Michael Farabaugh’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s review
Sorry for the slight tardiness of the write-up; I was unknowingly using a faulty link to get to the puzzle and assumed that its availability was compromised. Until I belatedly noticed that people were posting their times in the applet. So, without further ado…
The theme is different interpretations of the single-word clue [Bolt].
- 20a. SPRINTER USAIN
- 27a. METAL FASTENER
- 43a. LIGHTNING UNIT
- 51a. LEAVE SUDDENLY
Bam! That’s it. They’re all quite discrete and it’s a fine early-week theme. LIGHTNING UNIT seems a little awkward, but I can’t think of another way to phrase it simply, so there you have it. Hm… Merriam-Webster describes it as a ‘stroke.’ That may be better, but ‘unit’ is satisfactory. Conspicuously absent: LENGTH OF CLOTH (13), but four themers are plenty. Besides, that would have been the only one of three words.
The rest of the fill is very clean, with the two least appealing entries (NEG. & DXI) concentrated in one spot.
- Some paired clues: LENA|HORNE, DELL|PCS, ASH|LIT.
- The clue for 23a ALI threw me, as I didn’t know that that’s the name of a [Cousin of Muhammad] although I of course am familiar with the boxer Muhammad Ali; kind of tricky in a rope-a-dope way for a Tuesday!
- Does anyone besides me still get fazed in seeing ‘loan’ used as a verb? 43d [Given for a time] LOANED. ‘Lend’ is a functionally precise word from the same root.
- Favorite clue, for its witty succinctness: 11d [Foreign domestic] AU PAIR.
- nb: 1a [Handled, as a matter] SAW TO has nothing to do with the torture-porn movie franchise.
Marti DuGuay-Carpenter’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Neville’s review
This puzzle went to the hogs:
- 17a. [Road hog] – DANGEROUS DRIVER
- 27a. [Hog heaven] – ABSOLUTE BLISS
- 44a. [Hog wild] – OVERLY EXCITED
- 56a. [Whole hog] – WITH NO RESTRAINT
Somehow this basic theme presented me with a porker of a challenge, perhaps because the clues are better suited as entries and vice versa – ABSOLUTE BLISS, e.g., didn’t strike me as something people say all too often. Maybe this would make a nice start for a rebus theme when reversed, though.
I had difficulty with some of these clues – did you?
- 1a. [Close-up lens] – MACRO. Macro has many meanings – this one is a lens to embiggen tiny things. But that’s what a microscope does, too. Prefixes – can’t live with ’em.
- 32a. [Frank topper] isn’t CATSUP but RELISH
- 47a. [River in central Germany] –
ELEREDER. (Thanks, MM!) Not sure how I got the wrong answer here and still got Mr. Happy Pencil – perhaps I struck a key after the fact? I didn’t know EDER, which is why ELER seemed believable to me. Add this one to your Rolodex of crosswordese. (I don’t mind the central/CENTRALIZE repeat here, but maybe some of you found it unfair or misleading?)
- 51d. [Black suit] – no, Neville, it’s not clothing. No TUXEDO here. SPADES. Painfully obvious clue when you think about it the right way.
- 19d. The SAMBA is Brazilian; the RUMBA is a [Cuban dance].
Matt Jones “Fill ‘Er Up” Crossword — Jeffrey’s Review
Theme: A bunch of words, some long, some short that cross to create a grid.
Theme answers: All of them.
- 1A. [Build to a climax, perhaps] – START OFF SLOWLY. Yes, I did.
- 15A. [Her marriage to Lamar Odom was televised] – KHLOE KARDASHIAN. I’m guessing anything done by a Kardahian is televised somewhere.
- 17A. ["Go for it!"] – YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE!
Three random letters strung together to enable all of the other cool stuff:
- 28A. [Diamond settings] – SOLITAIRES. Friday is the seventh anniversary of the death of Laura Branigan, who left us way too soon.
- 32A. [Radio tower tops] – TRANSMITTERS.
- 39A. [Frozen pops] – ORANGE SICLES. Alternate clue: Amy’s bikes.
- 42A. [Adds up] – MAKES SENSE. It does. Trust me on this. Have I ever lied to you?
- 43A. ["One ___" (Joan Osborne hit)] – OF US
- 50A. [Some practicers of Islam] – SUFIS. Alternate spelling is SUFAS. At least in my universe.
- 55A. [She played the devil in "Bedazzled"] – ELIZABETH HURLEY. Full names are always cool.
- 60A. [Kept one's powder dry] – SAVED IT FOR LATER. Never heard of that expression (the clue).
- 61A. [Treaty sessions] – RENEGOTIATIONS. This is a real word, not a REcreation. I have been involved in many RENEGOTIATIONS.
- 1D. [Item for a star search] – SKY MAP. Look, there’s Ed McMahon!
- 2D. [He's a "really useful engine"] – THOMAS. The tank. You’re welcome.
- 4D. [Character that rhymes with Pooh] – ROO
- 12D. [Response to a ring] – WHO IS IT? Who wants to know?
- 13D. [Person who sticks around] – LINGERER
- 14D. [They may possess 50-footers] – YACHTERS. I’d linger more if I had a 50-footer.
- 35D. [Prophetic] – ORACULAR. Doesn’t that have something to do with glasses? Is it the same root. Help me, wise word people.
- 36D. [Classic Dave Brubeck song] – TAKE FIVE
- 40D. [Surfer of sorts] – NETIZEN. Alternate spelling is NETAZEN. At least in my universe.
- 46D. [Horny beasts, in two ways] – SATYRS. Not going there.
- 49D. [ __ Ste. Marie, Mich.] – SAULT. Ont. as well.
- 51D. ["The Sweetest Taboo" singer] – SADE
The good stuff is very good, the not so good stuff is not so good. More than 3 and less than 4 stars.
Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “I Saw It First” — Sam Donaldson’s review
Here’s a good puzzle on which novices can, er, cut their teeth. Levin finds four expression starting with words that double as types of saws:
- 17-Across: An [Author who produces mediocre material] is a HACK WRITER. I’ve answered to that name more than once.
- 27-Across: [Washington Irving's sleeper] wasn’t ICHABOD CRANE or the HEADLESS HORSEMAN. It was RIP VAN WINKLE.
- 48-Across: The [1973 triple-platinum album by Wings] is BAND ON THE RUN. Appropriately, Wings really took off.
- 63-Across: The [Second man to walk on the moon] was BUZZ ALDRIN. He was also the second to be eliminated from his season of Dancing With the Stars.
Unless there are such things as “tea saws” and “piano saws,” the other long Across entries are not part of the theme, though both TEA FOR TWO and PIANO TRIO add some pizzazz to the puzzle. The intersecting five-letter answers in the center lend an open feel to a lovely 76-word grid. I loved GET TO KNOW ([Become acquainted with]) and RAINMAKER, the [Business-generating attorney]. Other highlights included NUT BAR, RUDENESS, CURFEW and SKYLAB.
There were two speed bumps for me. The first was EPERGNES, clued as [Elegant branched centerpieces]. EPERGNES? Gesundheit! The second was KEIR Dullea, “an American actor,” says Wikipedia, “best known for the character of astronaut David Bowman, whom he portrayed in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey and in 1984′s 2010: The Year We Make Contact. I’m sorry, Dave.