David Phillips’ New York Times crossword
Love this theme! 23d-57d. [1966 Rolling Stones hit ... or an instruction to be followed four times in this puzzle] clues PAINT (IT) BLACK, and the IT has been painted black in that the I and T appear in two black squares between PAINT and BLACK. (Your clue numbering may differ from what’s in the .puz file.) There are three other blacked-out ITs in phrases, and the crossing answers also span the blacked-out I and T. This is an unusual way of using the black squares, and I was delighted when I figured out how to work this puzzle.
- 20a-22a. ["Looky here!"], CHECK (IT) OUT. The crossings are 5d-25d. [Went around], ENC(I)RCLED and 6d-26d. [Men's formalwear feature], COA(T)TAIL.
- 59a-61a. [Not worry about something annoying], LET (IT) SLIDE. Crossings 41d-67d. [Don Quixote's love], DULC(I)NEA and 37d-68d. [One of the Wailers of Bob Marley and the Wailers], PETER (T)OSH.
- 4d-39d. [Hit 2012 Disney film], WRECK-(IT) RALPH. Crossings 29a-32a. [Flight setting], STA(I)RCASE and 35a-36a. [Greater part of Turkey], ANA(T)OLIA.
- PAINT (IT) BLACK’s masked crossings are 47a-49a. [Interrupts, as a broadcast], CUTS (I)NTO and 52a-53a. [Chosen people], SELEC(T)EES.
Isn’t that nifty?
Five more things:
- 16a. [___ Highway, classic New York-to-San Francisco route], LEE. I have never, ever heard of this. It skirted Illinois to the south. You’d better know that [Jeremy of "The Avengers"] is Mr. RENNER if you don’t know LEE.
- 5a. [Game similar to euchre], ECARTE. And what’s euchre? I reckon it’s a game similar to écarté. Both are card games I’ve never encountered anyone talking about. I think they are mostly played by the tiny people who live inside the crossword squares. As you can imagine, their playing cards are nearly microscopic.
- 7d. [Picked locks?], AFRO. Did you know: The afro pick/comb dates back at least 5,500 years.
- 66a. [California county between San Francisco and Sacramento], SOLANO. Not sure I’ve heard of this, either. It’s got two crossings of thematic answers (-NEA and -OSH), one Kipling/’70s TV name (60d. [Rikki-tikki-___] TAVI), familiar STELLA, crosswordese SLOES (55d. [Dark-skinned fruit]), and one outdated abbrev (SDI, 66d. [Reagan's Star Wars program: Abbr.]). Lucky for me, I didn’t have trouble with SOLANO’s crossings. Woe to anyone who doesn’t know the California counties (this one’s biggest city is Vallejo, population 115,942—say what?? it’s roughly the 49th most populous city in California) and feels iffy about any one of these crossings. I’ll bet some seasoned Thursday solvers fell prey here.
- 11d. [Pebbles, e.g.], FLINTSTONE. Plus DINO down below! Know your ’60s cartoons.
Despite the possibly deadly crossings in this puzzle, I did enjoy untangling the theme. 4.25 stars from me.
Andy Kravis’s Fireball crossword, “Sour Notes”
DO, RE, MI, FA, SOL, LA, and TI get moved all around, with each one taking another one’s place in a familiar phrase and thereby creating silly things in this 14×17 grid:
- 16a. [Emily Litella's one-story house?], “NEVER MIND” RANCH. Michael Jackson dwelt at Neverland Ranch. Nobody in Chicago seems to live on a ranch.
- 18a. [Short nap while hiking rugged mountains?], SIERRA REST. Sierra Mist is a clear pop.
- 24a. [One who removes toe jam?], FOOT-TIDIER. Eww! Foot soldier.
- 38a. [Courthouse snoozefests?], LAME TRIALS. Time trials, as in the Tour de France.
- 47a. [Patterned lower leg?], DOTTED CALF. Fatted calf is a cow, not a lower leg.
- 57a. [Got some cash for the team nicknamed "Big Blue"?], SOLD GIANTS. Red giants, stars in the sky.
- 62a. [Ones who say "Everything will be fine, my deer"?], FAWN COMFORTERS. Down comforters.
Each note’s removed once and added once. I appreciate that the Fireball’s electronic file delivery means that the size of the grid can change to accommodate a theme. This is too much theme for a 15×15, and not enough for a 21×21. It fits in a 14×17, though.
Six more things:
- 6a. [Only surname shared by two different Best Actress Oscar winners], HEPBURN. Nobody dares to get a SAG card with that surname anymore, do they? They’d only suffer in the inevitable comparison.
- 33a. [Shots of Jameson?], PORNOS. Blech. Jenna Jameson’s a porn actress and Jameson is also an Irish whiskey you might drink a shot of. Andy says his next PORNOS clue will reference Andrea Dworkin’s activism.
- 46a. [Shoe brand whose name is an acronym of a Latin phrase], ASICS. Gotta look this up! Anima sana in corpore sano, which translates as “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” ASICS is, of course, a Japanese company. (Now, Latin scholars: Isn’t mens sana “healthy mind,” and anima sana perhaps “healthy soul”?)
- 64a. [Triangular sail on a clipper ship], SKYGAZER. Pretty, but I sure didn’t know the term.
