Michael Hawkins’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
You don’t often get back-to-back constructors with the same surname! Michael, no relation to constructor Kate Hawkins, is married to a Kate. Go figure.
I went to my computer to get the puzzle, and my son came into the room to tell us that Chadwick Boseman had died. So then I spent the next hour or two feeling sad and absorbing the many social media posts grieving that loss. A huge talent, a good guy, and astonishingly strong to have made so many films while fighting a cancer none of us knew he had. Suffice it to say, I’m not feeling too focused on the puzzle tonight.
The crossword is jam-packed with great fill: CASH ONLY, HIT MIC, “AFTER YOU,” CHINOOK, TYLENOL, HEADFAKE, US VS THEM, “OH, IT’S ON NOW,” SIDE HUSTLE, K-POP, “MAHNA MAHNA,” and IDIOT-PROOF. ANT-MAN, as played by Paul Rudd in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, shared the screen with Boseman’s Black Panther in two movies.
Nice to see POLAND get a Marie Curie clue.
4.5 stars from me. Really enjoyed the puzzle.
Gary Larson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Perfect Pitch” — pannonica’s write-up
Classic advertising slogans reimagined as being applied to other businesses/industries.
- 24a. [Slogan for a law firm?] WE TRY HARDER. Playing on the judicial definition of ‘try’.
- 26a. [Slogan for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America?] THIS BUD’S FOR YOU. Buddies.
- 44a. [Slogan for the Anti-Defamation League?] STRONGER THAN DIRT.
- 67a. [Slogan for Tinder?] THE QUICKER PICKER-UPPER. hm.
- 92a. [Slogan for a gossip tabloid] HOME OF THE WHOPPER. Seems more honest than such a publication would wish to advertise. I do like how it’s symmetrically opposite to the DIRT one at 67-across.
- 109a. [Slogan for a psychiatrist?] THINK DIFFERENT. I gather this would suggest cognitive behavioral therapy, that that’s what’s indicated here?
- 116a. [Slogan for the NSA?] INTEL INSIDE. This one actually includes the original company’s name. (26-across presents a shortened form).
I guess I’m buying what Larson’s selling.
- 1a [Well-connected device] PUMP. Ooh, tricksy, no-question mark clue right at the start. So that’s how it’s gonna be. 103d [“Okay, now the gloves are off!”] IT’S ON.
- 34a [ Crude or rude] COARSE. Always appreciate it when one of these two-example clues have an extra element such as alliteration or, as here, a rhyme.
- 43a [Two-tone mammal] ORCA. Just the other day I saw a clue for this crossword habitué that was something like [Six-ton mammal]. (That would apply to a male specimen.)
- 56a [She sang at the march where Martin Luther King Jr. made his “I Have a Dream” speech] ODETTA. 59a [Song of praise] HYMN.
- 75a [Winner of both comedy and drama Emmys for the same role] ED ASNER. Have always liked this bit of trivia. Role of course is Lou Grant, first in the Mary Tyler Moore Show and then in the more serious, eponymous spinoff.
- 99a [Straw in the wind] OMEN. Huh? … (some moments later) … Huh! I was unfamiliar with that idiom. Another new one on me: 62a SKETCH in the sense of [Hilarious person]. m-w doesn’t list it, but American Heritage does.
- Another esoteric—or at least recondite—definition! 72d [Click beetle] ELATER. Once again, m-w omits this sense and American Heritage provides it.
- 78d [Whiff] ODOR. I always appreciate it when this word is clued without being pejorative.
- 82d [Approving online initialism] FTW, “for the win”.
- 119a [Cockpit gauge] ALTIMETER. This was the best way I could find to shoehorn a reference to Charlie Parker into today’s write-up. It’s his centennial today. Unbelievably, no Google doodle!
