David Kahn’s New York Times crossword
This is one of those puzzles that riffs on crosswordese. Who the heck cares that Elisha Otis was a pioneer in elevator technology? Who pays attention to elevator brand names other than crossworders who have been seeing OTIS clues for eons? Here, David Kahn aptly runs OTIS up and down inside four theme answers (in the circled squares, which phone/tablet app solvers are probably missing) and summarizes the elevator business:
- 3d. ROTISSERIES, [Cookers for chickens and franks].
- 34d. DEPOSITOR, [Bank customer, at times]. If only OVIPOSITOR fit the theme, lengthwise. I find it a much more entertaining word.
- 7d. HAS IT ONE’S OWN WAY, [Ignores others' advice]. Alas, we didn’t make it through this puzzle without a ONE’Sie entry.
- 9d. HOT ISSUES, [Stocks in great demand]. Not up on my stock-market parlance.
- 25d. UPS AND DOWNS, [Vicissitudes of life, as for the inventor named in the circled squares?]. I love the word vicissitudes.
Hey! I had a crosswordese dinner today. Went to a Chinese buffet in OCALA and had a morsel of General TSO’s chicken. I also had a lychee, and it was spelled that way rather than the crossword spelling of LITCHI. And I inspected a loquat tree this afternoon, but loquat is hardly crosswordese.
Speaking of crosswordese, this puzzle has LIANES (been a while since we’ve seen these [Jungle vines] in either the LIANA or LIANE spelling, no?) , AN I, ONERS, AXER (have you ever used that form of the word?), and TOR. Oh, and EBEN, [Irving Bacheller's "___ Holden"]. It was a best-seller … in 1900.
Top fill: BAR CAR, UNDERTOW EARWAX (a lovely row there, no?), and BORA BORA (better vacation spot than Tora Bora).
Favorite clue: [What you may call it?] for NOUN. Sounds like a more formal “whatchamacallit.”
Ben Tausig’s Ink Well crossword, “This Just In”
Read the puzzle’s title as “‘TH’ is just in” and you’ve got the theme concept: Just insert a TH into a familiar phrase and you’ll get something new.
- 18a. [Doomsday weapon operated by George Michael?], BLUTH RAY. Blu-ray disc, George Michael Bluth (Michael Cera’s Arrested Development character, not the Wham! singer.)
- 23a. [Ancient Greek author's gig?], MYTH GENERATION. The Who’s “My Generation” meets Greek mythology.
- 38a. ["Arrrr, keep your electroshock weapon away from this here chicken broth!"], DON’T TASE ME BROTH. Viral “don’t tase me, bro” video meets pirate-speak.
- 49a. [Part of the year marking everything being okay?], NO PROBLEM MONTH. Jamaican “no problem, mon.” My wish for all of you: That April is NO PROBLEM MONTH when it comes to your health, your job, and your personal life.
- 55a. [Interplanetary graffiti artist's action?], EARTH TAG. An animal biologist’s ear tag meets a giant intergalactic can of spray paint.
Slang I just learned from this puzzle: That MOOLAH can be called [Scrilla].
- 30a. [Doing much more than cqtm], LOL. “Chuckling quietly to myself,” I presume.
- 32a. [Feel blue or see red], IDIOM.
- 45a. [Protested during the national anthem], SAT.
- 54a. [Genre most white people hated until "Saturday Night Fever"], DISCO.
- 2d. [Word that might fix a spastic diaphragm], BOO. Hiccups involve spasm of the diaphragm.
- 5d. [Columnist Dan who coined "santorum"], SAVAGE. If you don’t already know, don’t Google it. Trust me on this.
- 26d. [James gang?], HEAT. LeBron James, the Miami Heat.
Raymond Hamel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Hall Monitor”- Sam Donaldson’s review
I like the subtle theme in today’s puzzle. The five theme entries all have a “Hall” somewhere in their clues:
- 17-Across: SOLID GOLD is the [TV show hosted by Arsenio Hall in 1988]. I have only a vague memory of the Arsenio version of Solid Gold. I was much more into the version hosted by Marilyn McCoo.
- 40-Across: A.A. MILNE of Winnie the Pooh fame is the [Author of "Toad of Toad Hall"]. It’s apparently a stage play. I bet it’s a wild ride.
- 64-Across: SARA SMILE is the [First top 10 hit for Hall and Oates]. Watch out, boy–she’ll chew you up.
- 11-Down: ERNIE BILKO is better known to TV watchers of a certain age as Sgt. Bilko. [His commanding officer was Colonel Hall].
- 30-Down: The BOWERY BOYS is the [Group that included Huntz Hall]. Lest you think of the Bowery Boys as a boy band, Wikipedia explains that they were “a nativist, anti-Catholic, and Anti-Irish Dead Rabbit gang based north of the Five Points district of New York City in the mid-19th century. … It was said that the gang was so popular during its time that many of the lesser gangs of the Bowery followed it in its various fights with the Dead Rabbits.” Fighting dead rabbits hardly seems sporting.
I’m pleased with my solving time given there was much in this puzzle I didn’t know or had a hard time sussing out (besides those last two theme entries). MEISSEN is [German porcelain], the spelling of Garrison KEILLOR‘s surname violates the “I before E” rule, EX GRATIA can mean [As a favor] (which I guess makes it different from PRO BONO), and I have a hard time remembering U.S. ambassador SUSAN Rice. But otherwise all seemed to fall quickly. Loved LOVE NOTE, and there were other goodies like ASBESTOS, NEVADANS, UNNAMED, SWILL, and Perry Mason’s Paul DRAKE.
Favorite entry = BANSHEE, the [Shrieking spirit]. Favorite clue = [Give a hand to] for DEAL IN.
C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Gareth’s review
C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Gareth’s review
The tried-and-tested way of interpreting DOUBLEDAY would be to come up with two-part compound words where both parts can have DAY tacked on their ends. Zhouqin eschews this crossword cliche, and instead stacks the DOUBLEDAYs into three pairs: ARBOR/GROUNDHOG, FLAG/INAUGURATION, and INDEPENDENCE/LEAP. Plus one for being a crossword maverick! Also, this puzzle is technically proficient – having 3 double stacked themers, even if one of those answers is short, is no mean feat. One weak link, I felt, was LEAP, which doesn’t feel the same as the other days… Granted I can’t think of another four-letter day at the moment, and also it would have to stack right… So that’s probably why it’s there.
The long theme entries were not being the most interesting as of themselves, but CC managed to squeeze in some fine long downs: CUBALIBRE, LENDAHAND, and ODDJOBS (finished with ODDSOBS and had to reconsider!) are particularly fine. I can’t really see any fill blemishes at all, maybe ONEHOP, but I don’t know enough about baseball to know if that’s a real thing or not.
Two clues I’d like to highlight: [Summers in China?] for ABACI – not only does CC get to highlight her Chinese ancestry, but it’s a brilliant misdirection too! I’m not sure if this trap was deliberate or not, but off the G I put in GAME for [Safari sights].
3½ stars! I fine novel puzzle theme and a well-filled grid!