Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 429), “Wordsmith Wordplay”—Ade’s take
Good day everybody! Here is hoping you are all doing well and, for those who were able to make it out to New York City for the Lollapuzzoola crossword tournament this past weekend, I hope you had a wonderful time! Apologies if you were there and I was not able to say hello. Oh, and there’s still time to buy the puzzles and be part of the at-home division. The puzzles are beyond top-notch!
Also, there’s a wonderful article that recently was published in Wired that explores the currently world of crossword puzzles and how a number of young crossword savants, who already have earned luminary status in our world (at least in my opinion), are moving the needle in terms of having better representation, through entries and their cluing, being reflected in crossword puzzles. Both Laura (Braunstein) and Nate (Cardin) of DoaCF are quoted in the story, and a number of our good friends are also quoted and/or mentioned in the story, providing wonderful analysis and perspective. Please give it a read!
If you’re still with me, good deal! Today’s grid is fun with puns and anagrams, as well-known authors are reimagined by anagramming their first names and creating some funky puns with wacky clues!
- SIRI MURDOCH (16A: [“The Sea, the Sea” novelist disguised as Apple’s talking assistant?]) – Iris Murdoch.
- NOMAD RUNYON (24A: [“Guys and Dolls” author disguised as a wanderer?]) – Damon Runyon.
- OGRE VIDAL (34A: [“Burr” author disguised as a folklore meanie?]) – Gore Vidal.
- VIRGIN STONE (50A: [“The Agony and the Ecstasy” author disguised as a chaste person?]) – Irving Stone.
- LIMEY BRONTË (59A: [“Wuthering Heights” novelist disguised as a British sailor?]) – Emily Brontë.
It is definitely possible that without knowing Siri (Iris) Murdoch, as her name did not ring a bell to me when seeing the clue, a couple of that entry’s intersecting entries could have also been tough to get, especially SIDRA (6D: [Gulf north of Libya]). SAMSA also falls into that category, but I have come across that name a couple of times and put it to memory enough to have been comfortable that that was indeed correct (51D: [Gregor of Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”]). Though the number of three-letter entries/crosswordese might not have been palatable, that also created some fun long downs on the edges of the grid, with OF VALUE (38D: [Worth something]) and INCENSE standing out from those entries (12D: [Fragrant smoke]). (My father loved to buy incense for the apartment in New York where I grew up, and I think I might need to stop some place to get a pack!) Loved the cute clue that accompanied HI, HONEY (43D: [Beekeeper’s lovey-dovey greeting?]). Haven’t had some White Castle SLIDERS in a good, long while, and I think that needs to change…and soon (2D: [Little burgers from White Castle]). No pickles please! (Yes, I’m a little weird!)
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: DYE (33A: [Use henna]) – One of the 118 players in history to hit a home run in his first Major League at-bat, former professional baseball player Jermaine Dye is known for being a run-producing outfielder in the late 1990s and moving into the first few years of the 21st century. His biggest achievement came in 2005 while a member of the world champion Chicago White Sox, as he hit .438 in four games of the 2005 World Series and was voted World Series Most Valuable Player as the Pale Hose defeated the Houston Astros to win the franchise’s first Fall Classic since 1917. Dye made two All-Star Games, including in 2006 when he hit .315 with a career-high number in home runs (44) and runs batted in (120) while finishing fifth in the American League MVP voting.
Thank you so much for the time, everyone! Have a wonderful rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Jason Mueller’s Universal Crossword, “Meow Mix”—Judge Vic’s write-up
For asymmetric reveals tell us something about four symmetrically placed longer answers. Each of which contains letters that, when rearranged, spells out a type of cat:
- 17a Rectify SET RIGHT
- 35d Cat scrambled in 17-Across TIGER
- 29a One concerned with inequalities in education? MATH TEACHER
- 9d Cat scrambled in 29-Across CHEETAH
- 47a Vacuum cleaner accessory CREVICE TOOL
- 61a Cat scrambled in 47-Across OCELOT
- 64a To this point UNTIL NOW
- 68a Cat scrambled in 64-Across LION
Elsewhere, the pros and cons appear to be:
- 40a River of forgetfulness LETHE, which I can never remember;
- 43a Scale used at birth APGAR, which I’ve never heard anyone use;
- 66a British distinction HONOUR, which rarely appears, for an obvious reason;
- 69a “Swan Lake” heroine ODETTE, a not-well-known character outside the crossword world;
- 18d The same, in footnotes IDEM, which is, well, you know;
- 22d Louis Armstrong nickname SATCHMO;
- 41d Fair-hiring org. EEOC;
- 44d Endure, as a storm RIDE OUT;
- 48d Wimbledon’s ___ Court CENTRE;
- 49d Focal points LOCI;
- 54d Composer Morricone ENNIO.
Certainly, this is unusual. And, I have to say, I’d never head or seen the term CREVICE TOOL, even though it gets 1.5 million Google hits.
3.3 stars from me.
