Erik Agard’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
It is so nice to see Erik’s byline popping up more here, and not just in his own dealio, Glutton for Pun. (Click over there to catch up on the five-puzzle meta contest. The first two puzzles have been released already, and the next three come out one day at a time.)
Highlights, we got ’em! EASY MONEY, ESSENCE MAGAZINE (which sponsors the Essence Festival in New Orleans, the setting for the current movie Girls Trip, which looks like a hoot), TAKES A NAP (this is a skill I lack), MAN-TO-MAN DEFENSE (what is that called in the WNBA?), CAM NEWTON, DISCO BALL (disco ball!), and A$AP ROCKY (but with an S instead of $).
Did not know: 22d. [Measurement in a celestial coordinate system], HOUR ANGLE. I don’t measure things celestial myself. I have NASA and astronomers for that sort of thing. Also was not quite aware that twee could take the superlative form TWEEST.
Seven more things:
- 6a. [“Jeez, why don’t you just mind your own business?!”], “CAN I LIVE?!” Not familiar to me, nor to my household teen. 47a. [“Don’t worry about it,” slangily], “NO BIG,” that one feels a little more familiar. “No biggie,” “no big whoop,” those sound more common to me.
- 21a. [Fragrant biblical gift], MYRRH. Internal dialogue: “Why is that flagrant? That’s a weird value judgment.”
- 33a. [Fuzzy food], KIWI. Have you ever seen a moldy kiwi fruit? I haven’t, so I did a Google image search. If you have a strong stomach and would like to see a whole lot of photos of moldy food, check out this BuzzFeed listicle.
- 2d. [Not backed up], UNSAVED. You know what else fits here? REGULAR.
- 32d. [It can crawl or fly, but not walk], TIME. Disagree. Time has been ambling at a reasonable pace lately.
- 43d. [Crashes into, in a way], T-BONES. Sheesh. I know two people who made it through being T-boned recently. Neither was seriously injured, but apparently that sort of impact will leave you hurting for weeks after. Even if they have no broken bones, it doesn’t mean they don’t need plenty of time to recover from the invisible injuries.
- 48d. [Family planning options, briefly], IUDS. Cis-ladies, if your periods are driving you nuts and you don’t want a pregnancy in the next few years, ask your doctor if the Mirena IUD is right for you. (There are a couple other brands that, like Mirena, release progestin and often reduce menstruation like a boss. Other nonhormonal IUDs don’t do that, but they’re great at preventing pregnancy. Cheap under the Affordable Care Act!)
EFTS and MCI were the worst stuff in the grid, and they’re not the worst I’ve seen.
4.25 stars from me.
Mary Lou Guizzo’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
My Facebook contact Mary has this week’s Saturday LAT challenge. She shared a post I had put up dealing with the recent shooting at a UPS facility in San Francisco. For a minute I wasn’t sure if she worked there with me or not, as her thoughts on the tragedy were spot on! Suffice it to say I appreciate her comments, and I am SOOOO glad to be out of the package delivery business!
Normally these take me about 5-6 minutes, but this one played a tad longer. I am going to blame it partially on fatigue, and partially on it’s a little tougher than normal. It is also an excellent puzzle! I also am not as familiar with her constructing style as I am with some others, but I am game to do more from her catalogue! Lots of cool stuff in here, and even though I had one error, again, I am sleepy this week! 4.5 stars.
A few notes:
- 17A [George Washington in New York, e.g.] TOLL BRIDGE – I believe this is the famous bridge Chris Christie shut down a few years ago. And I am pretty sure I have been on this bridge at some point in my life!
- 29A [Model Cheryl] TIEGS – You young whippersnappers probably don’t know who this is. She is almost 70 years old now!
- 34A [Kazantzakis title character] ZORBA – Yes,there is a small error in my grid image, since I had YORBA! I am going to blame it on fatigue again.
- 36A [Nelson Mandela portrayer] IDRIS ELBA – This guy is in a lot of stuff these days. I believe he stars in the upcoming The Dark Tower coming out next week.
- 50A [California Raisins ads production technique] CLAYMATION – You young whippersnappers probably don’t remember these commercials either!
- 6D [“Buenas __”] TARDES – I had NOCHES in there; either is valid Spanish.
- 7D [Jaw-dropping courtroom admission] I LIED! – I think everyone is waiting for O.J. to say this, in a courtroom or not!
- 25D [Abruzzi bell town] ATRI – One of the only crosswordese-ish entries in the puzzle. I can’t do any better, though!
- 31D [“Frozen” queen] ELSA – More Disney … !
- 34D [Cowardly Lion’s farmhand alter ego] ZEKE – I almost forgot everyone really exists in Kansas in The Wizard of Oz film. I probably haven’t seen it in 30 or 40 years!
- 41D [“Danke __”] SCHÖN – I thought this had an E in it, and I don’t know German, but maybe the Ö is pronounced like an OE. I usually see it spelled danke schoen.
- 42D [Alpha __: Bull constellation star] TAURI – The “Bull” is the clue here. Of course we see the plural of taurus much less than the singular form.
