Zhouqin Burnikel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Lots of crisp fill here. You’ve got your CRIME BOSS, the hot gas of EMPTY WORDS, the makings of some Mexican food with AVOCADOS and CORNMEAL, STRESS-ATE, HATE MAIL, “I SUPPOSE” instead of the more common entry IGUESSSO, Sandra Day O’CONNOR and David SOUTER, MR. ORANGE from Reservoir Dogs, and the SILK ROAD.
Did not know: 40d. [Brand of facial brush], MIA. Apparently this is a $99+ device that delivers sonic waves to the brush part, and it’s used for cleansing. I don’t wear makeup or have 28a ACNE, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . (I do appreciate seeing clues that will probably resonate with women more than men.)
Five more things:
- 63a. [Core group?], SEEDS. Took a while to make sense of this one. An apple core has a group of seeds in it.
- 8d. [Tarbell who took on Standard Oil], IDA. Between the badassery of the IDAs Tarbell and Wells, the name Ida is ripe for a baby-name renaissance.
- 33d. [Rapper with the double-platinum album “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”], DRAKE. It is ridiculous how many hits this man has. This summer, the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10 was 70% Drake songs. He’s on the radio all the damn time, and as if he didn’t have enough of his own hits, he’s also featured on other people’s hits. As of July, he’s had 31 top-10 singles, surpassing Michael Jackson, and he’s only 30.
- 43d. [French aperitif], PASTIS. As I learned via Learned League trivia this week, PASTIS is a lot like Greek ouzo, Italian sambuca, and other anise liqueurs from around the Mediterranean. I hate licorice, anise, and that family of flavors. Please do not offer me any of these.
- 52d. [Rhinestone-covered appurtenance for Elvis], CAPE. +5 for the use of the word appurtenance.
3.9 stars from me. Pretty good but not great.
Dan Schoenholz’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “You Can Say That Again” — Laura’s review
[20a: Seek help with humble reluctance]: COME HAT IN HAND
[29a: Prosaic fundamentals, metaphorically]: MEAT AND POTATOES
[44a: Compendium on a gastronome’s shelf]: GOURMET COOKBOOK
[54a: Command at a swearing-in … or a literal feature of 20, 29 and 44 Across]: REPEAT AFTER ME
Each themer has the letter sequence ME and then another letter sequence that repeats (HA HA, TA TA, and OOK OOK), respectively — from now on I’m going to say ook ook instead of goodbye. These are three nice finds! Fill-wise, we’ve got the Chronicle’s reliable combo of academic culture and trivia:
- As an XER [59d: Many a fortysomething, briefly], I’m always happy to see my fashion role model and quondam Halloween costume inspiration, [19a: Bespectacled “Scooby-Doo” character]: VELMA.
- I did not know that in the original stage play by Isaac Bashevis Singer, [36a: Gender-bending Streisand role]: YENTL goes on to live her/his/their life as a man, and that the heteronormative romance of the movie was added by Barbra. In the Broadway production, Yentl was played by Tovah Feldshuh, who plays Rebecca Bunch’s mother Naomi in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the best show on television that isn’t The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
- The [11d: Killer of Adonis, in myth] was a WILD BOAR, whereas [61a: He “hunts” with Canis Major and Canis Minor]: ORION‘s downfall, in some versions of the myth, was a giant scorpion.
A [38d: Particle name coined by Enrico Fermi]: NEUTRINO can, apparently, pass through normal matter undetected. Like a ghost?
After shopping for foundation garments, I often [24a: Feel remorse over] [25a: Low] [26a: Lingerie item]: RUE SAD BRA.
Jerry Edelstein’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
The revealer is very clever – NOCANDO is in fact NO C AND O. Letter deletions are more tricky to make work in general than letter additions (and I wrongly accused yesterday’s of being a Friday!) This one is helped by its consistency. The CO is always subtracted from the beginning of the first word of each phrase, making it easier to puzzle out. So: (CO)PIERJAM; (CO)PIOUSNOTES, (CO)UPONCLIPPERS, (CO)GENTARGUMENT), (CO)PINGISSUES.
The rest of the puzzle has… a lot of compromises. So much that I would have preferred it rewritten, possibly with one less theme entry if need be. ONEBELOW as clued is just not an entry. Arbitrary spelt-out temperatures are neither interesting nor “in the language”. It’s like Random Roman numerals (MDI), but sticking out a whole lot more. STEPG is also not anything. You can’t just have STEP and a letter and call it an entry. Even with these, ASSESS, RESEED and DISSENT show a need for a lot of free squares to hold the puzzle together.
[Golden State traffic org.], CHP is California Highway Patrol. That’s remarkably regional, but it is the >LA< Times and well, they made a TV show about them (I only connected the dots afterwards though).