Roland Huget’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Eh. triple-stacked 15s. Rarely are these puzzles up my alley. While CHARLOTTE AMALIE, CARLOS THE JACKAL (not dinging the puzzle for the related Charlotte and Carlos names), ALL-AMERICAN HERO (shout-out to Jesse Owens), and TEETER ON THE EDGE are cool, there were too many tradeoffs in the grid. Roll-your-own word AGREERS, green-paint RED TAG, crosswordese DITS RETE ERLE SED (and honorable mention to ELON EMS RUR AVIA AEREO SLOE), partial A SEED, awkward SAPOR, weird abbrev KOR, plural KALES, a forgotten REA … those harshed my cruciverbal mellow.
But then again, GOOGLY eyes, landscape genius OLMSTED, BIG LOSER, a cyclist’s TOE CLIP, OVERSIZED popcorn (yes, please) … those were pluses.
Three more things:
- 3d. [“The foundation of most governments,” per John Adams], FEAR. Topical?
- 13d. [Honeycomb component], CELL. Hey, children of the ’70s and ’80s, remember Honeycomb cereal? It disappeared from the market and they finally brought it back, and it was nothing like you remembered? Well, it’s back again, reportedly with the original recipe. Here’s a happy review. (Word to the wise: If you have a chance to buy Space Food Sticks, prepare to be highly disappointed.)
- 23d. [Like Novak Djokovic, by birth], SERBIAN. You could argue he’s Yugoslavian by birth, since Serbia was part of that larger country when he was born in 1987.
2.9 stars from me. I prefer my themelesses to be less constrained and smoother.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
I experienced a cultural disconnect with this puzzle. That isn’t its fault. I have eaten a SUNDAE a few times (most memorably at a roadhouse in Randfontein, after which I took my supper home it was that large, for comparison.) but I have never heard of WHIPPEDTOPPING or FRUITSAUCE. Both google typically for commonly used phrases, but I’ve never encountered them before. There are six assymetric answers in this plus-sized left-right symmetry grid. They are the ingredients in a hypothetical sundae: MARASCHINOCHERRY, NUTS, WHIPPEDTOPPING, HOTFUDGE, FRUITSAUCE, ICECREAM.
It was a very crowded grid, and you have to tolerate a lot of short stuff, particularly things like EDE and APEG. My error was RAJ/RAPSAT and I suspect I won’t be the only one.