I’ve been trying to get a jump on the blogging each evening, writing up as many puzzles as I can before bedtime. Dang! Tonight, I spent two hours watching Wipeout and cackling with my kid and better half. My brain has, I believe, shut down for the night.
Oh, who am I kidding? The brain left this afternoon when I purchased a graduation card that plays Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration”…loud. (In my defense, the song is awesome and the recipient’s getting a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, so there’s logic to the card choice.)
Adam Cohen’s New York Times crossword
- 20A. LIGHTNING ROD is clued as a [Metaphorical target of attacks].
- 35A. CAPTAIN HOOK in Peter Pan is the [Captor of Wendy Darling].
- 42A. The old show WHAT’S MY LINE is the [Game show originally titled "Occupation Unknown"].
- 56A. The VIRGINIA REEL is a non-square square [Dance with fiddlers and a caller]. Gah! Flashbacks to grade school gym class.
Most of the theme clues really aren’t so Monday-obvious. But once you have a ROD and a HOOK, you’re left looking for other fishing gear. I feel like we’ve seen a couple themes that use HOOK, LINE, and SINKER, but that can’t be, can it? SINKER doesn’t lend itself to that. Too bad the ROD and REEL don’t appear together, and the HOOK and LINE—those logical pairings would ramp up the thematic elegance.
And now, six clues:
- Who says “CEASE!” (54D) when they mean ["Give it a rest!"]?
- 16A. [Holder in the Obama cabinet] clues ERIC. [Holder in a cabinet] would be good ‘n’ confusing, wouldn’t it? Not fair game for a Wednesday, though.
- 62A. A DIGIT is [One of 101 in a googol]. It’s 1 plus 100 zeros.
- 37D. Weird plural ALIMONIES gets clued misleadingly as [Severance package payments], as if the employer who lays you off pays you alimony.
- 6D. [Compensation during a work stoppage] is STRIKE PAY.
- 34D. [What a shut-out team may lack] is GOALS. This doesn’t work for baseball, tennis, or football. But it’s good for hockey. (Go, Blackhawks!)
Jack McInturff’s Los Angeles Times crossword
Four theme entries begin with words that can be followed by “top.” Ergo, the grand unifying answer is THE FOUR TOPS (62a. ["I Can't Help Myself" singers (1965), and hint to puzzle theme found in beginnings of answers to starred clues]). Yeah, that works.
- 17A: [*Hooch from the hinterlands] is MOUNTAIN DEW. I had no idea the soda pop was named after moonshine. (Mountain top.)
- 29A: [*Spears or Twain] is a POP SINGER. With P*PSI in place, I was thisclose to going for PEPSI-something here. (Pop top.)
- 39A: [*Steve Forbes proposed a 17% one] clues a FLAT TAX. (Flattop.)
- 48A: [*Place to get tickets] is the BOX OFFICE. (Box top. You know what? This morning, I opened a new box of Frosted Flakes, and the damn bag ripped downwards instead of where it’s glued at the top. Luckily, I had duct tape handy.)
And now, eight clues:
- 20A: [Sends again, as a package] clues RESHIPS. I would think this answer stinks, but a few months ago, I actually had to reship a FedEx package when the first round of shipping didn’t take. (I forgot to include the account number. And it took FedEx a week to get the overnight package back to me! They had my address, they have trucks. I don’t see what the hold-up was.) It looks like a bogus word, but it does have its applications, sadly.
- 26A: [Like a case before the court] clues AT BAR. Alternate clue: [Where caveman order martini].
- 46A: [Hid, cardsharp-style] is the clue for PALMED. Yes, “cardsharp” is correct. My dictionary lists a couple “also” spellings: “cardsharper” and “card shark.” Really, you can’t go wrong here.
- Up, up, and away! 67A: [Exalt] means LIFT UP and 6D: [Err] means SLIP UP.
- 28D: [Where the 2009 World Series was won] is the BRONX. I, for one, pay next to no attention to who wins which year’s World Series. These clues remind me of the pope-or-Roman-emperor answers clued by year.
- 49D: [In fine __: fit] FETTLE pleases me. There’s something about FETTLE.
- 54D: [Knucklehead] clues STUPE, short for “stupid.”
Matt Gaffney’s Onion A.V. Club crossword
Matt reinterprets the business-meeting lingo “low-hanging fruit” as actual fruits hanging low—the two theme entries instruct you to FIND SIX PIECES OF / LOW-HANGING FRUIT, and we have PLUM, ORANGE, KIWI, MANGO, STRAWBERRY, and LIME anchored to the bottom of the grid. The sextet are clued inedibly: Professor Plum, Orange County, New Zealand’s Kiwis, Chris Kattan’s “Mango” character, Darryl Strawberry, and the color lime green. I kinda wish LIME had been clued as [The Third Man character Harry] so all six fruits would be capitalized.
Hey! What’s an Onion puzzle doing being easier than the Wednesday NYT and LAT crosswords? I’m confused.
Freshest fill: BANKSTER, or [Portmanteau for a J.P. Morgan boss, e.g.]. That’s banker and gangster in a mash-up.
Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Crossword for Carnivores”—Evad’s review
- “Carnivore’s comment about what to eat during bad weather?” is ANY PORK IN A STORM – “port” becomes “pork.” Hopefully the electricity is on during this storm, or that pork wouldn’t be fit to eat.
- “Carnivore’s favorite game show?” is VEAL OF FORTUNE – wheel becomes veal. (As an aside, I believe Dracula would pronounce the word wheel like this.) Our local Whole Foods sells veal for practically a fortune; wish it had been clued that way.
- Ah, the STAKE RACES debate rages on; here, we have “What are served to carnivores at a Triple Crown race?” or BELMONT STEAKS.
- And finally, “What carnivores like to do after a hard day at the office?” or COME HOME TO ROAST – roost becomes roast. Sounds more like what a family comes home to when their A/C is out.
A somewhat uneven theme for me: two are types of meats and two are cuts of meat (or fish, as in salmon steaks). I assume HAIL TO THE BEEF (“How a carnivore says grace?”) was left on the editing room floor? (Probably with good reason!)
Let’s see what were the side courses of this meat-filled meal (apologies in advance to our blog hostess who eschews meat in general):
- For “Like the moon,” I tried CRESCENT before CRATERED. Did anyone else fall in this trap?
- Enjoyed the clue “Pen pals?” for FELONS. Many puzzles use slang terms for prison as theme fodder–stir, pen, slammer, can, pokey, clink, etc. show up in various permutations.
- PHOTO OPS (“PR events”) looks pretty funny mushed together, doesn’t it? If there were something called a PHOT, this is what we would say when it spilled something. (That is assuming it also had an opposable thumb to grasp something that could spill.)
That’s probably enough silliness from me today. Janie returns tomorrow and will finish off the week.