Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 520), “Action Figures”—Ade’s take
Hello everyone! The temperatures are on the rise in most areas and am hoping that many of you are enjoying the better weather AND are still being cautious in relations to responsible mask-wearing and stopping the spread of COVID-19.
It’s fun with homophones in today’s puzzle, and with a little twist. Common phrases are altered when one of the words in the phrase is replaced by a homophone that also happens to be the last name of an actor/actress.
- CRUZ THROUGH (16A: [Move rapidly and easily, à la “Volver” actress Penélope?])
- PEI INTO (23A: [Provide funds for, à la architect I.M.?])
- DIGGS UP (52A: [Discovers, à la “Rent” performer Taye?])
- WENDT AROUND (62A: [Circumvented, à la “Cheers” actor George?])
- CARREY AWAY (10D: [Haul off, à la “Liar Liar” actor Jim?])
- CROWE ABOUT (28D: [Brag on, à la “Gladiator” actor Russell?])
Apparently, the portmanteau TIGLON has been around since the 1920s, but this is the first time I’m ever coming across it (8D: [Hybrid cat in the wild]). Liked seeing PISSARRO in the grid as I remember having to study some Impressionist works in college way back when (23D: [“Bather in the Woods” painter Camille]). My mom has been wanting me to buy her puff pastries so she can make some beef patties/meat pies, but next to the puff pastries in the frozen section. is phyllo dough, and seeing the clue and entry for FETA definitely makes me want to try my hands at making spanakopita (26D: [Cheese in a spanakopita recipe]). Savory bread, spinach, cheese, maybe some baked chicken as the main dish. Oh, that sounds good!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: OLE (64D: [Flamenco performance cry]) – In just over a week, the final of the Europa League, a secondary yet prestigious competition and tournament featuring some of the best soccer teams in the continent, will be staged in Gdansk, Poland, and one of the teams in the final, Manchester United, will be coached by a former player and legend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Why is he a legend? Well, in a European final 21 years ago, Solskjaer, who came onto the game as a substitute, scored the winning goal in extra time to give Manchester United a 2-1 victory over Bayern München in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final held in Barcelona. (Both of United’s goals in the famous fixture came in extra time, adding to the lore of one of the greatest soccer games played in recent memory.) Now, Solskjaer has a chance for European glory as a manager as well as a player for the Red Devils.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Doug Peterson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Stuff It!”—Jim P’s review
Theme: Entries include words that are anagrams of BEAR. The revealer at 60a is BUILD-A-BEAR [Customizable toy franchise, and what a part of each starred answer can do].
- 17a. [*Caught without a glove, in the ballpark] BARE-HANDED.
- 29a. [*Bitter vegetable of the mustard family] BROCCOLI RABE.
- 36a. [*Los Angeles fossil site] LA BREA TAR PITS.
- 44a. [*Singer often called “The Queen of Country”] REBA MCENTIRE.
When I grokked the revealer I was expecting to go back and find a progressive set of theme entries that included B, BE, BEA, and finally BEAR. But that’s a different theme. I wasn’t expecting anagrams in a “building” theme, but I guess it works, because I can imagine setting out to build a BEAR and having all the parts available to me, just in a random order. The cluing on the revealer is odd, though; I don’t expect the theme answer to do the actual building. A clue like [Customizable toy franchise, and what you can do with a part of each starred answer] makes more sense to me.
Fill highlights include CONTRALTO, CARBONARA, and ACE OF BASE [Swedish group with the 1994 #1 hit “The Sign”]. I don’t know the magazine ELLE DECOR, but the clue was very helpful [Hearst magazine focused on interiors]. EGO SURF, FANFIC, and LA JOLLA (even though it dupes the LA from a theme answer) are other goodies.
I didn’t spot any clues I needed to note, so I will leave it there. This is a solidly constructed anagram theme with strong long fill. 3.7 stars. Enjoy “The Sign,” if that’s what you’re into.
Margaret Seikel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
Whew, am I glad Adesina publishes the Tuesday posts on Monday evenings because I entirely forgot about blogging (TV with the family, then we got sucked into watching Freedom Writers with Hilary Swank) and it’s almost 1 a.m. Quickly, then: Theme revealer is 55a. [Breakfast side order … or a hint to the last words of 18-, 23-, 34- and 49-Across], SAUSAGE LINK, and those themers are SPOILED BRAT (as in bratwurst), HEADBANGER (as in bangers and mash), LISA FRANK (frankfurter), and THERAPY DOG (hot dog, aka frankfurter). I’d have liked to see NAIL POLISH sneaking in a Polish sausage, but it’s not pronounced the same so it would be an outlier here. Though actually, the sausage BRAT has an “ah” sound distinct from the misbehaving BRAT, so … nix one of the 10s and swap in NAIL POLISH and Bob’s your uncle.
One important thing:
- 28a. [New England catch], COD. If you never read Daniel Lavery’s old piece at The Toast, reflecting on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s diet regimen, here it is. It makes me giggle multiple times every time I read it.
