Kelly Clark’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Nice to see another woman’s byline on a themeless crossword! And there’s some fun fill in this easyish puzzle. PETUNIA PIG and DICK TRACY are old-school cartoon pop culture. SHAKE ‘N BAKE from the grocery store (what unappealing ingredients). SUPER-DUPER, a little old-timey. VEXES, among my favorite verbs (with PIXIE, JIGGER, and JAMS continuing the Scrabbly vibe). A nice stack with ABOVE IT ALL, ROTISSERIE, a POST-IT NOTE (though there are two ITs in the mix, plus “it” in the clue for the TAG parked on top of the stack). SOFT PRETZEL, make mine with sugar and cinnamon rather than wads of salt. And colloquial SICK AS A DOG.
Six more things:
- 23a. [Some red giants], S-STARS. I’m never excited by [letter]-STAR entries. If I were an astrophysicist, I might be happier about them.
- 29a. [Disappearing exclamations], POOFS. See, I thought this was going to be something nobody says anymore, as opposed to what’s said when something tangible disappears. Not keen on plural interjections, but at least POOF has some freshness.
- 43a. [One for whom “hello” is “hej”], DANE. Hej!
- 25d. [John Paul II, e.g.], POLE. Hah! I filled in POPE, and tried to figure out how 33a. [Tremendously] made sense as A POT.
- I kinda like how French VOUS dangles off the bottom corner of NERVOUS.
- 8d. [Mushy foods], PAPS. Man, I wish we could just have something like [Tests often done at an annual gyn exam]. Look how the gyn/exam curtailments signal the shortening of Papanicolaou! It totally works. Also, cytological examination of the cervix is nothing to be squeamish about.
Four stars from me.
Bruce Haight’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
The theme revealer is [Finishes the task…] and GOESTHEDISTANCE. We get four 15’s, in increasing order, each finishing with an English (well, American) unit of measure. The theme entries are of above average quality – FEELINGTHEPINCH, GORDONLIGHTFOOT (link. Such a purrty singer.), MARTHASVINEYARD, and BREAKINTOASMILE.
Bruce Haight likes to cram theme in, and today is no exception. 75 Theme squares, with a specific order required meaning no substitutions can be made to finesse the rest of the puzzle.
There is a moderate amount of typical harder answers, with MTS, AAS the only truly IFFY answers. Well, except for ENIDOK, which is the one obvious crutch answer here… We also get a nice pair of long downs thrown in: SWEARWORD and BATSIGNAL.
A well-designed, dense theme and under-control fill choices.
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “The Ick Factor” —Ade’s write-up
Hello, everyone! Currently waiting out a thunderstorm in New Jersey at a football game. Talk about a fun way to spend a Friday. Apologies for being MIA the past couple of days, as sports reporting is really starting to take over my life. Today’s grid, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, adds the “ICK” factor to proper nouns, with those letters added to them.
- BICKERING STRAIT (17A: [Country singer George, trading barbs?]) – Bering Strait.
- KICKING ARTHUR (38A: [Comedienne Bea, throwing a fit?]) – King Arthur.
- ROLLICKING STONE (61A: [Director Oliver, having a great time?]) – Rolling Stone.
Uh oh…serious storms are a coming, reporters are scattering around. Guess I’ll have to cut this short. But, if I make it out of Jersey unscathed, I’ll be in the Upper East Side of Manhattan tomorrow for Lollapuzzoola. Are you going? It’s only the best crossword tournament ever that’s on a Saturday in August!
Hope to see you all at Lollapuzzoola! I’ll be one of the tall people inside. Come say hello!