Kristian House’s New York Times crossword
Short NYT write-up tonight, as I am tired out from two miles of trick-or-treating and probably need some Smarties.
The theme is SPLIT / HAIRS, and the word HAIR is indeed SPLIT in the other theme entries: HOME REPAIR, HARLEM BOYS CHOIR, and HAIL CAESAR. Nice to have the three split different ways: H/AIR, HA/IR, HAI/R. Also nice to have CAESAR crossed by the “I SAW” part of his famous veni, vidi, vici line. I forget what other answers I noticed that were connected—I know there was something. And it wasn’t the concept of an OKAPI JOCKEY. Oh, yes: the SOUP / NAZI.
Rather unfortunate to launch 1-Across with a rather crosswordese abbreviation, ANAT, but it hooks up with THE USUAL, which I like.
Three stars. Nothing too memorable for me, but that could be the tired feet talking.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “Coldplay”
Got a cold, a touch of the flu, some random bug that’s going around? Then this is the crossword for you. Four things from pop culture (spread across six entries) end with symptoms you may be experiencing:
- 19a. SOUL COUGHING is the [Band with the 1998 hit "Circles"]. Try some warm tea or some honey for that cough. And stay hydrated.
- 22a, 29a. [With 29-across, movie whose soundtrack contains "Stayin' Alive"] is SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. You can let the fever cook the germs, but if you’re miserable, try ibuprofen or acetaminophen to feel better. And stay hydrated.
- 39a, 51a. [With 51-across, 2000 solo album by Rush's Geddy Lee] is MY FAVORITE HEADACHE. Never heard of it. Again, acetaminophen or ibuprofen will help your noggin. And stay hydrated.
- 53a. [Travis Barker opening lyric before "lay low and stay breezy"] clues I’MA JUST CHILL. If you’ve got the chills, bundle up with warm blankets and complain to all who will listen. Don’t hydrate too much or you’ll have to pee, which will require getting out from under those blankies.
Lots of partials this week: “Who Can It BE NOW?” “ONE IS the loneliest number.” “Three Times A LADY.” “On TOP OF the world.” “You can’t win ‘EM ALL.” At least they’re part of fairly zippy phrases.
I was prepared to scowl when I saw the answer to 51d: [Really big bras] and say “D-cups are nearly the American average these days.” But the answer turned out to be H-CUPS and that is indeed generously dimensioned. Friend of mine is sporting the H these days. Not that I know what it looks like; she’s one of my friends-inside-the-computer whom I’ve never met.
Lots of names this week too. Never heard of 52d: EHREN, ["Jackass" alum McGhehey]. That’s a very “eh” spelling, first and last name alike. PLATH, SHEEN, ALONSO, MAO, LECH, LARUE, SNAPE, LORNE, [Late Iraqi politician Ezzedine (MAILS anagram)] SALIM, IMRE, OLDS, ESAI, and DALTON? Oof.
Cute theme, though. Three stars.
Todd Gross’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Neville’s review
I like Todd Gross. I like Todd Gross puzzles. But I have seen this theme far too many times for me to enjoy this puzzle.
- 18a. [Missing someone special] – LOVESICK
- 23a. [Start of a fictional sea shanty] – FIFTEEN MEN. As in the song “Fifteen Men on a Dead Man’s Chest,” from Treasure Island. But does that make it a fictional song? Doesn’t its existence in the zeitgeist make it a real song? Maybe not.
- 34a. ['80s-'90s ABC drama] – THIRTYSOMETHING
- 49a. [Quick nap] – FORTY WINKS
- 54a. [Competitive look] – GAME FACE
- 65a. [Where one hears the starts of [the above answers]] – TENNIS. The scoring in tennis is love, 15, 30, 40 and (supposing no one drops a deuce in there) game.
If you haven’t seen this theme before, you might have loved this puzzle. But I know I’ve seen this theme 3 or 4 times lately in the past year, so that takes a good chunk of the fun out of it for me. If I weren’t feeling grumpy about this repetition, here’s what I’d probably point out about this puzzle:
- From the Department of Redundancy Department comes FERRYBOAT – [Interisland transport]. I think of that old musical line “I’m gonna sail upon that ferryboat, never to return again.”
- Seeing as how an odor is often conceived of as an [Unpleasant smell], MALODOR might’ve come from the same department.
- Why do we park on DRIVEWAYS? Because you’re doing it wrong – use them as [Garage entrances]!
- EILEEN [Brennan of "Private Benjamin"] was great in Clue; I will not stop promoting that movie until everyone who reads this blog has seen it!
- “ONE IS [the loneliest number": old song lyric] gives a bright line rule. If you’re at least 42, you’re old. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the crossword says so!
2.9 stars, because familiarity breeds contempt.
Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “This About Covers It” – Sam Donaldson’s review
It’s an ode to [Covers], the clue given to all four theme entries:
- 20-Across: WOOL BLANKETS.
- 27-Across: PLASTIC WRAPS.
- 46-Across: SAUCEPAN LIDS.
- 54-Across: ALBUM JACKETS.
There’s not much more to say about the theme. I mean, all four are covers. Check. Each of them has the same clue. Check. And…that’s about it. I liked MAE WEST, the ["Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It" author], ALL-STAR, and ON ICE, the [Opposite of neat]. KATS struck me as the most awkward entry, but it’s not like it was awful. Everything else was pretty smooth and straightforward.
I feel like I’m about 200 words shy of normal here. Am I already crashing from eating the Halloween candy that trick-or-treaters never bothered to collect? Anyway, I need something to eat up some space. Let’s see…. Ah, here we go. The theme reminds me of cover songs, so let’s link to some of the best cover songs ever. See if you can name the song based on the list of who sang it before you click on the link.
This song was originally performed by Simon & Garfunkel, but I know the remake from The Bangles better. If memory serves, the more recent version appeared on the soundtrack to Less Than Zero.
This song, the breakout hit for Run-DMC, was a remake of an Aerosmith hit. It helped that Aerosmith performed the song with them.
This song is now a hit for the Odd Couple duo of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. But it first appeared in the musical Babes in Arms and was made famous by Lena Horne. Wikipedia says Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald teamed up to cover the song in the late 1960s. The song’s title is reminiscent of a Disney film that went to the dogs (in a good way).
Finally, this song has also been covered a few times, most notably by Roberta Flack (not to be confused with Rebecca Black) and The Fugees. But Lori Lieberman was the first artist to etch it into vinyl. Murder by vocals–who knew?