Jacob McDermott’s New York Times crossword
BETWEEN YOU AND ME (34a. ["Let this be our little secret" ... with a hint to 18-, 23-, 50- or 54-Across]) holds the explanation for the weird and incomplete theme answers: What each real theme answer is should be read as “You __ me,” with the entry plopped into the blank space. As in “You complete me,” which is not here.
- 18a. ["Don't put words in my mouth!"], SAID IT NOT. You said it, not me. And I am not your sock puppet!
- 23a. ["I wasn't born yesterday!"], CAN’T FOOL. “Fool me once, shame on…shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”
- 50a. ["Wanna start somethin'?"], TALKINTO. You talkin’ to me?
- 54a. ["Ooh, I'm shaking in my boots!"], DON’T SCARE. You don’t scare me. Really. You don’t.
Just between you and me, I am looking at 6-Down (6d. [Rapid, in music], MOSSO) and wondering what it’s doing in a mere Wednesday puzzle, because I do not recognize this word at all. Apparently it was in an NYT puzzle last year, and in ’09 and ’06, but none of those instances induced me to remember this word. Also? We were not due to see this word again until 2015. Stick to the triennial schedule, Shortz!
Fill I appreciated: GHOST TOWN, ANY MINUTE, TWANGS, and HOWDAH (if you know the word for an [Elephant rider's seat], you should also know that mahout is a word for an elephant handler). Plus those of us who are germanophones like to see BLAU, 26d. [Danube's color, to a Berliner]. “The Blue Danube,” natürlich!
Less happy about HESS, ARIE, NAST, ENID, and EROO. Also, are there more proper nouns than usual? Yes—just enough to give fits to the solvers who don’t like a name quiz.
Gareth Bain’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jeffrey’s write-up
Hello Canada and puzzle fans in the United States and Newfoundland. This is Jeffrey, filling in for Gareth. Gareth is clearly the laziest blogger on Team Fiend, as he keeps making Wednesday LA Times puzzles just to get out of blogging them.
Theme: Phrases that start with the names of record labels.
- 18A. [*Madonna] – VIRGIN MARY. Sorry, wrong. Madonna’s Like a Virgin was on Sire Records. Is anyone fact-chequing this stuff?
- 23A. [*Ivy League professional school] – COLUMBIA LAW. Harvard is an Ivy League un-professional school. Just ask joon.
- 37A. [*Fruity dessert with sweetened crumbs] – APPLE BROWN BETTY. This is a made up phrase. Who is Betty and why is her apple brown? I’m calling you out, Gareth Bain. Oh sure, it appeared in the New York Times in 1984, but Maleska would publish anything. Besides, Apple makes computers, not records. Not that I’d buy one. I’m a PC guy all the way. Never touched an Apple product. Well except for my iPad, iPhone and two iPods. But I don’t have an iMac or an iSomer.
- 52A. [*"The Lord of the Rings" genre] – EPIC FANTASY
- 58A. [Prize for an aspiring musical artist, perhaps from the first word of the answer to a starred clue] – RECORD DEAL
- 1A. [Lies as a whole?] – PACK. See? Right there. This puzzle starts with a PACK of lies.
- 14A. [Matty or Felipe of baseball] – ALOU. Expos reference to try and get a positive review.
- 26A. [PC brain] – CPU. That’s better. No Apples!
- 31A. [Sci-fi hybrid] – CYBORG. We can rebuild him!
- 33A. [Running or jumping] – GERUND. I love watching the GERUND events at the Olympics.
- 56A. [Liszt or Schubert] – FRANZ. What’s with the old clues? Why not use a modern artist, like FRANZ Sinatra?
- 64A. [Congo critter with striped legs] – OKAPI. Gareth pretending he knows something about African animals.
- 65A. [Golden St. campus] – UCLA. But is it professional?
- 2D. [Los __: Manhattan Project site] – ALAMOS. Los ALAMOS had the hit song “La BOMB-A.”
