Onion 5:37 with one wrong square
BEQ 5:37 with one wrong square
Happy birthday to constructor Kevin Der! Caleb Madison and Michael Sharp's present is a crossword for Kevin, posted at the Crossword Fiend forum, and you can do the puzzle too. (Available in Across Lite and printable PDF.)
Maura Jacobson's New York Times crossword
Today's Notepad says, in part:
Maura Jacobson, of Hartsdale, N.Y., published her first crossword in the Sunday Times on March 6, 1955. Her popular weekly series of puzzles for New York magazine began in 1978.
Maura has also been the traditional constructor of puzzle #6 at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and she's made an ACPT crossword for something like 31 straight years.
Today's offering riffs on the title of a movie which which I have no familiarity, making it part of an arithmetic story:
Where do Americans usually bathe? IN A TUB ([Place for three men of verse]) IN THE U.S.A. ([Where Springsteen was born]), that's where. Would you label both of those partial entries, or just the latter?
Answers that might be unfamiliar to newer solvers, but that old hands probably know by now:
Michael Blake's Los Angeles Times crossword
The "five things that mean the same thing" theme can play out as uninspired, but I like the idiomatic zing of 80% of this theme. [Really exhausted] clues these five answers:
Like Monday's L.A. Times puzzle, this one is pretty easy and has a bundle of 7-letter answers in the corners. Is it really Wednesday?
BULWARK! That's a cool word. It means 41D: [Defensive wall]. I haven't got much else to say about this puzzle, but I did like the colorful theme entries. Also? I wasn't kidding about feeling all TUCKERED OUT. See you tomorrow!
Updated Wednesday morning:
Randall Ross's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "Play Me a Couple of Bars"—Janie's review
This is a very ambitious puzzle which, while it does offer us a SERENADE, has little to do with bars of music. Instead, each word of the two-word theme phrases can be followed by the word bar (or bars) as in something you can hold on to or a counter where you can order food or drinks or... Well—there's a lot of theme fill and a wide variety of bars, so lets take a look at:
Why did I call Randy's effort ambitious? Because at times I feel the reach of the theme exceeds its grasp. Handle cash has the sound of a contrived phrase. To my ear—which says that handle the cash is the idiomatic phrase. Then there's that clue for side salad: [Small order of veggies]. A "small order of veggies" could be broccoli, or half an ear of corn or a YAM. Why not something like [Small order of leafy greens] since lettuce equates with salad more naturally than, say, cauliflower...
And then we come to 40D [Raymond Burr detective role]... which is IRONSIDE. Now the first thing I noticed here was -SIDE—which repeats the theme fill at 18A. This gives us two side bars. And what's this? Now we have IRON BARS as well. Additionally, this "bonus" crosses two "official" theme-fill entries. I may be in the minority here, but I wish Randy had resisted the temptation to include this quasi-bonus theme fill. For my money, it's a pretender and with that repeated -side especially, muddies the impact of this theme-rich puzzle. How do you feel about this?
Other items in the plus column (and there are several):
Deb Amlen's Onion A.V. Club crossword
A few weeks ago, Deb reported on Facebook that she was stuck on a final theme entry for a puzzle, so we IMed and brainstormed until I thought of what became 42-Across and she liked it (after pooh-poohing, rightfully, the other things I came up with). My first time having my words published in the Onion! Would you believe that's not my favorite theme answer, though? True story. Here's the theme:
With two 15s, two 14s, and a pair of 5s, this is a hefty theme. Sixty-eight squares? That is what accounts for a few more unfamiliarities than usual. 6A: ["There is no Dana. Only ___!"] is...well, it's not from The X-Files, that much I know. I don't know where ZOOL is from. Google tells me it's Ghostbusters, which I just watched a couple weeks ago, but it's spelled Zuul. (Whatever the spelling, I wouldn't have gotten it unless you asked me right after I saw that movie.) The second O begins OLF, or 8D: [Odor emission unit]. It's derived from "olfactus" so it makes sense but it was completely unknown to me. I guessed right there, but had a rougher time where 32A: [Brand of aseptically packaged tomatoes and sauces]/POMI met the last letter of 19D: [Rastafarian phrase expressing oneness between God and humanity]/I AND I. Both are new to me.
Most embarrassing wrong idea: For 4D: ["Love is the only force capable of turning an enemy into a friend" speaker, familiarly], M**, my first thought was MR T. Er, no. 'Twas MLK.
I like 27D: [Beginning, slangily]/GIT-GO. Did you know 6D: ZEROTH is a word? It's an [Ordinal that kind of seems fake but isn't].
Updated Wednesday afternoon:
Brendan Quigley's blog crossword, "Something for Nothing"
In a weird parallel, this puzzle took me exactly as long as the Onion puzzle, I had one wrong square in both, and I knew one entry in advance. I wouldn't have known that [Press and hold the Play/Pause and Menu buttons on an iPod, e.g.] meant RESET without that foreknowledge. The wrong square was where NAS meets NANS. I read the "moms" in [Mom's moms for short] as the urban singular, as in "my moms" referring to one parent. NANS? What the hell is that? Who calls their nana "nan"? Yes, I've heard of NAS, but figured [Member of the hip hop supergroup The Firm] could just as well be an unfamiliar NAA. *grumble*
WHOMSO, the dictionary tells me, is an archaic word. The clue, [Someone, objectively], doesn't hint at the word's archaic nature. *grumble*
The theme is a JOHN CAGE quote, IF SOMEONE SAYS / "CAN'T," THAT / SHOWS YOU / WHAT TO DO. The layout and the awkward split (CAN'T and THAT want to be split up thanks to the comma) and the very quoteness of the theme? *grumble*
Love the word JEJUNE, which is clued as [Kinda blah]. How many TVs these days still have a HOR(izontal) control? That's the old [TV measurement]. Couldn't think of what the [Company with the five-pointed crown logo] was until the crossings gave me the ROL and then it was so obvious: ROLEX. "FERNANDO" is [ABBA's biggest-selling single of all time]? That seems wrong. I'd choose "Knowing Me, Knowing You" or "Dancing Queen."
September 15, 2009
Onion 5:37 with one wrong square