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.
Lat: Once again, I have a nit about the answer being part of the clue.
46 d: dsl PROVIDER = ISP = (which means) Internet service PROVIDER.
Otherwise I really enjoyed the puzzle and its smooth theme.
Amy, I loved the NYT puzzle too – thanks Robyn! I finished the puzzle on a road trip with my brother back up to Lake George from our parents’ home, where we had a smaller-than-usual Thanksgiving dinner in our bubble of four (dinner included lobster mac & cheese – Ina Garten recipe below!). We’re still on the road, listening to Eek-a-mouse….
I also caught up on puzzles from the past few weeks that I hadn’t had a chance to get to, and just read the post about the 15 year anniversary of the blog. Congratulations and thank you – I’ve learned so much from you and the other contributors during the past few years. I really look forward to the reviews from you and Jenni, and some of the comments from folks like Huda, Zulema and Lise (Charlottesville – wahoowa!) It’s a really nice community that you’ve all created, so thank you again and best wishes.
Thanks for the kind words, Gerard. Huda, Zulema, and Lise are among my favorites, too, for their always thoughtful commentary.
NYT: Another nice puzzle from Robyn, although the NE defeated me completely. I was sure the answer for 10 Down was WELL, WHY NOT? That mistake made everything else quite impossible. The answer for 22 Across was tough but wonderful. Anna’s New Yorker puzzle was easier and fun but there were way too many abbreviations for my tastes.
Tooke me a few sessions, but great fill! Go Robyn!