Michael David’s New York Times crossword
Cute theme: TRADITIONAL ANNIVERSARY GIFTS are strewn through the puzzle, and they are clued with just the anniversary year in brackets. 1a is WOOD, . 5a is PAPER, . 21a is SILVER, . 31a is TIN, ; that’s the anniversary when people give you ancient canned goods. 51a is PEARL, . 70a: GOLD, . 20d actually has , CHINA. 24d is the th and DIAMOND. 46d, CRYSTAL, . And last but not least, 52d: RUBY, . They’re not pinned down to symmetrical spots in the grid.
What’s curious is that there are a few obvious nouns in the puzzle that have not been given number clues. Which anniversary years merit STYRENE, OLESTRA, EGGBEATERS, and BRAS?
I figured out the theme when I reached the RUBY/PEARL and from there out, it was pretty straightforward. Not that I have all the gifts memorized by year, but paper, silver, and gold were gimmes.
I don’t know about this 11d: [Dishonest, informally]. Who says ILLEGIT? And does anyone not hear MC Hammer’s “2 Legit 2 Quit” in their head right now?
Not thrilled with fill like APHIS, RILL, ALPE, and EFF. And the CEREBRALLY EGGBEATERS answers just look like they’re theme answers, and they’re definitely longer than thematic GIFTS. Cute to have ONE LOVE balancing the DIAMOND anniversary, though.
Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Noble Beginnings”- Sam Donaldson’s review
Each of the four theme entries has a nobility figure in hiding at the very beginning:
- 21-Across: To [Neutralize] is to COUNTERACT.
- 33-Across: The [Institute for Advanced Study locale] is PRINCETON. This was the last entry to fall, which I suppose speaks volumes about me.
- 44-Across: One [Kind of special] is an EARLY-BIRD special. Sure enough, the clue fooled me, as I was wondering what kind of answer like SORTA UNIQUE would fit within the grid.
- 55-Across: One who [Battled] has DUKED IT OUT. This was the answer that made the theme apparent to me.
All the nobles are part of a larger word, and all appear at the beginning. Nicely done!
As I worked my way through the southern side of the grid, I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if rare letters were being crammed into the grid just to achieve a pangram, that Quixotic quest that seduces many constructors. The Z in the lower left; the Q in the lower right; even that X on the far east. Then there was some of the fill: ETTE, TERR, ALAI, SOC, and EQUI all scream “compromise,” and usually those entries serve to accommodate all the rare letters. But there’s no J to be found. The pangram quest failed, but at least the grid’s Scrabble score got a boost.
I was more impressed with the long Acrosses abutting two theme entries SLEEP OVER and AS WE SPEAK are terrific entries. The long Downs, BOMBSHELLS and EYEWITNESS, are solid. Everything else seems to work fairly well.
Favorite entry = I QUIT, clued as [“You can’t boss me around anymore!”]. Favorite clue = [Crude acronym?] for OPEC. That’s the kind of clue I wish I could come up with more easily.
Jean O’Conor’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Gareth’s review
Subtle theme today from Jean O’Conor! No revealer, and I had to stop after finishing to grok the theme. The first words of the long across answers are also verbs used in agriculture: PLOW, SEED, PLANT, TILL and HARVEST. It’s a little muddy to me as aren’t seed (v.) and plant (v.) essentially the same thing, and isn’t ploughing a subset of tilling? It’s still a cute and original theme idea and allows some interesting theme answers:
- 17a, [Deal with, as a stack of dull paperwork], PLOWTHROUGH. Tried “wade” and “slog” first…
- 24a, [Investor's initial support], SEEDCAPITAL. Great entry!
- 33a, [Create an incriminating trail], PLANTEVIDENCE. Naughty, naughty!
- 48a, [How long to shop, on a spree?], TILLYOUDROP. A partial, but what other options are there?
- 55a, [Autumn lunar phenomenon], HARVESTMOON.
- 21a, [Galsworthy's "The Forsyte __"], SAGA. I’ve read it, though I’m struggling to recall specifics other than everyone had goofy names like Jolyon!
- 32a, [Tour de France stage], ETAPE. Didn’t know this… It’s usually clued as a military camp. I get the feeling the Tour de France usage is more in use.
- 40a, [Simple beds], COTS. In Commonwealth English, beds for babies, though I think you use it somewhat differently…
- 37d, [Goes kaput], CONKSOUT. Fun phrase!
- 44d, [He replaced Ken as Barbie's beau from 2004 to 2006], BLAINE. No idea… Don’t really want to have an idea either.
- 46d, [They're often stewed], SOTS. Great clue!
That’s me! Interesting puzzle. A bit uneven, but a theme I haven’t seen so a net plus!
Ben Tausig’s Ink Well crossword, “Endings All Over”
Assorted top-level domains seen in URLs are plunked willy-nilly (“all over”) into familiar phrases, morphing the meanings:
- 20a. [Coin flip to see who gets the first glass of Bordeaux?], CABERNET TOSS. Have you ever seen the caber toss at, say, the Highland Games? “Here, throw this telephone pole.”
- 30a. [Matching neckwear for a couple of goofy-looking Welsh pups?], TWIN CORGI TIES. The Twin Cities have been ORGed here.
- 40a. [Helping an old lady cross the street in the middle of a war?], COMBAT MITZVAH. A mitzvah is a good deed, more or less. Bat mitzvahs are rites of passage for Jewish girls aged 12, 13, or 82 or 83.
- 54a. [Bust of the 43rd president in an alternate universe?], BIZARRO W HEAD. I can’t think of a single .biz site that I use.
Fair enough. Can you think of a good one incorporating EDU?
- 42d. It’s rolled in Mexico], BURRITO.
- 46a. Knight’s logo], SWOOSH. I forget the first name of that Knight guy who started Nike. I want to say Bobby or Ted, but those names are taken.
- 47a. Certain discount], TWO-FER. Great entry.
- 47d. Popular low-rider model, briefly], T-BIRD. Because it makes me think of War’s “Low Rider.”
Did not know 58a: [Disembodied brain allied with Shredder], KRANG. Is this Ninja Turtles Shredder, or a different Shredder?