Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 435), “In the Beginning…There Was a Mix-up!”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everyone! Here is hoping that you are well today and enjoying a pumpkin-spiced something or other on the first day of the new month!
Today’s puzzle is fun with anagrams, as the four theme entries start with the same four letters, but all in a different order. The final theme entry on the bottom also lets us in on the theme…and is an awesome to bop your head to!
- ANTI-WAR PROTESTERS (15A: [Placards displayed at a peace march])
- NITA BARROW (26A: [First female Governor-General of Barbados])
- TINA TURNER (47A: [Grammy-winning singer who played the Acid Queen in “Tommy”])
- AIN’T MISBEHAVIN (60A: [1929 song by Fats Waller and Harry Brooks (and a hint to the puzzle theme)])
I can definitely see the intersection of NITA BARROW and WILBER being a spot of bother for those not familiar with either, as Wilder/Darrow could have been feasible to some (16D: [“Integral Psychology” author Ken]). Those long down non-theme entries were more than juicy, with TOOTH FAIRY probably standing out to be more than the rest (28D: [Overnight visitor who leaves money under a kid’s pillow]). I’m certain that today was the first crossword that I’ve ever solved in which OSTIUM was featured (37D: [Coronary artery opening, for one]). Well, more than likely, you’ll hear a whole lot more about the OMB given recent events and, by “events,” I mean an alleged political extortion attempt in an alleged quid pro quo situation (46D: [Govt. spending monitor]). By the way, so glad to hear about the improved health of David Ortiz, a.k.a. Big PAPI, after he was shot and seriously wounded in the Dominican Republic back in June (7D: [Baseball’s David Ortiz, aka “Big ____”]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SEC (34A: [“Hold on a ___!”]) – One of the most influential blocs in sports, the Southeastern Conference, or SEC for short, is an athletic conference initially formed in December of 1932 consisting of colleges and universities located in the southeastern portion of the United States. Charter institutions that are still a member to this day include Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Shortly after admitting Arkansas and South Carolina in 1991, the SEC split into two divisions (East and West) and created the first conference championship football game, a neutral-site contest that generated additional revenue in the conference and has been emulated by many other conferences since.
Thank you so much for the time, everyone! Have a wonderful rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Erik Agard’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Cool theme. The 67a. OPPOSITES revealer is clued [They usually attract (not in this puzzle, though)], and the other four themers are words or phrases that happen to begin and end with words that are opposites:
- 17a. [Device for tapping groundwater], WELL DRILL, with WELL and ILL. It’s almost flu season, friends, so it’s time to get your flu shot if you haven’t already.
- 32a. [In disguise for a mission], UNDERCOVER, with UNDER and OVER. Never noticed this pair! I bet it’s been fodder for numerous cryptic crossword clues, though.
- 38a. [Period after a championship], OFF SEASON. with OFF and ON. Timely, for the baseball teams who are not moving ahead in the playoffs.
- 50a. [What’s hung on a clothesline], WET LAUNDRY, with WET and DRY.
WELL DRILL is the only themer in which that first word doesn’t carry the same meaning. Slight inelegance. Can you think of other pairs of opposites that might replace it in the theme set, though? Nothing’s coming to mind for me.
I enjoyed the nonthematic parts of the puzzle, much of which would be good in a themeless puzzle and thus is wildly unexpected in a Tuesday grid. The BEYHIVE! ZENDAYA! AFRO PUFF! SKY HOOKS! Bonus points for those entries also spotlighting Blackness and Black excellence. Overall the fill’s smooth and Tuesday-accessible, though OBLATE is a bit of a high-end vocab word.
4.25 stars from me. How’d the puzzle treat you?
Gary Larson’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up
L’Shanah Tovah to all who celebrate! Quick review from me tonight in quite the musical puzzle:
18A: VIOLATION [It can be moving]
23A: HORNETS NEST [Troublesome situation]
35A: ORGANIC COMPOUND [It’s carbonated, in a way]
51A: BASSET HOUND [Long-eared pooch]
58A: HARPER LEE [Creator of Atticus Finch]
Each of the theme entries starts with a “Lead Instrument”: viola, horn, organ, bass, and harp. Not bad! I genuinely don’t think I would have sussed out ORGANIC COMPOUND so early with its tricky clue, but this is one of the few times where my PhD in organic chemistry comes in handy when solving crosswords! For those who scratched their head at that clue, some organic (carbon-based) compounds have carbonate groups (a carbon double bonded to an oxygen and single bonded to another oxygen) as part of their structures. Tough clue for non-scientists on a Tuesday!
