Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 460), “Say “Yes” to De-Stress!”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everybody! Hope you’re all doing well and in as positive of a mood during your self-quarantine. Again, please be safe, please continue to be homebound and, if you do have to go out, take those extra precautions to keep you and your fellow Earth dwellers safe!
Today’s grid should be a smile to one’s face, since each theme entry is a multiple-word answer that is not used in the culinary sense, compared to its clue, but does include a word in its answer that does activate the olfactory organs and the appetite for some grub. The final theme entry, COMFORT FOOD, acts as the reveal (54A: [Feel-good fare that’s the puzzle theme]).
- AMERICAN PIE (17A: [1972 #1 song with the lyric, “Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry])
- DOLLARS TO DONUTS (22A: [“I’ll bet you ___ that your new bakery will be a success])
- CHOCOLATE LABS (33A: [Cute, loving dogs with yummy-sounding names])
- SPAGHETTI STRAPS (46A: [Delicately-thin prom dress features])
Speaking of comfort food, there’s also GELATI to make us think of a summer where we, hopefully, will have some fun tines outside while cooling down with some ice cream (41A: [Trattoria desserts]). Here is hoping the normally vibrant spring break spots, such as CANCUN (11D: [Mexican resort]) and BOCA, have been cleared, especially after the crazy scenes in Florida of spring breakers ignoring warnings of mass gatherings to go all YOLO (36D: [___ Raton, Florida]). We almost have anagrams crossing each other in the grid, with ARENAS (27A: [Sports venues]) and AN ERA (21D: [“It’s the end of ___”]). Lots of longish fill in the grid, like MOVIE FONE, which definitely makes this a fun solve (29D: [Service that once had a “777-FILM” dial-in number]). Sports fans can only wish that delays in the season can be made up on RAIN DATES, but that’s not looking likely at all as we’re staring at, at best, a shortened 2020 season (9D: [Alternate times for outdoor events]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: OPALS (26A: [October birthstones]) – The Australian women’s basketball team, nicknamed the OPALS after the gemstones that are prevalent in the Land Down Under, has been the second-best basketball-playing nation in women’s basketball for north of 20 years. Outside of being currently ranked second in the FIBA rankings, the Opals finished as silver medalists in the Olympics in three consecutive Olympic games: 2000, 2004 and 2008. (All of their second-place finishes and standings are eclipsed only by the United States.) Some of the great players to come out of the pipeline include two-time WNBA champion and three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson, along with former WNBA stars Michele Timms and Penny Taylor. (Taylor is married to University of Connecticut and WNBA legend Diana Taurasi.)
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful — and safe — rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Olivia Mitra Framke’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
There are lots of synonyms for shindig, and some of those words have alternate meanings. Here, phrases that end with such words are defined as if they’re about specific sorts of social gatherings:
- 17a. [The sitcom writers met at a …] TV RECEPTION.
- 28a. [The mathematicians met at a …] TRIG FUNCTION.
- 46a. [The pharmacists met at a …] MEDICINE BALL.
- 58a. [The Google employees met at a …] SEARCH PARTY.
Fave fill: AGNOSTIC, GENDER GAP. Fill that feels a tad hard for a Tuesday puzzle: GTE, ENTR, ENT, INGE.
Three more things:
- 9d. [“As I would say,” in a text], IMO. This clue feels weird to me. I don’t use “as I would say” to mean “in my opinion.” In fact, “as I would say” feels weird in any context.
- 5d. [Many an anti-inflammatory medication], STEROID. Shout-out to those of you who are on steroids or other meds that suppress the immune system; these are parlous times.
- 44d. [Undercover activity?], SLEEP. Yes, please! Got an early morning tomorrow, so that’s my cue to sign off.
3.5 stars from me.
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Indoor Activities” – Derek’s write-up
Gee, I wonder what inspired this week’s theme?
- 20A [Request that’s asking a lot] DO ME A BIG FAVOR
- 28A [Overachieving college student’s quest] DOUBLE MAJOR
- 46A [Job for a resident assistant] DORM MONITOR
- 52A [Something you can’t take up at the mall] DOWN ESCALATOR
Again, I wonder where this idea comes from?? I love staying indoors, and even I am starting to go stir crazy. Trying to go for a walk each day, which does in fact help. It would also help if it warmed up, since it still, in late March, was in the low 20s this morning! 4.4 stars for this week’s Jonesin’. Everyone please stay safe and enjoy your crosswords!
