Monday, May 7, 2018

BEQ untimed (Laura) 


LAT 4:46 on my phone (Nate) 


NYT 2:55 (Amy)  


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


The New Yorker 4:05 (joon—paper) 


Julie Bérubé’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 5 7 18, no 0507

Quick recap, because I need to go have pizza. The theme revealer is 38a. [Locale of all the circled items in this puzzle], TOOLBOX, and the six (!) other theme answers contain a SCREW, TAPE, SAW, SHIM, NAIL, and DRILL. My personal toolbox contains screwdrivers along with some pliers and wrenches. The hammer doesn’t fit, I don’t own a saw, I’m not sure where the drill is, and I don’t really keep nails and screws. There are some shims somewhere in the house. (Your toolbox mileage may vary.)

There’s plenty of flavor in the long theme and non-theme entries. GROUNDS CREW, TUNA SASHIMI, ESPADRILLE, GORGONZOLA, and ALVIN AILEY are all pretty fancy stuff for a Monday grid. The inclusion of seven theme answers does crowd the short fill a bit—SPH, OLA, SUPE, and ESTER don’t add anything here, and AWASH IN feels weird to me.

Overall, let’s say four stars, since the nice stuff is so zippy and the circled words are included in decent entries.

Lila Cherry’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Nate’s write-up

Hi! Nate here, with my Fiend debut. Thanks to Amy and the gang for the opportunity!

I was excited to open this puzzle and see a byline by Lila Cherry. A (presumably) female constructor! Any of you who saw Erik Agard’s fantastic guest post on Rex Parker’s website or who live the reality daily know how abysmal the numbers are on how many women see their puzzles published, so I’m always thrilled to see female representation.

After solving, I Googled to see if the constructor had other puzzles, and I found this post referencing an LA Times puzzle from a month ago. Exciting! Until! “C.C. [Burnikel] says Lila Cherry is an anagram of ‘Really Rich’, alias for Rich Norris the editor.”

Blerg. It turns out that 47d in this puzzle was sadly quite apt for ‘Lila’: NOT ME [“I didn’t do it”]

Gender diversity and representation matter, even in the niche world of puzzles, but the point is not to get there by having more female-sounding bylines (though that could certainly give the appearance of gender parity, thus inclusion, to the unaware). The point is to ACTUALLY have more female (and non-male) constructors, who bring their varied life experiences, views of the world, and richness to a field that should be just as much theirs as anyone’s. Yes, some of their knowledge and life experiences certainly overlap with what a male constructor might include and prioritize, but MUCH OF IT WON’T. And it’s THOSE words, terms, clues, pop culture references, trivia bits, and experiences that the community is missing out on in its crosswords.

Representation matters. How are people supposed to feel like a part of a community if the community doesn’t actually/fully include them? So, my plea to editors, to echo so many who’ve said this before me, is simple: Actually publish more women. And when you do, be mindful of their grids and clues. Did they include terms that a woman, on average, might have an easier time accessing than a non-woman? Leave it in. Did they include woman-centric cluing? Keep it in. Female pseudonyms from male constructors may feel like inclusion, but actually publishing more women (along with their ideas and experiences) would be real inclusion.

Women of Letters

Women of Letters

I’d be remiss here if I didn’t amplify the fantastic all-female charity puzzle pack, Women of Letters! What a truly phenomenal line-up: 17 outstanding female constructors with 18 super-fun puzzles—and not a single dude with a female pseudonym in the bunch! For as little as $10 to a women-centric charity, how could you go wrong?

To those who’ve made it this far, thank you! On to the puzzle at hand. Rich (not Lila) presents us with a set of five themers:

LAT - 5.7.18 - Cherry Solution

LA Times crossword solution – 5.7.18

  • 17a: CODE RED [Official emergency status] Apt, considering my thoughts above.
  • 20a: FLY CASTING [Angler’s skill]
  • 33a: CHART TOPPER [#1 hit]
  • 42a: STOOL PIGEON [One who rats to the cops]
  • 54a: SOAP BUBBLE [Floater in a luxurious bath] Wait…is soap only for… people of luxury?

