Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Bar Numb” — I must’ve heard it differently. – Erin’s write-up
Hello lovelies! This week’s Jonesin’ theme involves an MB for N substitution. Let’s see what we have…
- 20a. [Game show for graveyard enthusiasts?] NAME THAT TOMB (Name That Tune)
- 34a. [Water container fastened to a mountaineer’s belt?] CLIMB BOTTLE (Klein bottle)
- 41a. [Hair styler used while waiting to move on the freeway?] TRAFFIC COMB (traffic cone)
- 55a. [“Don’t agree to that! You’re being cheated!”?] IT’S A DUMB DEAL (“It’s a done deal”)
- 14a. [Word flashed on “The Circle” when news comes through] ALERT. “The Circle” is a Netflix social experiment show.
- 67a. [Shortening for a really tall NBA star] SHAQ. This definitely added some time to my solve because I had IRA_ for the crossing, confidently plopped in an N because what else ends with Q?, then found my error when I finally read the across clue.
- 15d. [Trifling amount, in British slang] TWO BOB. Two bob are two shillings, or one-tenth of a pound in British currency.
Until next week!
Hal Moore’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “A Taste of Europe”—Jim’s review
Theme answers are breakfast foods from Europe known by their country of origin. Clues are in the language of that country. The revealer is CONTINENTAL (59a, [Kind of breakfast suggested by the starred answers (though they wouldn’t actually be part of one)]).
- 18a. [*Giaoúrti] GREEK YOGURT.
- 24a. [*Kahve] TURKISH COFFEE.
- 37a. [*Tortilla de huevos] SPANISH OMELETTE.
- 49a. [*Kempense galette] BELGIAN WAFFLE. There’s no language called “Belgian” but I think this is Dutch which is one of three official languages (the others being French and German).
This seemed like it was going to be quite difficult at first, but I had the aha moment with the second theme answer, and that made things much easier. I thought the whole language/food gimmick was the entire theme, but then I had the unexpected second aha moment when I hit the revealer and realized these were all breakfast items. Very nice! I enjoyed this quite a bit.
Fill highlights include HOUSEMATE, RAIN BANDS (of a tropical storm), DUST MOP and “AW, RATS!” Biggest eyebrow-raiser was “IT’S I” clued [Awkward (though grammatical) answer to “Who’s there?”]. Awkward is right.
Clues of note:
- 15a. [Go on a spree, maybe]. GET LIT. I took the clue to mean “go shopping” but that’s not correct. I guess “spree” is meaning “bender” here.
- 21d. [Firestone Country Club location]. AKRON. The tire connection didn’t register with me until just now.
Surprising theme with multiple layers. Four stars.
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 651), “Dressing for Thanksgiving”—Ade’s take
Good day, everyone! Hope you’re all doing well and also hope that you have a great Turkey Day ahead!
I was listening to a radio broadcast yesterday and one of the co-hosts asked the other what is his go-to dish during Thanksgiving, and the person’s response, without any hesitation, was stuffing. Correct answer!!!! So this puzzle is down my alley, too, with the first four theme answers hiding the letters SAGE in them before getting to the reveal, SAGE STUFFING (53A: [Thanksgiving favorite … and what all of the starred answers have]).
- MASSAGE CHAIR (13A: [*Seating that may rub one the right way?])
- JAMES AGEE (21A: [*Pulitzer-winning “A Death in the Family” author])
- A PASSAGE TO INDIA (32A: [*1924 E.M. Forster novel])
- IRS AGENTS (44A: [*Treasury Dept. workers with taxing jobs])
They’re not staples on the dinner table during Thanksgiving, but, just in case, there’s some TAHINI (5A: [Sesame paste in a baba ganoush recipe]) and AIOLI in this grid if you’re in the mood for something other than some thick gravy (38A: [Garlicky mayo]). Has it really been almost eight years ago since REMAIN was one of the topics dominating world headlines as part of the Brexit referendum (1D: [Stick around])? Probably the only sticky spot in the grid is the intersection of TASSO (47D: [Byron’s “The Lament of ___”]) and ULTA, which I remembered last as Ulta 3 (51A: [Chain that sells beauty products]). Guess I haven’t been paying attention to rebrandings of beauty stores in a while!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: JORGE (21D: [Yankees catcher Posada]) – If you followed the New York Yankees during their last dynastic run in the late 1990s/early 200s, you no doubt know the impact that catcher Jorge Posada had on the team. An infielder when he first entered the Yankees minor league system before being switched to catcher, Posada was, arguably, the premier hitting catcher of his time, as he finished his career as one of only five backstops in Major League history with at least 1,500 hits, 350 doubles, 275 home runs, and 1,000 RBIs.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Kevin Christian & Andrea Carla Michaels’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
Fun theme! BEAN COUNTER is the revealer, 56a. [Corporate number cruncher who might be interested in the ends of 17-, 26-, 37- and 47-Across?], and the count is 54d FOUR beans. The beans are the final words in FREIDA PINTO, UBER BLACK, AIR ON THE G-STRING, and the ROYAL NAVY. I guess we’re short on zippy phrases that end with KIDNEY … though 37a. [Bach piece whose title sounds a bit risque] certainly had me drawing a blank (thank goodness for the trusty G-string!).
Main complaint: Too much broccoli. A broccoli FLORET and broccoli RABE? At least give us a cauliflower floret. I don’t mind cauliflower.
