Ashton Anderson and James Mulhern’s New York Times crossword
Lots of goodies in this grid:
- 7a. [Cash flow statement?], “CHA-CHING!”
- 16a. [Winner of the inaugural Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent (2012)], AI WEIWEI.
- 18a. [The Hub], BEANTOWN. That’s Boston. Never been there.
- 26a. [Steel-eyed one?], CARNEGIE. He (the steel magnate of yore) doesn’t get much play in crosswords. Would not have minded a Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Deli, or Carnegie-Mellon clue.
- 41a. [First substitute on a basketball bench], SIXTH MAN. What’s the term in the WNBA?
- 45a. [Willy Wonka Candy Company candy], NERDS. Sweet, crunchy pebbles o’ sugar.
- 49a. [Modern storage space], THE CLOUD. Nice, very nice. Read this week about the massive solar farm Apple has to power its cloud computing.
- 56a. [Be at the end of one's rope?], WATERSKI. Nice clue.
- 4d. ["No problem, I'm on it!"], “DONE AND … DONE!” (Punctuation unclear.)
- 5d. ["Been there"], “I CAN RELATE.” Solid.
- 12d. [It means "sulfur island" in Japanese], IWO JIMA. Interesting clue.
- 25d. [Be a patsy], TAKE THE FALL. Good phrase.
- 28d. [Catchphrase for the paranoid], “TRUST NO ONE.” Word to the wise.
- 34d. [Deity with more than 16,000 wives], KRISHNA. Krisp answer, surprising clue. (Not up on my deities here.)
- 35d. ["Easy-peasy"], “NO SWEAT.” Yet another spoken phrase.
- 37d. [Rush home?], AM RADIO. Rush Limbaugh. Clue kept me wondering for a long time.
- 40d. [Submit], KOWTOW. Love the word, don’t have much cause to use it.
- 47d. ["Dirtbag," e.g.], SLUR. The mostly humor (but sometimes with thoughtful essays) website The Toast makes excellent use of the term “dirtbag.” Here are scenes from Othello, rendered as if the characters are all teenage dirtbags. (There are multiple other dirtbag literary treatments at the site.) And then today, true-life teenage dirtbag confessions (recounting the times you set things on fire—I was a good kid and most certainly did not light stuff on fire for sport) were the name of the game.
I’m never excited to see AROAR or ENS, but OISE gets upgraded with a Van Gogh clue (42a. [Van Gogh's "L'Église d'Auvers-sur- ___"]). This 70-worder is mighty clean, surprising for a puzzle with so very much lively fill in it. Messrs Anderson and Mulhern clearly work well together when it comes to polishing a grid. 4.25 stars from me.
Judith Seretto’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Setting an Example” — pannonica’s write-up
Crossword constructors are sometimes called ‘setters’, and in this puzzle the setter sets the letters EG—from the Latin exempli gratia, ‘for example’—into existing phrases to make new ones.
- 23a. [Assignment that can't be entrusted to fractions or decimals?] INT(EG)ER MISSION (intermission).
- 36a. [Person with a poignant story about his dietary choice?] MOVING V(EG)AN (moving van).
- 47a. [Find some missing payments?] R(EG)AIN CHECKS (rain checks).
- 66a. [Ones with bad things to say about the state of the nation?] N(EG)ATIVE AMERICANS (Native Americans).
- 91a. [Started production on a movie that would ultimately earn zero stars?] B(EG)AN THE BOMB (“Ban the Bomb”).
- 98a. [Sentiment of many a Tibetan?] B(EG)ONE, CHINA (bone china). See also, 24d ["Little Buddha" star] REEVES, 104a [Himalayan, e.g.] CAT.
- 118a. [Hannibal's army, crossing the Alps?] MOUNTAIN L(EG)ION (mountain lion). See also, Germany’s Alpenkorps, Romania’s Vânători de Munte, and others.
Fun wordplay, plus serious theme purity—no instances of the bigram EG outside of the theme answers. Only 7 theme answers, which allows flexibility for the arrangement and constitution of the ballast fill.
- 41d [105-Down's mate], 105d [41-Down's mate], MAMA and PAPA. Okay.
- 97a [Annoys] IRKS, 124a [More than annoys\ ANGERS. Better.
- Favorite clue: 95d [Business flier] LEAFLET, not LEAR JET; completely fooled me. Brilliant.
- Having just answered 6d [Ace of Base song that was the #1 hit of 1994] THE SIGN, was flummoxed by S––– at 27a [Official mark], as I could think of nothing else but SIGN. It was of course SEAL.
- 73a [Canary tongue] SPANISH.
- 75d [Thompson of 52-Across] KENAN (52a = SNL). Do not see also 108d ["Handsome, clever and rich" title character] EMMA.
- 19d [Their mascot is BrooklyKnight] NETS. Brookly?
Samuel A. Donaldson’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Tenure Track” — pannonica’s write-up
Solved this one neglecting to look at the title or the notepad, which reads: “The circled letters, when read clockwise, reveal a literal interpretation of the puzzle’s title.” Was impossible to miss the circled letters, and it was easy enough to decode its constituents, and from there I intuited the title without realizing it.
They take the shape of an elongated loop, or a track. Starting from the last square in Row Three, the sequence runs ASSISTANT | ASSOCIATE | FULL | EMERITUS, which comprise levels of professorship in a typical tenure track, which takes much more than ten years.
Once again, a theme finds its pinnacle of aptness at the CHE.
