Robyn Weintraub’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Okay, I gotta be quick here, it’s almost midnight. But it’s still Thanksgiving and I am thankful for crosswords by the great Robyn Weintraub!
Fave fill: STONEHENGE with a great clue ([Classic British rock group]), EEK-A-MOUSE the artist and interjection, CARRIES A TORCH, BANANAS FOSTER, HULA SKIRT, Berkeley Breathed’s BILL THE CAT (I was more a fan of Opus the penguin), the movie GREMLINS, “HINT, HINT,” GO-GETTER, AD BLOCKERS (one of my hobbies this year has been clicking through to a news site and not being able to view an article till I turn off AdBlock), and “SURE, WHY NOT?”
Toughest clue for me: 20a. [Response to an air offensive?], BLEEP. As in an offensive word uttered on the TV airwaves.
Dug the two-fer clue, [Word that may or may not be a contraction], yielding both WERE/WE’RE and ILL/I’LL.
Thanksgiving shout-out, for those of us who are Black or maybe Southerners: 38d. [Pasta in a cheesy dish, informally], MAC. If you had mac and cheese for the holiday, I’m jealous!
Loved the puzzle. 4.5 stars from me.
Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword – Rachel’s writeup
I have not fully recovered from the turkey-and-pie situation I participated in yesterday, so this will be a quick writeup!
I got off to a quick start in the NW, but ground to a halt in the SE on KATE MILLETT, a name I hadn’t encountered before. I just read her Wikipedia page and man, she had an interesting life! The crossing with KIEL, another word I didn’t know, made this corner even harder. I’m also not convinced that END ALL translates to [Ultimate goal]. Maybe END-ALL be-all? The other long entries today were: PESCATARIAN (which I spelled wrong), KEPT AT BAY, and INAUDIBLY. All pretty solid!
A few more things:
- Dupe, for those who care, on PUERTO / [One celebrating Puerto Rican Day, St. Patrick’s Day, or Pride, perhaps] for PARADERS
- ZOOMLINKs haunt my dreams
- GOT THE NOD to me means something more along the lines of “was nominated” than “got the okay,” but the internet says it can be either
- Fill I could live without: SWM, NLER, ASTA, KIEL, REGT
- Forgot for a moment which NFL team uses WHO DAT and which uses “Who dey”
Overall, multiple stars for the crunchy long entries and some solid trivia/New Yorkerness. See you all on Monday!
Gary Larson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Puzzled looks are not something I would expect solvers to experience while working this crossword. An easily-understood theme and smooth fill throughout.
- 16a. [Observe musical festival performers?] WATCH BANDS (watchbands).
- 10d. [Observe engagement jewelry?] SPY RINGS (spy rings).
- 38a. [Observe woodworking tools?] SEE SAWS (see-saws).
- 37d. [Observe fancy dances?] EYE BALLS (eyeballs).
- 61a. [Observe bank drafts?] SPOT CHECKS (spot-checks). Anybody spatchcock their turkey for yesterday’s feast-thing?
Looking past the theme …
- Bit of trickery right at the start! 1a [Easter beginning?] NOR’
- The gimmick loses some oomph as it’s repeated in the clues: 11d [Capital of Portugal?] PEE, and 53d [Starter for 007’s car?] ASTON.
- 19a [Small battery type] C CELL. Larger than your double- and triple-As, which are the ones typically clued as ‘small’. Of course there are much larger batteries, so in the grand scheme of things, Cs are indeed small. Nevertheless.
- 68a [Old boomer] SST. Sonic boom. 66a [Okay] YES.
- 7d [Norman Bates, thankfully] LONER. Anyone else think this is a weird clue?
- 8d [Cutlass, e.g.] OLDS, symmetrical to 57d [Blunted sword] EPÉE.
- 52d [Set aside for later] STORE, 24a [Comment not meant for everyone] ASIDE. Reader, do you see that duplication?
Paul Coulter’s Universal crossword, “Hot Places”—Jim P’s review
I’m not 100% sure I got the theme right, but it seems to be city names and their locales that both start with T. The 55a revealer, HAVE A SPOT OF TEA, is clued [Enjoy a warm drink in England, and a phonetic hint to the starred answers’ initials].
- 20a. [*City between Dallas and Little Rock] TEXARKANA, TEXAS. Aside from the revealer, this is the only theme clue I read. Got the rest from crossings.
- 26a. [*North African city near a Mediterranean gulf] TUNIS, TUNISIA
- 46a. [*City known for its bamboo-shaped skyscraper] TAIPEI, TAIWAN
I see that each city and its state (or country) start with the same three letters, but I’m having a hard time understanding how that makes for a “spot” of T. The revealer says to just key in on the answers’ initials, but what makes them “spots” of T as opposed to, say, Tulsa, Oklahoma, or Tacoma, Washington?
Try as I might, I can’t see it. Maybe it’s because I am currently ODing on tryptophan after our Turkey Day dinner. If you’re more clear-headed than me, feel free to clue us in in the comments.
The 14-letter revealer (and its upper-grid counterpart) force all the theme material towards the center, constraining the fill. Consequently there’s not much sparkle to get excited about. I do like CHIPOTLE and chicken KATSU; you’d think I was hungry or something.
If the theme was cities/states that start with the same three-letters, I’d be fine with that, but the revealer is throwing me off. And the fill is fine but that’s about it. 3.2 stars.