David Kahn’s New York Times crossword
Kahn being Kahn, this theme is structured more rigidly than need be: each of the six anagrams of “metaphor” intersects the long MIXED METAPHOR at 14D, making a trellis of theme entries. Despite those answers being pretty well glued into place (they could be shuffled a bit), there’s plenty of other long fill around the theme—two 10s, two 9s, four 8s, and four 7s. Here’s the theme:
- 14A. [*One who dislikes unruly hair?] might be a MOP HATER.
- 21A. The OTHER MAP is an [*Alternative way to get directions?].
- 34A. [*Better, in hip-hop slang?] might be MORE PHAT.
- 38A. The [*Kitchen or living room?] is a HOME PART.
- 45A. [*Via Veneto?], a famous street in Rome, clues ROME PATH.
- 61A. To TOP MAHER is to [*Be funnier than comedian Bill?].
- 24D. MIXED METAPHOR is the [Answer to each of the six starred clues, literally].
I like the mixed “metaphor” anagram concept better than the execution, as the theme answers are such oddball phrases.
Highlights from beyond the theme zone:
- 16A. The DIME STORE is a [Bygone emporium]. Woolworth’s and Kresge’s, I kinda miss you and your wee lunch counters. The dollar store just isn’t the same.
- 18A. [Housewares brand] clues OXO. Hell, yeah! The kid and I were peeling potatoes last weekend, with one Oxo peeler and one lousy peeler. Now that there’s another person in the house willing to go on KP duty, I realized two Oxo peelers were needed…so now I own three.
- 35A. [Spanish waves] are OLAS. Spanish waves ‘hello,” mind you, are HOLAS.
- 36A/36D. [Church perch] is PEW, while [Devotional bench] is PRIE-DIEU.
- 41A. [Like XX vis-a-vis X, sizewise] clues LARGER. No, this isn’t about anything rated XXX.
- 47A. Who is this ASP who’s a [Villainous member of the Serpent Society, in Marvel Comics]? Is he different from The Asp in “Little Orphan Annie”? (See also 6D: “TOMORROW,” [Song sung by an orphan].)
- 56A. Ehhh…do not like this answer. [Football's Adam Vinatieri, e.g.] is an EX-PATRIOT. I know we’ve seen things like EX-YANKEE before, but this just sits there in the grid looking like a woeful mangling of “expatriate.”
- 63A. I confess I did not know “INTO YOU,” the [2003 hip-hop hit by Fabolous] (sic).
- 2D. DANES make up [The majority of Jutlanders]. Who doesn’t love a little geography?
- 23D. [Chip, maybe] clues the verb MAR. Dang, I was in the mood for a crunchy snack.
- 29D. [Masked men with blades] sounds scary, but they’re merely NHL GOALIES. Is that a great entry or an awkward one, people?
- 51D. What the…? Who?? EXON is the [Nebraska senator succeeded by Hagel].
Dan Naddor’s Los Angeles Times crossword
- 18A: [*Place to keep supplies] (STOREROOM). Room service takes us to…
- 20A: [*Target at the start of a point, in tennis] (SERVICE COURT). Court case segues to…
- 30A: [*Patient record] (CASE HISTORY). The History Channel makes the transition to…
- 43A: [*Jump around on the sofa?] CHANNEL SURF). Surfboard takes us to the next entry, which starts with BOARDING rather than BOARD.
- 52A: [*Flying need] (BOARDING PASS). Say the password and move along to…
- 25A: [*The answers to the starred clues (including this one) form a continuous one—its connections are created by the end of one answer and the start of the next] (WORD CHAIN). Chain store delivers us back to the beginning of the unbroken chain.
Other fill and clues from beyond the word chain:
- 23A: [Start of a basic piano lesson scale (CDE). This is the sort of answer I have to get by way of the crossings. Music and I, we do not go way back.
- 33A: [Ore-ida morsel] (TATER TOT). My kid loves tater tots. Meh. I prefer sweet potato fries with sea salt.
- 39A: [Old way to get a number] (DIAL “O”). That should really be a zero and not the letter O, but crosswords do that sometimes, use an O in place of 0.
- 60A: [Order-restoring tool] (GAVEL). Glad it wasn’t TASER. “Order in the court!”
- 5D: [So-so] (MEDIOCRE). Imagine if this were a woefully mediocre puzzle. Then it would just be sad to see this word here. Luckily, the theme is cool.
- 6D: [Available and fresh] (IN SEASON). Not much is in season in the Midwest right now.
- 9D: ["___ the beef?"] (WHERE’S). Help me remember: Did anyone say “Where’s the beef?” in a non-literal sense before the Wendy’s commercials with Clara Peller in the ’80s? I think that ad introduced the phrase into our lexicon.
- 11D: ["Is that ___?"] (A NO). This is Spanglish for “Is that anus?” As you may know, año is Spanish for “year,” but without the tilde over the n, common crossword answer ANO means…”anus.” To avoid the wrath of those who know Spanish, it’s good to go with the two-word partial A NO or AN O (“I’d like to buy ___, Pat”) sometimes.
- 29D: [Jazz fan?] (UTAHAN). The Utah Jazz are an NBA team in Salt Lake City. Note that the name for a person from Utah can be either UTAHAN or the weird-looking UTAHN.
