Evan Birnholz’s New York Times crossword
Snappy fill in Evan’s latest puzzle. Evan, if you don’t know, has joined the ranks of the indie self-publishers. Every other week, he releases another crossword at Devil Cross. Here, he skews indie-style in his NYT puzzle, with answers like this:
- 5a. [Cry accompanying a slap], HOW DARE YOU.
- 23a. [Controversial thing to play], RACE CARD.
- 39a. [They created the Get Rid of Slimy Girls club], CALVIN AND HOBBES. Somehow that club’s acronym was GROSS, right? Get Rid of Slimy girlS?
- 51a. [Reality show documenting a two-week trade], WIFE SWAP. Celebrity Wife Swap is on currently, I think. A blogger friend of mine was contacted by the Wife Swap casting people, but she turned them down even though she could use the money. She suspected they would import a conservative Christian wife to replace her in her job running a sex-toy shop and raising heathen children.
- 61a. [Reverse transcriptase is found in it], RETROVIRUS. Science!
- 65a. [Q&A query], ANYONE ELSE?
- 4d. [Abstention alternative], PROTEST VOTE. Started with “PRESENT” VOTE. I like Evan’s answer better.
- 7d. [Home to Main Street, U.S.A.], WALT DISNEY WORLD. You kinda wanted PEORIA ILLINOIS to fit, didn’t you?
- 9d. [He called his critics "pusillanimous pussyfooters"], AGNEW. Spiro and the hot wording! Alliteration!
- 26d. [High (and high-priced) options for spectators], SKY-BOX SEATS.
- 63d. [Title for knights on "Game of Thrones"], SER. If you don’t read the GoT novels or watch the HBO show with closed captioning on, this is terrible and frustrating and ungettable. But if you do, well, then it’s kinda fun. There’s also a milord/my lord distinction.
AARE and OCULI and OTOES and OLLA feel rather crosswordese-burdened, but overall I enjoyed the puzzle. Four stars.
Brad Wilber’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review
A very quick review this week, since this puzzle is mostly very good. The load-bearing wall of the puzzle is LOAD-BEARING WALL running down the center of the grid, crossed by the related entry HOME IMPROVEMENT. The other two long answers are both beauts: RAY BRADBURY and CRAB RANGOON.
Really wanted lapdog in place of LAPCAT, which made ATCO hard to see. Other than that, extremely smooth sailing for me. YOLKY is a delightful word; I’d normally scoff at IOWAY, but somehow it’s justified sitting next to the equally goofy but way more real OMAHAN. (How does one pronounce that? Oma-hun? Oma-hahn? Oma-hah-un?) ALADDIN, ZEPHYR, POPEYE, MR. DARCY, CZARS and NBA STARS, TAKE A HIT and KID FLASH. RAIN crossing SPAIN (mainly in the plain). I like CHAD WHINED as an accidental phrase.
PIN OAK is new to me, but it seems legit. Any botanists/dendrophiles here?
4.5 stars from me. Until next week!
Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Singular Singers”—Ade’s write-up
Was this a reminder to download a few more songs into my iPod? (Yes, I still use an iPod.) Mr. Venzke’s Saturday special has four theme entries in which the last word of the entry is also the name of a music star that goes by a singular name.
- THE LITTLE PRINCE: (17A: [Most-translated French book])- Favorite Prince song(s): “When Doves Cry” & “Computer Blue”
- TICKLED PINK: (37A: [Very, very pleased])- Favorite Pink song: “God is a DJ”
- POLICE STING: (44A: [Operation that often precedes an entrapment claim])- Favorite Sting song (as a solo artist): “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You”
- SIR FRANCIS DRAKE: (65A: [Knighted 16th-century English seafarer])- Favorite Drake song: pending…
OODLES of fun with this puzzle (31A: [Scads]) until the very end, when AGNUS (52D: [“_____ Dei”] just wouldn’t come, costing me a couple minutes. Definitely a GRR moment (47A: [Watchdog’s warning]). Liked the double-dipping of gross, with YUCKY (53A: [Disgusting, slangily]) and VILE (60A: Beyond disgusting]) right next to each other. My favorite fill was NO LOOK (4D: [Fancy basketball pass]), and I can say that there were a few clues that I did a no-look and filled it in like a Magic Johnson fancy pass. Not all the times did it work so swimmingly!
Some usual crosswordese littered the grid, including RESOD (19D: [Make lawn repairs]), and ENGRS (34D: [Many MIT graduates]). AFRO (58D: [Bushy coif]) also falls into that category, and also what my hair is starting to resemble after a couple of months without cutting it. Time for a trip to the barber pretty soon!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: DPS (32D: [They result in two outs])- So if you’re watching a baseball game and hear the term “twin killing,” know that it refers to a DP, which is the abbreviation of a double play. GIDP, just in case, means “grounded into double play,” which tracks how many times a batter grounds into a double play. Which batter has grounded into the most double plays in Major League history? That person also has the record for most consecutive games played: Cal Ripken, Jr., at 350 GIDPs.
Take care, all of you, and will talk with you tomorrow!
Brad Wilber’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”
Tough, tough puzzle. The southeast quadrant fell faster than the other three, but I wouldn’t call it easy. While the northwest was not the last to fall, it was the one I cast a side-eye at. Two unfamiliar phrases crossing each other? Huh. 15a. [Tilt in the wind], HEEL OVER meets 2d. [Really fancy], YEN FOR. YEN as a verb is not so common, and HEEL OVER is apparently a sailing term, and 98% of Americans (including me) do not sail.
- 9d. [Watering hole], BISTRO. I confidently filled in *A***N because it had to be SALOON or TAVERN.
- 39a. [Not assured], AT HAZARD. As unfamiliar to me HEEL OVER.
- 66a. [Skirted], END-RAN. Not sure I’ve ever seen this past tense.
- 7d. [Porcelain center], SEVRES. Not my personal style of porcelain.
- 13d. [Vine growth], ROSEBUD. I don’t think of roses as growing on vines. The climbing roses extend their canes.
- 35d. [Ant-farm material], AGAR. I had no idea, but with the G in place, this familiar piece of crosswordese suggested itself.
Lots of trivia clues today. 16a ED WOOD, [1994 black-and-white biopic]; 19a RFK Stadium; 43a ["The Cradle of Civilization"], IRAQ; 45a [Sambadrome locale], RIO; 51a TEMPE; 4d [Anderson Cooper, circa 1988], an ELI or Yale student; 7d SEVRES; 14d [Literary source of "out of sight, out of mind"], ODYSSEY; 32d [$100 bill background color], TEAL; 55d [Dragonfruit grow on them], CACTI. I learned a couple things.
Twistiest clue: [Subject of a '60s movie remake?], ELIZA. Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, being remade into a non-Cockney speaker, not a movie remake.
Zippiest answer: ["Are You Out of His League?" for one], COSMO QUIZ. I love the answer, but HEEL OVER and YEN FOR were called for to make that corner work and I didn’t much care for them.