Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Monday, February 27, 2023
Sunday, February 26, 2023
Wow. Another really tortured pun theme today. Let's get right to the ACTION.
"Slow driving holiday parade in December?" is CHRISTMASCARROLL. That's "Christmas car roll." Yup. And "Update Wikipedia after the 2012 election?" Is ADDMITTSDEFEAT (Add Mitt's defeat). My favorite might be the next one "Subject of study for an insect biologist?" - BEEATTITUTES. Bee attitudes. It's just so absurd. Although "Words accompanying an offering to the ruler of the donkeys?" (FORTHEEASSKING) is equally, if not more absurd. I'm actually chuckling more now than I did during the solve, but then, I am a big nerd, and I am partial to crosswords to begin with.
Another thing I am partial to is ERITURIA (Ancient Italian region), which covered much of present-day Tuscany. Ahh... Tuscany. Where, in Volterra, they have ALOTOF ALABASTER. Would that I were EXILED there. I'd be a happy FELLA. No AGITA would I then feel. No one would hear me utter a POORME.
Where was I? SLAPDASH (Done hurriedly and carelessly) is a word well known to my readers, I suspect. Heh. And it is a TRUISM that I learned the word DESERET from crosswords. Where else would I have come across it?
Kind of a lot of people I am not familiar with today - Leah REMINI, Sopran MARNI Nixon, Investigative journalist RONAN Farrow. (Or is that Farrow RONAN?), Director Ming-liang TSAI, Screenwriter/actress Michaela COEL. But they were all fairly crossed.
How'd you like the puns?
Saturday, February 25, 2023
Another toughie, but I was able to GETERDONE eventually. SOIGATHER, I hear you saying. Heh.
As Colum might point out, this puzzle played a little like five smaller puzzles. I finished the top left first, thanks in large part to the gimme crosswordese AGLET (Shoelace tip). That gave me FRATBro, which was eventually corrected to FRATBOY thanks to YES (Progressive rock band inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017). After that I don't really remember what happened. I think I just hunted and pecked as best I could.
Some favorite C/APs include: "Pro with digital photography?" (HANDMODEL), "Modify" (TAILOR) (simple, but it took me a while) (see also: "Release" (ISSUE)), "Stand a little LESS between me and the sun" (Diogenes was such a wonderful crank), and "Bit of attire that shares its name with a part of a musical instrument" (GSTRING). Ahem.
And when I see "Farm denizen" I'm always thinking "ewe" or "sow" or "cow," not ANT.
Overall I would say this was a pretty satisfying solve. Tricky, but with just enough fun stuff to keep it interesting.
Friday, February 24, 2023
This was a struggle for me, and it feels weird to say it, but it was because of the tricky wording in the clues. Now I know what you're thinking - "That's the whole point. That's what crossword clues are supposed to be. That's what they are every day." And sure, yeah. But today the clues didn't exactly lead to an elated smile, but to a sort of "huh, interesting." Like with "One who collects just for kicks?" cluing SNEAKERHEAD. I thought, huh, maybe that's a term now. And with "Shell filling station?" I eventually got TACOBAR, and ok, maybe with that one I had a little chuckle. CONTENTCREATOR was just clued with "One who makes videos, e.g.," and "Green cappuccino alternative is MATCHALATTE. And speaking of, I just bought my first one of those a week or so ago for my sister. I still have yet to try one. But anyway, those clues are so straightforward! I guess maybe people don't know about MATCHALATTEs yet? Like I didn't really know about NOMAKEUPMAKEUP (Discreet look?). Maybe that's all it is.
I don't know... it's probably my bad attitude. I've got a little bit of a head cold, and, well, it's been a rough week.
"One unlikely to make a pass" (BALLHOG) did get a chuckle. And "Contraction, for one" (THROE) was tricksy. For once I caught on to the clue "One end of Suez?" and checking each option allowed me to get MEZCAL (Spirit of Oaxaca). I didn't know "Country singer Jason" (ALDEAN), but I have heard of ROBYN (One-named singer with the 1997 hit "Show Me Love") but through a different song ("Call your girlfriend"). LICIT (Aboveboard) brings me back to my Latin class days, and SHROOMS (Sources of psilocybin, informally) brings me back to my ... days in Health class learning about all the drugs that we should never do.
