Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 442), “Sounding Presidential”—Ade’s take
Good day, my fellow crossword enthusiasts! Here is hoping you had a pretty good weekend. Today’s crossword puzzle focuses on a famous speech given seven score and 16 years ago and delivered by ABRAHAM LINCOLN (42A: [Source of this puzzle’s quote (and who also delivered the Gettysburg Address on 11/19/1863)]). Along with Honest Abe being featured in the grid, we also have a quote attributed to him that is featured as the rest of the theme entries.
- THE BALLOT IS STRONGER THAN THE BULLET (16A: [Part 1 of the quote]), (24A: [Part 2 of the quote]), (56A: [End of the quote]).
How much fun was this grid to do, especially with those chunky corners in the southeast and northwest, the latter setting up a wonderful start to the grid with BEST ACTOR (1A: [Oscar category for Gary Cooper and Gary Oldman]). This grid was so spicy, it even featured some FRA DIAVOLO to liven up the solve…and the taste buds (11D: [Spicy red sauce for pasta or seafood]). I got slowed down because I initially messed up my toothbrush brands, putting in Oral-B instead of GLEEM (28D: [Electric toothbrush brand]). I want to say that the NYT Sunday puzzle a couple of weeks ago had TAB SET, which was new for me to see in a grid, and I quickly recognized that as I was solving today’s offering (4D: [Word processing function]). I’ve told this story a number of times before on here, so I’ll make this short: I’ve actually met and spoken with multiple members of the OTTS, as, a few years ago, I ran into Mel Ott’s granddaughter, Gretchen, by happenstance at a Barnes & Noble as we both were looking for crossword puzzle books to solve (54D: [Slugger Mel’s family]). After introducing ourselves to each other and suggesting a few crossword books for her to buy, Gretchen then told me that her mother (Mel Ott’s daughter) was currently living in Arizona and that I should talk/interview with her for my then-nascent podcast. Here’s the link and audio to the hour-long interview with then-80-year-old Barbara Schneidau, Mel Ott’s daughter, on The “A Lot of Sports Talk” Podcast. If you don’t mind, take a listen and tell me what you think! The number of stories she told about living in New York in the 1920s and 1930s while the daughter of one of the city’s most revered athletes was something else!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: LAW (41A: [42-Across’s profession)]) – The Pittsburgh Pirates had a memorable season in 1960, winning the World Series in a memorable seven-game series against the New York Yankees, with Game 7 ending on a walk-off home run by Bill Mazeroski. Also during that year, Pirates pitcher Vern Law was the best pitcher in the Major Leagues, winning the Cy Young Award after going 20-9 with a 3.08 ERA and leading the National League in complete games . (The Cy Young Award was awarded to only one pitcher throughout baseball between 1956, the year the award was first introduced, until 1966, until the award was given in both leagues starting in 1967.) Law won two games in the 1960 Fall Classic, but he did so in pain as he was actually hurt during the Pirates’ celebration of winning the National League pennant right before the series with York. Law’s son, Vance, also played in the Majors and made the All-Star team as a member of the Chicago Cubs in 1988.
Thank you so much for the time, people! Have a wonderful rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Ross Trudeau’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
This is Trudeau’s second NYT puzzle this month. Do they not have enough accepted puzzles on hand to space out the bylines better? The “people/characters with TOP HATs” theme is one that Evan Birnholz did a few years ago for a Washington Post Sunday puzzle, with some additional layers to the theme and a taller black-squares top hat image in the grid. Today’s puzzle has 34a SCROOGE MCDUCK, 5d WILLY WONKA, 9d ABE LINCOLN (he hated being called “Abe”), and 43d FROSTY the Snowman, with the revealer 45d. [Something worn by the answer to each starred clue, as represented graphically in this puzzle’s grid], TOP HAT.
The grid’s three longest themers intersect, the black squares add another constraint on layout, and the corners all have stacked 7s. We end up with a lot of woeful short fill, stuff that is overtly hostile to any new solvers tackling this Tuesday puzzle they were told would be easy. The worst is 32d. [Every, in an Rx], OMN. Guess what? I have a lot of prescriptions and used to be a medical editor, and I needed every crossing here. A zillion abbrevs: CDS AOL AAA RNA IVS RLS (dreaded monogram #1) DTS DAS EAP (monogram #2! this might be unprecedented) OTS AGT. There’s NATANT, which is not a word most people ever encounter, and yet it’s in the Spelling Bee puzzle all the dang time. Crosswordese RIA and spelled-out numeral ONE-A. Foreign LLANO ERES FRANCA. Baseballese unknown to me and to my sports-but husband, 18a. [Grounder that squeezes between two infielders, in baseball slang], BLEEDER. There’s some nice fill, too, but I wasn’t appreciating it whilst solving all those gross little 3s.
Today’s topical word: 64a. [Small silvery fish], SMELT. In addition to the fish (which can be caught in the Great Lakes during their spring run), there’s the verb. And I’m not talking about metal processing, I’m talking about “whoever smelt it, dealt it,” and Monday evening’s trending topic, #fartgate. A BuzzFeed political reporter texted Rep. Swalwell, who says it wasn’t him; Hardball claims it was a mug scraping across a desk and not at all the show’s host, Chris Matthews, letting one rip. I have my suspicions.
