Joe Krozel’s New York Times crossword
Hah! This puzzle is going to come in for a lot of abuse from folks who don’t like crosswords to have a lot of you-know-it-or-you-don’t names, but I enjoyed it. Every single Across entry is a first name, and the clues are all [(description) (surname)]. I tend to like a lot of names in my puzzles, and only needed the Down clues for a handful of people:
- 16A. [First lady McKinley] is IDA. Filled her in with the Downs before I even saw her clue, but I would’ve needed the Downs to get this one.
- 19A. [Mezzo-soprano Resnik] is named REGINA. That actress who was in Jerry Maguire, Regina King, I could’ve gotten without the crossings, but not this REGINA.
- 43A. [Country singer Bryan] is LUKE. Hey, look, PERRY/[Designer Ellis] is right upstairs for a little bonus 90210 Luke Perry.
- 53A. [Keyboardist Saunders] clues MERL. My heart has room for only one MERL, and that’s Reagle. Sorry, Mr. Saunders. I’m sure you’re very talented.
- 56A. [Skier McKinney] is named TAMARA.
The other 36 names, I recognized. (Zoom-zoom! Easy puzzle for me.) Now, if you had more lacunae in your “famous names” knowledge and had to work the Downs, you might’ve been made grumpy by these:
- 2D. [Earth, in Essen] is the German word ERDE. Rough for a Tuesday.
- 6D. RIOS, or “rivers” in Spanish, are [Carriers of water to los oceanos]. Not exactly the most direct clue possible. Would [El Amazon and el Orinoco] be easier?
- 11D. TIDAL is clued as [Kind of basin]. Still don’t know why we get these “kind of __” clues that appear to be asking for a noun rather than a word that modifies/precedes the key word. Why not [___ basin] or [___ wave]?
- 20D. The INNER EAR is [The body's balance regulator].
- 25D. LYCEUM is a [Lecture hall]. Pretty word, but not so common.
- 28D. Love this word: a SCOP is an [Old English bard]. If you studied any medieval English literature, you might’ve picked up this word. If not, well, I hope you knew all the names crossing it. SMOP and actor MOREY Feldman, anyone? (The correct answer to [Actor Feldman] is actually COREY, not to be confused with his peer, Corey Haim).
- 31D. Just one ARREAR here, clued as an [Overdue debt]. Is the noun ever used in the singular these days?
- 36D, 37D. RHET., short for “rhetoric,” is an [Orator's skill: Abbr.]. [Puzzle completion?] clues the suffix -MENT, as in “puzzlement.” Boy, I hope people know the crossers, [Humorist Bombeck]/ERMA, [Newsman Huntley]/CHET, and [Dancer Castle]/IRENE, because if they don’t, this could be an ugly section.
- 40D. [Creator of shavings] is a kinda tough clue for the wood-shop tool called a PLANE.
- 52D. ARCA is clued as [Old Spanish treasure chest]. Arca is also the NYSE’s all-electronic trading platform, devised here in Chicago.
Where do you fall on the names-in-crosswords spectrum?
Updated Tuesday morning:
Patrick Blindauer’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Common ERA”–Janie’s review
A three-letter word gives you six possible combinations of letters. Sometimes the results lead to gibberish; sometimes they lead to a theme. Using the title’s E-R-A as a starting point, Patrick successfully parlays the five remaining possibilities into today’s theme-phrases and -names. While I’m fonder of the former, the latter appear in their entirety–and that doesn’t typically happen with these names. There’s:
- 20A. “ARE YOU DECENT?!” [Words shouted before entering a dressing room]. Spot on clue/fill combo.
- 28A. EAR TRUMPET [Hearing aid of old]. Not an EARDRUM SET of EAR DRUMSET–which mighta been why the ear trumpet was needed in the first place…
- 37A. AER LINGUS [Company base in Dublin], which has probably been patronized by Belfast-born
- 50A. STEPHEN REA ["The Crying Game" actor].
- 57A. CHARLOTTE RAE ["The Facts of Life" actress].
