Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Sports Roundtable” – Erin’s write-up
Hello lovelies! This week we have a quote puzzle, which aren’t usually my favorites. Let’s see what we have:
- 17a. [MY THEORY, PART 1] SOME OF YOU MAY SAY
- 27a. [MY THEORY, PART 2] NO ONE TALKS ABOUT
- 38a. [MY THEORY, PART 3] OLYMPIC
- 46a. [MY THEORY, PART 4] EVENTS THESE DAYS
- 62a. [PART 5 (FOLLOW-UP TO THE THEORY)] SO ANYWAYS DISCUS
For ease of reading, here’s the complete quote: Some of you may say no one talks about Olympic events these days. So anyways, discus.
It’s a track and field pun. Discus/discuss. This was not one of my favorite Jonesin’ themes, but your mileage may vary.
Fill I enjoyed: KEL from “Kenan & Kel,” Viola Davis’ EGOT. Today I learned: Veal ORLOV was created by Count Alexei Orlov’s (or Orloff’s) French chef, Urbain Dubois, in the 19th century.
Until next week!
Baris Ragip Mutlu’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Odd Signs”—Jim’s review
Another debut today, and another good puzzle. This one features phrases of the form “No ___” clued as if they were unusual signs you’d see at specific places.
- 16a. [Odd sign on a football field?] NO OFFENSE.
- 29a. [Odd sign at the World Series of Poker?] NO BIG DEAL.
- 49a. [Odd sign in a math class?] NO PROBLEM.
- 63a. [Odd sign at a comedy club?] NO KIDDING.
- 11d. [Odd sign at a sauna?] NO SWEAT.
- 41d. [Odd sign at a counselor’s office?] NO DOUBT.
Fun and imaginative! I enjoyed these, especially NO SWEAT and NO PROBLEM. I’d like to see someone attempt to go to a sauna and try not to sweat.
I wasn’t so sure about the last one though. People go to counselors for all sorts of reasons. Doubt is certainly a big one, but not in so many words; it just doesn’t feel as integral to counseling as the others do to their respective areas. NO WORRIES would’ve been a better match in my mind, though it obviously doesn’t fit in that slot.
As a fun exercise, what other potential theme answers can you come up with? How about NO MATTER [Odd sign to see…anywhere?]. Or how about NO S**T SHERLOCK [Odd sign in the loo at 221B Baker Street?] (who knows…maybe Mrs. Hudson clogged up the plumbing downstairs again).
Moving on, I don’t see any longer sparkly fill, but the 7s sprinkled around are quite nice: PEN PALS, SCORPIO, PROFILE, EPISTLE, AL DENTE, SMIDGEN. Plus, “LAY OFF!,” REST UP, and TUNE IN. Well done. Some crosswordese creeps in at the shorter end (CDI, PAS, NLE), but on the whole I felt the solve was rather smooth.
Clue of note: 22a. [Wood of Middle-earth?]. ELIJAH. The actor starred as Frodo in the films.
Enjoyable debut puzzle. Four stars.
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 613), “For Beginners Only”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everyone! I hope you are all doing well as we get ready to welcome in March!
Traditionally, March is the month in which spring training baseball games begin, though you might have already noticed that games are already being played down in Florida and Arizona right now in February. Regardless, today’s grid, in a way, gets you ready for the baseball season with the reveal entry of STARTING PITCHER, as each of the first words in the first three theme entries can come before the word “pitcher” (59A: [Ballpark figure … and a hint to the puzzle theme]).
- RELIEF SCULPTURE (17A: [Carved artwork, such as Ghilberti’s “Gates of Paradise”])
- MOLLY BROWN (26A: [“Unsinkable” Titanic socialite credited with saving passengers])
- WATER MUSIC (47A: [Handel orchestral work that premiered on a barge on the Thames])
I honestly did not know was TCB meant and I just guessed that it must mean something along the lines of “taking care of business” before looking it up and confirming that to be the case (61D: [Getting the job done, briefly]). Thought I was good with those types of initialisms, and I just used CYA (cover your, ahem, buttocks) in a conversation just yesterday. But TCB was new! Had some nice 8-letter entries in the northeast and southwest, with SORE SPOT being the standout entry (12D: [Sensitive area]). UNTOLD also stood out in that northeast area as well (10D: [Countless]). Oh, and we have the down of ADAM’S ALE appearing just to the left of the theme entry that starts with “water,” which was pretty neat, even if totally unintentional (37D: [Teetotaler’s order]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: CASPER (6D: [Wyoming city]) – Former Oakland Raiders tight end Dave Casper is not from Wyoming (born in Minnesota), but he is one of the greatest tight ends to ever play in the National Football League and a member of the legendary, swashbuckling Raiders’ teams of the 1970s. Casper, who finished his career with 52 receiving touchdowns, was on the end of one of the most memorable plays in league history: the 1978 game between the Raiders and San Diego Chargers in which Casper recovered a fumble (though it appeared to be an intentional pass forward by quarterback Ken Stabler) after bobbling/kicking the ball forward into the end zone and recovering it for a touchdown as time expired. The play is known as the “Holy Roller,” and soon afterward, a rule was changed so that a player who fumbles in the last two minutes of a half or game is the only person to recover the fumble. “Ghost,” Casper’s nickname (of course!), was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Trent H. Evans’ Universal Crossword – “Movable Feast” – Matt F’s write up
This puzzle doesn’t need a revealer to tell you what’s going on, and instead makes use of 5 fun theme answers to tie everything together:
- 17A – [Easy money source] = GRAVY TRAIN
- 25A – [Place for an Amtrak snack] = DINING CAR
- 34A – [Pop-up restaurant’s kin] = FOOD TRUCK
- 46A – [Vessel with many rolls] = SUSHI BOAT
- 54A – [Place to grab grub on a cattle drive] = CHUCK WAGON
The first word is a food-adjacent item (I wish they were all types of food but we have “dining” to thank for mucking it up) followed by a type of vehicle. Hence, “movable feast.” “Meals on Wheels” must be trademarked. I love Trent’s puzzles and this one is no exception. The fill is great all around, including but not limited to:
2D – [Sport that might drive you up the wall?] = PARKOUR
9D – [Hip person] = COOL CAT
26D – [“10-4”] = I GOTCHA
31A – [“If you think you ___ too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito” (Dalai Lama)] = ARE
40D – [“Lord in heaven!”] = DEAR GOD
41D – [“How strange”] = VERY ODD
60A – [Mean relative?] = MODE (ha, it’s a statistics joke!)
