Sam Trabucco’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
This 70-worder is filled with fresh entries. “DO YOU HEAR ME?” is maybe a little iffy (and is EBOLA SCARE really a thing?), but I really like SHEEPLE, PATRON SAINT, AIR KISS, RACE BIBS (these are the Tyvek sheets with a competitor’s number on them—my husband has a zillion from his past races and no, I don’t know why they call them “bibs” when they’re safety-pinned to a shirt), UCONN, IKEA CATALOG, “NOT A CHANCE,” UZO ADUBA, the MUNCHIES, GYM DAY, DECEPTICON, and SKI LESSONS (cute clue, [Higher education?]).
Are WIIMOTES getting much use these days? Not sure if the Wii successors use the same controllers. More importantly: If you have a Nintendo Switch, are you loving it?
Least favorite fill: IDYL, Portuguese ELAS, ASHCAKE, REOS.
Five more things:
- 17a. [Joseph, to the Catholic Church], PATRON SAINT. I did not know that. This might be trivia I get quizzed on at some point.
- 21a. [Total taken in?], CEREAL. As in Total brand breakfast cereal. Five times the sugar of Cheerios! (I checked. I guess I won’t switch to Total. If you’re eating Lucky Charms, though, Total has half the sugar.)
- 48a. [Partner for life], LIMB. As in “life and limb,” partner of the word “life.”
- 58a. With 54-Down, river of the Carolinas], PEE / DEE. Hey, P.D., your river is in the puzzle again!
- 5d. [Emmy-winning “Orange Is the New Black” actress], UZO ADUBA. She plays Suzanne. Raise your hand if you filled in UZOADUB- and then hit the skids, forgetting if it’s ADUBO or ADUBA.
Lots of cute clues here, along with the mostly zippy and/or solid fill. 4.25 stars from me.
Alex Eaton-Salners’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Finding Enlightenment” — Laura’s review
A hidden-word theme from AE-S, sixteen wide. Names of stars are embedded in base phrases, like so:
- [18a: Gives in]: CRIES UNCLE. The Sun, our star.
- [28a: Self-proclaimed psychic known for TV spoon-bending]: URI GELLER. Rigel is the brightest star in Orion, and is either his left or right foot, depending on your perspective.
[41a: Moneymaking enterprise with holes in it?]: PROFESSIONAL GOLF. Algol, in Perseus, is a multiple star.
- [52a: Certain tennis shutouts]: LOVE GAMES. Vega is the brightest star in Lyra, and is relatively close to us at a mere 25 light years away.
[66a: 1980s-’90s TV show hosted by Ed McMahon, or a hint to this puzzle’s theme]: STAR SEARCH. Looks like we found them all!
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
Not quite a letter addition Friday today, but in that vain. Words with trailing E’s have those changed to IC. No revealer, just a selection of entries, PATSYCLINIC being the best of the bunch. The rest, at least, are not overly strained. Okay, looking again, WINDOWPANIC is a bit, actually.
The theme is crammed in there, so not a lot of space for the puzzle to breathe. RARECOIN seemed a bit bland as an 8 initially, but the clecho between that and [Lively display of stamps?] for FLAMENCO more than compensated. The [Bust size?], KILO clue was also clever, though it does have that “boobs, hur hur” vibe that I have been also guilty of repeating…
The partials, particularly six-letter TOLOVE, and parallel German are among the most egregious examples of short fill that was generally stodgy, a symptom of the crowded grid.