Zhouqin Burnikel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
“ME AGAIN.” That is just one of the entries I liked here—others includes TRUE TO SIZE, EAGLE SCOUT, MALAPROP, seasonally appropriate ICE SCRAPER (have needed mine this week), “LET’S PARTY!”, LEAD STORY, CALPHALON pans, PANTENE shampoo, and TAKE CARE.
Did not know: 9d. [Chinese philosopher Meng-___], TZU. Also seen as Mencius, the Wikipedia article tells me. An excerpt: “Mencius emphasized the significance of the common citizens in the state. While Confucianism generally regards rulers highly, he argued that it is acceptable for the subjects to overthrow or even kill a ruler who ignores the people’s needs and rules harshly. This is because a ruler who does not rule justly is no longer a true ruler.”
Not sure how much of a “thing” SCAM ALERT is. Doesn’t feel familiar to me. How about you?
Four more things:
- 1d. [Draft pick], STEIN. Raise your hand if you had the ST in place and filled in STOUT. I don’t care for the clue. Yes, you can put draft beer into a stein, but that’s like using [Juice pick] to clue a TUMBLER rather than a type of juice you’d choose.
- 6d. [Not registering with], LOST ON. The 1d clue is lost on me.
- 15d. [Life on Mars?], ETS. Let’s say some evidence of life on Mars is discovered. If it’s microbial, does that qualify as “an extraterrestrial”?
- 30d. [#24 in 24 All-Star Games], MAYS. Willie Mays. Dang, 24 All-Star appearances is a lot. That’s as many as RYNE Sandberg (10) and A-ROD (14) combined.
- 45d. [Gently touches], DABS AT. This is one of those VERB AT entries I’m weary of seeing.
3.8 stars from me. A tad dryer than I like themelesses to feel.
Joanne Sullivan’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Net Gain” — Laura’s review
Took me a while to get the theme on this one, but it was quite clever and one of my fave theme-types: take a common word, and re-parse it to make a punny description.
- [1a: Code broken at Bletchley Park]: ENIGMA
- [17a: Potentially explosive fertilizer ingredient]: AMMONIUM NITRATE
- [34a: Proverbial “best friend”]: CANINE COMPANION
- [42a: Famous John Donne declaration]: NO MAN IS AN ISLAND
- [60a: Virtuoso who corresponded with Hector Berlioz]: NICCOLO PAGANINI
- [69a: Sport with rallies … or, interpreted another way, tally accrued by 1, 17, 34, 42 and 60 Across]: TENNIS
Really lovely construction from Joanne, fitting in four grid-spanning 15s. I also thought this would’ve made a great metapuzzle, measured at maybe 2 metaweeks on the Gaffney Scale, if the revealer were left off — something like, what sport is suggested by this puzzle’s theme entries?
I hope this review has appeased those who say “Ni!” — I haven’t more than one shrubbery to spare.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
Apologies for the late review.
I really admire these sound addition themes more than the letter ones. They always seem more creative to me. Here, an F sound is added, and the words are changed accordingly. FLORALANDHARDY (LAUREL) and BAGELSANDFLOCKS (LOX) are both winners, and the other two, SHORTTERMFLEECE (LEASE) and FLAXEXPERIENCE (LACKS) are serviceable.
The grid was quite open, but led to a puzzle heavy with “tacked-on” phrases like RIPSAT, LONGON, RANFOR, which always feel jarring. SYNDICS is a new, though inferrable, word for me.