Lily Silverstein’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Wow, I loved this puzzle! Tons of juicy fill, nary a partial to be found, very few things on the abbrev/prefix front. I’m just sad that I didn’t take a picture of that FABIO cardboard cutout standing outside a store today, because it would have been the perfect illustration for this puzzle.
The tastiest morsels include the central stack with CONTROL FREAK, GENDER ROLES, and ZILLIONAIRES; LOOMED OVER atop ORION’S BELT (17a. [Group of stars also known as the Three Kings] was a tough clue for me … and I briefly wondered if the “stars” here were celebrities); ZABAR’S deli of NYC; tasty, basic PERONI (though the clue’s “Italian” sort of dupes ITALO Calvino right above); ZIP IT UP (that’s sage advice for workplace pants); GLARED AT (which pairs nicely with LOOMED OVER); Wyatt CENAC; LANDO Calrissian, played by Donald Glover in next spring’s Han Solo movie; and FERRARI, BAFFLE, and WANNABES.
- 7d and 8d. [One in a story with an apple], biblical EVE and William TELL.
- 34d. [Green or red things from the garden], ONIONS. Could be OLIVES, though those are more an orchard crop than a garden one, or peppers or tomatoes (which have the wrong letter counts), or probably a bunch of other kinds of produce.
- 6d. [Crowd around], MOB. Feel like the word’s usually clued as a noun, but I like it here as a verb.
- 37a. [Tiny top percent of one-percenters], ZILLIONAIRES. So we’re subdividing the top 1% into another 100 hundredths, and having a percent of a percent? That feels weird, and oddly specific on the number front for a whimsical “number.”
- 47d. [Chickens (out)]. WIMPS. Wow, this word is terrible when clued as a noun, but it feels just fine as a verb, as clued here. Past WIMP(S) clues in crosswords have included crass (and gender-normative) bullshit like [Hardly a he-man], [Namby-pamby], [Wusses], and [Non-macho men]. When you can avoid name-calling and insults, it’s a big plus.
- 19a. [Cartoonist William who co-created Tom and Jerry], HANNA. I always wished that Hanna-Barbera were an animation company run by women named Hanna and Barbera.
I’ll ding the puzzle a smidgen for SERE, while wondering if the constructor had initially gone for SMH (internet shorthand for shaking my head) crossing HERE.
4.5 stars from me. Enjoyed the crossword from start to finish.
Peter A Collins’ Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Fantastic Voyage” — pannonica’s write-up
65a [Expeditionaries who set off near 4 Down …]
—4d [City dubbed “The Gateway to the West”] ST LOUIS, MISSOURI—
66a [… commissioned by 7 Down …]
—7d [President who notably walked to and from his inauguration ceremony] THOMAS JEFFERSON—
67a [… intent on 10 Down]
—10d [Boldly going where no one has gone before] BLAZING THE TRAIL—
= LEWIS | AND | CLARK.
Note how those 15-letter verticals (a) intersect their cross-referents, (b) have clues that evoke the theme subject—this is most salient (or most forced, depending on your disposition) for the Jefferson clue.
This crossword probably deserves more discussion but I simply have nothing in my tank.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
QUASIMODO, with padding BELLTOWER only there for symmetry, is the punning sayer of IFITOLLEDTHEM/ONCEITOLLEDTHEM/AHUNDREDTIMES. That’s a lot of solving to do for a bad pun…
Unusually, this puzzle has two equally valid solutions. Both EKGS/KARATS and ECGS/CARATS satisfy both clues.
[Parts of Walmart work uniforms], VESTS – guessing this is the formalwear type?
An unusual TLA occurs at the bottom of the grid: BWI, which I’m told is Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (you can see why it’s abbreviated!) In the past, it has been British West Indies more often than not. Add it to your mental airline code list if you don’t know it…