Evan Kalish’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
A rather standard theme in early-week newspaper crosswords involves the first word in each theme answer being something that can precede or follow another word, which is typically spelled out in the theme revealer. Evan’s got a fresh twist on it by having unrelated themers that start with places on a golf course—but the revealer is an object that you’d physically find at those specific places, a GOLF BALL clued as [Sports item that can be found at the starts of 17-, 21-, 32-, 42- and 54-Across]. This adds a visual oomph that’s missing from the usual sort of “first word”-reliant themes and it takes you through a logical progression on the links. Here are the GOLF BALL sites:
- 17a. [Souvenir from a concert tour], TEE-SHIRT. Tee off!
- 21a. [Cavalryman under Teddy Roosevelt during the Spanish-American War], ROUGHRIDER. Oof! You’ve hit it into the rough.
- 32a. [Revolutionary War battle in Boston], BUNKER HILL. Well, fudge! Now you’ve hit it down into a bunker. I don’t think you’re going to make par.
- 42a. [Leafy course], GREEN SALAD. You used your, I dunno, chipping wedge? have lofted the ball out of that bunker and onto the green.
- 54a. [Hot order with marshmallows], CUP OF COCOA. Sink that putt on the green, right into the cup. Yay! And then get ready to tee off for the next hole.
The individual theme entries are pretty good by themeless-fill standards, and the theme’s conceived and executed quite well.
Five more things:
- 7a. [“You flatter me!”], “OH, STOP!” Cute, I like it.
- 23a. [March parade honoree, colloquially], ST. PADDY. Not Patty, no. Paddy is correct.
- 50a. [Washington peak named after the second U.S. president], MT. ADAMS. I feel this isn’t a mountain that people generally know unless they live in the area or have vacationed there. The “president” angle brings it closer to Tuesday level, though.
- 59a. [Late Swedish electronic musician with the 2013 hit “Wake Me Up”], AVICII: Know your UVEA and your SNOCAT if you don’t know your 2010s pop names. / 40d. [Rapper with the 2018 #1 album “Invasion of Privacy”], CARDI B. Don’t recognize the album’s title, but I know two or three of the songs on it and am partial to “Be Careful.”
- 1d. [Network in a park], PATHS. This clue was perplexing me, but I like it. I prefer parks with lots of winding, curving paths rather than a classical grid of straight lines making rectangles and triangles.
The overall fill is more or less on target for a Tuesday. 4.5 stars from me, and that’s really pretty rare for a Tuesday puzzle.
Barbara Lin’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up
17A: HOLLY BOUGH [Object used to deck the halls]
20A: WHOOPING COUGH [Disease also called pertusis] – Get your kids vaccinated, STAT! These diseases should have long been eradicated, and people with compromised immune systems are relying on the rest of us to establish herd immunity!
37A: PLAY ROUGH [Wrestle, say]
59A: COMING THROUGH [“Out of my way!”]
63A: BREAD DOUGH [Rye before it rises]
42D: RHYMING [It’s not exemplified by this puzzle’s long answers]
Does anyone remember those old commercials for Hooked on Phonics, which alleged to teach children how to read based on a phonetic understanding of the English language? One can only wonder how they tackled a set of words like these!
This puzzle’s five themers each end with words that are eye rhymes of each other – words that look like they should rhyme, but decidedly do not. That is indeed some “Eye Poetry”! Nice, lovely puzzle.
– After getting the first four across answers, I thought the theme was going to be starts-with-A!
– Women in the puzzle today: EILEEN Ford of the Ford Modeling Agency; Lara Croft TOMB Raider; MARIE Curie, “the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences” per her Wikipedia page; suffragette extraordinaire Susan B. ANTHONY; and MRS.
– 50A: ESL isn’t always a [Subj. for immigrant students]. Many immigrants to the United States come from English-speaking countries or have already learned English in their country of origin.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Some More Words” – Derek’s write-up
We have a themeless by Matt this week, and I forgot to start my timer again, so I have no idea how long this took! I would guess around 5-6 minutes, as I didn’t find it horribly thorny. Per a Jonesin’ puzzle, there is lots of fun stuff in here, and a few things I’ll bet you didn’t know. At least I didn’t! 4.4 stars for Puzzle 930, which means there is not only 950 looming but puzzle 1,000 is less than a year away!
- 1A [“The Liberator of Italy”] GARIBALDI – I thought this guy was a composer!
- 35A [It followed “and” in the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song, early on] THE REST – I can sing this theme song in my sleep, but this must be from an older version.
- 42A [Indian princess, once] MAHARANEE – You don’t see this term often, but it works. Great entry.
- 52A [Mates of vacas] TOROS – I think vaca means cow.
- 57A [Northern California town that once had a palindromic bakery] YREKA – We crossworders know this town, but one of these days I will have to visit there and take a selfie!
- 1D [Lead singer Haynes on the 1996 hit “Pepper”] GIBBY – I told you there was stuff in here you didn’t know! Who is this??
- 3D [Dolphins QB Josh nicknamed “The Chosen One”] ROSEN – I forgot he was on the Dolphins!! He is a cocky dude, so it will be interesting to see how he does in Miami.
