Liz Gorski’s New York Times crossword
A smooth theme for the day that honors Martin Luther King, Jr.:
- 17a. MARTIN SHORT.
- 26a. LUTHER VANDROSS, clued with [His "Dance With My Father" won the 2003 Grammy for Song of the Year].
- 41a. [Traveling show of the 1970s and 2000s that originated in Cairo] clues KING TUT EXHIBIT. The exhibit in Times Square closes soon, so check it out if you’re a New Yorker. And if you’re in the Twin Cities, the exhibit’s coming to you in a month. It will give you a better understanding of the Egyptian mythology/history names that crop up in crosswords from time to time, plus it’s cool.
- 54a. DAYDREAMERS is here for the DAY part, but it creates a lovely echo of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
- 20a. BIRD FOOD is [Cheep eats?].
- 49a. EAR MUFFS! This [Winter headgear] is little in evidence this season in Chicago. Much more prevalent: The goofball bomber hat with giant earflaps. It seems to appeal to a broad range of demographic groups, who are judged not by the color of their skin but by their desire to have warm ears.
- 2d. The ACAI berry is such a welcome addition to the American vernacular, isn’t it? A four-letter word with three vowels that can make a corner of a crossword work?
- 4d. The clue is weird, but I like HOT DATES as fill. I think of the HOT DATE as the social engagement, though, and not remotely as the person you’re going out with. [Sexy movie companions, maybe] seems off-base to me.
- 6d. IN HD is [How many TV shows are now shown]. Anyone else watching NFL playoffs and the Golden Globes red carpet concurrently Sunday evening? Both look better in HD—though it’s warm in Hollywood and I want to dab all the stars’ sweaty, oily faces with astringent.
- 10d, 27d. Nice to have a pair of 10-letter answers in the fill—ANNO DOMINI and UNION CARDS.
- 37d. Love the word SUBSUMED.
If you’re off work or school tomorrow, do spare a few thoughts for what Martin Luther King worked for.
Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Remembering King”—Evad’s review
Happy MLK, Jr. Day! Constructor Lynn Lempel offers her tribute to the civil rights advocate with four (maybe five, but let’s not rush ahead of ourselves) theme entries in today’s CS puzzle:
- “Church where MLK, Jr. was copastor with his father” is EBENEZER BAPTIST. The only other Ebenezer I know is Dickens’ Scrooge. Today, the church is now part of a larger campus including a gym. Now this isn’t where BIshop Eddie Long worked out, was it?
- The city of BIRMINGHAM, Alabama is “where, in a letter from jail, King asserted a moral duty to disobey unjust laws.” The letter, also known as “The Negro is Your Brother” features these stirring words:
One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
- Another city in Alabama, MONTGOMERY is where King “ended his march from Selma.” The distance between the two is 50 miles along I-80; King’s led three separate marches from Selma, the final one taking 5 days to reach Montgomery.
- Finally we have the “Landmark where King proclaimed I have a dream,” which of course is the LINCOLN MEMORIAL. Somewhat off-topic, but a common belief among the Deaf Community in Washington, DC (where I lived for 11 years) is that sculptor Daniel Chester French, who also sculpted this work of Thomas Gallaudet, intentionally formed the letters A (a fist) and L (like the L for “loser” in Glee ads) from Abe’s hands on the arms of the throne.
As for that perhaps fifth theme entry, I wondered if the “Historically black university in Nashville” (FISK) was part of the theme or not. Interesting story here, how the a cappella group from Fisk, the Jubilee Singers, saved the school by raising money touring the country singing spirituals. Their rendition of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is now part of the Library of Congress’s US National Recording Registry. You can hear the 1909 recording here on YouTube.
Donna Levin’s Los Angeles Times crossword
I may be missing something in this TENNIS ELBOW theme (58a: [Lateral epicondylitis (and a possible injury hinted at by the ends of 17-, 24-, 37- and 47-Across)]). SURFS THE NET, DEBUTANTE BALL, ORDER IN THE COURT, and NUMBERS RACKET are all lively answers that end with tennis-related words, but where is the elbow connection? I had noticed the IS HOT/SHOT “elbow” where the SHOTS overlap, but I’m looking for places where NET and COURT get some elbow action and I’m not seeing it.
Tennis fans all know that the Australian Open has begun, right?
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “The Good Doctor”
The puzzle’s a double rerun, so I may have done it diagramlessly the second time around. I don’t at all remember it, though. The theme clues are [MARTIN], [LUTHER], [KING], and [JR.], but the answers are unrelated to MLK. This is one of those themes where the theme answers are the sort of phrases you would expect to see in the clues, not the grid. That theme variety didn’t make Brendan’s list of “ten bullshit themes” but if the list went to eleven, I would want to add it. Some people like ‘em, but I could do without. I mean, ESTATE INHERITOR is just ugly.
That said, hey, Brendan is certainly entitled to rerun puzzles on his donation-supported site. Life can intervene and make it hard to craft two brand-new, shiny crosswords a week, and many of the recycled puzzles are in the “new to you” category.
Also? I appreciate an excuse to do a super-short post since it’s almost noon and I have things to do too (life intervening, etc.). Enjoy the rest of your Monday, folks.