Adesina may have mentioned this a week or two ago, but every summer he volunteers at the 4th & 1 Football Camp—which provides young teenage men—who will often be the first in their families to go to college—with ACT prep and all sorts of life coaching. Basic sewing! Yoga! How to tie a necktie! Job interview skills! Info on college financial aid! All that, plus football. Last week, this year’s 4th & 1 camp took place. If you’d like to make a real difference in some student-athletes’ lives for next year’s camp, please consider donating to 4th & 1. Here’s the donation page.—Amy
Amanda Chung & Karl Ni’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
I didn’t see the elegance of the theme till after I’d finished solving—it was a quick Tuesday puzzle where finishing without fully grasping the theme was eminently doable. FLYING / COLORS across the middle ties together the RED BARON, the Potterverse’s GOLDEN SNITCH, the superhero GREEN LANTERN, and a BLUEBIRD. Four colors, in spectrum order, and four entities that fly.
Highlights in the fill: NONDAIRY, COMMANDO, CYBORG. –CYTE, ENID Blyton, and T-TOP may be on the hard side for newer solvers.
Four more things:
- 25a. [Like a house that might be built in a day], PREFAB. Boy, when you misread “house” as “horse,” it really messes up your head. “TROJAN!”
- 1d. [Prepares, as oneself for battle], GIRDS. For once, I’d like to gird something other than my loins. What else lends itself to girding? Can I gird an ankle? My knees could use a good girding.
- 47d. [Jewelers’ glasses], LOUPES. I had to buy a loupe in college for Introduction to Geology. Who doesn’t love a loupe?I should get one and carry it in my bag at all times. Why? I don’t know. To magnify small things?
- 65a. [Jeremy of the N.B.A.], LIN. A safe, generic clue. He’s now been traded from the Nets to the Atlanta Hawks. He doesn’t seem to stay with any one team for very long, does he?
Four stars from me.
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 372), “Neighborly Help”—Ade’s take
Good morning, crossword enthusiasts! I hope you all are doing well to start your Tuesday!
So it took a little while to completely accept the theme, as I thought there might have been more to it than just altering one letter in common phrases and terms. But, by the third themed entry I filled out, it had to be just that – at least I hope that’s the case! It’s fun with puns today, as wacky phrasing is created by switching the “M” that starts a word in the phrase into an “N.” Dictionary words are still created when making that switch, though this is probably the second or third time ever that I’ve seen “nan” spelled without the extra “a” in it.
- PERPETUAL NOTION (17A: [Eternity?]) – Perpetual motion.
- NARCO POLO (32A: [Sport played by drug busters?) – Marco Polo.
- SOCCER NOM (50A: [“Pelé” or “O rei do Futebol,” for example?) – Soccer mom.
- NAN-EATING SHARKS (65A: [Carb-loving swimmers in the Indian Ocean?]) – Man-eating sharks.
The northwest corner had a nice little mini theme in it, with ASIAN (14A: Tet celebrant])-related entries being featured, with JAPAN (1D: [Land of the Rising Sun]) and RAJAH nearby (34A: [Hindu prince]). We just had the third-warmest June on record, so an ICEE might be needed to cool oneself down as the temperatures continue to be brutally – and dangerously – warm (70A: [Slurpee-like drink brand]). I watched a lot of shows on Nickelodeon during its heyday back in the early 1990s, but I never saw an episode of GUTS, one of the network’s staples (10A: [Moxie]). I just stuck with Double Dare for the most part. The WDS (56D: [OED entries]) and RDS (62A: [Hwys.]) intersection might have not pleased too many while solving, but seeing O’CONNOR definitely was a nice touch (44D: [First woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court]). Seeing USED CAR reminded me that I have now had my used car, a 2002 Ford Taurus, for over 13 years now (2D: [Pre-owned wheels]). It’s on its last legs, but, man, it’s hard to get rid of the first car you ever bought. Outside of a car just completely dying, anyone else have any stories of letting go of their first car – especially if it was a used one?
