Caleb Madison’s New York Times crossword
Well! My laptop, its keyboard, and the cottage wi-fi are scheming against me, such that I type something in and then…I wait to see it appear on screen. Or when I use the arrow keys, again there is no instant gratification. It makes online solving a hoot, let me tell you. So this will be a quick post.
- Every long answer save one. Plural ANNOYANCES is weird (though my laptop and Wisconsin insects are both annoyances, ’tis true), but the SEX PISTOLS getting down to BRASS TACKS is…DRUM ROLL, PLEASE…really nice. Michael Sharp/Rex Parker is a big fan of THE LONG GOODBYE and its neighbor “UGH.” And how about that tricksy clue for APOSTROPHE? You thought you were being quizzed on Arabic language, didn’t you?
- The double-Polo action, an IZOD shirt and BRUT cologne that compete with Ralph Lauren Polo apparel and fragrances.
- OPPUGN is one fine-lookin’ word, is it not?
- This fling-flangin’ Internet connection right now, I tell you.
- Lots of lackluster short stuff. Your SQ MI and ESSE, ESCE ELKE LIANG ANNI ERNS.
Overall assessment? Let’s say…3.75 stars.
Doug Peterson’s Los Angeles Times Crossword – Jeffrey’s Review
It seems like we can’t go more than a week before another Doug Peterson puzzle shows up in Crosswordland. And that’s a good thing. 70 words, none yucky.
None. Pay attention. There’ll be a quiz at the end.
Thumbs up for accountant references, but some may call this an oopsy:
33A. [Treasure State motto word] – ORO
13D. [Balancing pros] – TREASURERS
And lots more stuff:
1A. [It may be picked] – BASS GUITAR.
15A. [Sly role, as a rule] – ACTION HERO. Sly as in Sylvester the Cat. Stray Cats.
17A. [One who might steal kisses] – CHOCOHOLIC.
21A. [Big name in test preparation] – KAPLAN. He never seemed to help the Sweat Hogs. John Sebastian.
23A. [Certain surfer's power source] – KITE. Beatles.
28A. [Dealt with loose ends] – MOPPED UP. Muppets!
30A. [Shadow removers] – RAZOR BLADES
35A. [Not as refined] – RUDER. Ok, 69 non-yucky words.
37A. ["The Man From U.N.C.L.E." producer] – MGM. The Gallants?
38A. [Sinuous storytellers] – HULA DANCERS. Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole
40A. [One of the noble metals] – PLATINUM. Also one of the Metal Men.
44A. [Chicago's __ House] – HULL. Nice try, sucking up to Amy with a Chicago clue. You should have stuck with hockey since you got me.
52A. ["You Should Be Dancing" group] – THE BEE GEES. Making my job easy. Yeahhhhhh!!!!
1D. ["Little Organ Book" composer] – BACH.
5D. [More likely to ooze] – GOOPIER. I know what you are thinking – 68. GOOPIER is so weird and fun to say I love it.
7D. ["My wish is ..."] – IHOPE. Also a “Thanks for the Memory” app.
9D. [1968 newlywed, familiarly] – ARI. Who can forget the wedding of ARI and Yoko.
10D. [Pink Floyd's "The Wall," e.g.] – ROCK OPERA. Thanks again for the easy link, Doug.
12D. [Chewed on] – MULLED OVER
23D. [First U.S. secretary of war (for whom a fort was named)] – KNOX. Knox, knox. Who’s there? The secretary of war. That one always cracks me up.
25D. [Defeat badly] – TROMP. You’re fired, bad speller of my name!!!
27D. [Sonnet likely inspired by Ramses the Great] – OZYMANDIAS. Member of the Watchmen.
31D. [Gentlemen's second choices?] – BRUNETTES. Marilyn Monroe.
39D. [Devils, e.g.] – NHL TEAM. Ok, I got my hockey suck up.
45D. ["I'm yours to command"] – USE ME. Bill Withers.
