BEQ 5:17 (not including meta)
CS 7:13 (J—paper)
Doug Peterson and Barry Silk's New York Times crossword
Yeah, so earlier on Thursday, I chided Rex Parker about his brain wanting to shut down at the sight of all the multiple cross-reference clues in the Gorski puzzle. And then I waded into Doug and Barry's themeless, and I'll be darned if those cross-reference clues weren't awfully vexing. Really, 4D and 15A intersect and both send you across the puzzle to other clues? Fie on that!
Then there's the utterly unfamiliar KENTUCKY COLONEL (with no reference to fried chicken!) at 8D, clued as the [Honorary title bestowed on Bill Clinton, Muhammad Ali and Mae West]. Beside it is the short ERTE with an unfamiliar clue: ["Manhattan Mary V" artist].
The cross-refs line up like so:
Boo on 6D, [Berry with juicy parts?] for actress HALLE. Have her acting parts really been all that juicy? Or are the fellas talking about her body parts? This clue had better be an overestimation of the roles she's gotten.
I had some trouble spots. I decided the PSAT had [180 is its max. score], which made the [Kind of door or window] into a POUVER—they're actually LSAT and LOUVER. I was willing to consider POUVER because I'd just done a 2007 Games 21x21 with eight completely unfamiliar answers. These were the wickets and mallets game ROQUE; LAKE SUCCESS, the UN headquarters in '46-'51; [Merengue singer Crespo] for ELVIS; IGY for [Jul. 1, 1957 to Dec. 31, 1958]; BANON, everyone's favorite [French goat cheese dipped in brandy]; SPLATS clued as [Chair pieces]; [Early American philanthropist Stephen] GIRARD; and my personal favorite (though it's hard to top IGY!), TELPHER, or [Cable car]. I am not making this up. (And the page before had legalese MESNE and CERAM, one of the Molucca Islands!)
Looking back at the NYT, a 43D [Crash site sight] is a TOW CAR? What is a TOW CAR? I know tow trucks. 60A LORAL is a [Big maker of communications satellites], and I should try to remember this one because it's been in crosswords before. COLD HARBOR sounds very Long Island/New England to me. Why is it the [Site of Robert E. Lee's last victory]? Am I thinking of Cold Spring Harbor? 3D [Hungarian writer Madach]...hmm, if you're looking for a Hungarian 4-letter name, try Bela, Erno, or IMRE. (IMRE Nagy is the usual crossword IMRE.) Ryan and Brian say Barry's puzzles always have at least two baseball references; I was stumped by one of 'em, 52D [Outfielder Francona], or TITO. I wouldn't call any of these things unfair, but I would say the puzzle's more Saturdayish than Fridayish. One can only hope this means there's a super-duper killer crossword in store for Saturday!
Updated Friday morning:
Raymond Hamel's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "Birds of Prey"—Janie's review
This is a muscular, lean and terrific puzzle whose four theme-phrases all name different sharp-taloned, strongly hook-beaked, swooping flyers that feed on the weaker of their species—and other species as well... Today's birds of a feather are represented in the following:
For good measure, Ray disguises some bonus fill with the clue [Rent-a-car option] for AVIS—but let's not forget, that word is Latin for bird.
Elsewhere in the puzzle, Ray does lots to [Invigorate] PEP UP the solving experience. Did you have trouble coming up with the answer for [GPA booster]? I sure did. It's EASY A, but failure to come up with SWABS for [Cotton bunches] and the decision to enter PUTS IN instead of BUYS IN for [Joins a poker game] definitely threw me off the track. Ditto the RR start to "R" RATING for the teasingly suggestive [What nudity may lead to]. RR? Ohhhhh. Now I get it. (And back to BUYS IN for a second—notice the nice complement it has in ANTE [Build the pot].)
I do own an iMac, but not an IPOD [Apple product]. I do know, though, that the iPod runs on battery power and more specifically, the nickel-cadmium variety—or NICAD [Battery type]. Nice how IPOD and NICAD sit next to each other in the grid too.
A [High point] is a VERTEX—not to be confused with a VORTEX, which is another word for whirlpool. A [Thin pancake] is a CRÊPE, a food we get from France. And while we're over there, I was surprised to see LOUVRE clued as [Parisian art gallery, with "The"]. The Louvre is a "gallery"? Yes, it's a place where art is exhibited and in that sense a "gallery," but doesn't the word "gallery" kinda diminish the Louvre, which is one of the western world's consummate museums? Just sayin'...
The delicacy of that TUTU [Frilly little skirt] is offset not only by the theme creatures, but by the likes of such brawny fill as ALL-PRO [Like an excellent NFL player]; ODIN, Norse god of art, culture and war and [Father of Thor], god of thunder, war and strength; ORCA [Killer whale]; and [Formula] ONE [racing].
That [Kind of mirror] is REAR-VIEW; and I know that TREFOIL describes a [Clover shape]—but it's also one of a variety of Girl Scout cookies. I rather doubt that [Alice B.] TOKLAS [, companion of Gertrude Stein] enjoyed them. No, her non-liquid TONICS [Pick-me-ups] were more of the WEEDY sort...(and I'm not talkin' [Overgrown, as a garden]).
Finally, perhaps it was seeing [Killer whale] and ["Monty Python and the Holy ___"] GRAIL so close in the list of clues to [Wool from a rabbit] (for ANGORA), but really—all I could think of was that killer rabbit....
GROAN. And TGIF, all!
Dan Naddor's Los Angeles Times crossword
Crikey, this puzzle took me longer than the Saturday LATs have been taking me. It didn't take me all that long to understand the theme, but knowing the theme didn't make it all that easy to fill in the other theme entries. And overall, I think the cluing was on the tough side. The theme entries have a TT changed to a DD:
Spots that snagged me:
My favorite fill includes STAR TREK, AMY TAN, L.A. LAKER, and potato LATKES. Least loved: RESEEK, or [Look for again], with an extra demerit for duplicating the word in LOOK UP.
Brendan Quigley's blog crossword, "Character Study"
Brendan's having a crossword contest along the lines of Matt Gaffney's Weekly Crossword Contest. Solve the puzzle, then solve the meta-puzzle within it, and send your answer to Brendan. Five randomly chosen correct respondents will win a prize—and anyone who has plugged Brendan's site gets put in the pot 10 times. Whoo hoo! I have established my link-to-Brendan's-blog and post-to-Twitter-and-Facebook credentials.
No answer solution here, no chitchat about clues and answers. You're on your own, folks.
I filled in the puzzle but...I am still pondering the meta. Maybe the answer will come to me in a dramatic epiphany later.
Tony Orbach's Wall Street Journal crossword, "Moonlighting Serenaders"
Ah, this is a theme I have been waiting years for without knowing it. The Mariah Carey/pariah and Beyonce Knowles/fiancé(e) rhymes have been crying out to be used together, and Tony figured out how to make a "nouns that rhyme with singers' first names" theme for them. The title is perfect, as it plays on "Moonlight Serenade" and aptly describes a unifying concept for the theme:
Highlights in the fill, things that stymied me, and other items of note:
July 16, 2009