Bruce Haight’s New York Times crossword, “Person/Place/Thing”—Amy’s write-up
It took forever for me to see the theme because I had one wrong turn in a crossing for the first themer. 23a. [Singer / City / Home feature] clues a three-way “before & after,” AL GREEN BAY WINDOW, with Al Green morphing into Green Bay into a bay window. But actress KAT Graham came to mind for 9d. [___ Graham, Meryl Streep’s role in 2017’s “The Post”] instead of the correct KAY, so I had AL GREEN BAT WINDOW and was straight-up confused. (In my defense, I was in the sun for hours this afternoon. Brain might have melted a bit.) The rest of the themers:
- 36a. [Socialite / Resort / Store], PARIS HILTON HEAD SHOP. I like the genericness of [Store] for HEAD SHOP.
- 52a. [Political commentator / Geographical area / Fitness routine], OLIVER NORTH POLE DANCING. Thank Todd that POLE DANCING was clued this way. Oliver North is still a thing, is he?
- 75a. [Actor / Transportation hub / Part of a broadcast], SEAN PENN STATION BREAK.
- 91a. [Comedian / State capital / Record store section], RICH LITTLE ROCK MUSIC. Rich Little was mainly a thing in the ’70s and ’80s, was known for doing impressions of people like Nixon.
- 109a. [Actress / Mideast area / Crime], MAE WEST BANK HEIST.
Running into ECLAT and EAPOE and EHOW (“popular” in the clue!) in the top of the puzzle reduced the Scowl-o-Meter’s sensitivity level, so every other musty (MUST I!) bit of fill jumped out at me, too. I’ve now forgotten what, exactly, but I circled some things while solving and will eyeball those now.
- 30d. [Barrio grocery], BODEGA. “Barrio,” my eye. So I guess Midtown Manhattan and the ritzy Upper East Side are barrios now? That word is used for mini-marts all around NYC, including the super-expensive areas. Not sure if any other cities use the term, though. They’re mini-marts or convenience stores in Chicago.
- 24d. [Plenish], EQUIP. I have never, ever encountered plenish. How about you?
- 58a. [World Cup cheer], OLE. Welp. That other recent NYT [World Cup cheer] clue for USA was super-ignorant of the US Men’s National Team not making the cut. And then this one pops up with the OLE answer we all expected a few weeks ago … but the last Latin American or other Hispanophone country in the World Cup lost earlier this week. However! My family tell me that even the English Premier League fans use the “oléeeeeeee, olé, olé, olé” cheer, so we’re good here.
- 65d. [Try this!], CASE. This is one of those oddball clues where the “this” that is the verb’s object is what the answer is, rather than the answer being equivalent to “Try this!”
- 66a. [Related stuff], WHATNOT. Love the word, but ran into this one too soon after seeing “what” in the ELSE clue. It niggled.
- 57d. [Hip-hop subgenre], EMO RAP. No idea what this is, despite listening to rap. If you know rap at all, or if you’re interested in learning about coverage of mental health issues like depression in hip-hop. check out the Wikipedia article. Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO Tour Llif3” is sometimes categorized as EMO RAP.
3.6 stars from me.
Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post crossword, “Themeless No. 8” – Erin’s writeup
Themeless this week. Love all the 21s:
- 26a. [“Even ordinary people can do great things”] NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES
- 60a. [“We need to be realistic about this”] LET’S NOT GET CARRIED AWAY
- 96a. [1996 No. 2 single by Donna Lewis] I LOVE YOU ALWAYS FOREVER
- 10d. [Bowlful at Joe’s Crab Shack] NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER
The problem with including songs in a grid is that they get stuck in at least some of the solvers’ heads. In case anyone doesn’t remember this tune, here’s the video. Please enjoy the 90s in all their splendor.
A couple other things:
- 15d. [Highlight for M___ Callas] ARIA. I could not figure this out while solving initially. Maria Callas was a renowned opera singer, so she would have sung an aria or two in her time.
- 77d. [Huascarán National Park nation] PERU. This photo is of Laguna 69 at the national park in Huaraz, Peru. Besides glacial lakes, Huascarán is also home to spectacled bears and Andean condors.
There are a lot of great entries here, but since I have to go back to cleaning my house before a potential child care provider comes tomorrow for an interview, I’ll leave you to discuss your favorite bits. Until next time.
Emily Cox & Henry Rathvon’s CRooked Crossword, “Acronyms”—Laura’s review
Words are clued as if they were acronyms for organizations or groups that do a thing that represents the word as if it were defined as what it is usually defined as. Get it?
- [22a: COOT]: CORPS OF OLD TIMERS
- [33a: ASS]: ALLIED SILLY SAPS
- [62a: ABC]: ALPHABET BEGINNERS CLUB
- [91a: LOP]: LEAGUE OF PRUNERS
- [105a: CAD]: CRUEL ACT DEVOTEES
- [4d: BRA]: BUST REFORM ADVOCACY
- [29d: PIG]: PARTNERS IN GLUTTONY
Short post today since the heat wave has broken in the Northeast and we’re heading to a lake or beach or forest or a lake in that has a beach and is surrounded by forest. One fill note for those solvers not familiar with local Boston lingo:
- [54d: Boston moniker]: HUB. Why is Boston known as The Hub? You’ve got Universal Hub, an independent news site/feed; Top of the Hub, which is the swanky restaurant at the top of the Prudential Tower; the bike-share program that used to be called Hubway, etc etc. City lore tells us this nickname comes from Oliver Wendell Holmes’s The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858), where an interlocutor proclaims the Massachusetts State House “the hub of the Solar System.”
Victor Barocas’s LA Times crossword, “Straight A’s” – Jenni’s write-up
This theme is more complex – and thus more satisfying – than I thought when I started the puzzle. When I got STEA to start 23a, [One who has blown a gasket, perhaps], I thought it had something to do with steam. Wrong all around.
- 23a turns out to be STRANDED MOTORIST. What does that have to do with the title? To understand that, we need to look at the next theme entry, 39a [AAA, to a 23-Across], which is EMERGENCY SERVICE. Aha!
- 56a [Old recording accessory] is VCR REMOTE and 58a [AAA, to a 56-Across, usually] is BATTERY SIZE.
- 77a [North Carolina baseball team] is the DURHAM BULLS and 93a [AAA, for the 77-Across] is MINOR LEAGUE LEVEL.
- 79a [Office builder?] is MICROSOFT, and 113a [AAA, for 79-Across] is BOND CREDIT RATING.
All solid entries and a nice concept I don’t remember seeing before (which doesn’t mean it hasn’t been done. I have a terrible memory for themes).
A few other things:
- 1a [Derby town] is EPSOM, which I know from reading Dick Francis novels.
- 18d [Like many eBay products] had to be AS IS. Nope. It’s USED.
- 19a [Bread in a Hillel sandwich] is MATZO. A Hillel sandwich, named after the medieval sage, is charoset and horseradish between two pieces of matzo (at least that’s what it is in my family; your Judaism may vary). Mmm.
- Music! We have EMINEM, Pat BENATAR and YMA Sumac, and the Barbra Streisand vehicle YENTL, along with ERI Tu. Too bad they didn’t cue CRAZY as the Pasty Cline song.
- Am I the only one who always hears AFLAC in my head as if the duck were saying it? That’s an effective ad campaign.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that there are 256 TBSPS in a gallon, and that OSSIE Davis appeared in Dr. Dolittle (the Eddie Murphy version, not the Rex Harrison original).