Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 428), “When All ‘L Breaks Loose!”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everyone! Hope all is well with you and that you enjoyed today’s grid, which was more fun with puns! Each of the four themes contains a word that, normally, features a double L. For the purposes of executing the theme, one of those Ls is removed in each, creating the puns that are clued very creatively.
- UNMITIGATED GAL (16A: [Nickname for audacious “Wonder Woman” actress Gadot?])
- CAL THE MIDWIFE (28A: [BBC period drama starring baseball’s Ripken as a labor expert?])
- WINNER TAKES AL (45A: [Terms of a charity date auction with “Serpico” actor Pacino as the top prize?])
- HAL OF FAME AWARD (59A: [Accolade bestowed on “Wall Street” actor Holbrook?])
Spent all of last week on Montréal covering a tennis tournament, so it was nice to see a little French strewn in the grid to keep me in the French-speaking mode that I was in, even if it goes down as crosswordese at the end of the day, including MES (61D: [“Au revoir, ___ amis”]) and FEU (51A: [Pot-au-___ (French stew)]). Seeing TYRA did make me think of the time when my father, who regularly cut out all the pictures of all the models every time the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition came into our apartment when I subscribed to the magazine as a pre-teen, conveniently forgot to cut out the cover page the one year that Ms. Banks first appeared on the cover (40A: [Talk show host Banks]). Always found that curious, but definitely was too afraid to ask his motives for leaving that specific page still attached to the magazine.
No real stand out entries outside of the themes, though I wished TUFFET would have been “Muffet” for the fact that I would have been able to talk about Hall of Fame head basketball coach Muffet McGraw, who has build a dynasty at Notre Dame while winning a couple of national championships in South Bend (47D: [Rhyming seat for Little Miss Muffet]). Oh well!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ATH. (1A: [Sports fig.] – Kind of a boring SWMYS entry for today, so please bear with me! In the last 10-15 years, so many prospective college football players come out of high school playing multiple positions that many schools (high school and college) and recruiting services have created a specific designation for such players: ATH, for athlete. Normally, these individuals play “skill positions” on both sides of the ball, meaning that they play either quarterback, running back or wide receiver on offense and cornerback or safety of defense. (Lots of times, these players will also be punt and/or kick returners on special teams.) Soooooooo….if in the event you see a clue in a crossword puzzle along the lines of “Amorphous designation used to identify a football player’s position on a roster (abbr.),” don’t say that I didn’t warn you!!
Thank you so much for the time, everyone! Have a wonderful rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Lynn Lempel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
The queen of Monday puzzles treats us to a Tuesday crossword. The theme is 23d. [With 38-Across, like Romeo and Juliet … and like the circled words?], STAR / CROSSED. The circled words can all precede star, and they cross in pairs:
- 1d. [Alternative to rap and R&B], ROCK / 16a. [Safe for youngsters], CHILD-PROOF. Somehow I’m thinking of Chris Rock and Julia Child instead of rock stars and child stars.
- 15a. [Rich supply of ore], LODE / 10d. [Droplets seen early in the day], MORNING DEW. Lodestar, morning star (which is generally a planet like Venus, no?). Not entirely convinced that MORNING DEW, as opposed to just DEW, is a thing.
- 63a. [Old camera need], FILM / 28d. [Lowest in importance], LEAST OF ALL. Film star (I prefer movie star), all-star.
- 61a. [Hit the jackpot], STRIKE GOLD / 57d. [Solitary], LONE. I love to get a gold star, and I’m not sure what lone star is other than the terrific 1996 John Sayles film, Lone Star.
I’ve always loved that “star-crossed lovers” phrasing, and the theme offers a fresh riff on it. Or maybe not fresh, but I don’t happen to remember any prior versions of this theme.
Three more things:
- 33a. [Computer company with a Predator line], ACER. What?? Why would they choose that name for a line of computers? Gross. Who’s their target audience, exactly?
- 5a. [Masked man’s sidekick on old TV], TONTO / 36a. [Valuable bar at Fort Knox], INGOT. With LONE and GOLD in the theme, the Lone Ranger and gold bars were off limits for the clues here.
- 65a. [Oklahoma city named for an “Idylls of the King” woman], ENID. Relatively tough fill for a Tuesday, but it’s a tight corner to fill with the intersecting star words.
Four stars from me.
Robert E. Lee Morris’s Universal Crossword, “Jet Set”—Judge Vic’s write-up
Types of jets.
- 17a Poppycock MUMBO JUMBO. Jumbo Jet
- 28a Batman, notably CRIME FIGHTER. Fighter Jet.
- 43a Super Bowl spot, say TV COMMERCIAL. Commercial Jet.
- 59a “All in the Family” creator NORMAN LEAR. Lear Jet.
Clean, clever, and manageable.
Other stuff to consider:
- 11d Collectible whose price may cause sticker shock? RARE STAMP
- 34d Famed frontiersman KIT CARSON
Okay, not much. But the rest of the fill all seemed fine.
