meta 3-4 minutes
Matt here, pinch-hitting for the joonmeister.
It’s Week 2 of my Guest Constructor Month, and Nate Cardin‘s “Side-Eye” asks us to find a two-word phrase.
Four of the five theme entries were clear due to their lengths, but the central across also turned out to be theme:
20-A [Public promotions of products] = ADVERTISEMENTS
28-A [Largest state in Mexico, or the smallest breed of dog] = CHIHUAHUA. I did not know either of those two facts before editing this crossword. Both good to know.
39-A [Works published sequentially] = SERIALS
48-A [Like careless mistakes] = AVOIDABLE
55-A [Heidi Klum’s departing words to contestants kicked off “Project Runway”] = AUF WIEDERSEHEN
Those each have exactly one letter I in them, which would be unremarkable except for the fact that they’re the only five I’s in the grid. Taking a cue from our title, look at the letters to the left and then the right side of those I’s, and they’ll spell out contest answer THROW SHADE, which means to give a disapproving look to, a.k.a. the side-eye. [UPDATE, 3:35 PM ET: not quite. The puzzle’s author e-mails me to point out that while a side-eye is nonverbal, throwing shade is usually verbal disapproval, not just a look. So certainly close enough to hint at the meta, but not the exactly the same thing. Sorry, Nate!] 391 solvers got it, right on-target for a Week 2 of 5.