David Poole’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Occupational Hazards” — Jim P’s review
- 23a [A chef may have a problem if she ___] RUNS OUT OF THYME
- 39a [A window washer may have a problem if he ___] FEELS NO PANE
- 48a [A doctor may have a problem if she ___] LACKS PATIENTS
- 69a [A baker may have a problem if she ___] DOESN’T KNOW HER ROLL
- 88a [A deli worker may have a problem if he ___] CHANGES THE LOX
- 96a [A farmer may have a problem if she ___] MISSES A BEET
- 120a [A fisherman may have a problem if he ___] LOSES HIS PLAICE
I like a good pun and these are mostly good. Sure, they’re not new, but they work, and the theme is consistent throughout. I had the most trouble with that central entry; some of those crosses were tough to suss out (TSU, SERGES). It was also tough to parse because it looks like the word “nowhere” wants to be in there.
What really got me though were some of the very unusual words in the grid not helped by their own tough crossings: SUASION (80a, [Coaxing]) crossing the same TSU from above, ARPEL (37a , [Adrien of skin care fame]) crossing the ambiguously clued LOT [Studio section], and LESE (30a, [___-majeste (treason)]) crossing EARLAP [Winter hat feature] which I wanted to be EAR FLAP. SEC clued as an acronym crossing [Capital of Cyprus] NICOSIA might also have caused some people grief.
But there are plenty of goodies to admire as well: OLYMPUS, TARRAGON, BLYTON, HAIR DYE, DEW POINT, STEPDADS, TINKER, EASY MARK, OSCAR NOD, ACCIDENT, POT SHOTS, NAIL FILE, and NOSELESS [Like Voldemort, in the Harry Potter films]. Plenty of fun to be had in those. Enough that I can look past stinkers like PAYS A and IRED.
Oh, and I never thought I’d see 6d ATOR in a grid. That cheesy film, subtitled The Fighting Eagle, was included in last year’s series of Mystery Science Theater 3000. To quote them, “How much Keeffe is in this movie?” “Miles O’Keeffe.” Sadly though, the entry doesn’t get a Fighting Eagle clue but [Fabric finish?].
One clue of note: 12d [How good drivers drive]. ALERTLY. When I was a kid, my older brother got his first car. He got this on his license plate frame which I always admired: “Drive Nimbly, Not Numbly.”
Some sticking points in the grid, but overall, a fine, punny puzzle. 3.6 stars.
David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
No solving time to report, as I turned off the timer and worked the puzzle while watching the Fyre documentary on Netflix. I thought I had no interest in the doc, but this is highly entertaining! (If you like schadenfreude, check it out.)
Given my divided attention, I didn’t notice while solving that this is a grid design I generally dislike, as these chunky 7s tend to be laden with dull, lifeless words. But hey! David actually pulled this off, lots of zippy stuff. Italian soccer club AC MILAN. Yiddish SCHMUCK. “OH, IT’S ON.” SAMBUCA, APPLE ID, SEA SALT, BEAR HUG, yoga CAT POSE,”LET’S NOT,” a mythical CHIMERA, tasty PINE NUT, Scrabbly NOXZEMA cream, THE ABCS, sweet MOSCATO or a COLD ONE.
Eight more things:
- 15a. [Where the term “jazz” as applied to jazz music originated], CHICAGO. Probably I’ve read that in something written by lexicographer Ben Zimmer, but it still managed to surprise me. And no, I’ve never been to the Green Mill, but it’s walking distance.
- 29a. [“___ make history and not the other way around”: Harry Truman], MEN. Women, Harry. There are women who make history. It’s not just for boys.
- 33a. [Magnetic intensity unit named after a Danish physicist], OERSTED. I had most of the letters from crossings and gambled on OLMSTED, but no. I’m not up on my magnetic intensity units.
- 1d. [Some work at hair salons], ACCENTS. These are not the “some people who work at hair salons,” but rather, “some work that’s done at hair salons.” It’s possible that my purple would be considered accents rather than highlights.
- 4d. [Raiding grp.], ICE. Too many families torn apart.
- 6d. [“Not ___!”], AGAIN. Cute, but it echoes LET’S NOT. See also: CAT POSE plus 24d. [Dog and cat food], KIBBLES.
- 13d. [Bud to chill with?], COLD ONE. Make mine a Peroni rather than a Budweiser.
