Patrick Blindauer and Samuel A. Donaldson’s New York Times crossword — Jenni’s writeup
It’s Tax Day for USers, and the puzzle offers some relevant amusement to distract us from the pain.
Each theme entry has three letters circled.
- 18a [It flows from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal] is the GANGES RIVER.
- 20a [Piece of sports equipment with strings] is a TENNIS RACKET.
- 36a [“If memory serves …”] is AS I RECALL.
- 55a [Where heads of the Pacific are found?] is a fun clue for EASTER ISLAND.
- 60a [$ $ $] are DOLLAR SIGNS.
And a revealer at 69a: [Tax org. undergoing some “reform” in this puzzle’s circled squares] is, as you’ve undoubtedly deduced, the IRS. This is a solid Monday theme. All the theme answers are in the language and well-clued. “Reform” is a smidgen cryptic but you don’t need to understand it in order to get the answer.
A few other things:
- Five theme answers + a three-letter revealer = a grid design with lots and lots of three-letter words. This in turn leads to a lot of abbreviations and acronyms (CAM, MAG, SEP, PDA, IRA, SSR, REI, LBO, ERS, DRS, NEA and probably a few I missed). Meh.
- Our old friend ERE gets an actual passage of poetry instead of the usual reference to being poetic: 12d [“But I heard him exclaim, ___ he drove out of sight …”].
- I enjoyed the juxtaposition of ZIP and ZAP.
- I did not enjoy the “anagrams of each other” juxtaposition of SRTA and TSAR. The anagrams in the theme were enough.
- Many of my colleagues would laugh very hard at the idea that DRS are [Hosp. V.I.P.s].
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Greg KINNEAR was in “Little Miss Sunshine.”
Paul Coulter’s Universal Crossword, “Picture in Picture”—Judge Vic’s write-up
What we have here are some movie titles that are DOUBLE FEATURES because circled letters inside the longer title constitute another title:
- CHARIOTS OF FIRE
- THE ODD COUPLE
- EVENT HORIZON
That’s really about it. And with a 14-12-12-14 theme layout, the next longest entries are four 7’s:
- TEA BALL
Discuss these if you wish. They don’t do much for me.
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Form W-2” — Jim P’s review
Fair warning: The Monday puzzle drops at the same moment as Game of Thrones comes on, and, well…you know…priorities.
I solved this on my phone without seeing the title. I thought, “Double-Ws…or quadruple-Us…okay.” Seeing the title makes everything click more nicely.
It’s Tax Day! No extra days this time as in years past. I hope everyone has already filed by this point. Our grid reminds us not to forget to list any extra income that might be found on Forms W-2.
- 16a [Happy friend] SNOW WHITE. This clue is usually reserved for the entry DOC, but here it goes for the big lady herself. We recently went to Disneyland, and the SNOW WHITE ride is still there, but we did not partake.
- 20a [The Americas, after 1492] NEW WORLD
- 25a [Minimum level of a river or reservoir] LOW WATER. Not sure I’ve ever heard this phrase used without modifying a noun like “mark” or “point,” but online dictionaries tell me it’s legit.
- 47a [Bioluminescent beetle larva] GLOW WORM
- 52a [Rhetorical question before offering a blunt statement] “KNOW WHAT?” I think this is legit with or without the leading “You,” as in, “KNOW WHAT? You’re ugly, and your mother dresses you funny.”
- 61a [Tire] GROW WEARY. This one’s the weakest of the lot, but it still works, as in, “I GROW WEARY of your dumb jokes.”
All the long Downs are solid-to-good today: ATHLETE, PUT ON ICE, TAILWIND, ROADWAY, and “WE’RE ON!”. I also liked PAWPAW (tried PAPAYA there first), WABASH (which I think we just saw last week somewhere), and especially “HOW NOW?”
There seemed to be a lot of proper names today (RUBIK, ABEL, EDITH, MIA, GENA, DE NIRO, LOLA, OLGA…and that’s just the Acrosses), but they were easy enough with the clues.
All in all, a fine tax-themed puzzle that wasn’t too taxing on this Monday. 3.5 stars.
Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Moderately unusual grid for this themeless. The central row comprises just two three-letter words. However, those 13-letter entries flanking it are substantial indeed: 31a [They’re sometimes given college credit] UNPAID INTERNS and 35a [One socialized with social media, say] DIGITAL NATIVE.
Regarding the former, it’s a terrible practice, which serves to help maintain the status quo of inequality of opportunity and wealth potential. As there are many articles and essays about this, here’s a link to the results of a web search.
Crossing those are similarly hefty downs: 19d [They get the memo] POST-IT NOTES and 24d [Common footnote qualifier] ITALICS MINE. The rest of the grid understandably is built on the armature of these four marquee entries.
- Had a misstep in the upper left section, trying BIDDING before AUCTION for 2d [eBay activity]
- Easy clues to misread: 4a [Sure loser] as Sore loser (BAD BET), 15a [Scarlett’s kin]—note double-T—O’HARAS.
- Completing that little upper central stack is 18a [Bay Area city] NOVATO, which was unknown to me.
22a [Chip on one’s shoulder, casually] ’TUDE (from attitude).
- 23a [South American monkey] TITI. This is the subfamily Callicebinae, with three extant genera. Wiki of titis, for your convenience. I feel I should now mention that What We Do in the Shadows (clip above) was co-written and directed by Taika Waititi.
- 44a [“___, queen”] YASSS. Needed the crossings to determine the apportionment of As and Ss.
- 53a [Bourgeois of the avant-garde] LOUISE.
- 36d [“Here!”] TAKE ONE crossing 56a [“__ the Way,” Loretta Lynn song that ends with the line “I hope it ain’t twins again”] ONE‘S ON? Really?
- 46d [Charlton and Marlene’s “Touch of Evil” co-star] ORSON. Highly recommended, despite Heston’s rather awful performance. Often dubbed “the greatest B-movie of all time”.
Paul Coulter’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Nate’s write-up
17A: SEA SERPENT [Ancient mariner’s fear] – EASE
25A: CRITICAL MASS [Chain reaction requirement] – CALM
46A: WELFARE STATE [Nation that promotes its people’s economic and social prosperity] – REST
60A: INNER PEACE [Meditation goal hinted at by this puzzle’s circles]
I really like this theme! It takes the “word hidden in a themer” approach one step further by hiding a different PEACE-related word in each themer: EASE, CALM, and REST. That extra touch made the solving experience that much more enjoyable.
Other random thoughts:
– I’ve never heard SOFT SOAP used as [Persuade with flattery] before, so both the constructor and I might be showing our respective ages.
– IRS made it into the April 15th puzzle!
– Glad to see ELENA Kagan, Edith PIAF, MRS Dash, and CHER. Not as excited for OAS and SKUA (?!).