Jean O’Conor’s New York Times crossword
This is a terrible recipe! It would be helpful if the clues gave you the amounts to use.
- 17a. [Recipe instruction #1], MINCE GARLIC. Use a whole head of garlic, I say.
- 22a. [Recipe instruction #2], GRATE PARMESAN. A quarter teaspoon should suffice.
- 33a. [Recipe instruction #3], CHOP BASIL LEAVES. Just chop em’ in half, no need to use a food processor to grind the basil up. Use two full bushes’ worth of leaves. DO NOT USE ANY STEMS. ONLY LEAVES.
- 45a. [Recipe instruction #4], CRUSH PINE NUTS. Take a cup of pine nuts, put them on the floor, and grind them under the heel of your shoe. A sturdy loafer is best.
- 53a. [Recipe instruction #5], ADD OLIVE OIL. Just drizzle a little on top and it’ll be perfect.
- 61a. [What you get when you blend the results of this puzzle's recipe instructions], PESTO.
See what I mean? Recipes need quantities or they can go dreadfully haywire. Also, though most pesto recipes these days call for a food processor, hand chopping is also done.
Five more things:
- 25a. [Owners of an infamous cow]. O’LEARYS. Plural? Yes. Apparently Mrs. O’Leary lived with her husband and their son, and while the Chicago Fire apparently started in their barn, she wasn’t in there drunkenly milking a cow and ignoring fire, she was in bed.
- 38a. [Tarzan creator's monogram], ERB. Edgar Rice Burroughs. Not a particularly famous monogram. Did you know Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan in movies back in the ’30s or ’40s) went to high school in Chicago?
- 57a. [Painter Mondrian], PIET. That’s a good Piet, yes, but my favorite Piet is Piet Hein, the mathematician who created the Soma Cube. If only it had gone viral back in its day; then SOMA, PIET, and HEIN might all be entirely reasonable and common crossword fill.
- 3d. [Squarish TV toon], SPONGEBOB. I love SpongeBob. I don’t understand what some people have against the show. C’mon, Mrs. Puff’s Boating School, and the boats … travel on the sea floor … with wheels? The fish have arms and legs? What’s not to love? It messes with what’s believable in a delightful way.
- 7d. [Van Cleef of "High Noon"], LEE. He’s this guy and not, as is commonly thought, the mascot of the Van Cleef & Arpels jewelers. (That last link’s to a museum exhibition featuring the jewelry designs, in California. Oh! I want the bejeweled ballerina.)
Not crazy about, say, OBE, ERB, LAHR, ENVIRO-, ESTH, and ALCAN. Also, it’s been pointed out that the RADII clue, 46d. [Pizza cuts, essentially], is off base. Would you make, say, five RADII cuts in a pizza? Or would you cut a bunch of diameters intersecting, as they must, in the center? True, the borders of a pizza slice are RADII, but the cuts that made the slices are generally not. And of course, in Chicago, you can cut your pizza into squares and have much more reasonably sized pieces of pizza (and can opt to minimize or maximize your consumption of crispy crust edges, which are, of course, arcs).
Patrick Blindauer’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “A Cherry on Top” – Dave Sullivan’s review
Today we have four phrases that begin with a word that can follow CHERRY, notably in the Down position (so that the implied “cherry” is on top…Patrick is visual this way!):
- [Survivalist's structure] clued BOMB SHELTER – I think a cherry bomb is a type of firework, but I wonder if Patrick had this in mind?
- ["Faster!"] was PICK UP THE PACE – to “cherry pick” is to be somewhat random in your selection process–one of these, one of those type of thing. I think a “cherry picker” is what they call the crane that electrical repairmen (and women) use to get to the top of poles or trees.
- [Jazz singer and pianist who sang "Figure Eight" on "Schoolhouse Rock" (1924-2009)] clued BLOSSOM DEARIE – no fair trying to hide an obscure name behind a song we all know and love. Here it is! Cherry blossoms are all the rage in my past hometown of Washington, DC in the spring.
