Barry Silk’s New York Times crossword
Migraine rules in effect: Sentence fragments galore!
I like this fill: CORNCOB PIPE, SPHINX-LIKE, TEA COZY, SAN MARINO and DANUBE RIVER and ANCIENT ROME for Euro-geography, STATE SECRET, POOL TABLE, HUDSON BAY, and OKEECHOBEE.
Clues I like:
- 1a. [It's made from an ear and put in the mouth], CORNCOB PIPE. Thought it would be edible corn.
- 54a. [It's between Buda and Pest], DANUBE RIVER. If only Bucha and Rest were divided by a river.
- 8d. [Himalayan production], PURR. Himalayan cats? Fine. I had Himalayan SALT on my eggs tonight. It’s pink.
- 10d. [Ayn Rand, e.g.], PEN NAME. OBJECTIVIST, LIBERTARIAN, and HYPOCRITE (she took government aid, people) were too long.
- 13d. [Every second], ALTERNATE (the adjective, not the verb). Thought it meant “every second” as in ALL TH’ TIME.
- 28d. [Locals call it the "Big O"], OKEECHOBEE. Did not know that.
- 30d. [Where spades may be laid down], SHED. Shovel spades, not playing-card spades.
- 50d. [Highlander of old], INCA. Andean highlands, not Scottish.
Blahs: KTS, AMAH, ELSA clued as that damned lion again, AT. NO., ISAO.
Never heard of: 15a. [1967 hit by the Hollies], ON A CAROUSEL. Got all excited with ONAC in place and thought it was that song we sang in grade-school music class, “On a Clear Day.” (Had no idea that one was from a musical. Horrors!)
Four stars. Lots of solid clues, good 11-stacks.
Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “To Your Stations” – Dave Sullivan’s review
Four theme entries that end with a word that is a type of station:
- [Banana cream, e.g.] clued PIE FILLING – a “filling station” is another name for a “gas station,” but do people still call them that? Seems like a long time since I’ve heard that term. One might also call a dentist’s chair this, I suppose.
- [1979 Cheap Trick hit album] was DREAM POLICE – here’s the title track; I had thought Surrender was on this album, but it was on the one that preceded this. I remember reading they were very popular in Japan.
- [It follows a gal down the aisle] clued BRIDAL TRAIN – remember this one?
- [Loud part of the "1812 Overture"] was CANNON FIRE – a “fire station” is where dalmatians hang out.
Pretty straightforward theme; I wonder if an entry like LOST IN SPACE was considered? I enjoyed the R-LY* parallel between RELY UPON and ROLY-POLY, and the triple-X action found in ROLEX, EXPEL and NON-TOXIC (and their shorter crossers, of course). [Old Bailey occurrence] or TRIAL reminded me of John Mortimer’s Rumpole character. My father was a lawyer and would take on all sorts of clients and cases as well.
Julian Lim’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review
Can you believe there are only 64 words in this grid? Looks like a lot more, but those quadruple-stacks in the NW and SE really pack a punch. My favorite of those eight is SOUS VIDE [Slow cooking method involving plastic bags]. In the era of the cooking show, it’s high time this showed up. REQUITAL [Payback] is also very nice, and I like the symmetry of AT A SLANT and IN A SENSE. In the NW, I like that all four entries break up in a sort of 4/4 way: STARKIST (not exactly 4/4, but close enough), COME INTO, ROAD TRIP, and ANTI-HERO.
Then in the middle, three two-word answers: TWITTER FEED, SUNNI MUSLIM, and MINUTE STEAK. All really great entries, and impressively stacked. I like that RIN TIN TIN, REIKI, and EPIC POEM run through them.
Is there some unpleasantness in the grid? Sure. TMS, NOT A, REDI- are probably the worst entries. But a surprisingly low count, especially compared to how nice the rest of this grid is. I think the hardest section for newbies is going to be the NE, especially where CREMA, TREPAN, and ANSELM intersect. Compare that section with the SW, where every entry is something you’ve heard of (okay, maybe not APER, but still).
I definitely appreciate this one a lot more post-solve than during the solve. 4.1 stars from me. Until next week!
Brad Wilber’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
Ah, yes. A solo themeless by Brad Wilber. At the ACPT, Brad was told by nine different people that his solo puzzles are “impossible” but that they love his co-constructed puzzles. I wouldn’t say that Brad’s puzzles are easy but they’re pretty much always within one standard deviation of mean Stumper difficulty for me. Was this puzzle hard? Sure. But not the toughest Stumper of 2014 by any stretch. Is Brad your cruciverbal nemesis?
In other Brad Wilber news, he’s going to be taking over the editor position for the weekly Chronicle of Higher Education crossword. Given that Brad’s a college librarian, it’s apt that he’s assuming the crossword curator position for CHE. Congrats, Brad!
Fave fill: HAND OUT, “THAT HURT,” ORPHEUS, VULCAN, I BEFORE E, FLOJO, great word TORPOR, SQUEEGEE.
Toughest and/or favorite clues:
- 18a. [El Al no-show?], BLT. Bacon isn’t kosher.
- 24a. [James Monroe's opposition in 1820], NOONE. You may have been saying to yourself, “Why should I remember the name of an also-ran from almost 200 years ago? Who is this Noone guy, anyway?” But the answer is two words: NO ONE. The Federalists got a few votes in one region, but mostly he ran for reelection unopposed. (He beat Rufus King in 1816.)
- 30a. [Bagel flavor], OAT. Say what?? I don’t think the oat bagel has made significant inroads in Chicago.
- 41a. [Cello bottom], END PIN. Of course that doodad at the end of a cello has a name. I just never knew what it was.
- 56a. [Beast known by its genus name], BOA. Whereas Bos gets a bunch of specific names (such as cow, zebu, and yak).
- 57a. [Legendary forger], VULCAN. Greek mythology, forging metal things in fire. Not forging signatures or documents. Although I’m thinking of going into business as a Jimmy Carter forger now that I have his signature in a copy of his latest book.
- 3d. [Heat, for example], NBA TEAM. Not physics here.
- 39d. [Not especially edgy], VANILLA. Great clue!
- 45d. [Stand on more than two feet], TRIVET. I felt so clever when I figured out that this had to be TRIPOD, but it was its cognate TRIVET instead.
Blahs: OTHO, variant ENROL.
Four stars from me.