Fireball is a contest this week. The review will be posted after the contest deadline closes.
Ross Trudeau’s New York Times crossword—Andy’s review
Holy cow, ACPT is this weekend! I’m looking forward to seeing many of you there!
I think Will Shortz is trying to give everyone a boost of confidence going into the ACPT, because this week’s puzzles have been unusually easy for the day of the week. I thought Laura’s Wednesday puzzle was Tuesdayish, and now this puzzle by Ross Trudeau is barely Wednesday-hard, let alone Thursday-hard.
Let’s talk about the theme. In a venue with puzzle titles, this one might’ve been something like “Social Media Gurus,” since the five theme answers are clued punnily as having various kinds of Twitter success:
- 17a, VALLEY GIRL [One with a lot of likes?]. I, like, liked this answer!
- 23a, ROCKIN’ ROBIN [One with a lot of tweets?]. “Tweet tweet tweet!“
- 35a, MAJORITY OWNER [One with a lot of shares?].
- 49a, FENCE MENDER [One with a lot of posts?].
- 57a, MOTHER DUCK [One with a lot of followers?]. It makes sense that birds would be good at Twitter.
I thought this theme was very cute! The only reason I can think of for placing this on a Thursday are the wide open NE and SW corners, which make solving the non-theme fill more challenging. JOFFREY of Game of Thrones and Julian ASSANGE are slightly challenging names, and potentially the J of JAMA/JOFFREY could be too tricky for earlier in the week, but otherwise this was fairly smooth sailing. Some really nice fill in this one, including both of the aforementioned entries, MADE LOVE, REVS UP, KEPT MAN (which unfortunately duped AREA MAN a bit), and HIGH CS, clued beautifully as [Hard-to-hit pitches]!
I think I didn’t like AMEN AMEN. It’s not something I often hear twice in a row, like for example HEAR HEAR or NOW NOW. Otherwise, I thought the cluing and fill was all really nice! A very solid puzzle overall — just more of a Wednesday to me than a Thursday. This has happened quite a bit lately, with many Thursday puzzles falling short of their usual difficulty. Am I the only one who thinks Thursdays have gotten (on average) easier, or do you all agree?
That’s all I have this week. Hope to see many of you this weekend; otherwise, see you next week!
Ned White’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Go the Distance” — Jim’s review
We have a vertical theme today as revealed by 32d: MEASURES UP [Meets expectations, and a hint to words hidden in the starred answers]. Hidden in the theme answers and going upwards in the grid are units of length. Note also the second revealer at 58d: UNIT [Each of this puzzle’s hidden words, e.g.].
- 3d [*Overdid it] WENT TOO FAR. Foot.
- 35d [*Deadpan comic duo of radio and TV] BOB AND RAY. Yard.
- 7d [*Ear thermometer reading] CORE TEMPERATURE. Meter.
- 10d [*Test constraint] TIME LIMIT. Mile.
A good set and a nice theme. But I have never ever heard of BOB AND RAY. No doubt I will be chided about that, but we all have gaps in our knowledge base, and they are in mine.
Sparkly long fill in DREAM TEAM, ART DEALER, IGNORAMUS, “PARDON ME,” and POLITICO. With all that and the vertical theme entries, trying to guess what was thematic was, at first, difficult. Thankfully it didn’t take too long to find the *-d entries and the revealer. IT’S A STEAL feels a bit roll-your-owny. WHAT A STEAL rings truer to my ear.
I’m not so keen on some of the stuffier entries like DONDI [Orphan boy of old comics] (again, not in my wheelhouse), SSTS (a personal dislike of mine), OENO (I don’t know how this is pronounced but I’m going to stick with “Oh no!”), MOA [Extinct ostrichlike bird] (I actually don’t mind this entry, but it added to the feel of stuffiness), and, going way back, ALDEN [Priscilla Mullins’s married name]. Apparently, she came over on the Mayflower and was the unrequited love of Capt. Miles Standish, as recounted in the Longfellow poem, The Courtship of Miles Standish. Whew! You know who else is named ALDEN? The actor portraying Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars film. Look for him in future clues (just his first name; his last name, Ehrenreich, isn’t so crossword-friendly).
Clue-wise, despite a few things being beyond me, I feel like I cruised along more zippily than on a normal Thursday. Maybe I was just on the right wavelength, but they felt on the easyish side. There are a couple I want to note:
- 16a [Wahoo, for one]. ELM. Did not know this. Do you think the person who named it was super excited to have discovered a new species?
- 22a [Class for coasters]. EASY A. My first thought was roller coasters and how they could be classified, but that thought didn’t last long.
- 66a [Film in which LeVar Burton played Martin Luther King Jr.] ALI. Did not know this. Is it just me or does LeVar Burton never seem to age?
- 55d [Award for scoring, e.g.] OSCAR. Favorite clue in the grid, maybe because I sniffed it out pretty quickly.
A good theme, and very nice long fill, but some of the gluey short fill weighed it down a bit.
If you’re going to the ACPT, best of luck to you! I will be there in spirit this year; hopefully I can get back next year. Don’t forget that if you keep your standards low, you won’t be disappointed, and you’ll have room to improve in the future! :)
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Lead the Way!” — Ben’s Review
We’re only a day away from ACPT Eve, so it’s nice that BEQ is ready to “Lead the Way” with this week’s Thursday puzzle. Here’s what’s going down (well, across. You get it.):
- 16A: Stack of computer connections? — USB SANDWICH
- 23A:Camry manufacturer defies authority? — TOYOTA UPRISES
- 28A: Punish an alternative reader monetarily? — FINE UTNE
- 43A: Decorative container at a courthouse? — TRIAL URN
- 50A: Arm bone moments of decline? — ULNAR ECLIPSE
- 61A:All the latest about the ducts from the kidney? — URETERS NEWS
BEQ notes in the clue for 24D that “YOU first” would be a better name for this puzzle, and that unlocks what’s going on here. Each of these answers has had its U moved to the beginning to form a new phrase from one that’s more familiar – SUB SANDWICH, TOYOTA PRIUSES, FINE TUNE, TRIAL RUN, LUNAR ECLIPSE, and REUTERS NEWS.
Robert & Marlea Ellis’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review
The reveal is NONOS, and this tells us to drop NO from the beginnings of phrases that don’t work without them, creating wackiness. We have (NO)GREATSHAKES, (NO)FAULTINSURANCE (never heard of that, and it was where I struggled the most, as I parsed it as NO FAULT IN…), (NO)QUESTIONSASKED and (NO)HOLDSBARRED.
There was also a lot more difficult names and tough vocabulary than typical: APISH; SENTA Berger (no relation to Gerhard, as far as I can tell)l a mysterious actress TANYA; ARNE clued solely with a work, “Arthur” were the toughest.
I’m guessing in America you can be a sci. major and become an ENGR. Around here, you do a BSc, or a BEng, and never the two shall meet. Mind you I think you do a BA to study accounting in the US or something? Around here it’s a BCom…