Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post crossword, “Group Think” – Erin’s writeup
Clever alternative descriptions of sets of people:
- 25a. [Peer group?] HOUSE OF LORDS
- 31a. [Focus group?] PHOTOGRAPHERS
- 54a. [Core group?] NUCLEAR ENGINEERS
- 61a. [Interest group?] CREDIT UNION
- 77a. [Rock group?] STRIP MINERS
- 87a. [Control group?] BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- 105a. [Splinter group (with 118 Across)?] TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
- 130a. [Foes of Sauron] X-MEN. I was expecting something The Lord of the Rings-related. I was wrong. Say hello to Sauron!
- 60a. [SNL star Jones] LESLIE. She is one talented human being. Her Twitter feed is hilarious, and her photos at the gym almost inspire me to go myself.
- Two pugilistic entries near each other: 104d. [Works on one’s rights, say] SPARS and 106d. [Boxers’ targets] NOSES.
- 115d. [Big prize on “The Price Is Right”] TRIP. Nope. Kept trying to make A NEW CAR fit, or THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY PLINKO EVEN IF YOU DON’T HIT THE $10,000 SPOT.
Until next week!
Tracy Gray’s New York Times crossword, “Selfies”—Amy’s write-up
The theme is tourist sites where you might take a selfie, and they all contain a circled ME in their midst. Each is clued via an imaginary Facebook caption:
- 23a. [Facebook Status: “2016 Summer Olympics and a day trip to one of the new Seven Wonders of the World!”], CHRIST THE REDEEMER. When this is the answer in a Sporcle quiz, I save time by typing Cristo Redentor.
- 31a. [Facebook Status: “Across the pond! And front-row seats to the Henley Royal Regatta!”], RIVER THAMES.
- 51a. [Facebook Status: “Yes! Retail therapy at the largest shopping spot in the U.S.!”], MALL OF AMERICA. I had a little Tim Hortons treat when I was in MoA in August. The parking ramp was a slog, I tell ya. (A friend and I were meeting a couple other friends who wanted to meet somewhere near the airport, so a 20-minute parking odyssey ensued.)
- 70a. [Facebook Status: “Ahhhh … Sun and surf in Cancún, Mexico! Bring on the unlimited piña coladas!”], CLUB MED. I think Club Med is a chain of resorts, no? Feels a bit different qualitatively from the other themers.
- 86a. [Facebook Status: “Hej from København! This statue turned 100 years old in 2013 but is still a beauty!”], LITTLE MERMAID. Hej! I’m assuming that’s Danish for “hi” and I’m pleased to learn it.
- 106a. [Facebook Status: “10-9-8-7 … Ringing in the New Year with 1,000,000 of my newest, closest friends!”], TIMES SQUARE. I would never. Spending hours jammed in the middle of crowds, far from the nearest bathroom? Pass.
- 116a. [Facebook Status: “History abounds! Neo-Classical architecture surrounded by gorgeous cherry blossom trees. Next stop … the White House!”], JEFFERSON MEMORIAL.
- 16d. [Facebook Status: “Vegas, baby! And who would believe I’m standing next to Beyoncé and Katy Perry!”], MADAME TUSSAUDS.
- 50d. [Facebook Status: “Nosebleed seats – but home-field advantage! GO GIANTS!!!”], METLIFE STADIUM. I think this is the football Giants of New York and/or New Jersey rather than the baseball Giants of San Fran, but what do I know?
Theme’s kinda playful, and it’s certainly not one that I’ve seen before.
New to me: 29a. [Valuable china, e.g.], ARTWARE. I’d not seen this term before.
Favorite fill: CAPTCHA, THE FED, “HELL, NO,” MORTICIA, QDOBA, CAMI, ADORBS, and Lily TOMLIN. Also, the staggered-by-one-square, 5-letter overlap of 96d/97d MORELS and OR ELSE is neat.
Unfavorites: ORANT, LEFT AJAR, SERGES.
Two clues I liked:
- 11d. [Dingy part of a kitchen?], OVEN TIMER. As in “thing that goes ding,” with a hard G, and not dingy with a soft G. Enjoyed this clue.
- 73d. [Alabama and Kansas, for two], BANDS. Alabama is a country band whose work I don’t know at all, while Kansas is an old rock band whose hits I do remember.
