Peter Gordon’s Fireball crossword “Themeless 117” —Jenni’s write-up
This is a smooth, solid themeless. It is not blazingly hard, and I enjoyed it anyway.
I think I had an advantage in the NW with two medical clues. I suspect all of you knew that 1d [Stethoscope target] is CHEST. 14d [Somewhat icteritious] is trickier, especially since “icteritious” is not a word I’ve ever heard. I think Peter made it up to go with YELLOWY. That may be the first time that an entry I’ve never seen before was a gimme. “Icterus” is the Latin (from the Greek) term for “jaundice,” a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes seen most often in liver disease. There’s also a baseball clue, so I was off and running. 16a [One of up to three in a quality start] is EARNED RUN.
This is a very Scrabbly puzzle!
- 9d [Popular U.S. art magazine] is JUXTAPOZ, and I’m glad for obvious crossings.
- Right next door, we have 10d [Lana Turner’s costar in “Mr. Imperium”] is EZIO PINZA.
- This is all in service of what I presume was the seed entry: 34a [2017 David Shannon children’s book whose title character is a bee], which is also new to me. Since children’s books tend to rhyme, I guessed at some of it – correctly, as it turned out. It’s BIZZY MIZZ LIZZIE.
- EZRA POUND is well-known, and I was an English major, but I’ve never heard of the poem Peter cites in the clue – “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley.”
- Not scrabbly, but possibly my favorite clue/answer pair in the puzzle: 51a [“Yeah, so as you were saying …”] is ABOUT THAT.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: see above re: JUXTAPOZ. I also didn’t know that EZIO PINZO appeared with Lana Turner, nor did I know that ZAPRUDER was a dressmaker.
I leave you with this, inspired by 21a.
Dominick Talvacchio’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up
The Thursday NYT took longer than a themeless Fireball. I think this is mostly due to the lateness of the hour…
Our theme answers appear to be nonsense – but they are nonsense that can be parsed in a specific way.
- 17a [Wager one’s sculpture of the Virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus?] BET A PIETA
- 23a [Hired vehicle that’s only as big as a potato crisp?] CHIP SIZE TAXI. The clue uses the Britishism to avoid a duplication of “chip.”
- 51a [One-millionth of a meter along a spiritual path?] THE TAO MICRON.
- 62a [Inst. of higher learning dedicated to the statistical analysis of young sheep?] LAMB DATA U. This one took me a long time to see – I missed the abbreviation signal in the clue.
What’s the connection? Let’s look at 39a [What you might say upon seeing 17-, 23-, 51- and 62-Across?] IT’S ALL GREEK TO ME. We can re-divide the themers into Greek letters: BETA PI ETA, CHI PSI ZETA XI, THETA OMICRON, LAMBDA TAU. Maybe I’m just tired. This theme didn’t wow me. CHIP SIZE TAXI made me smile.
A few other things:
- 1a [Kitchen drawer?] is TAP. It took me a looong time to figure that out – it’s the faucet, because you draw water.
- 2d [___-null (the number of natural numbers)] is ALEPH. The clue seems obscure to me. I wonder if they were trying to avoid using another language in a clue.
- 26d [Words With Friends developer] is ZYNGA. The corporate name is a gift to constructors.
- 41d [Answer to the riddle “What cheese is made backward?”] is EDAM. Get it?? Get it?? So subtle.
- 70a [Is a canary] and 54d [Double-cross, maybe] are SINGS and RAT ON, respectively.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that ATARI has an online-only museum.
Paolo Pasco’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Business Insiders” — Jim’s review
I’ve been a fan of Paolo Pasco’s grids since he burst onto the scene a few years ago. While the theme here isn’t complex, it eluded me for much of the solve due to solid, thorny cluing throughout. Wrangling this one into submission was a fun process.
The theme is revealed at 65d, [Business abbr. that’s inside the theme answers]. We’re looking for added INCs in the long Across answers.
- 17a [Cook’s absolutely horrible cutting job?] DESPICABLE MINCE. Despicable Me.
- 28a [Placebo meal for a goat?] FAKE TIN CAN. Fake tan.
- 48a [Carrier with a “Fly the Starry Skies” slogan?] AIR VINCENT. Air vent. Some creative cluing here, but it’s a bit of a stretch since the Van Gogh painting is “Starry Night.”
- 62a [Offer to some royal suitors?] MEET THE PRINCESS. Meet the Press.
I didn’t get a whole lot of humor from these, but they feel solid enough. “Business Insider” is our impetus, I guess, for inserting INC within phrases, but it still feels odd since we usually see INC added on at the end of a company’s name.
The long Downs are really fun today with KEEP IT REAL [Slangy send-off] and DON’T RUSH ME [“Be patient!”]. However, I struggled with the latter because it was looking like ___TRUST ME for a while. I also love MOONMEN (37d, [Hercules fought them in a 1964 B movie]). Click the image to watch the MST3K crew watch the entire film.
IRATEST was the irritatingest of the fill. I also had trouble with STEPS TO (39a, [Challenges, in slang]). Is that something the kids are saying these days because it sounds awkward? SOMA (53a, [Body of an organism]) is another less-than-stellar bit of fill made harder because I’ve never seen it without a Brave New World clue.
As I said, cluing was thorny and ambiguous, but in the best way. Here are some of the ones that struck me:
- 54a [It might cause a draft]. WAR.
- 2d [Major suit]. EXEC.
- 4d [Rays’ home, casually]. ST PETE. If you did Matt Gaffney’s WSJ contest puzzle last Friday, you know the team is the Tampa Bay Rays, but their Tropicana Field is in St Petersburg.
- 8d [Opal, e.g.]. SILICA. Tough one unless you’re a geologist I suppose.
- 44d [Eyjafjallajokull output]. ASH. Another one for the geologist. This volcano is located in Iceland, in case you were wondering.
- 52d [Garfunkel and ___ (comedy duo)]. OATES. I don’t think I’ve seen their comedy, but I have heard of them. Ah, I knew I recognized this song (below). It was slightly modified and used in an episode of Scrubs. Pretty obviously NSFW.
That’s all I have. This one provided a good Thursday challenge mainly due to the crunchy cluing. 3.4 stars from me.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Can You Field It?” — Ben’s Review
It’s BEQ time! This is going up later than expected, but it’s been one of those weeks over here. BEQ seems to be back in form with this week’s entry, “Can You Field It?”:
- 17A: What wrestlers or lion tamers do? — WIELD CHAIRS
- 27A: Task a busy witch must do? — ERRAND SPELLING
- 48A: Those that smack vultures? — BUZZARD BEATERS
- 63A: Swashbucklers that keep misplacing their rapiers? — SWORD LOSERS
A phonetic “D” sound has been added on to WHEELCHAIRS, AARON SPELLING, BUZZER BEATERS, and SORE LOSERS to get the theme entries.
enjoy some Gumby and POKEY
Fill of interest to me: JAKOB Dylan, #METOO, LUBE job, POKEY, OIL SEAL, FOSSIL, and EXURB