- 5d. [Scare the bejeezus out of], TERRIFY. Any time you can work “bejeezus” into a clue, I’ll be appreciative.
- 32d. [Babylonian goddess of ocean waters], TIAMAT. Nope. Who knew this one? Don’t be shy.
4.33 stars from me.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s review
We have a narrowly-defined little three-part theme here by Jeffrey Wechsler. Each of the theme answers follows the pattern [birdname][body part] [second part]. That 3 x 13 letter examples can be found all with the same quirk makes for lively theme fodder. The answers themselves are the bendy [Adjustable light source], GOOSENECKLAMP, [Donald Sutherland film role], HAWKEYEPIERCE (going the film rather than the sitcom route to make things a little trickier!) and [Carpentry connection], DOVETAILJOINT.
The grid is well-balanced but most of the longer answer are quite prosaic, with a lot of one word answers plus things like SILENTN and RAILAT. SAYSWHO is a punchy answer. For the most part, the shorter fill is carefully considered, which is the bigger issue IMO. Lastly, I’m not a fan of the clue [Giant with power] for MELOTT - it seems far too vague, although I got it easily enough thanks only to crossword experience!
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website puzzle, “Bandleaders” — Matt’s review
Musicians of various kinds turn into leaders of various kinds in today’s BEQ:
18-A ["Ultraviolence" Tibetan religious leader?] = LAMA DEL REY. Instead of Lana Del Rey.
29-A [“Holy Diver” Indian queen?] = RANI JAMES DIO. Instead of Ronnie James Dio.
37-A ["Happy" Egyptian king?] = PHARAOH WILLIAMS. Instead of Pharrell Williams.
45-A ["Pinball Wizard" Indian prince?] = RAJAH DALTREY. Instead of Roger Daltrey.
59-A ["Push It" sovereign of Brunei?] = SULTAN PEPA. Instead of Salt-N-Pepa.
And at 1-D/58-D, [Leader of Iran who does '50s covers?] = SHAH NA NA. Instead of Sha Na Na. Who played at Woodstock. Who let that happen?
Pretty funny, and cool that he (with a little help from his fellow crosswords and music fiend Francis Heaney) found six that work nicely.
***At 5-D we have ["Rebel Without a Cause" costar] = SAL MINEO. He’s one of those celebs whose both first and last name show up in crosswords a lot, but we don’t often see it in full like here.
***At 12-D there’s a nice clue I haven’t seen before for ACE [It may be worth one in the hand].
***Some bawdy BEQ at 39-D and 41-D: [Places to park your butts] = ASHTRAYS, and [Big trunk] is the dubious but humorous crossword entry LARGE ASS.
***We’ll give Brendan a .1 ding at 43-A, where [When you'll be arriving, briefly] clues ETA, where A stands for “arrival.” Penalty!
Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Magically Delicious”—Ade’s write-up
Hello hello everyone!!
Today’s crossword puzzle was a fun one by Ms. Donna S. Levin, although it brought back some bad memories. In it, the end word of four theme answers are shapes found in Lucky Charms cereal. The reason this brought back bad memories is because I thought of the one time that I had Lucky Charms when I was young. I HATED IT!!!!!! Ever since, there’s only one cereal for me: Corn Chex.
- BLEEDING HEART: (20A: [Attribute to a liberal, in the eyes of a conservative]) – If you’re expecting political commentary in this space, move on!
- SUN MYUNG MOON: (32A: [Unification Church founder])
- PIGS IN CLOVER: (41A: [Porcine equivalent of contentment])
- HOLLYWOOD STAR: (55A: [Film industry A-lister])
Those two first theme answers were definitely meaty, and that doesn’t include the possible political overtones that come with both of those answers – depending on if you thought of them that way when seeing the clues and/or its answers. I didn’t have those thoughts, because I was too busy for 15 seconds staring in awe that the entire name, Sun Myung Moon, was in a crossword grid! Well done! Elsewhere, the intersection of ZORI (18A: [Thong sandal]) and GARN (8D: [Senator Jake who flew on a 1985 space shuttle mission]) was pretty lethal, and that “R” might have been tough for some people to get. Loved seeing ICEBOUND (3D: [Like a ship trapped in the Arctic Ocean]) and ARIGATO, especially since Styx is now stuck in my mind now, which isn’t a bad thing (9D: ["Domo _______, Mr. Roboto"]). I had to dust off/look up my old Christmas songs to remember the tune to the Christmas song which references a HA’PENNY (5D: [Old English coin that will suffice, according to "Christmas is Coming"]). So now I’m thinking Christmas in July…which is perfectly normal!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: U.S. OPEN (47D: [Tourney win necessary for a Grand Slam in tennis])- Here’s a question/mystery that sports fans easily could inquire about: Why in the world is the headquarters of the International Tennis Hall of Fame located in Newport, Rhode Island? Well, it might be because the first U.S. Open was held there, in August of 1881. The U.S. Open was held in the Ocean State until 1915, when the tournament was moved to the Forest Hills section of Queens. Outside of a three-year period in which the tournament was held in Philadelphia (1921-23), the tournament has been held in New York City ever since, with the tourney moving to its current location of Flushing Meadows in 1978. (That year was also the year the U.S. Open first went to hard courts, as it was a grass court event from 1881-1974, and a clay court event from 1975-1977.)
See you all on Friday, and thank you so much for your time!