Seth Abel’s New York Times crossword, “Don’t Quote Me”—Amy’s write-up
The theme is famous movie misquotes and the characters who supposedly said them. The quote/character pairs sort of meander around the grid a bit, not tightly paired by location.
- 23a. [Line never said by 58-Across], FLY, MY PRETTIES, FLY! / 58a. [Film villain who never said 23-Across, with “the”], WICKED WITCH. The dreaded with “the”.
- 36a. [Line never said by 83-Across], BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY / 83a. [Commander who never said 36-Across], CAPTAIN KIRK.
- 121a. [Line never said by 99-Across], JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM / 99a. [TV detective who never said 121-Across], SERGEANT FRIDAY. Would like this better with his first name, JOE, in there.
- 44d. [Line never said by 17-Down], ME TARZAN, YOU JANE / 17d. [British noble who never said 44-Down], EARL OF GREYSTOKE. Which is weird, because we all just call him Tarzan.
Nice trivia set here, but perhaps not executed perfectly. What are your nominees for other movie misquotes?
- I knew exactly what this was referring to, but never knew that was its name: 88d. [Rubin ___ (classic illusion)], VASE. It’s that optical illusion where you’re not sure if you see a vase or a pair of faces whose profiles have the same lines as that vase.
- 42a. [Official language of a U.S. territory], SAMOAN. Man oh man, is there a long list of island nations colonized by the United States. Not just American Samoa, but also Hawaii, the Philippines (which eventually won their independence, but that was some ugly colonization … ugly like the Spanish colonization), Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Marianas … I’m surely forgetting others.
- Words I have not ever used outside of crosswords: AHUM, UNLET, GASSER, plural SOYS.
- This is weird, right? 27a. [“Please hold the line”], STAY ON? Who the heck says “stay on” when they’re talking to someone on the phone? Especially since STAY ON could also be clued as continuing to work in a position, or remaining attached to something.
- 64a. [Manhattan’s ___ Stadium], ICAHN. I’ve heard of Carl Icahn, sure, but when did he buy naming rights for a stadium? And Manhattan has a stadium, not just the Madison Square Garden arena? How did “garden” get into that name, anyway. Google tells me Icahn Stadium is in Randall’s Island Park, whatever that is, and is for track and field. Cool.
- 104d. [Cyrano de Bergerac’s love], ROXANE. And then the Steve Martin/Daryl Hannah movie adaptation of the Cyrano story was called Roxanne. The currently famous/notable ROXANE is, of course, writer Roxane Gay. If you like her sensibilities, check out her magazine, Gay Mag, on Medium.
- 62d. [Small boat, maybe], BATH TOY. I like this clue/answer combo. I thought I needed something nautical, but it turned out to be quite domestic after all.
3.5 stars from me.
Paul Coulter’s Universal Crossword, “Classical Language”—Judge Vic’s write-up
Theme: Well, what’s going on here is that four dudes from either mythology or ancient history are so famous that adjectives have been made out of their names. And ILSA’s have developed by adding nouns to those adjectives. Thus, Paul Coulter, with his MERCURIAL TEMPER, showing PLATONIC LOVE for his fellow word nerds, EXERTs HERCULEAN EFFORT … and (I dunno) spares us any DRACONIAN LAW.
WAHOO! ATTABOY, Paul! Thanks for not HORSING around.
Did you ever scan a grid’s fill for internal rhyme? This one has
LAP AT and NONFAT
I SEE the DMV
UNDO the STEW
GEO, OREO, and NERO are SO SO nearly rhymers, as are
EDIT and ABETTED
LIE and TIED also are close.
I don’t know what it means.
3.5 stars from me.
Pam Amick Klawitter’s LA Times crossword, “Water Music” – Jenni’s write-up
The revealer’s in the center of the puzzle, appropriately enough: 67a [Keyboard centerpiece, and a phonetic hint to six long puzzle answers]. It’s MIDDLE C.
- 14d [Frontier transport] is a HORSE AND BUGGY. Not just the frontier. I live near and sometimes work in Amish country. When WAZE gives you the estimated travel time, it does not take the buggies into account.
- 22a [It happens without warning] is a SURPRISE ATTACK. See? (Sorry)
- 43a [Reason for an ankle monitor] is HOUSE ARREST.
- 54d [Item on the best man’s checklist] is PROPOSE A TOAST.
- 96a [It’s more than right] is an OBTUSE ANGLE.
- 118a [Fringe benefit for some reps] is an EXPENSE ACCOUNT.
I’m not crazy about PROPOSE A TOAST. All the other theme answers are solidly in the language and consistent. It’s not a particularly entertaining theme but it’s perfectly fine.
A few other things:
- 5d [Garden of eating?] is OLIVE. That made me laugh.
- 18a [DQ Blizzard flavor] gives us yet another way to clue OREO.
