Damon Gulczynski’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up
Belly up to the bar for the first puzzle of July. Each theme entry has two sets of circles.
- 17a [Devil-may-care] is the delightful HARUM-SCARUM.
- 24a [Town crier’s cry] is HEAR YE, HEAR YE.
- 51a [Rock drummer whose last name is the same as his band] is ALEX VAN HALEN.
- 62a [Accessing, as a password-restricted website] is LOGGING INTO.
And the revealer in the middle tells us what we probably already know: 39a [Bar request … or hint to the letters in the circles] is MAKE MINE A DOUBLE. Nice Monday theme – solid, consistent, and accessible – although does anyone have a “double ale?” I don’t mean a doppelbock.
It’s a lot of theme material for a 15×15; the fill didn’t rub me the wrong way, which is impressive.
A few other things:
- 1d [___ funny (genuinely humorous)] is HA-HA. I’ve always used “funny HA-HA” as something different from “funny peculiar.” The clue’s not wrong; it’s not the colloquialism I’m accustomed to. Is this regional?
- 6a [“Red, white and blue” land, for short] is the US OF A.
- Love 11d [“Absolutely, positively not!”] – NO SIREE, BOB.
- 22a [Summer romance, perhaps] is a FLING. Ah, teenage summers….although the teenage summer in this house mostly consists of FaceTiming with a boy in CA.
- We get élan in a clue this time. The answer is GUSTO.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: I only remember Eddie VAN HALEN. I knew he had a brother in the band but didn’t know his name was ALEX or that he played drums.
Sara Nies and Lynn Lempel’s Universal Crossword, “Site-Seeing in France”—Judge Vic’s write-up
Seasoned vet Lynn Lempel steps up today with newbie Sara Nies to give us a clever, punny theme based on cities (sites) in France:
- 17a [Satellite broadcasts in a French city in Brittany?] BREST FEEDS
- 22a [Switchboard worker in a French city in the Loire Valley?] TOURS OPERATOR
- 45a [Starting acts in a French city on the Cote d’Azur?] CANNES OPENERS–Cannes, by the way, is pronounced can, not con.
- 52a [More than half the adults in a French city near Belgium?] LILLE WOMEN–I love this one, perhaps because I grew up with folks who pronounced little with silent t‘s.
Other stuff I liked:
- 29a [Scribbles’ spots] NOTEPADS
- 42a [Picnic competition] SACK RACE
- 4d [Dress rehearsal] TEST RUN
- 10d [Cereal buyer’s proof of purchase] BOX TOP
- 11d [Mobile photographer’s convenience] CAMERA PHONE
- 24d [A driver may have one] UBER ACCOUNT
- 41d [Establish precisely] PIN DOWN
My least faves:
- 28a [Photographer Diane] ARBUS
- 36a [Ouster] DEPOSAL
- 30d [More precious] DEARER
Kameron Austin Collins’s New Yorker crossword—Ben’s review
If Kam’s fantastic Saturday puzzle didn’t fill your need for high-quality themelesses, he’s also got today’s New Yorker puzzle.
Let’s take a sec to look at how pretty that pattern of black squares in the grid is. Okay, second over, let’s talk about the fill:
- The New Yorker used featured fill NOTE PAPER as a jumping off point to link to a fascinating article on why we still get paper jams. Check it out!
- Kam does a great job with longer fill in grids like this – I really dug the downs in this grid’s corners – ANNA PAVLOVA, COUTURIERES, EXPEDIENTS, SOLAR CORONA, A VOTRE SANTE, and MCGRIDDLES.
- Also great, in the fill department: MOMMYBLOG, CAME ALIVE, I’M ON A DIET, GOES STALE, DRAWBAR, GE BUILDING
Hope you enjoyed solving this as much as I did! ENTER STEREOLAB:
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “The Coast is Clear”—Jenni’s review
A seasonally appropriate theme celebrating the one place I’d rather be than here on my screened porch.
We have three starred answers plus a revealer.
- 18a [*Cereal that Sonny the Cuckoo Bird is “cuckoo for”] is COCOA PUFFS. We’re all hearing Sonny in our heads now, right?
- 26a [*The Pontiac GTO and the Dodge Challenger, e.g.] are MUSCLE CARS,
- 46a [*Life line examiner] is a PALM READER.
And the revealer at 58a: [Coastal strip of land, and a hint to the starts of the starred answers] is BEACHFRONT. COCOA BEACH, MUSCLE BEACH, and PALM BEACH. Very nice.
A few other things:
- 1a [Ready to drop] is BEAT. David and I just finished discussing the crop of fruit on our fig tree, so I dropped in RIPE.
- 4d [North Carolina crop] is TOBACCO. I did a bit of online research and it appears that tobacco remains North Carolina’s most economically important crop, although it is not the financial behemoth it once was.
- 6d [Typographical face] is not the name of a font. It’s an EMOTICON.
- 32d [Plant that yields mescal] is the AGAVE. David is retired and has taken up cocktail-making as one of his new hobbies. He’s a big mescal fan.
- 53d [“Damn Yankees” role] is LOLA. I’ve been watching “Fosse/Verdon” while I recover. It’s very well done and often painful to watch. I enjoyed this piece on Nicole Fosse and her role in the production.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Swee’Pea was POPEYE‘s adopted son.
I leave you with Gwen Verdon.