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!
NYT: very pretty puzzle!
Lots of wonderful stuff, starting with PETUNIA PIG and ending with POST IT NOTES.
AGENT ORANGE is a great entry, though not our proudest moment.
Speaking of which, Trump’s use of adjectives like “tremendous” and “unbelievable”‘ has taken hyperbole to a new level.
I was actually surprised that AGENT ORANGE didn’t get called out for being “triggering”, considering that just a couple of months ago merely using the city NAGASAKI as fill was criticized on this blog.
^Yes a million times
I gotta say, people complain if I call things out and then criticize me if I don’t.
I wasn’t pleased by AGENT ORANGE, no. But it was the only downer in a puzzle that was otherwise packed with lots of fun stuff. That puzzle with NAGASAKI? It also had LOLITAS clued as [Teases, in older usage] and ER DOCTOR clued in reference to drug overdoses rather than, say, sprained ankles.
Nice work, David Phillips, on following up Huda’s “has taken hyperbole to a new level” by quantifying things.
I don’t get tds for Brady bunch. Also thing pope and a pot work although usually a shit pot. Fun and easy.
Brady is Tom Brady, New England Patriots quarterback. He has a bunch of TDs.
I think you’re right about “a pot.” I’ve heard the phrase “a pot of money” to describe a lot of money – though I don’t suppose it’s common.
POT in that sense is pretty common in British English; it’s still a bit of a stretch, though I forced it to work!
I’m an astrophysicist, and I don’t like [letter]-STAR entries. Almost every version is very obscure, even by astrophysics standards. The only people for whom they’re not obscure are the very specialized astrophysicists that specifically study stars (as opposed to me, who studies galaxy clusters, pretty much on the opposite end of the spectrum of astronomy).
Astrophysicist– What a great thing to be! I think the brain is humbling but the universe (and beyond) puts everything else to shame.
I used to strongly agree with Seth. Now I only agree. I used to feel that only the “classic” spectral types, O, B, A, F, G, K and M were justifiable before “STAR.” I even offered the simple, if sexist, “classic” mnemonic: “Oh, be a fine girl — kiss me.”
Since my opinion was roundly ignored, I took it as an opportunity to see it differently. The set of solvers for whom OSTAR through MSTAR are not obscure is only marginally larger than the set of solvers for whom SSTAR or NSTAR or CSTAR (all used as entries) are not obscure. In other words, we put in “xSTAR” and wait for the crossing to solve x.
At least Will makes sure there is at least an obscure spectral type before he clues it. For instance, ESTAR is always clued as the Spanish verb.
I know a little about INSTARS.
SE was tough for me and the rest pretty easy. I got Petunia Pig immediately, which allowed me to complete the NE quickly. I wanted ELKS of GNUS for the animal, not really remembering if GNU fit and I put in CRUX instead of CRUZ, which made SOFT PRETZEL
hard to see.
Thank you for solving!
Amy, THANK YOU for pointing out the obvious re: 8 Down — couldn’t agree more!
Can we look forward to more themelesses from you, Kelly?
I enjoyed your NYT puzzle, Kelly. Maybe not quite tough enough but a smooth solve. Thanks.
You’re doing it wrong, Kelly. You need to assert that Will Shortz keeps company with terrorists because something was changed in your crossword.
Honestly — if PAPS were clued as suggested I would expect most reviewers to jump on it as an awkward and nonexistent plural. Especially because it’s an abbreviation of a name, “Pap tests” or “Pap smears” or even “Pap results” would be expected. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen “Paps” in this context in the wild.
I’d vote for waiting for PAP to lobby for this clue. If only for its educational value. And speaking of educational value, how about PSA clued as “Test often done at annual urol. exam”? See what I did there?
I’m also familiar with the more common medical definition of pap, but what about the breakfast test?
I’ve heard the plural “paps.” I’ve heard it a lot. “I have four paps on my schedule today.” I wouldn’t think twice about it.
Michael: Don’t serve me mushy PAP for breakfast! But if you want to tell me about the gyn appointment you’ve got coming up, I’m fine discussing that over breakfast.