Ned White’s New York Times crossword
The revealer is split into two halves. 21d. [With 40-Down, how rain falls ... or a literal description of the answers to the four themed clues], DOWN and WARD. Rain falls downward and the four long theme answers are all Down entries that could be clued [Ward]:
- 3d. [21-/40-Down to a doctor], PATIENT AREA. In hospitals, specifically.
- 10d. [21-/40-Down on 1950s-'60s TV], BEAVER’S DAD.
- 24d. [21-/40-Down in Hollywood], ACTRESS SELA.
- 28d. [21-/40-Down to a penologist], PRISON WING. “Prison wing” is, like the other theme entries, the sort of phrase that normally qualifies only for a clue. This is one of those clue/answer inversion themes, with a Down angle. Also, “penologist” is a kinda funny word.
Top fill: MAESTRO, OLD NAVY, TWADDLE, TAN LINE.
I had any number of Scowl-o-Meter moments in this puzzle. NO TASTE, IN A TRAP, and BRA SALE felt a hair contrived. ISN’T IT (35a. [Query for clarification]) doesn’t quite stand on its own. I really wanted 19a. [Bust ___ (laugh hard)] to be A GUT, not A RIB; I don’t hear people saying the latter. RECUE and RETITLE is perhaps one RE- too many; “retitle” is a wholly legitimate word people use but RECUE feels mighty strange. Some of the short fill was also blah.
I need to mark off a few points for the 8d clue. [Nearly perfect] is certainly not an A-MINUS. An A+ is perfect. A 99 is nearly perfect and it’s a high A. A 95 is pushing it on the “nearly” front, but still a solid A. You need to get down to maybe a 92 before you call it an A–, and you’ve still got all the sub-100% A grades between perfect and A–. A-MINUS is “nearly perfect” only if you’re trying to snow your parents.
As for 2d. [Golden, in Guadalajara], I’d love to hear from Zulema or another native speaker of Spanish. Does DE ORO hit the mark? Google Translate gives me dorado and áureo and oro for “golden,” and DE ORO yields “gold,” as in moneda de oro, “gold coin.” Nobody talks about golden jewelry or golden ingots, right?
3.25 stars from me. I generally don’t much relish puzzles with clue/answer inversion themes.
Bernice Gordon’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s review
Four definitions of [PITCH] as answers. You probably got the theme at the first answer and confirmed by looking at the grid. [PITCH] is a TONALFREQUENCY, COVERINGONAROAD, AGGRESSIVESPIEL and THROWTOABATTER. All discrete meanings, but I didn’t find this particularly exciting.
The problem (see also yesterday) with a bulky theme like this is that if the theme doesn’t excite there isn’t a whole lot more to it! The two blocked-off 4×4 areas have Scrabbly letters thrown in, because what else are you going to do there. In the rest of the English-speaking world EFTS are no longer [Immature salamanders] but [Modern payments]; has this usage not really caught on Stateside? Because I expect it to appear more in crosswords. Nice to see [Hall of Fame golfer Middlecoff who had a DDS degree], CARY is still remembered – he’s the 10th winningest golfer in PGA history! [Covert maritime org.], ONI is an old answer I’m less fond of, and its cross with VARIG may well trip many up!
2 Stars (reluctantly)
Bbrendan Quigley’s Webbsite puzzle, “BBs” — Matt’s review
Add a couple of BB’s to familiar phrases, and see what happens:
16-A [LSD with Babe Ruth's face on it?] = BAMBINO ACID, from “amino acid.” Good one.
22-A [Duck who serves as a hitman?] = WEBBED WHACKER, from “weed whacker.” Ha! Probably not too quick on the getaway, but who’s going to suspect a duck?
35-A [Debris touched by Midas?] = THE GOLDEN RUBBLE, from “the golden rule.” I got this one with just THE?????????B??, which felt empowering.
49-A [Fishing corks made of pasta?] = SPAGHETTI BOBS, from “Spaghetti-O’s.”
59-A [What Elmer Fudd said after getting the thing he's always wanted?] = WABBIT FOR ME, from “wait for me.” Good one.
So these are a cut above. Highlights:
***At 14-D I hade TIME for [Life partner?] instead of the correct LIMB, which gave me TAMBADA for the [Brazilian fad dance of the '90s]. But when everything fell apart at WEBBED WHACKER I saw what had happened.
***I thought the clue was wrong at 44-A, but it’s not: [Swiss city on the Aare] is the answer for BERN, which is the German spelling of Switzerland’s capital city. I assumed that e-less “Aar” was therefore the German spelling of its river and “Aare” the French, but no: amusingly, the German spelling of the river (Aare) has the extra E, while the French spelling of the city takes the extra E (Berne). Counterintuitive. Also, I have crossed this river (in a train over a bridge, not in a boat).
*** [Sugar substitute?] for HON, [Punch lines?] for OOFS, and the aforementioned [Life partner?] for LIMB are all excellent.
Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Inside Straight”—Ade’s write-up
Hello once again! So close to the end of the week…we can all just taste it!
Unlike most people, I did not get caught up in the poker craze that spawned around 2004, when ESPN’s coverage of the World Series of Poker became much more comprehensive and set in primetime for millions to marvel at. However, I do like a poker game or two when I have the chance to play (which isn’t a lot). Today’s puzzle, authored by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, has the face cards in a deck of cards, as well as the number 10 (spelled out), hidden in each of the theme answers. Those cards together make up a straight in the game of poker.
- COPACETIC: ([17A: Fine and dandy])
- PARKING LOT: ([24A: Attendants domain, perhaps])
- ANTIQUE ENGINE: (34A: [It may be found under the hood of a Model T, say]) – By far my favorite theme, in terms of hiding the face card (queen).
- JOE JACKSON : ([47A: ["Shoeless" baseball legend])
- BARTENDER : ([56A: [One providing a tab or a Tab])
Another quick review since I’m covering a meaningless preseason NFL game in New Jersey. This puzzle far from meaningless, and each of the theme answers were very zippy. AYLA was a tricky one, and an entry I have to store in my memory banks (23A: ["The Clan of the Cave Bear" heroine]). Of all the different fabrics in puzzles that I’ve seen, think this is the first one in which I’ve had to enter LISLE (19A: [Smooth cotton fabric]). To put a bow on this, the second I put in SEDAKA, one of his other hits, “Laughter in the Rain,” was in my head for a good while (44D: ["Calendar Girl" singer Neil]). Love that song!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: JETER (48D: [Derek of the Yankees]) – Have you heard that Derek Jeter is retiring after this season? You may not have caught that the first 321,285 times that it’s been mentioned on different platforms, but, again, Derek Jeter is retiring from the game of baseball at the end of this season. Ok, that’s sarcasm, but the five-time World Series champion is going to end his career ranking sixth on the all-time hits list, which is insane (currently at 3,443 hits). The only players that will rank ahead of “The Captain” in the history of the game in hits are Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Tris Speaker. Talk about being in rarefied air.
See you all on Friday!