Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 485), “Wheel of Fortune”—Ade’s take
Good day, everyone! Hope all is well with you today and, once again, for those out in the West Coast, I hope you all are staying as safe as possible amid the wildfires.
Today’s puzzle brings us to the casino, though I never have played the game that is mentioned in the reveal, which is ROULETTE BET (35A: [Puzzle theme suggested by the starts of four horizontal answers]). In the grid, the four other theme entries start with some feature of a roulette wheel, either a color or the type of number. What? No green for zero?!?! (Kidding!)
- BLACK BELT (17A: [Highly-respected karate distinction])
- EVEN MONEY (24A: [Fifty-fifty])
- RED VELVET (48A: [Colorful cupcake variety]) – Mmmmmm!
- ODD MAN OUT (56A: [One who doesn’t fit in])
Initially wanted to put in “compact car” for SMALL CAR (3D: [It might fit in a tight parking space]) to start. and not getting DISS. right off the bat slowed me in the Northeast enough that I had to jump around a bit (1A: [Ph.D. treatise: Abbr:]). Love the clue for NIAGARA, and that reminded me that I’ve been there exactly one time and wouldn’t mind making another journey toward the border for another sight of it (21A: [Falls for newlyweds?]). I can’t tell you the last time I came across hearing about the DELISLE scale, but I can tell you that it’s been a pretty good while (27D: [Temperature scale named for a French astronomer]). Having VICES crossing “red velvet” was pretty clever, as I now have the taste for some red velvet cake (49D: [Bad habits]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: MANN (63A: [“Death in Venice” author]) – With the start of the football season, and also with the name change of one of the flagship teams of the National Football League, it’s probably a perfect time to mention a great who played with the Washington Football Team, defensive end Charles Mann — not to be confused with the author of the same name, of course! This Mann’s scientific specialty was sacking the quarterback, with 82 sacks in 11 seasons with the burgundy and gold between 1983 and 1993. He made the Pro Bowl four times and won three Super Bowls, two with Washington (XXII, XXVI) and one with the San Francisco 49ers (XXIX) in his final season in the league in 1994. Kind of baffles me that he is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame yet, though other Washington greats of that era (e.g. John Riggins, Darrell Green, Art Monk, Russ Grimm, head coach Joe Gibbs) are enshrined. Probably was/is overshadowed by some of the all the great defensive ends/rush linebackers — Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Chris Doleman, Lawrence Taylor, Charles Haley, Richard Dent — playing during that same time period.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Take care! ¡Te veo mas TARDE (16A: [Late, in Barcelona)!
Chris A. McGlothlin’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Nincompoopery”—Jim P’s review
Here’s a fun one if you don’t take it too seriously—and the title is a gentle nudge that we should approach this with some levity. Each theme phrase has a hidden asshat (I don’t get to use that word enough, so I’m going to take advantage of the situation) hidden inside, as identified by the circled letters. The revealer, starting at 62a and clued [With 63- and 64-Across, privileged info, and a hint to the circled letters] is THE / INSIDE / DOPE.
- 17a. [1963 Marvin Gaye hit] CAN I GET A WITNESS. NITWIT. Listen to the song here.
- 27a. [Wrinkly snacks] DRIED APRICOTS. IDIOT.
- 43a. [Drama that won 59 Emmys] GAME OF THRONES. MORON. 59 Emmys and yet the final season is derided by many who were fans of the show.
- 54a. [1934 Shirley Temple movie] STAND UP AND CHEER. DUNCE. My mom liked watching Shirley Temple movies when I was a kid, but I don’t recall seeing this one.
There’s really a lot of great fill in this grid. Okay, INAUGURATE isn’t that exciting, but elsewhere there’s UNCLE SAM, “YOU MAY GO,” SEE NOTE, “HOLD ME” (K.T. Oslin’s song, listen to it here), GARLIC, CATNAP, and SHEENA Easton clued with respect to her “Morning Train” song (listen to it here).
There’s already a number of worthy musical selections in the grid that I could have embedded here, but I’m partial to the lovely soundtrack of THE MISSION [1986 Robert De Niro/Jeremy Irons film]. If you’ve got 10 minutes, enjoy the video of composer Ennio Morricone conducting the Munich Radio Orchestra, or just turn it on in the background. You won’t regret it.
Clues of note:
- 40a. [“We’re done here”]. YOU MAY GO. I don’t quite equate these two phrases. [“Dismissed”] feels like a slightly more apt clue.
- 49a. [Dr. Zhivago’s love]. LARA. Dammit, I read that clue as [Dr. Strangelove’s love] and was surprised at the answer. How does that happen?
- 12d. [Result of scoring]. MUSIC. Appropriate that this entry immediately followed THE MISSION which is known for its score.
