Barry Silk’s New York Times crossword
Omigod, really, Barry? TUZIGOOT? The [National monument near Flagstaff] (37d)? I had to play the alphabet game to get the Z (43a: [Word whose antonym is its own homophone] clues RAZE, which sounds like raise), and I couldn’t swear 64a was NOT NEW rather than, say, NON-NEW, what with TUZIGOOT being completely alien to me.
So 37d is my least favorite entry. Here are the brighter spots:
- 1a. [It may measure 16″ x 16″ x 2″] clues a PIZZA BOX. I tried PIE and PAN before the BOX asserted itself. Gotta love a fresh 1a that is wickedly clued. And yes, I recognize that a 2″ thick pizza would be excessive even by Chicago stuffed pizza standards.
- 9a. DOO-WOP is another fun answer. [It was sung in Rocky Balboa’s neighborhood], apparently.
- 16a. ALBINO gets a non-obvious clue for the non-philatelists among us: [Accidentally uninked embossed stamp].
- 20a. “SO SORRY!” ["My bad!"]
- 26a, 27a. The C CUP, a bra’s [Measure of support?], is attached to bra STRAPS.
- 34a, Why do I like JAVAN/[Like the rarest rhino]? I just do.
- 54a. DR. SEUSS gets this clue: [One of his aliases was Theo. LeSieg], an anagram of his real surname, Geisel.
- 65a. A TRASH CAN is a [Pitching target].
- 8d. Medical terminology! XEROSIS is the [Possible result of vitamin A deficiency].
- 12d. WIND CAVE is a [National park in South Dakota]. Went there on a family vacation when I was a kid.
- 26d. [The Plame affair, informally] clues CIAGATE.
- 42a. I like the EPEEIST clue for its misleading nature. [Jabber in a mask] puts me in mind of the verb jabber, not the roll-your-own noun meaning “one who jabs.”
- 59d. [Have the best time, say] means the best finishing time: WIN.
Duplicate Duplication Department: I don’t know what the word septic is doing in the 15a clue when it’s the answer to 46d. An ANAEROBE is a [Septic tank resident] while SEPTIC is clued as [Infected].
I’m seeing some applet times that suggest a lot of folks found this puzzle challenging. Was it mainly the TUZIGOOT thing?
Timothy Meaker’s Los Angeles Times crossword
- 5a. [Census bureau, essentially] is a DATA CENTER. Snooze.
- 16a. [Sight from Sydney Harbour] is the famed OPERA HOUSE.
- 18a. A WIND TUNNEL is an [Aerodynamics research tool]. Who doesn’t want to try out a wind tunnel?
- 22a. [Servers with wheels] are apparently TEA WAGONS. I’ve heard of tea carts. I like to think tea wagons are red and bear the Radio Flyer brand.
- 31a. [Pub employees] clues BARMAIDS. This word has outlived its usefulness, no?
- 41a. [Hands and feet] is a tricky clue for MEASURES, meaning units of measure. A foot is 12 inches and a hand is one third of that.
- 46a. [White Sands and others] are nuclear TEST SITES. Three Ss, three Ts, two Es, an I.
- 53a. SCHOOLMARM! She’s an [Old-time educator]. Also a term that’s past its useful life.
- 59a. [Where to find waiters] uses “waiters” to mean “people who wait around” at a TRAIN DEPOT rather than “people who wait tables.”
- 4d. [Spar part] clues YARDARM. Yay, nauticality.
- 7d. TENSORS are [Stretching muscles].
- 11d. [Judgment for insufficient evidence] is something I’ve never heard of: NONSUIT.
- 20d. [Oath taker] is a boring clue for the roll-your-own word SWEARER. Wouldn’t it be more fun to go with [One who says "%#*!"]?
- 29d. [Nursery purchase] isn’t something for the baby’s room but something from the place that sells plants: TOPSOIL. Take some topsoil measures at your yardarm nonsuit test sites, why don’t you.
- 40d. [Elvis sighting, e.g.] does not comport at all with my understanding of what a FACTOID is.
- 41d. [Accidents] are MISHAPS.
Lots of people in today’s puzzle, too:
- 15a. [Artist Bonheur] is named ROSA. I have a ton of respect for those few women who managed to persevere in predominantly male fields long ago.