I hope you enjoyed this one. It did seem very Friday-like, I'll give it that.
See you tomorrow!
Thursday, February 23, 2023
As you may know, I have been taking poetry classes lately. In them, we are asked to write in different styles and different forms. One such, is the ode, which typically starts with "To [something]." To a Skylark, To Autumn, etc. Those, of course, were not ANON.
Well, today's trick is that some clues are given in the form of odic poetry, and it's up to us to figure out what is being praised. "For me, the Super Bowl's a bore / But watching these is fun galore ..." is, of course, from an ode TOADS. And "Whene'er I need to get a bump / I find it right there at the pump ..." is TOGAS. It is also amusing that these ode titles are actually re-parsed normal words. The most surprising of these is TORONTOBLUEJAYS, which is clued with "I don't have the words / That rightly commend / Cerulean birds / And Harry's best friend ..." I like that poetic license is rightly used here to switch the order of the dedicatees. Very nice.
As always, I appreciated finding theme answers in both Across and Down slots, and somehow they are all placed symmetrically in the grid. These constructors are good. And if we have to endure a little OPPO, GIA, and BLEU, well then, so be it. I will not NAG. But then, about that BLEU clue... I don't think I've ever seen the Seine look anything but gray/brown. (Thanks to Frannie for dredging that up.)
I like many of the eights - BOOTCAMP, ITPEOPLE, MINTOREO, SLEEPSIN. All nice. Especially that SLEEPSIN. Sigh. And the clue for STILLER ("Seinfeld" actor Jerry) was beautiful.
Everyone loves a ROTARY, no one loves anything too ONIONY, and TARTAN can be good. Especially the blue and green ones. :)
OK. Gotta go check on my supply of BEERS and RYES now. Catch you tomorrow!
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Hello, Dear Reader. I want to start today's post with a nod to my brother Rich, who is at least partly responsible for my love of puzzles. He himself subscribed to the The Four-Star Puzzler (those were much too hard for me!), and I think he might have been the one who gave me my first subscription to Games magazine way back when. Passing a Sunday puzzle around on a clipboard with him and others on the porch on a lazy summer morning was one of life's great pleasures. It's not that we needed to pass it around to finish it, but it was just fun to share the experience. And if one clue or answer was especially appropriate for one of us, someone would leave it blank on purpose and then pass it saying something like "I don't suppose you have any idea what 44-Across could be..." It could even have happened last summer, but in October he was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive disease, and yesterday he died. I tell you this not for your sympathy, but just to say it out loud. I can hardly believe that it has happened. Thanks for listening.
So what about this NEATO theme of ONOMATOPOEIAs? I like it. Six examples run across the top and bottom rows, and the word itself (if you don't pronounce the eponym part of it - which no one ever does) is sounded out by the "ana" "mata" "pia" endings of the theme entries. And how about those great trivia clues for FRENCHGUIANA (Region in South America that's technically part of Europe) (don't confuse it with Guyana), ETHIOPIA (African country with its own 13-month calendar) (Who knew?!)? And PADTHAI (Southeast Asian noodle dish invented in a nationalist recipe contest) (mmmm.... PADTHAI....) and KIA (Car company whose name roughly translates to "rising out of Asia"). That's just what we like to see. And let's not forget about the delicious preserved fruits from KALAMATA!
PERISCOPES (They help you see at sea) is lovely, coming up from the bottom of the grid, as it does, (or is it going down?), and I love that WELP ("So much for that!") gets into a grid for just the second time today. I say that a lot.
I could have done without having to think about that lunatic ELON, and IATE is an odd partial, but there's not much else to DETER us from a fun solve. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you are enjoying everything you do.
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Pretty neat to find three HIDDEN AGENDAS in these theme answers:
I haven't thought about the VW Dasher for a long time. I read that from the start the same exact car was sold as the Passat in Europe, but it had to go through the name "Quantum" in the 80s before it finally became a Passat over here, too.