Solvers who struggle with names in the grid may be feeling cranky about this one. I like a preponderance of names myself; YMMV.
Are AGAR, COE College, YAWED, E-CIG, and IONIC columns truly Tuesday-easy fill?
Four stars from me.
Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
After a lapse last Tuesday where the crossword was too easy, we’ve bounced back with a more appropriately challenging puzzle.
Despite a few of the answers being decidedly in my wheelhouse, it still took a not insignificant amount of time to complete. In a good way.
- 11a [Word ignored when alphabetizing] THE. Yes but some computer applications haven’t gotten the memo on this. Foobar2000, which functions as the repository for my digitized music, for instance.
- 14a [Shemar of “S.W.A.T”] MOORE. I was unaware that there was a recent reboot of the series.
- 15a [Despondent outburst] I CAN’T GO ON. Samuel Beckett wrote, “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”
- 17a [Switched places?] MOVED. I couldn’t even be confident in provisionally putting in the -ED suffix because—especially with the question mark—there was no guarantee that ‘switched’ was a verb. If it were an adjective, then the answer would be a plural noun, most likely ending in S.
- 25a [Computer-monitor attachment, perhaps] POST-IT. Low-tech!
- 31a [Subject of Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks”] DINER. The clue would function just as well for DINERS, referencing three of the people inside the establishment.
- 32a [Ruby or emerald, e.g.] HUE. Not GEM.
- 33a [Title role in a 1999 Best Picture nominee] RYAN. Had to look it up after finishing the crossword. Duh, it’s Saving Private Ryan.
- 42a [Steel-cut __ ] OATS. The best kind.
- 43a [Herb that attracts butterflies] CATNIP. Nepeta cataria.
- 51a [Rarity on Top Forty radio] OLDIE. First I thought I’d have to determine if it was B SIDE or SIDE B, then it looked like INDIE …
- 3d [Odd road to travel solo] LOVERS LANE.
- 8d [Ordnance banned by the Ottawa Treaty] LAND MINES. They’re a scourge. Notable non-signatories of the Treaty include the USA, China, and Russia. These three are also not part of the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Hmm.
- 27d [Cuts made in an unabridged dictionary?] THUMB INDEX. A gimme.
- 28d [One who tends to make sound purchases] AUDIOPHILE. This past weekend I stayed with some friends, one of whom is an avowed AUDIOPHILE.
- 38d [“Nice job!”] HATS OFF.
- 45d [1952 Winter Olympics host] OSLO. A sort-of gimme. Combination of what would be likely for that time, four letters in length, and vague recollections of a vintage poster design.
Were ski poles made of bamboo back then?
Rebecca Goldstein’s Universal Crossword – “Focus, Focus” – Matt F’s Review
Like the title, each theme clue repeats the name of a Ford vehicle model to create a punny phrase. The grid entry is a literal interpretation of that phrase.
- 17A – [Edge edge?] = FRONT BUMPER (the edge of a Ford Edge)
- 25A – [Expedition expedition?] = ROAD TRIP (an expedition in a Ford Expedition)
- 39A – [Escape escape?] = JOY RIDE (an escape in a Ford Escape)
- 50A – [Fiesta fiesta?] = TAILGATE (a fiesta – er, tailgate party? – in a Ford Fiesta)
- 62A – Explorer explorer? = CAR MECHANIC (an explorer of a Ford Explorer)
I think this theme works well enough, given the constraints: 1. Every clue must use a Ford model name, and 2. Every grid entry must be a car-related phrase. Most of the theme synonyms felt loose, like “joy” for “escape” and “tailgate” for “fiesta” and “explorer” for “mechanic.” For the Fiesta themer I think it would have worked much better if the full phrase, TAILGATE PARTY, could have been used in the grid (but that’s a pesky 13 and you also have to worry about grid symmetry, etc. etc.).
Aside from the theme, this grid is expertly filled. Rebecca is a skilled constructor and she made the most of this, with bonus pairs of 10’s and exciting mid-length fill. ALPACA WOOL / NO SPOILERS + INTER MILAN / FIRE ISLAND, and even JETPACK and PANCAKE (with an excellent clue!) take this puzzle up a notch. I had fun solving every corner of this grid, and that’s not always the case.
Thanks for the puzzle, Rebecca!
Natasha Erickson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
I enjoyed this one. Each theme answer is a punny description of a certain kind of male person.
- 18a [*Dude who knows his ABCs?] is an ALPHA MALE.
- 24a [*Dude whose favorite season is autumn?] is a FALL GUY.
- 38a [*Dude who always pipes up to support a proposed motion?] is the SECOND GENTLEMAN.
- 51a [*Dude who attends every formal dance?] is the BALL BOY.
- 59a [*Dude who refuses to use even numbers?] is an ODD FELLOW.
Nice assortment of male identifiers! All the theme answers are solid and the clues gave me a giggle. Fun!
A few other things:
- 5d [“For the millionth time….”] is YET AGAIN and I can just hear the tone of voice.
- 26d [Jumbo suffix] is TRON. Yay for a clue that doesn’t reference the 1982 movie. Any time I see [1982 movie] in a clue for a four-letter word I know what it is, and I’ve never seen the damn thing.
- Anyone planning on APPLE-containing Waldorf salad for Thanksgiving?
- Not sure if I’ll be baking anything that requires YEAST. Mostly pies and quick breads around here.
- That’s all for now! I‘M SET.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: never heard of the Courteney Cox vehicle “Shining VALE.”