Ed Sessa’s New York Times crossword
Lots of nice fill in this 70-worder:
- 1a. [Like some methods of detection], HOLMESIAN. The Toast’s weird humorist Mallory Ortberg wrote a rousing defense of Columbo as superior to Sherlock Holmes.
- 17a. [Indication that one wants to get smacked], KISSY-FACE. As in a kissy smack on the lips.
- 29a. [People everywhere], HUMAN RACE.
- 43a. [Spare change collector], TIP JAR. Deposited my coins in one today! Liked this one much better than the following 44a. [Spare change collectors], BUMS. When you can clue BUMS as a verb (bums a cigarette, bums a ride, bums around), why on earth would you instead use to to label people? It felt harsh to me.
- 49a. [Sexy], BODACIOUS. A good all-purpose word. “Bodacious grid.”
- 52a. [Seaweed used in home brewing], IRISH MOSS. Yum? Just in time for ST. PAT‘s (40d. [Annual winter honoree, briefly]) Day?
- 5d. [Blissful], ELYSIAN. Such a pretty word.
- 10d. [Member of the marmoset family], TAMARIN. They have the best mustaches.
- 11d. [Cold discomfort, of sorts], BRAIN FREEZE. Was leaning toward some sort of SNEEZE from the common cold, but this is more of a Slurpee-freezes-the-sinuses deal.
- 22d. [Penalty for some overly prolific posters], TWITTER JAIL. Never heard of this before. Apparently sending too many tweets too fast gets your account put on a tweeting hold. Not sure if it’s for spammers, or overly enthusiastic conversers, or what.
- 37d. [Cayenne producer], PORSCHE. First tried PIMENTO, but it’s an SUV, not a pepper spice.
Clues of note:
- 24a. [A line, e.g.], SUBWAY / 27a. [A lines, e.g.], SERIFS.
- 39a. [What cookies are often baked in], DOZENS. Also pans. You ever play the dozens?
- 54a. [One controlling drones], BEEKEEPER. Ooh, great clue! And then ULEE is a [Title 54-Across of film].
- 27d. [Less likely to have waffles], SURER. “Yes, I’m positive. I’ll have the blackberry bliss cakes.”
You know why I liked 28a. ["Essays in Love" writer ___ de Botton], ALAIN? Because de Botton sounds like de Bottom and this week I learned that Gigglebottom is an actual surname. I’m petitioning the court to change my name—I want to go back to my original surname but I’d like to hyphenate it with -Gigglebottom.
Wasn’t wild about AARE and partial I ME (50d. ["___ Wed" (2007 Erica Durance movie)]? not ringing a bell), but overall, a good puzzle. Four stars. Par five, as it’s a long hole.
Doug Peterson’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Jackson Five” – Dave Sullivan’s review
Based upon the title, I thought we might have five famous people whose first names began with Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael, but instead we have people who share a first name with another famous Jackson:
- [NFL running back who forfeited his 2005 Heisman Trophy] was REGGIE BUSH – was this at USC under now Superbowl-winning Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll? Anyway, Reggie Jackson was a famous NYY right fielder.
- ["Christina's World" painter] was ANDREW WYETH – Andrew Jackson was POTUS VII.
- [Last governor of New Netherland] clued PETER STUYVESANT – this is modern-day NYC, no? Peter Jackson is the Kiwi who produced the Lord of the Rings series. We hiked the Milford Track where many of the scenes were shot.
- [Best Actress Oscar for "The Reader"] clued KATE WINSLET – Kate Jackson was one of the original Charlie’s Angels. Can you name the other two?
- [Best Actress Oscar for "The Reader"] clued JESSE JAMES – Jesse Jackson has been a Baptist minister, activist, “shadow” senator for D.C. (while I lived there!) and a presidential candidate.
Solid theme with five nice entries. I was a bit MEH on fill such as RESEW, PTAS, MAG and the rather humorous homophones SUI and SOOEY, but felt that the longer fill of MINUTE MAID, GET-AWAY CAR and Jimi Hendrix’s “HEY JOE” more than made up for them. Let’s take a listen, shall we?
Frank Longo’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
Tough puzzle, but! The NYT took me even longer, as I had an unusually long Saturday NYT solve this week. So the Stumper loses the title of The Week’s Toughest this time.
Top fill: BRAM STOKER, ["The blood is the life!" penner]; FINAL EDIT, [Last chance to make the cut]; BOOGIED, [Got moving, so to speak]; HOME PLANET, [An alien might miss it]; TEXAS STATE, ["Rising star" of NCAA Division I]; interesting word FESTOONS, [Party hang-ups]; Roy ORBISON, [ "Greatest singer in the world," per Presley]; and HE OR SHE, ["They" alternative] when “they” is used as a gender-neutral singular.
Let’s look at a few tricky clues:
- 41d. [Queen of comedy], TITANIA. Queen of the fairies in Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
- 43d. [Twist, in the end], ADOPTEE. Oliver Twist, adopted by the end of the book.
- 6d. [It could hold your notice], TACK. A tack used to tack up your notice on a bulletin board, for example.
Gotta run—taking my kid to a dental check-up shortly. Four stars. Nothing particularly exotic or thrilling, but smooth and well-clued and fair.
Barry C. Silk’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review
I usually look at the constructor’s byline before solving a puzzle. Not so today. But as soon as I threw down MARIMBA and MARTINEZ, I thought, “Hmm, a Z… wouldn’t be surprised if this is Barry Silk.” One grid-spanning FREEZING DRIZZLE later, my suspicions were confirmed.
As Stefon might say if he were a crossword reviewer, this puzzle had everything: modern references (VIDEOCHAT, POP-UP AD), clever cluing ([Storyteller?] for POLYGRAPH (not a LYE detector); [Shot] for KAPUT; [Screened conversation?] for VIDEOCHAT), literature (The EYRE Affair, OCEANIA from 1984), vocabulary (a deltiologist collects POSTCARDS). And look over there: is that BO DEREK? No, it’s SHAMU driving a MAZDA Tribute.
That’s really all I have to say about this one. Not quite as Scrabbly as many Silk puzzles, but the whole puzzle is really well filled. No gripes and a bit of interested smattered around the grid = 4.1 stars from me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I HEARD MOBY and IRENE CARA were giving RIDES in their MAZDA. (That was AWFUL. I’m SORRY.) Until next week!