And as for MAGENDAVID, I first heard of this long ago in a song on Dr. Demento - "The Ballad of Irving." It's a really terrible song, but in it, Irving is described as having a "mogan david" on his vest. Until this day, I don't think I ever knew what that was. (And p.s. I just read that the "mogan" spelling is Yiddish.) There are many things like that that I heard on Monty Python, or in some song, that only later rezzed into focus for me. Like hearing, when I was about seven, in the "Australian table wines" sketch - "real emetic fans will also go for a 'Hobart Muddy'..." It would be years before I learned what the word "emetic" meant, and then the skit got even funnier.
There were a lot of things in The Pirates of PENZANCE that I wouldn't have known, but my father explained them all to us before we went to see the shows. Even that famous line from the Major-General's song, "You'll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee," which is just a fancy way of saying that he rode on one of those "beings animalculous." Heh.
Anywaaayyyyyy... let's get back to the puzzle. I like the word ARRANT (Unmitigated). The "Headliner" (LEAD) and "High-maintenance headliner" (DIVA) pairing was fun. Everyone enjoys a double ENTENDRE (DEEPSIGH), "Amass a mass" is a lovely clue for HOARD, and, well, there's a lot of good stuff here. The week is starting out well.
Monday, February 20, 2023
Well, this is a funny coincidence. Just yesterday, I changed a fuse in this very house! I'm at my Dad's, for reasons I won't go into, and my sister and I each had just started our coffee makers (hers is a drip, mine a Nespresso), and at the same time she poured some cold coffee into a mug and popped it in the microwave so she didn't have to wait the interminable minutes until her drip coffee was ready. All three were on the same circuit, and as soon as she hit the Start button, everything went off, the lights went out and, obviously, all was chaos. The first thing we did was plug each coffee maker into a different circuit, then I went down cellar to look for a new 15-Amp fuse.
But Ms. Carroll wasn't really talking about fuses at all. She was talking about fusing different kinds of boxes together. SOAPOPERA (Daytime television drama) puts a soap box and an opera box together. TINDERMATCH (Romantic prospect after swiping right) combines a tinderbox with a matchbox. Let's hope the second is a toy car, otherwise we've got a dangerously flammable situation!
In the fill, who doesn't enjoy seeing a BLUEJAY, an AZALEA in bloom, the feeling of RAPTURE, or a HOTTODDY? I just had a day-old doughnut with my coffee and it was unsatisfying. I would have preferred a SCONE, I think, and I'm not even that crazy about scones.
Remember back when you had to change money all over Europe? When Frannie and I had a Eurail pass back in the day, we tried to make those American Express Travellers Checks last as long as we could, which meant only cashing the very bare minimum in each country. Our greatest triumph was leaving Spain with just three PESETA.
Finally, I was reminded of a lesson I should have learned long ago - don't just guess at the spelling of a name you don't know. I had ERI_ for "Actor La Salle" and I just put in a "c" without really thinking. It took me almost two minutes after filling in the grid to realize that it should have been a Q to make SQUEEZETOY. Sigh. Hopefully, I will remember this at the A.C.P.T.!
Sunday, February 19, 2023
I have to admit, I didn't fully understand the theme until long after the solve, but that could be partly due to the fact that I think this was one of my faster Sunday solves. (Just over fifteen minutes to fill in all those little white squares.) At first I thought it was turning certain phrases around and making them into similes, as in "crystal clear" becoming CLEARASCRYSTAL. But that clue, "Bus?" Aha! It makes clear into a verb, and makes crystal into barware. Presumably. So, ok. That works. But "Photosynthesize?" for GREENASGRASS is a little weaker. I guess you could think of "green grass" as a thing, like in "Green grass and high times forever," but it's not a very common expression, and "green" as a verb is a bit forced, too. So it's not perfect, and the "reversing known phrases" probably isn't even part of it, but it's not terrible, and the puzzle had a lot of other good fill.
