Niamh Girling and Mira Martin-Gray’s Inkubator crossword, “Get With the Program”—Jenni’s write-up
I enjoyed this puzzle a lot. The Inkubator team tells us that Niamh and Mira “love crosswords and each other.” I look forward to seeing more from them – this one was great!
Each theme answer is a portmanteau including the name of a popular app – and not the kind you eat.
- 21a [Fashion line with free messages?] is WHATSAPPAREL.
- 26a [Butterflies in your avatar?] are BITMOJITTERS.
- 48a [How to use emojis in a sentence?] is INSTAGRAMMAR.
- 54a [French manors that disappear after a short time?] are SNAPCHATEAUX. This is my favorite.
They’re all amusing, they all make sense within the parameters of the theme, and they were fun to solve.
A few other things:
- Not crazy about ALPOS for 14a [Some dog foods].
- 12a [Woman behind a “Great” man?] is ROXANA. She married Alexander the Great.
- Y’ALL COME [ “___ back now, y’hear?”] is worth having a partial in the clues.
- Not sure I buy [Break to catch up on some Zs] as a clue for R AND R. I think of that as vacation, not a nap. I’m spending this weekend in NYC for Lollapuzzoola and other fun things. That’s R AND R but won’t involve any more Zs than usual. Possibly fewer Zs.
- 42a [Likely result of shitty behavior] is BAD KARMA. One can hope.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: I’m ashamed to admit I’d never heard of NETTIE Stevens, who discovered the X and Y chromosomes. I have also never heard of Dolorous EDD.
Ori Brian’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
What, did someone bet the constructor that he couldn’t include a critical mass of dudebro fill in a single puzzle? Because this puzzle is has testosterone seeping from its orifices. LAD MAG, STAN LEE, MALE EGO, PETER ROGET, JESUS and ABEL, MAN-BUN, BEER KEGS that were probably ordered by dudes, DUDES, MAILMEN duping the MAN of MAN-BUN, Thomas NAST, honorific SRI not used for women, MONKS, OLDS, and even a male swan, or COB. And in the clues, we find Pecos Bill, Freud, Cocteau, Kevin Bacon, Ford, Packard, Disney, and not-real-people Fido, Santa Claus, and Babe the Blue Ox.
I haven’t seen the new issue of Wired magazine and the article’s not posted online yet, but there’s an article that I think focuses on Rebecca Falcon’s critiques of representation and the lack thereof in crossword puzzles. This puzzle has a handful of women (mostly fictional) in it, but nowhere near the onslaught of male terms and names. I wasn’t even giving dudely credit for AMMO and GTOS, and the scales were still tipped all the way over.
Five other things:
- 35a. [Digital photo add-on], INSTAGRAM FILTER. I just can’t summon up an interest in Insta. I think two forms of social media is my limit, and I’m more text-oriented than image-.
- 54a. [One who might get you into hot water?], CANNIBAL. Gross. Also, some contend that it’s boiling oil and you’re being deep-fried rather than boiled. Who likes boiled meat?
- 31d. [Craft shop item with a seemingly redundant name], GLUE STICK. Never thought of that—that STICK in GLUE STICK also describes what you use the GLUE STICK to do.
- 37a. [Best-selling author who used an awful lot of commas], PETER ROGET. The thesaurus generally being a bunch of lists of words separated by commas. Interesting angle.
- 8d. [Capital of Bolivia?], BEE. As in the letter B. Though in Spanish, the letter is spelled out as be.
2.5 stars from me because of dudebro fatigue. There needs to be a balance between “fresh fill” and “fill that basically tells women to keep out.”
Christopher Adams ‘s The Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Knot Applicable”–Judge Vic’s write-up.
THEME: Here we have a rebus with colors in each of four squares. And, as I begin to write this, I cannot yet suss out how this relates to the title. So, let’s do some exploring, starting with the reveal:
- 36 [Game whose spinner might specify the appendage-and-color pairings in four of this puzzle’s squares] TWISTER. Not a game I’ve played much of.
- [What new coworkers hope to get off on] THE GREEN. “Get off on the right foot” comes to mind. But this answer is up in the left corner. Knot? Appendage?