With the theme material confined to a central belt running from northeast to southwest, the northwest and southeast corners are free to get fancy. Check out those triple nine-stacks! I much prefer the bottom group, consisting of single words (IMAGINARY, CATALONIA, SLAPSTICK) to the other bunch (GETS A BITE, PLUNGED IN, AL MARTINO). More long fill with the verticals MISSILE SILO and TELESCOPIUM, also TRADE GAP and BET IT ALL.
However and alas, it isn’t all milk and mel here. There was a fair amount of fill to SCOWL (68a) at. YAT, ROLLA, AN I, I ALSO, I DID, LTS, T-MAC, EAP, ALIS, and more. Some of these are redeemed with interesting and/or cute clues. Example: the self-referential 63a [Bad "Wheel of Fortune" purchase for the phrase BAD WHEEL OF FORTUNE PURCHASE] AN I. Which leads to the even better 43a [Quintet seen in late-night hours?] AEIOU, for which the clue is a so-called supervocalic.
Even so, the theme is superlative and the crossword is very good over all.
Julian Lim’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s review
This puzzle has a subtle, yet elegant theme concept. There’s no revealer, but the theme is revealed in the clues themselves. The four theme answers begin with potential flight statuses that you might read on an airport information board. The clues are adjusted as though their first word is in fact referring to these statuses. The concept is fresh and original (to me), although it doesn’t make for the most exciting word play. We have:
- [Consequence of a late flight?], DELAYEDEFFECT
- [Where to learn to be on time for a flight?], BOARDINGSCHOOL. Best theme answer!
- [Luggage on a recently-arrived flight?], LANDEDPROPERTY. Never heard of the base phrase.
- [Mark showing the status of a stormy-day flight?], CANCELEDCHECK
- [Crystalizes], JELLS is spelt weirdly. I’m not sure the inclusion of a J is justification for using a variant spelling given that the square could easily be C or T.
- [Stop kidding around!], OHYOU. Top answer!
- [Harold's film partner], KUMAR. Another good’un although I had MAUDE first…
- [2014 U.S. Women's Open champ], WIE. Her first major has given her fresh crossword legs! Look out for LEXI Thompson and MOMARTIN, or possibly don’t…
- [Some hosps.], VAS. Don’t think I’ve seen this before! I assume V is for veteran?
- [Boxer's reward], BONE. Horrible clue. It might be “natural” but it has no nutritional benefits and leads to among other things obstructions, perforations, tooth fractures, and gastroenteritis. And no, the bones being “raw” won’t magically make all the bad things disappear.
- The clecho [Chip flavor], BBQ; [Slip for chips, maybe], IOU was neat.
- [Exchange notes], PAYCASH is my clue of the puzzle.
Jeff Chen’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Slacks Off”—Ade’s write-up
Welcome to Friday everyone!!
I hope everyone is doing well, and today looks like a washout, as the ominous-looking clouds have moved in. And sometimes, when doing laundry a little too many times, some clothes get washed out as well, in terms of color and other elements, and are almost unwearable. In this very fun puzzle, authored up by Mr. Jeff Chen, common phrases, with types of clothing bottoms at the end of each phrase, are clued as puns.
- YOGA PANTS: (17A: [Downward Facing Dog sounds?]) – The football/academic camp that I work at once a year starts off each day with Yoga, and it’s amazing. Well, the student-athletes aren’t necessarily on board with that sentiment, however!
- SKINNY JEANS: (31A: [Smart and Harlow after dieting?]) – There has to be a way to clue Jean Smart, who played Charlene on the sitcom Designing Women, in a way where the answer would have been DESIGNER JEANS.
- RIDING CHAPS: (48A: [Englishmen on horses?])
- GYM SHORTS: (66A: [Quick films about running laps?]) – Very strong clue and answer!
Some of the fill was just absolutely amazing, and SPY VS SPY takes the absolute cake in that regard (22D: [Mad Magazine feature]). COMEDY CLUB had a very slick clue, and another beauty to look at (30D: [Purveyor of funny business?]). Crossing that was CHOOSY, a word I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a crossword (36A: [Selective]). This puzzle was very, very sports heavy, which, to this solver, was looking at a juicy steak and mashed potatoes on the dinner table (yes, I like steak and potatoes). How sports heavy was it? Let’s count the ways: NASCAR (49D: [Winston Cup org.]), NINER, short for 49er (34D: [Montana in the '80s, e.g.]), ISIAH (47D: [Thomas of the "Bad Boys" Detroit Pistons]), and ACC, short for Atlantic Coast Conference (28A: [College football powerhouse]) all are packed in the grid! All of this, and none of these made the “sports…smarter” section. Which one did?
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: MAYS (1D: ["The Say Hey Kid"]) – With so many sports clues, I had to whittle it down to one for this space, and I chose the all-time Major League Baseball great. Arguably the greatest living baseball player, Mays has appeared in the most All-Star Games than anyone in Major League history (24), and Willie ended his career with 660 home runs, third all-time at the time of his retirement (now ranks fourth). Mays’ godson in Barry Bonds, the man that now ranks first all-time with 762 home runs. As great of a hitter as he was, Mays was just as good of a defender, winning 12 Gold Gloves while playing centerfield, tied for the most Gold Gloves by any player at any position. Even more impressive, the first Gold Glove awards were awarded six years into his Major League Baseball career.
Here’s hoping you all had a great week, and we’ll see you on Saturday!