Sam Trabucco’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Been doing a lot of Sam’s puzzles lately! He’s got two solos and one co-authored puzzle in the Queer Qrosswords puzzle pack (highly recommended—find out how to get it yourself here)—his “LGBT Rights” theme was particularly well done. I haven’t done his QQ themeless yet, but here he is with an NYT themeless. And somehow it felt Saturday-tough to me?
- MAMA BIRD and TIGER MOM are good, though awfully duplicative of one another.
- “WELL, DAMN,” “WELCOME TO MY LIFE,” “PLEASE STOP” (which … I should use more often), “DON’T WAIT UP FOR ME,” “NEVER FAILS,” and “AW, MAN!” in the colloquial remarks category. Not quite as keen on “I’M A FAN” as clued—I feel like that’s something you’d say when asked your opinion on something, and not something you’d say to someone you admired because it sounds kinda dorky. “Do you like Sam’s puzzles?” “I’m a fan!” Versus “It’s so nice to meet you, I’m a fan!” You’d say, “I love your work!” instead. And if you say “I’m your number one fan,” that person should run like hell.
- SURF SHOPS, MOLASSES, ICED COFFEE also zippy.
- 15a. [Pavarotti standard whose name means “My Sunshine”], O SOLE MIO. Holy schnikes! I never pieced that together. I feel smarter because of this clue.
- 24a. [“God created ___ so that Americans would learn geography” (line attributed to Mark Twain)], WAR. Yeah, it didn’t work. A great many Americans are ignorant of geography, no matter how many wars there are.
- 27a. [Like many Christmas traditions], PAGAN. cf. the Christmas tree, the Yule log.
Clunkier bits include ZIP-ON, NEAP, ASEA, RIMA, OBIES.
Overall, four stars from me.
Mark Feldman’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
What a strangely executed theme. I got KOHLMINOR and TAYLORMAID first, and both are exact double homophones and include a former world leader. Then I got CRUZMISSAL, which also has a politician, but, thankfully, not a world leader, and has a less exact homophone. Then I finished with DALILLAMA, well a) DALI is not a politician, though the whole original answer DALILAMA is a quasi-politician; b) it has a much looser phonetic equivalence. Either have four different fields, or one field four times.
Again some really rough fill, but I can’t blame theme density here. MASC over OCTO and then not a suffix IBLE. AMOLE intersects ARME and we have EERO’s friend AALTO. OTYPE remains backwards crossword speak.