These themers tie in with a symmetrically-placed revealer BAR MENU [List including nachos, sliders, wings, etc. … and what the starts of the answers to starred clues comprise?].

I solve for time and usually only discover the theme afterwards, so it took me a second to figure out what was going on. The revealer’s clue focused so heavily on food that I looked for that first in the themers. I found COD and CHAR along with a fishing reference, but realized instead that the first word of each themer served as a MENU of BARs: BAR CODE, BAR FLY, etc. Not bad, though I’m only about 90% on board because there didn’t feel like a reason why these five where chosen and others weren’t. Graph? Exam? Magnet? I wanted one other parameter to tighten up the theme set. Otherwise, a solid early-week theme.

I’ve already taken up my fair share of space (and then some!), so I’ll leave you with the fill that stood out to me (for better or worse):

O'Keeffe's "Canyon with Crows"

O’Keeffe’s “Canyon with Crows”

Liked: MWA HA HA, O’KEEFFE (An actual woman! Who celebrated women! Represented for her accomplishment and not a relationship with a man or James Bond!), YWCA (Clued with respect to female leadership—I’ll take it!).

Disliked: CTS (and) FTS (both in the first row!) BRASSIE (Seriously?), SDS, THENS.

Unclear: HOT LIPS (This was before my time. The nickname feels like it wouldn’t fly in today’s world, so it seems odd to embrace it in a 2018 puzzle, but I could be wrong?

Thanks! And publish more non-male constructors!

Dan Fisher’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “That Smarts!” — Jim’s review

Theme: Phrases with double OWs.

WSJ – Mon, 5.7.18 – “That Smarts!” by Dan Fisher (Mike Shenk)

  • 16a [Lawn-tending machine] POWER MOWER
  • 33a [Harry Potter’s Hedwig, for one] SNOWY OWL
  • 40a [Backwater burgs] COWTOWNS
  • 58a [Minutely detailed, as an account] BLOW-BY-BLOW
  • 10d [Hardcore hip-hop performance] THROWDOWN
  • 32d [Projecting architectural feature] BOW WINDOW

Didn’t know the term BOW WINDOW. Apparently, it’s similar to a bay window but it has more angles and panes of glass, creating a rounded, bowed effect.

That’s a lot of theme material, but it wasn’t all that exciting.  I liked COWTOWNS and BLOW-BY-BLOW.

Fave fill for me is SIROCCOS (9d, [Hot Mediterranean winds]). I was thrown off by the spelling since I’m only familiar with the Volkswagen spelling of the word (Scirocco). Apparently, both are acceptable. Also good: SIMONY (15d, [Buying or selling of church offices]). Per Wikipedia, the Acts of the Apostles recounts the meeting between Simon Magus (aka Simon the Magician or Simon the Sorcerer), a local shyster, and Peter, Jesus’ right-hand man. Simon offered him some dosh in order to get some of that sweet Holy Spirit laying-on-of-hands power. Peter sent him packing.

New to me: SWEET BAY (37d, [Shrub with aromatic leaves]). Is this where we get the bay leaf from which is used so much in cooking?

Not keen on 1d DOPER [Steroids addict]. Do people really use that word?

Kameron Austin Collins’s New Yorker crossword—joon’s write-up

New Yorker crossword, 7 May 2018hello, joon here with the writeup of this week’s new yorker crossword. i’m not sure yet if i’ll be blogging the puzzle every week, or if there will be a rotation. i guess you’ll have to come back next week to find out?

anyway, kameron austin collins has a lively 66-word themeless this week. 66 is kind of a sweet spot for themeless grids in my opinion: low enough that there’s not a ton of short answers, but high enough that the fill doesn’t suffer under the strain of the low word count, necessitating lots of not-fun stuff like awkward inflected forms and dull repeaters. in addition to the stacked 10s in the NW and SE corners, the grid is built around the staggered 11s through the middle: FRIED SHRIMP, ANNA WINTOUR, and GET AN EARFUL. those are all excellent. but i am a little curious why the whole grid is oriented this way, with all of the stacked 10s and 11s reading down, instead of transposed where the marquee long answers would read across.

