Alan DerKazarian’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
I misconstrued one of the circled theme answers and then couldn’t make heads or tails of the rest of them until I got to the revealer. It’s a cute Tuesday-appropriate theme and I enjoyed it.
There are four squares of circled letters in the grid. I read the first one clockwise and got FEET. Nope. They’re read as rows – L to R, L to R.
- In the NW quadrant, we have FETE, not FEET.
- The NE gives us BASH.
- GALA adorns the SW.
- We conclude with BALL in the SE.
The revealer runs across the middle: 32a [Neighborhood social events…and what the four sets of circles are?] is BLOCK PARTIES. Fun!
A few other things:
- My immediate association with CAFTAN isn’t a beach robe but rather Mrs. Roper from “Three’s Company.” Just me?
- GASSERS isn’t a word you hear every day unless you’ve time-traveled back to the 1920s. At least they tagged it as “old slang.” Very, very old.
- [Putin’s refusal] at 36a left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m sure this puzzle was edited and slated for publication before the invasion of Ukraine. I know a lot of Russians are saying NYET to Putin.
- Why is S. Pellegrino abbreviated in the clue for EVIAN?
- The RED SEA turned out not to be such an impediment for Moses after all.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that ASHANTI had a #1 hit in 2002 with “Foolish.”
Pawel Fludzinski & John Witzke’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Resourceful Dept.”—Jim P’s review
Theme: Familiar two-word phrases with the initial letters of R AND D (65a, [Company’s creative dept., and a hint to the five long Across answers]).
- 17a. [It may need tightening] ROUGH DRAFT.
- 22a. [Magazine published in 23 countries] READER’S DIGEST. I had no idea it was that widespread. I’ve never known anyone to actually read the magazine.
- 36a. [Bill Murray’s foil in “What About Bob?”] RICHARD DREYFUSS.
- 47a. [International airport in the Old North State] RALEIGH-DURHAM.
- 55a. [“American Idol” prize] RECORD DEAL.
It didn’t take too long to spot the theme, but it was nice to have it confirmed by the revealer. I can’t say I got a lot out of it, but it’s a solid theme good for newer solvers. My only nits would be that as such, it’s probably a better fit on a Monday, and also, there are no shortage of R.D. phrases, so I wonder if another constraint could’ve been added to tighten it up. Here’s another R AND D puzzle from 2013.
Not a lot of Razzle Dazzle in the grid aside from RAINCOAT and INSURERS, but like the theme, it gets the job done. I’m not sure how much longer we can keep using ILIE Nastase in a grid and expect solvers to know him. REMI [Notes after do] was also a bit clunky.
Clues of note:
- 22d. [“Le Penseur” artist]. RODIN. For the non-French speakers, “Le Penseur” is “The Thinker.”
- 33d. [Board of inquiry?]. OUIJA. Fave clue of the puzzle.
Solid Monday puzzle on a Tuesday. 3.25 stars.
Adam Wagner’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
I solved this one via a scraped .puz file, but the NYT’s HTML version includes the horseshoe magnet artwork to complete the theme so here’s that answer grid. The theme revealer is 69a. MAGNET, [Object represented visually twice in this puzzle]. The (rather long) arms of the magnets consist of IRON FILING / IRON MAIDEN and PUMPED IRON / WAFFLE IRON, with the IRON portions adjacent the magnet art. Inside the curve of the magnets are two unchecked letters, F and E—spelling out iron’s chemical symbol, Fe. Cute. Science! When I was a kid, we had a big horseshoe magnet that I was wild about.
Tough for Tuesday: ULTIMA, Spanish HIDALGO, PGS plural abbreviation (pages), and [New York city where Mark Twain is buried], ELMIRA. Pop quiz: Where is Nathaniel Hawthorne buried? Or Harriet Beecher Stowe? Zero reason for folks to know Elmira if they’re not from there, and an author’s birthplace or hometown is far more relevant than their burial site. Did this feel more like a Wednesday puzzle to you? I didn’t time my solve, but the theme’s violation of two standard crossword “rules” (no repeating key answer words in the grid, no unchecked squares) may push it towards Wednesday.
Fave bits: FATBOY SLIM; SHEEPLE; DISSENTERS and HER HONOR putting me in mind of Justices Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor; SUNSET clued as a verb; and KATE clued as [Feminist Millett who popularized the concept of the patriarchy]. I do have a hoodie that says MY FAVORITE SEASON IS THE FALL OF THE PATRIARCHY.
A few small dupes caught my eye: HBOGO and GO SEE, CAN I and I’M OK, SEEN IN and EASE IN. Call me a stickler, but I like it when such overlaps are minimized, if not eliminated altogether.
3.5 stars from me.
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 564), “Strike a …”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everybody! Hoping all of you are doing amazing and that the onset of spring is treating you right on many fronts.
Today’s offering definitely strikes a pose, in a sense. Each of the five theme entries, all going across, all start with a word that can complete the phrasing “strike a … .”
- DEAL WITH IT (17A: [“You’re in denial — get real!”])
- BALANCE SHEET (23A: [Financial snapshot of a company])
- MATCH MADE IN HELL (35A: [Marriage broker’s plan for a handsome devil?])
