Mark Diehl’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
It’s late, I gotta get this post up, and I’m trying to finish the NYT Spelling Bee puzzle before bed. So:
Fave fill includes WHAT’LL IT BE, PICKLE JAR, DIDN’T GET THE MEMO, POKER GAMES, Midwestern CORN TASSELS, PENTOMINO, the ANGLE PARKING found on part of Chicago’s Lincoln Avenue, and DIY PROJECT.
Fave clues: 38d. [Ax with a pick?], GUITAR, and 19a. [Make a full court press?], SUE.
Unfortunate duplication: MILITIAMAN atop ONE-MAN BAND, too many men.
Worst crossing: 11a. [One of the Argonauts in Greek myth], IDAS meets 13d. [Former kingdom of central Vietnam], ANNAM. Crosswordese collision! Not pretty.
3.75 stars from me.
Brian E. Paquin’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
I am trying to get some speed back, since the ACPT is now less than 2 months away. I suppose I should buy my plane tickets! Got this one done pretty quickly, and I think it would have been quicker had I not made a slight error.
- 14A [TV screen-bottom banner, perhaps] INLINE AD – Is that what they are called?
- 34A [What human flight was once thought to be] HARE-BRAINED IDEA – What other crazy ideas will become mainstream in 50 years? My best bet is electric cars!
- 41A [“__ giorno!”] BUON – How’s your Italian? Mine is virtually non-existent!
- 42A [Ship’s post that secures cables] BITT – Alrighty then! I am not a sailor, and I barely remember this word.
- 55A [Crossed the lake, say] BOATED – Speaking of water sports, I don’t use this verb either. I think it is just me!
- 58A [Emulated Gene Kelly performing “Singin’ in the Rain”] SLOSHED – He’s definitely sloshing!
- 20D [They’re usually not helpful hints] INSINUATIONS – Right. They are more like snide accusations!
- 24D [Magnet for rubbernecking] TOURIST TRAP – This seems off. I equate a “tourist trap” as someplace that gets you to spend money you didn’t want to!
- 32D [Many a “Buffy” character] TEEN – I would have guessed WITCH!
- 45D [2019 World Series runner-up] ASTRO – This word is now sooo tainted! Wonder how this will affect baseball this coming year?
I will stop there. Another LAT puzzle post from me on Tuesday.
Lester Ruff’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
This puzzle has some awesome wide-open areas, but it wasn’t a total killer. There were some great “a-ha!” moments, some new facts and/or words to learn, and some fun breakthrough points. All in all, a great puzzle, Stan! A solid 4.6 stars from me.
Some of those highlights:
- 1A [Only Big Four Sports boss ever named Angelo] GIAMATTI – Pretty sure they called him Bart. I think I knew this fact, but he passed away quite a while ago, and I don’t watch as much baseball as I used to. (Giamatti died in 1989.)
- 29A [Common Web wild card] ASTERISK – Known well to us crossword solvers when trying to get help from a computer!
- 32A [Fleeting classroom opportunity] TEACHABLE MOMENT – All moments are teachable if you’re willing to learn!
- 36A [Toon with an uncle Lubry Kent] OYL – Great clue! I did not know this!
- 56A [Term first used for mother goddesses] ALMA MATER – Another great fun fact. This literally means “fostering mother” according to Merriam Webster. Not exactly how I would describe the school that bilks me out of $200,000!
- 58A [Big Apple’s Mr. Mayor] HIZZONER – I don’t know this term. A New York thing, maybe? The closest big city to where I live is South Bend (not a big city!), and they didn’t call Mayor Pete this!
- 3D [Mini, Air, or Pro] APPLE MAC – I don’t think anyone ever says this, but it was gettable. I don’t call my computer this!
- 21D [What conductors keep] THE BEAT – Don’t they more keep “time”? I wouldn’t say classical music has a “beat”! But I suppose conductors are used for other types of music. It’ll work!
