Peter Collins’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
My brain is fried from doing crossword work all evening. Writing clues! Researching clues! Fixing fill! So lemme be cursory here.
This is a 72-worder, so I’m not sure why I’m encountering so many entries I don’t care for. 72 should be pretty smooth! I do like TIGER SHARKS, WHERE’S WALDO crossing WHO’S WHO, HELEN KELLER, LIONSGATE, POLSKA, and UNION CARD. BODY BAG and BEARSKINS are downers, though. And ENSOR RESHIPS IMAS OYS ECK ATTA KOP NEB, blah. I really hate NEB clued as if people are abbreviating Nebraska that way. (It is scarcely any better as the crosswordese bird beak.) (See also: N. CAR., N. DAK., S. DAK. No, no, no.)
- I bet lots of pen-and-paper solvers finished with HELLO/EREY or HALLO/AREY in place of HULLO/UREY. Ouch. Dangerous crossing.
- Not keen on ONE and IN ONE duplication.
- 6d. [Title girl in a 1965 #1 hit], SLOOPY. Ha! Didn’t most of us assume SLOOPY in “Hang On Sloopy” was a boat? Apparently inspired by Dorothy Sloop, yes, it’s true. Or it might be true.
- 39d. [Mr. Rochester in “Jane Eyre,” e.g.], WIDOWER. Uh, spoiler alert: He’s not a widower till rather late in the book, as he has his wife locked in the attic. A little weird to use Rochester as your WIDOWER here.
- 17a. [Entertainment for a long ride, perhaps], BOOKS ON TAPE. Not sure the Books on Tape company still sells cassette tapes. Downloads via Audible are far more popular. [Entertainment for a long ride in the 1980s, perhaps]?
2.9 stars from me.
Amanda Chung, Karl Ni, and Tom Tabanao’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Miscalculations” — Laura’s review
Note: The Chronicle puzzle, like many educational institutions, will go on winter break for two weeks, and will return the week of January 7.
[20a: Relationship between online followers and actual loyalty?]: SOCIAL FUNCTION
[28a: Process leaving blissful remainders?]: JOY DIVISION. Someone made a gif of the Unknown Pleasures album art. It’s cool.
[37a: The most commonly occurring monster?]: BEAST MODE
[49a: Power brought to bear by the highest-ranking crew member?]: CAPTAIN’S LOG
[58a: Thing that most convinces you to get a product?]: DECIDING FACTOR
These are all fun, and it’s great to see the dream team of Chung/Ni collaborate with another constructor, Tom Tabanao, who is someone I’ve met at tournaments but not a byline I’ve seen. So congrats to Tom, if this is your debut! And, I think, Amanda and Karl’s CHE debut as well.
And we have the CHE’s lovely range of subject matter to plumb for clues — from sports to physics to TEEN POP and the history of the American whaling industry. I like! Since the forecast for northern New England today is lots and lots of freezing rain, I’ll leave you with the eternal question: [67. “Have You ___ Seen the Rain?” (double-platinum single for Creedence Clearwater Revival)].
Paul Coulter’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
Today’s puzzle them relies on a very deft theme revealer – LENDINGOUT is parsed as “L ENDING” OUT. In four other answers, their terminal L’s are dropped creating wacky answers: SLEEPERCEL(L), HOLLYWOODBOW(L) and SOUTHERNDRAW(L) do the business. I’m less sold on FIREHAL(L), mostly because I can’t define the base phrase. It seems to be a Canadian word for a fire station?
Alliterating clecho time: [Colleague of Samuel and Sonia], ELENA with [Colleague of Kagan and Kavanaugh], ALITO.
Names to note: [“Insecure” Emmy nominee __ Rae], ISSA and [Actress Gaye of “Ali”], NONA.
[Foul], YUCKY. My younger pup, Solo, is under the table farting away and it is indeed… TARA the older one, is already abed.
Inanest clue: [Hard-to-define spiritualist], NEWAGER. It’s like the clue writer just waved a white flag and moved on…