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: UNIBROW (11D: [Above-the-eyes feature that may require tweezing]) – Though Chicago native Anthony Davis is a five-time NBA All-Star who combines freakish athleticism with the shooting touch of a guard, the New Orleans Hornets superstar is probably best-known for his nickname, The UNIBROW, bestowed upon him while in college at the University of Kentucky because of, well, his unibrow. In his only collegiate season while in Lexington in 2012, Davis led the Wildcats to the national championship. Since then, Davis has just continued to dominate in the pros. As basketball fans say when describing Davis, “Fear The Brow!”
Thank you so much for the time, everyone! Have a wonderful rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!!
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Urban Sprawl” – Derek’s write-up
We have circles this week! And what is hidden in the circles? You can easily guess from the title: they are cities! But there is a specific limitation hinted at by the revealer at 61A:
- 17A [They read a lot of stories out loud] NEWS ANCHORS
- 23A [Ruler who lost her head in 1793] MARIE ANTOINETTE – Literally!
- 40A [Food and wine publication that went completely online in 2009] GOURMET MAGAZINE
- 51A [Phrase often seen after a married or professional name] FORMERLY KNOWN AS
- 61A [Got out, or followed the same path as the theme answers?] SKIPPED TOWN
So since the cities hidden in the theme entries (Waco, Reno, Orem, and Elko) are found in a string using every other letter, they can be said to be “skipped”. I solved rather quickly, actually really quickly considering I solved on my iPhone, so I didn’t notice the towns until the very end. Aren’t there any four-letter towns east of the Mississippi?? And where is ELKO, you may ask? Northern Nevada, a couple hundred miles or so east of Salt Lake City on I-80. Yes, I Googled that; no, I’ve never been there. I have never been to Nevada, for that matter. I should go visit! I have a cousin in Vegas! 4.4 stars this week.
Just a few more things:
- 14A [Actor Ulrich] SKEET – I was watching Riverdale for a season or two. It is now on Netflix. Not a bad show; I read a lot of Archie comics when I was younger.
- 33A [Football broadcaster Collinsworth] CRIS – Another former WR, Cris Carter, is also a sports announcer on Fox Sports. Sunday Night Football on NBC is the highest rated show each week in the fall, so Collinsworth may be slightly more known, but football fans should easily know both. Interestingly, the World Cup final for 2022 is scheduled for Sunday, December 18, since it would be too brutally hot in the summer in Qatar to do anything. Fox has the soccer rights, but is also a large NFL broadcast presence. Will they pre-empt American football at 1:00pm to show soccer? It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
- 8D [Speed skater __ Anton Ohno] APOLO – Where did he disappear to??
- 12D [Sacha Baron Cohen character] BORAT – I never did see this movie, as his humor doesn’t usually grab me, but STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WATCH Who Is America? ON SHOWTIME. Again, I’m not a big fan of Cohen (although I did like him in Les Miserables), but this is hilarious!!
- 38D [Novelist Loos] ANITA – According to Wikipedia, she was predominantly a screenwriter. Most noted for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but she is definitely Crossword Famous!
That is all for this week. Until the next Jonesin’!
Craig Stowe’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
I don’t think I know Craig either! It seems as if there are a lot of new names in the LAT stable these days. But that is fine: I don’t pretend to know each and every constructor, and I still consider it an honor that I know as many as I do! Our theme today is “flip”pant!
- 17A [Air Force topper] FLIGHT CAP
- 24A [Subconscious revelation] FREUDIAN SLIP
- 39A [Solution for an itchy Spot?] FLEA DIP – This is one of the better clues in the puzzle!
- 52A [Escapes] FLIES THE COOP
- 63A [Opposites, and what the answers to starred clues literally contain] FLIP SIDES
All of the theme answers have, at the ends, the letters in the word FLIP. There are only three ways to divide this word (F/LIP, FL/IP, FLI/P), and even though the last one appears twice and the first two only once, this is still an opportunity to cram 5 theme entries into the grid. Possibly there were symmetry issues? Anyway, that fact annoys my minor OCD but doesn’t detract from the solving experience. Still a nice, easy Tuesday puz, which is what we want. 4.3 stars.
