Patrick Berry’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Mighty smooth 66-worder. Not a ton of zippity-zoom but solid. Not a single abbreviation or partial, nary a roll-your-own word or contrived phrase, maybe a few more names/titles than the “names are a trivia quiz and they upset me” contingent cares for, but nothing to make me furrow my brow. (Do you know how often crossword bloggers furrow their brows? It’s a lot.)
Favorite fill: CAT LITTER, HELLBOY.
- 2d. [Isolated], INSULAR. Bad clue, as these two words are close etymological cousins. Both come from the Latin for “island.”
- 6a. [Standard position?], HALF MAST. Standard being a word that can mean “flag.”
- 18a. [City that straddles the Arkansas River], TULSA. I can’t say I was fully aware there was an Arkansas River. It enters Arkansas about 80 miles downstream from Tulsa.
- 53a. [Willa Cather novel whose title ends with an exclamation point], O PIONEERS! Really, any novel title would be improved by such punctuation. Lincoln in the Bardo! Slaughterhouse-Five! Fifty Shades of Grey!
- 55a. [“Am I forgetting anything?”], “WHAT ELSE?” My all-time favorite “What else?” is in this video (starring John Roberts, who went on to voice Linda Belcher on Bob’s Burgers).
- 34d. [Marker writing], EPITAPH. As in a grave marker and not a Magic Marker.
- 25d. [Metaphor for a jammed highway], PARKING LOT. I drove in rush hour this evening, but not on a highway. Death by a hundred consecutive parking lots. On the plus side, I returned home with Hoosier Mama Pie Company treats.
- 15d. [Ward bosses?], DOCTORS. As in hospital wards.
- 9d. [Human member of an old TV trio], FRAN. The other two were Moe and Curly. No, wait. That’s not right. Kukla and Ollie, puppets.
- 10d. [Bit of attire for a bellhop], MESS JACKET. Never heard this term before, so it’s good that the crossings behaved for me.
Four stars from me.
Gerry Wildenberg’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “You Say You Want a Revolution?” — pannonica’s write-up
Well all right.
Revolutionaries it is.
- 18a. [Whom Sartre called “the most complete human being of our age”] CHE GUEVARA. Wonder what the context for that was.
- 26a. [Real-life counterpart of Snowball in “Animal Farm”] LEON TROTSKY.
- 42a. [Founding father who said “All might be free if they valued freedom, and defended as they ought”] SAMUEL ADAMS. The ‘all’ seems very crucial, and telling, no? Also, Samuel Adams: brewer, patriot.
- 54a. [Subject of an Andy Warhol silkscreen held by the Art Institute of Chicago] MAO TSE TUNG. In Pinyin (rather than Wade-Giles), Mao Zedong. He’s the only figure named in the Beatles song whose refrain provides the title of this crossword.
Cuba, Russia, American colonies, China.
Not part of the theme: 17a SPIN (Offer a charitable interpretation of, say].
As is this blog’s wont, we can gently address a gender imbalance: 16 of History’s Most Rebellious Women (Time Magazine), List of women who led a revolt or rebellion (Wikipedia), 10 Badass Female Revolutionaries You Probably Didn’t Learn About In School (Bust magazine).
Let’s see, what else have we got?
- 23a [Brian who composed the “Microsoft sound”] ENO.
- 24a [Main storage unit?] SEA CHEST. As in, “the bounding main”. And, er, 37a [Mast-to-tackle rope] TYE.
- 36a [Rustic] YOKEL. Rustic-as-noun. Or, can ‘yokel’ be an adjective? Answer: rarely.
- 41a [World capital on the Atlantic] RABAT. Have a feeling Africa isn’t the first place most solvers would’ve considered. On the other hand, there was something suspicious about the clue that got me there fairly quickly.
- 50a [Votes out of office] UNSEATS. A kind of revolution?
- 58a [Drink often served with a spoon-straw] ICEE. Seems the prevailing portmanteau is stroon, meh. Spraw not much better. Perhaps it needs an entirely different name?
- 60a [Dynasty widely considered the zenith of Chinese poetry] TANG. From 618 to 907, excepting an interregnum of the ZHOU Dynasty (690–705).
- 4d [They may be imperative] SENTENCES. May be indeed.
- 19d [Suffix with consist] -ENCY. >sucks teeth< Not quite as ecky: 27d [Ending with switch or sock] -EROO.
- 21d [Spy’s accrual, informally] INTEL. I prefer this to a technology company clue.