- 4D. [Invasive vine] – KUDZU. This is referred to as a Yale at Harvard.
- 9D. [Like the village blacksmith's hands] – SINEWY. Not another “village blacksmith’s hand” reference.
- 19D. [Computer that may use Snow Leopard] – IMAC. See above.
- 35D. [Friend of Snow White] – DWARF. Disney reference to try and get a positive review.
- 45D. ["__ Melodies": Warner Bros. shorts] – MERRIE. Wrong again. Disney had Silly Symphonies.
- 46D. [Tablet debut of 2010] – IPAD. See above above.
- 49D. [Chemical relative] – ISOMER. See above above above.
- 54D. [Austerlitz native] – CZECH. Fact – In Canada, it is spelled Cheque.
- 55D. [Holy ark contents] – TORAH/66A. [Grace ender] – AMEN I’d call this a religious crossing, but Jews stay away from crosses.
Other than that fake APPLE BROWN BETTY nonsense, good stuff.
Doug Peterson’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “O No!” – Dave Sullivan’s review
Glad to see that instead of a tribute to [Singer Yoko], we have four phrases where an O has been omitted from the final word:
- [Long for one's lost Louisville Slugger?] was MISS THE BAT – “boat” loses its O.
- [Tranquil group of actors?] clued PACIFIC CAST – “coast” loses its O; I wonder if an alternate clue could be [Shannen Doherty, Luke Perry, et. al.?]
- [Sarcastic sonneteer?] was CUTTING BARD – “board” becomes “bard.”
- [Doofus near the dryers?] was a LAUNDRY SAP – “soap” becomes “sap”; I like to think instead of a new Tide product that removes sticky goo from clothes.
A real feat would have been to not have the O appear at all in the puzzle, but I was happy to see that there were no O’s whatsoever in the theme entries themselves. This same treatment to Oprah’s magazine, however, would leave it with no title whatsoever! Fun to see 10-letter downs, even if they are longer than a couple of the across theme entries, especially this set: POSTSCRIPT, ANESTHESIA, ERSTWHILE, and the somewhat appropriately timed TURDUCKEN, which I believe is a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey. That’s three layers of skin to cut through unless they are skinned before they are stuffed. (Obviously, I’ve never had this delicacy.) Really, none of the fill was LAME or UGLY, so my UNFAVE award will sit on the shelf collecting dust for another day.
Ben Tausig’s Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, “Double-Teamed”
The theme answers are made by butting up one phrase that ends with a professional athlete with a second one that begins with the same word:
- 17a. [Space opera starring Kanye as Jar Jar and Fergie as C-3PO?], POP STAR STAR WARS. The Dallas Stars play hockey but are really the Minnesota North Stars, dammit.
- 27a. [Channel with programming such as "The Real Lunch Ladies of Lincoln Middle School"?], HAIRNET NETWORK. I would watch that. (Brooklyn Nets. Is anybody upset that they’re no longer the New Jersey Nets?)
- 46a. [VIPs at a printer convention in Prague one week, Paris the next?], LASERJET JET SET. New York Jets in football, Winnipeg Jets in hockey (formerly the Atlanta Thrashers, and yes, it makes much more sense for a Canadian city to have an NHL team than for a Southern city).
- 61a. [Cream that proto-Nissan owners had to apply to their vehicles on summer days?], DATSUN SUNSCREEN. Phoenix Suns.
Mildly amusing but not hilarious results for the mashed-up phrases—we’ll put it in the win column.
Did not know: 1a. [Language of many Buddhist texts], PALI. Ben is much more savvy about Asian languages than I am.
- 65a. [Foul-mouthed 1950s heartthrob Paul], ANKA. Foul-mouthed? Do tell! This is new to me.
- “I’M SORRY” and “NO THANKS,” PALEO crossing RAW FOOD.
- 27d. [A total ten, spelled slangily], HAWT. I associate this spelling with Paris Hilton.