Julian Lim’s New York Times crossword
Listless post tonight. Apologies to Julian—headache trumps dedication.
- 18a. [Spirit, in Stuttgart], GEIST. As in zeitgeist, poltergeist. German for “ghost.” See also: Willie Geist, who played Carrie’s pal Stanford on Sex and the City.
- 19a. [Maximum, nonstandardly], MOSTEST. Fun. This is in the dictionary.
- 20a. [Sprites are similar to them], FRESCAS. Dangit! Hidden capital S, clear sodapop—not FAIRIES.
- 22a. [:, at times], IS TO. In analogies. Not an emoticon!
- 42a. [Thirst], HANKER. Love this verb.
- 64a. [Gift for a TV buff], DVD BOX SET. Nice 3,3,3.
- 12d. [What a day trader tries to turn], QUICK BUCK.
- 47d. [Role for both Burton and Amos in a 1977 miniseries], KINTE. I had a little fun with the exchange between Kunta Kinte and a slavemaster when my son was 7 and had a classmate named Toby.
- 50d. [They're not basic things], ACIDS. Alkalis are basic.
42d: [Where one may have personal reactions?] clues HOME LAB. What do people make in home labs besides meth?
Signing off now with a 3.75-star rating.
Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Opposites Attract”- Sam Donaldson’s review
It’s Paula Abdul week at the CS Syndicate! Today’s puzzle is “Opposites Attract,” and later in the week we’ll see puzzles called “Cold-Hearted” (BRR is hidden inside four familiar terms), “Straight Up” (all the Downs read from the bottom up), and “Rush Rush” (the last word in each theme entry is a synonym for “hurry”). Or maybe not.
The theme here features five familiar terms (okay, four familiar ones and one gross-out) where the first two words can be opposites:
- 16-Across: DON’T DO DRUGS is the [Admonition from a health teacher]. In the case of my health teacher, there was a follow up line: BECAUSE I WANT THEM ALL FOR MYSELF.
- 19-Across: Something OUT IN THE OPEN is [For all to see].
- 35-Across: One [Digressing] is OFF ON A TANGENT.
- 53-Across: LITTLE BIG MAN is the [Dustin Hoffman title role] that works with this theme, though TOOTSIE and RAIN MAN are more familiar to me.
- 57-Across: Those with weak stomachs, look away! The [Picnic leftovers] are COLD HOT DOGS. Eww!
Did you notice how Randy smushed together the theme entries on the top and bottom? Very Hook-ish, or Reagle-esque. Whatever it is, it’s elegant.
I struggled with the intersection of EUBIE and EDIE ADAMS, as neither the [Broadway show about Blake] nor the woman who [won a Tony as Daisy Mae in “Li’l Abner”] sits within my wheelhouse. And the clue for MIDTERMS, [Important tests in high school] felt a wee bit off to me, as I think of midterms as having more importance in college than high school (besides, finals and achievement tests are waaay more important than midterms, even in high school).
Some of the fill felt strange, too. UNBELT is a word, yes, but when was the last time someone told you they had to unbelt themselves after a large meal? Then there’s TITTLE, meaning [Jot]. Tittle this down, Cedric! For the most part, though, the fill worked for me. I liked I HEAR YA, ALAMEDAS, MR. TOAD, AT TEN, HEADLIGHT, and ADD UP.
Favorite entry = TAPPAN, the [Amana alternative] that I know chiefly from the Tappan appliances given away as prizes on Let’s Make a Deal. Favorite clue = [Having a lot to lose] for OBESE.
Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review
Hi all! I’m still on an ACPT high. I had an awesome time, proudly representing Team Fiend for the first time. Speaking of which, our fearless leader Amy took 11th, while meta-master Joon finished 7th! *clap clap clap* And I reached my goal of seven perfect puzzles! I can hardly wait for next year.
I thought I was going to blaze through this one after I slapped down ABDICATE [Relinquish power], ABRAMS ["Fringe" co-creator J.J.], and BRUNEI [Sultanate on the South China Sea] in the NW in quick succession. But I found the NE a little sticky and had to work back around to it. Don’t worry, guys — IT’S OK. I figured it out eventually.
A few factoids:
- 52a, GNOMEO ["___ & Juliet": 2011 animated film]. The trailer was so punny that I refused to see it, but by all accounts it was a delightful vehicle for Elton John songs. I also heard that Jason Statham’s turn as Tybalt is not to be missed.
- 30d, ANDERSON ["Anne of the Thousand Days" playwright Maxwell]. It’s about Anne Boleyn. Richard Burton was nominated for an Oscar for the movie version. It was his sixth acting nomination, and his sixth loss. And then he lost a seventh time.
- 46a, GALOP [Dance named for a horse's gait]. I immediately thought of the Joanna Newsom song “En Gallop,” which it turns out is spelled with two Ls and not one, as I had thought. Accidental victory.
- 48a, ISRAELI COUSCOUS [Mideast pearl-shaped pasta].Apparently it’s larger than regular couscous, more like orzo. This probably makes a difference if you’re Anthony Bourdain.