- 17a. [Harpsichordist Kipnis] is named IGOR. Whoa. I have not been following the harpsichordism field.
- 44a. John MILTON is the [“Samson Agonistes” dramatist].
- 49a. [Actress Van Devere] is named TRISH. This is one of those names I know mainly from puzzles.
- 2d. Thesaurus maestro ROGET is the [Subject of Joshua Kendall’s “The Man Who Made Lists”].
- 9d. [“Gremlins” actress] is Phoebe CATES. Who was the guy opposite her? Zach somebody? I’ve forgotten his name.
- 10d. [Former Israeli prime minister Olmert] is one of two Israeli government EHUDs. The other is Ehud Barak.
- 44d. [“Animal magnetism” coiner] is MESMER.
- 48d. [Man of letters?] is game show host Pat SAJAK.
- 55d. Then there’s HAL [Holbrook of “Evening Shade”].
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Cluck of the Draw”—Janie’s review
Oh, man, we’re closin’ out the CS week here with what can only be described as some seriously fowl (word)play. So you know I’m smilin’. Randy’s three theme phrases all take the form “___ of the ___.” While the first blank is filled with a word representing one of our fine feathered friends, the phrases themselves use the terms only in the figurative sense. The fill is very fresh (all appear to be CS firsts) and is further distinguished by representing the male of the species, the female of the species and their offspring, which gives us:
- 20A. COCK OF THE WALK [Leader with an attitude]. This’d be your serious alpha type (though not your ALFA type, which is a [Soviet submarine class]…).
- 37A. CHICKEN OF THE SEA [Product with a mermaid in its logo]. Nice how that TUNA [37-Across product] sits right below it, too.
- 48A. HEN OF THE WOODS [Edible mushroom]. This one was completely new to me, but take a look at these beauties. At forty to fifty pounds in some cases, these are amazing specimens!
Bonus fill comes by way of the real thing: [Eats like a sparrow] for PECKS.
You’ll find more traditional word play in some of Randy’s clues, like the alliterative [Bevy of bug-eyed believers] for CULT or the wonderful, non-aviation-based [Choose the window instead of the aisle?] for ELOPE. [Ready to serve] has nothing to do with meal prep but instead refers to one’s status with the military, so that’s ONE-A.
I also love the attitude in the clue for PASSÉ, [So last year]. [“There!”] is another clue with a point of view, yielding the lively “TAKE THAT!” Clue/fill combos like these animate the puzzle and add to the pleasure of solving.
Did you know that JELL-O is the [Dessert with a museum in Le Roy, New York]? Holy moly. That was new (and news…) to me, too, but it’s true. What makes me laugh is that this place is described as “the only Jell-O museum in the world…” Does the world need another Jell-O museum?! (Though, of course, I do love the mention of the Jell-O Brick Road…)
HOT TODDY and WEAK LINK make for terrific longer fill, and now I know you’re gonna tell me to “RELAX!” but I do have to point out two items that raised a flag for me today. One is the clue [British biscuit] for SCONE. This clue only works for me by adding “equivalent of an American” between the two words of the clue, and I don’t think that should be the solver’s job. I always thought a “British biscuit” was a cookie or cracker, no?
The other sticky wicket is the reappearance of ETOUFFÉE, clued today as [Crayfish dish]. We saw this juicy word two days ago clued as [Crawfish dish]. I’ve been really good about backing off of citing repeat fill (which tends to be of the 3- and 4-letter variety), but the same 8-letter word twice in the same week? That feels like a NO-NO to me. And a one letter difference in the clue? Sorry, but that has the appearance of an OWIE.
Stanley Newman’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
It’s a tough puzzle, ultimately fair (because I was able to finish it without mistakes) but not exactly fun.
Let’s walk through the clue list:
- 7a. [Funshine or Grumpy, to tots] clues CARE BEAR. Care Bears fell into the timeline after my childhood and before my son’s arrival, and then I think a new generation of Care Bears hit the market after my son passed the age of interest.
- 15a. ANGORA is a [Fabric named for a world capital]. Which world capital? Angora, of course. Never knew the historic name of Ankara, Turkey, was Angora.
- 19a. [Source of sound advice] clues an ACOUSTICIAN, which is a job I’ve never heard of.
- 22a. [What doctors call “eructation”] is a BURP. A gimme! My first answer in the grid.