Only EVE and Buffy the Vampire SLAYER represent for the women in today’s grid. Otherwise, the puzzle was largely straightforward for me, aside from bits like MARAUD and SNERD, which had me stuck for a bit.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “And I …” – Derek’s write-up
This is another Jonesin’ puzzle the evokes quite an interesting brainstorming session. Can you come up with other examples?
- 17A [The place at the mall to buy supplements and chickens?] VITAMIN COOP
- 60A [Spicy plant that hangs low on the stem?] DROOP PEPPER
- 10D [Designer Vuitton on the front porch?] STOOP LOUIS
- 29D [Slimy stuff in a rabbit’s home?] WARREN GOOP
Clever! And funny to boot! Warren G is a rapper from the 90s, if you were wondering where that last one came from. A pop culture reference from Matt that I actually know!!
A few more things:
- 1A [Tasseled hat] FEZ – Why did I think this was a tam??
- 35A [Z-lister] NOBODY – I think I am a Z-lister!
- 47A [Hall & Oates hit with the refrain “Oh, here she comes”] MANEATER – Ah, this brings back memories … I am sure I heard this on a school bus at some point in my childhood!
- 63A [Like some projections] ASTRAL – Did you see the debate parody on SNL this past weekend? This word is used; I’ll let you look it up for the full effect of the joke!
- 2D [CBS psychological drama that debuted Sept. 2019] EVIL – This is quite timely. I don’t watch network TV shows (are they a dying breed?), so no idea who is in this or what it is about.
- 45D [Jai alai ball] PELOTA – This is thrown with the cesta. All crossworders should know this by heart, even if you have never seen a jai alai game! (Aren’t they only in Florida mainly?
- 60D [“You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” author Felicia] DAY – Here is the pop culture reference of the week that I DON’T know!
Less than a year until Jonesin’ #1000. I should start a countdown …
C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
It’s been a while! C.C. had a blistering construction rate there for a while, at least on Tuesday LAT puzzles (my perspective!), but it has been a minute since I have seen a new puzzle by her. The latest is nice and simple, which I should remember when I try to come up with themes!
- 16A [Golf tournament won by Shane Lowry in 2019] BRITISH OPEN
- 19A [“Easy Rider” actor] DENNIS HOPPER
- 51A [Baltimore-based medical school] JOHNS HOPKINS
- 57A [“Fingers crossed!”] HERE’S HOPING
- 34A [Stocking experts, and what 16-, 19-, 51- and 57-Across literally are] SHOPKEEPERS
Nice and simple. Why can’t I come up with themes this nice? Perhaps I shall! Kudos to C.C. for another fun Tuesday puzzle. A solid 4.3 stars from me.
- 1A [Fisherman’s __: waterfront district in San Francisco] WHARF – Never been to San Fran. Been to SoCal a few times, but never Northern California. I think I am afraid I might like it and then figure out how to afford to live there!
- 25A & 31A [“The Aviator” Oscar nominee] ALAN ALDA– I don’t think I saw this movie …
- 62A [Gas brand BP relaunched in 2017] AMOCO – BP bought them out years ago, but they ARE bringing this back. Just saw an Amoco station right near my house that was rebranded withing the last few weeks.
- 5D [Curly-haired “Peanuts” character] FRIEDA – Why don’t I remember her?
- 9D [Twins infielder Miguel] SANO – This guy plays 1B, I believe, and is a home run threat. But in today’s baseball, EVERYONE is a home run threat!
- 27D [Like most of northern Africa] SAHARAN – Never been here either!
- 37D [Puts a Singer to work] SEWS – Might just be the best clue in the puzzle!
- 42D [Sizzling Tex-Mex fare] FAJITA – … and now I am getting hungry …
Have a great week!