Mike Doran’s New York Times crossword
This is a puzzle for all the Double Divas:
- 17a. [1960s dissident], DRAFT DODGER. Iffy timing, what with Monday being Veterans Day.
- 23a. [1987 movie with the hit "Hungry Eyes"], DIRTY DANCING. What song is that? “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” is the song I associate with the movie.
- 37a. [Smash-hit entertainment?], DEMOLITION DERBY.
- 48a. [Fast-food chain with an orange and pink logo], DUNKIN DONUTS.
- 58a. [Jump-rope style], DOUBLE DUTCH.
- 67a. [Lacking depth ... or like 17-, 23-, 37-, 48- and 58-Across?], IN 2-D. I don’t love the revealer but certainly it is better than TWOD would be.
Terrific set of D.D. theme answers, no? Nothing off-key in the grab bag of D.D. phrases.
I was less enthused by the fill. While HERMIT CRAB and NAMED NAMES are always welcome, plural RADARS, wildly unfamiliar ROTA (53a. [Series of golf courses that host the British Open]), IRAE, TUTEES, ADEN, APORT, and SAS left me cold. I would have included APOGEE in that list, but then the science NERDs would condemn me.
3.33 stars from me. I liked all five long themers, but I might’ve liked the rest of the fill better with only four of them.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “You Had To Be There”
Wow, those two wide-open corners sure are cut off from the rest of the grid. The clues for the 15s that offer the only way in and out of those sections are reasonable, though.
Four theme answers have a hidden YOU in them:
- 17a. [Keep a distance], STAY OUT OF THE WAY.
- 28a. [With just us, not anyone else], BY OURSELVES.
- 42a. [Malt liquor amount], FORTY OUNCES.
- 51a. [The right way (for things)], AS THEY OUGHT TO BE.
Simple, solid. Not much to say about the theme.
In the fill, I liked some of the 7s (TUSSLES, EPITOME, E-READER, NEW WAVE), plus CYRANO.
Five more things:
- 43d. [Open an achievement, e.g.], UNLOCK. Video gaming terminology, used slangily in real life.
- 4d. [Eye problems], STYES. Thanks to SAY YES off to the right of this one, I keep seeing it as ST. YES, the patron saint of daily affirmations. (Thanks to pannonica for completing “patron saint of …” for me.)
- 26a. [Not one's best effort, in a sports metaphor], B GAME. Great answer.
- 40d. ["Coppelia" composer], DELIBES. That guy should be in cryptic crosswords, partnered with a RATE (or ERAT, or a muddled TEAR).
- Crosswordese zone: ATTAR, ENA, OEO, OREM, STYES. Meh.
Ed Sessa’s Los Angeles Times crossword
Another hidden-word theme today, but different words each time:
- 21a. [Playskool's Rocktivity products, e.g.], MUSICAL TOYS. Possibly contrived, as phrases go?
- 26a. [Clinic helper], LAB ASSISTANT.
- 43a. [Decree that spells things out], WRITTEN ORDER. Boring phrase.
- 50a. [One's toughest critics, often, and, literally, three different words hidden in 21-, 26- and 43-Across], INNER VOICES.
What?? What is this nonsense, Sessa? You couldn’t come up with a valid phrase with a hidden SOPRANO in it? (Just kidding.)
- 25a. [Old British coin], GUINEA. We also have the guinea fowl and a whopping three countries: Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea. I’d love a [Word in the names of three African countries] clue.
- 7d. [Netanyahu of Israel, familiarly], BIBI. Scroll to the May 25, 1998 Dave Letterman Top 10 List for the list of the top ways to mispronounce “Bibi Netanyahu.” My favorite is Betty Needs A Yoo-Hoo.
- 9d. ["Huh?"], “SAY AGAIN?” Hmm. “Say what?” and “Come again?” feel more common to me.
- 11d. [B in chemistry], BORON. Freshman year of college, I got a carbon in chemistry.
- 37d. [Heartrending], GRIEVOUS. Great word, that. As in “APER is grievous fill, isn’t it?”