  • {Pictures of abandoned projects, e.g.} RUINPORN. this was a new one for me, and i’m not sure if it’s one word or two. it’s likely new enough to the language that there’s not necessarily a consensus, anyway.
  • {Afro-Brazilian martial art} CAPOEIRA. not to be confused with caipirinha, the sweet, sweet national cocktail of brazil. i’ve had caipirinhas, but i’m not sure where i’ve seen capoeira or why the word was familiar enough for me to fill it in with ___OE___ in the grid.
  • {U2 hit that opens, “Is it getting better? / Or do you feel the same?”} ONE. a long way to go for a short word, but this song remains among my favorite tracks by my favorite band. while we’re on the subject, {Low-maintenance succulent} DESERT ROSE is not an especially familiar plant to me, but i know it as a lyric from the u2 song “in god’s country”.
  • {Sign of exhaustion?} VAPOR TRAIL. that’s an awfully stretchy clue, and while i admire the audacity, i’m not 100% sure it works. something like {Exhausting product?} is in somewhat better compliance with dictionary definitions.

one oddity that seems to have been ironed out is the clue for 34a WHINY. when i printed out the puzzle this morning, it was {Like}, which doesn’t make any sense. it’s since been corrected to {Like a toddler demanding screen time}, which actually does clue WHINY.

stuff i didn’t particularly care for: NEL, SYL, TEALS, ACTE. that’s not too much for a themeless, but it’s not squeaky-clean as grids go. still, good puzzle. four stars from me.

it’s lunchtime now and the puzzle is making me hungry—i could really go for some FRIED SHRIMP right about now. take care!

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s themeless Monday crossword — Laura’s Review

BEQ - 5.7.18 - Solution

BEQ – 5.7.18 – Solution

Five things:

  • [1a: Shoulder covering]: SHAWL. I had SHRUG, which is another name for a little abbreviated sweater-thing, so I got hung up in the NW for ages.
  • Lotsa food in this one: ORZO crossing ZITI, VIETNAMESE, MENU, WINE STORE
  • [58a: Sober, colloquially speaking]: JUDGELIKE. This took me a minute, but the referenced simile here is “sober as a judge.” Let’s hope.
  • [64a: Entertainer with “dragon energy”]: KANYE WEST. This is a thing that happened:

  • [12a: Home of Roy Lichtenstein’s “Drowning Girl,” briefly]: MOMA. Namely, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Lots to be said about Lichtenstein, high art, low/mass culture. Are comics an art form? Did Lichtenstein make them into an art form? (No more than Warhol did for soup, to paraphrase comics artist Art Spiegelman.) There’s also lots to be said about parallels between the comics industry
    Roy Lichtenstein, "Drowning Girl," 1963

    Roy Lichtenstein, “Drowning Girl,” 1963

    and the crossword industry — pervasive reliance on freelancers and spec work; creators never used to be credited for their work; historical exclusion of women and people of color as creators, attributed both to institutionally structured prejudice and to an atmosphere not welcoming to alternative perspectives. As comics became taken more seriously, both in high art contexts like Lichtenstein being shown at MOMA or Spiegelman winning the Pulitzer Prize in History, and in growing mainstream relevance of underground and independent comics artists, they became more diverse, both in terms of creators and content. Let’s hope crosswords are on a parallel track. It’s about damn time.

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48 Responses to Monday, May 7, 2018

  1. huda says:

    NYT: I landed where Amy did. And in spite of the number of theme entries and some long fill, it was one of my fastest Mondays, so kudos to the constructrix.

  2. Lise says:

    Amy: I have a question about the Women of Letters offer. Is it okay to contribute to a woman-oriented charity that is not on the list? I seem to recall a post here which said that was allowed, but can’t find that particular post (I didn’t search thoroughly).

    Our local Women’s Initiative organization provides mental health services to women regardless of their ability to pay, and has a walk-in clinic.

    We also have a local shelter for help in emergencies. This benefits victims of domestic violence. That is not limited to women, but women make up the majority of people being helped.

