Sam Trabucco’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
This grid has an Andrew Ries-style stagger stack in the middle. Sam’s got five 11s in the center: TECH SCHOOLS, TALLAHASSEE, the awesome GALLIVANTED, AIRLINE FOOD (remember when you could get that domestically?), and STRESS-EATER. The other long entries include more good stuff: GUITAR AMP (there’s one in my living room), ESCAPE ROOM (wasn’t that in another puzzle a week or two ago?), THE LEGION OF DOOM (really not clear on what that is, and this particular ignorance is bliss), ROOM TO NEGOTIATE, FISH STORY, and STALLS OUT. That’s a lot of sparkle to fit into a 15x. I also kinda like “UH, OKAY.”
NO-MESS feels less familiar to me than “no muss, no fuss.” And this 34d. [Guidelines observed in sisterhood], GIRL CODE? I can’t say I’ve encountered the term. The bro code, sure. My teenager’s heard GIRL CODE, which includes things like “don’t date your friend’s ex.” I posit that GIRL CODE also entails “tell other women which guys are creepy or abusive or rapey,” because that cautionary info-sharing has been going on forever.
Four more things:
- 26a. [Beauty mark?], TEN. As in “what a beauty, I rate her a 10.” You know the last time I heard a dude assigning numeric hotness ratings to women? It was in 2016 during the presidential campaign, Trump. The clue angle’s definitely got a sleazeball vibe to it now. And there are so many other ways to clue TEN without falling back on that male-gaze angle.
- 28d. [Merchant Samuel who lent his name to a historic island], ELLIS. A little trivia bit I hadn’t known.
- 29d. [“I Fall to Pieces” singer], Patsy CLINE. You know you’d like to hear that song (provided that you can hear).
- Lowlights: Dull bits like AGFA, DEBTEE, TARED, EBAN.
Four stars from me. How’d you like the puzzle?
Paul Cuerdon’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
So this is a bunch of palindromes… There are lists of them on the ‘net. Yeah.
Thank you for the Patsy Cline song–one of the greatest voices of all time. I wonder how old-time pure-voiced singers like Patsy and Roy Orbison and Johnny Mathis would have done on The Voice or America’s Got Talent.
Easy for me for the first time in several weeks. I knew that SWARD had something to do with grass, but I thought it meant a small grassy area rather than a grassland.
An escape room is a social event where a party of people are placed in a room with seemingly no way out. They then collectively have to find certain clues and hidden objects to unlock the door. Usually timed at around an hour. Good fun.
Online game genre originally as far as I know
The “ESCAPE ROOM” / “ROOM TO NEGOTIATE” dupe threw me a little. I started with ROOM at 51A, then deleted it when I noticed the dupe…but it turned out to be the right answer. I know dupes are a bit of a grey area in puzzles, especially of parts of answers. I would’ve avoided this one.
Overall, though, a fun puzzle. I liked the clue for ONES.
Whoof, that ROOM dupe skipped right past me. That’s a pretty blatant one, though.
It wasn’t a dupe. It was part of the hidden theme: ROOM and DOOM.
I really enjoyed Sam’s puzzle, everything from the eye-catching layout to the tons of vibrant answers. What a beauty.
This is one of those puzzles where I can’t believe such a thing is possible. So much so, that I did not notice the ROOM dupe at all; perhaps because of the significant difference in meaning/context.
Anyway, this one was just pure fun. Thanks, and happy holidays to all who celebrate!
Really nice puzzle. My only tiny quibble: I’ve been a debtor-creditor lawyer for 40 years, and I’ve never heard of a creditor being called a “debtee.” I think the word truly exists only in the world of crossword puzzles.
Loved the NYT and really enjoyed the LAT theme