Yacob Yonas’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Whooooosh! This was too easy, if you ask me. The super-speedsters probably finished this puzzle in under two minutes. I do like a challenge, but this puzzle was smooth and clean, a delight to solve.
Fave fill: SEA TURTLE, TIRE MARKS (liked the misleading clue, [Leftovers from a doughnut, say]), BRUTE FORCE, BEER GARDEN (I filled in B*ERGAR*EN at first, unsure of whether it might be the German BIERGARTEN), RAISE A GLASS, “ALL SYSTEMS GO,” and NOT UP TO SNUFF.
The only thing that gave me pause was EMONEY, 23a. [Ethereum or Bitcoin, for example]. How common is that term rather than cryptocurrency? Also, never heard of Ethereum.
- 1a. [Gold Coast port], ACCRA. Somehow I guessed this right off the bat, and crossings ATMS and CADY confirmed it. Thank you, Sporcle (answer in the puzzle on Monday!) geography quizzes, for the helping hand.
- 14a. [Snacks known as “student fodder” and “scroggin” in Germany and New Zealand, respectively], TRAIL MIXES. Never encountered either of those terms, but the T and A from ATMS and CADY pointed the way. Scroggin? Sounds like a mix of scrotum and HAGGIS, but sure.
- Coffee corner: We get 43a. [Coffee spot?], STAIN, crossing 41d. [Tall order?], LATTE.
- 2d. [“___ Camp,” 2020 Oscar-nominated documentary], CRIP. This is pretty much the only way you can clue this entry without coming off as offensive, isn’t it? I have not seen the documentary but look! The whole movie can be watched on YouTube even if you’re not a Netflix customer. Feel free to watch the documentary right here in this post.
- 22d. [Begin the toasting process], RAISE A GLASS. Before you know it, your bread is brown and crunchy, and someone feels appreciated.
- 39d. [U.S. city that’s home to the largest Basque population outside Spain], BOISE, Idaho. Absolutely true!
- 50d. [“How now?,” to a cow?], MOO. If you say so.
Incredibly fluid Friday puzzle, lots of neat fill and interesting clues. 4.25 stars from me.
Kevin Christian & Bruce Haight’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
The four long acrosses are themers, and they share identical clues: [Exclamation clued by its circled letters]. Each set of circled letters is a three-letter word, also an exclamation.
- 16a. NAH = AIN‘T GONNA HAPPEN
- 27a. HEY = HOLD EVERYTHING
- 47a. OHO = LOOK WHAT I FOUND
- 57a. AHH = THAT HITS THE SPOT
Very tidy and elegant theme. Two 15 letter entries and two 14s.
This crossword had a few tricky spots and took me noticeably longer than the very easy Friday NYT offering. Mostly due to vagueness in the cluing, which is a legitimate way to make a puzzle more difficult.
- 2d [All-vowel avowal] OUI. Fun with words.
- 4d [Mint in a tin] ALTOID. Unsolicited plug: if you can find them, I recommend Meltzer’s all-natural mints, also in a tin. Intense flavors.
- 17a [“The Maids” playwright Jean] GENET.
- 58d [Demo letters] TNT. Here demo means demolition, not demonstration.
- 5a [Court case determination] FACT. If you say so.
- 19a [ __ the line] TOES. For some reason I only considered the past tense TOED here, which led to the fictitious nation of KODOVO in the crossing.
- Canadia! 46a [Me. neighbor] QUE, 48d [River to the St. Lawrence] OTTAWA.
- 56a [Neutrogena shampoo brand] T-GEL. Was so prepared to complete the TG with IF.
- 54a [Go out with a bang] SLAM. Good clue.
(All sounds in this piece are recordings of the composer’s studio door.)
Gary Larson’s Universal crossword, “Women’s Sports Venues”—Jim P’s review
Theme: Famous women whose surnames can also be a sporting venue.