    What do you think? I will donate to a charity on the posted list if necessary; I realize that doesn’t prevent me from also donating to a local charity. Thank you for doing this project!

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Lise: Yes, it’s perfectly cool to use a (new) donation to another woman-supporting org in order to reap crossword benefits. The Women’s Initiative sounds particularly amazing since it’s often so hard for people of any gender to access and afford therapy/counseling.

      • Lise says:

        Thank you!

      • janie says:

        in nyc, another organization that is working at the local/grassroots level is win: women in need. this is for homeless women and their families.

        and for those who may want to contribute to a national arts-related org. that has a discrete focus-area on healthcare for female entertainment-/performance-related professionals, there’s also the amazing phyllis newman women’s health initative (pnwhi) at the actors’ fund.


        • Lise says:

          Squee! I just now got my puzzles and they look fantastic. Thanks for doing this. And janie, I like your suggestions. I hope lots of women benefit from doing this project.

  3. roxanna says:

    Lila Cherry was more than likely what Rich saw as simply an obvious anagram… not some sly way to make people think the LAT was publishing more women authors. Settle down, Nate.

    • Nate says:

      Even in that most gracious of interpretations, my point still stands. Actually publish more women.

    • Jenni Levy says:

      Actually, that bothers me more, since it suggests that he doesn’t give a damn about representation.

    • Jim Peredo says:

      Editors have been using these pseudonyms for many, many years now for (probably) innocuous reasons. But I’m with Nate, publish more women, not just female pseudonyms. And I would even go so far as to say to some editors, publish more other people, not just yourself.

  4. roxanna says:

    There is in Nate and Jim’s posts an implication that there is some nefarious reason for editors not publishing more women constructors. Has the very simple and logical answer for this come to your thought process, that editors receive a hell of a lot more submissions from men than women. If this is true, the question is why is this. To me the answer is obvious as hell. A woman’s daily life is usually busier than a man’s. In a relationship, especially one involving children, who is most likely the one who… grocery shops, cleans house, cooks, takes kids to the doctor, does laundry, meets with school teachers, etc. My husband might have an hour or two to work on a puzzle… I don’t.

    • Nate Cardin says:

      Even conceding your heterosexual/’traditional’-gender-split household argument that might keep some women from making/submitting puzzles, (a) there are plenty of women who do not find themselves in that paradigm, (b) there are many women inside and outside that paradigm who ARE submitting puzzles, and (c) there is still real explicit and implicit bias against female constructors that acts as a roadblock to women seeing their puzzles be published.

      I’m not arguing that this is a simple issue or one that falls solely on editors’ shoulders, but editors are certainly fundamental gatekeepers who hold some responsibility. Male constructors/editors using female pseudonyms may have been an innocuous action in days past, but I’d hope they’d see that times have changed. I honestly worry that some key gatekeepers in the field don’t get that there is a fundamental difference between a woman writing a puzzle and a man writing a puzzle under a female pseudonym – that’s the main point I want to get across.

      • GLR says:


        Your point (a) seems pretty reasonable on the face of it – lots of different life situations out there. And I’m willing to accept your point (b) – I have no reason to think women aren’t submitting puzzles. But are there data that support your point (c)? I assume Mr. Shortz and other editors could tabulate acceptance rates for female vs. male constructors – which would be an indicator, but not perfect. Has that information been shared someplace?

        • Natan Last says:

          FWIW, the share of puzzles constructed by women in the Times has been going *down* in recent years. Yeah, there’re many potential explanations for this — and one I’ve heard from many a woman constructor is the lack of support from an all-male editorship, and how discouraging it can feel when no women are themselves in the editing chair.

          • GLR says:


            Thank you for the link – I had not seen this before.

            The data show a small, but statistically significant decline in the number of puzzles with a female constructor, as well as the ratio of female-to-male constructors over the 1994-2017 period (I left out the partial years of ’93 and ’18). It looks like most of the effect is due to the past 10 years, during which the number of published puzzles constructed by women has gone off a cliff.

            The raw numbers are interesting, but to get to the question of “bias,” I still think we need to know something about the acceptance rates.