ANECDATA (Evidence derived from personal experience and observation rather than systematic research and analysis) was a fun one. I've never heard that before, but I like it. LABOROFLOVE (Passion project, perhaps) is lovely, OHSTOP ("You're embarassing me!") and IMAMESS (Cry from someone who's disheveled) were fun in the top middle there.
I was not familiar with a B-52 shot, but I now have learned that it is equal parts Grand Marnier, Irish cream, and coffee liqueur. Probably fine, but I'm not much of a shot-drinker. I rode SEPTA back when I lived in Philly (when HIGHTOPS were the only things I put on my feet), but I have not pierced my septum. Nor have I ever tried Imagine WHIRLED Peace ice cream.
One clue that seemed a little weird to me was "Exquisitely made basket" (DUNK). I looked up "exquisite" and found "extremely beautiful and, typically, delicate." Not exactly how I think of a DUNK.
I'm happy to be back on the reviews this week, and I look forward to tomorrow! :)
Saturday, February 18, 2023
As always, when I see Mr. Collins's byline, I know I'm going to get a tough and enjoyable puzzle with an interesting up to date vocabulary. And today does not disappoint!
Thanks be to my Neurology training, because my first foothold came in the middle of the East section. APHASIA and AUEL, along with my Sopranos knowledge for DREA helped get me going. But it wasn't enough to move me up into the NE corner. Instead, LIFT and IRENE allowed me to complete the SE corner instead.
BEESKNEES is always a fun answer. I think we saw it in this exact same location not so long ago. ONTHEALERT and NOENTRANCE are fine. But DAPHNE is a lovely name, even if the character wasn't all that interesting on Scooby-Doo, to my memory. I always wanted to see Shaggy and Scooby do their thing instead,
At this point I got STREETPROPHETS, which finally helped me with the NE corner. Part of my problem was 10D: It's played with a few strings (BLUEGRASS). I had ____ASS, and assumed the word would end with "bass." As always, when something just doesn't seem like it's working, take out the questionable letters. 11D: Art of cutting cards? (BARBEDWIT) is an impressive bit of cluing legerdemain. And how about 29D: Mares, e.g. (SEAS). Didn't expect the Latin there.
Next I restarted in the SW corner with SESTET. In the ROI section, who knew that GALVESTON was the capital of the Republic of Texas? Now it's a suburb of Houston. I'm not sure I entirely get the clue for DEATHTRAP. Why is it an "attraction?"
Finally, RIGHTONRIGHTON gave me access to the NW corner, the toughest part for me. I should have known AMBIEN off the bat, but couldn't draw the name out of my memory. 8D: "Saint," elsewhere (SAO) was fairly straightforward, in retrospect. Also making this rough was ENNA in Sicily, not EtNA.
1A: Directive for the board (DONTERASE) is a really tough get! Not just the misdirection of a corporate board, but also the negative at the start. 13A: Popular pubs for college grads (ALUMNIMAGS) is also hard. I managed to move away from drinking establishments eventually.
Fun stuff. HAVEAGOODONE! Horace takes back over tomorrow. 13:20 for me.
Friday, February 17, 2023
Clearly the revealer for today's grid comes at 44A: Go out for a bit? (NAP). Because there are 7 Zs scattered throughout, of course!
What a lovely chunky solve today. So much scrabbly goodness! I actually got going in a meaningful way in the SW corner, of all places. I saw 7D: Salt (TAR), and saw that it was cross-referenced with 36D: Outerwear for an old 7-Down (PEACOAT), which gave me both of them. Then I thank reading old Pogo comics for knowing that Callaloo is a kind of STEW. Well, sort of. In the comics, they were continually making "perloo." It struck a chord, I guess.
The entire middle section fell quite quickly with those first letters in place. What a great set of three offset stacked 11-letter answers! 36A: What some pies may be baked on (PIZZASTONES) and 35A: Confounding contraptions (PUZZLEBOXES) account for 4 of the 7 Zs, while the excellent ROI 31A: Chopin piece inspired by a dog chasing its tail (MINUTEWALTZ) supplies a 5th. By the way, the "minute" of the title is not a reference to how long it should take to perform the piece, but rather the French meaning, or small. This in comparison to his Grand Waltzes. Typically, the piece takes 90-150 seconds to complete.