Gail Grabowski’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Fun one today! Quick time on this one, but I actually tried to rush. I had a decent time at the recent Lollapuzzoola, but I still do not fly around the keyboard while solving like some of these others. Which is weird since I have been solving for years on a computer! I think I need to stop using the mouse; that slows me down moving from the mouse to the keyboard and back. We shall see. In the meantime, great puzzle Gail! 4.4 stars.
- 15A [Carpenter’s accessory] NAIL APRON – Do they still use these? Even Norm didn’t always wear one on The New Yankee Workshop, a show I desperately miss watching. (This just in: a lot of the episodes are online! And in the one I was watching, he DID have a nail apron on!)
- 33A [Diner’s grazing spot] SALAD BAR – Do these still exist in the COVID era?
- 43A [11-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop Vizquel] OMAR – Might be hard for a non-sports fan, but this is a gimme for me.
- 54A [Did some course work] COOKED – This is a sneakily good clue!
- 59A [Douze mois] ANNEE – My French from school all those years ago still pays off!
- 63A [Enclosure for dangerous underwater cinematography] STEEL CAGE – No thank you. I will never be in one of these.
- 11D [Bremner of “Black Hawk Down”] EWEN – This dude had better make more movies and become crazy famous for crossword purposes!
- 13D [Avenue after Reading Railroad] ORIENTAL – Haven’t seen a Monopoly reference in a puzzle in quite a while.
- 21D [Model 3 autos] TESLAS – My 8 year old would know this clue!
- 35D [Toys that run on tracks] SLOT CARS – My 8 year old would also enjoy one of these! Perhaps I will get him one like I had when I was his age!
I will stop there! Off to do more puzzles!
Matthew Sewell’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
Stumped again. There was a slightly easier offering by Stan in the last week or so, which should have warned me. I have had some trouble sleeping this week, so that is my story and I am sticking to it! After the mighty struggle, I am surprised I only had the two error marks visible on the left side of the grid. But this was a brutal struggle. I may need a nap today. 4.5 stars for a toughie
- 1A [Creators of story lines] ARCHITECTS – Great entry for 1-Across! Wonderful clue.
- 15A [Approaches a runway too fast] COMES IN HOT – This is evoking a terrifying mental picture.
- 25A [The high-flying Global Hawk] SPY PLANE – I think these were called AWACS years ago. Or maybe that was a different type of plane. I have no idea what I am talking about.
- 43A [Copy righting] ERRATA – This is another good clue.
- 46A [Queen Victoria learned it from an Indian Muslim] URDU – There are so many languages to learn. Why learn this one? I’ll bet it is difficult.
- 61A [Ferocious problem-solvers] TIGER TEAMS – I don’t know this term. Where is this even from?
- 8D [Green-haired Lincoln or Washington] CHIA PET – I always said this was the type of cat my wife could have. We now have an actual cat, and it is sitting next to me as I type this!
- 10D [Villain in numerous fairy tales] STEP-PARENT – Is there a fairy tale other than Cinderella that this appears? Maybe Hansel & Gretel?
- 24D [Disney’s Toontown patsy] ROGER RABBIT – Was this a Disney movie as well? I don’t remember it being Disney when it first came out decades ago.
- 28D [Zachary Taylor/Santa Anna battle] BUENA VISTA – This is difficult. I am not that familiar with Mexican-American War battles!
Everyone have a safe and healthy weekend!
Christopher Adams’ Universal crossword — “Get Cooking” – Jim Q’s Write-up
Delicious fare served up by Christopher Adams today!
THEME: Samin Nosrat’s cooking book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
- 15A [Bratty girl in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”] VERUCA SALT.
- 23A [Talk, talk, talk] CHEW THE FAT.
- 45A [It’s in lemons and limes] CITRIC ACID.
- 54A [’60s band that indirectly took its name from Sterno] CANNED HEAT.
- 33A [Author of the influential 2017 cookbook whose title appears at the ends of 15-, 23-, 45- and 54-Across] SAMIN NOSRAT.
