Peter Gordon’s Fireball Crossword, “Themeless 148” – Jenni’s write-up
As you can see by my time, this one was harder for me than the most recent run of FB themelesses. No complaints! I made it more challenging by sticking with a wrong answer in the NW for way longer than I should have.
4d [Ropes in] is ENTICES, which makes more sense than ENLISTS. I know this now. I couldn’t see my mistake for quite a while and thus the rest of the corner made no sense. This was made worse by my confident assumption that Freud must have studied EEGS as a teen when in fact (according to Peter) he studied EELS. This became more embarrassing when I looked it up, because Freud was born in 1856 and the first EEG was recorded in 1924. Props to Peter for finding a new and very obscure clue for an old crossword standby.
Other things I liked:
- 15a [Broadway role in a cast?] is EVAN HANSEN. The title character starts off Act 1 with a cast on his arm.
- Interesting musical juxtaposition with the AIDA aria O PATRIA MIA next to the Shania Twain album COME ON OVER.
- One of Peter’s signature themeless moves is that the last across entry in the SE corner echoes the first across entry in the NW. This time it’s SATELLITES and SEATTLEITE.
- Does anyone under the age of 50 know what a TWO–REELER is? It feels fusty to me and I’m well over 50.
- 36a is [Hammer head toppers, often]. I ignored the space between “hammer” and “head” and filled in REMORAS. You know, like hammerhead sharks. Which, you will note, does not have the space. The answer is actually FEDORAS because the Hammer in question is private eye Mike Hammer.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that V-8 juice contains LETTUCE.
Jem Burch’s New York Times crossword—Ben’s review
It’s a tribute to a certain superspy in today’s NYT, an NYT debut from Jem Burch. Congrats, Jem! There’s three theme clues:
- 17A: *1962-67, 1971, 1983 — SEAN CONNERY
- 37A: *1997-2002 — PIERCE BROSNAN
- 59A: *2006-present — DANIEL CRAIG
But there’s also a double-O 7 – 7 rebus squares that each contain two Os in the grid. These 7 squares are placed in the grid such that they make a 7, as seen below.
- 14A: Quarters seen in some parts of Canada — IGL[OO]S
- 4D: Bird with a mournful cry — L[OO]N
- 15A: Ruckuses — H[OO]HAS
- 7D: Who has finished a 100-meter dash in under nine seconds — N[O O]NE
- 16A: “Neat!” — C[OO]L
- 12D: Reusable dessert container — C[OO]KIE TIN
- 27A: Small alcoholic drink — SH[OO]TER
- 23D: Court target — H[OO]P
- 42A: Certain money-saving rideshare option — UBER P[OO]L
- 39D: Like Dick Van Dyke when singing “Chim Chim Cher-ee” — S[OO]TY
- 54A: “Li’l Abner” character shaped like a bowling pin — SHM[OO]
- 52D: Saw or screwdriver — T[OO]L
- 67A: Body image — TATT[OO]
- 56D: Movement started by Tarana Burke — ME T[OO]
Other fill of note: CASH BAR, PETREL, RIAN Johnson of Knives Out fame, SCIATICA, POWERADE, and IN A TIZZY
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Foodies”—Jim P’s review
A good title hints at what’s going on in the puzzle without giving anything away, and that’s exactly the case here. Each theme answer is a food item with an appended -IES at the end, wholly changing the meaning of the phrase.
- 19a. [Caps made from recycled fibers?] GREEN BEANIES.
- 25a. [Showoff hoppers on the ski slopes?] HOT DOG BUNNIES. An additional N was necessary to pluralize the word.
- 42a. [Need for a birthday treat with electric candles?] CAKE BATTERIES.
- 47a. [Dark purple nightwear?] GRAPE JAMMIES. An M gets thrown in here as well.
I thought this was a cute theme, especially when I realized how apt the title was. The additional letters (the N and M) didn’t bother me, but there is a little inconsistency in that the first part of each phrase also changes meaning in all cases except the third one. Also, cake batter isn’t exactly a food item (for most people).
If the theme didn’t float your boat, there’s plenty of chewy long fill to go around starting off with CAMELOT and SCALAWAG. RED MEAT gets a cluing angle that I’d never heard before [Language intended to appeal to one’s followers], but I liked the trickeration in OSCILLATED‘s clue [Did some swinging]. WHITE WATER and SOLITUDE round out the top fill.
