Matt Ginsberg’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
I knew there would be some sort of theme or gimmick here, because Matt doesn’t make plain crosswords. (He could use his computing power to generate great themelesses, but doesn’t because where’s the fun in that?) We’ve got a CHEMIST and a PLUMBER clued as people who might pronounce 36a: UNIONIZED with 4 vs. 3 syllables—un-ionized vs. union-ized. There are lots of people besides PLUMBERs whose first instinct would be the “union” version of the word. Nice pair of heteronyms.
This puzzle took me longer than most Friday NYTs, which is not a complaint. A 72-worder with 23 theme squares and four wide-open corners with largely solid fill? I’ll take it.
Five more things:
- 18a. [Subcontinent-wide], ALL-INDIA. Not sure I’ve seen this term before, but then, I’ve never been to India.
- 62a. [Lesser “Seinfeld” role played by Len Lesser], UNCLE LEO. “Jerry. Hello.” I like the “Lesser” two-fer.
- 5d. [When told “I’m sleepy,” she sometimes says “I hope you’re not driving”], SIRI. I’m sleepy but I’m not driving, just blogging. 29d. [Nap], DOZE? No, thanks. I’ll just settle in for the night.
- 33d. [Top of the line?], SIRE? Not always. The top of 3-Down EUGENIE‘s line is her grandma, Elizabeth II. (Eugenie is 8th in line. I don’t think she’s gonna get the nod.)
- 40d. [Word repeatedly spelled out by Franklin], RESPECT. Good one! Aretha, the Queen of Soul, and not Benjamin, the Tempter of Lightning.
A couple little bits of heavy-in-crosswords fill like ERLE and ARA—but really that’s it, which is pretty darn good for a 72-worder with 23 theme squares. 4.2 stars from me.
Sam Donaldson’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
I assisted another constructor on this very theme, but despite extensive revisions it never really came together. Rich rejected our version in 2014 on the basis of the theme entries. I’m happy to see that a TEAFORTWO puzzle did finally see daylight. Well done, Sam! It’s deceptively restrictive in the changes that are available!
- [What Fey does in a mushy moment?], TINAMELTS.
- [Ornamental ducks?], GARDENTEALS.
- [Model high schoolers?], FINETEENS.
- [Park statue that might have the real things perched on it?], STEELPIGEON. Phew! That’s a convoluted clue!
- [“No, No, Nanette” song…], TEAFORTWO
- [Two-iron, before golf club numbering], CLEEK. Obscure vocab, though the crossers are fair.
- [Orator’s prowess: Abbr.], RHET. It’s in the dictionaries, though I can’t fathom an occasion when one would use it.
- [Selective words], THISONE. I presume the McCartney single didn’t chart so well State-side then?
Not too much more I’d like to say.