David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
I doubt this puzzle is really assertively Saturday-hard, even though my solving time suggests it is. I just kept finding myself keying in the wrong letters, and I was also distracted by the TV show (on the Science channel) Engineering Catastrophes. (Baltimore railroad wall/road collapse? High drama! Also, I learned that the Leaning Tower of Pisa began leaning while they were building it, so they just kept going but made the levels uneven in an attempt to correct for the lean.)
First up, there’s a clue that doesn’t sync up with my understanding of the term. BOOZE CRUISE is clued 58a. [Wasted vacation days?], suggesting that you take a BOOZE CRUISE that lasts multiple days. As far as I’ve heard, a booze cruise is more like a three-hour tour, a quick party cruise just off shore. Chicago booze cruises are party boats, British ones involve crossing the English Channel to purchase cheap booze, and these Caribbean ones are 2- to 5.5-hour jaunts.
Fave fill: OLIVE GARDEN (which I never noticed had a hidden VEGA in it), “COME AT ME, BRO,” MATZO, SCRABBLE, LOW BLOW, THRASH METAL, SEX TOY, OREO THINS, SLEEP DEBT (I need to catch up!), AD BLOCKER, “NO MEANS NO,” HEATH BARS, and the less tasty BRAZIL NUT.
34d. [Establishment to which customers have come for years?], WINE STORE. This clue. Does it mean “to which customers have come to buy specific vintages”? That doesn’t quite work for me. Also, WINE SHOP sounds more right to my ear than WINE STORE. Now I’m thinking of the “jerk store” episode of Seinfeld. If you shop at oenocentric retail establishments, what do you call them?
Crosswordese alert: 22d. [Fathers’ clothes], ALBS. Fathers as in priests.
24d. [“Sweet”], “COOLIO.” Poor Coolio, losing his crossword real estate to a slangy word. It’s quite possible people weren’t using lowercase “coolio” before he came along. It’s also possible it was existing slang he used for his stage name.
14d. [German wheels], VEE DUB. Phonetically short for VW. Cute fill.
Overall assessment, four stars. Good night!
Zhouqin Burnikel’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Genetic Crossings” — Laura’s review
With that title, I expected something with DNA or RNA crossing something else, but the theme gimmick is slightly different — and it didn’t fall into place for me until the final down entry: [56d: What the answers to the starred clues are, to the words they intersect at 19 Across, 52 Across, 9 Down and 26 Down]: DADS. So! We have animal DADS crossing animal offspring:
- [3d: *Market optimist]: BULL crossing [19a: Many charley horses]: CALF CRAMPS
[49d: *”Moneyball” generalmanager Beane]: BILLY crossing [52a: 1962 film in which Elvis plays a singing prizefighter]: KID GALAHAD
- [45a: *Slayer of Adonis]: BOAR crossing [9d: Tinker or Evers or Chance, in baseball]: CHICAGO CUB
- [62a: *Ready for firing]: COCK crossing [26d: Woman riding to a rally, say]: BIKER CHICK
Lots of other juicy fill from Ms. Burnikel, including ON LOCATION, GORDITA, CLINTON ERA, and PITA BREAD. OTOH, the SW corner was a little sticky with COCCI, OTERO (is that a singular OTERI?), and COSEC (short for cosecant?).
Let’s shotgun an ICEE for [31a: 1992 teen flick with Sean Astin]: ENCINO MAN, co-starring Brendan Fraser as the titular [32d: Paleo diet adherent?]: CRO-MAGNON and Pauly Shore, as, well, a character who sounded a lot like Pauly Shore. “He’s dope! I’d go out with him!”
Ed Sessa’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
TIMESHAVECHANGED would make a good title. Alas, we don’t have titles, so it’s assigned a role as second revealer. When you already have the more explicit FALL/BACK denoting “change hour by one” it’s tautological. It seems to serve to pad out the theme, which only has three other entries: FOUR(FIVE)OCLOCKSHADOW, cheatily spelt ELEVENPMMASS, and THETENTH(ELEVENTH)HOUR. Colourful, idiomatic phrases, though wish there was a fourth to round things out.
Elsewhere, not too much to remark on, for better or worse. A couple of awkward plurals, but generally filled with care:
- [1980s TV ET], ALF.Said extra-terrestrial was an Alien LifeForm.
- [Colorful duck], TEAL.We have three species here: Red-billed, Cape and Hottentot. The Hottentot is the rarest and also the only actual prominently teal-coloured teal we have!
Anyone having trouble with WSJ crossword web version? Keeps erasing my letters!
I had that problem a while back using Safari on a Mac. I switched to Chrome and it was fine. More recently, I tried Safari again and it’s been working the past few weeks.
That’s odd. I use a chromebox! Never had the problem before. Oh well.
Excellent NYT! My only trouble spot was not knowing that Call of Duty: Black Ops was a game. So RATED R stayed in my grid for way too long. When I finally gave up on “tier” for “level”, the rest of that area fell into place.
CHE: Lots of excellent answers in this one too. I did not know that a baby BOAR was a CUB. Baby animal names are interesting! It’s a great theme idea and a good solve.
CHE: A baby boar is a piglet or a shoat. I think the idea is that a male bear is called a boar (a female is a sow, so there’s consistency.) Then the cub/boar crossing makes sense.
Thanks for explaining – I really wanted “bear” in there but that was obviously not the right answer. I love learning these things. I’m glad there are so many here willing to share their knowledge.
thank you so much, paul coulter.
solved this last night on my second beer (not bear) and just went around and around, even after consulting Dr. Google
Pairing BOAR and CUB in this context was an unfortunate choice. While technically correct, this pair differs markedly from the other three theme pairs, which are made up of commonly known and used terms. BOAR, on the other hand, is used almost exclusively in modern speech to refer to an uncastrated male pig. So, yes, male guinea pigs, hedgehogs, jellyfish and bears may also be called boars, but that usage is quite uncommon, and generally restricted to specialists. It’s an unusual hiccup from the usually precise Ms. Burnikel.
NYT: The “wasted” in the BOOZE CRUISE clue refers to the drunken state you’re in at the end. But I agree that “days” in the plural isn’t right.
Found the NYT to be tough. Very few GIMMEs, lots of unusual fill– so I was happy to see ALB.
My experience is exactly Matt F’s.
Best LAT in a while – well done!
Agreed! The theme was very nicely done, with good fill.
Agreed 2! Each theme answer had the same number of letters as its base phrase, and ELEV looked too good not to be right for _ _ _ _ ENTHHOUR.
I always enjoy David Steinberg’s puzzles, and this was another good one. That said, two 9s and an 11 on brand names were about two long answers too many. They bring no joy to me or, I’d guess, many other solvers. Unlike, say, the excellent SLEEP DEBT, or even the brand-ish VEEDUB (BDUBS would work too). Suggestion to constructors: take your score for OREO THINS and divide by 4.
Thanks for the reminder of that “Seinfeld” episode.
My [Wimp] was a PETPOODLE then a POTNOODLE first…
MSG clue… Ugh. It’s a salt of a naturally occurring amino acid. The sodium part dissociates in water and you get… Glutamate, which you consume naturally in your diet. Your body cannot tell the difference between added and naturally occurring MSG. You will notice the farcical notices these days that say “no added MSG” since most food has glutamate in some form if there is a protein component. Like with ACAI clues, we’re appealing to folk science…
NYT: [Establishment to which customers have come for years?]
Now I get it: “years” means a fine 1976 Boone’s Farm.
My parents had a wine shop which we called shop or store. Or as my mom called it: A mostly expensive hobby.