Patrick Berry’s New York Times crossword
Ah, yes. A
72-68-word Friday puzzle, plenty of space for lively answers. I like that. Plus super-smooth fill overall (as you expect from Patrick Berry), and interesting clues.
Here are the clues and entries I liked the most:
- 1a and 11d share the same clue, [Milk additive]. BOSCO, which I know strictly from Seinfeld (I don’t think it’s sold in Chicago—at least I haven’t seen it in the stores I shop at), and OVALTINE. I hope Patrick originally had NESTLES clued as Nestlé’s chocolate.
- 15a RETRIEVER crosses its rhyme, 12d RECEIVER. One a dog, one a stereo component.
- 14a. [Hoyt who wrote "Joy to the World"], AXTON. Love that song. Axton played the dad in the movie Gremlins in the ’80s.
- 17a. ABOUT-FACE is a great entry.
- 18a. ["Wrong" way to spell a world leader's name in a New York Times crossword, according to a 1999 episode of "The West Wing"], QADDAFI. Uncharacteristically, Leo McGarry was ignorant of the issue of transliteration. Who the hell is he to say that one particular transliteration spelling is more correct than another? And what is Huda’s preferred spelling?
- 33a. [On-deck circle?], LIFE PRESERVER. Clue sounds mystifyingly basebally to me but isn’t.
- 38a. [Charles who was born Angelo Siciliano], ATLAS. Early bodybuilder. I thought Atlas sounded like a fake name but never knew his real name.
- 53a. HOT POTATO, great entry. Does it make you hungry? Because then there’s 56a ONION RING.
- 58a. [Unwelcome benchmark?], WET PAINT. Great clue! Sit on a bench with wet paint, end up with unwelcome paint marks on your clothes.
- 13d. [Showing some wear?], DRESSED. As in showing some formalwear or showing some sportswear.
- 23d. The great Catherine DENEUVE, welcome crossword entry.
- 34d. [Phone line?], “I’LL GET IT.”
- 35d. [Title sort of person in 2008's Best Picture], SLUMDOG. Not your usual, garden-variety crossword answer.
- 36d. CAT CHOW, good entry. And tasty.
4.25 stars. Good stuff.
David Steinberg’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Up-and-Comers” — pannonica’s write-up
Timer never started, but it was a quick solve. “Up” in the title means about a 90% chance that the theme will be oriented vertically, and so it is. 29-down repeats the title [Up-and-comer … or what can be found in 3, 6, 8, and 20-Down?] Circled, no less. So… Look! Up in the night sky! It’s a nightbird! It’s a nightplane! No, it’s
Supernightman … M Night Shamalayan the name of a star backwards inside a phrase.
- 3d. [Type of betting pool] PARIMUTUEL (Mira). Look!
- 20d. [Paper that awards Obies, with "the"] VILLAGE VOICE (Vega). So that’s where vegans come from.
- 6d. [Euphemism for a certain facility] LITTLE GIRLS’ ROOM (Rigel). Portmanteau of rye bagel.
- 8d. [Brunch staple] EGGS BENEDICT (Deneb). At least no pope. Don’t miss the guy a whit.
Decent theme, good execution, no complaints there.
- 38-across, in the center, [Author of the poem "Teddy Bear"] AA MILNE. The first appearance of (a then-unnamed) Winnie-the-Pooh, in 1924. Later adapted into a pop song for Elvis Presley.
- 15a [Mark in "vis-à-vis"] GRAVE, clued with no reference or relation to 28a [Vehicle in a solemn procession] HEARSE. Curiously, or perhaps capriciously, or perhaps even predictably, I would also have highlighted the pair if they were connected. Also, is there tripartite hyphenation theme going on?
- 42a [Hit the big leagues, maybe] GO PRO. GoPro cameras have a massive techie and on-line presence. Are editors resistant to another brand name? Personally, I’m weary of iApple everything in crosswords.
- 65a [Name that means "wool" in Spanish] LANA. As in, lanolin. Doesn’t seem an overly auspicious name, although granted wool was much more critical for human survival in the past. Are there correlate names in other languages?
- 48d [CBS procedural canceled in 2013] CSI:NY. Does no-one remember that tour in the early Eighties when Tony Iommi played with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young? Jeez. Another casualty this year: 60a [Arcade giant that filed for bankruptcy in 2013] ATARI.
Minimum of junk fill. Good puzzle.
Sarah Keller’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Salad Days” – Dave Sullivan’s review
Four entries where the first word is a type of salad:
- [They're listed in drug ads] clued SIDE EFFECTS – if you believe most pharmaceutical ads on TV, you risk certain death when trying to control an overactive bladder or dry eye. You have the legal department at these companies to thank for that. A “side salad” accompanies an entrée.
- [Eco-friendly political group] was the GREEN PARTY – I’m thinking these parties are more popular in European countries than here, with their fewer natural resources and longer history of exploiting them. A “green salad” is mainly lettuce, no?
- [Where to find rakes and hoes] was a GARDEN SHED – I guess I think of a “garden salad” having more than just lettuce–tomatoes, onions, green peppers, celery, carrots, etc.
