Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 440), “Title Search”—Ade’s take
Good day, everybody! Hope all is well with you on this Election Day!
Today’s grid features a nice little spin on a particular phrase, as the word EARL is hidden/spans across two words in each of the first five themes. After that, EARL appears at the bottom of grid as the reveal, with those letters actually being in the middle of the theme entries, this giving a literal take to the “Earl of Sandwich” title (66A: [___ of Sandwich…and a quirky hint to the puzzle theme that lurks in five answers]).
- FOR DEAR LIFE (17A: [Desperately])
- NUCLEAR LAKE (24A: [Beautiful body of water along the Appalachian trail that, despite its name, has been deemed safe to visit]) – Hillbilly
- THIRTY YEAR LOANS (37A: [Traditional home mortgages, basically])
- CLEAR LABELS (47A: [See-through stickers for file folders or mason jars])
- PEARL LIQUEUR (58A: [Bosc-flavored after-dinner drink)
The more I see KAOS in grids, and I think I’ve seen it twice or three times in the past three weeks or so, the more I long to watch old episodes of Get Smart (7A: [Evil agency in “Get Smart”]). Don’t know why I first put in “Eton” instead of AVON for that clue, which held me up for a little bit up in the northwest portion (2D: [Bard’s river]). My Spanish is pretty decent, though I always get leery anytime I encounter estos/ESTAS, as, at times, I have to leave the fourth letter blank because I’m not sure if the masculine or feminine version of the word is being used (25D: [These, to Jorge]). Especially since its clue included a male name, I would usually put in “estos” automatically. However, doing crosswords now makes me pause before committing to one or the other. Some of the livelier fill ended up being right next to each other, and I’m specifically referencing AVID READER (29D: [One for the books]) and HERE I AM (30D: [Reply to “Where are you?”]). Looks like I’m almost ALL DONE for today, but, before I go, there’s this (23D: [“Finished!”])…
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SIERRA (10D: [___ Nevada (mountain range)]) – Over a 20-year Major League career, outfielder Ruben Sierra was one of the premier power-hitting threats in the American League for a number of years in the late 1980s and 1990s. Sierra is best known for his time with the Texas Rangers, and, in 1989, he finished second in the American League MVP voting after leading the league in RBI (119), slugging percentage (.543) and triples (14). Sierra, who made the All-Star Game four times, ended his MLB career with 2,152 hits, 306 home runs and 1,322 RBI. Not too shabby of a career, I’d say! (In case you were wondering, Robin Yount of the Milwaukee Brewers won the 1989 AL MVP Award. Remember when the Brew Crew were in the American League? I’m sure most of you baseball fans do!)
Thank you so much for the time, everyone! Have a wonderful rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
John Guzzetta’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
The revealer is JUICY PART, clued as [Movie role with range … or what 17-, 24-, 39- and 51-Across each have?], and each of those themers contains a circled fruit that’s juicy.
- 17a. [Robot], AUTOMATON with a hidden TOMATO.
- 24a. [Object commonly worn by someone under house arrest], ANKLE MONITOR, with a LEMON, whose juice I squirted in my eye the other weekend. Fight mass incarceration! That includes house arrest.
- 39a. [One making a scene outdoors], LANDSCAPE ARTIST, with a PEAR. Yum. Also, nice clue.
- 51a. [Venus, for one], ROMAN GODDESS, with a MANGO. My son orders mango juice when we dine out at Isla Pilipina, while I go for the calamansi juice.
Theme works for me.
Seven more things:
- 44a. [Golf club designed to achieve loft], WEDGE. This was mentioned in the movie Caddyshack, which I saw last week for the very first time, since it was about to vanish from Netflix. It was not worth the wait, people.
- 62a. [What aftershave can do], STING. Why on earth would anyone use it, then?
- 68a. [“The Grapes of Wrath” migrator], OKIE. Evan Birnholz just tweeted out this link that explains why OKIE is a derogatory term, and suggested that a single-letter change would have removed it (JADE/ODIE). Perhaps it’s best clued via the Merle Haggard song “Okie From Muskogee” if the grid somehow truly must contain it?
- 69a. [Contents of a Facebook feed], NEWS. Like hell it is. Most of my FB feed is not news, which I get from other sources. My feed now is showing me a sunset photo, a Ross Trudeau crossword on a can of beer, an anecdote about spam email, a couple notes of gratitude, a tweet from @TheTweetOfGod, an Urban Dictionary definition of Brexiting (“saying goodbye to everyone at a party and then proceeding to stick around), a photo of a green-eyed cat, a meme about unfettered capitalism, and a friend’s review of Harriet.
- 9d. [Green outer layer of a statue], PATINA. That’s only until the statue gets ripe, though.
