Tracy Gray’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up
I think we’ve seen something like this before. I don’t have access to the theme databases nor do I have an eidetic memory. Anyone know? I figured out the theme with the first theme answer. I still enjoyed the puzzle – it’s a fun, accessible Monday theme, and it’s well-done.
All the theme answers run vertically.
- 3d [Air-punching pugilist] is a SHADOW BOXER.
- 7d [2006 Matt Damon spy film] is THE GOOD SHEPHERD.
- 9d [Place with beakers and Bunsen burners] is the CHEMISTRY LAB
- 21d [Lecturer’s implement with a light at the end] is a LASER POINTER.
See it yet? If not, Tracy gives us a revealer: 28d [Popular yoga pose … or a literal hint to the ends of 3-, 7-, 9- and 21-Down]: DOWNWARD DOG. I’ll give them a pass on having “down” in the clue, since I think it’s unavoidable in a Monday puzzle.
A few other things:
- I’m so accustomed to hearing HUDDLE in a work context that I’d forgotten it comes from football. We HUDDLE every day to discuss our patients.
- 40d [Bus. concern] is not what the business does, but the “concern” itself. It’s CORP.
- 56d [Colorful flower with a “face”] is a PANSY. I guess it has a face. Not sure I see it.
- 59d [Pump or oxford] is a SHOE.
- 62a [Gemstone measure] is CARAT. Pro tip: wait for the crossing to fill in the first letter.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: never heard of the Matt Damon movie.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s Universal Crossword, “Take Two”—Judge Vic’s write-up
H and T are removed from *ight words in familiar phrases:
- 17a Seeks desert orchard employment? WANTS TO PICK A FIG
- 32a Offshore hairpiece production site? THE ISLE OF WIG
- 40a Query to a committee on naval incarceration? ANY BRIG IDEAS
- 60a Manipulate a boxing match the second it’s announced, say? RIG FROM THE START
Other entries that caught my attention include:
IN TOWN, ENTERING, LET IN, PRO FORMA, NEWISH
BET ON IT, HAD IT, AWARE OF, SLANTED, MMII.
This is a fun, competently constructed and nicely clued puzzle.
Ed Sessa’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Nate’s write-up
This puzzle has everything … quite literally!
17A: COMBINATION LOCK [Wall safe access]
29A: CHICKEN STOCK [Base for many soups]
46A: PICKLE BARREL [Classic country store container]
60A: THE WHOLE SHEBANG [What the ends of 17-, 29- and 46-Across figuratively compromise]
LOCK, STOCK, and BARREL is indeed THE WHOLE SHEBANG. I like it. The theme is straightforward for a Monday but feels like a playful embracing of such a fun phrase. The fill was largely clean and quick to plunk in. SANTE and DOG IT were tougher for me, but not ungettable.
My only main qualm with this puzzle was in how olde time-y it felt. Clues / fill like [Tea service carrier], DOG IT for [Shirk work], CECIL DeMille, [Old Metro automaker], [Cash alternative] for CHECK, [Computer message] for EMAIL, and PICKLE BARREL as a [Classic country store container] made the puzzle feel like it was from a different ERA. References to Manilow, the Bible, the Berlin Olympics, and a [Country divided in 1945] didn’t help. Maybe the only bits of “modern” touches were IN BETA, ANNE Hathaway, ETSY, and Lena OLIN. Throw in Sophia LOREN and there feels like some correlation here between fresh fill and including women in puzzles to consider.Ed
The Wall Street Journal crossword—Jim P’s review
Due to a mix-up, we inadvertently reviewed the wrong puzzle here. A correct one will be posted shortly.
Kameron Austin Collins’s New Yorker crossword—Ben’s review
KAC is up for this Monday’s New Yorker puzzle, and as always with him the grid is beautiful. I especially like the tribute to the Satellite of Love running down diagonally.
Enough ogling the grid, let’s dig into the fill:
- Today’s featured clue, HACKER WAY (25D, “Facebook HQ’s street address”), points to an article from last fall about Mark Zuckerberg.
- The unusual positioning of black squares in this grid allows for some great distribution of long fill: GARAGEMAN, INDIE FILMS, BOY PROBLEMS, RED ROBIN, SPAR DECK, NICENE CREED, TALK DOWN TO, and MOTHBALLS
- Cluing I liked: “Stand against the wall” for ETAGERE, “Cutting-edge feature?” for SERRATION, and “Current events?” for EL NINOS
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword, Themeless Monday #528—Andy’s review
Quick review today.
This grid is an obvious pangram. The central 15 is COOKED ONE’S GOOSE [Ruined another’s chances], but MEXICAN BLEND and SQUEEZED SHUT do a lot of the heavy lifting Scrabble-wise, as does KJV with the brutal clue [Alternative to the Douay-Rheims: Abbr] (requiring you to know the Douay-Rheims is a Bible). Wouldn’t have been so tough except for the, again, brutal clue on the crossing with JETT [Title thief played by Carla Gugino in a Cinemax series]. That series premiered in June 2019, and I had not heard of it until this clue.
Speaking of brutal clues, [Pulse in a kitchen] for PEA! As in this sense of pulse. Jeez.
A few really nice clues:
- [Going places] for URINALS;
- [Pearl clutcher] for OYSTER;
- [Name of a North Carolina emu that’s been on the run this past week (the owner must have a crossworder’s sense of humor)] for ENO.
Lots of post-solve Googling here, which is unusual for me. Even so, not too much of a struggle to solve.
Until next time!
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “A/C Units”—Jim P’s review
Note: I inadvertently posted a review of the wrong puzzle here at first. The following is the correct puzzle for today.
I’m an idiot for not figuring out the theme of this grid before finishing the solve. I guess I was going for speed and wasn’t expecting such a straightforward theme.
- 17a [It’s around 66.5 degrees south latitude] ANTARCTIC CIRCLE
- 23a [“Danger over” signal] ALL CLEAR
- 28a [Numerical prefix, of a sort] AREA CODE
- 44a [Homeless feline] ALLEY CAT. I had STRAY CAT at first and I was looking forward to posting a “Stray Cat Strut” video, but then I sorted out the correct answer and was saddened. But then STRAYS appeared at 46d, so the video is back on (see below)!
- 48a [Symbol on viola music] ALTO CLEF
- 58a [The USS Gerald R. Ford, for one] AIRCRAFT CARRIER
So yes, the theme is very straightforward (two word terms starting with the letters A and C), but that’s as it should be on a Monday. The entries are solid and the clues are good, making this a good entry-level grid.
“OH COME ON!” (great) and RECITALS (so-so) are our long Downs with RAW DATA (strong) in the backup position. I also like ON MEDS as an in-the-language phrase.
MY EAR gets a poetic clue [“A voice there is, that whispers in ___”: Alexander Pope], but always think it should get a clue like [Van Gogh exclamation?].
And that’s all I have. A solid, straight-over-the-plate grid. 3.5 stars. And now, as promised…