Brad Wilber & Doug Peterson’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
I’m distracted. Between Twitter and the news and also the second episode of the new season of Great British Bake Off (thanks to Brad for the hot tip that there was a new season!), I am without focus. I liked the puzzle … a half hour ago. And now I barely remember it. Let me refresh my memory! Ah, yes. A glance at the puzzle is always helpful.
With ONEF filled in already, I confess to you that I read 15a. [When “the arms I long for will open wide,” in a 1963 top 5 hit] and filled in ONE FIFTEEN, thinking it was some weird hands-of-a-clock thing. Urp. It’s ONE FINE DAY. Please tell us one of your goofiest wrong answer attempts.
I noticed a nice, inclusive vibe in this crossword. Fictional LUCY from Peanuts and BIANCA from Shakespeare, PELE, Julius “Dr. J” ERVING, LOLA Falana, Elton John and Lady Gaga in the STAGE NAMES clue (Reginald Dwight and Stefania Germanotta, respectively), INES Di Santo, EDITH Wharton (what academic word came to mind for that [Wharton, for one] clue?), Issa RAE. On the “straight men of European descent” side, we have REAGAN and possibly Mario Vargas LLOSA (his mom was of Spanish descent, not sure about his dad). Good job, gentlemen!
Six more things:
- 38d. [Quick buck, say], ANTELOPE. Nice clue. Had me stumped.
- 20a. [Sticky pad?], NEST. Sticky meaning made of sticks, here. Have we seen this NEST clue before?
- 50a. [Sauce ingredient in a Londoner’s “pie and mash”], EEL. Aagh, no. Do not want. Not after reading that New Yorker article about eel sex.
- 57a. [___ Fronteras (area where Brazil, Peru and Colombia meet)], TRES. Neat clue for TRES. I Googled that term and Google Maps gave me a Tres Fronteras where Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil meet at the confluence of two rivers. How many Tres Fronteras spots are there? Why aren’t Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil in this clue?
- 3d. [Neighbor of a Belarusian], LETT. Lett is crosswordese for Latvian. I consider TARN to be crosswordese too, since we call ’em lakes here in the U.S.
- 25d. [Chemical compounds in bubble gum], ESTERS. This is the most important thing I’ve ever learned about ESTERS (which also feels like crosswordese to me).
3.8 stars from me. Would’ve been over 4 without LETT, TARN, and ESTERS.
Evan Kalish’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
This one put up a little more resistance than normal! This is a fine 70-worder by Evan, who I don’t think I have had the pleasure of meeting at the ACPT. I have solved several of his puzzles at this point, and they area all of fine quality. Lots of fun stuff in this one, including several casual phrases, which I love! A good warmup to the Boswords Crosswords League, which I think starts this Monday! 4.3 stars for this one.
Some of the fun stuff:
- 1A [Handle the roasting] TAKE A JOKE – It seems as if this is a lost art these days …
- 15A [Words of exasperation] “I CAN’T EVEN!” – Great casual phrase, as I mentioned!
- 20A [Request while extending a glass] “I’LL HAVE SOME” – And another one!
- 30A [Territory from 1861 to 1889] DAKOTA – This took a minute to think about. Weirdly, this was not that long ago.
- 44A [Alma mater of about half the Supreme Court] YALE LAW – I read recently that the elitism (for lack of a better word) of not even considering people for certain positions that haven’t gone to Ivy League schools is quite prevalent. For presidents since Carter, only Reagan and Clinton did not attend Ivy League schools, and since the passing of RBG, this clue should read [Alma mater of exactly half the Supreme Court]. the other half went to Harvard Law School. If the new nominee makes it, she will be the first one from Notre Dame Law School, which is making huge news where I live, about 15 minutes from their campus.
- 62A [“Dang!”] “CON-SARN IT!” – No idea how to spell this, but another great casual phrase that Yosemite Sam might say!
- 3D [Jet Ski maker] KAWASAKI – Did not think of this immediately. They’re more known for their motorcycles!
- 8D [“Die Young” singer] KE$HA – Did I spell THIS right? ;-)
- 31D [Slopeside sight] A-FRAME – I think they use these types of roofs where it snows a lot. Fun fact: the recently deceased Gale Sayers also lived in my area in his later years in a small A-FRAME in Wakarusa, IN, where I had the privilege of delivering to his house in my last years at UPS!
- 37D [“Cool Hand Luke” restraints] LEG IRONS – Another movie to watch in the shutdown, and one I haven’t seen since I was younger. “What we have, here, is a failure to communicate!”
- 38D [Chase Field team, on scoreboards] ARI – My 8-year-old son Chase enjoys watching stadiums and arenas that have his name plastered all over it due the the bank sponsorhip, so Diamondback games, along with Warriors and Knicks games in the NBA always delight him!
- 45D [“The Suburbs” Grammy-winning indie rock band __ Fire] ARCADE – I actually know this band! Barely …
That is all! Happy puzzling!
