Neville Fogarty & Erik Agard’s New York Times crossword, “Love at First Site”—Amy’s write-up
The theme is familiar phrases reimagined as make-believe dating sites:
- 22a. [Good name for a deep kissers’ dating site?], FRENCH CONNECTION. French Connection is a British clothing brand (you may know their FCUK logo), and The French Connection is a Gene Hackman movie from the ’70s.
- 51a. [Good name for a dating site full of hot dudes?], STUD FINDER. Nice one! A stud finder is a doodad you use to find the studs hidden behind drywall.
- 57a. [Good name for a dating site of massage therapists?], RUBBER MATCH. I think that’s a term from the card game bridge.
- 76a. [Good name for an extreme sports dating site?], ACTION ITEMS.
- 83a. [Good name for a non-monogamist dating site?], OPEN FLAMES. Cute. Flames that are open obviously—as opposed to … what? What’s a closed flame?
- 115a. [Good name for a dating site for lovers of natural foods?], ORGANIC CHEMISTRY. Also cute.
- 15d. [Good name for a carpentry dating site?], BOARD MEETING.
- 60d. [Good name for a “High Noon”-themed dating site?], WESTERN UNION. This is not that far removed from the (actual) farmers’ dating site, is it?
Works well enough, no outliers that are terrible or overly clunky.
Cool bits in the fill: The verb BARRELED, Xi JINPING, Tracy Chapman’s “FAST CAR” (here’s the YouTube if you want to have a listen), catchphrase “MAKE IT SO” ([Command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard]), EVIL GRIN (though that [Satanic look] clue is mighty weird), and BESTIE.
Six more things:
- 124a. [Something taken on a field?], KNEE. A reference to Colin Kaepernick and others taking a stand/a knee for justice.
- 73a. [George ___ University], MASON. Recently in the news, which made it easy for me to snap to the answer.
- 31d. [Back-of-newspaper section], OBITS. The back? Is that so? I’ve been consuming news online for years, and don’t know how accurate this is.
- 48d. [Swing time?], RECESS. This is about the school playground, not the folks on the OPEN FLAMES dating site.
- 10d. [Group dance with stomps and claps], STEP. And, judging from what I see on YouTube after searching for best step show performance, there’s often some narrative going on, and some of the performances begin with cinematic videos that tie in to the dance that follows. As a white person who went to a majority-white college, I’ve had very little exposure to step. Here’s a video for you, especially if you’re as ill versed as I am:
- 43a. [Actor whose first and last names look like they rhyme, but don’t], SEAN BEAN. “Shawn Bawn.” “Seen Bean.” Great clue, and a great entry!
Four stars from me.
Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post crossword, “Bad Hair Day” — Laura’s writeup
(Laura here, in for Erin, who is having a good heir day with her kids.) We’ve got a bunch of circles in the themers, and some numbers in parentheses. And some flavortext: “NOTE: You’ll need to do some restyling to find an apt nine-letter word for this puzzle.” Hmmm, restyling, eh? … what if I rearranged those letters in parentheses? I get hairstyles (or aspects of hairstyles):
- [23a: Agricultural aircraft (1)]: CROPDUSTERS. updo
- [25a: Some Coppertone or Neutrogena products (3)]: SUNBLOCKS. bun
- [38a: Special counsel in 2018 headlines (6)]: ROBERT MUELLER. mullet.
- [59a: Heroic companion of Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov (3)]: FLASH GORDON. shag
- [66a: Many successfully converted “and one” scores in basketball (3)]: THREE POINT PLAYS. ponytail
- [80a: Causes (4)]: BRINGS ABOUT. bangs
- [96a: One working for kicks? (7)]: MARTIAL ARTIST. rattail
- [115a: Dealt with (3)]: ADDRESSED. dreads
- [117a: Something that signals impending doom (3)]: KISS OF DEATH. fade
So far, I’d say [75a: “It’s ___ (“Things are getting exciting!”)]: LIT! For the bonus hinted at in the flavortext, if we take the letter in each unscrambled hairdo that corresponds to the parenthetical number, we get UNTANGLED! Which is what we did to all the circled letters! Cool meta, bro, in both concept and execution. I dug the [10d: Organized whole, from the German word for “form”]: GESTALT. Clues I liked: [11d: The one for 11 Down is 11 Down]: ANSWER; [31a: New Jazz star, e.g.]: ROOKIE; [53a: Exchange in a window]: CHAT. That’s all for tonight, since I [1a: Need a drink]: THIRST; your blogger is pouring one as she [90d: Confirms the transmission of an email]: HITS SEND on this post.
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s CRooked Crossword, “Echo Chamber”—Laura’s review
We’ve got words with reduplicated phonemes at the end, resulting in silly phrases, like:
- [23a: Toy in its early development?]: EMBRYO YOYO
- [25a: Central American dam?]: PANAMA MAMA
- [44a: And Dorothy’s little dog, too?]: DITTO TOTO
- [53a: Tin Man’s dance?]: OILCAN CANCAN
- [76a: Malian dancer’s dress?]: TIMBUKTU TUTU
- [85a: Louisiana farewell?]: DELTA TATA
- [108a: Nursemaid to a lizard?]: IGUANA NANA (my favorite)
- [111a: Dumb Texan?]: LAREDO DODO
- [3d: Staying in the sun too long?]: ALBINO NONO
- [16d: African art form?]: UGANDA DADA
- [69d: Doozy from Arnaz and Ball?]: DESILU LULU
- [73d: Blue disco?]: INDIGO GOGO
This solved like a charm! (With Evan’s WaPo and the superfun NYT from Erik and Neville, this has been a sweet Sunday for puzzles.) Nice consistency to have the reduplicated terms match the base words exactly, so [“Modern art — meh”?]: PICASSO SOSO or [Mexican musical elegance?]: MARIACHI CHICHI or [Greek tragedy about a Hawaiian goose?]: ANTIGONE NENE rather than [Peruvian temple train?]: MACHU PICCHU CHOOCHOO.
And that’s all I’ve got. Happy Mothers’ Day, to all — however how many mothers you have, or have lost, are, or never were.
Amy Johnson’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Mother’s Day”—Amy’s recap
The theme answers are formed by inserting a MA into familiar phrases:
- 23a. [Foppish fed?], MANICURED LAWMAN.
- 37a. [Hotel housekeeper’s concern?], BLANKET FORMAT.
- 67a. [Woman’s surprise party for her kids’ kids?], GRANDMA SCHEME.
- 96a. [“One man’s trash … “?], JUNKYARD DOGMA. Cute.
- 115a. [Sniffle over some Austen?], READ EMMA AND WEEP. I like it!
- 16d. [Ask for a doggie bag?], TAKE THE REMAINS.
- 49d. [Frequent February craft project?], MAKING OF HEARTS. Stilted.
Least favorite entry is 58a. [Muppets’ address, briefly], SESAME ST., as nobody really uses that. See also: 7d MR. ED, when the show is called Mister Ed.
3.3 stars from me. Off to continue my Mother’s Day!