Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 390), “Thanksgiving Break”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everybody! Hope all is well with you and plans for you and your family for Thanksgiving are going along just fine. In today’s grid, six staples of a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner are found going across but are broken up by black squares. The circled letters clue you in to the “break” happening with those words. There is a reveal in the grid as well, ATE A TON (63A: [Indulged at Thanksgiving (as in the six-course dinner hidden in this puzzle)]).
- ALFONSO (16A: [MLB All-Star Soriano) & UP AND UP (17A: [On the ____ (aboveboard)
- KULTUR (21A: [Civilization, in Germany]) & KEYES (23A: [2008 presidential candidate Alan])
- HOT STUFF (31A: [Grammy-winning Donna Summer song]) & INGE (35A: [“Picnic” playwright])
- LISA (41A: [Kudrow of “Friends”]) & LADDERED (42A: [Maturing in increments, as investments])
- CONEY (47A: [Brooklyn’s _____ Island]) & AMSTEL (49A: [Dutch beer brand])
- BIG PAPI (60A: [Nickname of baseball’s David Ortiz]) & ERASURE (62A: [Smudge on a crossword puzzle, perhaps])
Though the texture of my hair is such that I would never really use any STYLING GEL, I do like the words as fill in a grid at the very least (27D: [It’ll make your hair stand on end?])). Always love learning new things when solving a puzzle, and LADDERED was definitely new to me. (I’m sure many who have monetary investments would not have had a problem with that.) If BONITO, new to me as well, had referred to the Spanish word for “pretty,” then the entry would have been a cinch (43D: [Mackerel’s cousin]). There were a number of entries referring to European geography, which only served as a reminder that it’s now been almost a decade since I’ve been on the continent. I would not mind seeing what BASEL (5D: [Swiss city on the Rhine]) and TURIN have to offer (50D: [The Shroud of _____]). There is also URAL to complete the Euro geography (28A: [Russian river]). Very interesting to see both a former New York Yankee, ALFONSO Soriano, and a former Boston Red Sox player, BIG PAPI in the grid, showing that eternal rivals can indeed share the same space amicably. Maybe.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: DELE (2D: [Takeout order?]) – One of the best young soccer players in the world, 22-year-old DELE Alli currently plays as a midfielder at English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur as well as on the England national soccer team. In 2016 and 2017, Dele won the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Young Player of the Year Award, given to the player voted to be the best player in the Premier League who started the season at 23 years of age or younger. The 2017 award made Alli just the fourth player to win the PFA Young Player award twice, joining three legends of the Premier League: Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Robbie Fowler (Liverpool) and Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).
Thank you very much for your time, everybody! Have a great rest of your Tuesday and, as always, keep solving!
Aaron L. Peterson’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up
This puzzle was mayor fun!
3D: YELLOW SHOTS [Photos of bananas and lemons?]
18A: YALE BREAK [Time between semesters in New Haven?]
27A: TRAFFIC YAMS [Thanksgiving vegetables smuggled like drugs?] – This feels like it should be trafficked yams, no?
37A: YULE BOX [Christmas present?] – I wanted this base word to be jukebox instead of jewel box(?) for too long, but I had no clue what a yuke was!
56A: LUMBER YAK [Shaggy ox used to carry logs?] – I bet that ox is part of a practical yoke! :D
Quick review today because the pre-Thanksgiving push at work is real! This puzzle had lots of fun J -> Y themers in here and even a few that made me chuckle. I appreciated that the J->Y substitution happened at the start of a word each time and that there was a 3/2 balance among the themers of whether the sub out happened at the start of the first vs. second themer word. I also appreciated the relatively clean grid and I’m torn on whether I like the ASH / SASH / ASHBY cluster at the equator of the puzzle.
#includemorewomen: Just about 12 hours to go on the amazing Inkubator Kickstarter! They just topped $30,000 on an original $10,000 goal – wow! Based on the sample puzzles they’ve already put out, this is going to be an amazing regular stream of fantastic puzzles by women and other non-male constructors. SOOOOO excited! Get in now to lock in a subscription for yourself!
Zhouqin Burnikel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
And the run of Tuesday puzzles with a Thanksgiving-adjacent theme continues! Liz had her feast, Aaron also had some YAMS, and Zhouqin brings all the different preparations of turkey:
- 17a. [Turkey’s place], POULTRY FARM. It’s possible that some Iowa or western Illinois turkey farms were mobilizing their stink in the breeze on Friday, because we smelled a distinctly farm-stink aroma in the air. Chicagoans don’t typically smell agricultural odors, not unless a horse-drawn carriage has just passed.
- 23a. [Turkey’s place], RAZZIE AWARDS. Turkey as in “movie that sucks.”
- 51a. [Turkey’s place], BOWLING ALLEY. A turkey is … three strikes in a row?
- 61a. [Turkey’s place], WESTERN ASIA. And also far southeastern Europe.
Can’t think of other “turkey” meanings that Zhouqin has omitted, so it’s a solid theme. What other languages have words that are spelled and pronounced exactly the same but have so many distinct meanings?
