Peter Wentz’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Between Olympic figure skating and a headache, I don’t much remember the puzzle I solved over an hour ago. Let’s take a look.
Likes: BODY SPRAY as a crossword answer, not as a thing. ANTS ON A LOG as a crossword answer, not as food (I loathe raw celery). QUIET TIME. EYE STRAIN, gotcha right here. SHOPAHOLIC, I AM AMERICA. ERICA JONG. NBA GAMES crossing MBA DEGREE for a little echo. SAM ADAMS. G-STRINGS, though not keen on the clue, [Almost nothing on?], which surely does not scream “the answer is a plural noun.” TREFOIL, as it’s Girl Scout cookies season. LAB COAT, HAD A FEW, CRIPES.
SEA LION! You know how some people are inclined to derail a conversation by demanding that you focus on the thing they want you to talk about? That’s called sealioning, because of this cartoon.
Did not know: 12d. [Fixed cord for a paratrooper], STATIC LINE.
Don’t like: Crosswordese MOUE and the bizarre X’D IN right in the opening corner, crossing BMX.
This not your grandmother’s crossword: 36a. [Like a happening party, in slang], LIT.
Not sure about: 28d. [Tops in athletics], POLOS. In which sports are polo shirts actually worn? … Not in figure skating, at least.
Four stars from me. Good night!
Bruce Venzke’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
I thought my time would have been better than it was, but I bogged down a bit at the end of this solve. I count 8 15-letter entries in here, which is obviously quite a feat of construction. Nothing too complicated in here, in typical LAT fashion, so that always helps! Let’s award a robust 4.4 stars for this one! I’m a tad rushed because I am attending a wedding today!
- 14A [1966 N.L. batting champ Matty] ALOU – The crossword-famous ALOU family is always in puzzles. Perhaps someday there will be someone else with this surname to make it big!
- 43A [Charter acquisition] TIME WARNER CABLE – Clever clue, but people in the Midwest have Comcast primarily. Why are cable companies, like other utilities, allowed to basically operate as a monopoly?
- 48A [Markings on gridirons] MIDFIELD STRIPES – Slightly out of season, as baseball is around the corner and NASCAR starts Sunday!
- 60A [Title derived from “Caesar”] TSAR – I actually knew this. “Kaiser” is another one derived from this word. Pretty sure there are other terms in other languages.
- 9D [Land of Lincoln?] CORNHUSKER STATE – This phrase has appeared on Illinois license plates for years. Everybody wants to claim Honest Abe! But the Lincoln here is where the University of Nebraska is. Great clue!
- 44D [ __ Chess: video game] WII – This seems untimely, but no more untimely than clues for NES or SEGA! Not sure ANY of these consoles are known for their chess games!
- 49D [Victor Laszlo’s wife, in a classic film] ILSA – I think this is a Casablanca reference. A movie I actually saw!
It’s supposed to be in the 60s here on Monday! Enjoy your weekend!
Lars G. Doubleday’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
Not a horrid solving experience, but certainly felt that feeling of angst while looking at an extremely empty grid for long stretches of time. The upper left was the first to go, and I had all but the SE corner before I succumbed and checked my answers, which resulted in the plethora of error squares you see in the grid! I will mention many of the wrong answers I had in the grid in the comments, but overall this one wasn’t too horrible after the first 5 minutes or so. A solid 4.6 stars for this one.
My many mistakes, among other things:
- 9A [Rendered emphatically, maybe] ITALIC – I had STATED in here, since I thought this might be a word in the past tense. Tricky!
- 37A [Latter-day “Good work!”] “YOU ROCK!” – I tried NICE ONE! but that quickly fizzled.
- 45A [One of 60+ San Diego Zoo births] OKAPIS – Wow. I wrote PANDAS immediately. Not to sound harsh, but nobody cares about okapi births, and okapi births do not make the news. But then, for that matter, why should panda births? I know they’re nearly extinct, but my opinion is they are newsworthy only because they are cute!
- 46A [Court player] JESTER – Another excellent misdirection. I had SETTER, as in volleyball, which has several letters in common. Didn’t get this until I had 25D KINKAJOU filled in.
- 59A [Portraitist of Eisenhower and Abdul-Jabbar] AVEDON – Never heard of him. I’ll let you Google the Lew Alcindor photos, but I think this is the Eisenhower portrait. Yes, Richard Avedon is a photographer.
- 65A [Literally, “remember”] SOUVENIR – My son just got back from a Caribbean cruise, and had plenty of “remember”s with him!
- 7D [Mark of dojo achievement] DAN – I think this means “level” or something in Chinese, because the same term is used to describe Go players.
- 9D [Longtime General Motors collaborator] ISUZU – With only the central U, I tried ACURA, since they are still made, while Isuzu I believe is now defunct.
- 32D [Uriah Heep persona] SYCOPHANT – Defined as “a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage,” or a butt-kisser, to be kind. I actually have never read David Copperfield, the novel where this character exists. I’ll have to find the Cliff Notes version!
Everyone have a wonderful weekend, and hopefully I will see some of you in Stamford!
Gabriel Stone’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Opposition Leaders—Amy’s recap
The theme adds the CON- prefix to familiar phrases. For example, 23a. [Sketch on the inside of a bowl?], CONCAVE DRAWING. Eight themers in all, including two Downs that each intersect a couple Across themers.
Didn’t solve the puzzle, so that’s about all I’ve got for you aside from the solution grid. Questions about any particular clues?