- [Pipe dream] was PIE IN THE SKY – we all know what a cherry pie is.
I enjoyed the theme entries as well as the additional visual aspect. Too bad one of my FAVE actresses, Cherry Jones, didn’t make the cut, but I understand it would be hard to find a phrase that starts with JONES. Other nice entries included POP-TART, MANBAG, IDEALISM, PEDANT and [His questions are answers], Alex TREBEK. I’m not a big fan of the “takeout” entries like ATE IN, EAT OUT, etc., but I just put ATENO in a puzzle I’ve submitted (clued as “___ ‘clock scholar”), so I’m hardly one to speak.
Mary Lou Guizzo’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Gareth’s review
A very basic theme from Ms. Guizzo – the six theme answers beginning with different metals. The final revealing phrase, METALHEAD, is zippy and (as far as I can tell) new to crosswords. The six entries themselves are interesting as answers – which is IMO more important than a clever theme concept in easy puzzles. It would be ideal that the metals in these phrases are used in non-metallic ways. The puzzle sort of succeeds here, as although they’re all ultimately derived from the metals they’re used in a more-or-less figurative sense on each occasion. The answers are:
- [Ford Model T, colloquially], TIN LIZZIE. Initially spelt it LIZZY but found I had one too many squares!
- [Speed demon], LEADFOOT.
- [Mature male gorilla], SILVERBACK.
- [One only in it for the money], GOLD DIGGER.
- [Japanese cooking show], IRON CHEF. I know the name, but have never watched it. Didn’t know it was Japanese
- [Tucked-in part of a dress shirt], HEM. Eh, who bothers… Probably the person whose TIE is a [Match for a pocket handkerchief].
- [Siesta taker], DOZER. I don’t understand. Dozer as short for bulldozer would be a far, far better cluing angle, IMO.
- [Schemer Charles], PONZI. Didn’t know his first name, but schemer was a big tip-off!
- [It may drop down or pop up], MENU. Like the clue!
- [Tribal land, informally, with "the"], REZ. News to me, but then I haven’t had much occasion to refer to Indian tribal land in a casual setting.
- [Somerset Maugham novel, with "The"], RAZOR’S EDGE. Eyebrow! Have only read his short stories…
- [Massage deeply], ROLF. This must be used a lot, but I’ve never encountered outside of a dictionary or a crossword. Singer Harris sends his regards.
Straight-over-the-plate easy puzzle. 3 stars.
Ben Tausig’s Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, “The Big Case”
The name of the game is hidden world capitals:
- 17a. [Two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback]. ELI MANNING. Lima, Peru.
- 30a. [Highest place where trees grow, on a mountain], TIMBERLINE. Berlin, Germany.
- 36a. [Feature shared by "iPhones" and "ObamaCare," and what can be found in 17-, 30-, 43-, and 59-Across], INTERNAL CAPITAL. Not a term I’m familiar with—”camelcase” is also used for this. Also, I mostly see it styled as “Obamacare” (in major newspapers, for example).
- 43a. [Modern gaming machines], VIDEO SLOTS. Oslo, Norway.
- 59a. [Gawk], RUBBERNECK. Bern (or Berne), Switzerland.
Five more things:
- 4a. [Guy de Maupassant novel published in English as "The History of a Scoundrel"], BEL AMI. I am no more familiar with the English version than the French one.
- 53a. [Reuters rival, for short], AFP. Not familiar with this either. Agence France-Presse?
- 1d. [Twitter friends, casually], TWEEPS. I have neglected mine for months.
- 8d. [QB Donovan dissed by Rush Limbaugh a year before taking his team to the Super Bowl], MCNABB. If you claim that a quarterback is highly overrated, you might want to focus on one who doesn’t have the skills to reach the Super Bowl. Just saying.
- 47d. [Directorial phrase], “…AND CUT!” I like this. Not sure I’ve seen the entry in a crossword before.