Tony Orbach’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Tom Terrific” – Dave Sullivan’s review
I remember when fellow Fiend Sam Donaldson blogged these puzzles he would try to guess who the constructor was. (Must’ve been hard to open the puzzles without revealing both the title and constructor.) Anyway, I might’ve actually guessed today’s was from Tony Orbach, as I’ve noticed his predilection for themes that play off of people’s names. Not that he’s the only one in the biz that does this, nor are all his themes like that, but at least it’s a trend worth noticing if you’re playing Sam’s Name Game.
Today, Tony takes four famous Toms and uses their last names to begin common phrases:
- [Actor Tom's pleasure craft?] clued CRUISE SHIP – I imagine Tom Cruise has many such craft awaiting him around the globe.
- [Former House Majority Leader Tom's filibuster?] was DELAY TACTICS – Tom DeLay recently defended the Republican effort which led to the government shutdown. I guess those might rightly be considered “delay tactics.”
- A perhaps less well-known Tom, [Golfer Tom's war?] was KITE FIGHTING – my father was a big golf fan, so I do remember seeing Tom Kite out on the links. Kite fighting involves razor blades attached to kites which are used to attack other kites in the the sky. Sounds dangerous if one of those comes down on its owner!
- [Singer Tom's run-in with the law?] clued PETTY CRIME – Tom Petty (with The Heartbreakers?) is probably best known for this. Rather appropriate title to follow kite fighting.
Decent theme, well executed. Tony’s grids tend to be a bit more Scrabbly than others, so I enjoyed the J of JUTS, JACKO, JETSETTING and JAMB, as well as the Z action in DANCE CRAZE, ORZO, QUIZ and ZAPS. Got a good laugh out of the clue ["Why am I not surprised?"] for TYPICAL, which rang very true to my ear. Hard to RAIL AT much in this one; TALI for [Anklebones] is a bit obscure, and has any doctor with a stethoscope ever heard a heart go PIT-A-PAT?
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle, “Check Your Calendar!”—Janie’s review
“Happy dance.” Quite literally, it’s a dance that conveys happiness. Sometimes it looks like this; sometimes like this; or even like this. Sometimes, though, no gif is needed and you can simply (and happily) just imagine what it looks like. And/or wish “Candid Camera” were around to capture the moment… That’s what happened for me when Liz disclosed that on realizing that today’s Crossword Nation puzzle would, in fact, be published on this exact DATE [Today's ___ (puzzle theme)], with its consecutive numerals, she “danced a math-geeky crossword jig.” Got that image in your head? Now witness the succinct and mathy way Liz channeled her enthusiasm into today’s puzzle:
- 20A. ELEVEN O’CLOCK [Late news hour]. Also when you can get a unique slant on the day’s news via The Daily Show…
- 38A. TWELVE MONKEYS [1995 Bruce Willis thriller about a man-made virus]. Never saw it, but looks like something I actually might wanna catch up with.
- 56A. THIRTEEN DAYS [Robert F. Kennedy's memoir about the Cuban Missile Crisis]. The book was published posthumously in 1969 and, thirty years later, was re-issued. The subject of the book was an event that caused real MAYHEM in the free world.
But the more layered one is tied into those SLEUTHS [Mystery women?] we encounter. Many of whom were created by AGATHA (herself a woman of mystery) [Whodunit master Christie]. Among Dame Agatha‘s mystery women: Jane Marple and Tuppence Beresford. But
other non-Agatha mystery women that come to mind would have to include Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, Trixie Belden, Nora Charles, Kinsey Millhone, Kay Scarpetta, Tess Monaghan, and let us not forget Lisbeth Salander. Among many, many others. Perhaps some were perfumed; perhaps not. Still it’s not perfume that’s at the bottom of that [Great-smelling crime scene investigator?] clue. Here, the correct fill is POLICE DOG, whose sensitive olfactory abilities are a good sleuth’s best friend at times. (Crossword friendly Asta wasn’t a police dog, but he did more than his share of crime scene investigating!) And when, at the end of a good mystery, the police do come in to [Slap the cuffs on] and make the ARREST, that’s when we know that the next phase—those TRIALS [Courtroom events]—are about to begin. Which may make this a good time to re-visit the film version of Dame Agatha‘s Witness for the Prosecution. Nuthin’ like a strong mini-theme (intended or un-) to add richness of the construction and (for the by-roads the clues-and-fill take us down) satisfaction in the solve!