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Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 523), “Oscar-Winning Directors’ Cuts”—Ade’s take
Hello everybody! First and foremost, hope you all are staying cool! It is hawt almost anywhere you turn in the US right now!
The 2021 Academy Awards are in our rearview mirror, but that does not mean you can’t create a grid that talks about Oscar winners of the past. In this grid, five separate FILMS are mentioned when filling in the circles, though each of its titles are “cut” by at least one black square and continue into the next entry to its right (51D: [Cinephile’s interests…and a hint to this puzzle’s theme]). Initially, I did think that each of the movies had its director win the Oscar because of the presence of “director’s” in the title. As a matter-of-fact, four of the five movies in the grid did have its director win the Academy Award for Best Director, as Crash is the odd man out…though it did win the award for Best Picture (2005).
- ARE NO (17A: [“There __ accidents”]) + MAD (18A: [Seeing red]) + LANDS (19A: [Touches down]) = Nomadland
- FIREBIRD (24A: [Stravinsky balled that debuted in 1910, with “The”]) + MANETS (25D: [Paintings by a Degas contemporary]) = Birdman
- BEST I (34A: [‘This is the ___ can do”]) + TAN (37A: [Sandy color]) + I CAME (38A: [“Veni,” translated]) = Titanic
- FULCRA (51D: [Seesaw supports]) + SHOOTERS (52A: [Small bar drinks that are downed quickly]) = Crash
- L-DOPA (57D: [Drug for Parkinson’s patients]) + RAS (58A: [Dorm VIPs]) + ITEMS (61A: [Shopping cart fillers]) = Parasite
Really liked those long columns in the southeast, featuring both ALTER EGO (39D: [Diana Prince, to Wonder Woman]) and MERRY MEN (40D: [Robin Hood’s band members]). Speaking of Robin Hood, which version do you think of when you see that name? Errol Flynn’s? Kevin Costner’s? Cary Elwes’? Frank Sinatra, possibly? Well, here’s my Robin Hood…
RACE HORSE seems pretty timely given the running of the Belmont Stakes this past Saturday, a race that the legend mentioned in the clue won by a staggering 31 lengths in 1973 (20A: [Secretariat, e.g.]). So wishing “utli” was a thing, then we could have had “tubular” instead of TABULAR and I can mention the couple of times I actually heard someone say “tubular” while out in California, confirming to me that that wasn’t just slang that I had heard in movies (31A: [Arranged in columns, as spreadsheet info]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: LANCER (4D: [Mitsubishi sedan]) – Definitely dug deep to get this edition out to you, but if you wanted to clue this in the most impossible way, just do this: [Any athlete at California Baptist University]. The CBU Lancers made the move to the Division I level in 2018, and currently are a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). The stupid transition period rule the NCAA has in its books will cause the school to not be eligible for postseason tournaments until 2022-23, but back in their Division II days, the CBU men’s basketball team did make the Elite Eight (the showcase of Division II’s NCAA Tournament, a la the Final Four in Division I) in the spring of 2018, their last season in Division II. The school is located in Riverside, California. (Now that I’ve written this, I went back to the grid and noticed that I could have easily written about current US Women’s National Soccer Team member and World Cup winner Crystal DUNN! Next time, for sure!)
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Christopher Adams’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Our theme today adds an H to the end of -IS words to create new words that change the meaning of the familiar base phrases:
- 20a. [Checkout devices at Dublin supermarkets?], IRISH SCANNERS.
- 34a. [Urban area around a church district?], PARISH METRO. Are you hearing Sean Connery’s voice, too?
- 40a. [Claim that a language in “The Lord of the Rings” is not extinct?], ELVISH LIVES. Ha! I appreciate the linguistic dorkery of Elvish and the riff on “Elvis lives” (which is, of course, an anagram pair).
- 52a. [Suggestion to friends on when to meet for lunch?], “TENNISH, ANYONE?” Beg pardon? Who put “lunch” in this clue? Brunch works, but who on earth is making lunch plans for 10 a.m.?
Solid, easy enough theme for a Tuesday.
Fave fill: SELTZERS, DITHERED, the weirdness of ZOYSIA grass.
Three more things:
- 46a. [Stew, steam or boil], SEETHE. Fuming would also fit in here, but it lacks the cookery vibe of the three clue verbs.
- 9a. [Transparent hospital container, informally], IV BAG. My regularly scheduled infusion involves a light-sensitive substance, so an opaque brown wrapper covers the IV BAG. I just wish it were a brown paper bag instead, so it’d feel more festive.
- 63a. [Quechua speaker of old], INCA. Millions of people are Quechua speakers today.
Four stars from me.
Pawel Fludzinski’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Alchemy”—Jim P’s review
I didn’t pay attention to the theme during the solve, but this turned out to be a word ladder going from LEAD (the metal) to GOLD (hence the title). But unlike the typical word ladder found in crosswords in which the changed words are standalone entries, here they’re part of existing familiar phrases.
- 17a. [Total failure, figuratively] LEAD BALLOON
- 23a. [First graders learn how to do it] READ AND WRITE
- 38a. [Motorist’s guide] ROAD MAP
- 49a. [Light a fire under] GOAD TO ACTION. “Goad into action” sounds more natural to me.
