Shoot! I wasted my time blogging the puzzle that was in the applet, only to find out that it was supposed to have been replaced at the last minute with another puzzle. Hang on. Let me blog the Across Lite version of the puzzle that will apparently run in the New York Times tomorrow.
Kevin Der’s New York Times crossword
So it’s a STEVE JOBS tribute puzzle that was rushed into print. I love Apple products and think Jobs was the bee’s knees, but I’m still peeved that (a) a tribute puzzle is bumping a themeless, (b) it was all done too fast for the applet to receive the new puzzle, and (c) I wasted my stinkin’ time blogging the wrong puzzle. So I approached this puzzle in a foul mood. Then the Across Lite timer didn’t start either, so I can’t even tell you “Huh, this really should have just run next Monday/Wednesday/whenever.” I suspect it took a Wednesday/Thursday amount of time, but who knows?
The theme clues tend to be a little vague, but anyone who’s read a couple articles about Steve Jobs’ career in the last 27 hours should have been able to get IPOD, PIXAR, MACINTOSH, THINK DIFFERENT, CREATIVE GENIUS, APPLE, and NEXT. I would have liked to see the iPad or iPhone instead of the iPod, as I think their long-term impact will outweigh that of the iPod. And iTunes! Also key. But leaving LISA out is just fine, and nobody needs an answer like IIE in a crossword, ever.
And yes, the central answer nails my response: SNITS, [Huffs]? I am in them.
Never heard of 59d: JON Nakamatsu, and when it comes to Ulan-UDE, one always wishes the constructor had thought different. But with eight theme answers in the grid and a P*F** space to fill, 25a didn’t have much choice about starting with a U.
I’m feeling like a chump for solving and blogging the wrong puzzle. Grr. Sorry, Kevin. I wish your puzzle had just bided its time for a couple days so it would get a proper welcome. It’s not as if everyone was going to forget about Steve Jobs—I bet many newspapers will devote space in their Sunday issues to talking about his legacy.
Pete Muller’s Los Angeles Times crossword
Theme: G-FORCE (64a. [It's zero in free-fall—and, put another way, a hint to how the four longest puzzle answers were formed]) is parsed as “G for CE,” and the theme entries are made by replacing CE with G.
- 20a. [Boast à la Donald Trump?] = BRAG FOR IMPACT.
- 26a. ["Our overly fussy friend has a point"?] = THE PRIG IS RIGHT. I like that.
- 43a. Joplin piece about modern weaponry?] = NUCLEAR ARMS RAG. Anachronistic impossibility!
- 50a. Delay from an 18th-century English ruler?] = QUEEN ANNE’S LAG.
72-word grid includes some nice longer stuff, such as MAJESTIC, TRANS AM, and TERI GARR. SQUAT meaning “nothing,” FIJI, and literary BECKET are good too. Downsides include ENNA OLA ATMO ATIE AEC.
Dan Fisher’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Capital Restructuring”
Speed-blogging, part 2!
Theme: State capitals are anagrammed into oddball things and clued accordingly. A plus: all the theme answers are nouns.
- 23a. [MONTPELIER erects a shrine to Vulcan] = IRON TEMPLE.
- 25a. [MONTGOMERY celebrates a single scene from a slasher film] = GORY MOMENT.
- 44a. [BATON ROUGE prepares an unusual pork cut] = BOAR TONGUE.
- 59a. [INDIANAPOLIS manufactures parquet-style instruments] = INLAID PIANOS.
- 69a. [OKLAHOMA CITY suffers a disaster in a fishing contest] = HOOK CALAMITY.
- 81a. [CARSON CITY produces boxes for shipping frozen goods] = ICY CARTONS.
- 103a. [LITTLE ROCK offers a bundle for raffle organizers] = TICKET ROLL.
- 107a. [CHARLESTON honors a graduate of an online college] = NET SCHOLAR.
I enjoyed the anagram action. Good fill overall. One mystery answer for me: 79d. ["Rigoletto" aria] is CARO NOME. That means “dearest name.”
Patrick Berry’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “A Capital Meal” — pannonica’s review
Extremely straightforward theme in this laterally symmetrical puzzle. Comestibles whose names begin with world capitals, loosely described as parts of a meal:
- 18a. [Vegetable course in a capital meal?] LIMA BEANS (Peru).
