Natan Last, Finn Vigeland, and the JASA Class’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
This is such a pronoun-dense themeless—you’ve got the romance of SHE LOVES ME and HE’S A KEEPER stacked up top, with ARREST HIM to the right, IS THAT YOU and I DON’T GET IT down below. Pretty sure that HELGA, JESSICA, SID CAESAR, and Tsar PETER I are involved somehow.
Other crisp fill includes EMERGEN-C brand vitamins, PSYOPS, GO IN PEACE, CAST PARTY, SHARK TANK, ENEMY LINES, and POTATO RACE.
ASHPITS, A-TESTS, ERTES—meh, meh, meh.
- 9d. [Grandmother, in dialect], MEEMAW. There’s a Chinese restaurant in Chicago called Mee Mah. My husband and I pronounce the restaurant name as if it’s MEEMAW because we are terrible.
- 19a. [It holds the world record for most passengers on a commercial airliner [1,088], EL AL. And you thought the seat width and leg room were cramped on your last flight.
- 43a. [Something to watch], THE GAP. Don’t care for this clue one bit. The gap between the subway car and platform in London belongs in the phrase “mind the gap.” Without mind, THE GAP is a retailer. Who watches THE GAP?
- 54a. [Hill of ___, site of Ireland’s Lia Fáil], TARA. Raise your hand if you worked all the crossings for this one.
- 55a. [“The O.C.” protagonist], RYAN. The show ended a decade ago, and it wasn’t the sort of show that everyone in the country was tuned in to. Weird clue.
- 7d. [“The noblest hateful love that ___ I heard of”: “Troilus and Cressida”], E’ER. Unfortunate that this answer crosses SHE LOVES ME, with “love” in the clue.
- 8d. [Small suits], SPEEDOS. I had the -EDOS in place and tried to figure out how TUXEDOS would be small suits.
- 40d. [Gourd also known as a vegetable pear], CHAYOTE. Apparently it’s used sort of like summer squash. Also! If you were in Depression-era Australia, you could use chayote to fill in your apple pie if you were low on apples.
4.2 stars from me. Nice work, students!
Erik Agard’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
It was another joy and pleasure solving this latest Erik Agard construction. Another awesome grid from him, this one a 68-worder. Is it just me, or do his puzzles just seem more, I don’t know, lively? There is an energy to them that literally seems palpable. As stated, truly a joy. 4.8 stars for this one.
Some highlights (there are too many to mention!):
- 14A [San Antonio Spurs’ 1993-2002 home] ALAMODOME – Michigan has played in the Alamo Bowl there twice, and is 0-2. Lots of stuff still happens there, but mainly the home of UTSA football.
- 31A [Event with a caller] SQUARE DANCE – My late uncle George and his wife were avid square dancers back 30 years ago or so. We had a lesson in this in gym class, believe it or not!
- 52A [Three-book Newton work] PRINCIPIA – Going back to my school days again, one of my middle school buddies went to a high school with this name in St. Louis, I believe. I believe he lives in the Minneapolis area, now.
- 7D [Standard procedure] A MATTER OF COURSE – We have to mention the 15-letter entry running down the middle. I don’t usually use this phrase, so that made it slightly harder for me.
- 11D [Mouths] LIP-SYNCS – One of my favorite entries. I said his puzzles seem lively!
- 21D [Parachute] SKY DIVE – Nope. I will never do this!
- 34D [Schwinn component] BIKE SEAT – I would have picked another bike brand, like Trek or Bianchi. Schwinn doesn’t seem to carry road race bikes, like you would see in the Tour de France or a triathlon. But for clueing purposes, this worked just fine.
- 41D [Elizabeth who plays the Scarlet Witch in Marvel movies] OLSEN – The Marvel movies are great, but the DC movies are slowly catching up!
That’s it for today. See you on Tuesday.
Matthew Sewell’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
The time for this one is probably a little inaccurate; I started and stopped this on multiple computers before I finally finished it. Actual time is probably more in the 15-17 minute range. In the hierarchy of Stumper difficulty by solver, Matthew Sewell would probably seem to me to be toward the not as tough end, but this one I found difficult. It has been a rough week at work, though, and fatigue is playing a role. (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!) A solid 70-word effort this week, and a solid 4.5 stars from me.
Just a few notes:
- 17A [Be inadequate in deliberating] UNDERTHINK – My thoughts were more along the lines of what a lawyer might fail to do in an argument, but this word would apply in that case as well!
- 19A [Filleting candidate] STURGEON – I suppose ANY fish is a candidate! Except maybe buffalo fish, which is FULL of bones!
- 29A [Streamer selection] SITCOM – Great clue! Even with the huge number of online viewing options, your mind doesn’t head in the correct direction at first. Nicely done!
- 34A [Warning to a provocateur] DON’T POKE THE BEAR – Awesome 15-letter entry across the middle.
- 46A [Spanakopita herb] SORREL – I thought this was a horse?!
- 58A [Subaru Outback competitor] KIA SORENTO – I was trying to think of a car brand; you don’t immediately think of one of the few brands with only three letters!
- 10D [Ordained] MEANT TO BE – A little off meaning to me, but a nice entry nonetheless.
- 31D [Loose-leaf purchase] TEA – I got this quickly, despite all of the back-to-school refs to loose-leaf filler paper I have recently seen!
- 43D [Monsoon season affector] EL NIÑO – I never know anymore if it is this or La Niña!
It is supposed to be a beautiful weekend here! Enjoy!
John Lampkin’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Why So Late?” — pannonica’s write-up
Adding this to the post on Sunday morning, as I was unable to do so yesterday. I, uh, don’t have a good excuse for such tardiness.