Fun puzzle, quick, poppy. Four stars from me.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “That Tracks” – Derek’s write-up
I wonder if this week’s Jonesin’ was inspired by the upcoming Olympics that they will likely cancel? We have four theme answers, and a revealer in the middle:
- 17A [*Oldest of the five original MTV VJs, and host of the KISS “unmasking” special] J.J. JACKSON
- 28A [*American Samoa village which is home to the territory’s only movie theater] NUUULI
- 54A [*1997 Hanson chart-topper] MMMBOP
- 66A [*Program you might use in a smartphone emulator (otherwise, they’d run on their own)] APP PLAYER
- 40A [Track and field athletes during the Tokyo Olympics (and a hint to the starred theme answers)] TRIPLE JUMPERS
I am fairly sure a couple of these had verrrrry limited options, especially the triple U! As is usually the case, the brainstorming session here must have been quite a feat! But to turn this into a puzzle with extremely clean fill is amazing. The UHURU/NUUULI crossing was a little tough until you realize what is happening in the theme. A solid 4.7 stars from me!
A few notes:
- 14A [Singer Lennox] ANNIE – I like her music. She is now 66 years old. I, too, am getting old. Most all the music I listen to is by artists who are now dead!
- 71A [Missile monitoring gp.] NORAD – Isn’t this the group that tracks Santa?
- 1D [Tex-Mex offering] FAJITA – Now I am hungry …
- 18D [“Call Me ___” (Mayim Bialik sitcom)] KAT – So it is getting close, so I will share: I will be on Jeopardy! on June 7, and my guest host was Mayim Bialik! She was incredible, and I got to see every episode that she hosted. More news on this later!
- 27D [USC athletes] TROJANS – True story!
- 37D [“It looks like you’re writing a letter” Microsoft helper] CLIPPY – Ah, that crazy helper icon. I don’t think he is still around anymore. At least I hope not!
- 44D [Tim ___ (Australian cookie)] TAM – Never heard of these! But I am literally ordering some of these right now! They look DELICIOUS!
Another Jonesin’ next week! We are close to a day off at the end of the month!
Jesse Goldberg’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
We have circles!
- 20A [Go ballistic] HIT THE CEILING
- 35A [2002 biopic about con man Frank Abagnale] CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
- 41A [Cleaner of teeth] DENTAL HYGIENIST
- 53A [Overextended … and what’s literally in each set of circles] STRETCHED THIN
I didn’t even notice what was going on until I got the the very end. I keep trying to speed solve these, but I can never get under 3 minutes. I don’t know how these people solve easier puzzles in under two minutes. I am just not that fast! But this is a clean execution of a clever theme, yet easy enough for an early week edition.
- 18A [McDonald’s slogan since 2003] “I’M LOVIN’ IT” – I’m not always “lovin’ it!” We rarely go to McDonald’s. I won’t lie and say we NEVER eat there, but it certainly isn’t a craving of ours. But as an American, I have a duty to eat everything on the menu at least once, so …
- 30A [Self-indulgent period] ME TIME – Hard to get “me time” with an 8-year-old! But he will be 9 in just a few weeks. Time flies!
- 28D [The “I” in I.M. Pei] IEOH – Know your crossword-famous people!
- 52D [__ Pendragon, King Arthur’s father] UTHER – I have heard this name, but this may be
- 54D [Frozen dessert chain] TCBY – Now I want some ice cream …
Please have a safe and healthy week!
Sebastian L. Iger’s Universal crossword, “Pick This Puzzle Apart!” — Jim Q’s write-up
THEME: I’m honestly not too sure… Metals whose symbols can be found in common phrases? I feel like I’m missing something…
- 14A [Metal whose symbol is Au, and what can be mined in 62-Across] GOLD / ORANGE SAUCE.
- 47D [Metal whose symbol is Cu, and what can be mined in 17-Across] COPPER / ORBISCULATE.
- 12A [Metal whose symbol is Ni, and what can be mined in 38-Across] NICKEL / OFFICE FURNITURE.
I have to be missing something in the theme. I see that the symbols for the three metals are in there, but in what sense can they be “mined” from the entries? If they are lifted out, the resulting entries don’t make any sense.
I like the clue for OFFICE FURNITURE [Tables at a meeting, say?], but I was confused as to whether the punniness would be playing a part in the theme. The word ORBISCULATE is completely new to me (and I already love it… it’s up there with my other favorite: Defenestrate), and for a second I thought that it was a made up word that had something to do with the theme. Wrong on both accounts. Could it just be that the letters AU, NI, and CU are in a phrase? I’m assuming there are a lot of phrases where you’d find those letter combos, so what makes these three phrases special?
I’ll hold off on obeying the puzzle’s request in the title as I am almost certain something is over my head here.
UPDATE FROM COMMENTS: *Jim, there’s a revealer at 68 ORES – Rocks that 17, 38, & 62 Across represent, based on their outer letters. These are ORE each time. So we are extracting metal from surrounding ore.*
Thanks for the push in the right direction, Paul. I missed the revealer clue/answer entirely. That makes a lot more sense now and is much more satisying. It also explains that choice of themers since they have the restriction or O * [metal] * RE or OR * [metal] * E.