- BARGAIN BRAND (48A: [Economic “no frills” choice])
- CHORD CHART (57A: [Guitar student’s guide])
Wasn’t too familiar with ACTH upon first glance, but now knowing that that controls the production of cortisol, I’m now much more aware of how important that hormone is (24D: [Pituitary hormone, for short]). Loved the clue for YOGI and the riff from the nickname of another New York Yankee great, Joe DiMaggio, known as the Yankee Clipper (19A: [Berra, the Yankee quipper?]). We have a whole lotta nothin’ all over the place in this grid, from NEIN (38D: [German refusal]) to RIEN, a word also used when responding to someone’s “thank you” (merci) in French, de rien (2D: [Nothing, in Nantes]). Not 100 percent sure I had seen the abbreviation before today, but pretty sure that INF stands for infantry (40A: [Foot soldiers: Abbr.]). After almost a week in Portland, it will be time once again to pack the SUITCASE, err, hiking bag, to continue my journey covering the next round of the NCAA Tournament, both men’s and women’s (8D: [It gets packed during vacation]). Take a guess as to where I’ll be: Chicago, San Antonio, San Francisco, or Philadelphia?
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TRIPLE (6D: [Three-bagger, in baseball]) – An homage to the triple, the toughest of the four types of base hits to achieve, especially if a player is trying to hit for the cycle in a single game (single, double, triple, home run). Seeing the clue also made me think of the rare 20-20-20-20 club: players who accumulated at least 20 home runs, 20 doubles, 20 triples and 20 stolen bases in a season. The number of players to do that in the history of Major League Baseball? Four. Two of those occurrences came in the 2007 season, with Curtis Granderson of the Detroit Tigers and National League MVP Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies achieving the feat. Rolling earned his 20th triple on the final day of the season. In case you were wondering, the other two players to pull off the 20-20-20-20 are Willie Mays of the New York Giants in 1957 and Frank Schulte of the Chicago Cubs in 1911. We all remember Frank’s accomplishments, right?!
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “OK Computer” – Erin’s write-up
Quick post today thanks to being swamped at work. Besides being one of my favorite albums, The “OK Computer” references the computer acronym CPU (central processing unit) found spanning the theme entries.
- 17a. [Paste that can be used in breads and meat dishes] GARLIC PUREE. Breads, meat dishes, and just about everything else…
- 27a. [Entity that manages composers’ intellectual property] MUSIC PUBLISHER
- 35a. [1998 Matthew Lillard film set in Utah] SLC PUNK!
- 42a. [Pressure-driven apparatuses] HYDRAULIC PUMPS
- 57a. [Nurikabe, Masyu, or sudoku] LOGIC PUZZLE.
Claire Rimkus’s USA Today Crossword, “Twice as Fun” — Emily’s write-up
Tough theme for me today but still a great puzzle with lots of extra fun entries and cluing plus a sweet grid.
Theme: the word AS appears twice in each themer
- 15a. [Discard], CASTASIDE
- 28a. [Inexpensive, trendy clothing industry], FASTFASHION
- 44a. [Trash receptacle], WASTEBASKET
- 61a. [“Piece of cake!”], EASYPEASY
This theme was excellent and it was right in the title but went over my head. I was looking for double the “fun”, trying to find another synonym for it, or a partial word in each that could be doubled. Thankfully, Sally and her blog post had me covered on the theme. CASTASIDE took me a while to get through crossings though when I finally saw it coming together, it filled right in. FASTFASHION is another great themer and WASTEBASKET was simple enough to fill. EASYPEASY took me a bit longer and some crossings since it’s not something I regularly use or hear as a phrase but I did like the cluing. Hopefully you all did better with figuring out the theme today!
Favorite fill: NEEDY, STRAW, and OTTER
Stumpers: CLUB (cluing got me—growing up for me there weren’t too many “clubs” just mainly sports and for the other extracurricular they went by specific names), THAI (cluing was new to me and I’m so glad to learn about this martial art!), and TEEN (cluing misdirected)
Being a mobile solver, I don’t see the full grid until the end and throughout the solve it truly seemed unique. Even when I finished, it still didn’t look to have rotational symmetry even though it does—which I really enjoyed. This grid design walks the line of both, at least for me, and added to my delight for this puzzle. Kudos!
NYT: ELMIRA (as clued) is a gimme if you know about the March 16, 2016, NYT puzzle in which the clue for 1A is “Upstate New York city where Mark Twain was born.”
Fun puzzle (today’s).
Jones crossword link not working. M
HIDALGO meaning gentleman in Spanish was quite a surprise to find in the NYT. It was used in the Middle Ages and early Modern times to refer to a man lacking a title but distinguished otherwise. The term derives from an abbreviation meaning “Son of Something.” As for the whole puzzle, I found it on the boring side though someone thought it was fun, so two takes so far.
Good to know. I recognized the word but without really knowing its meaning or use.
I didn’t get into the puzzle all that much either. I admired its four long “iron” clues and the protruding FE to match. I also smiled that the two long across entries weren’t themers; if it’s inelegant, it’s also an interesting surprise, and the alternative would have been so many theme entries that the rest of the fill would no doubt have to be a lot worse than it is. Still, I just couldn’t relate the grid as picture to magnets. Maybe I’m just an not visual enough.
I hadn’t realized that Kamala Harris said WE DID IT, although it’s certainly plausible, or that it was “famous.” Really? I haven’t heard it repeated ever since and discussed. In fact, I’m not sure I heard of it at the time. It’s not as if it were a less than obvious thing to say. It’s not as if she said, oh, I don’t know, maybe “Wow, now we can impose critical race theory on unwitting parents.”
@Jenni re LAT … S.Pellegrino isn’t abbreviated. It’s a brand name made by a company named Sanpellegrino S.p.A., which is part of the Nestlé mega-conglomerate. Clear as mud. ;^)
WSJ: “Bowling ball trio” was HOLES. Probably should have had a “, sometimes”. When I watch the pros on TV, they seem to often use balls with two holes, especially those who use that impressive two-handed technique.
Jonesin – Nice and smooth, lots of long entries I’ve never seen in a puzzle before. Satisfying solve, like a themeless, plus a 5-time repeated CPU thrown in for good measure.