Jason Flinn’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
This one was easier than yesterday’s for me. There’s an Ashwood-Smithesque pair of quad stacks in the grid. The top stack of 15s are MASTER CRAFTSMAN (solid, but one of those gendered terms), fun CREATURE FEATURE, VESTED INTERESTS, INTERNET ADDRESS (clued as [Something a server can give you]—does that mean an IP address or a URL?). The lower set has EMANCIPATION DAY (love the [Juneteenth] clue), RAISED ONE’S VOICE (which you can tell because I typed that in all-caps), ENDED IN DISASTER, and SYSTEMS ANALYST.
Favorite bits: LINDT chocolate, AFROS clued as [“Naturals”], Christine and John MCVIE, non-S plural HASIDIM, the TARDIS (although I’ve never actually watched Doctor Who), and an ART STUDIO.
Unfavorites: ETO, dated NED’S, -ORY, SEE IT, ERES, Italian [Sixth: It.] SESTO, CRIED ABOUT (way too many other verbs could replace CRIED, doesn’t feel crosswordable to me), AFTA, OR M (!), PONS, ANISSA, MUSED OVER (mulled over would be better), and –ISTS.
Two more things:
- 47d. [Bill of the 1960s-’70s Weather Underground], AYERS. Remember all the conspiracy theories about Ayers and the authorship of President Obama’s book? I think the same people trafficked in racist gorilla and watermelon imagery. Yes, people have traditionally had such respect for whoever is elected president, they sure have.
- 38a. [___ Sremmurd, hip-hop duo with the 2016 #1 hit “Black Beatles”], RAE. That’s ear and drummers backwards. If you’ve seen any of those “mannequin challenge” videos, they generally feature that song. Here’s a compilation of 15 videos that will give you an excellent sense of what the mannequin challenge is. Those kids do a great job of capturing drama, motion, and conflict without moving!
3.5 stars from me.
Samuel A. Donaldson & Jeff Chen’s Wall Street Journal Crossword, “Here We Go Again” — pannonica’s write-up
So often abused in crosswords, the prefix re- gets a different kind of workout in this one. The phrases are benign, but the clues have been massaged to reflect an unorthodox interpretation.
- 22a. [Freak out about getting the hose wound up just right this time?] RECOIL IN HORROR.
- 43a. [Savvy second edit?] SMART REMARK. Pretty sure the original is synonymous with ‘lip’ or ‘sass’ rather than ‘clever remark’, ‘witty remark’, or ‘astute observation’, et cetera.
- 94a. [Lizard’s cost to grow another appendage?] RETAIL PRICE. Incidentally, it’s only a few lizard species that have this regenerative capability, and some more than others.
- 117a. [Brain surgeon’s offer?] LET ME REMIND YOU. Well, that one’s a stretch. See also 85a [Head shots, for short?] EEGS.
- 13d. [When to see the landlord for an extension?] RELEASE DATE.
- 16d. [How the model st the second time?] ANGLE OF REPOSE.
- 55d. [Books for marriage counselors?] REPAIR MANUALS.
- 68d. [Polite telemarketer’s mantra] I DON’T RECALL.
See? Pretty cute. Happy to report that the grid is free of non-thematic RE prefixes, though the bigram does appear a handful of times (JOE TORRE, BORE, REEFS, REX, perhaps more (I’m pressed for time)).
- Hey check out the vertical stacking in the center! 33d [Trandy watering hole] MARTINI BAR, 46d [Source of a cold draft in the house] KEGERATOR (a portmanteau of keg and refrigerator), 51d [Hoity-toity attitude] SNOOTINESS.
- 124a [Spiny, egg-laying mammals] ECHIDNAS. 110d [Aust, state] TASM. Tachyglossus aculeatus setosus, a subspecies of one of the four extant species (in two genera), is found in/on Tasmania.
- 32a [Sounds from the flock] AMENS, 36a [Sound from the flock] BLEAT. 20d/126a [Spirit from the desert] JINN, MESCAL.
- Favorite clues. There were a bunch of good ones; here’s a sampling: 26a [Stays en pointe?] TIPTOES, 34a [Dashing quality?] HASTE, 72a [Bad name for a chauffeur] REX, 115a [Only state whose seal shows a seal] ALASKA,
- 73a [Mileage gauge, for short] ODO. Oh no.
- 109d [“Exodus” protagonist] ARI. 63a [“Exodus” actor Sal] MINEO; his character apparently was DOV, who doesn’t seem to have much crossword currency.
- 81a [Info on un certificat de naissance] NOM. Oui!
- 93a [Pad kee mao cuisine] THAI. Refreshing to see a new variation in cluing, even if it’s merely a less common dish.
- 112a [Marine nymph of myth] OCEANID. Was for some reason expecting a particular character rather than the category. They’re all children of Oceanus, if I recall correctly.
- 54d [Frozen treat with a Sir Isaac Lime flavor] OTTER POP. Only vaguely recognizable as familiar, but it was easily gettable and made for interesting fill.
- Medium-length fill: WOODCARVER, DROP SEATS, CRIME DOG, HOT IRONS, BUS STOPS, OTTER POP, STIFF NECK, TETRAHEDRA. Good stuff. The odd entries have clarifying clues.
