Luke Vaughn’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Oops, it’s getting late. Time to get this post published! Let’s be brief.
Fave fill: SPEED DATES, HEAVEN-SENT, “OVER TO YOU,” literary PICARESQUE, ATHLEISURE (if you haven’t heard this term before, well, now you have, so don’t whine), the CHEAP SEATS, the dreaded TENSION HEADACHE, and wrinkly SHAR-PEIS.
Did not know: 4d. [Journalist whose mother, father, sister and husband all won Nobel Prizes], EVE CURIE. What a fascinating life she led!
Unsure about: 5d. [Infamous], DETESTED. You can be known for doing bad things without being outright DETESTED, no?
Don’t care for: 32a. [Cinephile], MOVIE FAN. Movie buff or film buff, maybe. “Movie fan” feels like a wishy-washy phrase that doesn’t rise to the level of being crosswordable.
Three more things:
- 42a. [Home of the Big Bear ski resort, informally], SOCAL. Ha, with SOC in place, I very nearly pictured the Russian bear and filled in SOCHI, which is not an informal name, but who actually reads to the end of every clue? Not I.
- 26d. [Parent company of Mack Trucks], VOLVO. Yep, I filled in TONKA at first. The toy brand. Yes, I know Mack Trucks are large vehicles.
- 45a. [___ Chandler, four-term U.S. senator who helped found the Republican Party], ZACHARIAH. Never heard of him. My go-to ZACHARIAHs are a high school classmate and the YA novel Z for Zachariah that I read around age 12 (it was adapted into a movie just a few years ago). Also did not know golfer LYDIA Ko. So that’s three people in today’s puzzle who were new to me.
3.8 stars from me. How’d it treat you?
Evan Kalish’s Universal crossword, “Grow Up!”—Rebecca’s review
THEME: The top of each theme is a crop
- 3D [*”What I’m hearing is …”] SO YOU SAY
- 9D [*Inauguration recital] OATH OF OFFICE
- 21D [*Pool shark’s call] CORNER POCKET
- 25D [*Actor Wil] WHEATON
- 40D [Navel-revealing shirts, and a hint to each starred answer’s first few letters] CROP TOPS
This is a CUTE theme, but with the theme answers hidden in the downs, I had solved much of the puzzle without seeing them, which meant for me it was a theme that’s enjoyable after you solve, more so than one that assists in solving. CROP TOPS is a great entry in general and was the perfect descriptor for a fun selection of answers.
If I’m picking NITS, I would say that having long down answers the same length as CROP TOPS and SO YOU SAY right beside those answers, made the theme stand out less, but TOREADOR and I LOVED IT are strong enough that it didn’t bother me too much.
Since I spent much of the puzzle not seeing the theme, I was reading in to some other answers that felt too repetitive not to be anything – like TERRE / TORRE and SCOPE / SCAPES – but with a solve that was as smooth as this, I wasn’t held up by those thoughts for too long.
Best clue of the day for me was for DATA CAPS [What might stop a stream?] which genuinely made me laugh when I figured it out.
Would I say I LOVED IT? Not quite – but I did enjoy it very much.
Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword — Rachel’s write-up
“Wow, this is smooth” is something I said, out loud, to absolutely no one, while solving this puzzle from Patrick Berry (because of course it is!). No section of the grid felt choppy, no cross was unfair, no entry unearned. I decided to warm up today on the other themeless puzzle that comes out on Fridays, and the contrast between this one and that one was *stark* (but the other one was also meant to be much, much harder, so I suppose that’s an unfair comparison).
So many things to love about this puzzle. For one thing, I just spent 20 minutes googling “OVERWORLD” to try to understand what it is. I enjoy videogames and play a few RPGs casually, but I’ve never heard this word, and was downright delighted to learn that it existed. Learning things in puzzles is the best! I have to say, though, I’m still not 100% clear on whether the OVERWORLD is the game map or the actually gameplay… space. It seems like this varies from game to game? Like in older Zelda games, you play on the OVERWORLD, whereas in newer RPGs, the map/OVERWORLD is more for navigation? Commenters, please clear this up for me.
One other note about OVERWORLD, and this is by no means a dig against the constructor but rather an observation that I also noticed when writing up this week’s Monday New Yorker: it’s a little surprising to me how often clues get taken from the first line of the entry’s wikipedia article. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised? I also construct occasionally, and have definitely looked entries up on wikipedia in the process, but the clue on OVERWORLD and several other things I checked up on from Monday (e.g. the old nickname DESERTRATS for “gerbils”) were taken right off *the first line* on wikipedia, almost verbatim. I suppose that’s where the most interesting or salient points about an entry are likely to be located?
