Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 482), “Dancing Around the Issues”—Ade’s take
Good day, everyone! Hope you’re all doing well and stayed patient on here while we did a little maintenance on the site. At this time next week, we’ll be getting ready to bring on September. One month closer to ending this wretched year, right?!
We may very well be dancing in celebration of leaving 2020 behind, and this puzzle involves some dancing, in a way. Each of the theme entries feature circles at the beginning and end of the entries, and the letters combined form a type of dance move/style.
- HIPPETY HOP (17A: [Move like a bunny rabbit])
- TALKED NONSTOP (23A: [Jabbered endlessly])
- CHARLES LAUGHTON (38A: [Oscar-winning portrayer of Henry VIII on screen])
- BALL-AND-SOCKET (49A: [Joint type associated with the hip])
- HORSE OPERA (61A: [Cowboy movie])
The only entry that threw me for a loop was MOIRA, as I could not come up with the name and needed all the crosses..and that was after I had to correct “hoppety-hop” to “hippety-hop” afterward (2D: [Kelly of “One Tree Hill”]). I will admit that I invested in some stretchy leggings for running in the cooler temperatures that appear to look like YOGA PANTS (11D: [Attire for folks who do lots of legwork?]). I’m sure it was coincidence, but I just read in the news last night about Justin Townes Earle, the son of Steve EARLE, passing away at 38 and now I’m seeing Earle mentioned today (54D: [Grammy-winning “Guitar Town” singer Steve]). Rest in power, Justin.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TUDOR (21A: [House style fit for a king?]) – Who was the last pitcher in Major League Baseball to record 10 shutouts in a season? The answer is former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher John Tudor, who accomplished the feat in one of the strangest yet amazing single-season pitching feats in recent memory. In that 1985 season, a year where the Cardinals made the World Series and lost in seven games to the Kansas City Royals, Tudor started the year 1-7 in the season’s first two months. From June on, Tudor went an astounding 20-1 with an ERA of 1.37 and finished with an overall ERA of under two (1.93). Though Tudor was amazing throughout the entire postseason, he crumbled in the biggest game of all: Tudor allowed five runs in less than three innings in Game 7 of the World Series as the underdog Royals went on to win the Fall Classic. Tudor did win a World Series as a member of the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Dave Bardolph’s New York Times crossword—Amys’ write-up
Shakespeare goes to a cookout, that’s the theme:
- 17a. [16-ounce sirloin that Shylock brought to the cookout?], THE POUND OF FLESH. That “THE” felt wrong, but it’s in one of phrasings in the courtroom scene in The Merchant of Venice.
- 27a. [Mark Antony’s request to the farmer when he realized he didn’t have enough corn for the cookout?], LEND ME YOUR EARS. “Sure thing, Mark—just give them back when you’re done.”
- 48a. [Cry from Hamlet when he spotted his favorite spice mix at the cookout?], AY, THERE’S THE RUB. Grillmaster Hamlet!
- 64a. [Lady Macbeth’s declaration upon checking the steaks at the cookout?], WHAT’S DONE IS DONE. “Hey, I ordered mine rare!”
Three quarters of the theme relates to meat. Where is the coleslaw, the potato salad, the watermelon slices? I blame Shakespeare.
Five more things:
- 57a. [Things guitarists and prospectors both use], PICKS. Word to the wise—don’t use a mining pick on your guitar. Learned that one the hard way.
- 13d. [Like a fireplace the morning after, say], ASHY. Well, not if it moisturized properly the night before.
- 29d. [Fish with no pelvic fins], EEL. Speaking of pelvises and eels, did you read that New Yorker book review about Freud and eel sex? It was fascinating and you must peruse it!
- 30d. [First Nobel laureate from Ireland], YEATS. I know I was an English major in college, but could someone please provide a handy way to remember which one is Yeats and which is Keats?
- 34d. [Old isle of exile], ELBA. Wow, really? The old crosswordese island (amid ETNA and a smattering of other dusty old fill) in a Tuesday puzzle, when we have Idris Elba on hand?
3½ stars from me.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Mental Blocks” – Derek’s write-up
We are going back to November of 2004 this week, and a clever theme was executed here that is still fairly relevant! There are really only the two theme entries:
- 19A [Set of which all seven elements are fittingly hidden in the grid] TETRIS PIECES
- 55A [What you should hear in the background as you’re solving/playing] RUSSIAN MUSIC
So where are the pieces? There are hidden clumps of the letters O, Z, L, J, I, T & S, which are the names of the pieces! This is a nice little feat of construction, especially since it couldn’t be easy squeezing all of those J’s and Z’s together. Has someone duplicated this feat with pentominoes? Is that even possible? Did I just say a theme idea out loud, even though it is very much a copycat?? Nicely done, and yes, I still play Tetris from time to time even today! 4.3 stars for this particular stroll down the Jonesin’ memory lane.