- [Random decision-makers] clued TOSSED COINS – “tossed salads” are tossed to get the dressing on more than just the stuff on top.
I was just talking to someone the other day about why we call tuna salad tuna fish sometimes…are there other types of tuna than the fishy kind? Anyway, this was just an okay theme in my book, types of salads are rather low on the excitement scale for this solver. I liked the compound word crossing of COBWEB with BEANBAG, right next to an entry I’m not sure is one word or two, SEA WAR. Another entry a bit further away, RADAR GUN, sat near Hugh HEFNER, who has likely been caught for speeding while driving a convertible littered with “playmates.” HEAR A as in ["Do I ___ Waltz?"] was an unfortunate partial, which gets my UNFAVE award today.
Steve Blais’ Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s review
An exceptionally easy Friday puzzle, without any made-up or otherwise mysterious entries to give one pause. So it basically played as a themeless. Afterwards, I read the very long clue for COMPUTERHACKERS and played the easy(ish) wordsearch game. The theme is very elegant, but it doesn’t integrate into the crossword at all.
Row 1 has a DELL and an ACER. Row 4 has a TOSHIBA – spanning two black square division. Row 12 has a SAMSUNG, again over two divisions; and I assume they also make computers. Finally, Row 15 has Apple, who make absurdly overpriced computers, and Sony. Note: I don’t think I’ve ever bought a computer. I’ve bought parts and gradually introducem them until at some point not even the box and the motherboard are the same…
- 18a, [Many pets], MUTTS. If you have a labradoodle or a chalkie you have a mutt.
- 32a, [Words in a dish], ALA. I always admire a clever clue for an oft used entry!
- 12d, [Lack faith in a truce, maybe], REARM. That sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- 49d, [Perfect], SPOTON. Cryptic version: [Perfect, like some flea treatments].
- 50d, [___ tag], LASER. PRICE is obvious, but wrong.
The theme was inventive and different, but kind of felt separated from the crossword, which played as solid themeless. 3.5 stars.
Alice Long’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Taking Sides” — pannonica’s write-up
My favorite part of this puzzle is the double-entendre title. There’s a wee revealer down bottom, over to the side, at 109-down: [Thanksgiving side dish found in the longest Across answers ] YAM. Since the family gatherings that occur during the holiday stereotypically devolve into disputatiousness there’s more than one way to “take sides.”
It seems obligatory to mention that yam in the United States is often a misnomer, as the starchy tuber that appears on our plates is usually a sweet potato. Yams are in the family Dioscoreaceae and sweet potatoes are in the Convolvulaceae. I don’t really feel like arguing the point.
- 22a. [Author of the 1986 Booker Prize winner "The Old Devils"] KINGSLEY AMIS. “Lucky Jim” remains his best known novel; I have yet to read this one. Just as, if not more, entertaining than his son Martin, but not nearly as showoffy.
- 27a. [Not come anywhere near the target] MISS BY A MILE.
- 43a. [High points?] HIMALAYA MOUNTAINS.
- 52a. [Goals that are difficult to realize] LOFTY AMBITIONS.
- 75a. [He played Buddy Sorrell on 1960s TV] MOREY AMSTERDAM. Know the name, couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. Don’t even know which television program the clue refers to … oh! It was The Dick Van Dyke Show, which I have long ago seen some reruns of.
- 84a. [You know that's going to happen eventually"] IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME.
- 99a. [Patriot's consumer appeal] BUY AMERICAN.
- 106a. [Popeye declaration] “I YAM WHAT I YAM.” Mildly ironic as this is a Mike Shenk-authored puzzle published under the pseudonym Alice Long. Also, this to my mind clashes with 87d [1993 Melissa Etheridge album and song] YES I AM. And that leads to 21a ["__ Boy" (song by the Who)] I’M A.
The majority of the splits are understandably of the Y/AM variety, but there’s one (double) instance of /YAM/ and a couple of Y/A/M appearances, and a lone YA/M to round out the distributions. Points for variety, to be sure. Good mix of names, quotes, and phrases.
Tangential material at 110d, right after the revealer, [Had Thanksgiving dinner, e.g.] ATE. Even more tangential at 91a [Point at the table] TINE. Even more tangentialer at 102a [Brownish yellow] OCHER. Not sure about the opening combo of 1a & 7a, YEMENI and AMMAN.
- 68d, 81d [Mosaic piece] TESSERA, TILE.
- Not sure that I’ve ever seen BSER before [Garrulous liar].
- Favorite fill: 67a [Workers' Youth Theatre specialty] AGITPROP.
- 49a [Setting for a crown, perhaps] MOLAR; 119a [Canine's coat] ENAMEL, followed by 1d [Shaggy beast] YAK.
- Favorite clues: 5d [Bridge position] NOSE, nothing to do with cards; 47d [Prepares to switch] BAITS; 64a [Evil opposition] GOOD.
- Most ill-timed clue: 65a [Assassination date] IDES.
Puzzle about average.