Damon Gulczynski’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
A little harder than other recent Fridays, no? The clues were not yielding to me as quickly as I’d hoped.
Notes on the fill: “I HAD NO IDEA,” quite good. GIG ECONOMY, fabulous entry. AMERICAN PHARAOH, I hate horse racing, so brutal. EXOPLANETS, nicely sciency. The SEX PISTOLS, cool. AIRBNB, crisp but I hate that the brand name is styled as a word, Airbnb. (Capitalize your B, N, and B, people! “Airbnb” is not pronounceable.) “SAY HEY KID,” solid. KEFIR, seen more often in the dairy section than in crosswords, I know what it is but have never tried it. BIG A, LOPER, O.D. ON, RDAS, REOS, IS SO … all meh.
Five more things:
- 16a. [___ number], CELL. I went with CALL. (Shoutout to Laura Librarian!)
- 40a. [Quaint evening reading material], LATE EDITION. Is there any city that still offers a print LATE EDITION newspaper? I am just old enough to remember morning and evening newspapers from when I was little.
- 48a. [Autocrat known as “the Liberator”], TSAR ALEXANDER II. Raise your hand if you HAD NO IDEA where this clue was taking you.
- 62a. [White Cloud competitor], SCOTT. Toilet paper! Yes, Damon TPed this puzzle.
- 31d. [“The Daily Show” correspondent Chieng], RONNY. Didn’t recognize the name, so I looked him up. He’s a comedian from Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and New Hampshire, and he also got his own show on Australian TV that’s coming to Comedy Central soon. Here’s a Daily Show clip.
David Alfred Bywaters’ Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Left Untreated” — pannonica’s write-up
- 17a. [Certain no-show at reveille?] ILL SERGEANT (drill sergeant).
- 29a. [Doyenne of health-care advocacy?] AMA QUEEN (drama queen). Interesting entry, considering the theme.
- 34a. [Getting multiple tattoos in a sitting?] BINGE INKING (binge drinking).
- 38a. [Orchard picking done with military precision?] LEMON OPS (lemon drops).
- 53a. [Tool for making belts in the Cotton Belt?] SOUTHERN AWL (Southern drawl).
Yet the grid isn’t completely devoid of DRs, as evidenced by 25a [Actress Hall of “Days of Our Lives”] DIERDRE.
- 47a [Procrastinator’s refrain] MAÑANA, but in crosswords we’re conditioned to think of refrains as being along the lines of TRA-LA-LA so it’s fun to mispronounce the answer accordingly. See also 41d [“No spoilers! I’m covering my ears!”] LA LA LA.
- 22d [Adjective applicable to only a few owl species] DIURNAL. Burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) is one that immediately occurred to me.
- 27a [Rhyme for “scuzza me” in “That’s Amore”] NAPOLI. That’s … awful.
- 14a [Emphasize, perhaps] RESAY, 31a [Watchword] MANTRA.
- 2d [State capital built around Last Chance Gulch] HELENA. New trivia to me.
- 11d. [Metaphoric golf slang for a buried lie in a bunker] FRIED EGG. Also new to me.
- 39d [Gloria Steinem or Neil Armstrong, by birth] OHIOAN. Ditto.
- 45d [Second-deepest U.S. lake] TAHOE. I knew this! And Crater Lake is the deepest.
- 48a [Where __ (hipster’s place)] IT’S AT.
(That was 1996, folks. 21 years ago.)
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
The theme was a lot more transparent than you’d expect for a Friday. Once I got FORHEAVENSSOCKS, I filled in the ends of the other themers, though I guessed wrong with STOCKS not SHOCKS. OCKS changes to AKES; results are clued “wackily”. THEGREATLOCKS, FROSTEDFLOCKS (generic of Frosties, I think there is one other brand available here), and CHOCOLATESHOCKS…
On the other hand, several parts of the grid were quite thorny for me. The bottom-middle, I hadn’t heard of TED.RALL (I checked, it’s not TE DRALL), and the DERMA and MPS clues also stimied me (the latter, I didn’t read so well, as I had crossword staple RPS). I imagine DORMERS will buffalo a few too, though they’re actually sheep! Other tough bits include FESTOON clued as a noun, [Void] / ABOLISH and PERIO, clued as a “procedure” and I’m still not sure what that is, although I imagine it is periodontological…
My favourite moment was “Paramecium” in the clue for CILIA. Of the often-mentioned-in-high-school Protists (paraphyletic term, I know), Paramecium gets a lot less press than AM(O)EBA; a reference to EUGLENA would make my month…