Michael Dewey’s New York Times crossword
Who doesn’t love a 102nd-anniversary commemorative puzzle? I was ready for this one because my son had just mentioned the anniversary this afternoon:
- 20a. [Post-christening event], MAIDEN VOYAGE. I was thinking of baby christenings.
- 28a. [What scientists use to predict the rates of chemical reactions], COLLISION THEORY. This was a difficult one for me.
- 49a. [Small part that's visible], TIP OF THE ICEBERG.
- 58a. [Headline of April 16, 1912], TITANIC SINKS.
I’m now picturing kitchen sinks that are absolutely ginormous. Just me?
I had a heck of a time getting started on anything in the northwest corner of this grid. 1a [Bound] could be TIED (past tense of “bind”) or LEAP as well as the correct answer, JUMP. 14a [___ cry], I had “HUE AND cry” and”WAR cry” in my head instead of “A FAR cry.” Wasn’t sure who our 17a [Nirvana seeker] was (YOGI). The Downs weren’t any friendlier to me.
Surprised to see some hardcore bits of crosswordese here. ATLI! Tyler Hinman and I once named a bar trivia team after this [Mythical king of the Huns]. Pretty sure we intimidated the other teams on the strength of ATLI alone. EDO, [Tokyo's former name], is also showing up in blessedly fewer crosswords these days.
Loved seeing 9d [Winnie-the-Pooh catchphrase] “OH, BOTHER” in the puzzle. Did not love its symmetrical partner REFINERY because of that jerky little refinery in Whiting, Indiana, that spilled some oil in Lake Michigan (source of my family’s drinking water!) a few weeks ago. Not a big spill, luckily.
3.66 stars from me.
Gareth Bain’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Doug’s review
Hey, crossword fans. Doug here. Surprise! Gareth’s got another puzzle in LA Times. Sometimes I cheat and jump down to check for a revealer entry, but I decided to solve this one from top to bottom. Let’s see how it went.
- 17a. [*Tyke's dinnertime perch] - BOOSTER SEAT. Hmmm. After this one, I was thinking maybe the theme was types of rockets.
- 25a. [*Unfair deception] - CHEAP TRICK. This one didn’t shed any light on the theme for me. And I got a song stuck in my head, so that was distracting.
- 37a. [*Insignificant amount] - DROP IN THE BUCKET. Got it! They’re all types of shots.
- 48a. [*Numero uno] – HEAD HONCHO.
- 59a. [Try, or a hint to the first words of the answers to the starred clues] - GIVE IT A SHOT.
So we’ve got a booster shot (ouch!), a cheap shot (ouch! again), a drop shot (tennis thing), and a head shot (smile!). That’s a nice variety of shots. I’m not quite sure how to connect the GIVE IT A SHOT revealer to the entries. I suppose we could say each theme entry is “giving” the theme a SHOT. That’ll work.
- 16a. [Title heartbreaker in a Three Dog Night song] - ELI. I don’t recall the lyrics to “Eli’s Comin’,” but I bet Gareth does. He knows his music. And I appreciate a fresh clue for tired old ELI.
- 25a. [*Unfair deception] - CHEAP TRICK. I’d be willing to bet that Gareth clued this entry with a reference to the band. I can tell you exactly where I first heard Cheap Trick. On this awesome K-Tel album, Starflight. I listened to this record a bajillion times. The highlights for ten-year old me were Abba, Cheap Trick, David Naughton, and of course Suzi Quatro aka Leather Tuscadero from Happy Days. I also liked to play Robert John’s supremely sappy “Sad Eyes” on 45 RPM and pretend it was a Chipmunks song.
- 55a/59a/68a - HOOF IT / GIVE IT A SHOT / NOT IT. That’s a lot of ITs down there at the bottom of the grid. But you know what? I didn’t notice them when I was solving. I only saw the similarities when I went back and looked at the puzzle, wondering “What am I going to write about?” The IT trio is inelegant, but not fatal. I’d deduct a fraction of a star if I was into that sort of thing.
- 35d. ["Don't tell me, don't tell me!"] - I KNOW THIS. I love this entry. Gareth has earned back his fraction of a star plus interest!
- 61d. [Doc who administers a pet scan?] - VET / 66a. [Kevin of "Cry Freedom"] - KLINE. A couple of constructor-related clues/entries. I like to see that personal touch.
