styled “King”] WHITAKER – Forest Whitaker got is Oscar for portraying Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Another movie I have not seen but would like to.
- 35A [Start holding] TAKE OWNERSHIP OF – As mentioned, I was thinking along the lines of “TAKE ONE’S …” but that obviously didn’t work. Smooth 15-letter entry.
- 39A [Former hotel fixtures] TELEPHONE BOOTHS – Former fixtures anywhere! I am old enough to remember these all too well.
- 48A [Heat & __ (fireplace brand)] GLO – I don’t know how I got this quickly. I don’t think I know this brand, and I thought they made some logs that go in a fireplace, like a Duraflame log!
- 2D [Coffeehouse serving] CHAI TEA – I like this beverage, but I was stumped here too because I had the suffix -IZE at 24A instead of -ITE, so imagine my surprise when this wasn’t some Italian coffee creation!
- 21D [Spectral glide, in jazz] WAH WAH – Aren’t there Wawa gas stations out east?
- 26D [Toy first made of redwood] LINCOLN LOGS – I filled this in first! Again, I am that old.
- 43D [Big chemistry test] HOT DATE – Best clue in the puzzle!
I said just a few things! Have a great weekend!
Colin Gale’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Double Features” — pannonica’s write-up
Each theme entry consists of two film titles run together, achieved as the last three letters of the first film match the first three of the second. Generally these are called mash-ups but since this is cinematic let’s dub them dissolves, which is the analogous transition in that medium.
Oh, I should mention that the clues seek to synthesize the two films wackily. And luridly.
- 23a. [Double feature! Racer Elvis tries to make Ingrid think she’s going insane!] VIVA LAS VEGASLIGHT.
- 41a. [Double feature! Teens douse Alex the lion with pig’s blood!] MADAGASCARRIE.
- 59a. [Double feature! Paul Newman evades spies and cyborgs!] THE TERMINATORN CURTAIN.
- 79a. [Double feature! A tipsy Dudley Moore fights for Scottish independence!] BRAVEHEARTHUR.
- 99a. [Double feature! Fonda and Hepburn dodge gunfire atop the Empire State Building!] KING KONGOLDEN POND.
- 16d. [Double feature! An autistic savant protects a Japanese village!] SEVEN SAMURAINMAN.
- 36d. [Double feature! Terrorists take over a pop idol’s “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance!] BYE BYE BIRDIE HARD.
Once I saw how the theme worked, I ignored the lengthy clues, instead relying on accumulated crossings and familiarity with film titles to intuit the answers.
- More cinema. 1a [Turner of “Imitation of Life”] LANA (a Douglas SIRK film), 50a [Bob Hoskins’s “Hook” role] SMEE, 108a [Gibson of “The Fate of the Furious”] TYRESE, 62d [Best Picture winner from 2005] CRASH. Honorable mention: 60d [Moonstruck] IN LOVE.
- Favorite clues: 27a [Source of spots] AD AGENCY, 76a [One may given with a blessing] TISSUE.
- 55a [Indian ponies] CAYUSES. Eponymous, from a native American tribe of the Washington/Oregon area.
- 82a [The Sopwith Snark, for one] TRIPLANE. That’s a helluva moniker. At least with Sopwith I knew the general category.
- 1d/14d [Popocatepetl output] LAVA, ASH. Well obviously I need to include an image of this volcano located near Mexico City.
More mountains: 105a [Mount Narodnaya’s range] URALS, 103a [Craggy crest] TOR.
(I wish that video had been better.)