- 26a. [Second vegetable course in a capital meal?] BRUSSELS SPROUTS (Belgium).
- 49a. [Meat course in a capital meal?] VIENNA SAUSAGE (Austria).
- 53a. [Spice used to flavor a capital meal?] CAYENNE PEPPER (French Guiana).
I’m assuming the constraints of theme necessitated the unusual symmetry; there just aren’t that many items that fit the bill. I drew up a short list of ‘capitalized’ dishes. Both BEEF WELLINGTON (14) and CHICKEN KIEV (11) are no good because the city follows the food. JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE (18) is too long; besides, there are already two vegetable ‘courses’ in the puzzle. A MOSCOW MULE (10) is a drink, not really a part of the meal for most (although I prefer to have a cocktail course). ROME APPLES (10) and MUSCAT GRAPES (12) might be considered desserts, but neither of their letter lengths don’t work with LIMA BEANS (9), the one themer that prevents a rotationally symmetrical grid.
So, only four theme entries, one an impressive 15-letter spanner, one a paltry nine letters, and a gorgeous stack of two 13-letter fills. Three ‘courses’ and one condiment. It all makes for a vertiginous solving experience, but one far from nauseating.
- Some nice medium-length fill in the ballast, including PRESS BOX, OBELISK, the interesting RYKRISP and ["Law & Order detective Lennie __ ] BRISCOE (not to be confused with film protagonist Donnie BRASCO or the FRISCO Kid).
- French! Phrases TROMPE l’oeil and C’est AUTRE chose, not to mention Denis DIDEROT (whose birthday is 5 October).
- Winner for most crosswordesesque entry is ERIS [Ancient Olympic Games site].
- My least favorite aspect of the puzzle was the pyramid of ugly little three-letter fill FEB, ABE | ORK, LID | XER smack dab in the center, all the more glaring for its location. In very few instances is something at the center of a composition the least noticeable part.
Raymond Hamel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “I C You” – Sam Donaldson’s review
C D six theme entries in this crossword? “M N O theme entries,” you say. “O S A R,” I reply. Indeed, today’s crossword has six two-word expressions with the initials I.C.:
- 17-Across: The IVORY COAST is the [Mali neighbor]. I’m 99.44% sure there’s a joke there somewhere, but I can’t find it.
- 28-Across: IRON CHEF is the [Japanese cooking show] where competing chefs have one hour to make multiple dishes featuring a secret ingredient revealed immediately before the clock starts.
- 43-Across: Speaking of secret ingredients, I’d like to be one of the judges when ICE CREAM, the [Frozen treat], is the secret ingredient. Knowing my luck, I’d be on the panel when the secret ingredient was something gross, like olives or cauliflower. Blecch.
- 57-Across: INDIAN CLUB is a new term to my vocabulary. I have seen this [Juggling item] before, but I would have called it “bowling pin.”
- 10-Down: The INNER CIRCLE is one name for a group of [Close advisors]. It’s also the name of an episode of “The Office” late last season (when Will Ferrell assumed the managerial helm from Steve Carell). Check it out.
- 25-Down: IRISH COFFEE is the [Whiskey-enhanced drink]. So is JACK AND COKE, though that’s not entirely consistent with the theme.
I like how four theme entries cross at the “C” that starts the second word, and it’s impressive that 58 squares are devoted to theme entries (usually the theme entries consume around 40–45 squares). Usually, heavy “themeage” portends some seriously compromised fill, but happily such was not the case here. (Okay, SHOAT and TOR are a little Crosswordese-ey, but they’re used toward a good end.) Indeed, some rare letters are sprinkled throughout the grid to add an extra kick. The BRONX cheer, AXONS, and ST. KITTS are all pretty cool. Though it contains no rare letters, I also liked SCRAT, the [Prehistoric squirrel in "Ice Age"].
I like that the TOYOTAS were kept far away from the traffic PILE-UPS, and thoughts of the cruise ship BUFFET are making me hungry. My favorite clue was [Baby bird?] for STORK, with an honorable mention to [Turned off], since it fooled me into thinking of synonyms for “repulsed” instead of simply UNLIT.