Greg Johnson’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
I had a really slow start with this week’s Stumper. The lower end fell first, then the NW corner, and I finally finished in the upper left area, where all of the error marks are! This one was thorny in spots. I still think I need a vacation to reset the brain. I have been back to running in the last couple of weeks, and I feel a tad better now that I have lost a few pounds. Perhaps that can continue during this crazy isolation/quarantine period that appears to be the norm for the next several months. Even a home-body like myself is ready to go SOMEWHERE, but there aren’t many places to go, and the virus seems to be kicking up steam where I live, so let’s all hang in there! Do a puzzle or two to save your sanity! 4.5 stars for this one, which I hope you enjoyed as much as I did.
- 13A [Decor in ”That ’70s Show”] LAVA LAMP – Did someone watch an actual episode and verify this??
- 32A [Tourist trap?] HEDGE MAZE – It is the time of year for corn mazes, but with the pandemic I don’t know if they will pop up this year. Along with everything else that isn’t happening either! Great clue, though!
- 36A [Tablet smaller than a smartphone] LOZENGE – Another great clue! I was totally fooled.
- 54A [First Family member, 50 years ago] PAT – Math is hard! 50 years ago would be the Nixon era, so this is referencing the First Lady from then.
- 3D [__ pool] VAN – This is the last word I would have thought to put here. Hard!
- 6D [It’s planted in home gardens] OMEGA – Someone please explain this. I have no idea why this is correct.
- 8D [Eero Saarinen designed its Michigan Tech Center] GM CORP – This is TOO hard. It is an abbreviation which is not indicated, and it is a term that I don’t think is widely used. Not my favorite.
- 23D [Where Marilyn sang to JFK in NYC] MSG – After a crossing letter or two, this made sense. A little before my time, but I know the reference, as do many of you.
- 31D [Female pilot in ”Futurama”] LEELA – I have never seen Futurama, but I should know this name from crosswords!
- 45D [Carell, in ”Battle of the Sexes”] RIGGS – I started the puzzle here. A movie that I actually saw!
- 57D [Baryshnikov, by birth] LETT – He is Latvian, so this makes sense. One of these days I will travel to that area; it seems like a nice place to visit.
Everyone have a safe and healthy weekend!
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Living in the Past” — pannonica’s write-up
Phrases featuring past participles that are homonyms of nouns are treated as if they were in fact nouns.
- 22a. [Acolyte’s work on Palm Sunday, say?] LENT ASSISTANCE.
- 27a. [Fur vault?] STOLE HOME.
- 43a. [Flower high up on an arbor?] ROSE ABOVE.
- 51a. [Bike repair manuals?] SPOKE VOLUMES. This one’s by far my favorite, partly because VOLUMES has also significantly shifted its meaning.
- 65a. [Audience member at a tedious lecture?] BORE WITNESS.
- 79a. [Position of the liberals?] LEFT STANDING.
- 88a. [Result of crafting a fine fedora?] FELT PRIDE. LEFT and FELT are anagrams.
- 102a. [To cut a board, duh!?] SAW REASON.
- 109a. [Providing subscribers with several operas per year and the like?] MET OBLIGATIONS. Tacitly NYC-centric, this one.
This puzzle felt bigger than it is.
Not part of the theme: 81a [Arrive casually] ROLLED IN. Not a homonym of a noun, and I’m just now realizing that all the thematic past participles are irregular.
Relatively quick tour around the rest of the grid, as there are still Many Things Going On.
- 13a [May, say] MONTH, 14a [May with a Tony] ELAINE.
- 29a [Savage] WILD MAN.
- 57a [Shook upside down, for an Etch-A-Sketch] ERASED. Fresh clue.
- 73a [Someone who puts up with you] GUEST. Great clue!
- 98a [Physicist with a namesake effect] DOPPLER. 116a [Company offering little training?] LIONEL. Although it isn’t a feature offered by LIONEL, if you are model train enthusiast, you can get a simulated doppler effect with MTH sets.
- 1d [Norse goddess of death] HEL. 6d [Thompson of “Westworld”] TESSA.
- 9d [Ferret’s kin] OTTER. I often complain about too many OTTER clues of the ‘playful river creature’ type, and while this is a change of pace, it’s of a different type of annoying (to me) clue, as it’s rather vague—there are quite a lot of mustelids out there, and many are good potential crossword fodder, including STOAT, ERMINE, MARTEN, FISHER, and RATEL. I mean, it’s the largest family in the order Carnivora.
- 15d [Winner of all the events in the A.D. 67 Olympics] NERO. Just imagine how many holes-in-one he’d have scored if golf was around at the time!
- 20d [Global thawing, of a sort] DETENTE. The only sort I can get behind. 72a [Something to fight for] CAUSE.
- 41d [Beetles, in slang] VEE DUBS. Don’t believe I’ve ever seen this as a crossword entry.
- 56d [Source of wisdom, some say] AGE. 82d [Poor learner, according to a proverb] OLD DOG.