Julian Lim’s New York Times crossword
To fit in a
fifth sixth famous movie quote, Julian adds another row in the middle. Here’s the theme:
- 11a. [Movie org. that created a top-100 list from which all of this puzzle's quotes come], AFI. American Film Institute.
- 17a. [Memorable movie line spoken by ... Jack Nicholson], HERE’S JOHNNY. In The Shining. See also: “You can’t handle the truth.”
- 22a. [... Haley Joel Osment], I SEE DEAD PEOPLE. In The Sixth Sense. This line was just riffed on in the Jonesin’ puzzle yesterday. You know how often the kid saw dead people, right? Can you say “all the time” in his spooky whisper? I can.
- 37a. [... Renée Zellweger], YOU HAD ME AT “HELLO.” In Jerry Maguire.
- 40a. [... Marlon Brando], STELLA. HEY, STELLA! In A Streetcar Named Desire.
- 46a. [... Greta Garbo], I WANT TO BE ALONE. I couldn’t tell you the movie title without Googling this. Anyone else leave the W blank, not sure if it was going to be a V?
- 58a. [... Debra Winger (heard but not seen)], E.T., PHONE HOME. In E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. I forgot who did the voice of E.T.
This seems like a John Farmer theme. John! Julian stole a nifty movie trivia theme right out from under you. It makes for a fun
Tuesday Wednesday puzzle, doesn’t it? So many Tuesdays are snoozy, and this one crackles with movie fun. (Because it’s a Wednesday.)
- 14a. [Item in a squirrel's hoard], ACORN. Did you know that this week is Squirrel Week 2013 at the Washington Post? Me, I don’t trust those varmints. You chew through my screen door to poop in my dining room, and I won’t trust you, either.
- 27a. [Aromatherapist's supply], OIL. I don’t know about aromatherapy, but I will say that peppermint essential oil makes for a decent topical headache remedy.
- 3d. [Hammerfest's locale: Abbr.], NOR. Whuh? The Hammerfest in Norway is a municipality with fewer than 10,000 people or the 7,100-person town within it. The Hammerfest in Wales is a heavy metal music festival. Will Shortz, I am sure, regrets any confusion.
- 49d. [Baked, so to speak], ON POT. Do people say that, “on pot”? Or do they say baked/high/stoned/etc.?
- 54d. [Milo of "The Verdict"], O’SHEA. He died last week.
Four stars from me. The puzzle does have a bit of an introduction to random crosswordese-type words: Consider MOA, ROANS, DAVIT, and AAR. But the movie quotes were entertaining and distracted me from any unshiny bits.
Peter A. Collins’ Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s Review
Peter Collins gives us a solid, dense early-week theme. I spotted it after the circles of the first answer PIANOSONATA revealed a PITA. From then on I knew each circle was going to have a kind of bread RAISESCAIN has RAISIN; COFFEEURN, CORN; FREELUNCH, FRENCH; and WHEREITSAT, WHEAT. It could be considered inconsistent that RAISIN and FRENCH breads are a subset of WHEAT, but that’s petty and all the theme answers are fun so who cares?! Although it seems obvious now, I hadn’t sussed that a revealer would be BREAKSBREAD until I got to it… Not every place this puzzle is publishes runs circles, I imagine the theme was a little more subtle without them!
As I said, this puzzle has a dense theme, like many of Peter Collins’ puzzles do. I think with some of his NYT puzzles there have been suggestions of this theme density leading to overly subpar fill. Today’s fill is solid, not too much splash (that’s elsewhere). There’s the sustained objection to IRANI, which has precedent sadly, and not much else in the negative column.
In the miscellaneous colum, I liked the clue for FLORA, [Apt name for a woman with a green thumb?]; it’s a common enough clueing trope: lawyer/SUE, woodsman/HUGH etc. but I hadn’t seen that one before! Also like the [,man] at the end of WHEREITSAT‘s clue, as it tied it to the “Like a Rolling Stone” era. Probably not of interest to anyone else, but I learned ESSO from crosswords and always assumed it never existed in South Africa, but I saw a sticker on an old toolbox… Those stations apparently became Zenexes and Engens in the 80′s… [He bested Alexander in 1804] was my mystery clue of the day. Apparently it refers to this.
I’ll give this one four stars. What you expect from an early week puzzle!
Ben Tausig’s Ink Well crossword, “Triple Features”
Ben bundles three movie trilogies in each theme answer:
- 17a, 34a. [With 34-Across, petulant dynast of Rebecca Black's empire?], FRIDAY GODFATHER / PROBLEM CHILD. I don’t think I’ve seen any of the Problem Child movies, and I’ve seen either two or all three of the Friday and Godfather films.
- 37a, 50a. [With 50-Across, renegades working for a network of backpacking lodges?], HOSTEL MATRIX BAD BOYS. Zero Hostel, two Matrix, zero Bad Boys.
- 57a. [Weapon recovered from a preserved body at Area 51?], ALIEN MUMMY BLADE. A couple Alien movies, no Mummy, inattentive viewing of the Blade movies while my husband watched them on TV.
- 27a. [Each of the titles in this puzzle's theme answers, e.g.], TRILOGY.
This might be Ben’s most numerological puzzle to date. Three triads of trilogies? I think that totals 27. Or, with the puzzle’s title, 81.
Nine more things:
- 36a. [Leader who was born in Burma and who died in Myanmar], U NU. Leave it to Ben to be hip to Southeast Asia.
- 49a. [Game that required the Zapper], DUCK HUNT. No idea.
- 66a. ["I can have this?"], FOR ME? Said in the presence of unexpected chocolate.
- 3d. [Twice, Chinese dissident artist Ai's given name], WEI. Kind of a cheat as entries go. Ai Weiwei, or 艾未未.
- 8d. [One may help you clean up your junk], BIDET. Not junk of the hoarding variety.
- 28d. [Tech school for crossword champ Tyler Hinman], RPI. I enjoyed this video in which Tyler races a guy named Alex on a BEQ “Themeless Monday,” but Tyler’s computer has been instructed to backwardsify the cursor movement so that he has to enter the answers backwards. You know exactly how this ends, right?
- 38d. [Musician who's probably going to end up in your grid when you've got 33 3-letter words], ONO. Mm-hmm.
- 58d. [Org. where Dallas is in the East and St. Louis is in the West, for some reason], NFC. My kid thought it was strange that Dallas was East and Houston was South, and then I blew his mind with the STL/DAL thing.
- 59d. [Remark while on grass?], MOO. What? You thought this was a drug thing? No.
Four stars. I like the nestedness of the three-three-three theme, as well as the range of movies included.