Pete Mitchell's 70-word New York Times crossword is loaded up with juicy entries. What links WAYNE GRETZKY, the [Winner of eight consecutive M.V.P. awards], with JOAN JETT, who is [One of only two women on Rolling Stone's list of "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time"], and ENRIQUE IGLESIAS, the [Singer with the 2000 #1 hit "Be With You"]? Why, that would be EROTICISM, or [Steaminess], of course, along with their fondness for letters that score big in Scrabble. Other groovy entries:
This grid has lots of shorter answers in it, but that doesn't make it much easier because there are still some tough clues.
Leonard Williams' 68-word themeless LA Times crossword included a few names I needed every crossing for:
There were other names and titles that came together more easily, but not because I actually knew the answer based on the clue. For example: ["Funny Face" stars, 1927] are ASTAIRES in the plural. WILD ONE is the [1960 hit with the line "I'm-a gonna tame you down"]. It was also a 1958 song, a 1964 song, and a 1993 song.
I did know that ESTELLE [Harris of "Seinfeld"] played George Costanza's mother, and that [Jack who played "the Man" in "Chico and the Man"] was Jack ALBERTSON. Turning off the sitcoms, RACINE was the ["Phedre" playwright], and I might have read that in translation. RUTH Bader Ginsburg was the Supreme Court [Justice appointed after Clarence]. ANNABEL LEE is the name of an Edgar Allan Poe [1849 love poem].
My favorite answer here was GINORMOUS, or [Totally big]. I liked the etymology in the clue for BALSA, [Spanish word for "raft"]—balsa wood does indeed float like a raft. A few of the compound or multi-word answers might snag some solvers: SKI RESORT is a [Gondola setting, perhaps]. Anyone else trying to think what sort of Venetian canals might begin with SKIRE? No? Just me? [Part of a credo] is a CORE BELIEF. [Very cold] clues LIKE ICE. I'm not sure this one rises to the level of "in the language," crossword-worthy fill. Same with RAGGED EDGE, which is clued with [Tear evidence].
The answer to Daniel Stark's 72-word Newsday "Saturday Stumper" is here. Some of the clues:
Will Johnston's CrosSynergy crossword is "Steps on Broadway: A Jerome Robbins Birthday Celebration." Wow! A theme custom-made to delight you musical theater lovers, but that will leave me piecing the theme answers together with the aid of crossings. I swear I haven't even heard of TWO'S COMPANY, the [1952 revue with lyrics by Ogden Nash, featuring Bette Davis in song-and-dance routines]. I do know of THE KING AND I, but Across Lite cut off the clue in the clue list and made the letters teeny in the single clue box, so I worked the crossings for that one instead of getting it from the clue (but I would've gotten it from the clue if I'd read the full clue). I've also heard of MISS LIBERTY, GYPSY, and CALL ME MADAM, but the year, stars, and shows' writers didn't point me in the right direction at all. (Robbins did the choreography for the shows.)
I see in Robbins' Wiki write-up that HUAC, clued here as [Anti-Red gp.], figures into his biography: he named names and betrayed some friends, but later felt bad about it. Hmph! Highlights in the fill: the 10-letter STAR-GAZING and MASQUERADE; PYGMY echoing GYPSY as a two-Y, no-vowel word; THE TUBE, [London's underground, informally]; POTBELLY, or [Beer gut]; SHLEMIEL, or [Unlucky one]; and a CHILI DOG, clued kinda grossly as [Sausage topped by stew].
October 10, 2008