Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 423), “It’s Totally Tubular!”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everyone! First and foremost, let’s all wish the elegant and eloquent Elizabeth a very Happy (belated) Birthday, as her born day was yesterday!!
Hope all is well and hope you’re all about some word association with your theme entries for today’s grid to start off this blog. The first four theme entries end with a word that also can come before the word “pipe,” and the fifth theme entry, SET OF PIPES, acts as the reveal (63A: [Opera singer’s assets…or a hint to the puzzle theme]).
- FEVER PITCH (17A: [High degree of excitement])
- INNER PEACE (24A: [Serenity that may be achieved through meditation])
- LETTING OFF STEAM (39A: [Venting one’s emotions])
- SUMMER WIND (50A: [Cooler on a July day]) – Currently in Mt. Pleasant, Tex., where there are currently no summer winds to cool the near-100-degree temperatures right now. Looking for some ACS with some serious BTUs!
This grid took us around the world a little bit, with SWEDE (2D: [Native of Stockholm]), IRAN (24D: [Pearl Palace setting]) and, my personal favorite, BISSAU included (4A: [Guinea-_____ (West African nation)]). In a way, there’s some Russian that’s intersecting, with PRAVDA (67A: [Russian newspaper name that means “truth”]) connecting with OVI, if in the event you reimagined the latter as the nickname of, arguably, the best National Hockey League player to ever play in the league who hailed from Russia, Alexander Ovechkin (64D: [Egg (Pref.)]). There’s been an entry or two in the past few Gorski grids for this series that have left me AT SEA and totally hit a blind spot in my general knowledge, but can’t say that was the case for today’s solve (26D: [Confused]). Hope I was not a BORE (4D: [Bloviating windbag]) with this section of the blog, but I’m sure that nothing about the next graph will be boring because it involves one of our favorite people in the crossword world…and just one fine individual in general!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ELENA (56D: [Colleague of Ruth and Samuel]) – One of the top basketball players in the world, 2015 WNBA Most Valuable Player and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Elena Delle Donne currently plays as a guard/forward for the Washington Mystics of the WNBA. Originally from Wilmington, Del., Delle Donne, who was the No. 1 recruit in the country out of high school, backed off of her initial commitment to attend the University of Connecticut in 2008 and headed to the University of Delaware to play volleyball and basketball, mainly done to stay close to her older sister, Lizzie, who has cerebral palsy and autism, and was born blind and deaf. (She also is not able to speak. Video detailing their bond can be accessed here.) Delle Donne is a five-time WNBA All-Star and, if you all remember, is the person whose jersey was worn by our Erik Agard while solving the final puzzle during his triumphant 2018 ACPT performance!
Loving that jersey ? @e_a_rly congrats on the W! https://t.co/rqWMfE8Sei
— Elena Delle Donne (@De11eDonne) March 26, 2018
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!!
Bruce Haight’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
The theme is redundant phrases/words:
- 17a. [Experience, redundantly], PAST HISTORY. Can’t say I hear this one much.
- 25a. [Snitch, redundantly], RATFINK.
- 38a. [Moolah, redundantly], CASH MONEY. I do enjoy using this phrase.
- 54a. [Hack, redundantly], TAXICAB.
- 64a. [Cottontail, redundantly], BUNNY RABBIT.
The theme is solid, but there’s no reason to make a Tuesday grid with stacked 7s in all four corners. You just end up with too much subpar fill: SEA COOK (that’s a thing??), not commonly known OTOES crossing OER ETTU PSY, EST NTH DEI crossing ENDWISE, name I learned from crosswords SEGAR, E SHARP, awkward-as-heck BITES AT, ON A LINE, TEHEE, and YUBAN (is that a regional brand of instant coffee?).
Three more things:
- 23a. [Like some telephones and tires], CORDED. What on earth is a corded tire? Are we supposed to have heard of this?
- 52d. [One of 10 in a ten-speed], GEAR. I suspect this clue is dated. People my age yearned for their first 10-speed bike 40 years ago, but I’m not sure 10-speeds are really a thing anymore. I searched the website of my neighborhood bike shop for “10-speed” and found only bikes with 1, 3, 7, 8, or 12 speeds/gears.
- 34d. [Pandemonium]. HAVOC. This prompted me to look up the etymology of HAVOC. Oxford says: “late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French havok, alteration of Old French havot, of unknown origin. The word was originally used in the phrase cry havoc (Old French crier havot)‘to give an army the order havoc,’ which was the signal for plundering.”
2.75 stars from me.
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up
As an 80’s/90’s kid, I am firmly a mall rat (my husband and I have enjoyed exploring the remaining older malls in the LA area before they each get converted into the newer, fancier, decidedly not DOWN HOME malls), so I was excited to see “Chain Store” as the title for this grid. Where are the good deals in this mall?