- 25d [Ancient ascetic] ESSENE. Consonance! An intentional nudge from the clue?
- 40d [Astronomical units of distance] PARSECS, 26d [Div. of 40 Down] LT YR. Minor misalignment, plural/singular?
Okay, that’s all I’ve got. Just doing what I can. Solid, quality crossword.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
I was in a very “empty” mood (without the will to do much of anything for the last two hours) going into the puzzle, but I’ll try my best. You, like me, probably spent the first part of the puzzle trying to fathom what a “cosmetologist” is. It seems to be another word for a make-up artist; artist seems more apt, ologies are theoretical fields…
Add a letter string Friday was a day early this week, so we get a simpler, “members of a set” theme, obscured by vaguer clueing to elicit a late-week “a-ha”. The set is make-up varietals; this is not new (I had a puzzle five years ago, MAKEUPTEST, and it wasn’t original then; crosswords seldom are, with the numbers that go out), but it is solidly executed. We have BLUSHWINES, an OCEANLINER, verb idiom TAKEAPOWDER, BATONROUGE, and GLOSSPAINT. Aren’t BLUSH and ROUGE exactly the same thing though?
- [Alfredo may be associated with it], PASTA. I am pasta illiterate. I grew up with Briticised spag bol (had leftoversmy fiancee made for supper), and exposure to some sort of lasagne. Made carbonara from a recipe after it appeared in a trivia quiz and with no expectations was pleasantly surprised; maybe I should find an Alfredo recipe and just have a go… I expect trying it as made by someone who knows what they’re doing is the more recognized way though…
- [“Fillet of a fenny snake…”], that part of the rhyme needs a better agent!
[“Just like me”], ASAMI. Or over here, a sushi chain.
- [Dieter’s breakfast], MELON. In Afrikaans, melon is “spanspek”, derived from the phrase “Spaanse spek”, “Spanish bacon”. The folk etymology behind that is that Juana Smith, Spanish wife of Harry Smith (governor of the Cape) ate melon for breakfast which baffled the local scene.
- [Steven of “The Walking Dead”], OGG. Missed opportunity for a Discworld clue…
I enjoyed the puzzle and found it to be about average difficulty.
I do not understand how OSCAR fits as the answer to …and first name
The clue preceding is for the last name, DE LA RENTA. OSCAR is his first name.
Thank you, Amy. The way I did the puzzle caused me to not see the juxtaposition.
Not only is there an Arkansas River, but it’s pronounced phonetically. Ar + Kansas.
The 6th longest river in the U.S.. The pronunciation varies regionally. In Colorado (where the river starts) and Kansas (where I grew up), it’s pronounced as Ethan says. In Oklahoma and Arkansas (where it empties into the Mississippi), it’s generally pronounced like the state.
AR-kən-saw is how the state must always be pronounced according to a state law passed in 1881. (Stewart, George R. (1967). Names on the Land. Houghton Mifflin Company. pp. 335–340.)
Wonder what the penalty is for saying ar-KAN-zəs. Twenty tongue-lashings ?
NYT: Patrick Berry is so remarkable. I thought the number of proper nouns was small, and it’s his talent that he can lead one to success in fields in which one is ignorant, such as for me ALDEAN, and only faint knowledge of LAMAR. It’s odd about proper nouns, as they are such an obstacle and such a help. My way into the puzzle was with ANTOINE, and I was glad for this timely tribute to the late great Fats Domino. I knew it fairly quickly because a similar clue appeared in a recent puzzle. In that one, it took me a bit longer. Naturally, being older, I like clues that skew older and affirm the greatness of those who I think are durably great. In my case, as I have a slightly worse memory than before and a need for more crossing letters than when I was younger, those friendly clues come with their own handicap. Also, I’m very happy to learn the term MESS JACKET!
5 stars for pannonica’s CHE review
Speaking of skewing older (much older) the clue for TITO was amazing. I had a moment of thinking, one leader?, and then, of course, TITO. The T was already there. And I also noticed not one “abbr. in the clues. A terrific opus by Patrick. And the CHE was also very satisfying. Thank you all!
I was delighted with the discussion of the pronunciation of the Arkansas River. My mother grew up in Kansas, and because every year someone drowned in the river while swimming, her parents wouldn’t let her in it, and she only learned to swim when she and my dad had their own pool in Orange County CA and I had three children. She said she wasn’t going to let any of her grandchildren drown because she didn’t know how to swim. I am sorry for the length of this entry, but it brought back a lot of memories!