Byron Walden’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Am I the only one wishing that 48a ICE HOCKEY ARENAS split up 8/7 or 7/8 like the other 15s do? ICEHOCK EYARENAS! ECONOMIC BOYCOTT, LANGUAGE BARRIER, and RADICAL FEMINIST are all solid two-worders, as is the CELEBRITY CHEF that connects them all.
- 52a. [Crack filler], SPACKLE. I love this word but use it in an entirely unauthorized manner.
- 7d. [Naira spender], NIGERIAN. The Super Eagles beat Iceland in World Cup soccer today, yay! #TeamNaija
- 35a. [Microsoft Surface surface], TOUCHPAD. Those of you who grouse that Apple’s grid-friendly IPAD and IPOD and IOS and MAC and IMAC are in crosswords all the time, take heart. Microsoft made it into a hardware clue. I hadn’t realized that the Surface brand name now extended to laptops—a tablet, like the original Surfaces, has no real need for a touchpad since the interface is a touchscreen, right?
- 47a. [“A Room With a View” clergyman], BEEBE. Needed all the crossings. I guess my high school classmate Dan Beebe never got famous.
- 4d. [Foreign news correspondent Richard], ENGEL. Don’t really know who he is—the name was only faintly familiar, and possibly from a past crossword. Georgia Engel, call me! (Just looked her up, and was surprised to learn that she’s only 69. She’s roughly one to three decades younger than her Mary Tyler Moore Show costars!)
- 25d. [One “whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be,” per Ambrose Bierce], CYNIC. He’s not wrong.
- 36d. [Renaissance symbol], PHOENIX. As in rebirth, not the 1500s.
- 40d. [Nurse], SUCKLE. As in breastfeeding. Nice to see a straightforward and unembarrassed use of the words.
ARETE, NCR, and SEE NO are the worst fill here, so nothing atrocious. 4.2 stars from me.
To play us out, a delightful and touching video of late-night host James Corden taking Paul McCartney on a nostalgia tour of Liverpool. It’s got nothing whatsoever to do with the puzzle, but I think you’ll like it.
Debbie Ellerin’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Back to a quick time this week again. I am in the middle of switching jobs, so I have a little time off in the interim, which I think is lessening my stress. There are other factors that are still causing some stress, but that’s life, right?!
I digress. This puzzle is actually really good. There are two 14s cutting through that both are timely, and this grid is a Q short of being pangrammatic. Sometimes it helps for a quick time when there is very little dreck in the grid, and that seems to be the case here. Yes, I have one error mark, but that was a typo! 4.6 stars today.
Lots to discuss:
- 19A [Website with a Certified Fresh seal] ROTTEN TOMATOES – It is amazing how this site affects what a lot of people watch, including myself. If a movie has a rating here as low as, say, 30%, I may still watch it, but when it is under 20%, you KNOW it’s a dog!
- 31A [Gun designer, __ Gal] UZI – Yes, I forgot this was his first name.
- 46A & 55A [Hundred Acre Wood denizen] [“The __ of Pooh”] ROO, TAO – Aren’t these two related somehow? This seems like it could have had a tie-in, albeit a really hard one.
- 56A [Online exchange medium] CRYPTOCURRENCY – As in bitcoin and the like. As mentioned, these 14 letter answers are quite timely. I don’t own any of this stuff. Yet.
- 64A [Alligator kin] CAIMAN – This is a little tough. My first thought was CROC, but that obviously didn’t fit!
- 3D [Wolfpack’s home] NC STATE – Shouldn’t there be an indication that there is an abbreviation here?
- 7D [Team-ranking surveys, briefly] AP POLLS – This DOES have an abbreviation indicator. The basketball polls are worthless, but the famed football polls are closely followed.
- 12D [Cliff Palace dwellers] ANASAZI – Yes, THOSE cliff dwellers.
- 52D [1997 protocol city] KYOTO – This is one of those climate change agreements the US is likely not a part of.
Time to watch soccer!
Matthew Sewell’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
I thought I was well on my way to a sub-10 minute solve this week, but I ground to a halt after about 7 minutes with 75% or so of the grid filled in. As you can see in the image, the SW section gave me superfits, and the bottom stacked 10s I didn’t find much easier. but after a couple of answer checks, we gutted this one out in a still somewhat respectable sub-14 minute time, and I’ll take it! This is still an extremely difficult puzzle, but I thoroughly enjoyed the delightful agony this week. 4.7 stars from me.
Lots to talk about:
- 1A [Drop cable] CUT THE CORD – I am one of these; I use YouTube TV almost exclusively now, except for rare occasions that I watch network TV over-the-air. I recommend watching the World Cup on Telemundo!
- 11A [Site fo the first Winter Olympics] ALPS – Specifically the first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France, in 1924. In ’28 they were in St. Moritz in Switzerland, to technically the first TWO Winter Olympics were in the Alps.
- 20A [Inventor with a Central Park statue since 1873] MORSE – I believe you! It is evidently on the far east side, according to Google. I think I have driven through Central Park once or twice, but I have never been to any sites in there.
- 47A [“Defy Jack Frost” liquid brand] PRESTONE – This makes sense if you think for a second. This appears to be an ad campaign, and not an actual slogan, from my searches.
- 58A [Flavoring essential to pharmaceuticals] MACE – How is this a flavor? Does it mask other flavors?
- 22D [Expound with pomp] PONTIFICATE – Nice!
- 23D [Group outside the class system] AUTODIDACTS – I thought this might start with OUTER, and this was probably the main reason I had problems here.
- 29D [Raise a flap] AVIATE – I got this one, even thought it was tricky. My vote for best clue in the puzzle.
- 34D [More refined] COURTLIER – Or, what I am NOT! ;-)
Time to watch MORE soccer!
Daniel Hamm’s (Mike Shenk’s) Wall Street Journal crossword, “You and I” — Jim’s review
- 23a. [Arrogance exhibited by moralistic folks?] PRUDE PRIDE
- 25a. [Bookkeeper’s very first red-ink entry?] DEBUT DEBIT
- 34a. [“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”?] JUNGLE JINGLE
- 57a. [Knockoff Viagra?] CUT-RATE CITRATE
- 64a. [Liverpudlian louts?] BRUTISH BRITISH
- 89a. [Hot July temperature?] SUMMER SIMMER
- 102a. [Loose-fitting blouse in need of laundering?] MUDDY MIDDY
- 104a. [Any of Amsterdam’s many canals?] DUTCH DITCH
As you can see, words that differ by only a U and an I have been paired up to create wacky phrases. Not a bad theme, but not the most scintillating. I expect solvers like a little more challenge from a Saturday 21x.
I did not know that Viagra was a citrate nor what a citrate is. (Does it taste like lemons?) Nor did I know a loose-fitting blouse was called middy.
Likes: EYEROLL, OLD MONEY, DIRTY RAT, SHMEARS, TIRADE, ALL-STARS, ACACIAS, CUM LAUDE.
Dislikes: B-TO-B, ASKER, EDUCE, IT UP, whatever KDKA is, and [Canton of central Switzerland] URI (although this last one could be a theme revealer of sorts).
New to me: MOIRES [Unintended printing patterns], BOOTES [Arcturus’s constellation], clarinetist PETE Fountain, and that the tiny West African country of BENIN was called Dahomey prior to 1975.
I did like the clues for BOND [No foe] (that’s Dr. No to you) and SEPTS [Places of worship, in Westeros] (Game of Thrones reference). I am surprised that we don’t often see that the Game of Thrones equivalent to the title “Sir” is “Ser.” You would think that would crop up a lot in crosswords assuming non-fans could stomach it.