Peter Wentz’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Long week, short attention span. I felt distracted and unfocused throughout the solve. Puzzle’s probably not really about twice as hard as yesterday’s, no matter what my solving time suggests.
This is a 70-worder, and yet there’s more fill that I’m not so keen on than I was expecting in one of Peter’s grids. I do love IN CAHOOTS, “YES, AND,” BODY MAN (despite its genderedness—remember Obama’s body man, Reggie Love? Just Googled to see who’s in the White House now—it’s a very pretty boy named John McEntee who played football), Casey KASEM (you can listen to classic ’70s and ’80s Top 40 shows online 24/7), THE BIG BANG, COME ALIVE, JAY GATSBY, and BIRD DOG. And GAH! I both say and type that one.
On the dryer side, we have ASLAN, EPEE, NO BID, iffy DIET TIP, SET ON, dull KNEE HOLES, plural CYANS, ADD IN, and I GIVE. And HONEY WINE? Do people say that?
Clues of note:
- 46a. [PIN point], ATM. Nice play on pinpoint.
- 7d. [N.C.A.A.’s St. ___ Oles], OLAF. A gimme for anyone who went to college in Northfield, Minnesota. Given that Ole (rhymes with “holy”) is derived from or closely related to OLAF, though, doesn’t the answer overlap with the clue?
- 45d. [Exotic salad ingredient], POMELO. I filled in PAPAYA and was scowled at the ethnocentricity of the clue … and then it turned out to be POMELO. I don’t know who puts that in a salad.
3.5 stars from me. How’d you enjoy it?
Mike Buckley’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
I think I have done one or two Mike Buckley puzzles before, but his is not a name I readily recognize. But we have a theme in this themeless puzzle! A quote nonetheless:
- 38A [She said “It’s better to be 19-Across than 55-Across] MAE WEST
- 19A LOOKED OVER
- 55A OVERLOOKED
Some may say there are repeated words in this puzzle, but I think it makes for a great, humorous theme. 72 words in this one allow for a nice variety, and only a word or two that I would call hard, but this is a hard puzzle, so a few of those are expected at this level. I found this one fun. 4.4 stars.
A few more notes:
- 47A [Shelley dedicated an ode to one of them] SKYLARKS – A tough way to clue this, especially since the entry is plural. How about [Former Buick models].
- 63A [Antlion relative] LACEWING – Both are bugs. There evidently is a antlion lacewing!
- 7D [“Jeopardy!” first name] MERV – Admit it: you put in ALEX too!
- 9D [Shining example of mirror-writing] REDRUM – A reference to The Shining, another movie I have yet to see. Clever clue, but perhaps a little to vague?
- 58D [Mahler’s earth] ERDE – I assume this is “earth” in German. I checked and I was right. This is a tad tough; most foreign language entries are simpler terms, like numbers.
See you for Tuesday’s LAT. Enjoy your weekend!
Erik Agard’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
Erik Agard’s puzzles are rapidly becoming some of my favorites. This kid seems to possess a brilliant mind, and brings a fresh, vibrant talent to the crossword making world. I had the upper left portion filled out pretty quickly, mainly because I was able to get 1-Across immediately, as I will discuss in a sec. But the rest was typical Stumper difficult level, at least to me, and the 20 minute time limit was not what I originally expected after a quick start. I stress again: there is virtually nothing obscure in this 70-worder. A solid 4.8 stars this morning!
Highlights (I cannot possibly list them all!):
- 1A [2012 award for 6’4″ Tina Charles] WNBA MVP – I know who Tina Charles is, so this was easy for me to figure out. Phenomenal entry and clue. The height hint is supposed to nudge you in the right direction!
- 8A [Dominican dance style] BACHATA – On the other hand, this is totally unfamiliar to me, but I feel I should know it.
- 16A [Vitamin D producer] UV LIGHT – I knew this is from sunlight, but I didn’t think of a suntan lamp until I had the V in. Nice!
- 62A [Renaissance pole weapon] HALBERD – I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner than I did; it is always in the hidden puzzle games I play!
- 10D [Jeremy, in “Reversal of Fortune”] CLAUS – As in Claus von Bulow. Another movie I have never seen.
- 12D [Crime writer’s award] AGATHA – I don’t know this either, but it makes perfect sense. Us crossworders probably see the EDGAR award in grids a little more often, which must be similar to the AGATHA.
- 35D [Product of Navajo dough] FRYBREAD – It looks delicious!
- 44D [Name ate the cover of “Women Who Work” (2012)] IVANKA – I tried ANGELA before stumbling onto this. No doubt a polarizing grid entry!!
I said I could go on, because there is a ton of good stuff in here. Great puzzle, Erik! Everyone have a great weekend!
Lexa Etona-Slnersa’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Taken Aback” — pnnonnicaa’s write-up
Gimmick here is that an A in one of the theme answer words is shifted to the end of that word, altering the meaning of the phrase.
- 22a. [What made Gershwin’s hair so silky?] IRA CONDITIONER (air …).
- 32a. [Part of an Italian fire-breather’s hoard?] DRAGON’S LIRA (… lair). Obsolete unit in Italy—replaced by the EURO (73d [Latvian currency]) but still used in Turkey. As you can see, the A in DRAGON is not relocated. This is true for some other themers as well.
- 57a. [Piece of wood from a historic vessel?] PINTA CHIP (paint …).
- 67a. [“Let’s balance the budget,” say?] CONGRESSIONAL IDEA (… aide).
- 81a. [One who digs for old Coke bottles?] COLA MINER (coal …).
- 103a. [Missive from Macao?] CHINA LETTER (chain …).
- 119a. [Uplifting group?] BRA ASSOCIATION (bar …).
So that’s an okay theme, nothing awe-inspiring, but solid.
- Trivia! 8a [Cartoonist who popularized the term “double whammy”] AL CAPP crossed by 11d [Best-known character of 8-Across] ABNER.
- More trivia! 21a [Its first hotel was in Flagstaff] RAMADA.
- 96a [Pleistocene and Holocene, for two] EPOCHS, 102a [Cenozoic, for one] ERA.
- 109a [Homer output] EPICS, 42d [Homer outcry] D’OH.
- 35d [One might work a concert] NARC, 37d [One might attend a concert] FAN.
- 54a [Way off] AFAR, 71d [Way off base, say] AWOL.
- Strangely tricky: 80d [Is advised] OUGHT.
- Not-so strangely tricky:78a [Round container] GUN, 126a [Jersey features] UDDERS.
- 27a [Like a new coat, perhaps] WET. I have been doing some painting lately. Not the expressive artistic sort. And there’s more to do. *sigh*
- 28a [Stylish person] COOL CAT.