Overall, this puzzle SIZZLED! I love 47A: Sucker for a fictional story line (DUPE) right above 54A: Real-life sucker (VAMPIREBAT). Nice cluing!
35D: As small as two cups? (PINTSIZE) is just plain silly. I love it! AFFLUENZA is a great term.
Overall, it was a pretty RELAXED solve, even though I FWOE'd. I put in AGRoBIZ, and had to search for the incorrect letter. 22A: Roll it (DIE) could be "dough" but not "DoE."
Fun Friday! 6:24.
Thursday, February 16, 2023
I opened up the puzzle and immediately noticed the asymmetric nature of the grid, and all of those Ls. Boy, said I, I bet those will enter into the tricksiness of the Thursday puzzle!
Somehow, as I progressed in the solve, that thought fell by the wayside. And it's odd to have the revealer in the NW of the grid! It comes at 1D: Accept defeat, in modern parlance ... or a hint to entering five answers in this puzzle (TAKETHEL), which should be parsed as "take the L."
Thus, at 31D: Joint stockholders?, you answer by using the black L as a literal L, take the turn and complete the answer with 65A, to get POTDEA[L]ERS. The other four are GRAMMARPO[L]ICE, FOODCO[L]ORING, NAI[L]EDIT, and NUC[L]EAR.
Very nicely, the parts of the answers that come after the turn are answers in their own right, and are clued separately. I approve of avoiding the disappointing clue "-" that sometimes pop up.
So, a fun and definitely tricksy theme. For those who are curious, I definitely thought the answers would take a turn, but not through the black squares. Then, when I came to 46D and had NUC in place from crossings, I thought, "is 'LEAR' meant to be hidden within the black squares?" And then I finally got it.
I love the clue for 4D, by the way. As we all know, it's "lying down on the job," not "laying down on the job." At least we all know now.
How fun is it to have BOWWOWWOW in the grid? So many Ws. And I had a "kitwo" moment at 38A: Flat, for short (TWOD). That's 2-D. Not Twod. Which isn't a word. LOWPH, on the other hand, is that type of personality that sticks out from the crowd. No. No it isn't. It's "low pH."
Did you know that "angora" is actually from the city ANKARA? I did not. That's a ROI. I put in the former, and struggled because of it. 12:52 - a satisfyingly difficult puzzle.
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Our meta-theme week comes to a screeching halt today. But in the place of different shaped meals, we instead get a piece of history that's important to recognize. I won't attempt to summarize the DOUBLEV campaign that acknowledged the role that Black Americans played in the World War II effort, both at home and abroad, without experiencing the same rights and liberties as their fellow White Americans. Here's a link.
The puzzle celebrates this piece of American history through acknowledging four great Black Americans whose names happen to include a W, and then making that letter VV instead. Thus IDABVVELLS, the investigative journalist who reported on lynchings. JAMESBALDVVIN, GEORGEVVATSON, and VVEBDUBOIS all follow. It's very nicely done.
At a price, however. There are a ton of crosswordese answers in this grid. WIIS at 1D starts us off, but there's BTS, TBAR, MDS, UNLV, VMI, URL, GNC, GPA, MAHI, etc. Not the cleanest of grids, probably because of all of the Vs.
Still, we also get the fun FLAPJACKS, appropriate HEROISM, and amusing WARBLY. It's a perfectly good puzzle over all. But also, congratulations to Mr. Ziebarth for his debut! 4:45.
Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! We all have somebody to love, and somebody who loves us, even if it can be hard to recognize that at times. Know that I love all of my readers!
Well, you can't tell me that Mr. Shortz didn't plan this early week so that today's puzzle followed yesterday's. Moving from circles to squares, all edible! And an appropriate revealer at 62A (SQUAREMEAL).
Mind you, if these four examples (STARBURSTS, KRAFTSINGLES, SALTINECRACKERS, and KLONDIKEBARS) constituted the entirety of your meal, I'd be worried for your health...