I confess that SAMIN NOSRAT is completely new to me, and I needed every cross, but I loved this grid! Looks like a themeless, doesn’t it? Not often you see a 7-letter entry at 1-Across in a themed puzzle. And it was fresh, too! Great fill included AT THE HALF (a bit of side eye for crossing AT RISK though), UNLEARN, SO IT GOES, Cuddle SESH, and BE REAL.
New for me was SCIMITARS and LAHTI. Unfortunately, they cross at the tough-to-infer T.
I went down a rabbit hole looking up SAMIN NOSRAT. She seems like the most fun person in the world. A Netflix documentary is coming out this October with the same title as the book. Looking forward to that!
I have always thought of Black Panther as an eye candy movie featuring extraordinarily good-looking black people including Chadwick and Angela Bassett. For me, Chadwick’s most memorable performance was as Jackie Robinson in 42. See it!!!
Fun puzzle today. It took me a while to see US vs THEM.
It’s really pretty gross to reduce a movie about Black excellence, about what could have developed without European colonizers pillaging the continent of Africa, women’s power, ethical leadership, and the impact of growing up in an American city with its structural racism … to “eye candy.” I wish you’d realize how your frequent invocation of the male gaze comes off to other people.
Talk to the editors of Essence. My oldest son is Black. If you have been around black people as much as I have, you might see movies for what they are
My daughter is biracial and (not surprisingly) much of her biological family is black, so I have been around black people as much as you have, and I completely agree with Amy. Your constant commentary on how people look – especially women and people of color – is gross.
And for the record, many of the black people I know adored “Black Panther” and thought 42 was sanitized for white people. They hated it.
It’s a blockbuster action movie. Don’t read too much into it.
I enjoyed the puzzle, except for YUGIOH and MAHNAMAHNA. For the latter, can’t you cross “nonsense words” with anything? For the former, putting TROMP for TROOP gives YUGIMH, which I suppose is worse, but not that much worse if you’ve never heard of it.
I had the same issue with putting TROMPS before TROOPS. The cluing for the latter seems off to me — the thing about ‘troop’ as a verb is that it can only refer to a bunch of people walking en masse. A single person can’t troop, IMO, no matter how slowly and steadily they walk.
See m-w verb sense 2.
Also, I did an Ngram query.
Well, I put my own wording preferences above M-W* and Ngram :) He or she trooped through the dining room sounds plain silly to me.
*I don’t take issue with dictionaries citing usages for which there is empirical evidence. That’s what they are supposed to do. But I reserve the right to scoff.
Did you at least look at the Ngram graph?
How can you cite Merriam-Webster, when your link to verb sense 2 just says “to go one’s way,” not to walk slowly and steadily. I don’t see that anywhere. I liked the puzzle overall, but the crosses on both the odd items were not satisfactory.
Thanks, I did not know of the existence of Ngram. Interesting mining to be had.
Despite troop being in M-W as a second usage it has so much military baggage as to not really denote walking alone. From the Ngram 0.00000350% (i.e. 35 in 1B) isn’t exactly vernacularish
3: to spend time together – may be an extrapolation of troopers.
Agreed, but the singular doesn’t compare too unfavorably to the plural. That’s all I was indicating.
I thought of TROMPS but it didn’t deem to fit the clue. Tromp doesn’t strike me as slowly and steady. TROOPS didn’t seem right to me, either. But after crossings left me with TRO_PS, there wasn’t really another option.
Since three people picked on Steve here and that’s been bothering me for half a day, I thought I’d speak up. I’m not one to review a film without seeing it, and Black Panther might be a wonderful film with many important ramifications. However, apart from any issues of race, I would always avoid any films in the spectacle category, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and all those popular series. Steve loves sports, so it’s so natural for him to like 42, as did I, no matter the criticisms that Jenni raises. At least it’s a human film, which I could watch and enjoy a lot, and then I can read the criticism of it later and think about it. I’m glad I saw that film and Boseman’s performance in it.
