Bruce Haight’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up
I like this theme, although I wasn’t crazy about all of the entries (more on that later). I was surprised when I looked at the time; I thought it was over five minutes. Goes to show you….something.
The theme makes use of one of the English language’s peculiarities: words or phrases which can have two meanings that are opposites.
- 1a [Support … or impede] is HOLD UP.
- 7a [Go on with … or postpone] is CONTINUE. “Postpone” as in “tabled” – “we continue this motion.”
- 23a [Go to battle alongside … or struggle against] is FIGHT WITH.
- 40a [Offer for consideration … or remove from consideration] is TOSS OUT.
- 42a [Withstand … or deteriorate] is WEATHER.
- 53a [Watchful care … or careless mistake] is OVERSIGHT.
- 71a [Give approval to … or express disapproval of] is SANCTION, which was the first thing that popped into my head once I sussed the theme at 1a.
- 72a [Quit … or agree to keep going] is RESIGN. This is the one I really don’t like. I know that one can be resigned to something, but I have never heard it used in this form.
FIGHT WITH and TOSS OUT aren’t wonderful, since each has one meaning that is much more frequently used, and CONTINUE is a bit obscure. It’s a lot of theme material, and I really liked the others, so it’s better than break-even for me. I also like the symmetry; for some reason, I find it very pleasing.
A few other things:
- 17a [“No hard feelings, man, right?”] is WE COOL.
- 16a [Like nosebleed-section seats, usually] is REARMOST. Which they are, but they are distinguished mostly by their height. Nosebleed seats could be directly above seats that are on the lower levels, so they are just as far back but not in nosebleed territory.
- 36d [“Well, sor-r-ry!”] is SUE ME, which I usually see with “so” in front.
- I filled in 66a [Request to be excused] from crossings and couldn’t figure out what it was before I looked at the clue. MAYIGO is not a word….because it’s three words.
- 58d [Card catalog ID] is ISBN. Books still have ISBNs but they are no longer listed in the card catalogs. Sigh. I loved card catalogs.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: honestly, I got nothing. Knew it would happen eventually.
Daniel Hamm’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Take Some Time” — Jim’s review
It’s not really the “end of an era” in this grid, rather the “addition of an ERA.” ERA has been added to certain phrases. I’m not sure how this results in a title of “Take Some Time,” but there ya go.
- 17a [Melanie Griffith decision of 1996?] WEDDING BANDERAS. Wedding bands. This feels like a really awkward answer. “Wedding” is synonymous with “marrying” here, but it still doesn’t feel quite right.
- 26a [Say “You mutts couldn’t catch a dead grouse,” say?]] JEER AT SETTERS. Jet-setters. Meh. This feels forced.
- 41a [Diva’s trademark brazenness?] OPERATIC NERVE. Optic nerve. I like this one. It flows naturally and the clue makes sense.
- 54a [Staring at one’s vast pumps collection to ease depression?] SHOE RACK THERAPY. Shock therapy. This would be fine if there weren’t already a distracting ERA in the base phrase.
So I had a hit-or-miss experience with the theme entries. Mostly miss, if I’m being honest.
The rest of the grid is quite nice, though. I love AIDE-DE-CAMP, SAILORS, and CLASS ACT. REJUVENATE is also nice with its Scrabbly letters. Also good: SIGNET, MANDATES, CHATTY, JULIO, and “DEAR ME!” Little to nothing to complain about, either.
Clues of note:
- 39d [Antecedent]. PRIOR. I did not realize “antecedent” could also be an adjective. I thought it was just a noun.
- 10d [Folder’s creation]. CREASE. I thought this was going to be CRANES at first.
- 44d [He put two and two together]. NOAH. Immediately after the “Aha!” moment, I thought this was a clever and cute clue. But then I realized that NOAH really put one and one together, not two and two—unless he was doing some four-way swinging match-making the Bible didn’t tell us about.
Overall in this grid, the really nice fill rescues the theme which felt just a tad off.
Debbie Ellerin’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
Puzzle seems to feature second parts that are tops. I am acutely ill, so will let you discuss it further if you so wish.
Byron Walden’s AVCX crossword, “Shift Before the Play” — Ben’s Review
Sorry for the late update on the AVCX puzzle! This one’s a doozy and a busy workday didn’t help. This week’s puzzle is a 4/5 from Byron Walden, though I would have put it at a 4.5. Admittedly, sports knowledge isn’t my forte, and the theme on this one (which I didn’t fully grok, admittedly), needed some basic level sports knowledge (team names) that I apparently lack:
- 21A: Ground-level semi trucks owned by singer Reese? — DELLA’S LOWBOYS
- 26A: Corinthian chaps working for Anonymous? — GREEK BOY HACKERS
- 35A: Mexican-American brews? — CHICANO BEERS
- 53A: Singing pranksters who’ll expose your long johns?– CAROLING PANTSERS
- 73A: Fancy dances celebrating the actor who plays the Hulk in “The Avengers” series? — RUFFALO BALLS
- 81A: Partiers who dance all night to 1985 one-hit wonder song “Tarzan Boy”? — BALTIMORA RAVERS
- 90A: Giant dinos, casually, who were relatively slow on the uptake? — DENSER BRONTOS
So I cracked that I needed modified team names early on, but the actual transformation (which I assume is consistent) eluded me throughout my solve. DALLAS COWBOYS becomes DELLA’S LOWBOYS, GREEN BAY PACKERS goes to GREEK BOY HACKERS, etc., etc. Again, I didn’t get it, but there was enough else in the grid to keep me occupied and happy
Other things I liked in the puzzle: Krampus the ANTISANTA, CONSPIRITO, BLACK BARON, WATERGATE (OH DEAR!), ARMANGNAC, ESTRELLA, and NORSEMEN.
I’m missing something, but still thought this was a good grid.