Things moved along a lot more smoothly than yesterday's Monday fiasco. I was only slowed by 9D: Umami broth, in Japanese cuisine (DASHI), which I got entirely from crosses, and SPONGY, which I wanted to be SPriNGY, but there weren't enough squares. 27D: Corn dough used for tortillas (MASA) also was difficult. I guess I have to study up on foreign cuisine terms.
|THECURE (even though it's not Friday)|
I liked that MALEMODELS and KETTLEBELL were symmetrically placed. I imagine the two go together a fair amount! I myself have never tried that fitness technique. But Hope gave me a set of free weights for Christmas, so I have been using those at home.
56A: One who's barely existing? (NUDIST) gets the nod for best clue of the day.
Fun puzzle, and an exciting start to the week. What's tomorrow going to be? Triangles?
Monday, February 13, 2023
I don't know if it's a Super Bowl hangover, or whether, as Churchy said in Pogo all those many years ago, "Don't you hate it when Friday the 13th comes on a Monday?" In either case, I was slow to complete today's puzzle.
The Super Bowl, on the other hand, was a really fun game, spoiled by a dud of an ending. I was hoping the Eagles would win, but the Chiefs put together a pretty impressive game overall. And Patrick Mahomes might as well be Superman. Although Hurts had a better game.
But enough of the sportsball talk, how about the puzzle?
Start with a WELLROUNDEDDIET, and then come up with four food items that come in circular forms, and you get the theme. FROOTLOOPS is the winner here, because the name demonstrates the circles with all of those Os. SPAGHETTIOS tries, but that A and that E... Wannabes.
CHEESEWHEEL is a great thing that I will never buy in its entirety. But they sure are handsome in my local cheese shop! Plenty of cheese there, by the way, unlike a certain Monty Python sketch. And I've never had DIPPINDOTS in my life, and don't plan to.
I'll tell you what is not well-rounded. A TWINKIE. That's what.
|ELTON John in a Super Bowl ad|
Things definitely started slow in the NW. CNBC as a 1A is rough for a Monday puzzle, and it was made worse by two things: first, my mind jumped to "pap" instead of CUD for 1D ("Twice-chewed food"). This is incorrect. Second, I somehow mixed up in my mind which were across and which were down answers. Like I said. Friday the 13th.
Tomorrow will be a better day. It's the 14th, you see.
Sunday, February 12, 2023
Hello, fellow crossword puzzle lovers! I'm back, raring to go for another week of NYT puzzle reviews. Since last I published a blog, my younger daughter has left for a semester in Italy. I sometimes wonder why I didn't elect to take a semester abroad during college. The weird answer is I didn't want to miss being in any Gilbert and Sullivan productions. I can't recall now exactly which ones I did during my Junior year, but I'm pretty sure one of them was The Mikado. So, worth it?
But all that's beside the point. Today's puzzle is all about literal representations of four phrases that are slang for "economizing." And they're all beautifully done, in my opinion. We have:
1. CUTTINGCORNERS: not only are three squares in the NW and SE corner absent from the grid (instead of having black squares), the circled letters just inside the missing squares spell SAW and AXE. Lovely!
2. PINCHINGPENNIES: rebus alert! BI[CENT]ENNIAL[CENT]ER at 12D has the slang for penny stuck into a single square.
3. STRETCHINGABUCK: 58D: Not in a relationship (SSIINNGGLLEE) takes the synonym for a one dollar bill and elongates it.
4. MAKINGENDSMEET. The best of all of them, obvs. In the middle of the grid, the gray shaded squares that meet at the central black square are four synonyms for the rear end (CAN, BUM, ASS, BUTT). Hah!
|INCAN pyramid at Chichen Itza|
Meanwhile the remainder of the grid is excellent as well. How about 78D: The main antagonist? (PIRATESHIP) - as in "On the main," or asea. 48A: Senior partners? (PROMDATES) had me guessing for a while. Even 51A: Bussing on a bus, for short (PDA) and 127A: Smokey spot, for short (PSA) elevate 3-letter abbreviation crosswordese.