- 17a. [“Girls Trip” actress who could aptly be a pool star?] REGINA HALL. I don’t know the name, but with her resumé, she’s certainly crossword-worthy. The real question is whether pool is a sport. According to the IOC, it’s not.
- 27a. [“Night Court” actress who could aptly be a softball star?] SELMA DIAMOND. Another name I don’t recognize. If you’re going to bring up a Night Court actress’s name, and if it’s not Markie Post, I’ll have no chance. And how many solvers today even remember her name?
- 44a. [“Cheers” actress who could aptly be a bowling star?] KIRSTIE ALLEY. She’s been known more recently for her Trump-loving tweets.
- 59a. [“Lincoln” actress who could aptly be a soccer star?] SALLY FIELD. She’s been known more recently for her Trump-bashing tweets.
An okay theme, but when you only recognize half the names, it’s just not as fun. And it’s just an odd concept, as if “women’s sports venues” was actually a thing. (See r/pointlesslygendered.) And why does having the last name of a venue make you a star of that sport. Why not clue it [Soccer venue named for a “Lincoln” actress?], etc.? That would make more sense to me since the title of the puzzle refers to venues.
The long fill is solid but not especially sparkly: BELTLINE, ELITISTS, GETS FIT, and RENEGED. I liked seeing actress LEELEE Sobieski in the mix; I don’t think I’ve seen her name in a grid before.
Clues of note:
- 43a. [Like Neptune’s atmosphere]. GASSY. Wouldn’t the correct term be “GASEOUS”? GASSY should be clued [Like my brother’s house’s atmosphere].
- 49a. [Doesn’t cook]. EATS RAW. Who else had EATS OUT here first?
The basis of the theme is fine, but little things about its execution irked me. 3.3 stars.
Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword – Rachel’s writeup
Happy Friday, folks! Although I must admit, today’s puzzle did not feel like a New Yorker Friday to me— the abundance of proper nouns (especially in the SE!) made this one a real challenge for me, to the point where my only recourse was google. Not a great feeling!
I liked the stack in the NW (BACK BUTTON / ACTION HERO / STATE SEALS) and the other longish entries LOVE HATE, ICE SKATER, and SKI LESSONS. The grid is hyper segmented, with only two squares connecting the NE and SW halves , and the actual NE and SW corners are even more closed off. This made for a somewhat choppy solving experience, and made having so many unfamiliar propers in the SE reallllly challenging for me. Specifically, I didn’t know and could not infer the crossings at JANE JACOBS/JAS, JANE JACOBS/FERENGI, JANE JACOBS/SAS, JANE JACOBS/ST JOE, FERENGI/FONTAINE, or FONTAINE/DEWALT. If I had had 1-2 more of the downs through JANE JACOBS, the rest of the letters probably would have been guessable, but guessing DAS instead of JAS and ST LOE instead of ST JOE made the letter pattern of JANE JACOBS downright inscrutable. Oof.
A few more things:
- Favorite clues:
- [Singer Eartha who voiced the villain Yzma in “The Emperor’s New Groove”] for KITT — I recently read an oral history on the creation of this movie and it was excellent
- [“I feel seen,” in Twitter-speak] for IT ME — I love this entry and want to see it become ubiquitous
- Did not love seeing ASSAD in the grid
Overall, not my favorite New Yorker solving experience in recent memory! See you all next week.
Becca Gorman’s Inkubator crossword, “Tree For All”—Jenni’s review
Very belated, very short note about this lovely crossword. Becca deserves better, and I’m sorry.
Here’s the grid. We have phrases that contain the names of trees, clued literally with the scientific names of said trees.
- 18a [Interpreter of the Arecaceae?] is a PALM READER.
- 26a [Knocks over the Leptospermum?] is SPILLS THE TEA.
- 48a [Full of Picea?] is ALL SPRUCED UP.
- 63a [Faces a Fraxinus?] is TURNS TO ASH.