Crosswordese 101: Three closely related words that show up in crossword puzzles a lot and can be confusing are YENTL, YENTA, and YENTE. Here's how you can tell them apart (if you don't already, ya know, know them). (**Disclaimer: I'm sure some of you have a much greater understanding of what these words mean and even though I might say all of the following in a knowledgeable manner, I'm really only explaining to you what I've learned from crosswords and not claiming to know anything about how these words may or may not be used in the real world.) YENTA is most often clued with the word gossip or any number of other words having to do with gossip or meddling: busybody, rumormonger, blabbermouth. YENTE, on the other hand, is the specific gossip / busybody / oh yeah, matchmaker! in "Fiddler on the Roof." The musical takes place in a place called Anatevka, which might also appear in the clue, especially later in the week. Finally, YENTL is almost always clued as it is today — with regard to the Barbra Streisand movie of that title. YENTL is also the name of Streisand's character in the movie. Every once in a while, in a late-week puzzle, the clue for YENTL will refer instead to the Broadway musical, in which the title role was played by Tovah Feldshuh. And now you know everything you need to know about YENTL, YENTA, and YENTE. At least when you're solving crossword puzzles.
Hey, everyone, PuzzleGirl here with your Thursday puzzle and it's a doozy. I Totally Love this theme. I don't recall seeing it before and I just think it's clever and snappy and brilliant. Love love love it. Can't say enough about it. It's so good, in fact, that I'm willing to let some of the crappy fill slide. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. I mean, really, there are way too many three-letter words for this grid to be considered elegant but, with this theme? Who cares!? Throw some more three-letter words in there! Won't bother me a bit! (Okay, maybe I'm getting carried away, but you get the idea.)
Took me a while to catch onto theme. After I got the first two long across answers — AGENT ORANGE (17A: Toxic defoliant used in Vietnam) and GINGER ROGERS (27A: 1930s Fred Astaire partner) — I assumed the theme had something to do with flavors. The next long across, therefore — STAGE MANAGER (45A: Show runner) — had me scratching my head. So I just kept zipping along, trying not to over-think it, and noticing the overabundance of Gs, until I finally made it to the reveal — [67A: Letter appearing only in down answers; its opposite appears only in across answers] (HARD G). Reviewing the grid, I saw it: [50A: Golden __] (AGERS — notice the soft G) crosses [44D: Logician's connector] (ERGO — with a hard G). [14A: Taunts] (GIBES — soft g) crosses [4D: Tennis great who retired in 2006] (AGASSI — hard G). And, and, and ... every single G in the whole damn grid is like that! Awesome! Did I mention that I love this theme?!?
With all the Gs in the grid, it was inevitable that we would see these four troublemakers:
- 5D: Prefix with hertz (GIGA).
- 11D: Satanic nation in Revelation (GOG). (My only true WTF? moment of the puzzle. Did you guys know this one?)
- 39D: Club appearance (GIG).
- 58D: Comical bit (GAG).
Okay, a few more things and we'll wrap this Thursday up.
- 13A: Prop extension? (ANE). -ANE is a suffix that might be added to the word prop to result in propane.
- 22A: Sings, so to speak (TELLS). Sing as in "rat someone out."
- 35A: Place for a stud (LOBE). Stud earring.
- 36A: Tribute with a wink (ROAST). Here's a blast from the past for you.
- 41A: 2005 horror sequel (SAW II). This was a gimme for me and I have no idea why. I haven't seen a horror movie since, probably, 1983.
- 43A: Artist who worked on Hitchcock's "Spellbound" (DALI). I did not know that.
- 48A: Certain, for sure: Abbr. (SYN). Certain and for sure are synonyms.
- 62A: Red-and-white supermarket logo (IGA). Where do they have these stores? Oh, they're based in Chicago. Orange probably knows all about them.
- 66A: Yegg's thousands (GEES). A yegg is a ... safecracker? Yeah, a safecracker. And "Gs" means thousands, as in dollars.
- 7D: Sportscaster Berman (LEN). Isn't there a Chris Berman too? Yep. Len is the sports anchor on NBC's New York City affiliate. Chris is (mostly) on ESPN.
- 10D: "Archie Bunker's Place" costar (ANNE MEARA). Love her! She's Ben Stiller's mom, ya know.
- 20D: '70s Olympics name (OLGA). I spent many hours glued to the television watching both Korbut and Nadia Comaneci in the 1970s.
- 23D: Matt of "Joey" (LEBLANC).
- 26D: "Mr. Triple Axel" Brian (ORSER). Gimme gimme gimme! Ha! Love this blog!
- 28D: Marlins' div. (NLE). That's National League East. I got it from crosses.
- 38D: Donate, in Dundee (GIE). I'm sure it couldn't be helped.
- 52D: Antisocial elephant (ROGUE). I always forget this definition of the word. Until I remember it.
- 57D: Tegucigalpa's country: Abbr. (HOND). Honduras? Yes, Honduras.
- 59D: Summer in the cité (ÉTÉ). French in the clue = French in the answer.
- 60D: Ordinal suffix (ETH). You might add the suffix -eth to a number to indicate its rank (e.g., twenty ——> twentiETH).
Everything Else — 1A: Late-night name (JAY); 4A: Sharp-witted (AGILE); 9A: O. Henry's "The Gift of the __" (MAGI); 14A: Taunts (GIBES); 15A: Key that often sounds gloomy (MINOR); 16A: Windy City superstation (WGN); 19A: Charlie Parker's instrument (ALTOSAX); 21A: Novel type (DIME); 23A: Philosopher __-tzu (LAO); 25A: "As I see it," in e-mail (IMO); 32A: Rowlands of "Another Woman" (GENA); 37A: Siouan speaker (OTO); 38A: Study of rock groups? (GEOLOGY); 40A: Old touring car (REO); 44A: O.K. Corral name (EARP); 49A: LAX tower gp. (ATC); 50A: Golden __ (AGERS); 54A: Actress Cusack (JOAN); 56A: Don hastily (THROWON); 58A: "Adam Bede" novelist (GEORGEELIOT); 63A: Perplexed (ATSEA); 64A: "Lovergirl" vocalist __ Marie (TEENA); 65A: Rapa __: Easter Island (NUI); 68A: Glue is one (GEL); 1D: Scold (JAWAT); 2D: Billiards player's consideration (ANGLE); 4D: Tennis great who retired in 2006 (AGASSI); 6D: Alpine goat (IBEX); 7D: Sportscaster Berman (LEN); 8D: More than -er? (EST); 12D: Anger (IRE); 15D: Hosp. scanner (MRI); 18D: Skunk's defense (ODOR); 24D: Anatomical ring (AREOLA); 29D: Skilled in (GOODAT); 30D: Access ending (ORY); 31D: End (STOP); 32D: Tenet's CIA successor (GOSS); 33D: French states (ETATS); 42D: Overlooks (IGNORES); 46D: Nape growth (MANE); 47D: Livestock identifier (EARTAG); 51D: "Dallas" name (EWING); 53D: Slow mollusk (SNAIL); 55D: __ Khan (AGA); 56D: Level (TIER); 61D: Meadow (LEA).