Gary Cee’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up
This is a classic Monday theme. The second word in each two-word theme answer goes with a certain other word, and there’s a revealer. The design is interesting – the themers go both across and down.
- 11d [*Seafood topping that may be red or white] is CLAM SAUCE. I prefer the white. What say you?
- 17a [*Government’s credit limit] is the DEBT CEILING.
- 28a [*Beanbag juggled with the feet] is a HACKY SACK. Is this still popular on college campuses? It was big in my era (late 70s- early 80s)
- 34d [*Part of a ship just above the hold] is the LOWER DECK.
- 46a [*Symbol for “O.K.”] is a CHECK MARK. If you want to read a thoughtful piece about the “OK” finger symbol that has been coopted by white supremacists, check out Doug Glanville’s essay in the Sunday NYT. Yes, that Doug Glanville.
- 61a [*Much-visited site in Jerusalem] is the WESTERN WALL.
And the revealer: 39a [“Start the music!” … or what one could do to the finish of the answer to each starred clue] is HIT IT. Hit the sauce, hit the ceiling, hit the sack, hit the deck, hit the mark, hit the wall. All the theme entries are solid and so are the hit the… phrases. Well done.
A few other things:
- 18d [Org. concerned with ecosystems] is the EPA. Or at least it used to be.
- 20a [Like many infield grounders] is ONE-HOP. Not to be confused with a Baltimore chop.
- 26d [Served raw, as steak] is TARTARE. Eeuw (a personal opinion; I do not speak for the blog. I speak for the trees. Or something).
- 42a [Full-time resident of a college community] is a TOWNIE. I always heard that as somewhat condescending. Is it still in regular use?
- 65a [Bury, as ashes] is INURN. This is not a word anyone uses, and I’ve had more opportunities than most people to discuss cremation and cremains. It’s also not synonymous with “bury.” Many urns are kept above ground.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that anyone thought INURN was a word.
I leave you with this in reference to 61a
Robert E. Lee Morris’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Nate’s write-up
I’m moving this week, so my husband and I are busy packing and getting rid of as much stuff as we can, so this will have to be a brief review. Hope you’re all doing well!
11D: OUTER BANKS [Coastal North Carolina resort area]
17A: ONION BAGEL [Bread with a schmear]
24D: OPEN BAR [Source of free drinks]
29D: OUIJA BOARD [Seance prop]
61A: ORANGE BOWL [Annual Florida football game]
56D: OBIE [Theater award … and a phonetic hint to the answers to starred clues]
Strong early week puzzle. Lots of themers + revealer taking up a fair amount of grid space, and all the themers are firmly in the language. The revealer even crosses the last themer, which is a nice constructing touch! Otherwise, this grid was pretty straight forward – a bit dated in its fill and cluing (maybe aside from RAJ), but otherwise fine. A few women were included (TRIS DENISE REBA NALA RONA) which was a plus, but I wasn’t politically so excited to see SCALIA, Gorsuch, and ALITO in the same grid.
Brian Temte’s Universal Crossword, “No Alcohol Provided”—Judge Vic’s write-up
At the party, there’s be no alcohol provided, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want you to drink; therefore, BE WHY OH BEA, okay?
- 17a [*”Feel free”] BE MY GUEST
- 26a [*Joker catchphrase] WHY SO SERIOUS
- 43a [*Alternate title for “December, 1963”] OH WHAT A NIGHT
- 54a [*”The Golden Girls” star] BEA ARTHUR
- 51d Invitation advisory, or a homophonic hint to the starred answers’ starts BYOB
I like it. I am always looking for phrases, sayings, etc. to which this gimmick can be applied. Wish I’d thought of it!
Not much else in the Acrosses. The Downs feature
- 21d [Annual game with a flowery name] ROSE BOWL and
- 25d [Fancy nonalcoholic drink] MOCKTAIL
Nice puz. 3.5 stars.
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Stockholders”—Jim P’s review
Names and phrases hide farm animals.