Gia Bosko’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap
Fun theme in this debut puzzle from a new constructor. The name of the game is Dr. Seuss’s GREEN EGGS AND HAM and the various ways that dish could be eaten if the protagonist weren’t so picky: IN THE RAIN, ON A BOAT, IN A TREE, and WITH A GOAT. (That last one was always my favorite!) SAM I AM was persistent, though, and eventually our narrator discovers he likes green eggs and ham, and would, in fact, gladly eat them with a goat.
Fill I liked: BIG ASK, GO SOLO, SHROOM. Also RONA clued as [Covid-19, informally]. Usually seen as “the Rona.”
Fresh clue: 33a. [Like a latte made with nonfat milk, in cafe lingo], SKINNY.
Overall, the fill strikes me as on the tough side for solvers who are just getting their feet wet and haven’t yet picked up common and/or older crossword answers like SLOE, EMIR, EDSEL, ABRA, and “Popeye” cartoonist E.C. SEGAR.
3.3 stars from me.
Nancy Serrano-Wu & Nate Cardin’s USA Today Crossword, “Two If By Sea” — Sophia’s recap
Editor: Anna Gundlach
Theme: Each theme answer has the letter C immediately followed by a to0/to/tu/you get the idea.
- 25a [Bank drive-thru’s compressed air conduit] – PNEUMATIC TUBE
- 39a [High-frequency dental device] – SONIC TOOTHBRUSH
- 53a [“Just what I wanted to hear!”] – MUSIC TO MY EARS
What an apt puzzle to be made by two collaborators! I did go back and check if yesterday’s puzzle was named “one if by land”, but tragically it was not to be. Even with the title, I had no idea what the theme was as I was solving the puzzle. This was partially because it took me a while to get the theme answers – I wasn’t aware that a SONIC TOOTHBRUSH was a thing; I thought Sonicare was just a brand name – so I was very focused on getting them correct and less able to see all the connections between them. But it’s a cute theme, and folks with a better understanding of the phonetic alphabet would probably be able to describe it better than I did :)
Standout fill: THEY/THEM, SUNISA LEE, CHICANAS
New to me: EL CAMINO clued as [“Breaking Bad” epilogue named after a Chevrolet car] (I’ve never watched it).
Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Even though there was some stuff I didn’t know here, this ‘moderately challenging’ crossword fell rather quickly. I think I was close enough to the constructor’s wavelength with clues to power through the unfamiliar bits.
- 5a [Rating system on which a ten is far from perfect] PAIN SCALE. Kind of glossed the ‘rating system’ part, so I was wondering how to make PERCENTAGE or PERCENTILE fit.
- 16a [Online lending company founded in 1997] ELOAN. Like, what else could it be? Despite not recognizing the name,
- 17a [Crab-cake condiment] RÉMOULADE. No thanks, too mayonnaise-y. Give me something mustard-like every time. Oh look, crossed by 10d [Mustard, for one] COLONEL. No, not like that.
- 30a [California town that’s home to Hearst Castle] SAN SIMEON. I knew that Charles Foster Kane’s Xanadu was based on Hearst’s SAN SIMEON estate.
- 35a [Arched-back yoga asana] COW POSE. But I did try CAT … first. Was set straight by 32d [Onomatopoeia for a smooch] MWAH.
- 40a [Harlem-based designer who called his creations adorned with high-fashion logos “knockups” rather than “knockoffs”] DAPPER DAN. This was the highlighted clue, and there was a link to a 2013 profile in the magazine.
- 53a [Expectant] ATIPTOE. Yep, that’s one, unhyphenated word.
- 62a [Meeting, casually] SESH. Seeing this one a lot lately. But it’s probably just a frequency illusion.
- 1d [2019 Reginald Dwayne Betts poetry collection examining the effects of incarceration] FELON. With the F in place from the easy FROM at 1-across, this was pretty easy to guess—but I have the vague sense that I heard a contemporary radio interview about it.
- 8d [Open to criticism?] “NO OFFENSE, BUT …”. Great punny and colloquial clue.
- 19d [History-making works of art?] PERIOD PIECES. Not quite as fond of this one.
- 28d [Stud relative] HOOP. Earrings.
- 50d [The Red and the Black, for two] SEAS, with an oblique Stendhal reference. That’s the New Yorker for you.