Martin Ashwood-Smith’s New York Times crossword
This 15×16 grid has a central quad stack, and I am ready to hit the sack. So let’s talk about this puzzle quickly:
- 50a. [Enterprise Klingon], WORF. My husband saw a couple Klingons on the L the other night. Another rider pulled out his iPhone and snapped a picture, giggling as he sent the photo to friends.
- Spelling test: 22d. [19th-/20th-century U.S. portraitist], SARGENT, meet 52a. [Forrest Tucker's "F Troop" role], SERGEANT O’ROURKE. (Never heard of the latter.)
- 1a. [2015 Toronto event], PAN AM GAMES—wants to be the PAJAMA GAMES, I just know it.
- 21a. [Loose end?], NESS. -NESS as a suffix? Eh.
- 26a. [U.S. city that's almost as large in area as Delaware], ANCHORAGE, ALASKA. For shame, Delaware! Step up your game.
- 37a. [Shpilkes], ANTS IN ONE’S PANTS. Is that what that means?
- 56a. [What solidifies things in the end?], RIGOR MORTIS. We learned yesterday from commenter Michael that rigor mortis occurs when ATP stops flowing in the muscles. If this answer wasn’t gruesome enough for you, it’s sitting on top of a BLOOD STAIN.
- Shaving/aftershave crosswordese: 2d. [Quattro relatives] are ATRAS and 26d. [Mennen line] is AFTA. Bleh. Raise your hand if you have ever in your life talked about plural Gillette ATRAS. Anyone? I didn’t think so. Also, if you Google atra, the razor doesn’t show up till the 25th search result. Also also, you can buy “vintage” Atra razors on eBay. Gillette sells the Mach3 and the Fusion now. ATRA is the IPANA of razors.
- 25d. [1958 41-Down by Samuel Barber], 41d being OPERA, is VANESSA. Really? There’s an opera called VANESSA?
- 17d. [Ottoman ruler nicknamed "The Lion"], ALI PASHA. Never, ever heard of him.
- 31d. [Big name in modeling agencies], EILEEN FORD. I like this one.
- 53d. [Literary inits.], ERB. Edgar Rice Burroughs. High-end literary!
- 11d. [Jacob's-ladder, for one], PHLOX. PHLOX is one of the best of all the plant names.
3.75 stars, and so to bed.
Doug Peterson’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Ever After” – Dave Sullivan’s review
Four theme entries and a revealer, let’s start with the revealer:
- [Fairy tale finisher, and literally, what the last word of...can be] was HAPPY ENDING – so the idea is the last word in each theme phrase can follow HAPPY – not only do they end fairy tales, they can sometimes follow particular spa treatments.
- [Corporate auditors follow them] clued PAPER TRAILS – though I’m not old enough to have heard this when it first aired, I am familiar with the Dale Evans and Roy Rogers anthem.
- [How some like their eggs] clued OVER MEDIUM – I’m an “over easy” or scrambled man myself. A “happy medium” is what Goldilocks was looking for when choosing a bed in the bear’s cabin.
- [Midnight] was THE WITCHING HOUR – also a quite famous book by Anne Rice. I’m reading The Tender Bar right now and happy hours are a prominent feature.
- ["Stand up!"] clued ON YOUR FEET – a case of “happy feet” would often plague comedian Steve Martin at the most inappropriate moments.
I was pretty happy with this theme and examples, although “happy medium” seemed a bit less common than the others. I wonder if a phrase ending in Rockefeller might’ve taken its place? Funny I keep struggling to spell words like TASSEL correctly, as I just assume it’s -LE instead of -EL. I had ÉCARTÉ before EUCHRE with just that beginning E in place. Are they both [Trick-taking card games]? I’ve never played either. BEEF STEW and HOUND DOG rounded out the fill nicely.
Barry C. Silk’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review
Nice puzzle. Pretty standard Saturday LAT fare: relatively high word count, some 9s or 10s stacked in the corners, and a little bit of fun, fresh fill.
- The military minitheme, with FT. MEADE and AIR FORCE ACADEMY running vertically right next to each other.
- OLGA KORBUT [First International Gymnastics Hall of Fame inductee]. Seems appropriate.
- WIKTIONARY. It’s not a new entry by any means, but I appreciate seeing fill that references current tech and pop culture.
- NOUN PHRASE clued as [Silly goose or sitting duck].
Nothing else particularly grabbed me. COAL MINER, FIELD TRIP, and TRAIL BIKE are all nicely in the language. Good to learn that aerobic exercise can raise one’s HDL (good cholesterol). I had a bit of a hiccup, putting EvIE for EDIE ADAMS. MFRS, IRR, TIANT, and SEAU struck me as the worst of the lot. Good, fun solve, but not one that’ll stick with me longer than a week or so. 3.1 stars. Until next week!
Anna Stiga/Stan Newman’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
Standard example of “tough Saturday Stumper,” no? All sorts of things slowed me down here. But eventually it all came together, nothing too brutal or unfair.
- 25a. [French plural that's its singular English meaning spelled backwards], ETATS. State backwards. Hard to make sense out of the clue, and then boom.
- 31a. [Its score includes "At the Barricade"], LES MIZ. My friend’s first-grader son wore his Les Miz costume for Halloween and many other occasions. They just took him to see his second Broadway-in-Chicago show, Wicked. The boy’s four main loves are Chicago Bears football, musical theater, and his mamas. He’s utterly adorable and looks like early-’80s Adam Ant in his French revolutionary outfit.
- 37a. [Gary Cooper plays one in "Mr. Deeds..."], TUBA. I reckon this means he plays a horn, not that the character he portrays is a tuba.
- 58a. [Word from the Latin for "weep bitterly"], DEPLORE. Etymology clue!
- 60a. [Boxer's handler], VET TECH. Fresh fill, nice “boxer pugilist or boxer dog?” mislead.
- 26d. [Food-coloring source], CARAMEL. I love caramel, I do. Caramel color, mind you, does not come from caramel candy.
- The editorial trifecta of PROOFERS who may have DELETED or STETTED text in this puzzle’s clues.
- 51d. [Wares on the UK's blackcircles.com], TYRES. Mystery … mystery … inference … answer!
- 59d. [Forensic scientist's print source], LIP. Interesting clue for LIP, no?
I don’t get [Small splashing] as the clue for PIT-A-PAT. I think of the sound as more like tapping than splashing. Raindrops pounding on a window?
3.75 stars. Not much else to write about here—nothing particularly vexing, no junk fill, no super-lively fill, just a solid themeless.