Robyn Weintraub’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
So much crisp fill here! My favorites are CAT’S PAJAMAS, TIME STAMP, FUN FACTS, SOLDIER ON, RIDE SHOTGUN, “KEEP TALKING…,” ODDS AND ENDS, OVERSLEPT, MOOD MUSIC, and FINE PRINT.
ENGS is an ugly plural abbreviation (and perhaps bogus, as engr. is the standard abbreviation for “engineer”), and JCT is an ugly (but wholly legit) singular abbrev. I’d prefer REEDED clued with reference to the grooved edges of a dime or quarter rather than [Like clarinets], because musical instruments and I are long estranged.
What else have we got?
- 26a. [Puma parts], LACES. Puma sneakers, not the felines.
- 37a. [Unknowingly reveal], BETRAY. There’s also the sense of betrayal in which someone knowingly reveals what they oughtn’t. (Topical!) The clued sense is along the lines of “his slow pace betrayed his reluctance to ever get to school.”
- 4d. [Bible belt?], SMITE. Great clue. I am currently reading the bible via the IBBLE unscrambling app and I don’t think I’ve hit any “smites” yet in the astonishingly overlong Book of Genesis.
- 6d. [They’re often installed in the spring, for short], ACS. Cooler near the lake! No need for an AC here yet. I’m tired of being chilly.
- 30d. [Stayed out when you shouldn’t have?], OVERSLEPT. Cute clue. Somebody get me up before 7 tomorrow, will you?
- 53d. [Victoria, e.g.: Abbr.], STA. In addition to London’s Victoria Station, there’s the Victoria Station in Manchester beside the arena, the site of this week’s horrific bombing. I’m guessing the clue predates the attack.
4.2 stars from me. Good night!
Tracy Bennett’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Triple-Teamed” — pannonica’s write-up
Really flooding the zone here. The lanes are clogged in this 16×15 crossword.
For each grid-spanning theme entry, the nicknames of three NBA teams have been strung together to form a reasonably coherent statement, in
singular noun subject |
present tense verb |
plural noun object form.
- 21a. [Warmer weather stirs up a hazardous nest?] HEAT SPURS HORNETS.
- 40a. [Spell summons other spell developers?] MAGIC NETS WIZARDS.
- 61a. [Playing bebop music seems to guarantee a flying start to rodeo events?] JAZZ ROCKETS BULLS.
As you can see, they’re rather tortured. On the other hand, the constraints are severe. Limited set to start with, need for nouns that will work as verbs, each of the three triplets must run to the same letter length.
- 24a [Tracy’s mom in “Hairspray”] EDNA, 66a [Seaweed’s sister in “Hairspray”] INEZ.
- 26a [Touch after a chase] TAG, 51a [“Cut to the chase”] BE BRIEF.
- 71a [Jung femme, in some?] ANIMA, 72a [Yon femme, in Somme?] ELLE. Oh wow, was I talking about tortured constructions earlier? That’s … wow. Kudos.
- 11d [Mother-wolf voicer in 2016’s “Jungle Book”] Lupita NYONG’O. Despite enticing appearances Lupita doesn’t mean ‘little wolf’. It’s a diminutive form of Guadalupe (as in, Our Lady of). Strong speculation has it that the (original) namesake river in Spain derives from the Arabic wad-al-lubb, meaning ‘hidden river’.
- 12d [Home builder’s projection] EAVE.
(featuring the guitar playing of Waddy Wachtel)
- 13d [Came down to earth] ALIT, 44d [Landed, maybe] AFFLUENT.
- 14d [Great American Ball Park team] REDS, 22d [Hawthorne’s pariah] PRYNNE.
- Favorite clue: 38d [Some campus occupations] SIT-INS.
- 46a [“The Trumpet of the Swan” monogram] EBW (EB White, Elwyn Brooks White). 3d [Like cranes, but not derricks] AVIAN.
- 27a [Choice piece of Joyce?] ULYSSES; I’m supposing that the weird clue is because the constructor (or editor) was enamored of the -ce, -ce, -ce repetition. 8d [Long, strange trips] ODYSSEYS. 37a [Last word of 27 Across] YES.
Sam Donaldson’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
For a Friday, this theme is unusually minimalist and easy enough to solve around. There are four parts that (ostensibly) need NUMBERONE added to them to make sense with the clues. It is a problem for me that DOOR and PUBLICENEMY still work without the NUMBERONE as clued. [“Let’s make a deal” choice] can be answered by DOOR and DOOR(NUMBERONE); same with the PUBLICENEMY clue. LOOKSOUTFOR and WERE are meaningless without their NUMBERONEs. The latter two caused resistance when solving and lead to an a-ha when the key was revealed. The former just lessened the impact of the puzzle.
Favourite moments: [Diamond mine?] for IGOTIT and [Missile from Venus?] for ACE: both are hall of fame sports clues for sure! I also enjoyed the wackiness of PLATYPI, even if it is non-standard and etymologically misguided. The standard formation is boring old platypuses, and the etymologically sound one would be platypodes. OPENTOE is also a lot more punchy than it ought to be as a convenient, vowel-heavy entry!
Minor demerit for an intersecting entertainment 3-fer with KAVNER/VANDAMME/TAMBOR. I doubt those names tripped anyone up, as the letters are inferrable, but ideally unusual proper names from similar genres shouldn’t bunch.