            • placematfan says:

              That’s so–hate to sound pedestrian–weird. I don’t understand that (“the number of published puzzles constructed by women has gone off a cliff”) at all.

            • GLR says:


              Using the data for NYT puzzles Natan referenced, puzzles by female constructors averaged 87.5 per year for 1998-2007, (hitting 92 in 2007) then averaged 62.0 per year for 2008-2017, (hitting a 20+ year low of 49 last year).

              Maybe “off a cliff” is an overstatement – you can be the judge.

    • Jenni Levy says:

      My husband does almost all the cooking, most of the shopping, most of the laundry, all the gardening/outside work, and did at least half of the kid transport before the kid starting transporting herself – and that’s when he was working full-time. Now that he’s a gentleman of leisure, he pays the bills, deals with the accountant/broker/insurance agent, spent a ton of time and effort getting my mother’s house ready for sale after her death, and plans our vacations. So “obvious as hell” to you is to me “another example of someone swallowing the patriarchy whole without any evidence of critical thinking.” You don’t mind being married to a man who treats you like household help – that’s on you.. Don’t assume the rest of us go along with it.

      We have evidence of bias against women in academia, publishing, professional orchestral music, medicine, and law, that I know of. Why on earth would it be different in crossword publishing?

      • Papa John says:

        Jenni, you l described my life exactly. I do all those things that you listed (except the work on your mom’s house) and not “almost” any of it but, rather, all of it. Oh, and I do windows. My house may not be as pristine as my grandmother’s was but it’s still “company-ready” at any time. Despite being the full-time house technician, I still find plenty of time to do crosswords.

        I’m jus’ sayin’…

  5. David L says:

    I saw SCREW and TAPE in the circled spots and instantly thought, eww, different kinds of worms? That’s a gross theme.

    Happy to realize my mistake.

    OTOH, the only item in the puzzle that actually resides in my toolbox is a TAPEmeasure (also electrical TAPE and plumber’s TAPE). DRILL and SAW are too big, SHIMs are in a plastic grocery bag, and NAILs and SCREWs are in various boxes and jam jars etc.

  6. placematfan says:

    Does anyone have statistical info on whether women’s puzzle-publication numbers are annually on the rise or otherwise?

    • PJ Ward says:

      Yeah, some data would be useful. I know absolutely nothing about the business of crosswords. I’m guessing the outlets reviewed here (NYT, LAT, WSJ) receive a large number of submissions. My guess is that they do not generally require gender as part of the process. So it would fall to the outlets to assign gender based on given name. At best I see three buckets: Reliably Male, Reliably Female, and Other. The number of submissions the number accepted for publication by category would be useful and could provide a metric for tracking progress whether it be the number of puzzles submitted by female constructors or the acceptance rate for female constructors.

      But I don’t know if the outlets are interested in sharing this type of information.

  7. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Lest anyone think we’re beating up on Rich Norris, it bears noting that Stan Newman publishes some of his own Newsday crosswords under pen names including Anna Stiga (“Stan again”), and Mike Shenk of the WSJ uses Marie Kelly (“really Mike”), Natalia Shore (“another alias”), and Alice Long (Mike’s college paper was called the Collegian). Rich is also Nora Pearlstone (“not a real person”), and I’m sure I’m omitting some.

    Peter Gordon has used Roger DePont (anagram of his name) but I don’t recall any female pen names. And in my own work at Crosswords With Friends, on the rare occasions that we run two puzzles by one person in the same week, we may use a pen name for one, and sometimes those are coded female (not in an attempt to make it look like we publish more puzzles by women).

    • David L says:

      Which raises another question — why bother with all the aliases? Is there something shameful in an editor publishing his own puzzles? In having the same contributor write two puzzles in the same week?

      • Martin says:

        Some other Rich Norris pseudonyms are Cathy Carulli (“actally Rich”), Gia Christian (“again it’s Rich”), Meredith Ito (“I’m the editor”), Nora Pearlstone (“not a real person”), Sabrina Walden (“brand new alias”), Samantha Wine (“what’s in a name?”) and Teri Smalley (“it’s really me”). He’s got some male aliases too, but seems to lean female.