There are also a couple of mini-themes of note. I couldn’t say how often ROSH [Word before Hashanah] and YOM [ ___ Kippur] have appeared together in the same non-”Jewish holiday”-theme grid, but here they are folks. And how easily they share the spotlight with STS (and not cruciverbal masters*) [Peter, Patrick and Francis (abbr.)]. I’m willing to bet ["Go] TELL IT [on the Mountain"] (sung here by Peter, Paul and Mary…) has been heard not only in many a folk-song concert, but also in many a folk-mass or -service. And for practitioners of Eastern philosophies, there’s also Confucianism’s and Taoism’s TAO [The path of victory]. (On the subject of cruciverbal masters, btw, there’s also a shout-out to MERL ["Wordplay" star Reagle].
“Wordplay” and “The Crying Game” aren’t the only films referenced today though. Filling out mini-theme number two, there’s also SAW [2004 horror movie with many sequels]; EMMA [Thompson of "Sense and Sensibility"]; and two real classics: The Island of Lost Souls a/k/a ["The Island of Doctor ___ ] MOREAU” (first a novel by H.G Wells, then three times a movie, starting in 1932) and ["Potemkin" setting] ODESSA. Don’t know Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 work (The Battleship Potemkin) or the chillingly famous massacre-on-the-”Odessa steps” scene? No time like the present!
I found that I was UNELATED [Not ecstatic] about unelated. But the likes of ORACLES [Ancient answer sources], POSHEST [Superlatively swanky] and GENTEEL [Refined] did their job in servint to APPEASE [Quiet] me.
Three fave clues? [One of six in 1,000,000] which literally describes ZERO, [General assembly?] for ARMY, and (because it’s so specific and that specificity made me laugh), the fresh [Cousin of Silken Mist Buff by L'eggs] for the well-worn ECRU. “Silken Mist Buff”?!?!
*(Peter) Gordon; (Patrick) Merrell, Berry, Jordan or Blindauer; (Francis) Heaney…
Timothy Meaker’s Los Angeles Times crossword
Those starred clues are these:
- 17A. [Art class supply] is a SKETCHBOOK. (Phone book.)
- 35A. [Suitcase attachment] or a “Hello My Name Is” sticker is a NAME TAG. (Phone tag—that’s a more colorful phrase than some of the theme answers.)
- 53A. PHOTO BOOTH is an [Arcade attraction]. Remember when you could feed quarters into a photo booth instead of needing a $5 bill? (Phone booth. Those are hard to come by these days.)
- 11D. [Dreaded end-of-semester handout, perhaps] is a REPORT CARD. (Phone card? What’s a phone card? Is that the same as a calling card?)
- 27D. WAKE-UP CALL is a great crossword entry. It’s clued blandly as a [Hotel offering], though. PHONE’s clue shouldn’t include the word “caller” when CALL is part of a theme entry. (Phone call.)
The most troublesome answer in the grid was right up there at 1D: [NYSE units] are SHS, abbreviating “shares.” I asked my husband, who works on NYSE’s Arca, if he uses that abbreviation; he says maybe “shr.” more than “sh.”
I like BOTOX and “SHE-BOP” and LOKI, the trickster of Norse mythology. Less fond of the old-school crossword fill, such as APORT, ASPIC, and STEN.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “Best of the Decade, Part 1—starting with 2000-2001″
This “best of the year, 2000-01 edition” is like VH1′s I Love the Eighties, only for a shorter time span and in a crossword. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series, Matt. The best album, STANKONIA. Best-selling book, a HARRY POTTER title. Top-10 TV show, the excellent BERNIE MAC SHOW. Best PC game, EMPIRE EARTH. Best compact car, the ’01 FORD FOCUS; not sure how well that recommendation was borne out.
There’s lots of Latin American fill in the Southwest corner. EVO Morales is the president of Bolivia, EVA PERON’s musicalized version sings “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina,’ and BELMOPAN is the capital of Belize (and has only a few thousand inhabitants). I always want that capital to be an insane Benelux-style mash-up for BELize, PANama, and…um…MOrocco. Hat of the region: a jaunty straw fez.
This 70-word puzzle has plenty of white space with a pair of 8-letter answers in the fill in each corner. Favorite non-theme answer: 1D: ME TIME, or [Personal period]. Today, I have no ME TIME because my son is home from school with a fever.