Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “A Little Pick-Me-Up” – Erin’s write-up
Happy November, lovelies! Matt wanted to LIFT everyone up this month, as evidenced by his theme entries today.
- 17a. [Publishing company that’s all about brevity] CLIFFSNOTES
- 32a. [#1 song of 1973 and 1996] KILLING ME SOFTLY, first by Roberta Flack, then by Fugees
- 40a. [Verbal lapse] SLIP OF THE TONGUE
- 57a. [She released “Midnights”] TAYLOR SWIFT
- 6d. [What fanfiction is not] CANON. In the world of fanfiction, CANON any material considered to be officially part of a particular work of fiction or that fiction’s universe. In contract, fanfiction is work based on that work or universe but not officially accepted as part of that universe.
- 23d. [Deep massage technique] ROLFING. This technique was developed by Ida Rolf, who felt that lengthening fascia through manipulations helped align a body’s energy field with the Earth’s gravitational field.
- 58d. [“You Will Be My ___ True Love”] (“Cold Mountain” song)] AIN. Sting composed the song and performed it with Allison Krauss. AIN is the Scots word for “own.”
Until next week!
Gary Cee’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Chart a Course”—Jim P’s review
Theme: ALL OVER THE MAP (58a, [Wildly diverse, and where you’ll find the ends of 20-, 28-, 39- and 47-Across]). Those other entries end in a word that might be associated with a map.
- 20a. [Kentucky Colonel, e.g.] HONORARY TITLE. Of course every map has a title, but it’s not something I usually think about as being an essential part of a map.
- 28a. [Sense of right and wrong] MORAL COMPASS. Isn’t it normally called a “compass rose” on a map?
- 39a. [Room temperature is about 70deg] FAHRENHEIT SCALE.
- 47a. [Big name in one’s own time] LIVING LEGEND.
Despite my nits above, I enjoyed the aha moment that came with the revealer because the theme wasn’t coming to me otherwise. And that’s a pretty fun revealer in and of itself.
I like KALE SALAD (as an entry…and I’m not opposed to it IRL). SHOVE AWAY feels a little loose and less in-the-language.
Clues of note:
- 18a. [Continue to the next chapter, say]. READ ON. I like the entry, but it would be more fun clued as a command…though I can’t think of a good one. Maybe [Command to one who paused perusing]? Meh.
- The clue for ALL OVER THE MAP is on target, but if it wasn’t the revealer, we also would have accepted [No longer in love with Dora’s direction-finding friend?].
3.5 stars. Happy November!
Bruce Haight’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
A grammatical term is the name of the game: 59a LINKING VERB is [Grammatical connector like “is” or “seem” … or a connector found literally in 16-, 24-, 35- and 49-Across], and the letters in VERB span the break between words in the themers “NEVER BETTER,” RIVER BASIN, COVER BAND, and OVER BUDGET. Solid Tuesday fare.
An adjacent pair of entries were both new to me, but fortunately the crossings worked for me. 28d. [Big name in water purification], ECOLAB? And 36d. [On-demand digital video brand], VUDU? I’ll take your word for it.
Fave fill: DID TIME, ER NURSE, DOG BED.
Wildly hard for newbies: 5d. [Dark European thrush], MERL. If you don’t know your crosswordese birds or the cruciverbal legend Merl Reagle, this was probably a big “Huh??”
3.5 stars from me.
Zachary David Levy’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
Team Fiend’s own Zachary David Levy (no relation) serves up a delightful Tuesday puzzle. The theme stands on its own without a revealer. Each theme entry incorporate a word that means “scribble.”
- 17a [Ron Howard film featuring firefighters] is BACKDRAFT.
- 25a [Crossbreed with curly hair] is a GOLDEN DOODLE.
- 47a [“Saturday Night Live” segment, e.g.] is a COMEDY SKETCH.
- 60a [Toon McGraw in a Stetson hat and a matching holster] is QUICK DRAW.
DRAFT, DOODLE, SKETCH and DRAW. That works! A solid, smooth Tuesday theme. Nice!
A few other things:
- I filled in 9a by crossings and couldn’t figure out what IMALL meant. The clue is [Words before ears and thumbs] so it’s I‘M ALL. Ah.
- 9d is [Dated term for a celebrity socialite] and the answer is IT GIRL. For one thing I think “socialite” is pretty dated in and of itself. For another I always thought IT GIRL has to do with being a sex symbol and not necessarily a “socialite.” Clara Bow was the first IT GIRL and she was an actress.
- I like the juxtaposition of CASHIERS and COSTS.
- I’m happy to see Sharon OLDS instead of the extinct car line.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: never heard of ABBI Jacobson.
Enrique Henestroza Anguiano & Brooke Husic’s USA Today Crossword, “Pre-Orientation” — Sophia’s recap
Editor: Anna Gundlach
Theme: Each theme answer begins with a sexual orientation.