Just a couple of things:
- 43A [Honking birds] GEESE – We have a great Riverwalk area near our house now, but it is always full of Canadian geese! You have to dodge land mines a lot when you run!
- 67A [Folded Tex-Mex treat] TACO – This isn’t a Mexican dish exclusively? Also, I saw a video recently that said load that hard shell taco in a lettuce leaf before you eat it. I will try that someday!
- 2D [Landlocked African country] MALI – What do we know about this Saharan country, other than the capital (Bamako) and this is where Timbuktu is? This Wikipedia article actually mentions fighting there in this decade. I feel ignorant.
- 11D [Hockey trophy] STANLEY CUP – The Washington Capitals just won this for the first time in team history, and I think Alex Ovechkin has been drunk ever since!
- 30D [Like evildoers] MALEFICENT – I had to mention both 10 letter crossers. Wasn’t this a Disney movie? Kudos for a non-Disney clue!
- 53D [Jessica of “American Horror Story”] LANGE – I have heard this is an excellent show, and it has won many Emmys, but it is just too spooky for me!
Have a great day everyone!
Martin Acheson’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up
Hi, all! Nate here, taking over Tuesday WSJ reviews from Laura. Thanks for the opportunity, Laura!
Because WSJ titles their puzzles, I sometimes like to spend a few seconds trying to predict what the puzzle’s theme might be solely based on the title. This puzzle is titled “On the Waterfront” … which maybe means there will be names of boats/ships on (on the line above) longer phrases that start with names of bodies of water? Too ambitious? (Even still, some of my best ideas for my own puzzles come from this type of exercise, so it’s worth it!) Either way, let’s dive in:
17a: PIER GROUP [Collection of harbor structures?]
35a: DOCK HOLIDAY [Time off for harbor workers?]
56a: WHARF FARE [Seafood at a harbor diner?]
So, instead of my complicated theme idea, the constructor has gone with three nautical puns, all with the pun coming first in the themer. He certainly gets points for consistency and for making me chuckle a bit at WHARF FARE, but there’d certainly be a point deduction for only having three theme entries totaling 29 squares in a 15×15 puzzle. (The average 15×15 should ideally have 40-50ish theme squares.) At least the fill throughout is largely clean, thanks to the lack of theme constraint.
- [Miss identification] is tricky. Most people who identify as a miss probably do use SHE as a pronoun, but there are certainly many who prefer they/them or other pronouns. As we learn more about gender and how people identify, it’s tricky to make these assumptions anymore!
- I liked seeing OCT and PENT side by side, even if neither was clued as a numerical prefix. I was not as excited to see STEED and STEER directly next to each other.
- I’m partially dyslexic and can never remember which words are the exception to the “I before E” rule, so having fill like PIER GROUP and REIN so close to each other get me all backwards, especially when at least one is a play on words.
- It’s not often that I feel I have an upper hand in CrossWorld as a queer person, but I was able to get ADLER [Grace’s last name, on “Will & Grace”] with ease.
- How creepy was it that STALKER was crossed with LEER AT, especially since neither/both weren’t clued as [DON’T BE/DO THIS!]? I’d have preferred slightly more negative cluing for those two.
- Also, LEGALS only brings to mind ‘illegals’, which is a super charged way to refer to people coming to the US for a variety of reasons. Especially if they have green cards, why not just call those folks citizens? Not my favorite fill.
#includemorewomen: If you haven’t been following my Monday LAT reviews, I’ve been working to highlight the women who are featured in each grid I review, as a way to celebrate them and encourage a more inclusive crossword environment. In today’s puzzle, we have SHE, Grace ADLER, DANIELLE Steel, and GOLDA Meir.
GOLDA Meir was prime minister of Israel from 1969-1974 and, according to Wikipedia, was only the fourth women in world history (!) to hold such an office. She was also one of only two woman to sign the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. A super interesting fact that I didn’t know was that Meir spent part of her childhood and early adulthood living and going to school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin! There is even a school for gifted students now named for her in Milwaukee: Golda Meir School. She moved back to the Middle East when she got married and soon became involved in local movements.