David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Quickly, because it’s 10:00 and I need to get to bed soon:
Like STRIP MALLS but not the clue, [Commercial lines?]. It’s not a line! Strip malls are three-dimensional. Like MAKES NOISE, which we did at today’s anti-violence protest march/rally outside Wrigley Field. Love AIR QUOTES. Like WEEZER, didn’t know they were a [Rock band with four(!) self-titled albums]. POISON-PEN, ED SHEERAN, CORKAGE FEE, PECAN PIE also tasty.
Do not at all care for the clue for PRISON RIOT: [Stir crazy?]. That is some serious shit and a playful little clue is inappropriate.
SPRAY-ON TAN is way, way less “in the language” than spray tan.
1d. [Corn flour in Latin American cuisine], MASA. Today I learned that pupusas are made with masa harina, like tortillas, whereas arepas are made with masarepa.
Cute clue for DOG-EARS: [Turns a corner?]. It had me thinking of other meanings.
Wasn’t sure how current the [Cosmopolitan feature] clue for SEX QUIZ was, so I checked it out. Yep, they still have some sex quizzes. Here’s one (it is NSFW) that purports to tell you whether you’re “kinky AF” or somewhat more conventional. Please do not report back on your findings.
Four stars from me.
Janie Smulyan’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Why Not” — Laura’s review
Today’s puzzle is from the Fiend’s own Janie! Welcome back! So nice to see you again, on the other side this time.
Our title is “Why Not” — and why not indeed? Why not remove the Y from phrases, and see what happens?
[17a: Breeding horse that could still race?]: QUICK STUD
[21a: King Ethelred, who pooh-poohed books?]: THE UNREAD. King Æthelred has been having a bit of a renaissance in grids lately.
[39a: Bonbon made for Marie Antoinette?]: VERSAILLES TREAT
[52a: “Back off … I’m the one they’ll cast!”]: IT’S MY PART. (I’d bet that most people of my generation (X) know the song indicated by this entry’s base phrase — Leslie Gore’s “It’s My Party” — from a commercial for a KTel compilation. I couldn’t find that one on YouTube, but I did find the one for “Freedom Rock.”)
[62a: One in EPA enforcement?]: CARBON COP
A fine example of a letter-deletion theme! My only quibble (and I’ve debated this with CHE editor Brad Wilber) is that one of the entries, IT’S MY PART, contains the deleted letter Y. Otherwise, fun and funny. And — as bumper stickers on Subarus in Vermont remind us — if it’s not fun, why do it?
- [1a: Welcome display after emerging from a dead zone]: BARS. As in, the bars on your phone that indicate the strength of signal reception.
[36a: Currency honoring Curie and Chopin]: ZLOTY. That would be physicist and Nobel Laureate Maria Salomea Skłodowska and composer Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin, both of whom became naturalized French citizens, but have had commemorative Polish currency issued in their honor.
[38a: Bardic off-Broadway role for David Oyelowo]: OTHELLO. Oyelowo played Othello to Daniel Craig’s Iago at the New York Theatre Workshop in 2016.
Paul Coulter’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
I think, given a lot of life revolves around dogs, that I’m kind of the target audience of this puzzle. On the other hand, this set of dog puns mostly didn’t land well for me, particularly HOCKEYPUG with its change in consonant; and MUDPOODLE, given poodle and puddle are cognates.
Puzzle was in general surprisingly unpolished. There are only four theme entries, and yet we have long answers that are replete with affixes – DOWSER and TREATER being the most egregious. The bottom right and top left are 4×3 squares and yet include SRA, RYES and ERS. Are you telling me there is no reason to not ditch those answers?