- 59a. [Fort Knox stockpile] GOLD RESERVE
I for one don’t mind word ladders, especially when something interesting is done with them, and to me, this qualifies as interesting. Turning a LEAD BALLOON into the GOLD RESERVE is a fun idea.
Fill highlights: CODE RED, LEGAL ADULT, “I SUPPOSE SO,” PAID THE TAB (I wanted PAID IN FULL), and KOKOMO (watch the video here if you’re so inclined). A number of crosswordesey entries (DII, STAC, NEU, ISL, ATMO, etc.) threatened to scuttle the grid, but I think there were enough positives to outweigh the negatives.
Clues of note:
- 26d. [Congressional figure]. WHIP. For some reason, I wanted WHIG. I guess I’m stuck in the 19th century.
- 47a. [Zooms past]. RACES BY. Another writeover for me; I wanted FLIES BY.
A nicely themed grid. I wish the fill was a touch smoother, but there’s some good stuff to be found throughout. 3.75 stars.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “BAD Company” – Derek’s write-up
As is usually the case with Jonesin’ puzzles, I’ll bet the brainstorming session here was a hoot! All of the themers are pairs of people that have the initials B and D, hence the theme. How many more, if any, can YOU think of?
- 17A [Nicknames of two legendary bebop musicians (and the title of their 1952 album)] BIRD AND DIZ
- 29A [Country duo behind “Ain’t Nothing ’bout You” and “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”] BROOKS AND DUNN
- 46A [Caillou’s Daddy and Mommy, according to the official website (sorry, parents, I feel your pain)] BORIS AND DORIS
- 63A [The McKenzie brothers of SCTV’s “Great White North” sketches] BOB AND DOUG
Perhaps a better question is: how many did you KNOW? I knew two. Turns out the most obscure trivia in this week’s puzzle is in the theme answers! Even though challenging, all gettable and fair. Perhaps your knowledge wheelhouse is different than mine; that is one thing I learned from appearing on Jeopardy! We are all different, and all of us are still learning! 4.5 stars from me today.
A few more comments:
- 14A [Neckwear for Fred in “Scooby-Doo”] ASCOT – I think Freddie Prinze, Jr. was even rocking one of these in the live action movie!
- 45A [“Everybody Loves Raymond” surname] BARONE – This is also slightly obscure, but this show was in syndication forever. Surely we have all seen this show at least once!
- 62A [“What You’re Made Of, We’re Made For” insurance co.] USAA – We have all also seen THESE commercials. They are ubiquitous, even though they only target military personnel. Seems like that wouldn’t be necessary; they’re all on a list somewhere!
- 67A [Character before Borat] ALI G – Sacha Baron Cohen was also funny on This is America, the satirical comedy skit show on Showtime. Some parts can only be described as “cringe-worthy!”
- 3D [More illegible, like some signatures] SCRIBBLIER – Love this word, even if it’s made up! My handwriting has also gotten “scribblier” as I get older!
- 10D [2013 Eminem song that has a Guinness World Record] “RAP GOD” – Seems like I should know this song! I don’t.
- 32D [SW1P, for Westminster Abbey, e.g.] UK POST CODE – What an entry! The things you can get away with in indie puzzles! I wonder if this is in my word list? I wonder if I want it IN there!
- 42D [Indy 500 winner Luyendyk] ARIE – I think there is an ARIE Jr, as well. Wasn’t he on The Bachelor? (Turns out he was; just got back from a Google rabbit hole!)
- 45D [Current “SNL” cast member Yang] BOWEN – Tune in to Deb Amlen and Sam Ezersky this Thursday as they solve the NYT puzzle with the aforementioned Bowen Yang!
- 47D [Return remark] “I’M BACK!” – Great casual phrase!
That is all! Another Jonesin’ review coming next week!
Jeff Stillman’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
We have circles! What do they mean? It took me a minute, but the revealer is stellar!
- 20A [Prime time for vacationers] TOURIST SEASON
- 29A [Work out of the office?] BUSINESS TRIP
- 46A [Pacific spot named for the day it was discovered] EASTER ISLAND
- 56A [’80s hard rock quintet, and what’s literally found in each set of circles] TWISTED SISTER
I like it! Now I have “We’re Not Gonna Take It” echoing in my head! Guess what I now HAVE to post at the end of this video? Yes, I saw the jumbled letters, but I couldn’t figure out what was happening, so the revealer was nice to encounter. Not too hard of a puzzle, but it IS Tuesday! Nice puzzle, Jeff! 4.3 stars from me.
Just a few notes:
- 37A [Chevy subcompact] AVEO – Do they still make these? I never see any. I think my brother had one of these for a hot minute.
- 63A [Wavy pattern] MOIRE – I don’t know this word! Nice to learn something new on a Tuesday!
- 6D [Carnivore’s regimen] MEAT DIET – Good if you’re describing a lion; otherwise, eat your veggies!
- 11D [Time to celebrate] BANNER DAY – My appearance on Jeopardy! would certainly qualify as a BANNER DAY!
- 48D [Emulate the Gregorians] INTONE – INTONE as in chant. Learned about Gregorian chants in like 5th grade. It was in music class; these chants are barely music!
- 49D [Upscale retailer __ Marcus] NEIMAN – Don’t you mean Neiman MARK UP?
Everyone have a safe and healthy week!