Zhouqin Burnikel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Is it just me not being on the right wavelength, or is this puzzle more like a hard Saturday NYT? I may have used my brain too much already today. I looked at 1a and 1d, and I wanted one to be cocktail ONIONS and the other to be ESSAYS. Wrong on both counts! Was making just enough wrong turns to make it harder to figure out the clues, and there were so many clues that just didn’t put an answer in my head. Whoof!
Likes: BOOT CAMP, GENDERFLUID, TUPAC (timely—the biopic All Eyez on Me comes out Friday), BAUHAUS, BIG IF, OVER IT, SECRET SAUCE, SOCIAL MEDIA, and DR PEPPER.
- 29a. [Moving between male and female], GENDER FLUID. This clue is far too restrictive and attached to the binary concept of gender identity. The term also encompasses people who identify as non-binary, neutrois (a term that’s new to me), agender, and so on.
- 48a. [Popular nail polish brand], OPI. Not that every woman is familiar with nail polish brands, but I suspect if we had more female crossword editors and constructors, the two-thirds-vowels OPI would get a lot more play. And it’s the best brand for crossworders, as the color names rely heavily on puns, alliteration, and rhymes.
- 6d. [French philosopher who wrote “Reflections on Violence”], SOREL. I sure don’t know this philosopher, but I do know the brand of snow boots. Given that Zhouqin’s a Minnesotan, I’ll betcha a dollar she originally clued this as boots (though the website I just linked to shows that they sell more than just boots—there are sandals too).
- 7d. [Greet with disdain], BOO AT. Not a fan of “verb + AT” entries unless they’re solidly idiomatic. I mean, people do boo at things, but BOO AT looks weird.
- 50d. [Bulgarian, e.g.], SLAV. Anyone else misread this as [Vulgarian] at first?
4.25 stars from me for this 64-worder.
Christopher Shaw’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
The punchline of this puzzle is [Standup comic known for one-liners], MITCHHEDBERG. It makes no claim that the cut-up-into-tiny-chunks one-liner is in any way related to it. It does seem he is sometimes given as the source: http://quotes.lifehack.org/quote/mitch-hedberg/my-fake-plants-died-because-i-did/. MYFAKEPLANTS/DIED/BECAUSE/IDIDNOT/PRETEND/TOWATER/THEM. It’s rather a surreal puzzle theme that.