Mike Buckley’s New York Times crossword
The theme is all VANITY, which can precede the first part of each theme answer:
- 17a. MIRROR OF THE MIND is not a familiar-sounding phrase to me or my husband. As for vanity mirrors, apparently the term applies to many different sorts of mirrors.
- 28a. CASEWORKER, that’s solid. Not sure what a vanity case is. Ah, it’s a cosmetic case or toiletry case.
- 46a. PLATE GLASS connects us to vanity license plates.
- 60a. FAIR-HAIRED CHILD, Vanity Fair. Your pick as to whether this V.F. is the magazine or the Thackeray novel.
I’m not fully sold on the theme thanks to the mystery phrase at 17a. I bet tons of you think I’m crazy not to recognize the phrase.
I wonder if Mike Buckley is from Baltimore—we’ve got an ORIOLE in one corner and CAMDEN (not clued with reference to Camden Yards).
Fill I like: BOGUS crossing BUM RAP; BUM RAP echoing the structure of a GIRDLE; THIN SKIN, Scrabbly GALAXIES, geographical ESTONIA/HAITI/ALABAMA/TONGA, and the SILENT H at the [Start of every hour?].
Surprised to find XEBEC (57a: [Three-masted sailing ship]) in our Tuesday puzzle. Gadzooks!
David Kahn’s Celebrity crossword, “TV Tuesday”
You may have heard that Reege finally decided to retire and that Kelly’s had a variety of “guest co-hosts” sitting with her as she hosts what’s now called LIVE! with Kelly. David Kahn’s puzzle pays tribute:
- 16a. [2001-2011 on-air partner of 21-Across: 2 wds] is KELLY RIPA.
- 21a. REGIS PHILBIN is your [Recent ABC morning TV retiree: 2 wds.].
- 35a. [Former job for 21-Across: 3 wds.] is TALK SHOW HOST.
- 41a. And then there’s KATHIE LEE [Gifford, 1985-2000 on-air partner of 21-Across: 2 wds.]. She’s on the last hour of the Today show with Hoda Kotb. (I don’t know how to pronounce that name.)
Reege’s other claim to fame is 34d: WHO ["___ Wants to Be a Millionaire" (show once emceed by 21-Across)].
Bruce Venzke & Gail Grabowski’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Neville’s review
Let’s hope you don’t end up as a POW – a [Mil. detainee who may reveal only the starts of the answers to the starred clues] – you’ll end up giving the following information:
- 20a. [*Reason consumers purchase certain brands] – NAME RECOGNITION
- 28a. [*Bumbling beginner] – RANK AMATEUR
- 48a. [*Hookups for computer peripherals] – SERIAL PORTS
- 54a. [*Financial analysts] – NUMBER CRUNCHERS
This puzzle was no ENIGMA, just a straightforward Tuesday puzzle with some interesting theme entries. Never thought I’d see serial ports in a crossword, but there you have it.
I DARE SAY there’s some good stuff in here. Have you still not seen SEMINAR on Broadway? It really is wonderful – check it out if you’re in New York for the ACPT. (I’ll be off seeing The Book of Mormon). It’s nice to see ENOLA GAY back together, as they’re usually separated in the grid, and a war-themed puzzle’s perfect for it. And watch out for a LATE TAG; that’s no good.
This is the most outright clue for STONERS I think I’ve seen in the LA Times – [Habitual pot smokers]. Is there a pro-pot agenda brewing? Of course SOBER [Clearheaded] is there to balance it out.
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Triple Play” – Sam Donaldson’s review
Each of the three 15-letter theme entries is a bogus phrase consisting of three words, and each of those words can precede the word “play,” making each theme entry a “triple play:”
- 20-Across: To [Cease acquisition of the film rights to the life of Lamont Cranston?] is to END SHADOW OPTION, or, more properly, “let the option on the rights to produce a movie on The Shadow lapse.” The theme entry features an end play (the concluding stages of a game), a shadow play (the storytelling form in which puppet silhouettes are projected onto an opaque screen), and an option play (an American football tactic whereby a quarterback can choose either to run with the ball or make a lateral pass to a teammate who can then run with it).
- 41-Across: To [Audition Mr. Ed hopefuls?] is to SCREEN HORSE ROLE, maybe short for either “screen for the role of a horse” or “screen horses for the available role.” That one features a screenplay (or maybe another football tactic, the “screen play”), horseplay (boisterous behavior), and roleplay (an excuse to wear that pizza delivery uniform).
- 56-Across: To [Prevent actor Tyrone from starring in a movie?] is to SQUEEZE OUT POWER. At last, a theme entry that doesn’t need more words to make sense! It has a squeeze play from baseball (that link is to a news story of a squeeze play I saw in person), “outplay” (part of the Survivor slogan), and a power play (a tactic used in the workplace to gain status or power).
The phrases are just a little too contrived for my liking. Wacky mash-ups are fine, but ideally they have a ring of plausibility to them, as if they could be actual expressions. Only SQUEEZE OUT POWER has that element, I think. The first two sound more like they are spoken by Neanderthals (no offense to any Neanderthals or their descendants), and that’s another strike against them.
I spent a full minute trying to crack the northwest corner. The crossings of ROME, EBAN, and MARAT were brutal for me, even though I know I should remember EBAN as the answer to [Israeli statesman Abba]. The rest fell into place rather quickly. I liked some of the zippy fill, like Warren ZEVON, XENIA, Ohio, WIZARD and BLOWS. My favorite clue was [Speak up?] for PRAY. Sometimes it’s the little things are the biggest highlights.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “I Oh You One”
Matt “ohs” us big time, inserting an OH into four familiar phrases to change their meaning:
- 17a. [Cameraman's question about which talk show star to film?] is BUT AT WHAT CO-HOST?
- 35a. PAU GASOHOL is clued as [Spanish NBA player who explodes in a volatile fuel mix?].
- 45a. [Menu phrase meaning "you can add pineapple to any item"?] clues ALOHA CARTE.
- 61a. [Must decide which pitching feat to choose?] clues HAS A NO-HIT TO PICK.
I like it that two of the theme answers split the OH with a hyphen and two don’t. (I wouldn’t like it at all if it were a 3/1 imbalance.)
Nice to see ROBOCOP and BEE BALM in the puzzle (together again!). Not much else to excite me in the fill, and that good-looking middle chunk of white space is made possible by two partials.