Peter Collins and Joe Krozel’s New York Times crossword
This Sunday is my late grandpa’s birthday. He would have been 100-and-something. It’s also ARETHA FRANKLIN’s 70th birthday. She’s THE QUEEN OF SOUL, which means that James Brown is one of her loyal subjects as queen outranks godfather by far. I know the songs THINK, CHAIN OF FOOLS, and RESPECT, but BABY I / LOVE YOU is one I’ve never heard of. It actually peaked higher on the singles charts than “Natural Woman” back in ’67, but did not become a timeless classic like the others. It is, however, in the Goodfellas soundtrack, and 46d: DE NIRO is in that.
Hadn’t noticed until inserting the non-square grid that it’s a 15×16 grid.
Super-sleepy so let me abbreviate things here. Good: Parts of theme that I knew are terrific. Don’t know LITTLE ME and don’t care for musicals but somehow like 40d anyway. LA MANCHA and RANCHO have a Spanish echo. Meh: UNPRICED and UNSTOP. DOES SO may be a new addition to the “playground retort” category but it looks like DO ESSO. Not captivated by much of the fill,
Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Gut Busting” – Sam Donaldson’s review
Three answers all share the clue [Bust a gut]:
- 19-Across: BE IN STITCHES.
- 37-Across: ROLL IN THE AISLES.
- 51-Across: LAUGH OUT LOUD.
But that’s not the interesting part. The interesting part is that the grid has only 72 entries (like many freestyle puzzles), including six 10-letter entries, a couple of nines, and a couple of eights. That allows for some sparkly entries like GET A SHOT AT, BREAD DOUGH, ERECTOR SET, IRS AUDIT, GRAPE SODA, and, like, omigod omigod omigod, VALLEY GIRL. THICKENER ([Cornstarch, e.g.]) is pretty cool, too, unlike a lot of crossword fill ending in -ER. Importantly, we get all this goodness without enduring cruddy crossings. Even RED A, the [Unwanted letter of fiction], was fun.
When I saw OPERATIONS ([Organ transplants, e.g.]) so close to BE IN STITCHES, I wondered if there was some added layer to the theme. I don’t see similar connections for AISLES or LOUD or any of the other words in the remaining theme entries, though, so I don’t think there’s more to the theme than what’s obvious.
Don Gagliardo and C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times Crossword – Jeffrey’s Review
Theme: One letter nicknames for 1000.
- 17A. [With "The," Bette Midler's debut album] – DIVINE MISS M. M is the Roman numeral for 1000.
- 26A. [Kellogg's cereal] – SPECIAL K. K is used for a 1000 in computer speak. 10k is 10,000 kilobytes.
- 51A. [Riboflavin] – VITAMIN G. G is slang for $10,000.
- 64A. [Spectacular concert ender, or what 17-, 26- and 51-Across numerically contain] – GRAND FINALE
About as slight of a theme as you can get.
Longest answers (non-theme):
- 4D. [October custom done in costume] – TRICK OR TREAT
- 23D. [De Beers properties] – DIAMOND MINES
- 41A. [Lady in a Beatles song] – MADONNA
Aimee Lucido’s Onion A.V. Club crossword
Anagram theme! SENIOR SCRAMBLE—a 62a: [Final attempt to hook up among college students ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme]—is probably something that existed when I was a college senior but that lacked a specific name. The other theme answers include in the circled squares a scrambled SENIOR:
- 21a. ITUNES ORIGINAL, [Download sold through the Apple music store]
- 28a. CAMPFIRESONG, [Ditty played on an acoustic guitar]
- 39a. MOONRISE, [Wes Anderson's "___ Kingdom"]
- 41a. NOSE RING, [Bling for a bull]
- 56a. CASINO RESORT, [Foxwoods, for one]
Never heard of the Wes Anderson movie, but I admire the elegance of including two 8-letter answers that contain the 6-letter anagram.
Six more clues:
- 2d. [Cobbler, for one] is a shoe ARTISAN as well as a fruit/pastry dessert. Mmm, cobbler.
- 12d. [Addictive Playstation game about rebuilding the universe, for short] is KATAMARI. Never heard of it. Wanted KATAMARO crossing MOONROSE (which would absolutely violate the anagramminess of the theme answers).
- 52d. [They may keep you from scoring] clues GOALIES. See? The Onion crossword isn’t all about sex. Sometimes it only looks like it if you have a filthy mind.
- 50d. [Steal, as music] clues TORRENT. As in using sites like BitTorrent that have illegally downloadable files of songs, movies, etc.
- 11d. [Title film character idolized by a boy named Joey] is SHANE. John Wayne, Western? Not in my bailiwick. Crossings all the way here.
- 54d. [Hard copy of a document, in office slang] clues DTF. Dead…tree…file? Dunno.
BREA ENURE NANG IUM leave me cold but overall I’ll go with four stars here. The 39a/41a combo elevates the theme.