A few more things:
- 13A [Cookie with a Thin Crisps variety] OREO – Hard to clue freshly even in 2004!
- 27A [Problem for a valet] FULL LOT – I need to make sure this is in my word list …
- 47A [She played Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend] MIA SARA – A slightly dated entry, but what a crossword name!
- 65A [Gore, as distinguished from his father] AL, JR. – This is working aroung the J shape, but I also need to make sure this is in my word list!
- 4D [They may show actors’ or doctors’ names] DOOR PLATES – Is it just me, or is this evoking a vivid mental picture?
- 9D [Fix a botched job at Baskin-Robbins, e.g.] RESCOOP – A bit contrived, perhaps, but now I want some ice cream!
- 28D [Pertaining to a radioactive element] URANIC – This is not great. Useful to constructors, but not great.
- 43D [The ___ Dolls (cabaret/punk band)] DRESDEN – An early example of obscure pop culture from Matt!
Another Jonesin’ oldie coming next week!
Gary Larson’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
There are some sneaky theme entries in today’s puzzle. Here is the list of themers and then I will explain:
- 17A [Crowdfunding website] KICKSTARTER
- 25A [Recliner part] ARMREST
- 49A [Sprint rival] T-MOBILE – I just switched from this merged company to AT&T. My signal is now worse!
- 59A [“The Silence of the Lambs” Oscar-winning actress] JODIE FOSTER
- 35A [Civilian activity site during wartime … and what the end of 17-, 25-, 49- and 59-Across can be] HOME FRONT
So we are referencing the phrases starter home, rest home, mobile home, and foster home. Very nice execution of the theme, which includes two 7-letter entries. Usually the theme entries are the longest entries in the grid; technically this is the case, but there are SIXTEEN other 7-letter entries! I certainly didn’t realize where they all were until I got to the blatant revealer, and with it being in the center of the grid there isn’t much confusion as to what is going on. A scan in CrossFire show virtually the entire edge of the grid is made up of these other 7-letter entries. This is not a complaint, after all that, just an observation! Nice puzzle, Gary! 4.3 stars.
Just a couple of things:
- 4A [Hungarian stew] GOULASH – I haven’t had a good goulash in years. Now I am hungry …
- 23A [“__ here”: “The place is empty”] NO ONE’S – I need to make sure this is in my word list!
- 34A [Sinclair Lewis preacher Elmer __] GANTRY – A dated literary reference, but still something you should know. I think I know this mainly from puzzles!
- 58A [“Mork & Mindy” planet] ORK – This is also slightly dated. I miss Robin Williams!
- 38D [“Let’s tip our caps (to) … “] HATS OFF – Great casual phrase, albeit a partial one!
- 40D [Item a hotel guest might forget to return on leaving] ROOM KEY – I do this all the time. At least I did back when we used to stay at hotels and go places …
- 50D [Eccentric] LOOPY – I feel this way all the time, and I don’t think I am eccentric!
Have a safe and healthy week!
Matthew Sewell’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “On the Surface”—Jim P’s review
The revealer is WOOD / WORK (67a, [With 68-Across, a hint to the ends of 21-, 25-, 45- and 52-Across]. The other theme answers succinctly describe the process of refinishing a piece of wood furniture.
- 21a. [Home to many Los Angeles rock clubs] SUNSET STRIP
- 25a. [Metaphorical cutoff point] LINE IN THE SAND
- 45a. [2000 Philip Roth novel] THE HUMAN STAIN
- 52a. [Really close outcome in a race] PHOTO FINISH
Good set of theme answers. I’m not so sure about that revealer though which feels a little awkward, especially broken up as it is. WOODWORKING would feel more natural, but obviously would take up a lot more real estate.
Also, those nine-letter Across answers (“IS THAT ALL?” and the Portuguese SENHORITA) are very nice, but they sure look like theme answers at first glance.
The rest of the grid feels workmanlike, but I do like the SATURN/PLANET stack and “HUT ONE” is fun with its clue [Words before snapping].
I would never have known HERO clued with [Leander loved her]. Maybe Greek myths just aren’t in my knowledge base, but that seems uncharacteristically tough for a Tuesday.
Nice theme. Not so much sparkle in the fill, but it works. 3.6 stars.