Okay, this one threw me: 68a. [Baby wipe target]. Given that “baby wipes” are a known thing—pre-moistened disposable cloths for wiping things that need a wet wipe—when I had ***OL, I said, “Oh, no. Oh, no. It’s STOOL, isn’t it?” But no, the answer was DROOL, which would be something on a baby that you might wipe, but with a dry cloth more than with a baby wipe. I guess the clue is to be parsed as “baby-adjacent target for wiping,” but man oh man, nope. I don’t think the constructor or any of the three gents on the editorial squad have kids, so …
Three more things:
- 10d. [Very confusing], CLEAR AS MUD. What a great entry.
- 11d. [Basic monetary unit of Egypt, Sudan and Syria], POUND. I really hope this tricked a lot of people into trying DINAR or RIYAL. Presumably British colonizing played a role in these three countries using the pound?
- 54d. [What Vegemite ultimately comes from], YEAST. Mmmm, yummy yeast! When any non-Australian my age hears a Vegemite mention, our brains go directly to “Down Under.”
Four stars from me.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Cast of Characters” – Derek’s write-up
A fitting tribute puzzle this week honoring a man who died recently that has arguably had one of the biggest influences on pop culture in the WORLD. Overstated? Maybe, until you see who it is:
- 17A [Character co-created by 63-Across] IRON MAN
- 22A [Character co-created by 63-Across] DAREDEVIL
- 39A [Group of characters co-created by 63-Across] X-MEN
- 40A [With “The,” character co-created by 63-Across] THING
- 42A [Character co-created by 63-Across] THOR
- 56A [Character co-created by 63-Across] SPIDER-MAN
- 63A [Late comics maven whose career spanned eight decades] STAN LEE
Yes, the venerable comic book icon Stan Lee passed away on November 12 at the ripe old age of 95; he would have turned 96 in December. The co-creators mentioned above was usually Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko, familiar names to comic fans. Why do I say Stan Lee has had an extreme influence on pop culture? Because comic books, however maligned, were a main entertainment source for years in the middle of the 20th century, and now, in the digital age, the Marvel franchise of movies has grossed literally billions of dollars, making it one of the most successful franchises in history, and actually THE best according to this article. Say what you want about films that get Oscar buzz, but the ones that make money are the ones that people that aren’t moviegoers go to see, and people that grew up on comic books (like me!) go see comic book movies. The DC franchise (Superman, Batman, the Justice League, etc.) is finally making decent movies now, and those are becoming quite successful as well. But virtually EVERYONE has seen the latest Avengers movie, and that is full of Stan Lee characters. Point made. Nice tribute puzzle, Matt! 4.5 stars.
A few more highlights:
- 13A [Sugarloaf Mountain locale] RIO – I now know reflexively that Sugarloaf is in Brazil. I think I picked up this fact again during the recent Summer Olympics there.
- 65A [“Foucault’s Pendulum” author Umberto] ECO – This guy is definitely crossword famous, and I have mentioned him before. I am not sure that an environmentally conscious sense of cluing this word might not be easier.
- 67A [Cassis-and-white wine cocktail] KIR – I have never had this stuff.
- 71A [Magic 8-Ball response] YES – They still make these things?
- 3D [Ben Stiller character with signature looks] ZOOLANDER – This character’s first name was Derek!
- 38D [“The Book of Mormon” co-creator Parker] TREY – Yes, the South Park people are responsible for this musical. Wow.
- 54D [“Late Night with Seth Meyers” writer/performer Ruffin] AMBER – Her Amber Says What? bits on his show are funny. I also enjoy watching Seth’s A Closer Look routines as well. On YouTube. Because I cannot stay up that late!
Until next week’s Jonesin’!
Craig Stowe’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Is our constructor thinking of committing a crime soon?
- 17A [Traditional Easter dinner] ROAST LAMB
- 25A [Steinway seat, perhaps] PIANO BENCH
- 33A [Ohio’s has wheat and arrows] STATE SEAL – I put STATE FLAG in here before I realized what was going on!
- 51A [Boating safety feature] LIFE JACKET
- 59A [Glancing blow on the road, and a hint to the puzzle’s circles] SIDE SWIPE
I hope Craig is not getting sticky fingers! There is nothing worse than getting caught shoplifting. At Wal-Mart. For something cheap. It’s not worth it! I think this theme is referring to the four crimes (rob, pinch, steal and lift) as being on the “sides” of the theme answers. I guess it works. It’s Tuesday. We don’t want to be too confusing. Is this what those young kids mean when they say a puzzle “Tuezed?” 4.3 stars from me.
Just a couple of things:
- 14A [Maine town on the Penobscot] ORONO – Talk about a crossword-famous town!
- 31A [Scientist Wernher __ Braun] VON – The original rocket man!
- 57A [Vietnam New Year] TET – Another crossword-famous word. Yes, the Tet Offensive is known in Vietnam War history, but I couldn’t tell you anything else about this Vietnamese holiday.
- 12D [Mt. Hood hood?] SNOW CAP – This is one of the many excellent 7-letter entries in the corners, one of the best parts of this puzzle.
- 22D [ABC exec Arledge] ROONE – I have seen this guy in crosswords for years, and I am sure I could not pick him out of a police lineup.
- 56D [Tennis great Arthur] ASHE – He has been gone a long time, now, and I wonder what impact his life has on young ones who don’t know what he accomplished.
It’s a short week!