Samuel A Donaldson’s and Doug Peterson’s New York Times crossword, “Paper Work” — pannonica’s write-up
So. Paper work is—predictably and relievedly—more like paper (word) play: types of paper, reimagined.
- 23a. [Scratch paper?] LOTTERY TICKET. As in, scratch-offs.
- 28a. [Liquid paper?] WINE LIST.
- 36a. [Construction paper?] BUILDING PERMIT.
- 48a. [Fly paper?] BOARDING PASS.
- 67a. [Wax paper?] RECORD DEAL.
- 70a. [Note paper?] SHEET MUSIC.
- 91a. [Position paper?] SEATING CHART.
- 100a. [Wall paper?] COLLEGE DIPLOMA.
- 119a. [Crepe paper?] BREAKFAST MENU.
These are genuinely very clever, and I’m impressed.
A few clues strongly stood out during the solve, so I’ll highlight them first.
- 8d [It helped bring dinos to life in “Jurassic Park”] CGI, not cloning or recombinant DNA or amber, etc. 14d [Rules of engagement?] PRENUP. 66d [Part of an after-school lineup] BUS.
On the flip side, here are the clues and/or entries that felt strained:
- 6a [Purchase of proof?] ALCOHOL, 82a [Expresses frustration toward] SIGHS AT, 103a [Segue to the next part of the story] SO THEN.
And now on to the ‘main’ list.
- 57a [Hyundai model] ELANTRA, 120d [Soul from Seoul?] KIA.
- 75a [Bygone auto whose name sounds like a command] YUGO; so now I’m thinking of the Chevy Nova. 109d [One of the Jacksons] TITO.
- Stuff I’m frankly tired of seeing over and over in crosswords at the moment: 61a [K-12] ELHI, 105a [Warhol subject] MAO, 123a [Trap at a ski lodge, perhaps] ICE IN.
- 110a [Exclamation that’s usually doubled] TSK, 35d [Half a laugh] HAR.
- 121a [Terrapin catcher] TURTLER. WhaAAAT?? This is just so awful.
- 125a [Chilean catch] SEA BASS. We all know that this is the Patagonian toothfish, yes? Dissostichus eleginoides. Circumpolar in the southern hemisphere.
- 11d [John ___, three-time Gold Glove first baseman] OLERUD. A John (blank) baseball clue seems kind of vague to me, despite the stated accolades. What say you all?
- Longdowns: 34d [Drum kit component] CRASH CYMBAL, 41d [Debuted to great acclaim] MADE A SPLASH. And there’s a rhyme!
- 49d [Volunteer’s offer] I’LL DO IT. Feeling some resonance.
- 95d [Portable place to sleep] BED ROLL, 106d [Portable places to sleep] COTS.
- 101d [Relative of a Vandyke] GOATEE, followed by 102d [Family name on “The Dick Van Dyke Show”] PETRIE.
- 124a [Wound] SPOOLED. Minor, but I liked it.
- Plus some minor strain on the glue (abbrevs., boring short entries, et cetera), but far from egregious.
Overall, I really liked the execution of the theme, despite it not being an out-there or flashy foray.
Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post crossword, “Double Negatives” — pannonica’s write-up
Before we get to the nut of this crossword: the version furnished to me had an error, which I’m presuming will have been fixed by the time it is printed/goes live. The answer key wanted a G in the square with number 56, but the clues most definitely want an S: 56a [Preserve, as in Word] SAVE, 56d [Combining results] SUMS. [edit: see Evan’s note in the comments]
Moving on. The theme plays on the title—aptly enough—twofold. First, the letter sequence N-O-T, not, has the letters doubled in the themed across entries. The doubled letters comport properly with the crossing entries, which require the doubles. Second, the phrases in the themers are clued opposite from the way they are normally expressed. Hence, the letters are literally doubled and the double negatives negate the senses of the sentiments. And that’s why the clues have question marks.
- 23a. [“That’s reasonable”?] THAT’S NOT FAIR. 4d [“Keys to Imagination” album composer, 1986] YANNI, 24d [Tons] OODLES (ton is an anagram of not, for what it’s worth), 5d [Upholstered bench] SETTEE.
- 41a. [George Washington’s declaration of deceit?] I CANNOT TELL A LIE. 29d [Keystone State eponym] PENN, 35d [Like the porridge first tasted by Goldilocks] TOO HOT, 36d [Clad] ATTIRED.
- 57a. [On the level?] NOT TO BE TRUSTED. 49d [Miraculous food] MANNA, 38d [As well] TO BOOT, 39d [“Clue” maid] YVETTE. That last seems like a deep cut. Another deep cut name: 72d [Faline’s cinematic mate] BAMBI.
- 84a. [“We should explore that more”?] LET’S NOT GO THERE. 70d [Sheltie’s shelters] KENNELS – sheltie is a nickname for Shetland sheepdog, 78d [Skilled in] GOOD AT, 79d [Harmonize] ATTUNE.