Lots of fun stuff this week (I have more time!):
- 1A [“Knives Out” sleuth Benoit] BLANC – This is the lead character in the movie, which I will likely watch sometime this week with all of my extra free time.
- 10A [MTV mainstay Loder who turns 75 soon] KURT – He is almost 75?? WOW.
- 14A [Jasmine’s pet tiger in “Aladdin”] RAJAH – This is the name of the tiger? I haven’t seen this movie in 30+ years, so I barely remember. I am NOT watching this again!
- 35A [“___ Can Cook” (former cooking show)] YAN – Ah, I remember this show well. He was good with the knives!
- 65A [Chamillionaire hit parodied by Weird Al] RIDIN’ – Weird Al parodied this show before I even heard of this song. Once I saw the video for this song, the Weird Al video was 10 times funnier!
- 5D [“Allowed” time to go off a regimen?] CHEAT DAY – Every day is a cheat day now … just trying to eat what is in the pantry!
- 10D [“Seven Samurai” director Akira] KUROSAWA – Another suggestion for a movie rental during the forced shut-in?
- 21D [“I touched your nose!” sound] BOOP – DON’T TOUCH YOUR NOSE OR ANYONE ELSE’S!
- 33D [Nightly streaming offering from the Met] OPERA – Another suggestion for something to watch! I didn’t know this was an option. Is it free?
- 55D [Attack, like a kitty while you’re trying to work] CLAW – I’ll bet this is happening to quite a few people who are now working from home! Great timely clue!
Another Jonesin’ is coming next week!
Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
This puzzles theme is timely; in a weird sort of way. The revealer is at 59A:
- 16A [Huff and puff] BREATHE HARD
- 38A [Lawn area where rainwater collects] LOW SPOT
- 10D [Bags for potatoes, say] BURLAP SACKS
- 23D [Subject to, as the proverbial mud] DRAG THROUGH
- 59A [Divvy up poker hand winnings, and a hint to this puzzle’s circled letters] SPLIT THE POT
This is timely as Congress is literally arguing as I type this review on how to “split the pot,” or how to stimulate the nearly dead US economy. Maybe our lawmakers should just ask Gail and Bruce how to do it, since this puzzle was smoothly done! We have bread, loot, bucks and dough distributed quite nicely! A solid 4.5 stars for a great puzzle we hope served as a pleasant diversion for you during this ongoing shutdown.
A few more things:
- 14A [Headgear for shading one’s face] SUN HAT – I need to wear one of these if it is sunny; I am getting old.
- 26A [Seed in some sauerkraut] CARAWAY – Just had sauerkraut on a polish sausage on Monday! Didn’t now there were caraway seeds in it. Good either way; now I am in the mood for a reuben!
- 41A [“Mad TV” alum Lange] ARTIE – Barely remember this show; I do remember the UBS driver skit they did quite well, though!
- 47A [Do-it-yourself diagnostic tool] TEST KIT – Talk about timely …
- 4D [Like some relations] SPATIAL – This is what a draftsman or an architect needs to have a good sense of. Or someone with a good sense of direction.
- 21D [Sprain soother] ICE BAG – I need this for my back; again, I am getting old …
- 44D [Finally finished] AT AN END – I wrote in ALL OVER mistakenly here; pretty much my only glitch in the solve.
That is all! Everyone have a safe and healthy week!
Michael Schlossberg’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up
In today’s “Sign Here” puzzle, classic road signs are reimagined in fun ways:
14A: NO OUTLET [Road sign next to the electrophobe’s house?]
19A: PASS WITH CARE [Road sign at the Olympic torch handover?]
36A: END DETOUR [Road sign for the finish line on the Champs-Ilysees?] – End de Tour (nice!)
53A: FALLING ROCKS [Road sign outside the skydiving school?]
64A: KEEP LEFT [Road sign outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters?]
Aside from the playful END DE TOUR, my favorite themer was probably FALLING ROCKS – the enthusiasm behind that version of that sign made me chuckle. A fun solve!
I also appreciated that there were more women in the grid today than men! ROXANE, Ruby DEE, EVAN Rachel Wood, Prima donna, Liz Taylor / CLEO, and Trinity vs. LORD, OLEG Cassini, Cyrano, and NEO (clued as the love interest of a woman, as opposed to the usual other way around – yes!). Gold stars for Michael Schlossberg and the WSJ editors for accomplishing this uncommon feat. More of this, please!
One more note: Don’t go to [Society get-togethers]! Stay home, stay healthy, and keep doing your part to stop the spread of Coronavirus. No TEAS for us, except for maybe over Zoom. : )