- 33d [Arrived on wheels] is RODE UP, which I first had as RODE IN, which meant that was the last section of the puzzle to fall for me. This was not helped by my confusing ADT, the security company, with ADP, the payroll company that was actually clued at 48a.
- 37a [Took off again] is REROSE. Feh.
- 115d [USPS stack] is ENVS. Meh.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that there’s a nurse named TRIXIE in “Call The Midwife,” and that Irving Berlin wrote a song called “I Love A PIANO.” This clip features a player piano very much like the one my parents had.
Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post crossword, “Kick It Up a Notch” – Jim Q’s writeup
Challenging 20×21 puzzle today with both the theme and the cluing difficulty being “kicked up a notch.”
THEME: Types of “kicks” in soccer are separated from common phrases by being moved up a row.
- 22A [*Nickname of a warrior played by The Rock] SCORPION / KING.
- 34A [*Path by the curb] BICYCLE / LANE.
- 56A [*Economic systems often espoused by libertarians] FREE / MARKET.
- 65A [*Small retail shops] CORNER / STORES.
- 74A [*Yellow marker carried by a “zebra”] PENALTY / FLAG.
- 92A [*Recipients of the NHL’s Vezina Trophy] GOAL / TENDERS.
- 118A [Competition featuring the types of kicks raised by one line in this puzzle] WORLD CUP.
My AHA moment came just now. Thank goodness. My initial description of the theme said this: The first half of theme answers are moved up, and separated from the second half of the theme answers by one row. I didn’t connect them with soccer at all. I was extremely distracted while solving, so that’s on me.
I’ve never heard of a SCORPION kick.
Sounds dangerous. Perhaps having that one first in the themers is more risky than, say, PENALTY or BICYCLE? I dunno. All of the others sound more familiar.
That being said- I enjoyed this puzzle even though I didn’t get the entire theme whilst solving. That’s a testament to Evan’s prowess as a constructor. One should be able to enjoy a puzzle even if its theme has to do with a field (no pun intended) that is not in his/her wheelhouse.
- 8A [Inconvenient request, in slang] BIG ASK. Fun answer.
- 31A [Former White House middle name] BAINES. I had BAINER. Completely hearing BOEHNER. Which is neither a middle name, nor a “Former White House” name. Duh.
- 30A [Pocket diamonds, say] with 44A [Pocket diamonds, say?]. STEAL / CHEAT. The latter dealing with cards. Love me a good duped clue.
- 58A [Screech at Washington Nationals games, e.g.] MASCOT. Never heard of Screech, but inferable. Good clue.
- 85A [Avoids a bogey despite hitting into a sand trap, say] SAVES PAR. Being over-confident in MAKES PAR makes for falling into a crossword sand trap.
- 27D [Highland games attire] KILTS. “Games” in the clue threw me off. I figured they had some sort of special outfit when they got together for a night of Parcheesi.
- 48D [Start finish?] TEE. As in the last letter of the word “Start.”
Video Game Clue of the Week:
- 98A [GameCube successor] WII.
Great puzzle. I feel like apologizing for a sloppy solve.
P.S. This is fun-
Sheryl Bartol and Debbie Ellerin’s Universal Crossword, “Capitalism”—Jim Q’s write-up
Wonderful wordplay from Sheryl and Debbie today!
THEME: Country capitals that sound as if they belong in common phrases.
- 23A [Making a big bet in Ireland?] DUBLIN DOWN. Doubling Down.
- 30A [Korean comfort cuisine?] SEOUL FOOD. Soul Food.
- 42A [Fish-filled North African lunch?] TUNIS SANDWICH. Tuna Sandwich.
- 71A [Taiwanese go-getter?] TAPEI PERSONALITY. Type “A” Personality.
- 98A [Assemble quickly in Afghanistan?] KABUL TOGETHER. Cobble Together.
- 115A [Low-carb Ecuadorian food trend?] QUITO DIET. Keto Diet.
- 124A [Speed off in Switzerland?] BERN RUBBER. Burn Rubber.
Fantastic set of theme answers that work wonderfully together. I’d never heard of the Keto Diet before, but it’s definitely a thing and it didn’t take me long to KABUL TOGETHER that answer. SEOUL FOOD was definitely bound to be in this puzzle (and perhaps BERN RUBBER was handed to the constructors on a platter), but it was surprising how many other capitals’ sounds could be found in American vernacular. I particularly liked DUBLIN DOWN and TAPEI PERSONALITY.
Excellent grid to accompany and excellent theme with answers such as SEAFARER, NONE TAKEN, ID CHIP, and the great FUZZY MATH. Coulda done without USEABLE, but everybody is allowed a (var.) clue now and again.
My favorite mistake was 3D [Fruits of one’s ___]…. I can’t be the only person who put in LOINS, can I?
Great way to start a Sunday.