18A: SHOP TALK [Company picnic conversation, perhaps]
24A: TALK SHOW [Place to plug a picture, perhaps]
34A: SHOWDOWN [Poker hand finish]
40A: DOWN HOME [Unpretentious]
48A: HOMEWORK [Student’s bane]
56A: WORKSHOP [Creative seminar]
Well, it turns out that there’s a good deal … of connectivity between the themers. :D Each themer is a compound word/phrase whose second word/half is the first word/half in the next one. Not bad at all. It’s not the newest theme, but this puzzle is a solid representation of type. The biggest challenge for me in sussing out this theme set was deciding which ones were two-word phrases and which are compound nouns.
Other random thoughts:
– I can never remember if words like 1A are TASSEL or tassle. My solve times would improve so much if I could just get that down!
– Which women do we have represented in the grid today? Queen Latifah and KAREN Allen (both referenced with respect to their accomplishments), Mother’s Day, SHE, and LEDA and Aphrodite (but clued with respect to the men they birthed). Not bad, but ARCARO, ALBEE, Charon, ERNEST Hemingway, Santa, Castor and Pollux, AMIGOS, Pharrell, and Christopher REEVE make this grid ultimately tilt more male-heavy in representation.
– New to me: [Jockey who rode two Triple Crown winners] = ARCARO. Sports is already a rough subject for me, but horse racing is the next level of ???? for me. I feel like I’m getting a very clear picture of all the things I should improve on to up my solving speed. : ) Also, PEKE is a type of [Short-legged dog] that I hadn’t heard of before this puzzle.
– Potential dupe: RESOW / SEW? Or does that not count? I guess I didn’t realize before that you sow seeds but you sew buttons. I feel so bad for people learning English as a non-primary language!
Christopher Adams’s Universal Crossword, “Mixed Greens”–Judge Vic’s write-up
Mixed greens = SALAD’s letters scrambled around.
- 46a [Lettuce-drying tool, or a hint to this puzzle’s theme] SALAD SPINNER
- 17a [Tropical cocktails] PINA COLADAS
- 23a [“There Will Come Soft Rains” poet] SARA TEASDALE
- 56a [Dessert topped with meringue] BAKED ALASKA
- 9d [“D’oh!” accompanier] HEAD SLAP
- 11d [Congestion relief option] NASAL DROP
- 31d [Chips accompaniers] SALSA DIPS
- 37d [Bringing up the rear] DEAD LAST
Other good stuff includes
- HATE MAIL,
- RUN WILD,
- SLIDE RULE,
- Timothy CHALAMET.
Among the not-so-good:
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Unstated” – Derek’s write-up
Lots of great entries in the Jonesin’ this week, as well as some interesting trivia in the theme answers, which delve into a theme I’ll bet you didn’t give much thought to before. At least I didn’t!
- 16A [2004-2007 Nickelodeon show with Emma Roberts set somewhere in the eastern U.S.] UNFABULOUS – Not familiar with this show. I also don’t watch Nickelodeon anymore!
- 19A [Long-running soap where the location of Salem wasn’t revealed until 2013] DAYS OF OUR LIVES – I had both sets of grandparents that watched this show. I don’t understand the allurea of these shows, but they also pre-date cable TV, and now if you’re home all day there are literally hundreds of other options .
- 33A [Current CW show set in “Rockland County”] RIVERDALE – I have seen this show! I actually read a ton of Archie comics when I was younger. This show is a slightly darker take on the comic, but it isn’t terrible. And it is on Netflix now, so no rush to catch up!
- 50A [With 54-Across, 1994-1998 Nickelodeon show set in the town of Paradise Valley] THE SECRET WORLD OF ALEX MACK – I also don’t know this show. See comment for 16A!
I said it was a lot of interesting trivia. I am sure there are other examples of this, but I think most TV shows are either in an actual town or are modeled to resemble New York. (Gotham City comes to mind, or Metropolis.) I liked this theme, because it made me think and also invoked some nice memories. 4.4 stars.
Some more stuff:
- 28A [It helps connect older computers to newer devices] USB ADAPTER – Phenomenal entry!
- 4D [Boosler of stand-up] ELAYNE – She has a unique spelling, but I remembered it!
- 5D [13.1-mile races, informally] HALFS – I haven’t run a half marathon in quite a while. Since I had the meningitis, I can barely run at all. Perhaps my half marathon days are over!
- 8D [“If I Ever Fall in Love” R&B group (1992)] SHAI – I remember this group! This was a great song. Great harmonies. Enjoy!
- 9D [Conduit under a road] CULVERT – Yes, that pipe under your driveway is called this!