- 97a. [“How fascinating”?] I’M NOT INTERESTED. 74d [“Valley of the Dolls” novelist Jacqueline] SUSANN, 98d [“C’est magnifique!”] OOH LA LA, 93d [Reached] ATTAINED.
- 122a. [Go inside?] DO NOT ENTER. 112d [Former U.N. VIP Kofi] ANNAN, 123a [Seep] OOZE, 104d [Starbucks purchases] LATTES.
Imaginative theme and execution. I enjoyed it. Noticed a preponderance of ATT* entries among the relevant downs, and half of the six themed acrosses were expressed as quotes, which seemed a little odd. Those are minor nits.
25a [Event at which a school cheerleader might say “Gimme an A”?] EXAM. >groan<
- 53a [Figure being slain in a Rubens painting] ABEL.
- 83a [Temple attendees of the past, say] ALUMS. Temple University, of course.
- 92a/105a [Lingerie item] BRA, NEGLIGEE.
- 113a [He beat Medvedev in the 1999 French Open championship match] AGASSI. This seems oddly specific.
- 128a [Manipulate digitally] KNEAD. Great clue.
- 13d [One of the heroes of “The Avengers” who has no superpowers] EMMA PEEL. Not those Avengers. (Is the vaunted ‘M Appeal’ a superpower?) Followed of course by 14d [Legal proceedings] APPEALS.
- 44d [Abnormal growth] NODULE. That seems an unnecessarily negative choice of clue.
- 66d [Piece near a nest egg?] TWIG. Trying to decide if this is cute or just weird.
- 96d [Western film star, e.g.?] BADGE. Another favorite clue.
- 120d [Some foes of orcs] MEN. Huh?
I definitely didn’t not like this puzzle.
Peter Collins’s Universal Crossword, “Split Personalities”—Judge Vic’s write-up
Brilliant work by Pete here! We have certain 3-, 4-, and 5-letter patterns that form one name left-to-right and another right-to-left. From this we discover 2-unit names of well-known people, two per theme entry, one in each direction:
- 23a [Backward: ’50s Peruvian singer/Forward: “Parks and Recreation” star] CAMUS AMY POEHLER–Amy and Yma.
- 38a [Backward: “Damn Yankees” star/Forward: Old West lawman] RETNUH BAT MASTERSON–Tab and Bat.
- 53a [Backward: “Blithe Spirit” playwright/Forward: “Exodus” author] DRAWOC LEON URIS–Leon and Noel.
- 83a [Backward: Songwriter for Elvis/Forward: Panthers quarterback] SIVAD CAM NEWTON–Cam and Mac.
- 96a [Backward: “Benny and Joon” actor/Forward: Perfect 10 gymnast] NNIUQ NADIA COMANECI–Aidan and Nadia.
- 113a [Backward: “This American Life” host/Forward: “All Things Considered” host] SSALG ARI SHAPIRO–Great pair here, Ira and Ari, a couple of public radio vets.
And there are many other fine entries in this puzzle, as well:
- EVIL EYE
- BAD SANTA
- ACREAGE–Not an ILSA, but looks like one.
- PLAYS TRICKS
- BIO LABS
- LARGESSE–See acreage comment.
- CHILI SAUCE
- PUMP GAS
- BITE IT
- I DARE SAY
- FIRE PIT
- N.L. EAST
Really nice work! 4.1 stars.
William Eisenberg and Andrea Carla Michaels’s Universal Crossword, “Team Building”—Judge Vic’s write-up.
Marion, Miss.–Jim is on the road (though, so am I), so I subbed in on short notice. I’m squeezing this review in on a Sunday morning as I teach a 6-year-old how to make a quarter disappear, watch a 4-year-old build a tower with cardboard bricks, and discuss the administrative law implications of yesterday’s Kentucky Derby results with my niece and nephew-in-law.
An S is added to two-word ILSA’s, following punny clues. Thusly do players become teams.
- 17a [6 for Stan Musial, e.g.?] CARDINALS’ NUMBER–This one involves baseball and, arguably, could result in a singular answer. The other three involve football and are indisputably plural.
- 23a [Field goal attempts in Miami?] DOLPHINS’ KICKS–I’d never heard of dolphin kick, but it appears to be synonymous with butterfly kick.
- 47a [Tom Clancy thriller about Spygate and Deflategate?] PATRIOTS’ GAMES— Deflategate and Spygate were indeed games of the New England NFL franchise. Expensive games.
- 58a [Arrowhead Stadium decision-maker?] CHIEFS’ EXECUTIVE
Other content of note include MESS KIT and LIST PRICE.
This grid also contains some “not so much” entries: MEETERS, ONE I, SST, ENNUI, RIEN, SCRY, DAP, DEWS, ICINESS.