- 19a [Seuss book read by senator Ted Cruz during his Obamacare filibuster] GREEN EGGS AND HAM. A fave of mine from kid lit.
- 10d [Highest-charting Fab Four song to feature Ringo singing lead] YELLOW SUBMARINE
- 10a [Southpaw] YELLOWER. A southpaw throws with her left hand; she’s a left-hander. This answer is in the upper right.
- 27d [He’s “under a haystack fast asleep”] LITTLE BOY BLUE
- 64a [Biopic that led to Daniel Day-Lewis’s first Oscar] MY BLUE. My Left Foot is somehow involved here.
- 57d [Bro serving as a trusted assistant] RED MAN. Right-hand man, maybe? I am so confused. It’s been a long week.
- 52a [“Rosy” moniker for Ithaca college sports] CORNELL BIG RED
Well, one either gets it or one doesn’t. And I don’t, so I look forward to y’all explaining it to me.
Other stuff I took note of includes:
- 37d [Utterly unpredictable, as a political race] WIDE OPEN. Nice. Though, I don’t want the race I am in right now to be wide open.
- 44d [Naval construction crew] SEA BEES
- 4d [Do a surfing maneuver] HANG TEN
- 8d [“See you then!”] IT’S A DATE
I’m withholding a star count until I understand the puzzle. It’s been a long week! did I say that already?
Now that the theme has been explained to me, I am awarding 4.2 stars. Great puzzle!
Christopher Adams’s Universal Crossword, “Many Happy Returns”—Judge Vic’s write-up
Five kinds of taxes, as indicated by circled letters in the theme answers:
- 17a *Ready to go on stage IN COSTUME. Income tax.
- 25a *Seashore sculptures SAND CASTLES. Sales tax.
- 32a *Hit the gym EXERCISE. Excise tax.
- 41a *Ballpark figure ESTIMATE, Estate tax.
- 49a *Celtics great Bird, to fans LARRY LEGEND. Land tax, which I never hear anyone say. We say real estate tax or property tax in these parts. You? Let me not forget the reveal:
- 60 April boons, and a hint to the starred answers’ circled letters TAX BREAKS.
Okay. Works for me, though I gotta wonder why this puzzle didn’t run in April, the stereotypical tax month, rather than August, well into millions of taxpayers’ extension periods. At 9-11-8-8-11-9, this theme would not be expected to allow the grid to yield much else in the way of crunchy fill. But, Y’KNOW, for this puzzle, I DEEM that an incorrect assumption.
I’m looking at
ONE-ACT ANGELIC STEREOS COME DUE.
A MODEST ARM-BAR READOUT.
And the AL ROKER ART SALE TEST KIT ADDS TO EMIRATE, BENELUX, ARCSINE. YEOH, RETTA, ESPOSOS, and OERTER. That last answer/name makes me think of folks in my childhood who said, “Ye oerter know betttern to do that!”
Bruce Haight’s LA Times crossword – Jenni’s write-up
Each theme answer is a piece of apparel clued in an overly literal manner.
- 17a [Railway inspector’s attire?] are TRACK SHOES.
- 22a [Blackjack dealer’s attire?] are DECK PANTS.
- 33a [Corporate director’s attire?] are BOARD SHORTS.
- 49a [Toothpaste maker’s attire?] are TUBE SOCKS.
- 57a [Roadside mechanic’s attire?] are FLARE JEANS. This one’s a clunker. I would say “FLARED,” not FLARE, and Google Ngram viewer agrees with me.
Four out of five solid, amusing answers.
A few other things:
- 1a [Congress, with “the”] is HILL. We also have [Floor support?] for YEA and SESSION clued as [Word with jam or joint].
- 33d [Game involved in several Costner films] is BASEBALL. The Yankees will play the White Sox at the “Field of Dreams” field in Iowa next season.
- 35d [Like four midyear months] is R-LESS. The Inkubator had R MONTHS clued with a reference to oyster-eating. Crossword coincidences!
- 39a [Lead-in to X, Y or Z] is GEN.
- 52d [Word containing three of itself] is ESSES. This confused me. ESSES is plural, and “itself” seems to imply the singular. I suspect I am overthinking this.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that H G WELLS‘ initials stand for Herbert George.