- 21D [___ Recordings (label co-founded by Lil Jon)] BME – I believe you …
- 36D [Emperor who abdicated on 4/30/2019] AKIHITO – His son took over, since he is getting old, according to Wikipedia. Evidently, Japan has a non-functional royal family not unlike the British.
- 39D [What some music stores sell] USED CDS – This is also a phenomenal entry that I’ll bet is not in my constructing word list! No NYT hist for this one.
- 43D [Comedian Eugene who plays Gene on “Bob’s Burgers”] MIRMAN – I had issues in this corner, primarily because I didn’t know who this was. I don’t watch Bob’s Burgers, so that adds to the difficulty!
Another Jonesin’ coming next week! Matt is closing in on 1,000 of these in a year or so. Amazing!
Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Another collaboration from Gail and Bruce, and I will go ahead and say it: this puzzle has gone to the dogs!
- 20A [*Hit the roof] BLOW ONE’S TOP
- 38A [*Goes on a winning streak] GETS HOT
- 11D [*Old Spice rival] RIGHT GUARD
- 29D [*Photogenic evening event] SETTING SUN
- 54A [Pretend to be wealthy, in old slang … and a hint to words that end answers to starred clues] PUT ON THE DOG
So we are referencing the phrases top dog, hot dog, guard dog, and sun dog. I will admit: I was not familiar with what a “sun dog” was, so I looked it up, and it is quite interesting. In short, it is a type of sun halo. Nicely done! Perhaps we don’t see these in Michiana where I am from, unless perhaps we go and see a sunset on Lake Michigan, which I haven’t done in decades. I will have to call my sister and we will make a trip! 4.4 stars for this dog-eat-dog puzzle.
- 18A [Angry diner patron’s decision] NO TIP – This is not always the best option, although it is a good entry. You send a better message with a bad tip.
- 32A [Rudder’s region] STERN – Speaking of Stern, I have satellite radio, but I don’t listen to Howard Stern much. But I did call to cancel it, and I now only pay about $6/month for it now, as opposed to about $20. Yay!
- 65A [Bike for a tyke] TRIKE – Or a bike for someone not comfy on a motorcycle. Some of these still cost tens of thousands of dollars.
- 7D [Tree-borne allergen sources] NUTS – We had a few kids with peanut allergies when I was younger, but now it seems like it is rampant. I survived on peanut butter and jelly for a large portion of my childhood. Not sure what causes these allergies, but I am glad I don’t have these issues. I love cashews too much!
- 39D [Drains of energy] EXHAUSTS – Speaking of exhausts, I need to get mine looked at on my car!
- 46D [Open-sided structures also called summerhouses] GAZEBOS – A nice one of these is always relaxing; I think we have a wedding pic or two on one of these.
- 57D [Nerdy sort] DORK – This is me!
Have a great week everyone!
Was even more problematic for me. Besides not knowing that, the uncertainty whether 39d was USED CDS or USED LPS (or something else), the nexus of proper names outside of my bailiwickiwheelhouse made it an exercise in trial-and-error: …ALEX MACK, Mark ADDY, KYE Allums, and the aforementioned Eugene MIRMAN. Yow.
But I love “bailiwickiwheelhouse” and I have added it to my Word dictionary.
WSJ: I remember seeing a similar theme in the NYT (I think) several years ago and loving it. It was not one bit less delightful in this puzzle; in fact, when I read the title I was hoping…
Thanks for the fun!
what’s not-so-good about HOLA
WSJ: Nate, I enjoy your write-ups — they lively, and you think about the woman-shortage. Thanks.
SEACOOK crossing SKOSH is pretty painful for a Tuesday.
NYT: “10-speed” definitely sounds dated to my biking ears. When I was a kid, a road bike was often called a “10-speed” (as opposed to the single-speed BMX-style bikes most kids rode back then) because it had 2 chain rings in the front and a 5-sprocket cassette in the back, for a total of 10 speeds. These days road bikes still commonly have 2 chain rings in the front, but typically the rear cassette has something like 9-11 sprockets (and as many as 12–mountain bikes in particular benefit from a larger number). You’d be hard-pressed to find a modern road bike with a rear cassette that has 5 sprockets.
In so many puzzles, some “simple test answers” are almost always “YESNO”, which always grates on me – in my world it’s “YES OR NO”. So finally in this puzzle I saw 3-Down, and felt a sense of affirmation. And then came 35-A, which I thought had a tremendous, but missed opportunity for some kind of reversal-pun had the “or” been left out of 3D. Sigh.
Also thrown a bit by 2D; tried to put some form of SLAVE in there.
LAT – Hey, Derek. Here’s a Detroit Free Press article about sun dog sightings in Michigan this past winter.