An enjoyable puzzle. 3.8 stars.
Amanda Rafkin & Ross Trudeau’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
I am sleepy, so quick takes. Cute theme tied together by 38a. [“Be patient!” … or advice seemingly ignored by 17-, 24-, 52- and 62-Across], “KEEP YOUR PANTS ON!” Four perennially pantsless toons make up the meat of the theme: PORKY PIG, SCROOGE MCDUCK, WINNIE THE POOH, and YOGI BEAR.
Some tougher entries here seem out of place in a Tuesday puzzle: OREAD, Latin ALIA, Italian ORA, TORIC, Spanish OYE, NEAP, and the roll-your-own-affix word SNARER.
19a. [Extend beyond], OUTLIE: It feels like the basic form of this word is seen less commonly than the adjectival outlying or noun outlier. Have you ever said that something outlies something else? And you weren’t talking about astonishingly dishonest world leaders? Also of note: This entry crosses OUT, which is nicely clued ([No longer in the closet]) but a glaring dupe.
TRICK SHOT lends sparkle, and CELL WALLS always takes me right to my description of the nutritive value of iceberg lettuce: it’s essentially water and cell walls, ain’t it?
Three stars from me, owing to the non-Tuesday fill in the grid.
Mark McClain’s Universal crossword — “Add Peas” – Jim Q’s Write-up
Strange that I added PEAS to the puzzle before I read the title in 49A [Porridge ingredients, perhaps]. I think I had that song that we used to play on the recorder in fourth grade in mind.
THEME: PP is added to common phrases to create wacky ones.
- 20A [Assignment for a Tex-Mex chef-in-training?] PEPPER REVIEW. Peer Review.
- 39A [One who regularly buys and sells fixer-upper houses?] FREQUENT FLIPPER. Frequent Flier.
- 57A [Aquarium mensch?] STAND UP GUPPY. Stand-up Guy.
I like these theme types, and I think they’re perfect for the Universal. I also appreciate three solid theme entries rather than shoe-horning in extras.
I think the word “flier” looks very strange. I would only spell it “flyer,” which to me looks much more satisfying.
QUIPSTER was fun to uncover. It’s not a word I think I’ve ever used, but I like the way it sounds! And I finally got MEHTA after seeing Zubin’s name enough times in crosswords. It did feel heavy on the crosswordese, which surprised me. Usually fewer theme answers = stronger fill. GOETH, FEN, MEHTA, SAS, AFOUL, TRANE (?), SALVO (?), SONO, MAWR. The two with question marks were new to me.
3.4 Stars! Have a good day!
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Battle of the Alternative Bands” – Derek’s write-up
The funny thing in this puzzle is the clues. I am sure this has a basis in some battle of the bands TV show that I know nothing about, but imagine these band battles:
- 16A [“You’d think Band A would hold up, but it’s flimsy. Band B wins”] FILTER VS. GARBAGE
- 35A [“Band B wins, since Band A only has a tolerance for booze”] LUSH VS. MORPHINE
- 43A [“Drop Band A on Band B? Band B wins, no contest”] CAKE VS. PAVEMENT
- 64A [“Band B wins, because it’s pointy and doesn’t digest well”] BELLYVSFISHBONE
Well, I laughed. But I am tired and everything is funny! Seriously, is there something I am missing here? Was there a band battle show that existed 10 years ago? This puzzle is from 2010, which seems soooooo long ago at this point. Let me know in the comments. In the meantime, you can see in this one Matt’s penchant for hilarious clueing even all those years ago. 4.3 stars.
Just a few more things:
- 20A [Blood type for just over 6% of the U.S. pop.] A NEG. – I have no idea what my blood type is. O something, I think.
- 67A [Early actress Langtry] LILLIE – No idea who this is. Let’s Google her … ah yes, she’s been dead for nearly 100 years. That would explain why I don’t know who this is!
- 1D [Constantly napping member of The Wiggles] JEFF – Ah, a Wiggles reference. My kids who watched them are grown now; I thought I was rid of them!
- 9D [“Mad Money” network] CNBC – How old is this show???
- 29D [Fashionable sandal] ESPADRILLE – What a great word.
- 36D [Manufacturer of electronics for kids] V-TECH – My kids have had toys by this company, many of which are educational in nature. Nice.
- 37D [What automobile interiors may drown out] ROADNOISE – We have a Toyota Highlander, and it is the quietest vehicle I have ever owned. Great for road trips! Only complaint: it has a small gas tank for a vehicle it’s size.
That is all! Another classic Jonesin’ coming next week.
