Kyra Wilson & Sophia Maymudes’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
What a SWEET TREAT! This grid is amazing, chock-full of wildly great fill. The two corner stacks of 10s, intersecting with 12s that tie the rest of the grid together? Love ’em all.
Culture brings us ANIMAL FARM (good clue, [Veiled satire on Joseph Stalin]), BONG JOON-HO of Parasite fame, ILANA Glazer of Broad City, DEGAS and his fondness for painting BALLET dancers, NEAL Cassady, KEANU Reeves, LOVE’S Labour’s Lost, and the upcoming movie IN THE HEIGHTS (adapted from the off-Broadway musical LMM wrote while at Wesleyan).
Colloquial language is here, too: “I’VE MOVED ON,” DEATH STARE, FUTZED, A JOB WELL DONE, GEN(eration) Z. And I always like a little geography, so BAKU, ANDORRA, and the BERING SEA were nice pops.
Six more things:
- 24a. [One who is so close (and yet so far)], RUNNER-UP. Love this clue.
- 32a. [Long way around town?], BUS. A long vehicle, that. I miss riding the bus along the lakefront.
- 37a. [He or I, but not you?], ELEMENT. Helium and iodine.
- 42a. [Group of zombies], HORDE. I had the -DE in place and briefly considered PRIDE. How cool would it be to have a pride of zombies?
- 61a. [What might be on the tip of your tongue?], STUD. Piercings! Who else tried WORD based on the D at the end?
- 58d. [Food scrap], ORT. It’s crusty crosswordese, yes, but I have a soft spot for it because of the time I used it in a high school Western Civ paper and the teacher marked it with a question mark. He should’ve looked it up in the dictionary!
4.5 stars from me. Keep ’em coming, Kyra and Sophia!
Robyn Weintraub’s New Yorker crossword – Rachel’s writeup
Happy Robyn Friday! This is a super impressive construction, with four interlocking 15s and silky smooth fill and cluing.
Those 4 15s are all excellent: SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK / A RAISIN IN THE SUN / AGREE TO DISAGREE / EMPEROR PENGUINS. Interlocking! With tons of other amazing long fill like CUSTOM-MADE / ANTISEPTIC / THERE THERE / RIVER BOATS./ LIME TREES / SNUCK UP ON, I can’t overstate how impressive this all is. And the short fill! It’s so clean! There are only two bits of true “crosswordese” (as I see it): ECRU (classic) and SMEE, which gets Robyn cleverly and alliteratively clues as [“Peter Pan” pirate popular in puzzles]. Literal lol on that one.
The only place I tripped up with in the south, where PERI and TOYS crossed. Not knowing who PERI Gilpin is, and going too fast to process the ? at the end of [Stocking stuffers?]. meant that I ended up with PYRI Gilpin, but I found the error quickly enough (and also that’s a great misdirect).
A few more things:
- Favorite clues: (so many!)
- [State whose postal abbreviation might come as a surprise?] for OHIO
- [Product that’s one foot long?] for SHOE
- [One of the sisters in the band HAIM] for ESTE – I’m glad Robyn did this because now it’s ok for me to clue ESTE Haim as the victim in Taylor Swift’s “No Body No Crime,” right?
- [What the truth does, sometimes] for HURTS
- There were so many clues I wanted to pull a music video for: HAIM; Aaron Burr, SIR; SZA/CTRL; SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK, but obviously Lizzo won with Truth HURTS
Overall, all the stars from me. What a great start to the weekend!
Nate Cardin’s Universal crossword, “See You Around!”—Jim P’s review
The title is a hint that each theme answer starts with a C and ends with a U.
- 17a. [Car named after a beachfront city] CHEVY MALIBU
- 24a. [Japanese dish with panko crumbs] CHICKEN KATSU
- 49a. [One may include a sidecar] COCKTAIL MENU
- 60a. [“Crazy Rich Asians” star] CONSTANCE WU
As a constructor, I think I dislike the letter C the most. It tends to put unexpected constraints on your grid. With the weird letters like X and Z, you know what you’re in for and how to deal with them. But with C you’re lulled into a false sense of normalcy—that you should be able to fill the grid just fine—until you’re boxed into a corner.
And then, with this theme, each entry has to end in U. That in itself is an uncommon enough occurrence, relatively speaking.
But Nate handles everything wonderfully with lively entries and solid crossings and fill. I admit to not knowing the actress’s name (I still haven’t seen the film yet), but the crossings were more than fair. (Same goes with the name below it, SAMIN [“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” chef Nosrat]).
The long fill—though nothing is longer than 7, probably due to those pesky Cs—is strong, considering: NOVICES, KNUCKLE, ANTACID, and SOUP CAN. And then there are some nice additions in the Across direction: LIMEADE, BAKE SALE, “HOW WAS IT?” and APROPOS.
Clues of note:
- 50d. [Treat as different from oneself, in modern lingo]. OTHER. I don’t think I’ve heard this usage before. “OTHER” as a verb? I can see how it would be used, I just haven’t encountered it.
- 63d. [Org. whose middle letter stands for “Security”]. NSA. Thanks for this very specific clue to help those of us who didn’t know the crossing SAMIN.
Stealthily clean grid despite the constraints. 3.8 stars. CU L8R!
Jeffrey Wechsler’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Left-right, or MIRROR (20a [Compact part]), symmetry in this 14×15 15×16 grid.
- 17a. [“Take my advice: no use crying over spilled milk …”] WHAT’S DONE IS DONE.
- 34a/36a. [“There’s no going back …”] YOU CAN’T CHANGE THE PAST.
- 48a. [“Put everything behind you …”] FORGET ABOUT IT.
- 61a. [“And look ahead.”] IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON.
Seems like encouraging stuff, right?
But then there’s this (unintentional?) deflating zinger: 65a [“So close!”] NICE TRY.
Theme works for me.
- 3d [Great sadness] HEARTACHE. Gives me a chance to share some more Lowell George.
- 31d [Auto additive with a red oval logo] STP. 42d [Supermarket chain with a red oval logo] IGA, which I can never quite remember.
- 15a [“Raging Bull” boxer] Jake LAMOTTA. But considering the theme entries and 64a THE LAPD, I’m put in mind of the film Chinatown. “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”
- 26a [Spot to get a bite on the street] CAFÉ. Indoor dining is still a risky proposition, people.
54a [Shorebirds related to stilts] AVOCETS. Here’s a nice photograph of a black-and-white, crossword-worthy, pied avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta.
- 55a [Crux] NUB, but I had NUT at first, which made the crossing entry the normal-looking TONY. However, that didn’t jibe with the clue [Superskinny] which eventually led me to BONY. Took a while to locate this error and finish the puzzle.
I used to end my college radio show with this cover of John Lee Hooker’s song.