Joe DiPietro’s New York Times crossword
We get a little wordplay joke for today’s theme (and a puzzle I found easier than yesterday’s—this one hits Thursday level, yeah, but Brendan’s puzzle was even more beyond-Wednesday than Joe’s). [Part 1 of a wordplay-related quip] starts the cluing and the joke spools out thus: IS IT / JUST ME, OR / ARE THERE OTHER / ANAGRAMS / OF ‘ME’? A two-letter word can only have one other arrangement of its letters, of course—but this is cute riff on “Is it just me, or…” remarks.
- 21d. [___ Löw, coach of Germany's 2014 World Cup-winning team], JOACHIM.
- 4d. [Tiny creature that can trigger allergies], DUST MITE.
- 38d. [Approving remark after "By Jove ..."], “… I think HE’S GOT IT.”
- 45d. [Wordsmith who wrote "Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague"], William SAFIRE. For years, Safire wrote the NYT Magazine’s “On Language” column, which likely endeared him to Times readers more than his Nixon speechwriting.
- 6d. ["Stop being such a wuss!"], MAN UP. I don’t use this phrase. I prefer “Skirt up!”
- 18a. [Stonewaller's response], NO COMMENT. My only comment on this one is that it’s longer than four of the theme entries in this grid.
- 56a. [Bag lady?], KATE SPADE. Handbag designer of note.
30d. [Three-horse carriages] clues TROIKAS, which is a cognate for 37d. [Prefix with lateral], TRI. Bothersome or not?
Clues of note:
- 56d. [Company with a bucket list?], KFC. Regular or extra crispy?
- 15a. [Figure on a Utah license plate], ARCH. Because of Arches National Park.
- 61a. [Bad strain?], EBOLA. I mean, VIRUS. 39a: FLU is a much bigger danger to Americans than Ebola virus is.
3.9 stars from me.
Johanna Fenimore’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s review
Today’s puzzle has another puzzle theme I’ve seen a good few times, although admittedly not for a while. It’s nigh impossible to find truly unique, simple themes like this in any case. The execution is superlative: DOLLARSANDCENTS is a lively revealer, and the other two spanners, [*"What a dummy!"], YOUDONTKNOWJACK and [*Like Grandma's pancakes, say], MADEFROMSCRATCH are both top-drawer stuff. [*It's rolled with a pin and put in a tin], PIEDOUGH and [*Deli supply], RYEBREAD are a more prosaic couplet, but score points for both being from the field of cuisine.
It’s a high-density theme, with 61 squares, but with the aid of 15′s it didn’t feel too cramped. Given the constraints this grid was very well put together! OFFWEGO and WARLOCK are both nice, although the latter’s clue, [Dungeons and Dragons role] feels off. I’m no expert, but aren’t all D’n'D PCs termed MAGES? It’s defensible though. STRIKESUP and AMOROUSLY are more functional; adverbs, however in-the-language, tend to result in awkward clues like [With passion]. I’ve been there! I also liked the echoing WHAMO and CHEAPO in the top-right. I’d personally have preferred SWARM to SWASH in the top-right corner; SWASH looks ludicrous, and isn’t really seen outside of SWASHBUCKLE anymore. My favourite clue was [Loving rejection] for NODEAR. A Short, elegant clue, which is cleverer than it perhaps seems!
Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Another Side to the Story”—Ade’s write-up
Hello there, everybody!
Hope everyone is doing well as the summer of love continues on. Speaking of love, I do have to admit that today’s puzzle, presented to us by Ms. Donna S. Levin, might feature the theme that I have loved more than any grid since I’ve been blogging the CS/WaPo puzzle. Once you get the first theme entry (whichever one you get first), you realize the amazingness of it, even with its relative simplicity. In it, the four theme answers are puns, playing off of terms that include the words of geometric shapes. You replace the geometric word/shape with the word/shape that has one more side. Brilliant.
- HEXAGON PAPERS: (20A: [Another side to the military documents leaked by Daniel Ellsberg?]) – From “Pentagon Papers.”
- THE NONAGON: (37A: [Another side to a 1980 Chuck Norris action flick?]) – From “The Octagon.” Would “The Octagon,” the term for the arena where mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters engage in battle still have the same intimidating sound if it had nine sides? “Step into the nonagon, if you dare!!! “Octo-/octa-” just has an intimidating, cool-sounding factor to it, from octopus, octagon, Octopussy, etc.
- LOVE SQUARE: (44A: [Another side to a "crowded" romantic relationship?]) – From “love triangle.” I’m pretty sure that I’ve been involved in love triangles AND love squares in my life before!
- PENTAGON DANCE: (60A: [Another side to a hoedown?]) – From “square dance.”
Even with the partial A CLAM, that’s exactly how you could have described me once I discovered the theme (33D: [Happy as _____]). EBOLA was somewhat of a timely answer, given the even stronger toll the virus is inflicting in Africa right now, as well as the news that it has just made right here in New York City (64A: ["The Hot Zone" subject]). Just so sad seeing the havoc it’s wreaking. Again, this grid, along with the themes, had a lot of good fill, and one of those sparkling entries was AUTOMAT (5D: [Horn and Hardart's coin-op restaurant]). A friend of mine had introduced me to an automat in the East Village section of Manhattan which had mac and cheese croquettes, and they were absolutely delicious! That particular automat recently closed down, so now I have to find my mac and cheese croquette fix somewhere else. GAZEBO (30A: [Small pavilion in the park]) and GOOSE EGGS (11D: [Big ol' zeros]) also stood out as well. Definitely no reason to MOPE over this grid (14A: [Have a case of the blahs]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: AC/DC (33A: [Versatile, in a way]) – Recently retired New York Yankees relief pitcher – and the Major League’s all-time saves leader – Mariano Rivera was known for having Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” play over the public address when he entered games at Yankee Stadium. But before that, the closer who was known for having a “theme song” when entering games was former San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman – the person Rivera passed as MLB’s all-time saves leader. Starting in 1998, Hoffman entered home games to the tune of AC/DC’s “Hells Bells,” which usually signaled the end of any chance of the away team coming back and winning a game that he appeared in. Here’s a little taste, through amateur video…
Have fun today, and I’ll see you all here on Friday!
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website puzzle, “Baby Talk” — Matt’s review
Add some baby talk — specifically the syllable “goo” — to the beginning of phrases, and see what happens:
17-A [Dutch cheese that blows up in your mouth?] = GOUDA BOMB, from “da bomb.” Doesn’t sound half-bad.
28-A [Fashion for the undead set?] = GHOULIE JEANS, from “Lee jeans.”
44-A [High-end sandwich belonging to an Italian fashion house?] = GUCCI’S BURGER, from “cheeseburger.” It would cost $85.
60-A [Viscous chowder?] = GOOPY SOUP, from “pea soup.”
***[Singer Lovato] = DEMI. They were playing her in Staples yesterday while I was hunting for graph paper pads.
***[Yellow signs] at 26-A = YIELDS. Hmm, they’re red around my area.
***Best clue: [Construction paper?] for DEED.
***BEQ-quality fill: JET LI, LONG STORY, BLUETOOTH, KABUKI.