Joel Fagliano’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
This puzzle’s got a mini-theme: 10d. [With 26-Down, the place of today’s puzzle among all New York Times crosswords] clues TWENTY-FIVE / THOUSANDTH. (But who’s counting?) The rest of the puzzle’s themeless, a 70-worder.
New to me:
- 40a. [Under the specified word, in a reference book], SUB VOCE.
- 3d. [Topic of the mnemonic “Eat An Apple As A Nighttime Snack”], CONTINENTS. Really? People need a mnemonic to remember a whopping seven continents in no particular order? I get “every good boy deserves fudge” for that musical note order, and my grandpa taught me SUNP, pronounced a lot like “sump,” to remember the order of the last four planets (this is the only reason I remember that Uranus is closer than Neptune). But this EAAAANS mnemonic seems rather pointless. If you fine readers report that you did, in fact, use a mnemonic to help you remember the seven continents, I shall retract the cavil.
Entries I like: APOLO OHNO, HIS ‘N’ HERS, GRIDDLE (I recommend a double-burner griddle, so you can make a bunch of pancakes or grilled cheese sandwiches or whatever at the same time), HOT TUB full of OLIVE OIL, KAREEM Abdul-Jabbar (I appreciate the columns he writes for assorted venues—here’s one from the Hollywood Reporter on grappling with the art of artists who’ve done bad things), and noseless Tycho BRAHE.
Four more things:
- 26a. [Desperately in need of approval, in modern slang], THIRSTY. Wait. Does this have anything at all to do with thirst trap, or are the two things separate? Checking Urban Dictionary … seems like that sort of THIRSTY kinda ties to Instagram posts. I’m not really on Insta.
- 55a. [Back now after going out?], RELIT. Meh. Back on, maybe, but not back now. I’d say that the power’s back now, but not that a candle or lamp is back now.
- 58a. [Entrenched network inside a government], DEEP STATE. Such a neutral clue for what is really a highly politicized term.
- 22d. [100+ million-selling band that once held a Guinness record for loudest concert], THE WHO. What a dreadful Guinness record to seek. This is why Pete Townshend developed hearing loss. A better (and far more arcane!) Guinness record to shoot for: biggest rally of living organ donors. I’m accompanying my donor husband to The Bean (which looks like a kidney, only shiny, metal, and huge) this weekend for the Guinness attempt!
Four stars from me for this puzzle.
Mike McHugh’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
This clue/answer reversal theme is definitely one of the better examples of the genre. The initial answers don’t seem to make sense until you work out the theme. INREVERSE is slightly heavy handed as revealers go, but I guess they were trying to make the puzzle more broadly accessible. Also, none of the answers themselves felt annoyingly contrived that you have to torture your brain to get to a strangely phrased clunker.
How it works – [Pay back] = YAP = PRATTLEON; [Step back] = PETS = DOMESTICANIMALS; [Snap back] = PANS = GIVESABADREVIEW.
- [2018 Super Bowl designation], LII. A rare clue that actually succeeds in rescuing a random Roman numeral!
- [Chain with a dog-and-cat logo], PETCO. Does this count as a duplication?
- [’90s-’00s NFL Pro Bowler Warren], SAPP. Mysterious surname of the day for me.
- [Baking convenience], CAKEMIX. Hmph. Usually means it’ll taste “cheap”.
- [Outkast, for one], DUO. Crossword-friendly BIG BOI & ANDRE 3000.
- [Beersheba’s locale], NEGEV. It is the largest city in the desert region.
- [Still being tested, as software], INBETA. Clever fill nugget.
- [Polk’s middle name], KNOX. “Mr James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump…”
- [New driver, usually], TEEN. I only started at 21.