46D. [Vigeland Sculpture Park city] – OSLO. The Norwegian Rule: Four letters, city, unknown attraction – OSLO.
53D. [Fair Deal initials] – HST. Harmonized Sales Tax. British Columbians are currently debating whether this is a fair deal.
Spot on Saturday. 4.03 stars.
Quiz: Name the four theme answers.
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Chinese Pair” – Sam Donaldson’s review
65-Across tells us that CHOPSTICK is both an [Eating utensil (and a hint to 17-, 27-, and 49-Across)]. That’s because those three entries start with ST- and end in -ICK, thus “chopping” a “stick.” See for yourself:
- 17-Across: The [Mar. 17 honoree] is ST. PATRICK. He’s usually ST. PAT in our crosswords, and sometimes SAINT PATRICK. But this is version is the one that jives with the theme.
- 27-Across: A STUPID PET TRICK is [Something performed on Letterman's show]. My favorite is the dog that licked milk out of it’s human’s mouth. The sheer horror of it all is compelling. You can watch a recreation of it here, if you dare.
- 49-Across: The ["Dr. Strangelove" director] is STANLEY KUBRICK. I sometimes find myself wanting to omit the “c” in Kubrick’s last name, so this puzzle will be a helpful reminder that the end of his name contains the last part of a stick. Hey, mnemonic devices have come from stranger places.
Although this was an untimed solve, I felt like I got tricked in a few places. The one that stands out most is 9-Across, ["Outstanding!"]. Knowing that it started with S-, I tried SUPER. But [Stage productions?] turned out to be WESTERNS, meaning the answer to 9-Across started with SW-. So I tried SWELL. That worked for the third letter, because EASE had to be the answer for [Simplicity]. But that then meant I had both [Memorable nights] and [Send a brief message] starting with L-, leaving me lost. Turns out 9-Across was SWEET, which then fed EVES and TEXT. Boy, did I make that corner a lot harder than it turned out to be.
Then there was the whole [Piece of advice] thing at 23-Across. MAN OH MAN (["Fer cryin' out loud!"]) did that have me flummoxed for a while. I know, I know–it’s TIP. But BIT sounded good to my ear (as in “a bit of advice”), and since I had never heard of KLAATU, the ["The Day the Earth Stood Still" alien], I held on to it for way too long, even convincing myself for a few seconds that TIE could be the answer to [Key lime, e.g.]. “I guess there must be such a thing as a key lime tie,” I muttered to myself, only then realizing that key lime tie rhymed with key lime pie. Your Crossword Fiend bloggers may have college degrees, but that don’t mean nothing.
My favorite parts of the puzzle included MAKE ME, the [Tough guy's challenge], ["Now you're speaking my language!"] as a clue for AHH, [Beach lounger] as a clever misdirect for SEAL, and [Street races?] as a clue for SLALOMS (a reference to skieer Picabo Street).
Updated Saturday evening:
Doug Peterson’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
Good themeless puzzle here. Doug specializes in packing crosswords with lively fill, tons of natural language. Some verb+preposition answers are lacklustter, but Doug saddles up with CLEANED UP and all KNOTTED UP. The zippiest stuff includes HARPO MARX, FIST BUMPS, STRONG SUITS, MINNIE MOUSE, TIT FOR TAT, LADIES’ MEN, and ROADHOUSES.
- 41a. [Bags, so to speak] are STRONG SUITS. Crosswords are my bag, people. Yours too.
- 8d. Geo-etymology: IRAN is a [Name derived from "Aryan"]. (No relation to the [Persian alternative], ANGORA CAT.)
- 12d. ROADHOUSES are juke [Joints near shoulders] of the road.
- 26d. If it’s got LEGS, it’s got [Long-term appeal]. Speaking of legs, there was a picture of Betty Grable posted in the submarine’s mess.
- 35d. Pasta etymology! MANICOTTI are [Literally, "little sleeves"].
4.5 stars for all those fun long answers.