Elizabeth Gorski’s New York Times crossword
Theme: Five phrases have OOO (32d) initials, all with “of” in the middle:
- 14a. Yay! A past-tense clue for OIL OF OLAY—["Love the skin you're in" sloganeer, once]. The company switched to just plain Olay to avoid scaring off oleophobes.
- 19a. Never heard of the ORDER OF OMEGA. [Undergrads' Greek leadership society]? If you say so.
- 35a. Don’t think I’ve heard Warren Buffett (too many double letters—I just typed his name as Warrenn Buffeett) called the ORACLE OF OMAHA, but I bet that’s a lot more familiar among NYT readers than ORDER OF OMEGA.
- 54a. OATH OF OFFICE, totally familiar.
- 60a. MY ANTONIA fits the blank if you haven’t figured out that you need an OOO phrase here. Never heard of the Cather novel ONE OF OURS, despite its Pulitzer status. (English majors, represent!)
One old-school crosswordese creature appears today—ORIEL, the [Bay window]. O-word action also includes OLIOS, OBOE, OLAV, OPERA, ODESSA, and the [Vermont ski resort] OKEMO. I cried foul when OKEMO appeared in an airline magazine puzzle some years back, but you know what? I’ve seen it a few times since and I knew it each time.
Most questionably crossword-worthy phrase: 5d, IN ARABIC.
Musician Liz Gorski spotlighted some of her fellow women in music: MARNI is [Soprano Nixon] but I don’t know the name. There’s also ALICIA [Keys of music] and I FALL ["__ to Pieces" (Patsy Cline hit)].
Donna Levin’s Los Angeles Times crossword
Today’s theme is paunches and they begin each theme entry:
- 17a. [Abdominoplasty, familiarly] is a TUMMY TUCK.
- 23a. [Pepto-Bismol target] is a STOMACHACHE.
- 36a. If you’re [Bourgeois], you’re probably MIDDLE CLASS.
- 49a. Eww, gross. BELLY BUTTON is clued as a [Lint receptacle?].
- 59a. [Easy A (or where to learn about this puzzle's theme?)] clues GUT COURSE.
Now, the paunches are sometimes used as abdomens here and sometimes not. I paid no mind to that discrepancy while solving.
Highlights in the fill include GOULASH, SANSKRIT, HOMEROOM, AD-LIBS, and MALICE crossing SPLEEN (which I wanted to be CHOLER).
Favorite clues, all so much more interesting than the usual clues:
- 56a. [Enjoys surreptitiously, as a smoke] clues SNEAKS.
- 63a. AZUL, or blue, is the [Fifth color of el espectro]. Is it rojo, naranja, amarillo, verde, azul?
- 5d. [Hawaii's "main islands," e.g.] make up an OCTET.
Brendan Quigley’s Onion A.V. Club crossword
All right, this is a pretty smooth puzzle. Six theme answers are MULES (17a) transporting DRUGS (66a) in the circled squares:
- 18. MUSIC RACK has got CRACK.
- 24a. An ANTIHEROINE has HEROIN.
- 34a. Glam-era David Bowie sported a FEATHER BOA, with HERB in it. (See also 3d: [Got going again, as a joint] = RELIT. Nice save, Brendan—giving a blah word a druggy clue to echo the druggy theme works.)
- 44a. OXY is short for Oxycontin/oxycodone, and it’s in SOX-YANKEES.
- 53a. METH lurks in the verb phrase CAME THROUGH.
- 64a. The GIRLS’ DORM is where you’ll find LSD.
Answers I liked include BOX SCORES, TRAVEL BUG, MISCHA meets INOUYE while in the opposite corner ARTURO meets FREDDY, double Deutsch STURM und SIE, and tasty CREPES.
Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Change for a Dollar” – Sam Donaldson’s review
The other night I had a dream that I was on Jeopardy! That’s an interesting dream subject, seeing as I have only tried out for the show twice through the online test (regular readers won’t be surprised to know I crashed and burned both times). In the dream I was having a Cliff Claven-like game with categories right up my alley, like “Taxation,” “1970s TV,” and “Mad Men.” I woke up when I hit a Daily Double. I don’t remember anything specific from the game, but I remember thinking along the lines of “I didn’t know Alex Trebek had a goatee in real life. Horns and forked tongue, sure. But not a goatee.”
I have no idea what the dream means, but I’m sharing it so you can understand why today’s post takes the form of a short Jeopardy! game. I’ll take “Two-Word Entries That Start With Synonyms for a United States Dollar Bill” for $200, Alex. The answer is:
- 17-Across: It’s [Where the Cougars play]. What is WASHINGTON STATE? Correct. Probably a gimme for a former Beaver who now works for the Huskies. Thanks, Alex. Let’s go with “Sci-Fi Zodiac” for $600.
- 32-Across: He’s the [Sci-fi hero played by Buster Crabbe]. Who is BUCK ROGERS? Yes. Whew! For a second I thought about “Flash Gordon.” Just pick a category and a dollar amount. Sorry, Alex. I’ll take “Cleaning Up Kanye” for $800.
- 48-Across: I ain’t saying she’s a gold-digger, but she ain’t messing with no broke … this, a [Quahog seeker]. What is a CLAM DIGGER? That’s right. You seem like a Kanye fan. Well, no disrespect, Kanye, but everyone knows Taylor Swift had the best video this year. (crickets chirping) There’s, um, less than a minute to go. Okay, then, how about “Nouns in the City” for $1,000.
- 63-Across: This [Dwelling classification] is unmarried and looking for a partner. What is SINGLE OCCUPANCY? Yes. We’ll be back after this.
And we’re back. It’s time to meet out contestants. Sam, it says here you’re a fan of the long Downs in this puzzle. That’s right, Alex. It has this edgy, masculine feel with TOMMY GUN, the BIG HOUSE, and TIETACKS, but then there’s ESTROGEN and the gender-neutral NEW DEAL, GO SOLO, and SPLOTCH. That’s a nice array of interesting terms.
But they say that clues make the crossword. Were there some nice clues in this puzzle? Absolutely. I’ve been hammering Venzke lately for some flat clues, so I must extend kudos when the clues are improved. I liked [Butterfinger's cry] for OOPS, [Heir-splitting papers?] for WILLS, and [Master of the double take?] for NOAH. And [Org. whose members often strike] is a fun clue for the PBA, the Professional Bowlers Association.
Okay, back to the game. Sam, you trail by a considerable amount. Not that it will help, but you pick first this round. I’ll take “Fill I Didn’t Especially Like Because I Got Stuck” for $400.
- This [Knife of old] is a few Z’s shy of eliciting a blessing. What is a SNEE? Yes. Pick again. Let’s stay with the same category for $800.
- This [Geo model] is a cheap way of adding a Z into the grid when an S would have been just fine. What is PRIZM? Correct. Still your turn, Sam. Stinky Vexing Fill for $1,200.
- This is an uncommon term for [Quench, as thirst]. They say no two are alike. What is SLAKE? You’re on a roll. Just like butter! Let’s stay with Grody Hard Stuff for $1,600.
- This means [Hopscotch]. If you don’t like it, the Fonz says you can sit on it! What is POTSY? Correct. No, I mean, “what the heck is POTSY?” I’ve never heard of it. No time for that now–just pick again. Okay, let’s close out the category for $2,000.
- It’s a [Barn door fastener]. What is a HASP? Well done!
Nice run through the category, Sam. Alas, you’re still behind and I’m afraid you finished the game below $0, so you won’t be playing Final Jeopardy! But we hope you enjoy the lifetime supply of fish food. Thanks, Alex. That was fun.