Stanley Newman’s New York Times crossword
- 16A. COLORADO SPRINGS is the [Home of the U.S. Air Force Academy]. The town was recently in the news for cutting standard city services rather than raising taxes.
- 27A. Buffy! I love Buffy. BUFFY SUMMERS is the name of the [Vampire slayer of film and TV]. I’ll bet all across the land, non-Buffy fans will pitch a fit because they don’t know her last name—but when the other theme entries end with SPRINGS, FALLS, and WINTERS, can there be any uncertainty?
- 45A. [City in 21-Across] means [City in Texas]. What is WICHITA FALLS doing in Texas? Why isn’t it a suburb of Wichita, Kansas? Totally relied on the crossings here.
- 60A. JONATHAN WINTERS is clued as the [Comedic inspiration for Robin Williams]. Am I the only one who’s had trouble distinguishing between Jonathan Winters and Dom Deluise?
Eight more clues:
- 1A. [Capitalized, as a noun] means PROPER.
- 7A. Is CASSAVA, the [Tapioca source], unexpected in a Monday crossword?
- 67A. RETASTE? Meh. When I [Take another sip of] something, I don’t say that I’m retasting it.
- 10D. “SUITS ME” suits me. It means ["I have no problem with that"].
- 12D. Did you know that VEGA was a [Bright northern star]? I kinda wanted Jim Carrey here.
- 26D. Does anyone named Amy not like the word AMIABLY? It means [In a cordial way].
- 42D. SHA NA NA was the ’50s throwback [Musical group with its own 1977-81 TV show]. I think they were riding on the Fonz’s coattails.
- 57D. B’WAY is a famous [Street through Times Sq.], but Chicago’s North Side has a street called Broadway too.
Patrick Jordan’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Character Study”—Janie’s review
We all have our theme-type preferences and faves. Not everyone is likely to [Be a fan of] ADMIRE every construction. Quip puzzles (and step-quotes…) definitely have their detractors. But (as I’ve said before…) I wouldn’t be one of them. Think of the “characters” on your keypad as you decipher the title, and work on the Downs if you need a nudge with filling in the three-part theme-fill, which responds to the main clue [Sign that you're addicted to texting...]:
- 20A. WHEN THE CHARGE
- 38A. ON YOUR CELL PHONE
- 60A. BILL HAS A COMMA.
Yep. That’d be a sure sign that it’s time to get yourself a new “favorite pastime.” I know how to text, but Luddite that I am, have approximately zero interest in texting as a primary means of communicating. Unless I’m placing a call, my cellphone is never on. And it doesn’t have a QWERTY keyboard. So, all in all, the expedience/advantage of texting is lost on me.
Over all, I found Patrick’s cluing to be a bit more challenging to crack than usual. This is a compliment. [Bundled off] for SENT, [Differently] for ELSE, [Work with] for USE, and others all had me scratching my head some.
As far as “mini-themes” go, I found a couple of ‘em. First, there’s a “menagerie” motif as suggested by:
- BREED [Dog show classification]
- BOAR [Sow wooer] (a “ha-ha” funny clue to say aloud, and even to see on the page)
- “ROAR!” [Lion's "Back off!"], which lies below both boar and the rhyming OAR…
- OXEN [Yoke-wearing pair]
- STIMPY [Ren's cartoon companion], a Manx cat; and
- RAMS, though today these “butters” are clued verbally as [Tries to batter].
Still, rams in its clued sense gives me the segue to the next “mini-,” which I call “Anger Management & Villains” (who need it…), which also includes:
- MAUL [Injure severely]
- ANGERED [Made mad] (first entered ENRAGED here…)
- SNEER [Scornful smile]
- DARTH [First name in sci-fi villainy]; and
- ALTER-EGO [Hyde, to Jekyll], as Hyde was someone you definitely didn’t wanna mess with.
Loved seeing CARTHAGE [Ancient African city] in the grid, ditto YEARBOOK [Alumnus's keepsake] and especially the lovely PROMENADE [Strolling site].
Fave cross makes reference to a pair of heroes (offsetting those villains): [GI Joe company] HASBRO and [Spider-Man creator Lee] STAN.
Nancy Kavanaugh’s Los Angeles Times crossword
- 17A. CHAMBERMAID is a [Hotel room cleaner]. What a horribly antiquated-sounding word. On the Disney cruise a year ago, the chambermaids were mostly men on our corridor.
- 31A. The HAMMERLOCK is an [Arm-twisting wrestling hold].
- 46A. The BARREL RACE is a [Rodeo event with obstacles].
- 62A. [Without prior inspection] clues SIGHT UNSEEN.
Favorite clues and answers:
- 4A. [Words of deliberation] are “LET’S SEE…”
- 24D. THE NHL is the [Stanley Cup org.].
- 13D. [Ten consecutive wins] would be an incredible STREAK at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. The record is Tyler Hinman’s five-peat.
- 37A. An [Electric car's lack] is a GAS TANK. Given that I don’t park my car near an outlet, that’s not an option for me. But I have my eye on the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Anyone have any experience with that car?
- Three plural abbreviations: GIS (11D: [Audience for 1-Across]) qualifies as a real word, not an abbreviation, but it’s tied to the abbreviation USO (1A: [Support gp. for the troops]) and appears opposite CMS (69A: [Divs. on some rulers]). There’s also 1D: UPCS/[Lines on mdse.] and ICUS (49D: [Closely monitored hosp. areas]).
- Non-plural abbrevs (NYU, ENE, SWM, CR) and word fragments (suffix -EST, prefix DYS-) abound, too.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Circling the Dates”
This puzzle’s a rerun from the music magazine Paste. The circled letters in the grid spell out the music festivals Lollapalooza, Coachella, and Bonnaroo…which would all be cooler as complete entries than broken into pieces as they are here.
Usually the Across Lite timer starts running as soon as I open a puzzle, and boom, I’m off to the races. If the timer doesn’t start itself, I typically don’t notice until I finish the puzzle and look to see how long it took me. Oh, well. No solving time today.
I can understand flat fill that intersects with the embedded festival names—see C-CLAMP, TO POT, ALLA, NOL—but the corners of the grid also had some clunkers. Too many, if you ask me. ATH atop LHO crossing VH-ONE, ERNES crossing TSETSE, D-TEN atop N-TEST in a corner with Italian NIENTE and German DER…meh to all, I say. And there are 44 black squares to boot.