Bumping this up: Don’t miss the “Women of Letters” crossword puzzle pack! It’s yours free with a receipt for a $10 (or more) donation to one of 11 women’s charities. I’m proud to have been one of the editors (together with Patti Varol) for this project, which includes 18 all-new crosswords constructed by women. Enjoy!
Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post crossword, “Tech Crunch” – Erin’s writeup
Hello! This Sunday we have a computer brand rebus puzzle:
- 24a. [Extensive school assignment] RESEARCH PROJECT. HP (Hewlett Packard) in the rebus square, crossing ASHPIT.
- 39a. [Nursery rhyme character] FARMER IN THE DELL, crossing DELLA REESE
- 67a. [Space where a heating appliance is installed] FURNACE ROOM, crossing LACERATION.
- 70a. [Tries to understand, as a problem] GRAPPLES WITH, crossing JAVA APPLETS.
- 92a. [The continuation of the status quo] BUSINESS AS USUAL, crossing PEGASUS.
- 109a. [Old term for desktops and laptops, and a hint to this puzzle’s theme] MICROCOMPUTERS
- 121a. [Required one’s words to be bowdlerized, maybe] CUSSED. Let’s let Thomas Bowdler define his own eponym with the title of one of his works: The family Shakespeare, in one volume; in which nothing is added to the original text, but those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family.
- Fun medical stuff this week: 12a. [Sign of inflammation] for ABSCESS and the previously mentioned 61d. [Deep cut, perhaps] for LACERATION.
- 108a. [Sigmatism, by another name] LISP. Did not know this term, but sigma is the Greek letter for /s/, so it makes sense. I like how this clue does not joke about a condition that could cause a lot of distress to a person.
- 89a. [Former SNL star Kristen] WIIG. Among lots of other things, she voiced Ruffnut Thorston in the How to Train Your Dragon films. If you are looking for a children’s show that won’t completely bore/annoy adults, check out Dragons: Race to the Edge on Netflix. Much better than Caillou.
Until next week!
Peter Wentz’s New York Times crossword, “Mis-Unabbreviated”—Amy’s write-up
Take familiar phrases that begin with a 2-letter abbreviation, mis-expand the abbreviation into something else that those 2 letters stand for, clue the resulting phrase accordingly, and you’ve got this theme:
- 22a. [Meadows filled with loos?], WATER CLOSET FIELDS. If I ever knew what W.C. Fields’ initials were short for, I’ve forgotten.
- 38a. [Where sailors recover from their injuries?], PHYSICAL THERAPY BOATS. The Navy’s PT boats had names like PT-109, and I don’t know what that PT stood for.
- 55a. [Goings-on in accelerated classes?], ADVANCED PLACEMENT NEWS. AP News is the Associated Press.
- 80a. [Dog that doesn’t offend people?], POLITICALLY CORRECT LAB. Labrador retriever, vs. a PC lab full of computers.
- 100a. [Cry of devotion from a non-academy student?], PUBLIC SCHOOL, I LOVE YOU. I don’t know if anywhere other than New York City uses the P.S. designation for individual schools. Chicago’s public schools have names (the large majority are named after people) rather than New York-style numbers.
- 117a. [Morning zoo programming?], ANTE MERIDIEM RADIO. Amplitude modulation!
Six long themers, and lots of fill that crosses two or even three theme answers but the fill doesn’t suck. Peter knows how to fill grids.
Five more things:
- 11a, 89a. [First name on the Supreme Court], RUTH Bader Ginsburg and also SONIA Sotomayor.
- 28a. [Be agreeable], SIT WELL. I feel like the phrase is dangling loosely without a “with” after it. That doesn’t sit well with me. Clue could have been for writer Edith Sitwell, particularly since there’s only one proper noun crossing this entry.
- 37a. [Blotto], LOOPED. Wha…? Do people use that term to mean drunk? Huh. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before.
- 69a. [Onetime Bond girl ___ Wood], LANA. Who? Turns out Natalie Wood had a sister who was also an actress. L. Wood played Plenty O’Toole, and I’d like the record to show that I have the greatest disdain for Ian Fleming’s puerile character naming for women.
- 73d. [Elite court group], ALL-NBA TEAM. Not sure I knew that was a thing.
Four stars from me. Thoughts?
Jeff Eddings’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Camera Shy”—Amy’s write-up
Seven camera brands appear in the circled letters in otherwise unrelated phrases. Six themers are nouns while one is a spoken phrase—would have been a little tighter to use all noun phrases or to have more of a mix of types.
- 23a. [H&R Block calculation], PERSONAL INCOME TAX hiding PENTAX.
- 42a. [Individual with limited skills], ONE-TRICK PONY hiding NIKON.
- 50a. [“You can’t be serious!”] I BEG YOUR PARDON hiding GOPRO (a video camera).
- 70a. [Hamilton, for one], AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY hiding MINOLTA. Nice to have a grid-spanning entry from time to time.
- 91a. [Recreational area with pipes, bowls and ramps], SKATEBOARD PARK hiding KODAK.
- 99a. [Dropping-off places?], SLEEPING CARS hiding LEICA.
- 122a. [Red choice], CABERNET SAUVIGNON hiding CANON.
The theme phrases are a fairly lively set, and I suspect there are a lot of duller alternatives that also include the letters of camera brands interspersed within them. Not sure it would have been doable to somehow get the phrases to fit into the category of “things related to photography in some way” but it would be a bit more compelling to have some other thread linking the theme phrases.
A few more things:
- 31d. [Stick on, in a way], TAPE TO / 109d. [Zero input], NO SAY / 33d. [Dojo action], JUDO KICK / 129a. [Part of a plot], IN ON IT. None of these feels like an in-the-language, crossword-worthy phrase.
- 51d. [Like rolled carpet], UNLAID. What? No. Dictionary tells me that <em>unlay</em> is a nautical word, and that the adjective unlaid means “not laid,” as in “the table was still unlaid” (which is a terrible example in American English because that’s primarily a British usage). You can argue that since carpet gets laid, uninstalled carpet is UNLAID, but it feels to me like a wording nobody would use.
- 32a. [They may be footed], PAJAMAS / 65a. [Drs.’ publication], JAMA. I like the double-JAMA action!
- 44d. [Lake Wobegon creator], KEILLOR. *side-eye*
3.25 stars from me. This type of theme is pretty dry, but the theme answers themselves were a crisp set. The fill didn’t have all that much sparkle to it, though.
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s CRooked Crossword, “Repeat Performance”—Laura’s review
Today we’ve got a series of reduplicated homonyms:
- [23a: Early spring walk?]: MARCH MARCH
- [25a: Carriage with some flaws?]: BUGGY BUGGY
- [46a: “You really ought to buy my tar”?]: PITCH PITCH
- [55a: Safe jump?]: VAULT VAULT
- [77a: Stout hauler?]: HUSKY HUSKY
- [86a: Toss Barkley out?]: CHUCK CHUCK. Is Charles Barkley really referred to as Chuck?
- [108a: Cow farther down the hill?]: LOWER LOWER
- [112a: Nail-biter of a finale?]: CLOSE CLOSE
- [34d: Melt trash together again?]: REFUSE REFUSE
- [39d: “How to Apply a Coat of Paint”?]: PRIMER PRIMER
This kind of theme has many, many possibilities, so this is a nicely selected set with all ten-letter acrosses and two 12s going down. Fill I liked: artists DUPRE and WHISTLER; literary names BARTH, REGAN, and ERATO; and a shout-out to my favorite “narrative tension enacted through watching someone frantically typing,” THE NET, starring Sandra Bullock.