- 34D [Actor’s Studio co-president since 1994] AL PACINO – Another fact from deep in the memory banks. At least it is a different way to clue this crossword-famous actor.
- 47D [Its Subway is owned by the Navy] GITMO – As in the restaurant Subway? Nice clue! Especially since I, like most people, HAVE NEVER EATEN THERE!
That is all! Have a great weekend!
Amanda Rafkin and Ross Trudeau’s Universal crossword, “Top of the Food Chain”—Jim Q’s review
A-huntin’ we shall go!
THEME: Animals who are at the top of the food chain can be discovered at the tops of each theme answer.
- 4D [Chef who owns Spago] WOLFGANG PUCK.
- 21D [Hipster’s grooming tool] BEARD TRIMMER. Don’t know if “hipster” was necessary in the clue… I have one, and I’m certainly not a hipster. I think a lot of people with beards are likely to own one.
- 9D [’80s funk balladeer] LIONEL RICHIE.
- 23D [Animal that isn’t preyed upon, and a hint to the first four letters of 4-, 9- and 21-Down] APEX PREDATOR.
Solid all around. I really like how A) The animals are hidden within the first words/names and B) Two of them (BEAR and LION) you can’t even hear them hiding in there.
Fun fill with the likes of CHA CHING! IRON GRIP, SNEAK IN, MACAROON, and of course BEER PONG. I asked my mythology class of senior high school students to develop a game that reflected a myth as a culminating project. Sure enough, some students found a way to rebrand BEER PONG into an educational experience (and it worked! no… there was no drinking of anything involved).
New for me was TIN GODS. I like that term.
Solid puzzle. A solid 4 stars.
Gary Larson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Any Given Sunday” — pannonica’s write-up
I understand there’s a big football game coming up soon. Let’s kick things off, shall we?
- 22a. [Quarterback’s controversial Hail Mary?] INCENDIARY BOMB.
- 29a. [“Go long,” e.g.?] PASS SENTENCE.
- 48a. [Rookies teaming up to stop the blitz?] NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK.
- 64a. [Strategy behind making a fair catch?] POINT OF NO RETURN.
- 85a. [Stick with the ground game till the final whistle?] RUSH TO A CONCLUSION.
- 103a. [Choice to make an audible at the line of scrimmage?] SNAP DECISION.
- 115a. [Penalty for “too many men in the huddle”?] CONFERENCE CALL.
These are all quite cleverly repurposed.
Bonus content sprinkled throughout the puzzle:
- 55a [Kind of tackle] NOSE, 84a [Flag] TIRE, 123a [Gets ready to play] TRAINS, 76d [Kicker, so to speak] LEG, 87d [Field gain] CORN.
- 57a [Any of six for the Eagles] GRAMMY, 72a [49ers’ goal] ORE, 95a [Buccaneers’ base, perhaps] ISLE, 86d [Site of the Viking Ship Museum] OSLO.
- 81a [Site of the Cyclones’ stadium] AMES, 107d [Site of the Blaack Bears’ stadium] ORONO.
- 11d [12-time Pro Bowl linebacker Junior] SEAU, 71d [Grimm in the Pro Football Hall of Fame] RUSS.
- 69a/83d [Colander’s kin] STRAINER, SIEVE.
- 78a [Stare stupidly] GAWK, 2d [Stares stupidly] GAPES.
- 19d [Subtle taste] HINT, 124a [Strong flavor] TANG.
- 104d [Loses color] PALES followed by [105d [Colorless] DULL.
- 112d/118d [Take in ] SCAM, CON. Fooled me, as neither was EAT.
- Tricky crossing at 44a [Monopoly token] HAT and 44d [Word to the chauffeur] HOME because there is now a CAT in monopoly and arguably one might say ‘COME’ to a chauffeur. In fact it was the last square I filled in.
Gotta run. Time’s passing too quickly today.