Ashton Anderson’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s review
Aside from the surprising start (SEXCAPADE crossing X-RATED), this was very much a button-down puzzle, all business. I liked it. Oh, okay, TIT was in the bottom right too.
Anyway, some people refer to a themeless puzzle—such as this one—as a FREESTYLE, which appears as the last across answer; it pairs symmetrically with 1-Across and… and… perhaps this crossword isn’t so reserved? My word! Just look at the narrative suggested in the NW triplestacked nines!
So… crunchy triple-stacks in each corner. Very fibrous. The aforementioned northwest, GLAM ROCK (which I had as PROG-ROCK for a while) / HOME RULE / SPINSTER, ASHTRAYS (trickily clued as [Camels' resting places]) / SQUEEGEE / CULTURAL, and IT’S GO TIME! / NAILBITER / FREESTYLE. Wow-wow-wow.
- 39a. [Unwanted tail?] STALKER.
- 40a. [Black-and-white] SQUAD CAR. How can you not like “black-and-white” in a crossword? I mean, unless it’s OREO yet again.
- [Not apart, in scores] A DUE, not TIED. Didn’t fool me for a second, but I appreciated it.
- If you’re going to have tired abbrevs. in the fill, best to put them together and clue them in tandem: 56a [ID figures] SSNS and 58a [ID issuer] DMV.
- 60a. ["Let's roll!"] IT’S GO TIME! Au currant!
- More likable fill: TENTACLE, ASCETIC, REUBEN, SAPPHO, ODDITY, PUMMEL.
- Least favorite entry: OPA [W.W. II agcy.] That’s the Office of Price Administration.
- New vocabulary: ORLOP [Lowest deck on a ship]. Not to be confused with Count Orlov.
- Most likely to be labelled “crosswordese”: INGLE, PENMEN, TET, RET’D.
Kyle T. Dolan’s Los Angeles Times Crossword — Jeffrey’s Review
Theme answers: None. Pay attention.
- 1A. [Gum with a jingle that began, "So kiss a little longer"] – BIG RED
- 16A. [Penance component] – AVE MARIA
- 17A. [Poker chips are often seen in them] – STACKS
- 18A. [Chocolaty treats] – DOVE BARS. Sounds soapy.
- 34A. [Calls at home] – BALLS AND STRIKES. Bowling terms.
- 36A. [Etta James classic] – AT LAST
- 41A. [Words spoken after Polonius says, "I hear him coming: let's withdraw, my lord"] – TO BE. That immortal quote from… oh yeah, Footloose.
- 48A. [Air Force pilot who became a pop star] – DON HO. I tried Britney first.
- 52A. [One of Penelope's 108 in the "Odyssey"] – SUITOR. No wonder she needed a Pitstop.
- 56A. [Phoned on a computer, in technospeak] – SKYPED. Ooh, modern stuff.
- 4D. [Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," e.g.] – ROCK BALLAD
- 7D. [Could choose] – HAD ONE’S DRUTHERS. Say, you never see druthers alone in a sentence.
- 9D. [Word heard before and after "say"] – NEVER
- 20D. ["__ to the Top": Keni Burke song] – RISIN
- 27D. [Highfalutin] – HOITY TOITY. Well, la di dah!
- 28D. [Co-composer of "Johnny's Theme"] – ANKA
- 47D. [Bob Seger's "__ Got Tonight"] – WE’VE
- 48D. [Low area] – HAPPY
- 49D. [Object of ogling] – BIRTHDAY
- 51D. [Speak idly] – TO
- 52D. [Cheer syllable] – ME
Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Just One More” — Sam Donaldson’s review
Apropos of the title, Lempel adds the letter sequence O-N-E to four common expressions and then clues them as if the new expressions were real terms:
- 17-Across: The [Prisoners' quarters with a new look?] are REDONE CELLS, the result of adding ONE to RED CELLS (whether we’re talking about the military term or the shorthand for red blood cells isn’t entirely clear, but I guess that doesn’t matter very much).
- 28-Across: To [Run in Rambo after a run-in?] is a clever way of cluing the wacky phrase, BOOK STALLONE, a play on “bookstall.” My dictionary struggles with “bookstall,” saying it’s the same thing as a newsstand. Hey, that’s more than I knew.
- 44-Across: A [Time to celebrate capitalism?] is MAKE MONEY DAY, a variation of “make my day,” an expression made popular in this movie scene.
- 59-Across: TV’s The Mod Squad gets revamped as the MOONED SQUAD, clued as an [Army unit facing a maneuver from the rear?]. My inner 10 year-old loves that clue.
Quintessentially Lempel-ian, the grid is smooth and contains several nice tidbits. I like JUNK FOOD (really, I do), DOODLED ([Draw while chatting, say]), BELTWAY ([Road around a city]), and COLD SOBER ([Successfully on the wagon]). There’s a reproductive vibe here, with OVA, the [Future fauna, frequently], and SPORE, the [Future fern].
My favorite clue was [Cow locator] for BELL. Teacher says every time a bell rings, a cow is nearby.
Barry Silk’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
Hello! It’s Amy again, back home after spending the week abroad. (What? Canada counts as “abroad”!)
The only crosswords I’ve done all week have been the NYTs. I did a Toronto Globe and Mail cryptic on the iPad (in the Crux app) before vacation and didn’t like the style one bit, so I was cryptic-free during my sojourn.
I am so very tired, having been in the car all day yesterday and having stayed up too late upon my return home. Ergo, I’ll make this a quick write-up.
First pass through a bunch of clues, I had a big fat nothing. One of the few answers I filled in turned out to be wrong—1a ([Abrupt transitions]) is JUMPS, not JOLTS. Oof! I also leapt in the wrong direction at 35a. [Duke's home] is DURHAM, North Carolina. Whenever a Durham university is alluded to in the clue, it seems I get tricked and it’s about UNH, the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H., not Duke. So somehow I decided [Duke's home] was NASHUA, N.H. See? I told you I didn’t get enough sleep. The H fit in OSHA, just as JOLTS’ J fit with JAW.
- 30a. MR. LONELY looks great in the grid. Mind you, I have never, ever heard of this [Bobby Vinton #1 tune].
- 38a. The STINKBUG has one of the best insect names. I’m not a farmer, so its [Agricultural pest] aspect isn’t much of a factor for me.
- 53a. The common O POSITIVE blood type is a blood [Bank deposit, often].
- 57a. [Nodes of some trees] suggested some sort of obscure botanical term, but no. It’s the RELATIVES on your family tree.
- 6d. BABY TALK! That’s a [Patronization technique]. You knew that one, didn’t you? Good for you! Mommy’s pwoud of her widdle baby.
- 24d. SPHINX is a great answer. Didn’t know it was an [Element of Masonic architecture]. Was Bobby Vinton in the Masons?
- 32d. [H.G. Wells, re "atomic bomb"] is the COINER of that term. Nobody knows who coined the word “nerd”; lexicographer Ben Zimmer has the scoop in the Boston Globe.
- 52d. An ISBN is a [Mystery identifier] and also a romance identifier, a crossword book identifier, and a dictionary identifier.
Biggest mystery in the puzzle: It took me 20 minutes to understand why 10d: [Piece of GE] was SHR. Abbreviation for a share of stock.