Friday, March 27, 2020

Inkubator untimed (Rebecca) 


LAT 5:20 (Jenni) 


NYT 5:13 (Amy) 


The New Yorker 7:19 (Rachel) 


Universal 5:10 (Jim P) 


Kyle Dolan’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 3 27 20, no. 0327

Kyle Dolan! How the hell are ya? I was literally thinking of you earlier today.

Am unmotivated to blog, so let’s get this done:

Fave fill: POP-UP STORE, colloquial “I HOPE TO GOD,” bowling-alley BALL RETURN (still vexed that the ball I was using last time I went bowling just … got sucked in and never returned), ROAD-TESTED, PROM NIGHT, LONGBOARDS, NEST EGG.

Five things:

  • [Series of tweets] pulls double duty for 24a THREAD (on Twitter) and 27a BIRDSONG (in trees). Love it!
  • 37a. [Didn’t use the can?], LITTERED. Ha! In these toilet paper–obsessed times, who among us didn’t read this as can = toilet?
  • 4d. [Little pointer], PUP. I went with TIP first, a non-mammalian sort of pointer.
  • 14d. [Word after “take a” or “take the”], STAND. This is a lovely clue.
  • 15d. [Africa’s largest city that’s not a national capital], LAGOS. Pro tip: It’s pronounced with a long A sound, lay-gose rather than lah-gose. Because it’s not even a Nigerian name! It’s from the Portuguese.

Closing out with an old Police song whose chorus you can sing at anyone who threatens to come inside your six-foot radius.

3.8 stars from me.

Erik Agard’s New Yorker crossword – Rachel’s write-up

Of course Erik Agard would write a crossword puzzle that would make me cry before 8am. If you’ve not read the poem referenced in the central entry by WARSAN SHIRE, you can do so here. It’s a gorgeous, heartbreaking poem about forced migration and becoming a refugee, and it’s a good reminder that even with *waves hands* all THIS happening in the world, there are still over 70 million forcibly displaced people facing the horrors described in this poem *and* the coronavirus.

The New Yorker crossword solution • Erik Agard • Friday, March 27, 2020

As for the crossword itself, it was clean and fresh and full of entries that might have ended up on the cutting-room floor of some other publications for being too unfamiliar to solvers (see: KONDO).  Erik’s puzzles almost always move the needle on what merits inclusion in crosswords, and this one is no exception. Much of #crossworld has been clamoring for puzzles like this for a long time, from OG Rex Parker to our own bloggers here at Fiend and the broader crossword internet, and I think we are lucky to have constructors like Erik and publications like the New Yorker that are fighting to make this happen.

Other notes:

  • The first thing I noticed about this puzzle was the grid design. What weird shapes growing out of the N and S! It’s cool and different-looking. I dig it.
  • The whole central staircase is awesome. WARSAN SHIRE / I HATE IT HERE / LINE SISTERS are all fabulous, and although I didn’t know LINE SISTERS, it was fairly inferable once most of the crosses were in place.
  • One entry in this puzzle that directly resonated with me today: STAMPS. I am buying a house today (!!), so I saw the clue [“Forever” purchases] and just wrote in HOUSES. And then had to erase it.
  • Loved the clue on ANAGRAMS. Clever and also lovely imagery!
  • I feel personally attacked by the clue on POLITE [Like hoping your email finds someone well]
  • The clue on ATTA [Palindromic flour] is so much better than the typical [Lead-in to boy or girl] we often see!
  • More excellent inclusion: BALL clued for a drag ball
  • Was not sure how OREGONIANS was going to end, which somewhat slowed my filling-in of LINE SISTERS
  • Also wasn’t sure whether it was WARSAN SHIRE or WARSAr SHIRE, so had TERSE for TENSE for a bit. Figured it out when I had an error at the end!

This puzzle gets all the stars from me.

Allison Uttaro’s Universal crossword, “Gardeners”—Jim P’s review

Theme: Famous women with plant-based first names.

Universal crossword solution · “Gardeners” · Allison Uttaro · Fri., 3.27.20

  • 17a [She scored the final goal in the 2019 Women’s World Cup] ROSE LAVELLE
  • 29a [“Under the Net” author] IRIS MURDOCH
  • 45a [Anchor on “CNN Newsroom”] POPPY HARLOW
  • 61a [Voice of Elastigirl] HOLLY HUNTER

I only knew one of these names (the last one), but that’s probably more an indication of my general lack of knowledge than anything wrong with the puzzle or these women’s crossword-worthiness. What bugged me a little bit more than that was that three of these plants are known for their flowers while one is known for its spiky leaves and berries. It would have been more elegant if there was more consistency. Lacking any other wordplay in the theme, that discrepancy really sticks out.

I’m liking the fill with TALISMAN, MEAL PLAN, AP SCORES, ICE WATER, and DASH CAM. NO NOISE feels a bit arbitrary though.

Clues of note:

  • 29d. [Needing a shower, say]. ITCHY. I’ve never considered that as a reason for needing a shower before, but I guess it’s plausible?
  • 45d. [Minecraft or Hearthstone]. PC GAME. Can you really call those PC GAMEs when they’re playable on numerous types of devices? My son played Hearthstone on an iPad, my daughter plays Minecraft on a Mac.

