Sam Trabucco’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
A themeless that starts off with a zippy 1-Across? That’s GOOD STUFF, all right. Singular ODOR-EATER is a little bogus, but hey, we’ve seen singular Q-TIP in a zillion puzzles despite the trade name being Q-tips. I like PERKY, HEGIRA, PUFFER FISH (can you imagine if humans could inflate when feeling threatened? life would be a lot more entertaining), TAROT CARDS, NEVER EVER, “I DON’T MIND,” the CONEHEADS, slippery BANANA PEELS, GRAND RAPIDS, a DRY RUN, ULTRASONIC, FRESH-FACED, an ALEWIFE (been years since I smelt an alewife die-off in Lake Michigan), and SORORITY ROW. And HELLA! It started out west (Oakland? Seattle? not sure) but has gone national. As in “this puzzle is hella good” or “this constructor is hella young and fresh-faced.”
I cannot accept TAKE A SNOOZE as legit. I guess it Googles up okay, but it just sounds so wrong to me. The verb is “snooze,” not “take a snooze,” people. Check out the synonymous phrases put forth in a 1965-1970 language survey at the Dictionary of American Regional English site, though. “Catch ten-twenty winks,” “ketch a wink,” “lay down and lose myself,” “crap out for a while,” and the inexplicable “going off for a minute in a chair” have all been attested.
Overall, the fill’s quite smooth.
- 35a. [Like much sandpaper], TAN. Not sure I’ve seen that one before.
- 47d. [State capital on the Indian Ocean], PERTH. We don’t often get asked for state capitals outside the US.
4.25 stars from me.
Samuel A Donaldson’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
Today, Sam gives us a simple enough letter addition theme, where AC is added to four phrases. There’s no clever revealing answer to tie everything together, so the puzzle lives and dies by its entries. UMBILICALACCORD and ACCOUNTINGSHEEP are both winners, and ACCOSTCONTROLS and BAGGAGEACCLAIM are functional. Two hits is better than average as these puzzles go, I find.
I’m not sure if it was eagerness to get TABOULI into the grid, but USOC/EEOC is quite a patch of alphabet soup, with ASEA running across it, and NOOB, which I imagine will trip up many older solvers. LARC is also a biggish clunk. There are four long across themers, and that generally translates to most of the rest of the puzzle being damage control.