3.8 stars from me. I’ll leave you with this Kansas video.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s CRooked crossword, “Surplus” — pannonica’s write-up
Well this is turning out to be a busy day. Started writing this this morning and it’s already well into the afternoon as I return to it.
So, cursory write-up.
Theme is SUR– prefixed to existing phrases, making wackified new ones. Remade versions all contain legitimate sur–words, spelling has been altered from the originals as necessary.Standard caveat about regional pronunciation issues.
- 23a. [Stun boxer?] SURPRISE FIGHTER (prize fighter).
- 35a. [Wall Street guy who catches waves?] SURFER TRADER (fur trader). This one definitely doesn’t work for me, phonetically.
- 96a. [Bulge that’s suddenly showing?] SURFACED BUMP (fist bump).
- 110a. [Do some spy work in Denver?] SURVEIL COLORADO (Vail, Colorado).
- 3d. [Superfluity till death?] SURFEIT FOR LIFE (fit for life, I think). Another phonetic issue, unless I have it wrong.
- 34d. [Doctor’s task?] SURGERY DUTY (jury duty). Not a perfect phonetic match for me, but close.
- 45d. [Unpleasant college concentrations?] SURLY MAJORS (Lee Majors). Not good for me here either. This and its predecessor suffer—for me—because a previously stressed syllable becomes unstressed in the new version, even if the pronunciations are essentially the same. Ditto on 96a ad 35a, but the former definitely also features a different vowel sound for me. Strangely, 3d seems okay.
- 54d. [Forfeits?] SURRENDERS GAME (Ender’s Game). Hey, guess what? Forfeit and SURFEIT share the same root etymology.
It’s a theme.
- 116a [Hobbles] LAMES. 110d [Like lame excuses] SAD. Aside from the duplication, I suspect regular readers of the blog will be able to surmise the criticism here. Wow.
- 91a [ATM number] PIN. In which the N stands for … ‘number’.
- 92a [Apple gizmo] CORER. Fooled me; was definitely thinking of the
technologylifestyle cultcompany. Sort of a double-fake masked capital.
- 4d [Deli receipt line] TIP. Deli? Okay, sure, some delis are sit-down places. But I think this is a weird choice in the clue.
- 47d [Fitting puzzles] JIGSAWS. Cute.
That’s it, got to run.
Garry Morse’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Mending Things”—Amy’s write-up
The theme is “M endings” on “things”—add an M to a word that ends with a vowel sound, adjust the spelling as needed to make an actual word, and clue the resulting goofball phrase accordingly.
- 23a. [Result of failing to catch a wascally wabbit?], ELMER’S GLOOM. Elmer’s Glue meets Elmer Fudd.
- 25a. [Viral video about Dre’s headphones?], BEATS MEME. “Beats me” meets Beats by Dre.
- 56a. [“I’m the best on the runway,” e.g.?], MODELING CLAIM. Clay. This one’s my favorite of the themers.
- 78a. [Herb served only on trains?], RAILROAD THYME. Railroad tie.
- 113a. [Floral stench?], BLOOM FUNK. Blue funk.
- 115a. [Poor prompt to a friend who’s been asked what the capital of Alaska is?], JUST SAY “NOME.” No.
- 43d. [Some “Ghostbusters” jokes?], SLIME HUMOR. Is “sly humor” really enough of a thing to base wordplay on it? I vote no.
- 38d. [British cop’s heartthrob?], BOBBY FLAME. Bobby Flay, celebrity chef.
Theme works fairly well, as these things go.
- 101d. [__ man], LADY’S. Ladies’ man is much more commonly used.
- 1d. [Suit material], TWEED. Raise your hand if you’ve ever owned a tweed suit (as opposed to just a tweed jacket, or nothing at all in tweed). Anyone?
- 76a. [Soccer phenom Freddy], ADU. Heh. He was a phenom when he was 14 or 15, but now he’s 28 and he hasn’t been a phenom for quite some time.
- 29d. [Eye-opener at the gym], HUNK. I was not expecting this answer here!
- 93d. [Day or nail follower], SPA. I’ve never seen a nail salon called a nail spa, I don’t think, but I wouldn’t put it past the industry to have plenty of places with that designation.
Fill like OBLA, plural AHAS and UMS and YULES, plural abbrevs LEMS and OEDS, the AX MEN/AW MAN overlap, UIE, ULAN … not entirely beyond the pale, but it felt like there was a bit more of this stuff than I like to see in a grid.
3.4 stars from me.