- 16a [Crusading environmentalist] ECO-WARRIOR
- 25a [Uncertainty about whether something is right or wrong] MORAL AMBIGUITY
- 42a [Oscar winner for “Ghost”] WHOOPI GOLDBERG
- 56a [Commerce secretary since 2017] WILBUR ROSS
The theme is fine. Maybe even cute.
But seriously. 41d. RETARDS.
Haven’t we been through this with chink, gook, spic, and most recently, beaner, after which Will Shortz had to make a public apology? Just because a word has a valid other meaning (in this case [Slows down]), doesn’t mean it can’t cause offense in a puzzle. You don’t see anyone using the clue [Cigarette] for a certain three-letter F-word, do you? No. Because it’s an offensive word to many people. The R-word is too, and an editor should know that.
When a word is in a grid it loses some of its context. This is very different than when the same word is used in a sentence. In an image of the grid, as shown above, it stands by itself without the support of its clue, and anyone offended by that word will be shocked that it’s been included in one of the nation’s leading newspapers.
The thing is, it’s not terribly hard to repair. Here’s the work of about 5 minutes: The R-word becomes RETIRES which now crosses BEIRUT with RODE, USNA, TSAR, EDNA, and SEAR filling out that corner (see picture).
Pair this with the recent dearth of women constructors appearing at the WSJ, and it is just not a good look.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword #518—Jim Q’s review
A funky looking 15×16 themeless grid with left/right symmetry today. One of those moments when you open a puzzle and can’t wait to see what’s in store. Certainly a lot to like here.
- 34A [“You’re losing me”] GET TO THE POINT. The answer being a touch more
blunt than the clue.
- 52A [“Hard pass”] I’M NOT INTERESTED. Took me a while to figure out what “Hard pass” was referring to- I briefly considered toying around with a sports related answer.
- 3D [Warm whiskey drinks] HOT TODDIES. Once a year, a HOT TODDY is a good idea. Just once though.
- 36D [Tasmania’s capital] HOBART. I was just researching whether or not to bicycle through Tasmania and its capital this summer. Looks pretty cold in July. Hard pass.
- 30A [Kings’ requests, for short] TOS. Time Outs, to the Sacramento Kings.
One var. in a themeless sorta makes me cringe, so two is quite off-putting.
- 12D [Plate creators: var.] DIETICIANS. This one didn’t look too bad in the grid until I retyped it now. DIETITIANS is more accepted, though it does look like the spelling has been a topic amongst DIETI(T)(C)IANS.
- 37D [Put one’s weight behind: Var.] INDORSED. I’ve never seen that spelling before.
Still, that was not enough to distract me from really enjoying this solve overall. DIEGO MARADONA was entirely new for me, but with an inferable first name and fairly crossed surname, it doesn’t warrant any gripes.
MUSIC CLUE OF THE WEEK:
- 28A [“Hey ___” (Beastie Boys single)] LADIES.
Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword—Ben’s review
New Yorker Monday puzzles are supposed to be tricky, but today’s installment played more like their weekend puzzle for how quickly I sliced through its grid. Speedy solving aside, I found a LOT to like in this grid:
- The New Yorker highlighted ATHLEISURE once the puzzle was solved, pointing to Jia Tolentino’s fascinating look into the Outdoor Voices brand of apparel. I also loved the longer entries that appeared right above and below it, JUNETEENTH (“American holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States”), and GEL INSOLES (“Dr. Scholl’s product”)
- There was some lovely variety in the rest of the long across fill — WE ALL DO IT, TWENTYSOMETHING (“Like the lead characters on ‘Insecure’ and ‘Broad City'”), SHRILLEST (“Often sexist superlative”), BACKUP FILE, FREE SPIRIT, and AISLE SEATS (“C and D, on many flights”)
- The SELFIE has largely replaced the autograph as proof of a celebrity encounter.
- So happy to see LATINX appear in a grid!
How did this one solve for you?