Bruce Haight’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
We have a word ladder in this Tuesday’s LAT puzzle. The revealer at 37A explains it all:
- 37A [Apt description of the sequence suggested by the answers to starred clues?] FOOD CHAIN
The word ladder goes BREAD–BREAK–BLEAK–BLEAT–BLEST–BLAST–BOAST–TOAST. Nice and clean, and with a double meaning since bread literally changes into toast once you put it in some sort of toaster. I like it! And I am tired this week, so something a little simpler is OK by me! 4.2. stars for Bruce’s puzzle this week.
A few minor things:
- 9A [Pop’s bros] UNCS – Nobody says this, do they?
- 20A [Horse-and-buggy sect] AMISH – We have tons of Amish in my neck of the woods in Northern Indiana. I always say I don’t get a lot of the Jewish references that are made in puzzles because there aren’t large Jewish communities here. But there are thousands of Amish within an hour drive from my front door.
- 59A [Musical set in Argentina] EVITA – I don’t think I have ever seen this; something else to watch!
- 1D [Ricky’s signature song on “I Love Lucy”] BABALU – Why do I think of Breakin’ 2: Electric Bugaloo when I see this??
- 11D [Musical set at the Kit Kat Klub] CABARET – A subject of a recent LearnedLeague question!
- 44D [Nails the test] GETS AN A – Nice casual phrase!
- 55D [Brewery that co-distributes Not Your Father’s Root Beer] PABST – I am still not drinking it. In actuality, I don’t drink much beer at all anymore. I am getting old!
Have a safe and healthy week!
Learned from Arkadium Games that the difficulty of Stan’s Hard Crossword has been lowered due to complaints. What was the best crossword out there is now just another low level bore. A shame.
I agree that is a shame. Maybe we can complain and get the difficulty level raised a bit? There are plenty of low to mid-level puzzles out there for the whiners…. er, those with difficulty solving difficult crosswords. I had difficulty with those … and loved it!
You can write Arkadium Games through the “Contact Us” tab at the bottom of the Hard Crossword page.
Yep, a real shame.
I did that. I’ll let you know what if anything they say.
well that was quick. Poop.
Same answer as you got, and not gonna change back. Sorry.
“We have an update about the Hard Crossword game. Our Product team decided to make the Hard Crossword game a little bit easier to satisfy more Crossword players, as we received a lot of complaints claiming that the game is “too hard”. So, future puzzles would be like current ones. We are sorry for your negative gaming experience. Thanks for your understanding. “
While it is true that there are gradations of “hard,” I find it amusing/frustrating that people are complaining that something called, “Hard Crossword” is too hard! There is an easier crossword available if you want something easier!
I completely agree, and I mentioned that in my note to Arkadium. They said they agreed, and are debating taking “hard” out of the description (not debating going back to being hard, unfortunately).
I still hope they’ll change their mind(s) about the difficulty level.
I too told them to rebrand the puzzle since they’re no longer hard, marciem.
NYT: Speaking of glaring dupes, “at” appears in the clue for YELLINGAT – [Berating at high volume] – which, even given Shortz’s leniency regarding dupes, should fail his standards.
Agreed. I’m thinking this had to be an editorial error. So many ways to clue YELLINGAT without the “at.”
NYT: A for the theme, C for the fill, dupes and a number of trivia crossing.
The beauty of CELL WALLS is how dynamic they really are, so the term underestimates their nimbleness. And, for the brain, we’re learning more and more how important the material is that lies in-between cells, i.e. right outside the wall. The Extra-Cellular- Matrix is also dynamic and changeable and affects cell-cell proximity, fluidity– essentially the nature of the tissue our brain is made of.
Interesting coincidence: 1A in the WSJ is PITS; 1A in the NYT is PIT.
I miss out on the gimme clues with GOT. 43A WSJ wasn’t out of my wheelhouse, yay.
@JimP – Never watched Thrones as we didn’t have HBO for a few years. Couldn’t get into it, but by my feelings about Westworld – a mere 3 seasons, watched late for the same reason, it seems GOT must have detractors for the final season because of Hollywood’s tendency to beat a dead horse, over and over at that. In the age of streaming, British shows with 5-8 episodes to a ‘Season’ come off so much more enjoyable and avoid the beating tendency.
Oh yeah, 68A NYT AVE, had PAC – (Anyone else feel that long clues are sometimes self-defeating?), so it took me some time to find my error as I hardly needed any downs to solve the puzzle.
Derek re: Jonesin’… I was hoping you would have the answer, I’m completely missing the point of the them answers.
Not a TV show, just a thing.
In the scenarios, M Jones has done his best to set up the band names in opposition to each other. The filter isn’t effective against garbage, the booze-loving lush can’t handle hard drugs, cake goes splat on pavement, and the fishbone irritates the belly.
Thanks! That makes sense. I suppose the band-names are real, if possibly now-defunked (intentional :D ), names of bands?
Thank you. I wondered myself, but didn’t want to put out the effort to figure it out.