I appreciated RATE and MASS near to each other, as both relate to Newton's second law (F=ma). 103A: Like some modern maps (GENOMIC) is nice. Finally, nice call out to Gustav HOLST, English composer of the latter part of the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries, best known for The Planets suite. It's amazing how little of the rest of his oeuvre I am familiar with: two band suites and the St. Paul suite. Maybe it's time to do a little listening!
Saturday, February 11, 2023
Friday, February 10, 2023
Thursday, February 9, 2023
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Monday, February 6, 2023
Saturday, February 4, 2023
Wow. Just wow.
Can that be my entire review of this puzzle? No? OK, I'll show my work...
"You there, hoarding the Quattro razor! Scram! " clues SCHICKHOGGO, which sounds like "Chicago," a movie that came out in 2002.
And here's another one: "Why the Devil was forced to pay 'The Greatest' " clues HELLOWEDALI. Or, "Hell owed Ali," which sounds like, well, you get it.
My favorite is AHMIDDAYYES (Cry after remembering to meet at noon ) (Amadeus).
I mean. You kind of have to just sit back and appreciate the effort with these. And the revealer is spot on - OSCARWINNER SOUNDMIXING. That's really quite good.
In other news, I enjoyed the triple-S of CHESSSET, and under that DARKHUMOR (It may produce both a cringe and a laugh) was good. "Therein lies the rubbed" was a fun clue for SPA. I loved both sides of "Skedaddle, with 'it'" (HIGHTAIL), but I'm not familiar with the term NODSOUT (Dozes after a dose, say), and WALLHUNG (On display, as a painting) was surprising. And "Travel through time?," although a clever clue for AGE, is still too soon. :) And speaking of clever - "End of a flight, in two senses" (LANDING) was quite good.
There's a lot of theme, and so we end up with a little HONG (Part of H.K.), CDT, and XOO (Losing line in tic-tac-toe), but, well, that theme. It's worth the price of admission. I mean how can you read THUMBMADETRICKS (Some optical illusions created with one's fingers ) and not say "Wow"?
This one was a struggle! Just about perfect for a Saturday.
Lots of good stuff. Where to start? How about with the paired clues, like the sort-of-symmetrical "Booty" clues for HAUL and SEAT? Or "Dazzling" (GORGEOUS) and its neighbor "Dazzle" (ENCHANT). Or "Be that as it may ..." cluing the connected HOWEVER and EVENSO. Am I missing any?
The command to GOOUTSIDE would probably get a GOSHNO today here in Massachusetts. It was 11 below zero when I woke up!
Loved MOONSHOT (Ambitious goal or innovation), BENEVOLENT (Given to giving), and TRUELOVE (Unconditional condition?) (lovely clue). And the long conversational answers were all good, too: IGNORETHAT ("Actually, never mind"), CUTTOTHECHASE (Make a long story short), and LETSSEESOMEID (Line at the door of a bar), PICKMEUP (Mood booster), and HITSANERVE (Gets too personal with zingers, say). And then there's STEERCLEAR (Keep away), BEACHREAD (Summer novel, typically), and ARTHOUSE (Fine film forum). It's all so good. Everywhere you look!
Not much to do as a reviewer in situations like this except just say that Ms. Hawkins is a DEFT constructor. She will not be BOOED by me. :)
Friday, February 3, 2023
This was a satisfying solve. I broke in quickly with ALEC (Guinness with an Oscar), QUAD (Thigh muscle, informally), and BELLCURVE (Result of a normal distribution), then pretty much the whole right side fell down from that. The exotic ELKHOUNDS beside the beautiful CLEMATIS, running through the more commonplace BUTTSOUT (Minds one's own business), MUNIS, and WEEDS. And while I, myself, have enjoyed riding centuries, the clue "Long ones can be measured in centuries" does not sound quite right. Ninety-nine percent of the time, when bikers talk about a century they are talking about a specific ride of 100-miles. I suppose it is possible that, if, say, you were in the Tour de France on a particularly long day, you could say "That was like doing two centuries!" but again... not at all common. Not least because for most riders, that would be the equivalent of 8-10 hours in the saddle.
