Damon Gulczynski’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
It’s late, I’m tired, blog readers want something to read.
Goodies: PABLO NERUDA (nice clue, 18a. [Gabriel García Márquez called him “the greatest poet of the 20th century, in any language”]). GENDER BINARY (I do my best not to perpetuate that, after decades of indoctrination otherwise—whereas my teenager told us tonight that his grade-school classmate had transitioned two years ago, and it was so unremarkable he hadn’t thought to mention it sooner). SET SHOT in basketball (I remember trying to learn this in gym class, don’t I?). JOLLY RANCHER candy! (Terrible for the teeth, but watermelon Jolly Ranchers taste like junior high.) “GIVE ME A RING” as the invitation to call someone (using their voice! over some sort of telephonic device!) and not a request for betrothal. HOVERBOARDS, which I gotta call bull on because the current things called HOVERBOARDS have wheels on the ground and ERGO are not hovering. “IT’S NO BIGGIE,” said Mr. Smalls. PIPES UP. OVER THE HUMP.
- 4a. [English socialite Middleton], PIPPA. Kate the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister, of course. The U.K. is weird. Wikipedia tells me: Pippa married “the son and heir of David Matthews, the Laird of Glen Affric. If Matthews inherits his father’s lairdship, then Middleton may be accorded the courtesy title of Lady Glen Affric.” I never, ever knew that lairdship was a thing.
- 35a. [Streaming hiccups], LAGS. As in internet connectivity lags when you’re streaming a movie or TV show. I was trying to understand what annoying variant of hiccups might be termed streaming hiccups!
- 51d. [Home to Raqqa], SYRIA. Sending love and hope to the people of Syria, who have been hurting for so many years now.
Didn’t know Bob Dylan had a SARA song, never heard of Nashville actress Judith HOAG. The Dylan song was never released as a single, so I’m not sure how many people know about that unless they bought that particular album in the ’70s. There are Beatles classics that weren’t released as singles that a zillion people know, but … Dylan ain’t the Beatles. (Don’t @ me.)
John Lampkin’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
We have some rudimentary quasi-rebus action going on in today’s LA Times by John Lampkin. The revealing answer is in the centre, and it confused me no end. I have heard of “five and dime” (thank you B. Adams) but not “five and ten”, which is what is represented in the grid. Cursory googling suggests the term is legit though. You’re supposed to write 5 as V and ten as X, but apart from the Roman shtick in the clues, an Arabic 5 or 10 squished into one space would work just fine…
Theme answers: DC(10)/(10)PIN – had ‘I’ then ‘V’ there as the theme unfolded. DC 1 to 10 are all plane models, though post-solve I have learnt only 8 to 10 were jet-propelled. COUNTTO(10)/(10)SPEED (both can be other numbers, and in fact I’d argue (5) here is equally valid…) JACKSON(5) and (10)POINTER bisect the revealing answer. The entries on the bottom are canonically (5)’s: GIMME(5)/(5)ACTPLAY; PAR(5)/(5)AM. 5AM is so vanilla (a complaint that could be levelled at a few theme answers here) – why not say 5WS? Although that does make a real answer in VWS appear, which could be confusing.
- [Sack out], GOTOBED. I thought “sack out” meant tackle in American-ese??
- [Words on a reward poster], LOSTDOG. Had the joy today of pointing out a dog found by a security guard at 3am was reported stolen the day before. Now we have a custody battle brewing. Joys.
- [“… there’s __!”: Hamlet], THERUB. Could be clued as [Angel with a lisp].
Jim Leeds’ Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Call of the Wild” — pannonica’s write-up
Brief, late write-up. 45a [Throw off schedule, say] DELAY.
Theme: stereotypical animal sounds—as past tense verbs—punned into other phrases.
- 17a. [Bovine singalong?] MOOED MUSIC (mood …).
- 26a. [What some ducks did to keep their plans secret?] QUACKED THE CODE (cracked …).
- 41a. [What Fido did before–then after–the filling of his food dish?] WHINED AND DINED (wined …).
- 55a. [General impressions conveyed by sheep?] BAAED VIBES (bad …).
So. Three of these four are onomatopoeic in origin, while WHINED (which seems as if it might in part be onomatopoeic) has an etymology described by m-w.com as “Middle English, from Old English hwīnan to whiz; akin to Old Norse hvīna to whiz”. So there.
Quick spin of clues for notables:
- 1a [Fly-swatting sound] WHAP. Was somebody saying something about onomatopoeia?
- 21a [Four decathlon events] RACES. 100 meters, 400 meters, 110 meters hurdles, 1500 meters.
- 32a [South Dakota, to Pierre] ETAT. Playing on Pierre being the capital. Clue seems to need an “e.g.” or something similar.
- 37a [“We Need a Little Christmas” singer] MAME. As in Auntie Mame. This middle-right flank was the last area for me to complete. Took some time to tease out this clue, 29d [Adjective for a baked Alaska] DOMED, 40a [Etonian’s pop] PATER, 37d [Novelist who created the sanitarium patient Mynheer Peeperkorn] Thomas MANN (from The Magic Mountain (Der Zauberberg), which I have not read), plus the three-letter suffix to 11d [Bishops, collectively] EPISCOPATE.
- 54a [“__ Among the Scythians” (Delacroix painting] OVID. It’s pretty meh.
- 18d [Iron-fisted Athenian lawgiver] DRACO. Whence draconian.
- 25d [Count Basie trumpeter Jones] THAD.
- 27d [Something you hope you have the balance for?] UNPAID BILL. Cute. Well, cute-ish.
- 39d [Word with curve or captain] BELL. A bell captain supervises bellboys, er–bellpersons. This I did not know, or perhaps once knew but forgot as it’s essentially irrelevant to me.
- 43d [“… we __ think of a wicked man alone with himself”: G.K. Chesterton] DAREN’T. Not when he can broadcast a tweet at 3am.
Here endeth the (?)lesson.