Joe Krozel’s New York Times crossword
Huh, a 64-worder from Joe Krozel, and as far as I know, the grid breaks no records and attempts no stunt.
I’m sleepy, so let’s move straight to bullet points:
- 1a. [Clemson Tigers logo], PAW PRINT. I had lots of crossings and tried WARPAINT. Whoops.
- 17a. [Mimosas and such], ORNAMENTAL TREES.
- 28a. [Sauce often served with oysters], MIGNONETTE. No idea what this is.
- 38a. [Coeur ___], D’ALENE. Ugly entry. So is the more common [Coeur d'___].
- 40a. [Angry Birds or Tetris, e.g.], TIME SINK. Lively phrase.
- 46a. [2013 women's singles champ at Wimbledon], BARTOLI. Marion Bartoli! And then she retired rather than making her name (plus her first name) more and more perfect for crosswords.
- 5d. [Release a claim to, legally], REMISE. Never, ever ran into this word before. You?
- 7d. [Marxist Andrés and writer Anaïs], NINS. What?? There is another NIN out there? I had been wondering if Anaïs made up her surname since I’ve never seen it elsewhere. Pop quiz: How is “Anaïs” pronounced?
- 13d. [Woodenware], TREEN. Etymologically related to trees, which makes this a semi-dupe with ORNAMENTAL TREES. Also? Never, ever seen this TREEN before.
- 23d. [Occupy opponent], BIG BANK. Is this truly in the language?
- 29d. [Plastic that can be made permanently rigid], THERMOSET. O…kay.
- 30d. [See red?], TURN A LOSS. *nose scrunched up in disapproval*
- 33d. [Braggadocios], BOASTERS. Huh? I thought braggadocio was boastING, not a boastER. Can we get a ruling on this? Also: BOASTERS is a kinda ugly entry. +ER, +S.
- 39d. [Ones above military heads], BERETS. Can we all agree that this use of “ones” in a clue is dreadful?
- 42d. [Former Israeli president Katsav], MOSHE. Dang, another Moshe? I know my Moshe Dayan but don’t know this Katsav fellow. And he’s recent! And was charged with rape! Surprised his name is note more familiar.
C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review
Hi all! It’s good to be back! Thanks to everyone who picked up the slack while I was on my televised sabbatical.
Can I just say how much I loved the AARON BURR / LLEYTON HEWITT crossing? They both begin and end with double letters (I’m going to assume it was intentional and let C.C. say otherwise), and they’re interesting people to boot.
The rest of the grid isn’t terribly interesting, in that there’s no other entries longer than 8-letters, but there are a lot of fun entries nonetheless:
- 8d, BAYWATCH [Show known for its slow-motion shots];
- 15a, ON A TOOT stacked on top of 17a, PALOOKA;
- The SILENT I in “fruit”;
- DAY SPA;
- JUST NOW;
- YES OR NO!?;
- IN DRAG;
- LA LA LA!
Just to name a few.
In the minus column: OPA, PELEG, ARTUR (sort of), USG, THE A (but I like the New York train clue, actually), MDL, ‘OME, SOPORS, I COME, FRAS.
Overall, not too challenging, but probably not a Saturday I’ll remember much past October. 3.2 stars from me. Until next week!
Jeffrey Harris’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
I solved this puzzle after reading the DIALOGUE between Gareth and Newsday crossword editor Stan Newman. (Thanks for avoiding spoilers, Gareth!) I will agree with both Stan and Gareth. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for such oblique clues, and it can be unpleasant when a whole section of the grid is nearly impenetrable because of all the tricky clues crossing each other. But indeed it is vanishingly rare to find a lousy entry in the Newsday puzzles (the answers that were dinged in the NYT and LAT reviews are not typically found in the Stumper), and the odor of unfairness creeps in only when there is a perfect storm of oblique clues piled up in one corner, and you can’t make headway. I rarely am unable to finish a Stumper, though—it just can’t be done as quickly as the other themelesses. It requires a lot of flexible/lateral thinking, considering all of the possible meanings of a word and discarding the meaning that comes to mind first because it’s a trick.
