Brendan Emmett Quigley’s New York Times crossword—Laura’s write-up
A themeless from BEQ to kick off the weekend; I found it [28a: Especially]: ABOVE ALL tougher than usual. Got the center right away with [20d: Toys that may open and close their eyes]: BABY DOLLS, along with [23d: Sometimes-zippered container]: SANDWICH BAG, flailed a bit because I had BASIC for [25a: Computer programmer’s need]: LOGIC, but then that led to most of [8d: Defined 25-Across]: MADE NO SENSE (though I first parsed it as something something NOSE something SE). And I even thought for a minute, re [9d: Became slippery, in a way] is ICE DOVER a place? Is that where the University of Delaware’s hockey team plays? Middle regions (what I think of as the I-80 latitudes of the grid) were fine, got the SW fine (anyone else a little startled by the stacked THEs in 58a and 61a?), and then stared off into the middle distance like [38d: Internet meme of the star of the “The Matrix” looking sullen] for what seemed like hours.
No way was I going to [16a: Be successful]: ACHIEVE anything special with this one. NW and SE just killed me. I’d seen a [60a: Toy consisting of a spool on a string] at your various old-timey museums and historical societies — it’s the type of [26d: Antique]: OLDEN [27d: Whatchamacallit]: GIZMO one finds at those places — but I didn’t know it was called a DIABOLO (I had something something YOYO for a while), and also got hung up because I mixed up [44d: Cousins of honeydews]: CASABAS with CASSAVA (which is another term for yucca). When I was a kid, our local independent TV station used to show tons of their movies, but never [17a: 1942 Abbott and Costello musical comedy]: RIO RITA — which apparently is all about outwitting Nazis! I’ll add it to my list of “movies in which Nazi motherfuckers get their asses kicked.” Overall, great work as usual from BEQ, and I blame my troubles on the [22a: Jazz/samba fusion popularized in the 1960s]: BOSSA NOVA. Tomorrow I’m heading down to NYC for Lollapuzzoola, which will be my very first tournament as a competitor; hope to see many of you there!
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
THEXFILES is represented four times with a strong visual theme – FILES spelt out in the shape of an X. The theme did make for difficult to design corners, which were mostly well contained. Clue of the puzzle was [Toy used on flights] for SLINKY.