2.5 stars from me. I might have enjoyed the theme (didn’t do/recall the prior Birnholz puzzle) if only the fill hadn’t been such a letdown.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “I Strain” – Derek’s write-up
This one took me a minute to figure out the theme, but that shows how clever it is. Here are the themers:
- 17A [Drawn-out lyric in “The 12 Days of Christmas”] FIVE GOLDEN RINGS
- 34A [Panel game show dating back to the 1950s] I’VE GOT A SECRET
- 43A [Activity involving a few windmills, maybe] MINIATURE GOLF
- 63A [Come through] DELIVER THE GOODS
Did you figure it out? Yes the letters EGO are hidden in each answer, thus leading to “I Strain”, as the title suggests. Very nice! I like that it took a little examination to get what was going on. Could a revealer have helped? Possibly, but in examining the grid, it may have been difficult if not impossible to add. I could be wrong; if you can figure out how to do it let me know! 4.6 stars for this one.
A few points:
- 14A [Prosecutor’s need] EVIDENCE – Do the Dems have enough of this? Hearings again this week.
- 26A [Monarch who gives an annual Christmas speech, briefly] QE II – I don’t think I knew this, but I am not British!
- 38A [“The Jeffersons” actress Gibbs] MARLA – She was in the live action remake of The Jeffersons that was on a while ago, and they are doing another live action combo of All in the Family and Good Times in December, I believe. I will be watching!
- 56A [Rice-Eccles Stadium footballer] UTE – I knew this! But it took a second. The Utes have an outside chance of getting into the college football playoff later this year; new rankings come out tonight, but as of now they are 7th, and an Oregon win and another ‘Bama loss might put them in.
- 8D [“Atlas Shrugged” writer Rand] AYN – I tried watching these terrible movies a while ago; I should just read the book!
- 23D [“Miss ___” (2016 Jessica Chastain political thriller)] SLOANE – I saw part of this; I am not a movie watcher!
- 31D [“Alejandro” singer, casually] GAGA – I know tons of Lady Gaga songs, but not this one.
- 36D [Game with 81 different cards] SET – This is in digital format in the NYT crossword section. This is a great game either there or with the actual cards.
- 55D [“___ Heart Mother” (Pink Floyd album)] ATOM – Yeah, never heard of this. It’s 50 years old! Oh wait, so am I!
Until next week’s Jonesin!
Susan Smolinsky & C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
This duo has churned out a fine puzzle! This collaboration can produce more puzzles any time they would like! We have the trademark revealer in this one actually crossing a theme answer:
- 20A [#1 in Major League Baseball career earnings] ALEX RODRIGUEZ
- 28A [1970s joint U.S.-Soviet space flight] APOLLO-SOYUZ
- 49A [Math class surprise] ALGEBRA QUIZ
- 56A [Musical genre of Tito Puente and Dizzy Gillespie] AFRO-CUBAN JAZZ
- 56D [All-inclusive, and a hint to 20-, 28-, 49- and 56-Across] A TO Z
I was unaware of the US-Soviet joint space mission, especially since this was in the height of the “cold war” era. I doubt Russians are actually that scary. But a great idea, and done in a very entertaining way. The brainstorm process here was no doubt fascinating. 4.5 stars from me.
A few more points:
- 39A [Fortified city of Castile and León] ÁVILA – This sounds like a great place for a vacation …
- 70A [Route-finding app] WAZE – I use Google Maps usually when on a trip, or the nav system in the car, but Waze is awesome. I wish my car had Apple CarPlay, but it wasn’t available. Maybe my next vehicle!
- 1D [Hemingway moniker] PAPA – I read a few of his books years ago. I should re-read some of them.
- 12D [LSU URL letters] EDU – LSU with a HUGE win this weekend! The title is theirs to lose.
- 21D [They sometimes attract: Abbr.] OPPS. – This seems less than ideal, but surely gettable.
- 27D [David’s weapon] SLING – Speaking of Sling, I still like the Sling TV. I have it for the Tennis Channel, but this is the time of year when there is basically no tournament play. Back to full swing in January as prep for the Aussie Open!
- 51D [Alphabetically last flower on a list of familiar ones] ZINNIA – I am not a big flower fan, but this was still easy for me.
- 58D [Operating system since the ’60s] UNIX – I am “this close” to going to a Unix system on one of my computers. Most of what I do would be easy to replicate on a Unix or Linux system. I have a feeling it would be sort of fun. My son has switched, and he loves it.
Have a great week everyone!
Gary Cee’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up
“I Spy” with my little eye a quartet of carefully placed squares…
36A: UNDERCOVER MAN [Double agent, or one of four arrangements hidden in this puzzle
Four times in this puzzle, we have the word MAN hidden under the word COVER:
– HUMANE under DISCOVERY
– ROMANCE under COVERT
– ALTMAN under RECOVER
– OMANI under COVERDALE
Okay – that works well enough for me. The puzzle was largely smooth, though I can imagine some people might have trouble with the SE corner, especially in the ARAFAT / DEL RIO / ALTMAN / AINGE section. One thing I did not find very HUMANE at all was the cluing of DHS via ICE. Ripping children away from their families and ruining families? Sure, let’s make sure to mention that (and implicitly endorse that) in a fun puzzle!
Quick write up today because my husband and I just got a new puppy and he’s running all over the place. Thankfully, no GROWL so far! : )