Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 380), “Three Times a Lady…and One Gentleman”—Ade’s take
Good day, crossword savants! I hope you’re doing well today and enjoying some decent weather to begin your Tuesday. It has been a while since I’ve come across the “different interpretation of the same exact clue” theme in a grid, but that’s what we have here. (I’m sure someone will be able to explain this specific type of theme much better than I just did now.) Anyways, JULIA is the clue to each of the four theme entries, and each of the entries describes a different person who happens to actually be named “Julia,” real and fictional.
- CHEF CHILD (17A: [JULIA])
- BEATLES BALLAD (23A: [JULIA])
- JANE FONDA FILM (46A: [JULIA])
- ACTOR RAUL (58A: [JULIA])
Not sure if there was any intent with this, but loved the clue for (town) CRIER (42D: [Colonial newscaster]), especially since it’s in the same grid as AMERICA, with bellmen being a staple of the Colonial era in America (43A: [North or South continent]). “Oyez!! Oyez!!!! Today’s crossword is helping to keep alive the history of the town crier!!” There’s a 15 percent chance that I’ll dress up as a town crier for Halloween now. Does someone have a bell that I can borrow?
For those of you in the know about these sorts of things (and I am sure many of you are), seeing the clue to MINAJ might have reminded you of an incident a couple of days ago when she and another hip-hop star, Cardi B, got into a skirmish during a Fashion Week event in New York City, one that led to the latter having a hematoma-looking knot above her eye (31D: [“Va Va Voom” singer Nicki]). Speaking of leading ladies, we have a number of women in this grid, real and fictional, from LADD (1A: [“Charlie’s Angels” actress Cheryl]) at the very beginning to KAREN (33D: [Carpenter with a memorable voice]) to ELSA (54D: [Anna’s sister in “Frozen”]) to the ladies mentioned in the first three theme entries. But there is one lady mentioned in the grid that is currently trending worldwide and is soon to be, possibly, the next big global star in sports.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: OSAKA (60A: [Tennis star Naomi _____, winner of the 2018 U.S. Open (she’s the first Japanese tennis player to win a Grand Slam singles title)]) – I can imagine Liz just waiting for match point on Saturday night to officially green-light this clue for this week’s puzzle!! It is indeed true that the 20-year-old Osaka, born in Japan before moving with her family to Long Island when she was three and to Florida when she was eight, is the first Japanese singles tennis player to win a major, doing so just three days ago when she defeated her childhood idol, Serena Williams, 6-2, 6-4, in the US Open final. If you’re interested in knowing a little bit more about her, I encourage you to read this feature on Osaka from the wonderful website called A Lot of Sports Talk, one that includes the story of how Osaka, born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, completed a book report on Serena while in third grade and dreamed about one day playing her in a US Open final. Dreams do indeed come true, folks!!
Thank you very much for the time you took out of your day to read this blog! Have a great rest of your Tuesday and, as always, keep solving!!
Timothy Polin’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Quick recap tonight, as I want to finish editing another puzzle before bedtime! Theme is 35a. [High-flown speech or writing … or a description of 17-, 22-, 51- and 57-Across?], FLOWERY LANGUAGE. Various phrases that include flower names round out the theme: SHRINKING VIOLET, ENGLISH ROSE, GILD THE LILY, and AS FRESH AS A DAISY (that first AS felt weird to me). Works fine.
- 8d. [Record of a year’s events], ANNAL. You know the singular ANNAL isn’t accepted as an answer in the daily Spelling Bee puzzle on nytimes.com? I try it every time, hoping it’s been added, but no. If it’s too uncommon for Bee, maybe it oughtn’t be in a Tuesday puzzle.
- 50d. [Lustful goat-men of myth], SATYRS. *shudder*
- 1a. [Information about other information], METADATA. I know you can view the metadata for a web page; not sure if the term has other uses.
- 15a. [“Original copy” or “open secret”], OXYMORON. Great clue!
Four stars. Good night!
Gary Larson’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up
Umm, have the crossword gods been listening to me? Talk about a dream puzzle! Gary Larson (not the cartoonist, so I’m told) is here with his fabulous WSJ debut:
20A: KIRSTIE ALLEY [*1991 Emmy winner for “Cheers”]
29A: ETTA PLACE [*Real-life companion of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid]
49A: DIANE LANE [*Oscar nominee for 2002’s “Unfaithful”]
58A: PICABO STREET [*Super G gold medalist at the 1998 Winter Olympics]
37A: ON THE ROAD [Kerouac novel, and a hint to the four starred women in this puzzle]
The last name of each themer is a synonym for ROAD that you might see on a street sign: ALLEY, PLACE, LANE, and STREET. Nice!
