Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “PR Stunts” – Erin’s write-up
The theme this week is names or phrases in which the second word begins with “PR” reclued so the one word ends in P and the next begins with R.
- 18a. [Heavily promote the top of the house?] HYPE ROOF (high-proof)
- 20a. [Inhabitants of a necklace fastener?] CLASP RESIDENTS (class presidents)
- 29a. [Smoke detector chirp, after getting fixed?] BEEP REPAIRED (be prepared)
- 40a. [Transportation for when you have to jump to avoid burning your burger?] CHAR LEAP RIDE (Charley Pride)
- 52a. [Users who post about a group of Boy Scouts, then upvote it?] TROOP REDDITORS (true predators)
- 56a. [Delicacy in the cookbook “Fried Food for Felines”?] CRISP RAT (Chris Pratt)
This theme set is delightfully goofy. CHAR LEAP RIDE is a bit of a stretch, but I especially enjoy BEEP REPAIRED (partly because those low battery alerts are soooo annoying and figuring out which alarm is the culprit is super satisfying) and CRISP RAT for the mental image of a cat sitting at a table, knife and fork in hand, as the chef presents a fried rodent).
- 15a. [Pad kee mao cuisine]. THAI. The English name for phat ki mao is “drunken noodles,” yet the spicy recipe does not contain alcohol. A few explanations for the name exist, including that the noodles are great to eat after a night of drinking, or that the spice level would be noticeable even to someone who has had too much to drink.
- 61a. [“Baba ___” (The Who classic)] O’RILEY. The actual name for the “Teenage Wasteland” song.
- 9d. [Three Little Kittens’ punishment (I mean, that sounds pretty dire if you really wanted it!)] NO PIE. Denying pie is just cruel, especially right after Pi Day (and my daughter’s 9th birthday!). They should have to go find their mittens, but don’t deprive them of pie.
- 74d. [’70s prog rock supergroup, for short] ELP. Who else had ELO here forever instead of Emerson, Lake & Palmer?
Christopher Youngs’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Tour de France”—Jim P’s review
It’s the Ides of March, so we’re…going on a tour of France? Today’s themers feature French cities hidden within familiar(ish) phrases. (The actual Tour de France bike race occurs in July.)
- 20a. [Bitter, bubbly cocktail] CAMPARI SPRITZ. Paris. Ah, reminds me of cruising around Lago di Garda one summer a few years back. Sorry, we’re supposed to be touring France, not Italy.
- 36a. [George Harrison got one from Ravi Shankar] SITAR LESSON. Arles. Not really an in-the-language phrase, but it’s certainly a thing. GUITAR LESSON feels more common to those of us in the West.
- 44a. [Job website invitation] APPLY ONLINE. Lyon. This phrase you see and hear quite a bit.
- 60a. [Miami’s Little Havana, e.g.] ETHNIC ENCLAVE. Nice. Nice.
Pleasant enough, yeah? I tend to be more impressed when hidden words are longer, so I favor the top two. But the bottom two are solid as well.
In the fill, PEPÉ LEPEW makes an appearance in the grid, appropriately, though his Frenchness is not referred to in the clue. JAZZ MUSIC, something decidedly not French, is the other marquee long Down entry. I liked seeing Nintendo baddie WARIO in the grid as well.
Clues of note:
- 25a. [Cheese pairing]. MAC. Good clue. I was certainly trying to think of something a little more highbrow than macaroni.
- 71a. [“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” hero]. NEWT. We also would have accepted [“Aliens” girl].
Solid grid. 3.5 stars.
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 563), “Du the Right Thing!”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everyone! Beware the Ides of March, or something like that.
Today’s puzzle ends up having a bunch of doers, if you will, making lots of things happening in it. The letters “DU” are added to common phrases/proper nouns to create some punny answers.
- VITAMIN DUD (Sun-exposure beeifit that ultimately fizzled out?) – Vitamin D.
- DUCAT BURGLARS (28A: [Stealthy thieves of old gold coins?]) – Cat burglars.
- BOXING DUCHAMP (46A: [“Nude Descending a Staircase” painter who puts up a fight]) – Boxing champ
- DUSTIN GRAY (62A: [Sharp-spined fish that helps with the housework?]) – Stingray
Though it has been a while since I’ve baked a cake, I can’t tell you how much I love downing some CAKE BATTER, to the point where it would feel weird to bake a cake or muffin and not do so (30D: [Mixture for a tort-to-be)? Some other good down fill came in the form of ELIGIBLE (4D: [Qualified to participate]). Running on fumes now after hopscotching two boroughs on consecutive days to cover some pre March Madness Madness in person, so time to fly the coop and head out. But first…
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: LSU (33A: [Baton Rouge sch.]) – Since I’ll be traveling soon to cover the NCAA Tournament, might as well use this space to talk about the Bayou Bengals tournament history. The LSU men’s team, which will be playing in the NCAA Tournament first round on Friday (vs. Iowa State), became the first No. 11 seed in the 64-team tournament era to make the Final Four when the 1986 team made a Cinderella run all the way to Dallas and the national semifinals. The LSU women’s team, playing in the first round this weekend as a No. 3 seed against Jackson State, had one of the most impressive runs in recent memory, making five consecutive Final Four appearances from 2004 to 2008. (They lost in the national semifinals in each occasion.)
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
John Michael Currie’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
A nice, solid Tuesday offering. The theme is consistent and accessible. The fill is smooth.
I figured out what the theme answers had in common and couldn’t predict the revealer.
- 17a [Wartime delinquent] is a DRAFT DODGER. I’m a child of the 60s and a folk music fan, so my mind immediately went to Phil Ochs. I’ll post the video below.