- 23a. [“The Morning Show Murders” author] is weatherman Al ROKER.
- 24a. Worst clue/answer combo in the puzzle. [Class-conscious ones] are PTAS? Since when are PTAs considered “ones”? The individual people in a PTA could be “ones” but the plural-groups answer gets in the way of interpreting “ones” as individual people. But look at 40d: [One, with “a”] clues PERSON, lending credence to my critique.
- 28a, 46d. Two award winners: [Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient of 1984] is Anwar SADAT and [1986 Nobel Prize name] is ELIE Wiesel.
- 43a. To [Husband] your resources is to SAVE them.
- 47a. [Bistro or café], either one is a LOAN WORD from another language.
- 51a. [Literally, “way of adapting the spirit”] clues AIKIDO. My first guess, with the O in place, was SHINTO.
- 4d. [On the ground] clues NOT UP. I’m not up on this answer.
- 7d. [Hook-shaped architectural ornament] is a CROCKET. Never heard of it, but I’d like to put one above the tub.
- 8d. [They put the “high” in hideaways] is an odd clue for AERIES.
- 12d. Have you ever used the word EXACTION? It means [Wresting].
- 24d. [Playful, in a way] clues PUNNY. If you went with FUNNY, that left you with FTAS for the class-conscious ones.
- 27d. [Restraining order] clues the spoken command, “QUIET!”
- 28d. [Bin’s big brothers] are SILOS. What, they’re big brothers and not big sisters? Is that because they’re phallic-shaped? I condemn this phallocratic clue.
- 29d. A SPORTS FAN is a satellite [Dish buyer, quite possibly].
- 32d. [Protein sources] clues RED MEATS. Not a fan of that plural. “Red meat,” no S, includes multiple types of red meat, does it not?
- 37d. [Exploit anxiety, perhaps] would be a cool clue for STAGE FRIGHT, but that would be a different puzzle. Here it’s the verb COERCE.
- 38d. A PATOIS is a subject of [Linguistic study].
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s Wall Street Journal Saturday Puzzle, the variety cryptic “Board Meeting”
I paid no mind to the “seven members of a certain board” around the grid’s border until the end. My initial suspicion was that they’d be the six Clue characters plus Mr. Boddy, but it turned out that the “board members” are Monopoly avenues written in places roughly corresponding to their locations on the Monopoly board (VENTNOR bends around the corner to join PACIFIC in the final side, as neither Boardwalk nor Park Place is an avenue).
With enough of the cryptic answers filled in, the words around the border had some very suggestive patterns. NE*YORKK*NT*CK*? New York, Kentucky, no problem. Filling in the numbered squares revealed that the theme is MONOPOLY AVENUES rather than the states I was seeing first.
Here’s how I interpreted the cryptic clues:
- a1. C(R)OS + S (center of SALESROOM)
- a2. FAUX PAS sounds like foe pa
- b1. IMPALED (anag. of LIP MADE)
- b2. JE(S)T
- c. ACTED (anag. of CADET)
- d1. I.D. + 1 + OT (backwards TO)
- d2. (tire)D + LATE anag. into DEALT
- e1. C(AR)RIER
- e2. RUSTLE (anag. of RUSTLE)
- f. TO + PONY + M
- g1. P(R)ESTO
- g2. LINE(ME)N
- h1. ROLLS sounds like roles
- h2. PLUM + E
- i. SHO(A)T
- j1. KNAVE – K = NAVE
- j2. WALL + A + BY
- k1. TR(I.V.)IAL
- k2. bigwIG LOOks
- l1. ARMAD (anag. of DRAMA) + AS
- l2. “OH!” + ARE
- m1. LOP + E
- m2. TEL AVIV (anag. of A LIVE TV)
- n. PORTS (double definition)
- o1. IS + LET
- o2. SHEIK sounds like chic
- p1. CLEAVE (double definition)
- p2. POTOMAC (anag. of CAMP TOO)
- q. COROLLA (anag. of COLOR AL)
- r1. E (bit of “excitement) + ASTERN
- r2. INTACT sounds like inn + tacked
- s1. RU(L)ED
- s2. PAL + IN
- t. SMELT (double definition)
- u1. O(P.E.)RATE
- u2. BALK (odd letters in BeAr LaKe)
- v1. NASA + L
- v2. GEMS + B(O)K