On to the specifics in this puzzle, which was indeed more challenging for me than the other freestyles this week:
- 19a. [Stir], JAIL. Noun, not verb; I started with JOLT.
- 20a, 54d. [Take in], EAT and CON. I hit 54d first and put EAT there, but it didn’t end up working with the crossings. I was surprised to find EAT elsewhere!
- 25a. [What brats might crack?], WISE. I hadn’t ruled out bratwurst here.
- 30a. [Its flag depicts a beehive], UTAH. My one flat-out factual gimme.
- 32a. [Like this clue], SELF-REFERENTIAL. Love it!
- 45a. [n look-alike], ETA. Really? I had no idea. Clearly have not memorized all the upper and lower case Greek letters.
- 54a. ['70s fad], CB RADIO. “Breaker 1-9, breaker 1-9 … 10-4, good buddy.” Trucker chic. I also considered MACRAME and PET ROCK.
- 57a. [2013 Golden Globe host], TINA FEY. Amy POEHLER’s last name is also a 7.
- 6d. [A couple of things in common], EMS. The letter M appears a couple of times in “common.”
- 10d. [Popeye's rival], KFC. Factual error! The restaurant chain is Popeyes, no apostrophe.
- 13d. [I, for one], welcome our new robot overlords. I is a LETTER.
- 14d. [Pro players], DEEJAYS. I tried THE JAYS, pro baseball players.
- 19d. [He had a hand in educational television], JIM HENSON. Literally—a hand inside a puppet.
- 22d. [Accroaches], USURPS. Today’s vocabulary word is accroach. It’s one of those unabridged dictionary words that isn’t in common use. It means usurp, appropriate, assume.
- 23d. [Metaphorical theft victim], PETER. “Rob Peter to pay Paul.” Who is this Rob Peter guy, anyway?
- 33d. [''Know Your __'' (heart.org page)], FATS. Olive oil is all right, isn’t it?
- 35d. [Exclamation of exasperation], I’VE HAD IT. What some Stumper solvers say after banging their head against the cluing wall for a while and not making much progress.
- 36d. [Lives on shelves], AUTOBIOS. A much less common word than “bio,” no?
- 44d. [If necessary], ALWAYS. Okay, I don’t understand the link between clue and answer here. Anyone?
4.25 stars. Meaty challenge with some sparkle in the longer fill.
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Calvary Call” – Dave Sullivan’s review
Apologies to constructor Randall J. Hartman; life got in the way today and I was unable until now to write a commentary of his CrosSynergy offering today. We have 4 entries whose first word can precede HORSE:
- I love when a short clue is used for a grid-spanning 15-letter entry, and this one was no exception: [Kaput] was DEAD AS A DOORNAIL – don’t you just love the English language? A “dead horse” is something you idiomatically beat if you belabor something.
- I’ve never heard of [Kraken] which is some type of SEA MONSTER – other than Nessie, I’m lost. A “seahorse” is a typical aquarium denizen. I think we once tried to “grow” them from some type of crystals you could order through the mail, but maybe I’m not remembering how this all worked.
- ["The X Factor" heavy metal band] was IRON MAIDEN – is this their house band? I think this is the new Simon Cowell vehicle, but I’ve never seen the show. I think an “iron horse” is some type of torture device (nope, I did finally check, and it’s a term used in reference to steam locomotives that powered trains), but I’m taking a no-Wikipedia pledge today, so I’m just going on memory here. (Always a dangerous proposition!)
- Another great phrase, [Like someone requiring a lot of attention] was HIGH MAINTENANCE – a “high horse” is something someone is on if they are affecting airs. “Get off your high horse” is something you tell someone who is acting more important than they really are.
Fun theme and entries. The puzzle itself took me a bit longer to solve than normal, but maybe it’s because I had been wracking my brain trying to solve Matt Gaffney’s weekly contest puzzle (and ultimately failed with an incorrect submission. Le sigh.) My FAVE was the paired clues [Coolidge and Hoover] for both DAMS and NAME. (The second clue had an “or” instead of “and.”) Wasn’t as happy to see both ERAS and EONS in the same puzzle; one “really long time” per grid puh-leeze!