Daniel Mauer’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
The theme is THE LITTLE THINGS clued as 62a. [They’re what really count, so it’s said … or a hint to the multilingual answers to the starred clues]. The starred clues have French, German, and Spanish phrases:
- 17a. [*Breakfast, in Burgundy], LE PETIT DEJEUNER. Does any other language call breakfast “the little lunch”?
- 23a. [*With 52-Across, 1787 Mozart composition], EINE KLEINE / 52a. [See 23-Across], NACHTMUSIK.
- 40a. [*Repeated lyric in “La Bamba”], UNA POCA DE GRACIA. I don’t know the lyrics. This means “a little bit of grace.” Filled it in via the crossings.
One inconsistency here is that petit and kleine are both adjectives meaning “small,” whereas una poca is a noun meaning “a little bit.” There aren’t any familiar-to-Anglos Spanish phrases that start with pequeño, though.
LINE DANCE and ORANGINA are my favorite fill here, along with KAGAN subbing for her more-common-in-crosswords first name, Elena. And LILAC, always pretty (if a bit cloyingly fragranced).
Three more things:
- 16a. [Figurine on many a wedding cake], BRIDE. I like the clue. Some wedding cakes do have two grooms.
- 22a. [One throwing shade?], ELM. Eh. You can be cute with contemporary/black slang like “throwing shade,” but just to drop an ELM tree on us?
- 36d. [Assail], SET AT. I don’t know which I’m more tired of seeing in grids, SET AT or RAN AT. Let’s call it a tie.
3.75 stars from me. I don’t love all the fill, but I whizzed through the puzzle so the cluing must’ve been pretty smooth overall.
David Alfred Bywaters’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Soft Spots” — Jim’s review
All right. Who ticked off David Alfred Bywaters? Because he’s giving us the SILENT treatment today.
- 1a [*Countries just for me?] I LANDS. Islands. Yecch. As far as groaners go, that’s gotta be the groaniest. Fortunately, they get better.
- 16a [*School loading zone?] PLACE OF BUS-NESS. Place of business. Well, they will get better. After this one.
- 29a [*Rich couple?] TWO HAVES. Two halves. An improvement, although “two halves” doesn’t strike me as a very strong base phrase. Feels like a partial. Contrast this entry with 24d THE POOR.
- 35a [*Means of prison communication?] DUCT TAP. Duct tape. Okay. That works.
- 44a [*Thoroughgoing beaver’s command?] “DAM IT ALL.” “Damn it all.” Nice. Funny, even.
- 58a [*Listening to a Baroque fugue, maybe?] BACH PROCESSING. Batch processing. And a fun play on words here. The base phrase takes me back to my college days sitting idle in a computer lab while the sysops tie up all the available resources with their batch processes. Grrr!
you’reyour revealer: 65a [Like the letters omitted from the starred answers (collected here)] SILENT.
Got it? Each base phrase has a SILENT letter which is then removed in the grid thus causing clue-based wackiness. I wasn’t too keen on the first two entries, but the rest of it worked well enough to compensate.
I feel like I’ve seen a similar theme not that long ago and probably in the NYT. A cursory look on my part didn’t produce it. Anyone?
Rather unusual grid formation with theme entries in both NW and SE corners and 14-letter entries in the 3rd and 13th rows thus requiring strips of blocks in the NE/SW corners. As a result, the average word length for Across entries (minus theme answers) is higher than normal with plenty of 6s and 7s (I like SEAWEED and SCARAB best). Nothing too flashy in the Down department, but we get HOT DATE, NECKTIE, and SPOT ON. And despite the unusual grid and the amount of theme material causing constraints, most of the fill felt lively and interesting.
- 12d [Composer Holst]. GUSTAV. This got me thinking about The Planets and this headline. You’re welcome.
- 42d [Rita’s “The Lady From Shanghai” co-star]. ORSON. For some reason I was thinking Rita Moreno, but it’s Rita Hayworth who co-starred with estranged husband ORSON Welles.
- 7a [Make a long story short, e.g.]. ABRIDGE. Is “e.g.” the correct qualifier here? I think I would go with “say” or “maybe.” As these are verbs, I don’t think you can use “e.g.” Pedants, what say you?
Aimee Lucido’s AVCX, “Where Do I Start?” — Ben’s Review
It’s Wednesday! There’s an AVCX! Let’s do this thing.
This week’s puzzle is a 19×19 by Aimee Lucido. The editor rated this one as a 2.5/5 in difficulty, but I found it a little tricky to get a foothold on. That may have just been the carbs from my employer’s monthly Waffle Wednesday coursing through my system, though.
23A/95A‘s revealer, “a cutesy expression of infinite regress, in which there’s no single point of origin or conclusion … and this puzzle’s theme” or TURTLES ALL/THE WAY DOWN points to the theme answers today working in a loop. Let’s put that to the test:
- 3D: When linked to 36D, upbeat body of water? — WOODCHIPPER
- 36D: When linked to 32D, discussion about who has the flakiest bread, what kind of jam is best, etc.? — SEABISCUIT
- 32D: When linked to 54-Down, fist? — CHATTERBOX
- 54D: When linked to 3-Down, brightly decorated golf club? — HAND PAINTED
Well, each of those definitely has a turtle in the clue (which I didn’t realize until putting this writeup together), and you get some nice loops that add up to the clued answers: CHIPPER SEA, BISCUIT CHATTER, BOX HAND, and PAINTED WOOD, in order. This wasn’t the most obvious theme, but once I sat down to look at it in depth, I really appreciated it.
Keeping things brief since I’m ducking into meetings, but I liked this one even if it was a little tough getting started!
Adam T. Cobb’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
MIXEDRINK is an indicator for us to unscramble the circled answers. We’re already tipped off by the parenthetical parts of the clues, so it’s, in a way, overkill though it helps to tie everything together. Four drinks – one alcoholic, three not, are scrambled non-sequentially in answers associated with the drink in varying ways. ROYALCROWN is a make of COLA in the US. A MICROBREWERY is a faddish source of BEER. SEATTLE is associated with Starbucks and, therefore, the LATTE. A MILANOCOOKIE is apparently made by Pepperidge Farm and can be drunk with MILK. The last I know only from the Family Guy meme. I have now discovered that a) the company is real, b) the advert was real too…
My favourite part was getting two Jabberwocky clues (and not one a nonce word!). THROWON referencing I think Paul Hogan is a meme not based to any degree in Australian reality, but from a bizarre advert. For starters, shrimps aren’t typical Australian vocabulary. You’re more likely to get a yabby.
Oh, and my mistake? INA not INO. I bet a lot of us will do this – CONCERTINA is a much more common word that CONCERTINO and if you don’t check across, TASS is a legit crossword answer, just not a [Horseshoes (or jukskei) turn]…