Peter Gordon’s Fireball crossword #9, “Themeless 7″
- Fancy math: 17A is PASCAL’S TRIANGLE. [It has ones on two sides].
- 43A. To [Cover] a topic is to GO INTO it.
- 56A. LE ROUGE ET LE NOIR was looking crazy as it came together in the grid. I pondered whether the [Stendhal novel subtitled "Chronique du XIXe Siecle"] contained the word GEETLE.
- 61A. [Gut course?] clues DESSERT, but I don’t know why “gut” is in the clue. I really, really wanted the answer to be GI TRACT.
- 5D. The dreaded SPAMBOT is a [Program that might get tripped up by a captcha]. Spambots like to leave comments and posts on blogs and discussion boards.
- 6D. [Blokus pieces] are clear green, blue, red, or yellow TILES. Cool game. Highly recommended by game experts and me.
- 7D. Quasimodo would be a great entry. Here, it’s used in a clue for EASTER: [Quasimodo is a week after it]. The best part of Quasimodo? The Quasimodo Bunny, of course.
- 8D. I loved The World According to GARP back in the ’80s. Did not recall the part in this clue: [Fictional character whose biography was titled "Lunacy and Sorrow"].
- 9D. [Forest part] clues IDI because Forest Whitaker played Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland.
- 11D. It’s about Vogue magazine, then? ANNA WINTOUR is the [Subject of "The September Issue"].
- 48A. In Parliament’s House of Lords, LORDS are [House parties].
Tony Orbach’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Yucky Feeling Inside”—Janie’s review
The three-letter word that says, “That’s gross” or “That’s yucky” connects the main words of today’s long theme phrases. There are four of them: two 15s and two 14s. Oh, yes–and the word in question? “Ick,” making its appearance this way:
- 17A. PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE [Information available to everyone]. Thanks to the internet, there seems to be more of it than ever–or certainly easier access to it. This creeps me out sometimes.
- 28A. NUMERIC KEYPADS [Features of ATMS]. A [Small key] on the other hand, is an ISLET (crossing that “E” in numeric).
- 49A. PLATONIC KISSES [Passionless pecks]. Well, I guess they can’t all be scorchers. Regardless, hope they don’t invoke the “Ick” response…
- 63A. THE MAGIC KINGDOM [Disneyland place]. As a child in the ’50s, this was my idea of the best possible place in the world to visit. Living on the east coast, however, my folks made it clear it was not to become a family vacation destination. I lived. Caught up with Disney World as as an adult. Um. Once was enuf… (Epcot, on the other hand surprised me–in a good way!)
In addition to those Ks (allowing, for example, for ANORAK [Arctic jacket]), this puzzle is rich with lotso scrabbly Xs and ZEDS, clued crytpic-style today as [Parts of a blizzard in London?]. We find the former most notably in SIX-GUN [Revolver] (which probably won’t be carried by a COWHAND [Ranch worker]), and also at the juncture of APEX [High point] and XENA [Lucy Lawless role] (low point? Never watched. Mustn’t judge). The latter appears in the symmetrically place OOZED [Exuded] and BOZOS [Dolt].
Nice to see ADELE clued as [Vaudeville dancer Astaire]. She was Fred’s older sister, and their vaudeville and Broadway careers (in which she was the draw) helped pave the way for Fred’s Hollywood career. Other folks who get shout-outs today include BILL NYE [TV's "Science Guy"], astronomer (a “science guy” of a different sort) CARL [Sagan of "Cosmos"]; ["To Be Young, Gifted and Black" singer Simone] NINA (and what a voice of her time she was); and in his own way, ditto DEE DEE [One of the Ramones], I suppose. Love the look of LI’L KIM in the grid, too.
If you didn’t get your fill of FLAN last week, there’s more today of the [Custardy dessert of Spain]. Better to mention the playful cluing of the alliterative [Bacchanalian blowout] for ORGY and (double-whammy) [Palindromic Preminger] for OTTO. Also enjoyed the makes-ya-think-twice [It's shaken on the bandstand] for MARACA, and the “Thanks-but-I’m-watching-my-weight” pair of COKE [___ Zero (diet soda)] and [Lo-___] CAL.
Ben Tausig’s Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword
- 17A. OSCAR DISH is clued as [26-, 40-, or 52-Across...or gossip about March 7th, 2010]. Each OSCAR DISH that follows is a movie title expanded into a dish of food, clued with relation to both the movie and food.
- 26A. [Blue fruit pies?] are AVATARTS. Avatar with its blue beings, plus tarts.
- 40A. [Meat that everyone thinks is rotten but then it turns out to be some of the best barbecue ever?] clues BLIND SIDE OF BEEF. The movie The Blind Side partners with a side of beef. The Michael Oher character, like the stealthy barbecue of the clue, realizes his true potential.
- 52A/66A. [Stuffed shells that were epically difficult to prepare?] clues A SERIOUS MANICOTTI, combining A Serious Man and manicotti. I don’t know much about the movie…checking Wikipedia…okay, this is the Coen Brothers film about a guy in Job-like circumstances, hence the “epically difficult” part of the clue.
Mystery name of the week: 50A: [Israeli modern artist Yaacov] AGAM. Moving back to Wikipedia, I learn that Agam specialized in optical and kinetic art. Cool stuff.
Freshest fill: 5D: BADASSES is clued as [Clint Eastwood and Mr. T., e.g.]. Yep, they qualify.