A right-over-the-plate Wednesday puzzle. Thanks, Gareth.
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “When Harry Met Sally”—Ade’s write-up
My apologies for the late posting, but there’s no way anything was going to stop me from talking about Mr. Hartman’s splendid puzzle effort. It’s almost such a good theme execution that you wished you had thought of it yourself. In it, he creates puns using a word or words (some of them proper nouns) that could end with “Harry” and merged them with a word or words that could begin with “Sally,” and vice versa, evoking the classic movie – and movie title – When Harry Met Sally…
- DIRTY FIELD: (17A: [Geotechnical engineering?])…DIRTY HARRY/SALLY FIELD. ”You feeling lucky, Sally? Well, do you, punk?!?!”
- GIVE EM HELL RIDE: (26A: [Scary roller coaster?])…GIVE ‘EM HELL HARRY/SALLY RIDE
- LONG TALL POTTER: (41A: [Lanky ceramist?])…LONG TALL SALLY/HARRY POTTER. Could this also refer to a 6-foot-5, 188-pound stoner?
- AXIS STYLES: (54A: [Coordinate system consideration?])…AXIS SALLY/HARRY STYLES. I saw X, Y, and Z all walking down the runway in the new Betsey Johnson collection during Fashion Week. Fab-u-less!
First off, I heard of Axis Sally one time, when watching a documentary in eighth grade social studies class, and then never again…until now. Besides going down memory lane, this grid has some nice fill, including GO BLUE (42D: [Michigan cheer]). Mr. Hartman might be, in the words of the late iconic football coach Bo Schembechler,”A Michigan Man.” British rock legends get their due in symmetric fashion with ISLAND GIRL (27D: [1975 chart-topper by Elton John]) and EXPERIENCE (11D: [The Jimi Hendrix ____]). Don’t know about you, but I always imagined/spelled DITSY (35A: [A few fries short of a Happy Meal]) with a “z” (ditzy). Whatever be the case, the cluing for it gave me a laugh. It might be more than just coincidence that AH, ME (23A: [Quaint sigh]) crossed SAY WHEN (5D: [Pourer’s comment]), given many of us want to “say when” when it comes to seeing “ah, me” in another puzzle. And just noticed that both AXIS and ALLY (25D: [Comrade in arms]) are in the grid. A “Michigan Man” and a WWII buff at the same time, maybe?
Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: AXEL (16A: [Figure skating jump])- The Axel, just like other figure skating jumps (Lutz, Salchow), is named after the person who first invented the maneuver, which was created in the late 19th century. Although you skate backwards leading up to the jump, right before takeoff, the skater steps forward and elevates into the jump. Executing the triple Axel (which is three and one-half rotations) is now common in men’s figure skating, but extremely rare in women’s figure skating, as most perform double Axels in their programs. Many women don’t possess enough strength and elevation to perform that specific maneuver (triple Axel), but six women have pulled it off in competitions, five in international events. One of the women who achieved the feat? Tonya Harding. Hmmm, what ever happened to her?
Thanks so much for your patience, and I’ll be with you again bright and early tomorrow morning! Take care!
Ben Tausig’s Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, “Odds and Evens”
Unusual veiled theme here: The theme clues include an “alternately” hint for two words whose letters alternate within the full word/phrase 17a. [Teddy bear's quality or, alternately, cooks vases in oil?] clues FURRINESS or, alternately, F-R-I-E-S and U-R-N-S intertwined. CALLIOPE embodies CLIP and ALOE; REUNION has RUIN ENO; the bird known as the BLUE TIT hides a BUTT LEI, or [... a wreath for the rear?]; TOADLIKE has TALK ODIE; and CHOO-CHOOS has COCO’S HO HO. Weird, right? But it works.
Weirdest thing: 55d. [Defunct oil company with a "76" logo], UNOCAL. I couldn’t have told you the name of the company with the 76 gas stations, but I was recently in an antique shop (one featuring plenty of antiques from the ’70s) that had a fishbowl full of orange styrofoam balls with “76″ on them. If you are an American of a certain vintage, you will remember people driving around with those “76″ balls stuck on their car’s radio antenna. Because what is cooler than showing your gas station brand loyalty to all who pass?
Fave clue: 63a. [Option for those who are anti-Russian and anti-French?], RANCH. Salad dressing, how whimsical you are.
3.75 stars from me.