Mark Feldman’s New York Times crossword
Four phrases that each contain a word starting with N find their meanings altered by the addition of a silent K:
- 17a. [Guinevere to Lancelot?] is the LADY OF THE KNIGHT.
- 26a. [Shopper for woolen goods?] is a KNIT PICKER. I prefer my knits to be cotton.
- 44a. [Ewing, DeBusschere and Frazier?] are all KNICK NAMES. Patrick Ewing, fair enough. No idea who the other two are or when they played for the New York Knicks.
- 59a. [Universal tie?] is a KNOT FOR EVERYONE.
The most surprising vocabulary word for a Tuesday puzzle is 46a: RUCTION, or [Noisy fight]. This word’s a slangy sort of creature. No apparent relation to eructation, which is an utterly non-slangy way to say “belch.”
The 74-word grid is pretty ambitious for a Tuesday, the result being an assortment of interesting 7- and 8-letter answers. You’ve got your HAITIAN AGNOSTIC STAR TREK, which sounds like an interesting sci-fi spinoff. Also nice: the roughly 5×6 bricks of fill in two corners. I could do without NETTY, a [Meshlike] word I encounter only in crosswords, but that neighboring PENCE/ELIOT/MAGMA/ETHER bit is smooth. I like the PENCE clue, too: [Pound parts] can be interpreted a number of ways.
Don Gagliardo’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Neville’s review
- 17a. [St. Patrick's day shout] - ERIN GO BRAGH (ring)
- 32a. [Business that serves smokers] – TOBACCO INDUSTRY (coin)
- 39a. [With "leave," settle for the existing situation] – WELL ENOUGH ALONE (halo)
- 60a. [Privileged group, and an aptly highlighted feature of [the above]] – INNER CIRCLE
Crossword enthusiasts will note that the hidden word splits are unique: RIN/G, CO/IN and H/ALO – that’s 3/1, 2/2 and 1/3. Math enthusiasts may have an issue, though, as a circle is 2-D, but each hidden word is 3-D. A ring and a halo are both tori (though a ring could arguably be just an annulus, the 2-D analog), and a coin is a disk. It’s cute, so I don’t mind this.
Look at the nine-letter entries: STRIKE TWO right next to HANK AARON, OVER BLOWN and “BELIEVE ME!” are all great. The short entries are great, too. RAW BAR, LOW BROW, ODD LOT, T-BIRD, GOT ME, NEATNIK, BIG HEAD and HARD C are all winners for me. In fact, I’m having a hard time finding anything bad to say about this puzzle, and that’s really refreshing. Just 74 words!
That’s all I have to say about this great puzzle – I’m just basking in the puzzle. 4+ stars.
Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Secret Pledge” – Sam Donaldson’s review
65-Across tells us that OATH is the [Secret pledge in each of the four longest Across answers], and that’s because the O-A-T-H letter sequence appears in each of the four theme entries:
- 20-Across: The [Folks such as Heidi's friend Peter] are GOATHERDS. Two questions: (1) Am I the only one who thinks it should be goatherders instead of goatherds? (I checked, and goatherds is acceptable as an alternative to goatherders. But I don’t have to like it.) (2) Am I the only one surprised to see that GOATHERD is not making its debut in modern crosswords? (It appears four times in puzzles stored in the Cruciverb database, most recently in 2005.)
- 35-Across: I liked the tricky clue here–A [Lion, Tiger, or Bear] is a PRO ATHLETE. As in a Detroit Lion, a Detroit Tiger, and a Chicago Bear.
- 41-Across: [One of a dry cleaner's supply] is a COAT HANGER. For some reason, I can’t speak or type the words “coat hanger” without thinking of Joan Crawford.
- 56-Across: The [Marina structure is a BOATHOUSE. I was happy to see this one at the end because I was afraid that GOATHERDS was going to stand apart as the only one-word theme entry. With the addition of another one-worder, we have consistency, and all is right with our puzzle. Whew!
I love, love, love the long Downs. SENATE SEAT may not be full of pizzazz, but it ain’t bad. Then there’s the wonderful trio of LET IT SLIDE, GET THROUGH, and HERE YOU ARE. Even the 8-letter Across entries, FLAGSHIP and IS THAT SO?, feel fresh and interesting. And don’t forget the TUBE TOP! Game show fans certainly don’t. Once again, Lempel gives us a smooth grid that makes it all look so easy.
But it wasn’t entirely smooth sailing. I didn’t care much for the crossing EXES and EXECS, right next to the crossing NEXT and TEXT up there in the northeast corner. It’s bad enough that these very similar entries are in the same grid, but to openly cross them like that just seems so defiant. Hey, wait a second–I kind of like that! Never mind. These aren’t the droids we’re looking for. Move along, move along.