Jeff Chen’s New York Times crossword
My solving time doesn’t say “slaughter” but I felt like I was fumbling around haplessly in the grid much of the time. My first answer wasn’t until 24a: SNL, and then 54d: ONE-L, and eventually the whole thing. But it definitely took some work to get going.
- 1a. [Where a lot of dough gets thrown around], PIZZA JOINT. Great answer.
- 17a. [Sleep aid, for some], WHITE NOISE.
- 40a, 42a. [Follows a military order] does double duty for ATTACKS and RETREATS.
- 11d. [Do the impossible, metaphorically], WALK ON WATER.
- 23d. [Temptation for Luke Skywalker], THE DARK SIDE. See also: cryptic crosswords.
- 32d. Name associated with a mobster or a monster], NESS. Eliot Ness, pursuer of Capone; Loch Ness monster.
- 26a. [Broadview ___, O.], HTS. You ever heard of Broadview Heights, Ohio? I hadn’t. Population 19,400.
- 18a. [BMW of North America and others: Abbr.], LLCS. Plural abbreviation.
- 53d. [Titles for distinguished Indians], SRIS. Waiting to see MRS clued as a plural of Mr. Can you pluralize a title?
- 60d. [See, in Santiago], VER.
- 11a. [See 51-Across], WIFE. Does anyone like a cross-reference in the top row of a crossword?
- 38a. [Info about a person's education and work history], BIODATA. New to me. I would have assumed the bio meant biological rather than biographical, but no.
- 6d. [Porter created by Burroughs], JANE. William Burroughs? Oh! Now I get it. Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the Tarzan stories. Apparently Jane of Tarzan fame has the surname Porter?
- 10d. [Smartphone preceded by the Pre], TREO. Ready to never see this answer again in another puzzle. At what point does a discontinued phone model lose its crossword-worthiness? This one was last made five years ago, which feels like an eternity in tech circles.
- 14d. [Standard breakup creation], ESSO. Standard Oil.
- 55d. [Cousin of a congo eel], NEWT. Congo eel is new to me. Genus Amphiuma, aquatic salamanders with wee little vestigial legs.
Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Geez!” – Dave Sullivan’s review
It’s not often I grok the theme after entering the first few letters of the first theme entry I encounter, but today’s “Geez!” trick revealed itself very early on. To wit, two G’s are added inside the first word of two-word phrases:
- [Chef' veggie failure?] was SOGGY BEANS – beans can be rather soggy in even the best of preparations. The base word here was “soybeans,” so I guess these aren’t all two-word phrases, eh?
- [Heads-up about an influx of geese?] was GAGGLE WARNING – funny about that hyphen in “Heads-up” in the clue; I always struggle here to figure out if something should be hyphenated or not (such as “two-word” above). Is there a simple rule to follow, fellow wordniks? A “gale warning” is a type of bad weather alert.
- [Panhandler giving court testimony?] clued BEGGAR WITNESS – not a big fan of this new phrase.
- [Delivery to an entomologist?] clued BUGGY ORDER – or perhaps “Delivery of the beta version of some software?” which I have been often guilty of.
Fun title and theme idea, and nice execution with the minor exception of the “beggar” entry, imho. Smooth fill, of course, with my FAVE of the connected [Ditto's mother in the comics] for LOIS with [Ditto's twin in the comics] for DOT. Though I didn’t even see the clue for GATS ([Gangster's guns]), since I got all the letters from the across entries, now that I do see it I wish I hadn’t, so it receives my UNFAVE award today.
Barry Silk’s Los Angeles Times crossword
I’m sorry, fans of Andy, but you cannot read a puzzle review by Andy this weekend. He is still sequestered on the Million Second Quiz Winners’ Row.
Nice puzzle, no? The highlights, as I see them:
- 1a. [__ shirt], MUSCLE. That’s a tank top with scooped-out arm holes. Man, it took me forever to figure out what “MU***E shirt” could possibly be.