At the other end, ICEL sticks out as an uncommon abbreviation for Iceland. The internet tells me the more common abbreviations are IS or ISL or ICE.
Clues of note:
- 5a. [Part of a website’s About Us page, often]. BIOS. To computer types, BIOS means Basic Input-Output System. Here, though, it’s the plural of “bio” whereas the clue is singular. I can understand how this is okay, but I’d still rather see an unequivocally plural clue for a plural answer.
- 27d. [President after Johnson]. GRANT. Andrew, not Lyndon.
Cute theme and good fill. Clues felt a little heavy on the trivia side, but they’re mostly inferable. 3.75 stars.
Steven L. Zisser’s Universal crossword, “Interior Design 101” — Jim Q’s write-up
This is my second attempt at this write-up. I just got done with the first and have no idea where it went in the land of the internet. Oh well! Let’s try again:
THEME: Apt furniture for careers.
- 17A [Apt furniture for a car salesman?] CONVERTIBLE SOFA. Or one of those really cool car twin beds that I wanted so badly as a 6-year-old!
- 25A [Apt furniture for a baker?] ROLL TOP DESK. Covered in flour, I suppose.
- 43A [Apt furniture for a candidate?] PLATFORM BED. What’s the difference between a PLATFORM BED and other types? I’m not up on my bed terminology.
- 55A [Apt furniture for a Big Ten coach?] CONFERENCE TABLE.
Dad jokes abound! I actually didn’t see much of the theme while solving. I was thoroughly enjoying the cluing of the puzzle’s fill. Looking back, there’s not much “splash” in the fill, but with fresh, fun clues it doesn’t much matter. Those include:
- 1D [Pieces of 8?] ARCS. I stared at this and blinked approximately four times before I realized that the number “8” is made up of ARCS. Delightfully tricky clue.
- 36D [Animal that can jump 10 times its body length] BULLFROG. Not the KANGAROO that fits just as nicely in those squares.
- 50D [Fall associated with winter] SNOW. Not SLIP. Which is another fall I associate with winter. My favorite mistake of the puzzle.
- 49D [“Leave a message at the ___”] TONE. Not BEEP. Also, although my voicemail says I will get back to you, rest assured I will not. Does anyone leave voicemails with confidence that they will be checked? On the other hand, it is entertaining to go back and see the messages that have been left on my phone once in a blue moon.
- 15A [Apple product that may have 10 cores] IMAC. Not the Red Delicious on steroids you were hoping for.
New to me:
- 63A [76ers manager Brand] ELTON. I don’t come across many ELTONs who aren’t JOHN. Happy to know another!
I’m not 100% confident I understand how the title relates to the theme. What’s the 101 for? I get that each has to do with a certain vocation, but not sure how they would be considered akin to introductory courses…
3.5 stars from me. Enjoy the day!
Grant Boroughs’ LA Times Crossword – Gareth’s summary
This puzzle provides instructions in the case of three different freezes: RESTARTCOMPUTER, WEARWARMCLOTHES and DONTMOVEAMUSCLE. The second one is appropriate for us in the southern hemisphere. The third, well it’s worth noting that if you get the wrong cop, the advice is superfluous.
Three theme entries allows the puzzle to not be nearly so constricted as in other puzzles of late.
Brendan Emmett Quigley crossword (No. 1359), “Dinner T/F Test” — Jenni’s review
It’s late, so here’s the grid and a quick take: each theme answer is a phrase with an F where a T should be that creates a wacky food group.
- 18a [Seafood you’ll get epically wrong?] is a LOBSTER FAIL (lobster tail).
- 24a [With 27-Across, ordering beef and broccoli but getting egg foo yong instead?] is CHINESE FAKE–OUT (Chinese take-out).
- 37a [ Drink in Aesop’s “The Crow and the Pitcher”?] is FABLE WINE (table wine).
- 52a [With 54-Across, guitars played in a coop?] are CHICKEN FENDERS (chicken tenders).
- 59a [Dessert served while flirting?] is FOOTSIE ROLL.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Lysander led the navy in SPARTA.