- 50d. [Type of crustacean whose name means “equal-footed”], ISOPOD. If you are squeamish, you won’t want to check out the giant isopod, which is to a backyard roly-poly as Mothra is to a backyard moth.
- ’70s crossing of the week: 58a. [Lollipop-sucking character of 1970s TV], KOJAK meets K-TEL, 61d. [Producer of many compilation records].
Not wild about fill like plural ETAS, ENDO-, IN AGES, or SEER. Overall, 3.7 stars from me.
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up
The next election is in almost exactly a year, so a politically-themed “Frontrunners” puzzle feels simultaneously too soon and right on time. Let’s dive in:
16A: POINT OF LAW [Judge’s concern]
25A: PARCEL OF LAND [Real estate chunk]
42A: PRIDE OF LIONS [Serengeti family]
56A: PACK OF LIES [Completely false story]
61A: POL [Campaigner found in the fronts of words of the four long Across answers]
I like this puzzle – it’s straightforward, consistent, and features a tiny revealer (which is always a weakness of mine). Each theme entry features a P___ O_ L___ pattern. I appreciate any 15×15 puzzle that’s well-constructed with 12-letter themers. They make segmenting the grid much more difficult and limit constructing possibilities – of course, Mike Shenk is a beyond-expert puzzle builder and makes it look easy! No crud in this grid, which made for a smooth solve.
I also appreciated the number of women referenced in the puzzle, including HERS, DAPHNE du Maurier, EVAS [Green and Mendes], Annie Lennox, and Sheena Easton. In fact, I think NEIL Diamond may be the only man referenced anywhere in the puzzle. ::celebration horn emoji:: More puzzles like this, please!
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “What Good Luck!” – Derek’s write-up
We have a quote puzzle for this week’s Jonesin’, which always gets my respect just because it seems like it is hard to find a quote that will fit in a puzzle! The theme answers combine to make this quote: “Well, well, well! Look who just got three new wishing wells!” (Insert rimshot here!) Yes, I thought this was pretty good. I get the feeling a lot of people don’t like this type of puzzle, and that is fair, but this one is not to hard to solve and there is a nice payoff at the end. We’ll take it! 4.3 stars from me.
A few more high points:
- 5A [“Lethal Weapon” cop] RIGGS – This was Mel Gibson’s character in this now 30+ year old movie. And time has not been kind to Mel Gibson in the last 30 years …
- 18A [Some nightclub performances] FLOOR SHOWS – I don’t do night clubs! Plus, there really aren’t any in northern Indiana!
- 47A [Father Sarducci of old “SNL”] GUIDO – Do you young kids even know who this is??
- 68A [“___ Man of Constant Sorrow”] I AM A – This was the song from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. One actor from there is in the new Watchmen series on HBO, which is starting to get interesting.
- 7D [“The Ballad of Reading ___”: Wilde] GAOL – I believe you.
- 28D [Author Jonathan Safran ___] FOER – I don’t recognize the name, but he wrote Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which is a movie about a kid with Asperger’s that I still have not seen. Perhaps tonight!
- 33D [Kitteh’s counterpart, in pet slang] DOGGO – I don’t have any kittehs or doggos at my house! Thus, this was a little tough for me …
Another Jonesin’ coming next week!
C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
I am happily married, so a lot of the theme answers in this puzzle are unfamiliar to me. Here are the themers, along with the revealer at 61A:
- 18A [Black-and-yellow pollinator] BUMBLEBEE
- 24A [Tense tennis moment] MATCH POINT
- 37A [Volatile situation] TINDER BOX
- 54A [Body part that provides limited motion] HINGE JOINT
- 61A [Mobile download for single people, and what the starts of 18-, 24-, 37- and 54-Across have in common] DATING APP
Tinder and Match I know; the others, not so much. And I don’t think I want to research them either! Nice theme idea, though, and I had no idea what was going on until the very end, which makes for a nice solving experience. 4.4 stars for this one
A few more things:
- 5A [Team that won the Women’s World Cup in 2019] USA – This was too easy!
- 13A [Yawn-inducing] HO-HUM – I’ve seen a few movies that could be described this way!
- 66A [Kagan on the bench] ELENA – Who is more crossword-famous: ELENA Kagan or Sam ALITO?
- 10D [Ritzy San Francisco neighborhood] NOB HILL – I have never been to Northern California, although I have been to SoCal a few times. I should go visit, I may like it! But then I would hate it since I hear it can be quite costly to live there, depending on where you are.
- 41D [Chef’s condiment] SEA SALT – We have some of this at home! The granules are bigger than table salt, and it tastes slightly stronger, at least to me.
- 55D [Twin Falls’ state] IDAHO – Speaking of visiting places, this is another place I may try to visit. I hear it is beautiful.
Have a great week!