- 16a. [Member of DC Comics' Legion of Super-Heroes], ULTRABOY. Not a familiar name, but a fun one.
- 22a. [Special screening], SNEAK PREVIEW.
- 44a. [Regular guest on "The O'Reilly Factor"], STOSSEL. I like this because my husband and I have been making fun of John Stossel for many years, after he did a “news” program on prison inmates having access to workout equipment so that they would be “bigger—and scarier” upon release. Speaking of bigger and scarier, have you seen Stossel’s mustache?
- 46a. [Where funnels are often seen], TORNADO ALLEY. It was a rough spring.
- 61a. [1980 hit with the line "I longed to speak but did not dare"], HE’S SO SHY. Pointer Sisters! A catchy song.
- 3d. [Hunter with a distinctive cry], SCREECH OWL. ELMER FUDD was too short.
- 4d. [1963-'64 painter of the Paris Opera ceiling], CHAGALL. Love his pure colors.
- 6d. [Life support syst.?], EDS. Tricky clue! Editors at Life magazine.
- 7d. [Collective feeling of oppression], BUNKER MENTALITY.
- 28d. [It may precede a cold front], SQUALL LINE. Excellent crosser for TORNADO ALLEY.
- 49d. ['50s TV adventurer __ Derringer], YANCY. Who? (How else are you gonna clue YANCY, though?)
- 47d. [Basic teaching techniques], ROTES. Not sure how legit that plural is.
- 19a. [What busy people are on?], THE GO. Thanks to a recent Charmin advertising campaign, this entry now fails the breakfast test. “Enjoy the go,” they say.
4.25 stars. Good stuff.
Frank Longo’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
And we’re back to killer Stumpers this week, after a one-week easing. It took me a solid 8 minutes just to fill in the bottom half of the puzzle, with the top half mostly blank. I’m surprised I was able to fill in the rest in another 4 minutes, given how difficult many of the clues were, and how unexpected many of the answers were.
Among the most unexpected:
- 6a. [Salsa alternative], CHEEZ WHIZ. If you use Cheez Whiz instead of salsa, please return your classy cred card. (Great entry, though!)
- 16a. [Its magazine had the recent article ''The Polynesian Ideal''], AIR TAHITI. I have not read this particular in-flight magazine lately. Or ever.
- 17a. [Group standout], DOYEN. Why do I feel like we see the female version, doyenne, far more often?
- 44a. [Spirit], ZEST FOR LIFE. Considered LUST instead of ZEST, but no, Frank works in yet another Z.
- 63a. [Circuit-board attachments], HEAT SINKS. Not a common crossword phrase, for sure.
- 5d. [Gilbert and Sullivan minstrel], NANKI-POO.
- 7d. [They might have implications], HINTERS. Meh. Who here has ever not only tacked an -ER onto the the end of “hint,” but then pluralized it? A roll-your-own word.
- 10d. [''Flash Gordon'' scientist], ZARKOV. I had to run the alphabet to get the K. [Blimps' lack] are KEELS.
- 39d. [One of an Oscar-winning couple], JOEL COEN. With his brother ETHAN. Usually “couple” doesn’t mean “pair of siblings,” though. Great entry.
- 42d. [Subtle shout-out], SLY WINK. Is this truly in the language?
Tough clues that had me wondering for eons:
- 31d. [Brief beginning], IN RE. Opening words of a legal brief.
- 1d. [It's kept in the Bible], HADST. Mild duplication with HAS TO, as both are forms of “have.”
- 46d. [Work for a decorator], ICINGS. Cake/cookie decorator, not interior decorator. The person in charge of decorating the baked goods may well be responsible for making various icings.
- 8d. [Wordsworth's ''__ With Cold Beads of Midnight Dew''], ERE. All crossings for me.
- 14d. [Mug bugs], ZITS. Bugs as in flaws, mug as in your face.