I wish there was a little more consistency in the theme, but otherwise, a pleasant puzzle. 3.25 stars.

Brian Herrick’s LA Times crossword – Jenni’s write-up

I’m late! I’m late!

The theme is WINDFALL: each theme answer turns the corner and a synonym for WIND FALLs down.

See grid. You can click to embiggen.

Los Angeles Times, Brian Herrick, March 27, 2020, solution grid









Shabbat shalom!

Martina Waluk’s Inkubator crossword, “Can We Talk?”—Rebecca’s review

So excited that my (almost) post-Covid puzzle to review is this wonderful debut by Martina Waluk! Before I get into it – just a friendly reminder to stay home if you can. I consider myself unbelievably lucky, and even as a healthy person, this virus was scary. On to the puzzle!

THEME: The names of famous women with talk shows are hidden in each theme answer

Inkubator, “Can We Talk?” Martina Waluk, March 27, 2020, solution grid

  • 17A [2008 tune in which P!nk assigns blame] IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT
  • 29A [Like Harvard’s coffers and many adult film stars] WELL ENDOWED
  • 44A [Power nap of 15 minutos or less] MICRO SIESTA
  • 57A [Score given after examining a company’s promotion and retention of women, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ+ employees] DIVERSITY RATING

This was a great theme, with some fantastic theme answers. SALLY was the least known host of the four for me, but easy enough to get from the longer theme answer. I’ve definitely been a fan of a micro-nap, and haven’t heard of it referred to as a micro-siesta, but a fun one to fill in there. Favorite theme answer, with a great clue was WELL ENDOWED. When I solved the puzzle I was going to take this chance to mention Harvard laying off much of the staff in these difficult times, but thankfully they seem to have caved to pressure and will not be moving forward with the lay offs.

I enjoyed the shape of this grid too – broken in up in an interesting way that made the fill smooth and kept me engaged from start to finish. Favorite fill included STAR MAPS, OSPREY, ELVISH, TOMEI, and F-BOMB.

I knew I had to include a TIGER King clip as soon as I saw 43-across. If you haven’t started watching yet – it should be your weekend quarantine activity!

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12 Responses to Friday, March 27, 2020

  1. Stephen B. Manion says:

    I was surprised to learn that Lagos is no longer the capital of Nigeria. It changed to Abuja in 1991.

    Amy, was the bowling ball you were using very light? Sometimes very light balls can get stuck. Usually, an attendant will correct the situation

    Very easy puzzle for me, although it took me a while to realize it was trolleyBUS, not CAR.


  2. Mike Buckley says:

    The quotation on the blackboard in the Police video —
    I remember it like this:

    Caesar ad sum jam forte
    Brutus eterat
    Caesar sic in omnibus
    Brutus sic enat

    • arthur118 says:

      Dog Latin deserves a translation and the trick is to read the bona fide Latin words with an English pronunciation to produce:

      Caesar had some jam for tea
      Brutus had a rat
      Caesar sick in omnibus
      Brutus sick in hat

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Although on the chalkboard, it’s misspelled as “Ceasar.”

  3. arthur118 says:

    Dog Latin deserves a translation and the trick is to read the bona fide Latin words with an English pronunciation to produce:

    Caesar had some jam for tea
    Brutus had a rat
    Caesar sick in omnibus
    Brutus sick in hat

  4. cyco says:

    Rachel, totally agree about today’s New Yorker. Great puzzle from start to finish. Had never heard of WARSAN SHIRE, but glad to discover her poetry.

    Also, you bought a house today? Can’t tell if that’s good or terrible timing. As a fellow recent first-time homeowner in DC, good luck!

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I also hadn’t heard of Warsan Shire before, and Googled her immediately after finishing the puzzle. “Home,” wow wow wow, what a powerful and subversive poem.

      The Poetry Foundation site also had Shire’s “Backwards”:

    • Rachel Fabi says:

      hey thanks!!! I’m also still not sure if it was good or terrible timing (not sure how I am going to get my things from point A to point B), but I’m pretty excited about it!

  5. Phil says:

    I liked the Inkubator, but I’m wondering if I’m the only one taken aback at Bikram being in one of the clues. I realize it was referring to his style of yoga (as one of many) and not to him as an individual, but I was still surprised by it.

  6. Dr Fancypants says:

    NYT: I lived in Seattle for nine years, and rode the bus often. Somehow I never realized the buses with the overhead lines were called “TROLLEY BUSes”.

  7. Billy Boy says:

    Still need to do New Yorker, so no comments viewed, but NYT was a decent if relatively undistinguished Friday, probably my favourite puzzle of the week, week in week out.

    At age 68, 8D ‘Senior Moment’ made me chuckle.
    ACTION ITEM and TROLLEY BUS (Despite lotsa time in Phila.) made me groan a little.
    SHEET GLASS couldn’t go in fast enough.

    Back later if NYerM has anything of note. NYT took me 2:53. (Fill in on line after paper solve, haha.)


    Wash yer handz

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