Peter A. Collins’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up
Today’s grid, entitled “Rock of Ages,” is a tribute puzzle for the 50th anniversary of WOODSTOCK. Let’s see what we have inside:
1A: JOAN [Musician Baez]
1D: JOHN [Musician Sebastian]
8D: JOE [Musician Cocker]
63A: JIMI [Musician Hendrix]
65D: SLY [Musician Stone]
73A: RAVI [Musician Shankar]
18A / 41A: THREE DAYS / OF PEACE AND MUSIC [With 41-Across, tag line for 64-Across]
64A: WOODSTOCK [Event of August 15-18, 1969, at which the six musicians in this puzzle performed]
As far as tribute puzzles goes, this one works well, especially since we won’t be getting a 50th anniversary concert anymore! I like how the tag line and event name could be made to be symmetrical in the puzzle and it’s impressive to fit six musicians in the grid, but their super short names makes that accomplishment a tad less impressive. I appreciate that the list of musicians includes people of color and a woman, so bonus points for this list not just being a bunch of white dudes.
Other random thoughts:
– The NW corner was tough for me to crack. I wasn’t familiar with JOHN Sebastian, OLLAS, HEATH in that usage, or OLEO with the ? clue.
– I appreciated FRAUD and CSPAN being right next to each other.
– I had ATTA [“___ girl!”] for 39A until I begrudgingly changed it to ITSA. “Gender” reveal parties are super weird, right? You’re gathering everyone together to announce the genitals of someone who hasn’t even been born yet, even though know one knows what that person’s gender identity will ultimately end up being. Also, these reveals are getting more ridiculous and, at times, dangerous. One of California’s worst wild fires recently was caused by a park ranger’s botched gender reveal party!
– I almost had a Natick at ICBM / BOOLE. That’s a HARSH crossing for a Tuesday.
– I really liked the [Genes material] / [Jeans material] double toward the bottom of the grid.
– I also loved seeing gay legend ALAN Turing right next to NATES. : )
– Even more to appreciate? A number of women and people of color included in the grid, like KAT Dennings and the NATES referenced at 4D.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Cutting Through” – Derek’s write-up
Sometimes the theme doesn’t have to be complicated to be fun!
- 20A [Wrapped-up A-shaped beam in the garage?] GIFT SAW HORSE
- 35A [Your average places to create wooden boards?] GENERAL SAW MILLS
- 51A [High-achieving $10 bills?] STAR SAWBUCKS
Fun! Just insert the word SAW into some common phrases, and hilarity can ensue! Only three themers, but Matt is closing in on a 1000 puzzles in this series, and I am amazed he comes up with themes every week for 20 years, so no judgment here! 4.2 stars for this one.
- 29A [OshKosh ___ (clothing brand)] B’GOSH – I have had three boys, and I think they all had at least one piece of clothing that was this brand. They even have a store locally here now, just in time for none of my children!
- 7D [Bryce Canyon locale] UTAH – I would love to visit here …
- 40A [City in 7-Down] PROVO – … and I think I will in 2020!
- 44A [“The Nanny” portrayer Drescher] FRAN – Where did she disappear to? Haven’t seen her in years. She is only in her early 60s, which doesn’t seem old to me anymore!!
- 55A [Seiji with 2019’s “The Tokyo Gala Concert (Live)”] OZAWA – Definitely crossword famous!
- 1D [Robert who created Triumph the Insult Comic Dog] SMIGEL – I think he also did some of the animation skits on SNL, which were hilarious.
- 4D [“It’s ___ Unusual Day”] A MOST – I had to look this up, but this song is from the movie A Date with Judy, a film from 1948 featuring a 16-year-old Elizabeth Taylor that I have never seen.
- 5D [Enforcer Brasi of “The Godfather”] LUCA – Since I have seen The Godfather (it was on Netflix!), clues referencing this movie are a gimme. Yes, I went decades without watching it.
- 13D [“___ Baby” (1981 Toni Morrison novel)] TAR – This clue is timely, with her passing late last week. Nicely done, Matt.
- 36D [Trump son played by Alex Moffat on “SNL”] ERIC – Speaking of funny SNL skits, it won’t be long before a new season of SNL fires up and starts roasting Trump again! I Googled it, and it should be September 23rd, so stay tuned!
That is all for this week’s Jonesin! Puzzle 950 is next week, so I’ll bet we can expect something interesting.
Gail Grabowski’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
This theme is fairly common, and may have been done in a slightly different fashion before (I have said it before, but I think there is a database somewhere that tracks these types of themes), but this was still fun. Here are the theme answers:
- 17A [*Cafeteria queue] LUNCH LINE
- 39A [*Non-glitzy local tavern] DIVE BAR
- 11D [*Corporate retreat with team-building activities] COMPANY TRIP
- 25D [*Basil sitting on a sill, e.g.] WINDOW PLANT
- 64A [Takeover endeavor … and a hint to what can precede each word in the answers to starred clues] POWER PLAY
You get the idea: power lunch, power line, power dive, etc. Very nice. Cleanly done. Perfect difficulty level for a Tuesday. 4.3 stars from me.
Five more things:
- 28A [Buckeye State] OHIO – Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan Wolverines had better beat those Ohio State Buckeyes one of these days! He will have another chance in November, and believe it or not college football stars very soon. Here in Indiana, high school football starts on August 23. Summer is almost over!!
- 59A [Device used to record aerie hatchlings] EAGLE CAM – I have seen some cameras trained on a nest, usually on specifically a bald eagle.
- 3D [Gothic novelist Radcliffe] ANN – Never heard of her. Maybe because she has been dead for nearly 200 years, or maybe because I am extremely uncultured!
- 21D [Doubles partner who’s not serving] NETMAN – The US Open is around the corner as well. I have to go there once before I leave this planet!
- 48D [Ten-year period] DECADE – The 2010s are just about over. We are about to embark on the “New Roaring 20s!” (I just made that up!)
Have a great week!