John Lieb’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
A 72-word puzzle today by another constructor I am not totally familiar with. But this is a good puzzle. There is one entry that I found myself saying “What is that??!!” to, but other than that, this is typical LAT smooth work. Not too difficult this week, as is seems as if they were getting a little tougher for a week or two! Maybe that is on me; I am pretty settled in my new job and I love it. The amount of stress and wear and tear is down to almost nothing! It is a slight adjustment to being more mentally tired in the evening; in the past crosswords and puzzles were pretty much my only mental stimulation. Now my brain is firing all day long, and I am adjusting to this different kind of fatigue. But enough about me! 4.3 stars for this one!
A few notes:
- 16A [Tufted tweeter] TITMOUSE – Yes, this is a bird!
- 42A [Blue on screen] RATED X – Technically, there is no Rated X term anymore, I don’t believe. At least not in the US. Wikipedia says it still exists in other countries. Large release movies have an NC-17 rating if they are over the top, and porn is simply XXX to entice people.
- 50A [Texter’s appreciation] THX – Also a surround sound format!
- 65A [Shady Records co-founder] EMINEM – Yes, he is known as Slim Shady, so it makes sense. I blanked on this for a minute!
- 2D [“Star Trek: Voyager” actress] JERI RYAN – A role that made her quite famous. She also was in Season 2 of Bosch on Amazon Video, which is based on Michael Connelly’s novels about the detective. I enjoyed it!
- 3D [Initial encounter in a romcom] MEET CUTE – Nicely done. Not a phrase I hear much, but a great entry.
- 37D [“Nos __”: 2000s French-Canadian drama set in a summer home] ETES – This is that crazy entry. Who knows this???
- 39D [Total assets?] VITAMINS – As in Total cereal! I love it! Best clue in the bunch!
- 41D [Quality control process with an alphanumeric symbol] SIX SIGMA – Another great entry!
A fun puzzle today by John Lieb! Make more of these Saturday challengers, John! Have a great weekend all!
Brad Wilber’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
As usual, Brad has a stiff challenge for us, but my time isn’t too bad! Lower left section fell first, then success bled into the upper right. The corners with the 9-letter stacks were difficult, especially the lower right area. Which is evident by all of the error marks you see in the image! I had PEACH instead of PEARS at 42A, so that caused problems with 43D and 44D, and it all went sideways until I checked my answers. All in all another solid entry by Brad. Perhaps I am getting used to his clueing style after all of these months of blogging! By my count, a 70-worder with great fill; 4.4 stars for this one.
- 1A [Rigid] HIDEBOUND – They don’t say this in Indiana. A new word for me to use!
- 16A [Language once written in Cyrillic] ALEUT – A forehead slapper once I got this one – the Aleutian Islands are practically IN Russia!
- 21A [Titular Brooklynite of ’70s TV] KOTTER – First or second entry filled in. I am old!
- 24A [Traditional Tyrolean fabric] LODEN – I don’t know fashion that well, so this is another word totally unfamiliar to me. On my next trip to Austria …
- 35A [Dimple concealer] GOATEE – If it’s big enough! This may or may not be true.
- 38A [Bona fide and proud] CARD-CARRYING – They DO say this in Indiana! Probably my favorite entry in the puzzle!
- 45A [Psion’s Organizer was the first one] PDA – As in Personal Digital Assistant. According to Wikipedia, it launched in 1984. It also was spelled Organiser!
- 60A [Small addition to the staff] GRACE NOTE – Almost my favorite clue. I figured it was some sort of note, but didn’t figure it out until I had several crossings.
- 8D [Vermouth/Campari cocktail] NEGRONI – I tried MARTINI at first. I don’t drink this fancy stuff!
- 9D [Beats by __ ] DRE – Also one of the first entries filled in. If you enjoy music, you need a GOOD pair of headphones. It makes a difference!
- 35D [What Billie Holiday often wore] GARDENIA – I found photo evidence!
- 36D [Player at Dodger Stadium] ORGANIST – I have seen this clue before, and it still stumped me!
- 44D [“Sunshine City”] ST. PETE – With my error mentioned above, I actually had HARARE in here for a while!
- 54D [Leftmost-column number] B-TEN – As in a Bingo card. I think I like this clue the best!
Love these Stumpers! Have a great weekend!
Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “No Damage Done” —Ade’s write-up
Hello there ,everybody! I hope you’re all doing well this weekend. Today’s crossword, brought to us by Ms. Lynn Lempel, features four theme entries in which the last word in each depicts some type of damage, even though it’s not used in that context in the actual answers.
- HOUSE-BROKEN (17A: [Like a well-trained dog])
- LICKETY-SPLIT (27A: [At great speed])
- DIRECTOR’S CUT (48A: [Edited version of a film before its release])
- MONTHLY RENT (64A: [Tenant’s expense])
Fun grid, though I had a tougher time finishing this off, though I’m not really sure why. Maybe if I hadn’t put in “bar car” instead of BOX CAR, I might have shaved a few seconds off my time (18D: [Part of a freight train]). Favorite fill of the grid included BLOOD LINE (11D: [Ancestry]) and DOGIE, which I haven’t seen in a grid in a good while (67A: [Motherless calf]). Have an early dinner, so it’s time to make a run for it. But, not before this…
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: NEE (5D: [Indicator of a name change]) – Former college basketball head coach Danny NEE (pronounced “knee”) is the winningest head coach in the history of the University of Nebraska, amassing 254 wins at the school and leading the Cornhuskers to the 1994 Big 8 Conference Tournament title and the 1996 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) championship.
See you all for the Sunday Challenge!