Jeffrey Wechsler’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up
Jeffrey gets literal and Latinate with us today.
Three theme answers:
- 21a [Kid’s transport, literally] is CYCLECYCLECYCLE, or three cycles, or a tricycle.
- 39a [Graph section, literally] is RANTRANTRANTRANT, which is four rants, and that’s either the President on Twitter, or it’s a quadrant.
- 60a [Military headquarters, literally] is GONGONGONGONGON, which is five “gons” or a pentagon.
I like this theme. It’s fun and amusing and very straightforward; I don’t remember seeing anything like it before (doesn’t mean there wasn’t something like it, just that I don’t remember it). I’m not sure what makes this a Wednesday puzzle instead of a Monday or Tuesday, but that’s OK. I enjoyed it.
A few other things:
- 2d [Cold War threat] is RED CHINA. I tried to make it RED SCARE and that didn’t work. Isn’t China still red?
- 4d [Big brand of kitchen knives] is CUTCO, which I know because several of my friends put themselves through school selling them.
- Crossing playwrights, different eras, with ODETS and ENSLER.
- 45a [Secret application, perhaps] makes good use of that stealth upper-case letter at the beginning of the clue. The answer is AEROSOL because we’re talking about Secret brand deodorant.
- 47a [Nonmeat choices at a deli counter] isn’t cheeses, which left me a bit blank. The answer is PASTAS, and that’s not quite right to my ear. The deli counter at our supermarket has only meats and cheese; the PASTAS and pasta salads are across the way at the prepared foods counter. The Rye Ridge Deli of my childhood served pasta, but it wasn’t displayed at the counter. I suppose I’m being picky, but I’m from New York and we take deli seriously.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that LIU had campuses in Brooklyn and Brookville. It was nice to see that clued without reference to Lucy.
I leave you with the Secret commercial I remember from childhood. And I wonder why I’m in therapy.
Lynn Lempel’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Solve in Ink” — Jim’s review
I don’t recall coming across Lynn’s byline here in the WSJ before, but I was glad to see it. You know you’re in for a smooth and breezy grid when her name graces a puzzle.
This is no exception. At first it looks like a simple Add-a-K theme, but it’s tighter than that. “INs” are changed to “INKs” in each of our theme answers (hence the title). Simple, yes, but humor wins the day, and the modifications are effective.
- 17a [Song from a one-named singer with three Grammys?] PINK NUMBER. PIN number. Yes, the N in PIN stands for Number, but fess up, we’ve all said the phrase at some point or other. Pink’s real name is Alecia Beth Moore.
- 26a [Informant in the pool?] SWIM FINK. Swim fin. No wonder I can never win at Marco Polo!
- 41a [When flirting is inappropriate?] NO-WINK SITUATION. No-win situation. Can we still nudge…or play footsie?
- 51a [Clickable reference to some Yucatan natives?] MAYA LINK. Maya Lin. Clever and cute. (Speaking of LINK, have you started playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild yet? It’s pretty incredible and is currently #8 on the Best Video Games of All Time list.)
- 65a [Lizard’s coffee additive?] SKINK CREAM. Skin cream. This is the one that won me over. I love skinks! So much so that I wouldn’t be AVERSE to watching a SKINK FLICK.
Fill-wise, there’s plenty of good stuff to go around, both long and short: PUNCH BOWL, BIATHLETE, GERBIL, HABITAT, WALTER, SIESTA, and even KNISH, “HIT IT!” and AMIGA [Commodore computer introduced in 1985]. Way back in 1986 when I was pondering what to do with my summer job money, it was between a Mac and an AMIGA. I chose Mac. *wink*
Very little to moan about unless you want to go after the partial IS A or acronym HHS.
One clue of note: 10d [“Infinity” neckwear]. SCARF. I’d never heard the term but was able to make an educated guess thanks to my wife’s occasional use of scarves.
On the whole, not an original theme to this puzzle, but it’s executed professionally. A clean grid and humor go a long way to make this one a winner.
Aimee Lucido’s AVCX crossword, “Multiple Interpretations” — Ben’s Review
Hey, it’s ACPT week! I’ll be at the competition for my fifth time, attempting to do better than I did last year and (hopefully) score one of those sweet, sweet Class D trophies. Today’s AVCX felt like a nice little warm-up puzzle, with some straightforward themers that reflect the “Multiple Interpretations” title:
- 20A:Countless people shaking hands after the game, win or lose? — EXTREME SPORTS
- 34A:Scores of baby goats? — CRAZY KIDS
- 45A:Ample April effective rate? — STUPID TAX
- 55A:More levels than anyone can keep track of? — UNTOLD STORIES
Maybe I’m missing the forest for the trees, but I think that’s it in terms of this week’s theme? Just some standard double definitions? Pretty clean fill, even with lots of three-letter answers; it’s nice to see a new clue for LOGAN other than my local airport here in Boston, and I always welcome the chance to post some LCD Soundsystem.
Some other fill I liked this week: OTTO the Syracuse Orange (my bracket was broken before I started it), IGLOO coolers, EL SOL, SKYY Vodka (which I totally couldn’t afford in my student days), TRIX (the only cereal they reverse card you for at the store), and some Pollock-esque SPATTERS in the lower right.
See you at the tournament, hopefully! Say hi!
Don Gagliardo & C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
TRIPLEPLAY is an offbeat, and possibly unnecessary, revealer to the puzzle. Each of five phrases begins with a word consisting of three of the same vowel alone; this is paired with a vowel progression. So: BANANAPEEL, SEVEREDAMAGE, ROCOCOART (the ART part feels like padding for the sake of theme, if defensible), and CUMULUSCLOUD.
A couple triple helping of long downs keep the fun going, despite the constricted grid: full name ALICEMUNRO, soon to be played THEMASTERS and SHUTEYE. There is also a Moby Dick mini-theme with CAPN/AHAB and PELEG.