CS Untimed (J)
Matt Jones's Jonesin' crossword, "Tune In, Drop Out—Who needs high school?"
Hmph! The theme is famous people who found success in their careers despite having dropped out of high school. Oh, man, What timing—this puzzle comes out (via the Jonesin' Google Group) on the eve of President Obama's speech to schoolchildren, which says in part "You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it." Here are the people who didn't heed that advice:
Despite the glorification of dropping out inherent in this theme, it's a good crossword.
In case you were wondering, FLAV (38D: [Rapper in a Viking helmet, familiarly]) has never appeared in the New York Times crossword. The (mostly older) folks who complain about the inclusion of rappers in their crosswords may well have no idea just how many notable rappers there are who aren't in those puzzles.
Alan Arbesfeld's New York Times crossword
What the...? Why did it take me a Wednesday amount of time to do this Tuesday puzzle? Maybe it was that "slow down and try to figure out the theme while you go along" thing. Honestly? I don't think there's any substantive advantage to figuring out an easy puzzle's theme before you finish it vs. afterwards. Speed solvers know exactly what I mean, and the rest of you think I'm on crack. I wonder if Doug P. and Howard B., who posted their usual speedy Tuesdayish solving times, noticed the DANCE theme along the way.
DANCE is 71A: [Word that can follow the ends of 17-, 21-, 36-, 44-, 54- and 64-Across]. Those other six theme entries are:
The BASEBALL FAN doesn't get as much attention here as the tennis fan, thanks to some timely (U.S. Open tennis is going on at this very moment) tennis references. Arthur ASHE Stadium is the [Queens tennis stadium] where the biggest U.S. Open matches are played. I know two crossword constructors with tickets to women's matches—one to the finals, which I presume will be played in ASHE. ACED is clued as [Hit a serve past]. I haven't really been following tennis this week, so I don't know who the splashiest acers have have been. Actually, [Fit to serve] is the old military draft's ONE-A, so the tennis answers don't outnumber baseball—we have an always underwhelming NLER, or [Pirate or Padre, for short]. Ice sports also get their due, with hockey's Toronto MAPLE LEAFS and a figure skating AXEL ([Jump on the ice]).
Spicy SATAY (the [Skewered Asian fare] I had for dinner tonight, dipped in yummy sweet/spicy peanut sauce) segues into spicy SALSA ([Chips go-with]), which might be found at a Mexican restaurant that serves NACHO ([Cheesy snack]) platters, and that rhymes with MACHO ([Like many a Clint Eastwood character]).
AGASP vs. AGAPE: Have any of you figured out the difference between clues for AGASP (here, [Visibly shocked]) and those for AGAPE? Let's have a look-see in the Cruciverb.com databse. AGASP has 23 appearances, with the commonest clues being [Shocked] and [Showing shock]. A couple times it's been clued as [Audibly shocked], which makes a helluva lot more sense than today's [Visibly shocked] clue because gasping is much more a sound than a sight. AGAPE is the more common entry, with 122 hits; [Wide open], [Slack-jawed], and [Open-mouthed] lead the AGAPE clue pack, with a few [Visibly shocked] clues trailing behind. Zero AGAPE clues include the word audibly.
Gail Grabowski's Los Angeles Times crossword
The theme here works much the same as the NYT theme, only PANTS are a (57D: [Garment that can follow the starts of the answers to the starred clues] rather than following the ends of the theme entries. Our pantsy answers:
I really wanted a couple more Across answers to be part of the theme. Who wouldn't appreciate SALAD (OIL) PANTS? Or some ethereal/invisible AIR(HEADS) PANTS?
Pluralized crosswordese alert! TARES are 71A: [Shipping weight deductions] today.
GOTIN is clued as 47A: [Arrived], but I like to move the word break over one letter. GO, TIN! Three cheers for a useful but oft-maligned metal.
Updated Tuesday morning:
Raymond Hamel's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "The Thriller is Gone"—Janie's review
Well, Ray's puzzle today is a veritable TROVE [Treasure pile] for fans of the late, astonishingly great-at-times Michael Jackson. Now I was never his most avid fan, but I generally liked what I heard. A lot. I just didn't go out of my way to tune him in. So when it came to today's hit parade of eight songs, I found myself saying (while solving), ["] I CAN [name that tune..."] in, hmmm, just how many letters will it take me after all? It took a number of crosses in some cases because there were some titles I simply didn't know. The hit songs in the grid are:
The bonus fill comes to us by way of LUNAR [Like moonwalking?] and ICON [Michael Jackson was one]. It's not only the list of hits and bonus fill that makes this construction so cohesive, however. There're several sub-themes across a variety of subjects, which do their part as well to both liven up the grid and pull it together. There's:
September 07, 2009