My driver's license includes the words ORGANDONOR, because I believe that life-saving pieces should not be as hard to get as UNOBTANIUM (dumb word, but whatever).
I was fooled by both hidden capitals in the SW - "Crush cans, maybe" (GRAPESODAS) and "Perseverance, e.g." (MARSROVER). And yes, I was also fooled again by "Edges of a diamond?" (DEES). Gah! When will I learn!?
"Nurses" was good for SIPSON, NOTEWORTHY was "Striking," and I was expecting a plural when I read "Some striped strips," but no, it's everybody's favorite - BACON! Hey, have I mentioned that I was in two separate BACON-eating contests? Well, I was. And the great thing about that was that everybody was a winner going in - it was free, and we got to eat all the bacon we possibly could! Good times... And speaking of BACON, I grew up in Worcester, the birthplace of DINERS! I'd try the Miss Worcester someday IFIWEREYOU - it's my favorite. :)
Overall, a lovely grid. I have no complaints AVEC ceci.
Thursday, February 2, 2023
Earlier this week I learned a little about heterogeneous catalysis at a bar, and now here I am reading about gravitational lensing, modified Newtonian dynamics, and entropic gravity because I did a Thursday crossword puzzle ... What is to become of me?
But seriously, it's all too rare that science works its way into a crossword, and today's [DARKMATTER] PHYSICS theme seems tailor-made for such a crossover. The missing letters do not account for 85% of the puzzle (thank goodness), as it is supposed dark matter does in the universe, but certain answers cannot be explained by currently accepted theories of spelling, and therefore imply the presence of missing elements. WORDED differently, the ten letters that spell DARK MATTER are missing, in order, from the beginning of ten Across answers. Some are left of the left edge, some are hidden in black squares. None have anything to do with Down answers. Also, elegantly, the grid appears to be complete without them, just as the universe appears to mostly make sense, but the clues - like the behavior of some galaxies - cause us to look more deeply for answers. Tidy.
OK, maybe I'll drop the whole "working from the Dark Matter Wikipedia page" thing now and just talk about the rest of the puzzle...
There's a lot to like here. DECKCHAIR (Seat on a ship) puts me in mind of summer, which is nice, as we in Massachusetts have some low temperatures INSTORE over the next day or so, and that will put some people into HYSTERICS. Me, I'm not too bothered by cold weather INGENERAL, but prolonged cold will EATAWAY at anyone's warmth, right?
AROUSER (One giving a wake-up call) is rough, and SARD (Orangish-brown gem) is decidedly "late-week," but the crosses were fair.
This was a fun one. Big thumbs up.
p.s. Congratulations on the NYTX debut, Elise Corbin. What a way to break in! And for all of you who want more science-y crosswords, Elise has a blog for you.
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Is it a coincidence that this theme runs at the same time that a "green-hued comet from the outer solar system" will ARC through our sky for the first time in 50,000 years? Not to me it isn't. I can see right through this whole charade. But I'll play along and just review it as if nothing is happening. Because really, what choice do I have?
So... today we witness three SPACECRAFT picking up three-letter earthly objects using TRACTORBEAMS, with each abductee crying out in their own way as they are dragged up. It's a fun theme, and it looks great. Why the aliens want a car, I don't know. As if they needed combustion engine technology. Hah.
And because I like the theme so much, today I smile UNABASHEDLY at entries like SMILERS (Some cheerful folks) and KLEPTOCRATIC (Like a government led by thieving politicians), which are, um, pushing it.
We just rode the ACELA last month, and although it was very nice, and I highly recommend it as a way to avoid being IRKED by traffic, I wish there were a true BARCAR. Wouldn't that be fun?
There's a bit of alphabet soup (FSU, CCL, ETO, SRS, CGI, TBS), but, well, I don't much care today. It all went along pretty smoothly, and it was a goofy, fun theme. Thumbs up. Now go get your life in order, because the aliens will be here soon.