Let’s talk about all the reasons I am specifically in love with this puzzle:
– The theme entries are all accomplished women, clued specifically with respect to their accomplishments. Only ETTA PLACE is clued with respect to the men in her life, but it feels more like a “she was important but has been overlooked for years, so let’s include her now” kind of thing. (See Rosalind Franklin with respect to Watson & Crick.)
– This same theme could have been made with all male themers or themers representing a mix of genders … but it wasn’t! The constructor made the conscious decision to feature all female themers and I am HERE. FOR. THAT. <3
– There are a number of women included in the puzzle that weren’t even theme-related: INDIRA Gandhi, HER, Suze ORMAN, and Tori AMOS. Bonus female representation! <3
My only ding against this puzzle is that, aside from INDIRA, every other woman (and person, for that matter) in the puzzle is white. We do have lesbian (ORMAN) and gay icon (AMOS) entries, but some additional inclusion of women of color would have brought this puzzle to that next level of representation. But, compared to the limited amount of non-“white/straight/male” representation most puzzles provide, I’m counting this in the win column. ENCORE!
#includemorewomen: See <3 this entire puzzle <3 ! Future constructors (including myself): This is the current standard to which I’ll be comparing all future puzzles. I’m realistic in that every puzzle can’t have eight women represented … but there are plenty of puzzles out there with eight or more men represented! Let’s start seeing more like this.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “TL;DR” – Derek’s write-up
“Too Long; Didn’t Read” is what this stands for. Yes, I am guilty of this, especially on several Facebook posts that are obviously too long for consumption, especially while I am scanning at work! I am a little old for a lot of this text abbreviating, but I know most of what is in the circled spaces:
- 18A [Does some present preparation] GIFT WRAPS – For The Win (I had to look this up; I thought it might be vulgar!)
- 20A [New pilot’s achievements] SOLO LANDINGS – Laugh Out Loud
- 38A [Historic castle officially called “Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress”] TOWER OF LONDON – Rolling On Floor Laughing
- 55A [Like a government wonk, say] POLICY MINDED – In Case You Missed It
- 58A [They may be receding] HAIRLINES – In Real Life, mine has been receded for many moons now!
Fun times! As far as the title goes, there is an entry here where Deb Amlen, star of the NYTimes Wordplay blog, is quoted in the dictionary for this very entry. How cool is that? Talk about being immortalized! (At least in the online version!) Perhaps this was part of the inspiration for this puzzle? A solid 4.5 stars from me.
Just a couple more things:
- 30A [Elba who recently announced he won’t be playing James Bond] IDRIS – But he should!
- 62A [For some reason it’s National Soft Pretzel Month] APRIL – Because soft pretzels are awesome!
- 4D [“Break Your Heart” singer Cruz] TAIO – Slightly obscure, but this is a Jonesin’. You’re welcome:
- 8D [Mario Puzo subject] MAFIA – I finally watched two of the three Godfather movies. I haven’t had a free three hour block to watch the last one. I did read Omerta by Puzo, and it was really good; he tells a good story.
- 25D [2012 Affleck thriller] ARGO – Never saw it!
- 44D [2016 Dreamworks movie with Justin Timberlake] TROLLS – One of my son’s favorite movies!
Thanks for reading!
Bruce Haight & Natalie Murphy’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Am I missing something, or is this a themeless on a Tuesday? Oh wait: look at the clues!
- 11A [Cease and desist order?] CUT – A little quirky, but it works.
- 18A [Court order?] ALL RISE
- 27A [Reverse order?] ABOUT FACE
- 45A [Money order?] STICK ‘EM UP – This is quirky, toO.
- 58A [Work order?] GET BUSY
- 65A [Gag order?] SHH
- 5D [Restraining order?] STOP IT!
- 46D [Pecking order?] KISS ME – Best clue of the bunch!
I almost missed it! Lots of different “orders” at work here. Very clever, and I sure this was fun to brainstorm. Still a fairly easy puzzle, but I think the theme is hard to find a) when you’re solving quickly, and b) when they aren’t all the longest answers in the grid, like we’re used to. Some of the themers are three letters long! 78 words in this one, which is up near the upper limit, but a relaxing solve nonetheless. 4.1 stars from me.
A few more things:
- 14A [Stuffed oneself] ATE A TON – I am guilty of doing this too much. I need to watch my portions more carefully now that I am largely sedentary at my job.
- 21A [NBC weekend fixture, briefly] SNL – When does the new season start??
- 64A [Muzzle-loading gadgets] RAMRODS – This took me a long time to recall. Perhaps because I don’t own any guns!
- 4D [Beach city near Hollywood] MALIBU – Also an Anderson .Paak album title. A couple of these tunes are really catchy.
- 29D [President between Bush and Trump] OBAMA – Even though it’s Tuesday, you can clue this harder!
- 38D [Bill for drinks] BAR TABS – I’ve had one or two of these in my day…
- 40D [San Francisco’s __ Tower] COIT – I have never been to SF. I need to remedy that someday!
Have a great week!