Julian Lim’s New York Times crossword
I can’t say how much of my solving time I was awake. I think I only fell asleep for a few seconds, and then my husband heard the sound Black Ink solving software makes when you keep hitting the arrow key at the side of the grid, and he told me to wake up. It wasn’t even the hard part of the puzzle! But I drifted off, and when I came to, the hard part was still hard:
- 14d. [Totally out], SO LAST YEAR. Zippy answer, but I was (understandably) reading “totally out” as “totally unconscious.” D’oh.
- 32a. [Suffix with 18-Across], IST. Could also be ISM so I needed to figure out 14d.
- 36a. [Steely Dan's title liar], KATY. No idea.
- 42a. [Mexican president Enrique ___ Nieto], PENA. Didn’t know this either.
- 36d. [One of a silent force?], KOP. Police force in the Keystone Kops silent movies.
I was so close to Googling the Steely Dan or Mexican president clue, but pulled it together somehow. But these five all had me stumped.
Five more things before I turn in for the night:
- 21d. [Overnight activity], REM SLEEP? More like [Intra-solving activity], am I right?
- 63a. [Writer of the graphic novel "Watchmen"], ALAN MOORE. He joins ST. BONIFACE and the SOUP NAZI in full name turf.
- 47a. [Japanese guitar brand], IBANEZ. Um, Ibanez is not a Japanese name. We all wanted YAMAHA, right? Wild corporate history!
- Not psyched about ENOTES, OLIO, partial AN ILL, ESSEN, AGER, ONE NO, SLO, NELLE, and STEN.
- KAMA SUTRA and ZEN GARDEN bookending the grid make a lovely pair.
3.8 stars from me. Good night!
Brad Wilber’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review
I got excited when I saw the byline, but maybe I set my expectations too high because I was a bit disappointed by this puzzle. The two long 15s, PLEASURE CRUISES and SITS ON ONE’S HANDS, are pretty interesting, but not a lot else grabbed me. LISA BONET is a strong entry at 1-Across, and I personally liked SHAVIAN [Adjective for "Pygmalion" or "Major Barbara"]. TY COBB, RUBS RAW, LONDON EYE, NEW MATH, CLUB MED, SUCCORS, OMG, and BJORK.
But for a 70-word puzzle with 33 blocks and a lot of short fill, there were some clunkers and some blah fill. BOLAS crossing KAEL; SAAR, ARAN, CHOC., EME, OID. I loved the [Norwegian offerings] clue for PLEASURE CRUISES, but was disappointed that it duped 58d, NOR [Scand. kingdom]. That’s an easily avoidable repeat, especially given that NOR is a word on its own.
Not a lot of fun in the clues, either. I liked [Princess with a Wookieepedia entry] for LEIA; and though it’s a fairly common misdirect, I didn’t mind seeing [Mississippi has four] for AREA CODES.
A very breezy Saturday LAT, in contrast with the past two weeks. No unfair crossings, though there were a couple challenging ones: besides the aforementioned BOLAS/KAEL, if you didn’t know LISA BONET, any of ARAN, BOSE, or EME could have tripped you up.
Also a fair bit of baseball trivia in this one. Did you know that Casey STENGEL‘s number was the first retired by the Mets? That TY COBB was a Cooperstown charter member? Or that Robinson CANO was named after Jackie Robinson?
Overall, a solid puzzle. 3.33 stars. Until next week!
Sarah Keller’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Onesies” – Dave Sullivan’s review
The “onesies” in this puzzle aren’t jumpsuits for adults (and here I thought they were only worn by babies!), but synonyms of “one” that begin the following theme phrases:
- [Usual line formation] was SINGLE FILE – this definitely being the case at any Disney amusement park.
- [Parent who supports a family without help] clued SOLE PROVIDER – a cobbler could also be considered to be this, no?
- [Girl with just brothers] was ONLY DAUGHTER – kind of an odd phrase, but I could see a parent introducing their “only daughter” to someone else this way.
- [Free spirit] was LONE RANGER – since I was well saturated with advertising for the recent remake, it was nice to see this clued in a more idiomatic sense.
More than perhaps the theme itself, I enjoyed 1-Across, [Young haddock], or SCROD as it reminded me of a joke my father used to tell us, by saying this word was the past participle of “screw.” (And you wonder why I grew up the way I did. Now you know.) Not much that caused me to FLAIL in this one–ORISON for [Prayer] is a nice word and related to the Latin root of our words “oration” and “oratorio” as well. I had LEEWARD before LEE TIDE and AS DO I before AS AM I, but otherwise, I’ll SAY IT was fine.
Frank Longo’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
Could’ve sworn I clicked the “start” button on the timer, but no. I’ll guesstimate it as a 9- to 12- minute Stumper. Not the most incessantly vexing puzzle, ultimately solvable, but quite difficult with few gimmes and many, many tough clues that didn’t add up until I had enough crossings to guide me.
—Whoops, wandered away for an hour-long phone conversation. Barely remember the puzzle now. Taking it to the bullets:
- 11a. ["__ basilica" (forearm drainer)], VENA. Veins drain, arteries bring in fresh blood. Never heard of this vessel but guessed it anyway. Don’t know why the clue has quotes—I don’t think Latinate anatomical terms are exclusively styled in italics so the quotes seem weird.
- 19a. [Cabinetry options], YEWS. Never heard of yew wood being used for any furniture or cabinetry, which is not to say that’s not out there somewhere.
- 24a. [Long-haired 57 Down], SIBERIAN cat. Never heard of it, have I?
- 31a. [Last name of Boy George]. O’DOWD. Flat-out gimme for anyone who liked ’80s New Wave.
- 35a. [Old chestnuts], NAGS. Chestnut horses, not chestnuts as in adages or old jokes.
- 39a. [Squat], ZIPPO, nothing. Had DUMPY first.
- 43a. [Marks in Hawaiian], MACRONS, straight lines atop letters. I could only think of the apostropheish ‘okina. The ‘okina counts as a letter, not a diacritical mark. The macron makes a vowel a long vowel.
- 43a. [Yellowish-buff color], NANKEEN. Did not know what color nankeen is (there’s also blue nankeen), but I know the word.
- 59a. [One of Wisconsin's state symbols], RED GRANITE. With the G from UGGS, I was thinking BADGER-something.
- 61a. ["Done!"], IT’S SETTLED. Eh. Don’t love this as a crossword entry.
- 4d. [Events with lots of runners], ICE SHOWS. Does “runners” have something to do with ice skate blades here??
- 5d. [First National Bank of __], DAD. Love this clue!
- 23d, 39d. [With 39 Down, Viking destination], END ZONE. Not NASA’s mission to Mars. Not the Norse Viking explorers. The Minnesota Vikings.
- 28d. [Building blocks of electronic circuits], LOGIC GATES. Unfamiliar term for me.
- 37d. [Altoona park with the world's oldest-operating roller coaster], LAKEMONT. Never heard of it.
- 56d. [Motor starter], TRI. I’m sorry, is “trimotor” a word we’re supposed to be familiar with?
Four stars. Tough, ultimately fair, solid fill.