- 22a [60s-70s Chicago Bears running back who is the youngest inductee into the Pro Football Hame of Fame] is GALE SAYERS. Since I don’t follow football, he’s better known to me as the author of “I Am Third,” part of which was adapted into the made-for-TV movie “Brian’s Song.” And there is a song.
- 36a [Flute and oboe] are WIND INSTRUMENTS.
- 46a [Flaky baked dough] is PUFF PASTRY. I’ve watched enough GBBO that in my head this is now pronounced with a British accent.
And the revealer: 58a [“Piece of cake!”….and apt description of the starts of 17-, 22-, 36-, and 46-Across]: WHAT A BREEZE! I enjoyed this theme. It felt fresh to me – I don’t doubt that it’s been done before in some form but not in any puzzle that sticks in my mind.
A few other things:
- Speaking of voices in my head, ALTI conjures up my high school music teacher, and it’s said as an exhortation.
- 16a [One of WD-40’s many] is a cute clue for USE.
- Maybe it’s time to watch one of the seasons of GBBO again and see some STRUDEL made.
- My mom’s mom was NANA to my Ohio cousins. When I was a baby, I called her Ga and it stuck for the NY branch of the family. My mother decided she was Ga for my daughter, who has decreed I will be Ga for her children. All because my parents thought it was cute when I was two.
- I absolutely love [Everycow] as a clue for BOSSY. Just love it. I’ll be smiling for quite a while.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that GALE SAYERS was the youngest inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I suppose that has something to do with the brevity of his career and the fact that he retired at 28.
Here’s Phil Ochs, as promised
Michael Lieberman’s New York Times crossword—Jim P’s re-cap
Jim P. here filling in for Amy and just posting a quick re-cap of the grid. The revealer is at 58a, “IT’S THE PITS!” [“Awful!” … or a hint to the common element of 17-, 23-, 36- and 50-Across]. Each of the other theme entries is something that contains a “pit” of some kind.
- 17a. [Classic martini garnish] GREEN OLIVE.
- 23a. [Locale for baccarat or roulette] CASINO FLOOR.
- 36a. [Daytona International Speedway, for one] NASCAR TRACK.
- 50a. [Philharmonic’s home] CONCERT HALL.
Works for me. Each of the pits is slightly different than the other. I do wish NASCAR TRACK was replaced with a generic RACE TRACK which sounds more like an in-the-language phrase.
“ARE YOU OK?” and NANNYCAM make for lovely, lively anchors in the NE and SW. Can’t go bad with NACHOS and HOT DATE, and it’s nice to see the surname of Aly RAISMAN. Oh, and there’s BO OBAMA, and a grim reminder of the WAR ZONE in Ukraine right now. Pray for peace but help out if you can.
I see some people taking issue with the RABAT/LAHTI crossing, and I’d say that’s a fair comment for a Tuesday. But both of those have been in enough crosswords over the years that all bets are off after Wednesday.
That’s all from me. Happy Ides of March!
Mikkel Snyder & Brooke Husic’s USA Today Crossword, “Trig Functions” — Emily’s write-up
What a fun collab puzzle! Great entries and cluing, nice theme, and lovely grid.
Theme: each themer begins with a trig function
- 18a. [Evening event for romantic hopefuls], SINGLESNIGHT
- 36a. [Competition where you might be graded on your Superboy costume], COSPLAYCONTEST
- 51a. [Spiritual session involving intimate exercises], TANTRAWORKSHOP
The theme took me back to high school math with sine, cosine, and tangent, all represented with their shortened function names (or the buttons on the handy dandy TI calculators). While the title hints at the theme, it’s not obvious where or how they will appears in the themers so I jumped right in and started solving, so didn’t piece the theme together until the end. SINGLESNIGHT cluing had me first thinking “blind date” or “speed dating”. COSPLAYCONTEST was an easier fill for me and once the first half of the first themer dropped into place then I was set for TANTRAWORKSHOP, though I kept trying to use “tantric” to no avail so crossings helped. From these themers we get: SIN, COS, and TAN.
Favorite fill: AALIYAH, BLAVITY, and RESSA
Stumpers: CRUSHESHARD (needed crossings especially for second half), ROGUE (cluing had me thinking about trees and shade at first), and GEMINIS (needed crossings)
Lots of great entries and an abundance of 3s and 4s but everything felt fresh and was a fun solve. Plus many of those crossing help with filling in longer entries so this could be a nice starter puzzle for someone. Enough challenge while still being very fair. Nicely done and great collab!
Paul Coulter’s Universal Crossword, “Slide to the Left, Slide to the Right”— Jim Q’s write-up
THEME: The letters L and R are switched in common phrases, and wackiness results.
- [Dentist’s back tooth responsibility?] MOLAR DUTY. Moral Duty.
- [More serene along a shore?] CALMER BY THE SEA. Carmel by the Sea.
- [Brief come-on?] FIVE SECOND LURE.
- [Hollywood history and such?] MOVIE LORE.
Cool theme! I like themes that don’t immediately reveal themselves and need some sussing out. I didn’t know what was going on here until I got to FIVE SECOND LURE and I was able to identify the base phrase (Five Second Rule) easily. Then the “aha” of the L and R being switched and a *click* with the title. Well done! Which is to be expected from Paul, of course (did anyone peep that mind-bender of a Fireball puzzle he had recently?)
My favorite entry was the one I already mentioned (FIVE SECOND LURE). MOVIE LORE seems a bit bland, but only by comparison to the others.
Fill was just fine. Seemed harder than normal in the NW of the puzzle, for me anyway. Didn’t know SELENA and I thought the “cars with bars” clue was going for some sort of train.
Anyways, 4.2 stars from me!