Great puzzle, Mary Lou!
Lars G. Doubleday’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
Another tour de force by Brad and Doug! This one I really liked a lot; there are lots of entries that made me slap my forehead and say, “Oh, yeah!” when I finally figured out the answer. I suppose that is the aim of a Stumper, since they always seem a lot easier once they are done! But seriously, this 70-worder is a treat. A solid 4.6 stars from me today.
Lots to discuss:
- 7A [Swimmers + divers + music] AQUACADE – A new word (at least to me!) This sounds like something Sea World might have. It also seems like the clue needs an exclamation point! (I’ve been told I use them a lot!)
- 16A [Option for e-filing] TURBOTAX – I am a TurboTax user, so once I had one letter confirming, I ran with it. More on this phenomenon in a bit.
- 30A [Poetic turndown] I DARE NOT – I suppose this is poetic, but more, shall we say, Victorian maybe? All prim and proper perhaps? Still a great entry.
- 38A [Greek salad sprinkle] OREGANO – I don’t usually enjoy a Greek salad, but I know this spice is also in a lot of Italian cuisine, and also pizza, where I am used to seeing (and tasting) it!
- 53A [Must-leatn term for a foreign visitor] THANK YOU – How true! You have to thank that local that is patient enough to direct you in the right way with your three words you know of the native tongue!
- 59A [Milieu for sunning] LIDO DECK – This is one of those head-slapping entries I mentioned in the beginning. I need to plan a cruise soon!
- 3D [It’s rarely called upon now] PHONE CARD – Yes, we rarely use these. Do they even still exist??
- 33D [Stop on the Delhi-Mumbai train] AGRA – This is where I had an immediate reaction that AGRA must be correct, but I faltered because I had a wrong entry at 34D …
- 34D [Teddy Roosevelt’s lawman pal] MASTERSON – I had WYATT EARP in here. I don’t know who Teddy knew! Mistakenly, I was SURE that Earp was correct. So your first instincts are USUALLY correct. But not always!
- 36D [Lactose-free orders] SOY LATTES – My father drinks soy milk, but I’ll pass. I am not a milk drinker, but in my Starbucks drinks I want the real thing!
- 42D [Exhibiting onomatopoeia] ECHOIC – The only entry I found slightly snarky. But the clue has one of my favorite words in the English language!
I could go on, but I will stop here. Have a great weekend!
Alan Arbesfeld’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Split Personalities” — pannonica’s write-up
In which nonsense phrases are built around the full names of well-known people. The clues acknowledge both entities, as well as signalling the containment.
- 23a. [More pungent vegetables surrounding a novelist?] SHARPER LEEKS (Harper Lee).
- 28a. [“Dancing With the Stars” highlight featuring another novelist?] STEAMY TANGO (Amy Tan).
- 43a. [Ghost ship carrying an actor?] PHANTOM CRUISER (Tom Cruise).
- 66a. [Cedar and pine as a sanctuary for a painter?] FRAGRANT WOODS (Grant Wood).
- 90a. [Plant where videotapes were made admitting a cosmetician?] BETAMAX FACTORY (Max Factor).
- 107a. [Not some imitation waterproof fabric covering an environmental activist?] REAL GORE-TEX (Al Gore). Of course he’s also a former two-term vice president and US senator.
- 115a. [Substantial fruit dessert captivating a baseball player?] MEATY COBBLER (Ty Cobb).
- 3d. [Distinctive feature of a CSNY concert holding an actor in thrall?] TRADEMARK HARMONY (Mark Harmon).
- 40d. [Sour side including another actor?] VINEGARY COLESLAW (Gary Cole).
Note the consistency. In each case the two-word phrase replicates the spacing of the person’s name. This was an entertaining theme.
- 7a [Arafat’s successor] ABBAS, 114a [“Voice of Israel” author] ABBA EBAN.
- 67d [Scored in the 80s] GOT A B, 98d [Maker of Glide floss] ORAL-B.
- 52a [Bratty attitude] PETULANCE, 75a [Profligate] WASTREL, 91d [Serving as a symbol] TOTEMIC. Fun words. Not necessarily “fun” fun, but… you know.
- 33a [Verdi title bandit] ERNANI.
- 56a [Goldman’s partner] SACHS, 117d [Jerry’s partner] BEN. I have a preference.
- 80d [Writ against a debtor’s property] ELEGIT. Completely unknown to me.
- The cute/clever clues in this crossword? Most of them didn’t work for me. Some hot and cold examples: 1a [Acquire stock, perhaps] LASSO, 9d [Bumbling worker?] BEE, 85d [Channel changers?] DREDGES, 106d [Drew on a TV screen] CAREY, 111d [Lawless character] XENA, 83a [Shot in the arm] HYPO, 88a [One found in a lot of laps?] RACER.
- Also a couple awk. abbrevs., e.g., 69a [Kin of geom. and trig.] ALG, 64d [Mag. edition] ISS.
- Favorite clues: 49d [“Were you running around nonstop?”] BUSY DAY, 55d [Progress] INROADS, 96d [“We’re not talking about this anymore!”] DROP IT.