Andy Kravis’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Hey! What’s this zippy Friday puzzle doing in the Saturday slot? I breezed through this one, with lots of entries I ADMIREd. There’s BROTOX, which is a slangy/snarky term I’d not encountered before. The ROLLED R in churro (did you know that churros are not just a Mexican thing? they’re big in Europe! not just in Spain, but also in the Netherlands). “IT’S OVER,” hon, sorry. Filmmaker AVA DUVERNAY. Your nicotine-laden E-CIGARETTES. Old UNCLE MILTIE Berle. EDITORS and RESPECT sharing a row. DRUG CARTELS and ARCHRIVAL, feels like that Sicario sequel in here. SPÄTLESE wine, “BY JOVE!”
The lowlight was that crossing of random Roman numeral DXC with C-TEAMS, which my sports-fan husband has blown the whistle on. Gotta call a penalty on this one.
Four more things:
- 11a. [Cold response?], BRR. Yes, please. The heat index this weekend in Chicago is about 110°.
- 53a. [Sites of many -ectomies, for short], ORS. I think my only -ectomy was that tonsillectomy. Here’s a poem called “Radical Man-ectomy” you might enjoy.
- 41d. [Fitting pastime?], JIGSAW. Jigsaws are so zen. I do like them for zoning out and not thinking about stressful things. If you’ve got some money to spend and love jigsaw puzzles, check out the wooden puzzles at Liberty Puzzles. Dang it, I got distracted and just wandered away from this post to order another jigsaw. I hold Andy responsible.
- 9d. [Emperor who called the First Council of Nicaea], CONSTANTINE. We would also have accepted a Keanu Reeves clue here.
4.25 stars from me. Here’s the Constantine trailer—it gives away a lot of the movie, though.
“Case E. Smith”‘s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Miscues” — Laura’s review
Shenk Pseudonym Watch: CASE E SMITH anagrams to CHASTISE ME, so maybe he’s owning up to all the pseudonyms? It also anagrams to TEACH EM SIS, which is what I shall proceed to do in this post. (Oh hi! It is I, Laura, back from hanging out with thirty thousand librarians in New Orleans. Yes, it was fun and I ate and drank well. Today I’m subbing for Jim; not that our readers pay attention to who blogs for whom.)We got your standard “add a prefix to the front of phrases; wackiness ensues” type o’ theme here — in fact, CASE E SMITH also anagrams to SET EACH MIS or MIS TEACHES, which encapsulates the theme:
[23a: Red herring’s job?]: MISLEADING ROLE
[33a: Manage a chain of saloons into bankruptcy?]: MISHANDLE BARS
[49a: Dashboard light indicating an engine failure?]: MISFIRE ALARM
[62a: Head of the practical joke company?]: MISCHIEF EXECUTIVE
[77a: Screw up the pillow factory inventory?]: MISCOUNT DOWN
[90a: Fail to coordinate your gift packaging?]: MISMATCH BOXES
[107a: Forgetting where you put the garbage?]: MISLAYING WASTE
Fill note: I thought [86a: Denizen of Florida’s Crystal River] would be OCALAN or something crosswordese-y, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a MANATEE.
(Case E., if you are a real person, please accept my apologies for MIStaking you for granted.)
Brian E. Paquin’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Is this just a constructor I don’t know or a pseudonym for someone? Seriously, I am asking, because if this IS a new name to this blog, this is quite a debut. I don’t solve every LAT puzzle, so perhaps there have been others by him. I think I have begun to take for granted the fact that I know, through various outlets, most every byline I see these days. It’s like when someone shows up at the ACPT for the first time and finishes in the top 20 and everybody is like “Who is this??” But realistically, I, in fact, do NOT know everyone, but Brian, nice to meet you!
This was a solid 72-word grid. I found the fill clean, perhaps explaining the fast solving time. Perhaps the World Cup has me in a good mood! 4.5 stars this morning.
A few things:
- 20A [“I Miss You” (1994) R&B singer] AARON HALL – This is the one-time lead singer of Guy, the R&B group formed by Teddy Riley before he started a zillion others, including Blackstreet. My main surprise here? This song is almost 25 years old!!
- 50A [Small ’90s-’00s Nissan] ALMERA – According to Wikipedia, this car was sold in Europe, which is why I’ve never heard of it! Thank goodness the crosses are all gimmes!
- 57A [“Politically Incorrect” host] MAHER – I usually watch this. I am not as partisan as he is, but I do find it entertaining. He has a new HBO special debuting in July.
- 2D [Johnson & Johnson brand] AVEENO – Between them and P&G, that covers most products, right?
- 3D [Wayans family member] KEENEN – Keenen Ivory Wayans is now 60 years old. Man time flies, and yes, I know I am sounding old today!
- 7D [“Rack City” rapper] TYGA – Before he hit is big, he actually had a concert in Elkhart, IN, a few years back. He may never be as crossword famous as ICE-T or NAS, but he does have a unique name!
- 10D [President after Anwar] HOSNI – Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David Accords in the late 70s, which is one of the first current events I can remember reading about. I was 8 or 9 at the time.
- 33D [Lighting event?] A-HA MOMENT – Best entry in the grid!
- 54D [“Law and Order: CI” actress Kathryn] ERBE – Like TYGA, she also has a unique spelling, and she is also slowly gaining crossword stardom.
Time to watch more soccer!
Lester Ruff’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
I finally broke 10 minutes! No, I don’t track my solving times, but this is easily a record time on a Stumper for me, by at least 2-3 minutes. There is not a single difficult term in here, which helps, and my theory of easier Stumpers near holidays is holding true! As a rule, also, “Lester” has slightly easier Stumpers. So that helps. But I will take it! And now I will likely be stupidly overconfident on the very next Stumper on July 7, even if I see a Longo or a Wilber byline! 4.3 stars today.
A few things:
- 1A [Word from the German for substitute] ERSATZ – I vividly remember my grandmother teaching me this word when she bought a package of ersatz sausage way back in the 80s. I remember then it wasn’t great, and even now, vegan substitutes of common foods rarely work. I did try the Impossible Burger last week, though, and that actually isn’t bad.
- 35A [They run more than three hours for seniors] SATS – This seems to be the best clue in the puzzle. I was fooled, but not for long!
- 51A [“__ Land” (2018 book on particle physics)] ATOM – This is likely a page turner. And yes, I’m being sarcastic. You can buy it here.
- 67A [“Daughters of Eve” genre] HERSTORY – This may be the best entry. This word is clever wordplay, because the word history has nothing to do with the word “his”. More Amazon shopping for you here!
- 11D [Kublai Khan conquest] KOREA – I have long railed about the lack of Asian history we have in grade school. Yes, each country is naturally going to teach with a slant to their own history, but ignorance about other countries fuels divisions. Or maybe it is all by design, now that I see what I just wrote …
- 12D [“Jambalaya” girlfriend] YVONNE – This is a song, right?
- 59D & 62D [Certain part-time payee] SEMI PRO – Nice tie-in. It’s not as bad when the clues are close, although in the grid the entries are not as close. When these tie-ins span the whole Sunday-size grid, I get annoyed.
Have a great weekend!