Michael Hawkins’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Ooh, nice portmanteaux in the opening corner, with HACKTIVISM and STAYCATION. There’s more zippy stuff in here, some weird long fill, some junky shorter fill (TECS! WRIER!), and and plenty of ordinary stuff too. LET’S DO THIS! (That’s another of the cool entries.)
Lemme just say that I thought SET FEE was kinda junky fill when it appeared in Monday’s NYT, and here it is again. Google shows me that flat fee and fixed fee are both more common than SET FEE.
Seven more things:
- 32d. [Freshwater minnow], REDFIN. Say what? I sure don’t know that fish, and I bet the constructor had the real estate company/website Redfin in mind. Wikipedia indicates that they don’t serve NYC (but do cover NJ and Philly), though.
- 34a. [Dentist’s direction], OPEN WIDE. I went to the dentist today! She said “say aah” but not “open wide” during her oral exam.
- 38a. [Gave secondhand?], REDEALT. Meh. Sort of a roll-your-own-word vibe, especially in the past tense, and the single word “secondhand” is too much of a stretch for “a second hand of cards.”
- 22d. [French city where an English/French treaty was signed in 1420], TROYES. Vaguely familiar, and yes, I worked all the crossings here.
- 24d. [What has a lot in store for you?], ONE-STOP SHOP. Hmm. I’m accustomed to the verb, one-stop shopping, but not this noun.
- 28d. [Research done outside the lab], FIELD TRIAL. Not a familiar term for me, but I’m not a scientist. I just learned today that Lincoln Park Zoo has an Urban Wilderness Institute, but I don’t know if their work includes FIELD TRIALS rather than observations and data collection.
- 12d. [Snack at a county fair or baseball park], CARAMEL CORN. People who are not in Chicagoland may not know how good the Chicago mix of popcorn is. Some swear by the mix of caramel corn and cheddar corn, but I prefer the triple mix of plain/buttered/whatever, caramel, and cheddar. I just might bring some to the Indie 500 crossword tournament from the Nuts on Clark shop at Midway Airport. If you don’t have popcorn shops that sell the mix, make your own!
3.9 stars from me. How’d the puzzle treat you?
David Alfred Bywaters’ LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
Letter addition is a Friday LA Times staple, though this one is bolstered by a clever revealer in EF-FRONTERY. The rest is solid, but more quantity than quality.
With six theme answers, the rest of the grid is constrained throughout. Despite this, the fill is largely clean. I liked the clue [Pitcher with no arms], EWER, though its misdirection was quite transparent.