LAT: I desperately wanted 63A to be “shark cage” esp. with the starting S in place.
Steel cage seems pretty generic for that specific a clue… IMO. We had a steel cage/crate for our dog, she wasn’t dangerous nor was it for underwater use.
Otherwise, enjoyable puzzle.
I had SHARK TANK in there first, ha. I can’t imagine what I was thinking.
Same here-tsk tsk!!! The implication of danger does seem to make shark the better fit though!!!
Speaking of ERRATA in the Stumper, HEBREWS is a New Testament epistle, not an Old Testament epistle. As far as I can remember, there aren’t any Old Testament epistles.
That was my last entry. I couldn’t believe Stan would get that wrong, so I kept looking for a trick.
Given the time that has passed, maybe the New Testament is now the Old Testament and the Old Testament is the Very Old Testament.
Yeah, I had the same experience as Martin. I suspect the name is confusing them, which is disturbing.
Regarding the Stumper clue “Grandsire of Man o’ War”, the answer Seabiscuit is not correct. Hastings was the grandsire of Man o’ War.
Doesn’t Grandsire mean Grandfather? Man o’ War was born in 1917, Seabiscuit in 1933. So how could Seabiscuit be Man o’ War’s grandfather? Man o’War was Seabiscuit’s grandsire, not vice versa. For the answer to be correct, the clue should’ve read Grandson of Man 0′ War.
Correct. I was stumped until, in completing the grid, I realized it was clued incorrectly.
WSJ: I question clue/ans. 46d with hosp. employee being EMT. My thought and research shows EMT’s are usually employed by ambulances, or fire departments, which are separate from the hospitals.
I could be wrong, maybe its just where I live.
I stand corrected by myself, Wiki says about EMTs: “EMTs are often employed by private ambulance services, municipal EMS agencies, governments, hospitals, and fire departments. ” So hospital is valid.
NYT: I got stuck at the SAHL/SIMP because a) I didn’t know Mort SAHL’s specifically political comedy, and b) I didn’t expect the NYT to use the misogynistic SIMP, despite reporting on its usage elsewhere in the paper: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/07/style/simp-history-slang.html
I know USA Today isn’t done here, but I have a question about the clue for today for 55A. The clue is, “Cartoon cats chase them,” and the answer is MICE. Anyone have any insight why it specifies “Cartoon” cats rather than just saying “cats chase them”? This is not a theme answer, nor could it have anything to do with the day’s theme.
Did you check Sally’s take? https://usatodayxwordblog.blogspot.com/2020/08/august-29-2020.html.
Thanks for steering me to Sally’s commentary! Interesting reading, and a site to return to regularly. It sounds like she doesn’t understand the addition of “cartoon,” either.
LAT. What’s with “BASSTUBA” clued as a low-pitched wind? A tuba is a horn, not a wind instrument. And nobody ever calls a tuba a “bass tuba”! A tuba is a tuba. A low-pitched wind is a bassoon.
Wind instruments are typically grouped into two families: brass instruments and woodwind instruments.
And the plain old tuba is also called the bass tuba to distinguish it from the contrabass tuba and the tenor tuba (euphonium).
Stumper: Victoria was the colonial ruler of what is now Pakistan (where URDU is spoken) at the time, so it wasn’t a completely random choice.
The teacher was also not a random Indian. He was very influential and of great historical interest.
I’m with Derek in not thinking of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” as a Disney movie. I see it was released by Touchstone (per Wikipedia) but that seems an unnecessary misdirection for the clue. Wile E Coyote fit and had me going the wrong way. And cLoudS for Star clusters. Only the NW was tough but it kept me from finishing without hitting the cheater buttons :-(.
I ended in error with TROMPS. I did think of TROOPS but decided after wavering that it fit the clue less well. Either way, the crossing made no sense at all, so I just gave up in puzzlement. A flaw, I think, in an otherwise fine puzzle.