- 15a, BRITISH INVASION [Major influence in '60s music]. On April 4, 1964, the Beatles held the top 5 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Almost 50 years later, no other act has managed to do that.
- 31d, GO OVER TO [Approach]. This looks so weird in the grid. GOOVERTO? GOOVER TO? GOO VERTO?
- 13d, TOE RINGS [Worn-down jewelry?]. Because they’re worn… down on your feet. Are toe rings popular among Fiend readers?
- 26d, A-FLAT [Key of Chopin's "Heroic Polonaise"]. It’s a notoriously difficult piece. Non-musicians might be more familiar with the Monty Python version: the Oliver Cromwell song is sung to the tune of the Heroic Polonaise.
- 50d, UND [___ so weiter: Berliner's "et cetera"]. Note for constructors: UND = absolutely fine fill; USW (the abbrevation for und so weiter) = fill that makes me sad.
- 47a, TERPS [ACC team with a turtle mascot]. Maryland basketball just beat Duke in the ACC tournament, which is bound to make Erik Agard happy. As a Wolverine, any enemy of Duke is a friend of mine.
- 7d, THE WIRE [It can be exciting to get down to it]. Real missed opportunity to clue one of the most influential TV shows of the past twenty years. Instead, we get a partial idiom.
- 33a, SNO-CATS [Antarctic expedition vehicles].The Kleenex of tracked snow vehicles. Bet you’ve never heard of Bombardier.
The 15s ranged from acceptable (NOT IN ONE’S NATURE) to good (ISRAELI COUSCOUS, RUNS THE GAUNTLET) to great (BRITISH INVASION). The fill didn’t thrill me the way a Wilberson puzzle usually does, but other than PRIE and maybe SACRA, there wasn’t anything particularly offensive. I’ll give this one 3.33 stars. Until next week!
Lars G. Doubleday’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
Yet another puzzle from the Doublemint Twins, the Wilber/Peterson duo. They’re frightfully clever, these two. They make a themeless puzzle just the way I like it: With corners stacked full of long and lively phrases. Look at this nonsense:
- 1a. [Touristy gift-shop staple], SNOW GLOBE. Who doesn’t love a snow globe, besides the TSA?
- 15a. [Water around Corregidor], MANILA BAY. Know your Filipino geography! Maybe it helps if your family’s half Filipino.
- 17a. [First arrival], ABORIGINE. Word frowned upon in Australia now, no? Ab = from, origine = beginning.
- 54a. [House parties], POLITICOS. And strikingly unloved in general.
- 59a. [Offensive lines], TRASH TALK. Do offensive linemen engage in trash talk?
- 61a. [Lays up], SALTS AWAY.
- 12d. [Hurdle for some tablets], FDA APPROVAL. Pills, not iPads.
- 13d. [2012 debate subject], FISCAL CLIFF. We’ve all moved on to “sequester,” right?
- 14d. [They may be fit for a king], SATIN SHEETS. Do they even make satin sheets for twin beds?
- 21d. [Godzilla, in part], STEGOSAURUS. You don’t say!
- 22d. [Pink appetizer], TUNA TARTARE.
- 23d. [Expert with numbers], ANESTHETIST. The only person I remember from my C-section, aside from my husband and the baby, was the kind-eyed nurse anesthetist.
Not a hint of roll-your-own wordness (you see what I did there?), no “that’s just a verb with a random preposition tacked on.” Good, solid words and phrases.
Now I must acknowledge the one word that didn’t look remotely familiar and that wanted to be BONITO: 20a. [Florida Keys sport fish], BONACI? I was in the Keys a couple years ago and this … rings no bell.
- 33a. [Literary role for Hepburn, Allyson and Ryder], JO MARCH. If Winona Ryder weren’t in this list, I’d have been sunk.
- 35a. [Regular holders], GAS CANS. They hold regular and premium gas, although didn’t “regular” used to refer to leaded gasoline, as distinct from now-standard “unleaded”?
- 1d. ['' 'S a ___ request'': Burns], SMA. Somehow this charms me. However, SASMA would be a horrible, terrible fill-in-the-blank partial.
- 3d. [2001 honorary doctorate recipient from Liverpool University], ONO. New Yoko trivia clue! Matt Gaffney just had a Twitter exchange with Ms. Ono and she likes being filler in crosswords!
- 8d. Spirit of Renaissance theater], BANQUO. Man! This clue had me turned around. I was thinking BANQUO was some theater tied to a “Spirit of Renaissance” brand name or something. Was utterly confused. Of course, he was a ghost (“spirit”) in Macbeth.
- 25d. Accordion-heavy music], TEJANO. I wanted the even-more-Scrabbly ZYDECO but it wasn’t working with the crossings. I wonder if anyone saw the 6-letter space and tried REGGAE.
- 29d. Response to 59 Across], “OH, SNAP.” Love this answer!
Could have done without ET SEQ, the aforementioned BONACI, TUNS, ENE, URSAE, ESAU, OBIE, and OLA, but they’re not beyond the pale and I enjoyed the solve. Four stars.