David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword—Ben’s write-up
Ben here, filling in for Amy as your Substitute Friday NYT Crossword Review Person. Fill out your worksheet and then we’ll get to watch an episode of Mathnet until the bell rings.
It’s a themeless Friday puzzle from David Steinberg. Here’s some highlights:
- AVIATE as answer for “Do high-level banking?” is very clever.
- The 1A/1D SEETHING/SEE THINGS is some absolute cutesy BS – too generic on the 1D for my liking.
- Managed to pluck RABBLE from the part of my brain that’s still running through Jesus Christ Superstar after NBC’s live version at the start of the month.
- Loved the long fill in this grid – I CAN TAKE A HINT, LOSE SLEEP OVER, ETHICAL DILEMMAS, and CABLE TELEVISION are all great fill (though that last one is one place where I’d love an AV-style clue that tells just what percentage still have cable these days)
- My main reference for ODETTA‘s work is her name being dropped by crossword favorite PIA ZADORA in the original version of John Waters’ Hairspray
This one was a solid 3.5/5 for me. What did you think?
(I did promise an episode of Mathnet)
Jeff Eddings’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Ask Me How I Know” — Laura’s review
We have a vowel-shift-clued-wackily thing happening here, as indicated by the title, such that generally /aʊ/ sounds change to /oʊ/ sounds. (And yes, I’m using the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), and also drinking an IPA (India Pale Ale)).
- [17a: River in a flash flood?]: WILD FLOWER
- [30a: Artist sketching a secretary?]: DESK DRAWER. In the sense of a secretary as a kind of desk, not an administrative professional. There are likely some regional American accents where drawer (the open-topped box you pull out of a desk) and drawer (a person who sketches) are pronounced the same.
- [36a: Tailor with a spotless shop?]: SANITARY SEWER. This one has a different vowel shift too: not how to know but who to know.
- [44a: Truck carrying heavy pieces to the horologist?]: CLOCK TOWER
- [56a: Birth-announcement photo?]: BABY SHOWER
This theme set didn’t feel 100% consistent to me, but it works, and the clue-puns are nice. Fill was decent too, though lots of 3s and your abbreviations like SSR SRA IPO LCD AFR ACA FDA. Someday I’d like to construct a puzzle where the only three-letter abbreviations are from the song in Hair: “LBJ took the IRT/ Down to 4th Street USA./ When he got there/ What did he see?/ The youth of America on LSD.” It’s a funny song, but anyone who lives in New York will tell you that the IRT doesn’t go to 4th Street. (Positively.) Speaking of New York, [10d: Storied apartment building west of Central Park, with “the”]: DAKOTA was where John ONO Lennon was murdered, in 1980, when he was only 40. Let’s end with him.
David Alfred Bywaters’ LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
The revealer tells all, but I’m sure unless you started there, it was obvious by then anyway. PREINSTALLATION is clever, but takes up a lot of space to tell you that PRE is installed in unsuspecting theme answers, specifically at the beginning of the second word. The results are on the functional side for me – didn’t really hit my wacky bone.
Between the “free” PRE letters and quite easy clueing, this was an easier than usual Friday for me. The grid is well-balanced and cleanly filled.