Timothy Polin’s New York Times crossword—Ben’s review
Happy Thanksgiving! This was pleasantly straightforward:
- 17A: The Man in Black — JOHNNY CASH
- 11D/40D: Oscar-nominated player of 17A — JOAQUIN/PHOENIX
- 59A: 17A hit…or a hint to four connected answers in this puzzle — RING OF FIRE
I almost expected there to be a shaded/circled section of the grid for the part clued by 59A – maybe since it’s Thursday having this be a little more obscured fit the bill? Anyways, in the center of the grid is indeed a RING OF answers which need to have FIRE added before them for their clues to make sense:
- 27A: Candies that make your mouth burn — (FIRE) BALLS
- 27D: Agitator seeking radical change — (FIRE) BRAND
- 28D: Big name in tires — (FIRE) STONE
- 47A: Performance with twirling torches — (FIRE) DANCE
This felt oddly straightforward for a Thursday NYT puzzle, but as someone currently home for the holidays and in the presence of relatives who can sense the *second* I’m engaging in a Leisure Activity like solving a crossword instead of helping them turn off motion smoothing on the TV, I appreciated this. Some of the fill around the “ring” was equally fussy – LA CASA? STAG LINE? ONEONTA? NONCOM? C’est la vie.
Joseph Ashear’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
Hmm. From a solving point of view, it is a fun guessing game to figure out the themers. Four films with numbers in have had their numbers decreased by one, according to their clues, because of budget cuts. The number of possible answers here is pretty limitless, though the entries chosen are broadly familiar – FANTASTICFOUR, NINEMONTHS, TWELVEANGRYMEN and OCEANSEIGHT – although the number of OCEANS[number] movies makes that one a little less elegant.
There are quite a few medium length downs, though GETCASH and ONENIGHT are pretty contrived as phrases go. The latter is clued as an eight-letter partial?? NEWSMILE is interesting, but also somewhat contrived. STAYPUT and CORNOIL are on more solid ground. The latter I mostly encounter as an eye-drop medium, but YMMV.
Brendan Emmett Quigley crossword (No. 1213), “Spinning Plates”—Ade’s take
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! Hope all is well with you and you all are enjoying your holiday.
Emerging from the pool of food I’m swimming in at the moment to peek my head in here and let you know about today’s BEQ installment, which include theme answers go from common phrases to twisted puns when the words in each phrase are shuffled to create the puns. Of course, on this Thanksgiving, one of the words in each of the phrases involves a Thanksgiving dinner table staple, and the fourth theme entry, HAS MISGIVINGS, is a funny way to present the reveal (53A: [Is in doubt…or screws up a November holiday, no thanks to you!).
- STUFFING TRAIN (19A: [Acela full of teddy insides?]) – original phrase(s): Ballot Box Stuffing and/or Gravy Train
- BALLOT BOX TURKEY (27A: [Candidate who receivers 0% of the vote?]) – original phrases: Ballot Box Stuffing and/or Turkey in the Straw.
- GRAVY IN THE STRAW (43A: [Extra money embedded among a haystack?) – Original phrase(s): Gravy train and/or Turkey in the Straw.
Very cute theme, and pretty easy to pick out after entering the first theme entry. How many of you have some BEEF (the meat, I mean) on your table during Thanksgiving feasts, if you have Thanksgiving dinner (4D: [Complaint])? We definitely have an end-of-alphabet jumble smack dab in the middle, with XED (30D: [Put two lines through]), VEE (32A: [Champ’s sign]) and ZED all making an appearance (37A: [Last letter to The Guardian]). Only entry that truly had me lost and needing the crossings was STYLER, as her name just wasn’t coming to me from the off (50A: [Trudie ___ [movie producer who’s married to Sting]). Liked the touch of the two multiple-word entries that ended with the letter B, with GETS A B (1D: [Scores roughly 85%]) and POINT B (6D: [End of many theoretical trips]). Not sure if the tryptophan is kicking in or not just yet, but definitely have to split for dinner. But, before heading out…
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: VLASIC (44D: [Big name in pickles]) – The last time Canada, the powerhouse nation in the game of hockey, won the gold medal in men’s hockey in the Olympics was in 2014 in Sochi, and one of the men who made the short list of 23 players and was a part the Canadian roster, and, subsequently, winning a gold medal, was current San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Édourard Vlasic. Drafted by the Sharks in 2005, Vlasic was a key member of the 2016 team that won the Western Conference title and lost in six games in the Stanley Cup Final against Pittsburgh, averaging the second-most ice time (23 minutes, 34 seconds) of any Sharks player during their magical postseason run.
Thank you so much for your time, friends! Will be on an assignment next Wednesday night and traveling on Thursday, so will be walking a tightrope as to whether I’ll be in this space next week. Will keep you posted! TTFN (9A: [“I’m through with this IM,” briefly])!
Have a good rest of your turkey day!