      • Jim Peredo says:

        Since we’re listing aliases, Mike Shenk has used Heidi Moretta (I am the Editor), Judith Seretto (Just the Editor), Maxine Cantor (Manx Creation; “Manx” is a name he’s used in other puzzling venues, I think), Celia Smith (It’s Michael), Edith Tremio (I’m the Editor), Maryanne Lemot (Not my Real Name), and Mae Woodard (Meadow Road, which must be a place of significance). Plus a bunch of men’s names. Then there are others that I suspect are pseudonyms but don’t have a good anagram for: Theresa Schmidt, Tracey Gordimer, Nancy Cole Stuart, and Melina Merchant. Plus a bunch of men’s names here, too.

        David, that is a very good question that I’d like to know the answer to. Seems like it’s a holdover from when puzzles were strictly in newspapers and maybe editors used them as an inside joke to their loyal subscribers who were in the know. Nowadays it seems like it’s mostly used to disguise just how many puzzles come from the editor. In the WSJ there have been weeks where 4 (or possibly more) of the puzzles were the editor’s.

        The constructor community is imbalanced gender-wise and therefore, many of us would argue, less healthy for it. Getting more women published is a more intractable problem, but not insurmountable. Getting editors to stop using pseudonyms, or at least female-sounding pseudonyms, would be an easier first step. When a male constructor uses a female-sounding pseudonym, it disguises the imbalance and does a disservice to the community. If there was parity, this probably wouldn’t be much of an issue, but since there isn’t, I would love to see editors use their own names.

  8. Gareth says:

    What exactly is a shim again? Isn’t it some curtain thing?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      It’s a little wedge you can use to, say, prop up a piece of furniture that’s not level. Apparently shims have many forms and uses I’m unfamiliar with, but I’ve used them for a bookshelf on a possibly uneven wood floor.

      • Lise says:

        My husband needed a shim to add to some part of an engine he was restoring. Lacking one, he used a dime.

        And there’s also the shim one uses under a rocking café table: a folded-up napkin.

        I think one can buy shims, too. :)

      • Martin says:

        I usually call the parts that adjust gaps on engines, transmissions and the like “spacers,” and reserve “shim” for a wedge-shaped, tapered piece that can be adjusted in place to create the proper fit. But I admit that many people call spacers of uniform thickness “shims” too.

    • NonnieL says:

      You may be thinking of a scrim, which is a curtain or screen used in some theatrical productions. It can be made transparent if lit properly.

  9. Lise says:

    New Yorker: Great writeup, joon. And I really enjoyed the puzzle (although “choux” to me means “cabbage”, which slowed me down a little). I hadn’t heard RUIN PORN, but it wasn’t too hard to get. I also liked VAPOR TRAIL, ESCAPE PODS, TOUCAN, BOSSYPANTS (great book!), and many other answers.

    I printed the pdf early this morning before the clue for 34A was corrected. When it didn’t make sense, I went back to the online version to check it, and the site told me that I had only 2 free articles left this month.

    So I guess the puzzles aren’t really free? I have looked at two puzzles plus the page I got when I tried to look for the puzzle a day early and got a Page Not Found page which apparently counts as an article. The math works, I get it, but I will be missing a puzzle.

    Oh well! I’ll take what I can get. The constructors are all great, though; I’m sorry to miss any of them.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      One notes that the cookies tracking how many articles we’ve read for a given publication are generally limited to a single browser, so you can get your limit afresh in another browser. I hear that opening a link in an incognito browser window also resets that meter. (I use Chrome, Safari, and Firefox for various things, and when an link won’t open on one browser, I try another.)

