David Levinson Wilk’s New York Times crossword
Four two-word phrases here have MAN at the end of word 1 and at the beginning of word 2, forming a MAN-MAN union, a.k.a. one type of SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. I assumed that all of the phrases were weird contrived ones, but apparently they’re not supposed to be considered contrived. But I Googled “TRUMAN MANDATE” and Google returned fewer than 300 hits, including pages where “mandate” was a verb or “Truman” was at the end of one clause and “mandate” at the beginning of the next. WALKMAN MANUAL sounds plausible but contrived (“user manual for the Walkman” is what you’d call it, no?) SHERMAN MANEUVER similarly gets about 600 Google hits, with the top ones actually listing “Sherman’s maneuver.” And when I Googled ROMAN MANNERISMS, I found an art style called Roman Mannerism, which you can’t very well pluralize. So I have no idea whether the constructor intended these theme answers to seem to be legitimate phrases, or if he was just playing around with contrived phrases that could be clued plausibly. Perplexing.
That said, SAME-SEX MARRIAGE is a lovely 15.
As with yesterday’s NYT, proper nouns abound: Tone LOC, IANS, GINA, AARON, WENDT, UMA, ROMEO, KAHN, AMES, MAYA, ENO, RAMON, ANA, ETNA, DIANA, LIVIA, ISR., TWAIN, O’NEAL, CARL. That’s 20? No, no, no. Too many. And look at the upper right corner: LOC and GINA cross LIVIA, O’NEAL, and CARL. Can we assume that the solver will have firm knowledge of Gina Gershon and/or Augustus’s wife Livia and won’t consider this a deadly crossing? That corner didn’t have to cement five names into a small space. Replace LOC, GINA, and TRIAL with HSN, GATE, and TREED and the only negative is adding the partial HAVE A (plus, you get the STEEL NERD).
Ben Tausig’s Onion A.V. Club crossword
Left is right and up is down: POLAR OPPOSITES is clued at 2d/3d as [extremes, and a hint to this puzzle’s theme]. The north and south poles have reversed their polarity in this puzzle’s circled squares, in that an S takes the place of an N and vice versa:
- 28d. [Emblem of the 2011-12 New York Knicks?], FLEUR DE LIN. I heard Jeremy Lin might be going to the Rockets—Ben was smart and clued this with last season.
- 6d. [Improve as a butcher?], SEVER BETTER. Ick!
- 26d. [Sitcom about a wacky deck crew leader?], WHO’S THE BOS’N. Ha! Love this one.
- 10d. [Send dirty messages while waiting at the DMV, say?], SEXT IN LINE.
- 35d. [Wolverine without a care in the world?], MERRY X-MAN. Ha!
Neat theme with a fresh visual approach to the POLAR OPPOSITES. I do not find myself compelled to spotlight anything outside of the theme. Am sleepy.
Patrick Jordan’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “S-Wear Words” – Sam Donaldson’s review
Each of the four theme entries is a two-word term, the last of which can also be an item of apparel starting with the letter “S:”
- 18-Across: One who [Does likewise] FOLLOWS SUIT.
- 28-Across: A [Pompous person] may be described as a STUFFED SHIRT. Hmm. In the other three theme entries, the “S” words are used in their alternates senses. That is, the “suit” one follows is not a suit worn for a fancy occasion but the suit on a playing card. And the “slip” in the next theme entry is not the “slip” one wears to avoid giving easy reward to the ogler. But the “shirt” in a stuffed shirt is, well, a shirt. In the spirit of Olympic judging, then, let’s dock a half-point for this minor inconsistency.
- 49-Across: An [Inadvertently revealing remark] is known as a FREUDIAN SLIP.
- 64-Across: A CITY SLICKER is a [Dude ranch visitor].
The theme is pretty constraining–there aren’t many (any?) common two-word terms ending in SCARF, SWEATER, SWEATS, SKIRT or SKORTS. And yet Patrick makes it all look so natural. Moreover, this is a very smooth grid–only MLLES, the [Bordeaux bachelorettes (abbr.)] stands out as awkward. I’m attributing my relative speed on today’s solve to this smoothness and not to any special TELEPATHY, [Mind-to-mind communication].
Favorite entry = ONE WAY, the [Warning inside an arrow]. Favorite clue = [Surname synonymous with synonyms] for ROGET.
Patti Varol’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Gareth’s review
Today’s puzzle is by Patti Varol, Rich Norris’ LAT assistant, and the friendly lady who is the messenger of much bad (and good) news regarding constructors’ puzzles. I wonder if she has to write letters to herself?
Her other job, working in a bookshop, is clearly a source of inspiration. Today’s puzzle is a simple, elegant affair involving 39a [Author of the 1974 novel found in the starts of the starred answers], (John) LECARRE. The novel is 18a [*”Peter Pan” pixie], TINKERBELL , 24a, [*Not mass-produced] TAILORMADE, 52a [*1962 Shirelles hit] SOLDIERBOY, 61a [*Hand-held telescopes], SPYGLASSES.
I have not read the book, but I have watched the film, which was definitely most absorbing! The title is based on a nursery rhyme, which I seem to remember is not so familiar to American audiences. I know it from A.A. Milne’s Now We are Six, which has a version entitled “Cherry Stones”.
I always like grids with long downs in the corners; here we get two double stacks of nines: I really liked two of those answers – 12d [Explore all of Hawaii, say], ISLANDHOP, and 32d [“Where the folks are fine / And the world is mine,” in a Linda Ronstadt hit], BLUEBAYOU . The latter is a mellifluous song title; I knew the artist/song pairing, but I have actually never heard it before; feel free to give it a listen on Youtube and I’ll do the same! Also, we get a full name, 5d [Ballplayer with the autobiography “My Prison Without Bars”], PETEROSE; and a nod to yesterday’s NYT in 5a [Bear in a kid’s tale], PAPA, with its ursine clue echoing the ursine crossing 7d [“Giant” bear], PANDA. 22a [Like morning grass], DEWY, has been incorrect, locally; for most of the country, the morning grass has been frosty, and in some places, snowy.