- 30d. [They may be raised (hmm …)], BROWS. Oddly playful “(hmm …)” in there.
4.3 stars from me.
C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Another C.C. puzzle this Saturday. And another joyous solve. I believe this has a word count of 70, and I solved this in just over 7 minutes without too much rushing, but I still think these Saturday LAT puzzles are just a tad tougher than they used to be. I am hoping C.C. is at the ACPT this year so I can meet her finally! She is a solid constructor, and this one is another gem: 4.5 stars.
Some high points:
- 14A [Smart timepiece] APPLE WATCH – I might like one of these for running, but no, I am not spending $600 on a watch. Yes, I know some are cheaper, but I just cannot do it. My Garmin watch was only $230 or so, and it does everything I need and more. Maybe I am just old!
- 40A [Beethoven’s “Rage Over a Lost Penny,” e.g.] RONDO – I remember playing “Rondo Alla Turca” by Mozart when I had piano lessons. Yes, you know the melody.
- 57A [Game whose heroine was played by Angelina Jolie in a 2001 film] TOMB RAIDER – And more recently played by Alicia Vikander in another movie I have not seen yet.
- 4D [County where the Golden State Warriors play home games] ALAMEDA – I knew the A’s and Raiders played at Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, which I believe it is now known by again. It had a few corporate names for a while. I have never been to Northern California, but I bet I would love it there.
- 5D [Drops off] DELIVERS – This brought back UPS nightmares …
- 11D [Cats with blond coats] WHITE LIONS – I thought this was a type of house cat at first!
- 12D & 30D [What an extended thumb might indicate] I NEED A RIDE & LIKE – Great double clue here! One evokes an image of a hitchhiker, the other the ubiquitous symbol from Facebook. Nicely done!
- 25D [Words of reinforcement] AND I MEANT IT! – Another great use of a casual phrase by C.C.
- 43D [Mo. named for an emperor] AUG. – I know this in part because I was born in August, which of course is named after Caesar Augustus.
I could go on, because there is a lot to like!
Lester Ruff’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
Today’s Lester Ruff puzzle was definitely “less rough” than normal. We have a break on Groundhog Day! I wonder if Stan will continue to use the pseudonyms he has, in light of recent changes of thinking in this area? I know one purpose is to give the illusion that the same person is not writing all of the puzzles, but perhaps if it is known that the same person is producing puzzles, submissions will start rolling in. I could be wrong. Also, What about the hybrid pseudonyms used by constructor pairs? Will those continue? So many questions. In the meantime, Stan has made a great puzzle here. And I am thankful it wasn’t so hard. 4.3 stars.
- 1A [US Women’s Open conductor] LPGA TOUR – The fact that there is a competition with this name in several sports, including tennis, makes this difficult.
- 36A [Unjustifiably] FOR NO GOOD REASON – Great long entry. Why does this convoke bad parenting for me?
- 51A [Power source for seven states] TVA – The Tennessee Valley Authority is crossword famous as part of FDR’s New Deal, if my memory serves me right.
- 62A [Unlikely to 55 Across] TACITURN – 55A is [Don’t go quietly] YELL, so the opposite works here. I usually don’t like hunting around the grid like this, but this one seems clever, even if for no good reason!
- 1D [NBA team formerly from Minneapolis] LAKERS – The Los Angeles Lakers started out as the Minneapolis Lakers, since Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes. The name stuck and is now deeply entrenched in California sports.
- 4D [He won his fourth term during Typhoon Lan (2017) ABE – I guessed at this one. Typhoons are in Asia, and the answer is three letters!
- 8D [No-nonsense on the job] RESULTS ORIENTED – Is this hyphenated? I neglected the “S” at first. A great long entry.
- 13D [Song title literally, ”My Sunshine”] O SOLE MIO – Here you go. I put this here because I don’t think I remember what this song melody sounded like! Have some opera! (Sounds eerily like an Elvis tune … )
- 31D [Far from fulsome] MEASLY – Not a word you see often, so that made this tougher for me. Or maybe I am just not very bright!
- 36D [Spaces around a Trivial Pursuit board] FORTY-TWO – I believe you.
- 53D [From Dresden” surname] SACHS – Can someone explain this??
Have a wonderful weekend! We should be all thawed out by the end of it!