  10. jj says:

    TNY: Fine puzzle, but I was shocked to find it so shoddily edited. The 34A error has been mentioned, and it appears that has been changed, which is good. 39A is signifying a plural entry (so SYLS), which really made that corner difficult. That should also require a change (One of four in Mississippi or California: Abbr). It turned out I had an error at 5D/15A – I had RON, as Roe v. Wade wasn’t immediately coming to mind (I was thinking more Watergate); I think the 5D clue could be much clearer so as to avoid the tough crossing, but that one might be on me. But the general style was off-putting and inconsistent – why is the (in headlines) in parenthesis in 7A but the “in rap” isn’t in parenthesis a few clues down? Why does 50D get a (Mozart aria) to let us know what it is, but the name of a bar in Star Wars (seriously???? I had to look it up) doesn’t get the same treatment one clue above it? Normally I wouldn’t care, but this is a publication that uses an umlaut to spell “cooperate”, so I hope they’d at least appreciate the friendly criticism.

    • joon says:

      i didn’t notice the clue on SYL, as i got it from crossings, but it’s not obvious to me that it’s an error. certainly without the abbreviation, the clue would indicate syllables rather than syllable, but is the abbreviated form of “syllables” SYL or SYLS? arguably either. either way, though, your suggested clue looks like a clear improvement.

      every solver’s different, but for me, the star wars cantina was the simplest of gimmes, and i’d never heard of the mozart aria. so the parentheticals were appropriately placed. on the subject of inconsistent style, though, you’ve got a point, and i have no idea why the cantina clue was in quotes. perhaps the crossword team is still working the kinks out.

  11. john farmer says:

    Gender diversity and representation matter, even in the niche world of puzzles, but the point … is to ACTUALLY have more female (and non-male) constructors, who bring their varied life experiences, views of the world, and richness to a field that should be just as much theirs as anyone’s. Yes, some of their knowledge and life experiences certainly overlap with what a male constructor might include and prioritize, but MUCH OF IT WON’T. And it’s THOSE words, terms, clues, pop culture references, trivia bits, and experiences that the community is missing out on in its crosswords.

    Case in point: ES_ADRILLE, in the NYT. I saw that and confidently added a C, last letter in the grid. Well, that didn’t work. The escadrilles were French air squadrons of WWI, which I remember learning about in grade school, particularly the Lafayette Escadrille, piloted by U.S. volunteers. Espadrilles: I haven’t really been living under a rock, but I can’t say I’d ever heard of them. After Googling some pics, I’d have probably called them wedges or sandals, or just shoes. Learn something new every day.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Whereas I wore espadrilles in college, have never heard of the French air squadrons.

      And every makeup-related clue for ROUGE rings false to me, because rouge is what my grandmas wore eons ago. The makeup that pinks one’s cheeks has been called blush for decades now, but you’d never know it from crosswords.

      • john farmer says:

        We guys are getting a bit wiser about makeup, but slowly. Meanwhile, a ROUGE is a one-point play in football, per a friend of mine in Canada. Which doesn’t really work here, but does make Nate’s point.

      • Lois says:

        Amy, my aunt (a couple of decades older than me) informed me about 40 years ago that what I called rouge at the time was now called blush. Still, I think the word “rouge” must appear enough in durable writing to be considered permissible in a puzzle.

  12. Douglas says:

    The New Yorker, 41A Alternative to a case. Forty. Huh?

    • Evad says:

      I was scratching my head on that one as well–could be a case of beer (24)? Can you actually buy 40 cans at one time as well?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      A forty is a 40 oz bottle, typically of malt liquor. A case of 12 or 24 cans/bottles of the 12 oz size is certainly a lot bigger volume than a single forty, though!

      • Harry says:

        Thanks, Amy. My wife and I could not figure that one out either, but we’re both in our eighth decade, and we don’t buy 40 oz. bottles of malt liquor at this point in our lives.

      • ===Dan says:

        Amy, I was wondering about that too. (The pre-edit) WHINY and FORTY made me wonder whether there was some weird gimmick.

  13. Norm says:

    TNY: I think they’re trying too hard to be difficult or clever or whatever … or maybe that was just KAC, since that’s my own impression of his puzzles generally. YMMV.

  14. New Yorker says:

    New Yorker puzzle is great. Is there a .puz version of it?

    • ===Dan says:

      New Yorker, no. You can solve this online or print out the PDF. I did write to express my interest in PUZ. They seemed more interested in knowing how I thought they might improve their interface.

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