A few other points:
- Loved the misdirection on HOCKEY STICK (obviously was expecting to learn that some sport shoe had a heel, which would 100% have led me to become a fan of that sport).
- SKEDADDLE is such a cute word!
- Is INTERWEAVE redundant? Like, if something is woven, isn’t the “inter” understood?
- I’m not so sure about the clue on ART CONTEST; I’ve never heard of an art contest where the competitors go to a competition site and … draw. I suppose it could be a sketch art competition, and they draw in advance, and then submit it to the contest? Let’s just say it’s a stretch.
- I enjoyed the crossing of YEATS and YEAST
- Proper nouns I didn’t know: TYSON GAY (in my head I parsed this as TY SONGAY for absolutely no logical reason), KYSER, LANCIA
Overall, this was a lovely, fairly easy, definitely entertaining Friday themeless.
Kathy Wienberg & Lewis Rothlein’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Jenni’s writeup
I figured out the theme immediately and wondered what the revealer would be. I had a theory, which turned out to be wrong.
The theme answers are phrases with AD removed. Wackiness results.
- 20a [What included a top hat, for Lincoln?] is GETTYSBURG DRESS (Gettysburg ADdress).
- 26a [Unvarnished inventions?] are BARENAKED LIES (Barenaked LADies).
- 43a [Citi Field catcalls?] are FLUSHING MEOWS (Flushing MeADows). I didn’t see this one right away because I expected it to include the word Mets somewhere.
- 53a [Joe-induced speaking clarity?] is CAFFEINE DICTION (caffeine ADdiction).
And the revealer is not something about AD BLOCKER but rather 47d [Ubiquitous YouTube button … and a hint to four long Across answers], SKIP AD.
A fun theme!
A few other things:
- 1a [“… harmony in the motion and magnitude of the __ … “: Copernicus] is ORBS. I was thinking “music of the spheres,” which I think is a quote from something. A quick Google search shows me only sources I know I’ve never read.
- 19a [Lengthy sentence] is a RUN-ON. I proofread one of my kid’s essays recently and for the first time ever, she did not have even one comma splice. They do learn!
- 5a [Out, perhaps] is ABED and 34a [Stops lying?] is RISES. I’m OK with “lying” here and LIES in one of theme answers, but now I want a nap.
- 50a [Sch. in Manhattan] is a misdirect. It’s KSU.
- 61a [Unlikely] is TALL, as in TALL tales.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that the USO was founded under FDR. Further research shows that it was created by Mary Ingraham in 1941 in response to a request from President Roosevelt.
I leave you with my favorite Barenaked Ladies song.
Margaret Saine’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Heads Up!” — pannonica’s write-up
- 65aR [Tip-offs, or what can be found at the beginning of 17, 26 and 50 Across] ADVANCE WARNING.
- 17a [Strategic formation in the Civil War’s Chattanooga campaign] LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN. Look out!
- 26a [NSYNC surname] Justin TIMBERLAKE. Timber!
- 50a [Ancestor] FOREFATHER. Fore!
This was a very smooth solve, with only the slightest of pauses while filling the lower right section. My entrance to the area was squibbed by presuming 54a [Script add-on?] was something internetty and thus URL rather that the suffix -URE. That led to uncertainty regarding the quote in 51-down [“Courage is knowing what not to __”: Plato] as FL–– and then 60d [Act like a rat, say]: bail? sing? tell? But instead the latter was GNAW and the former FEAR. Don’t fear Play-Doh®, kids. Even if it does smell weird.
- 6a [Tucked in for the night] ABED, 37a [Defeaning] AROAR.
- 36a [Affaire de coeur] AMOUR, 8d [Immature romantic figure?] EROS.
- 40a [Outlaw holed up in Wyoming’s “Hole-in-the-Wall“] Butch CASSIDY. Also used by Tom ‘Black Jack’ Ketchum. 45a [Two-masted sailing vessel] KETCH.
- 7d [Brooklyn Dodger, affectionately] BUM, as in “Dem Bums”.
- 9d [Persistent advocacy] DRUMBEAT. Nice, succinct clue. 28d [Like rock gardens with poor drainage] MOSSY. Evocative.
- 10d [Floating or swimming] NATANT, well-known bugbear to regular NYT Spelling Bee players.
- 27d [Adult insect] IMAGO. I recently had occasion to discover (don’t ask] that the word spans the name of Portuguese cyclist Joaquim Agostinho and British journalist and producer Jemima Goldsmith, among a very few others.
- 57d [Reindeer in “Frozen”] SVEN, followed by 58d [“Seveneves” novelist Stephenson] NEAL. ISWYDT
- 59a [Goes along (with)] AGREES. Does this implicitly require AGREES (TO)? Arguable, but I feel it’s okay without.
Fine crossword. A debut?