Love, Crossword Style

… where even the clues are about people named Love

Published February 18, 2024

Hello everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day–and in case you missed them, I’ll personally recommend the New York Times and USA Today puzzles of Feb. 14, both of which are visually impressive. Like the theme of Valentine’s, there’s always love to share, so here are some things I loved in the crossworld this week.

Clues you can use

Monday, Feb. 12 (Los Angeles Times, constructed by Amanda Cook)

“The Real” co-host Love = LONI

image credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0

As seen in her Instagram handle @comiclonilove, Loni Love is a comedian who first appeared on Star Search in 2003. Like many comedians of the day, she got a big break as one of the talking heads on VH1’s long-running I Love… series. Her IMDb has some film credits as well, but Love is best known for her hosting work–including the daytime talk show The Real, which ran for more than 1,300 episodes from 2013 to ‘22. All of its hosts–Love, Adrienne Houghton, Jeannie Mai, and Tamera Mowry-Housley–won a Daytime Emmy in 2015. Love has also hosted E! Daily Pop and judged RuPaul’s Drag Race, and just this week she appeared on the syndicated talk show Tamron Hall. No mention of this puzzle though.

Tuesday, Feb. 13 (USA Today, constructed by Zhouqin Burnikel)

Annual NYC theater prize = DRAMA DESK AWARD

Though the Tonys dominate the Broadway prize scene (and make up 25 percent of an EGOT), there are a few others you hear of in passing, including the Obies, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, and the Drama Desk Awards. First conferred in 1955, the Drama Desks were originally named for New York Post critic and Off-Broadway booster Vernon Rice, getting their current name in 1962. As a rare set of theater awards in which Broadway, Off-Broadway, and other shows compete against each other–in 2022, both Outstanding Play and Outstanding Musical went to Off-Broadway shows–the DDAs also include fun categories such as Outstanding Lyrics, Outstanding Puppetry, and Unique Theatrical Experience.

Friday, Feb. 16 (New York Times, constructed by Colin Adams)

___ Carter, most-recorded jazz bassist in history = RON

On the Ron Carter Universe website, you can see and interact with the many, MANY basslines created by the legendary Ron Carter. A 1961 graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, Carter has made credited appearances on more than 2,000 recording sessions–from Miles Davis’s version of “Footprints,” to “Eye of the Hurricane” with Herbie Hancock, to “Verses from the Abstract” by A Tribe Called Quest. More modern music fans will appreciate that on his 85th birthday in 2022, he headlined his own Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. A true lover of music, Carter sells a T-shirt featuring the quote, “I want the time to be so good on the gig that when the band leaves, the audience feels like they have tire tracks on their backs.”

Tallinn tales

A fun report all the way from the Baltic states: This week marked the 99th anniversary of the first Estonian crossword. You can see the original 1925 grid in this (thankfully English-language) article, and it looks extremely similar to the puzzles that were dominant in the U.S. at the same time. Arthur Wynne didn’t construct the very first crossword until 1913, so it’s remarkable to see how quickly the concept got copied–especially in non-English languages!

With that, I hope you have a nice easy week ahead. Take a nice walk, take a nice nap, and take a break. And some time in there, consider signing up for the 2024 Spring Themeless League by Boswords, which is sure to feature some great puzzles by some great constructors.

Whether you do those things or not, I’ll see you next week!

Chris King is a longtime crossword commentator, and the author of five published puzzle books. His column appears on Questionist every Sunday. 

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