- 5D [“Perfect Strangers” cousin] BALKI – This brings back great memories! I used to watch this show quite a lot.
- 27D [Collection of air pressure data] BAROMETRY – The suffix tripped me up for just a sec, as it isn’t seen as much. Still a great entry.
- 29D [She played Glinda in “The Wiz”] LENA HORNE – This also brings back great memories! This movie is over 40 years old now!
- 46D [Cibo ___ (trip-hop group that split in 2017)] MATTO – Again, who?? And what is “trip-hop??” Am I that old now???
I’ll stop there. Another Jonesin’ next week!
Kevin Christian & Kristian House’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Is this the first collaboration by these two K/Ch-ristians? If so, they have my permission to make plenty more of these! This one is a fairly common theme type, and the revealer is the last themer:
- 17A [*Pedigree ancestry] BLOODLINE
- 25A [*Suit tailor’s concern] JACKET SIZE
- 35A [*Nightly ritual for young children] STORYTIME
- 49A [*Teacher’s outline] LESSON PLAN
- 58A [“Field of Dreams” subject, and where both parts of the answers to starred clues can go] AFTERLIFE
Lotsa fun! We are all familiar with the phrases life blood, lifeline, life jacket, etc. Not too difficult, but it is Tuesday. 4.3 stars for this one.
A few more things:
- 45A [“I want to see”] “SHOW ME” – Surprised there isn’t a reference to Missouri here!
- 56A [Opposite of sur] NORTE – My Spanish is better than I thought!
- 8D [Rib eye, for one] STEAK – I do not eat steak hardly at all anymore. And I don’t miss it.
- 9D [Baseball great Musial’s nickname] STAN THE MAN – He died a few years ago, but I wish I would have been able to see him play. He was a tad before my time.
- 11D [Canadian french fries dish] POUTINE – Never had this before. I need to change that …
- 29D [“Hurry!”] “GET A MOVE ON!” – Great casual phrase, and this and 9D are nice 10-letter entries that open up the grid nicely.
- 39D [“Not Taken” place in a Frost poem title] THE ROAD – This seems like an ever so slightly awkward partial. Not sure if the NYT would even take this. Would they??
- 44D [Cardinals or Falcons] NFL TEAM – Yes, football is just about back! College starts on Thursday the 29th, I believe, an the NFL starts with a Bears-Packers game on September 5. That means cold weather is coming!!
Everyone have a great week!
NYT: I agree Amy. I thought it was super. I don’t understand the low ratings (at this point anyhow… maybe they’ll change). I say that and I’m not a sports fan or a golf connoisseur.
It might be because of the word “at” in the revealer. A golf ball is “in” the rough, “in” the bunker, “in” the cup and “on” the green. It could be “at” the tee (assuming a reference to the area and not the peg on which the ball rests). I still liked the puzzle, but the wording of the revealer doesn’t quite work in my opinion.
The ‘word/phrase’ is what ‘is found AT the starts’ so I find it more or less legit. I’m a very long-time and proficient golfer; given the way Will and NYT generally treats subjects and interests superficially for the sake of a puzzle, it all works rather well. To be supercritical, it just seemed all a bit mailed in to me, maybe as fast a solve as I have ever had, but I don’t worry about timing. It does seem the puzzle is maybe too easy (Would be easy for a Monday) contributing to lower ratings, my only nit is that there are some pretty rote answers in the gridfill, but then again, it’s Monday/Tuesday fare, so to chronic solvers it’s a slam dunk (Also a loosely used golf term for holing on the fly).
A NEAT whisky is the only other non-theme theme-ish entry. Maybe stretch it to include golf SLACKS, “we only encountered a SPRITZ, it didn’t really rain”, and GLACIER for the name of the bunker on Bethpage Park’s famous black course Hole #4.
I’m rambling, sorry …
Barbara’s WSJ crossword marks her publication debut; congrats, Barb! It was a pleasure meeting you at Lollapuzzoola.
Thanks, Evan. It was good to meet you, too (and I liked your puzzle today). Thanks, Nate, for the writeup.
FYI the individual puzzle links aren’t working (at least for me).
LAT fine for me
The NY Times puzzle link doesn’t work in either Across lite or PDF?
Today’s WSJ puzzle was great!! Thank you Barbara! Hope I get to meet you at Lollapuzzoola13
Thanks, Celeste! I had a great time at Lollapuzzoola.
I managed to get hold of the NYT and thought it was underrated, too. It helped my appreciation that Amy points out the progression from TEE to CUP. (Yes, it’s obvious, but one fills so fast on a Tuesday.)
I didn’t find it too easy, since I don’t second guess all that much what day things are and since anyhow Tuesday is always too easy for me. But also I needed every crossing, I’m afraid, for CARDIB and AVICII (which still mean nothing to me). And the preposition singled out in the spoiler doesn’t bother me either. I just took it as a hint as to where to look, not a sweeping call for a consistent idiom in clues.
The WSJ was very nice, too.