- 24a [Sanskrit chant for those seeking illumination] – GAYATRI MANTRA
- 40a [Light emitted by underwater organisms] – BIOLUMINESCENCE
- 50a [Rich and buttery cheese curry] – PANEER MAKHANI
Great title and puzzle from Enrique and Brooke today. I figured out the theme pretty quickly, mostly because GAYATRI MANTRA was new to me. Because of that, the first thing I noticed about it was “oh, it starts with GAY”. I looked back at the title, and I immediately knew what was up. There are only three theme answers, which honestly feels a little light given how wide-ranging the theme could be? But I do like the answers the constructors chose a lot; they all have so much personality. Along with GAYATRI MANTRA, I didn’t know the MAKHANI part of PANEER MAKHANI, and now I want to try it.
This puzzle played very easy to me, even though I didn’t know two out of three theme answers. It helped that I got the two long downs of ANIMAL PLANET and ANY SECOND NOW quickly – I loved Animal Planet back in the day, did anybody else watch Meerkat Manor? Quality content. My favorite clue in the puzzle was [Number worn by Sue Bird] for TEN. Sue played for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm for years and just retired this season. Loved to see a shout-out for her.
Aimee Lucido’s New Yorker crossword — Jenni’s write-up
Coming off the bench to fill in for pannonica – and happily so! I really enjoyed this puzzle. Some constructor’s names make me smile before I even start solving because I know I’m in for a treat, and Aimee is definitely one of those. She consistently delivers smooth, entertaining puzzles. Like this one!
The anchor of the grid is the central 15-letter entry at 37a, [“Don’t speak to me that way!”] for WATCH YOUR TONGUE. Nice.
Other things I liked:
- Spooky season is not quite over. 5d [“Take Me Out” or “Leopoldstadt”] is BROADWAY PLAY. I am seeing “Take Me Out” tomorrow and “Leopoldstadt” next week. Cue Twilight Zone music….
- 11d [Bit of security theater, perhaps] is a BOONDOGGLE. Great word. I raised an eyebrow at the definition because I think of BOONDOGGLE as a waste of time and money. Which, now that I think about it, pretty much defines the security theater performed by TSA.
- I would like to thank editors, constructors, and the community in general for recognizing that EEGS are not scans. My puzzling days are much calmer now.
- [Robin hood?] is a great clue for GOTHAM CITY.
- Vinho verde is my new favorite wine. I like the DRIER whites.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: so many things! I did not know that KAMALA means “lotus” in Sanskrit. I don’t pay attention to the Oscars so I didn’t know that Troy Kotsur won for CODA (and in fact have never heard of the gentleman).
I did know that the CELLO is the solo instrument featured in “The Swan” from “Carnival of the Animals” by Saint-Saens. When I was a kid we had a record of the piece including poems by Ogden Nash read by Noel Coward. And because the internet is a wonderful thing some days, I can relive my childhood and share it with you, including a photo of the cover that immediately takes me back to my little red-and-white portable phonograph.
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 596), “Foul Play!”—Ade’s take
Hello all! I hope you’re well, and apologies for the tardiness on this post.
A sports-related theme answer is going to elicit oohs or groans, but one of the fascinating things about knowing sports terminology is how easy a lot of phrases in that realm can be used to create themes. Here we have the letters PASS spread out in each of the themes, alluding to the reveal (43D: [___ interference (football foul and the puzzle theme)]).
- PALACE OF KNOSSOS (16A: [Minoan king’s residence])
- SPECTATOR SPORTS (22A: [One can watch them from the sidelines])
- THE PEARL FISHERS (34A: [Bizet opera in three acts])
- ASPARAGUS SPEARS (48A: [Green Thanksgiving side dish])
- SPIRAL STAIRCASE (56A: [Connecting flight?])
Still had a couple of seven-letter and nine-letter entries in the grid to enjoy despite the FIVE 15-letter entries, which I’m still marveling at now as I see the grid again once more. I initially put “defaulted” instead of DEFAULT ON, which cost me a few seconds (14A: [Fail to repay, as a loan]). The presence of EMPANADA (37D: [Filled Spanish pastry]) and TACO in the grid has definitely got me in the mood for some good Mexican food (20A: [Folded-and-filled tortilla]). Props to all the people who still have a CD TOWER at their place, which included yours truly (17D: [Audiophile’s storage unit]). Might have to pop in one of these CDs and give it some play at the moment. Now to find a CD player around here!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: GILLETTE (3D: [“Foamy” shaving cream brand]) – Not only is Gillette a brand that’s based in Boston, it is the title sponsor of the stadium that houses the New England Patriots: Gillette Stadium. Gillette replaced the old Foxboro Stadium, which was next door to the current stadium, in 2002. The stadium has also hosted the NCAA Lacrosse national championships, in 2008, 2009, 2012, 2017 and 2018.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!