Richard Mausser’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Well! A quip theme. I rarely ever like puzzles with quip themes. This one is I HAVE / KLEPTOMANIA BUT / WHEN IT GETS BAD / I TAKE SOMETHING / FOR IT. As Dr. Erin tweeted, “If you have to make a quote puzzle, might as well go all out and pick a joke about mental illness.” Wikipedia tells me that SSRIs and a few other drug classes are used in the management of kleptomania—and these are not the sort of meds that “you take when it gets bad.” They’re daily maintenance meds.
- 10a. [Suffix with narc-], OSIS. Medical terminology. I once was heading into a state of narcosis, and not from narcotics. Spent that night in the ICU, luckily.
- 25a. [Bundle up], ENWRAP. What a useless word. Just use wrap. Other entries in the “meh” category: ST. JOE, ROBO-, ELL, THO, OSA, ALVA, SPYS, ANS.
- 30d. [Little person], PYGMY. This feels … thoughtless. “Little person” typically refers to someone with dwarfism, whereas the various PYGMY peoples merely have the phenotype for short stature.
- 39d. [Kind of off-season baseball “league”], HOT STOVE. Have never, ever heard of this.
- 42d. [QB Roethlisberger], BEN. Gross.
Dan Fisher’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “D-Day” — Jim’s review
It being June 6th, we are presented with an appropriately-titled puzzle. Common phrases have Ds prepended.
- 16a [Plumber’s inspection of a clog?] DRAIN CHECK
- 20a [Start of a letter to one’s besties?] DEAR BUDS
- 25a [Study of shortages?] DEARTH SCIENCE
- 45a [Pencils, charcoal, sketch pad and the like?] DRAW MATERIALS
- 50a [Choice at the casino supply store?] DICE PICK
- 60a [Hot dog?] DINNER TUBE
That’s a lot of theme material, but most of it missed my funny bone. I got a chuckle out of DINNER TUBE in a sophomoric sort of way. If you’re having hot dogs for dinner, at least take a step up to brats or any of the myriad specialty sausages that are out there.
Speaking of Germanic foods, STRUDEL! I also liked SNAKE PIT (36d, [Horrifically chaotic setting]).
Didn’t care so much for long partial MAID OF, plural DAISES (which just looks weird), nor the crossing of proper names EMILIA [Iago’s wife] and ANN LEE [Founder of the first U.S. Shaker colony]. Thankfully, the L makes sense there, but still…
Did I mention STRUDEL?! See the video for a quick way to make it.
Ben Tausig’s AVCX, “Sacred Spaces” — Ben’s Review
AVCX Editor Ben Tausig is at-bat this week with “Sacred Spaces”. He’s also trying to make the AVCX available to more solvers – drop some money in their tip jar to help make more low-income subscriptions available!
As for the puzzle, “Sacred Spaces” is a pretty good hint at what’s going on in the grid. There are four places in the grid that feature religious figures crossing one another, with one square not used. In the upper left, we have DALAI LAMA (“Religious figure whose picture cannot be legally displayed in the country of his birth”) and LAO ZI (“Noted philosopher of Daoism”), in the upper right, ABRAHAM (“Father of the Jews”) and MARY (“Annunciation figure”), in the lower left RUMI (“Sufi philosopher, poet, and mystic”) crossing KRISHNA (“Deity in the Bhagavad Gita”), and in the lower right, TARA (“Noted Bodhisattva in several religious traditions”) intersecting with AISHA (“Noted Muslim scholar and wife of Muhammad”). All of these are HOLEY CROSSES. Ba dum tish.
I thought the execution of the theme was okay, but the fill itself felt a little homework assignment-y in places. That’s largely on my own awareness/knowledge of religious figures outside of the context I grew up in, but I felt like I needed to google some stuff even with crossings filled in.
- “First or second word of an ungoogleable UK new wave band name” is a great way to clue THE
- It’s only a KOOZIE if it came from the Koozie region of France, just like with Kleenex.
- Today I learned that I think a villain’s laugh is a BWA HA HA, not a MWA HA HA.
C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s theme summary
BACKPAY is the revealer. Four long across answers, including two 15’s, have YAP between their two parts. They are: HEALTH(Y AP)PETITE, BARBAR(Y AP)E, CAND(Y AP)PLE, and MIGHT(Y AP)HRODITE.
I enjoyed the puzzle and thought the quip was cute. Agree with most of Amy’s comments though. Particularly about thug Roethlisberger.
I agree with Jim. Thought the quip was funny and MA BELL, THAMES, OJIBWA, SUBURBIA, IDITAROD, WHOVILLE, HOT STOVE, COIN OP, and US NAVY all get a thumbs up from me.
I see ENWRAP as covering or absorbing completely; WRAP suggests a broader range of coverings.
I think the distinction you made jibes with usage. English is hard– I saw this video yesterday. Still giggling. It may just be his delivery.
Rachel, this was hilarious. As someone who learned English as a third language, I totally appreciated what he said.
I remember the first time I heard someone described as “cool”. I thought it meant the person was distant, not very interactive, not “cold” but almost, and was very surprised to discover it was a compliment!
54D more than makes up for enwrap. ???
i’ll drink to that!
I was too hard on the fill when I was done with the puzzle, but I later realized that it was the theme/grid design that really got on my nerves. Wednesday is my least favorite day, and this one isn’t gonna help.
Quip puzzles shouldn’t be a thing. What makes a quip funny is mostly the delivery, the the suddenness of the punchline. Figuring out what the one-liner joke is letter by letter is not fun. I would imagine laughing at it
i) if it is a joke that I’ve heard before and I’m reminded of it or,
ii) if I’m solving the puzzle super fast and therefore it is a smooth experience.
This puzzle was a slog. Yes, I now realize it had some good parts but the short fill was too gluey. And yeah, please no more quip puzzles.
HOT STOVE was a gimme for me and I still didn’t like the puzzle. Quip puzzle – feh. “Joke” about mental illness – double feh. Nothing made up for that.
Re AVCX: I agree, BWA HA HA is the villain’s laugh. BWA sounds more villainous to me than MWA, and leads to a more forceful HA HA. Not that I am a professional villain or anything.
I liked the puzzle. Although I didn’t know the two HOLEY CROSSINGS in the SE, they were gettable.
In the WSJ, DINNER TUBE had me laughing out loud. Not villainously.
I was half-asleep when I did the NYT, but I remember thinking that PYGMY as a reference to a little person was totally inappropriate. For several years, I had a colleague who was a little person, and to have thought of her as a pygmy would never not ever have entered my mind.
Now, I see BWA HA HA as a cracking-up laugh, while MWA HA HA has a menacing tone.