Friday, May 28, 2021

LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT 5:11 (Amy) 


The New Yorker 3:56 (Amy) 


Universal 3:42 (Jim P) 


Andrew Ries’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 5 28 21, no. 0528

Seemed a tad tough for a Friday puzzle, possibly because I don’t know my biblical geriatrics or the dessert at 14a, and I had ELLEN instead of ESSIE for 19a. [Woman’s name that sounds like two letters of the alphabet]. Took a while to unravel all that!

Fave fill: TRANS ICON, AC MILAN, “WEIRD, HUH?”, the EAST ROOM of the White House, FREE TIME (here comes the weekend!), ART CRITICS (shout-out to regular commenter JohnH), EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, and HONOR ROLLS.

Not so keen on AFT., SMEE, or that single TEA LEAF.

Seven more things:

  • 1a. [Building with many drafts], BEER BAR. I’ve never been to one, I don’t think. Presumably a zillion craft brewery taprooms don’t serve any booze besides beer?
  • 14a. [“Heavenly” dessert with a lemony filling], ANGEL PIE. A Sunset magazine recipe says it’s freshly whipped cream folded into (laborious) lemon curd, spooned into a light, crisp meringue “pie shell.” I would eat that!
  • 16a. [Space between the ribs of an insect wing], AREOLA. It never fails to amuse how scared the crossword is of mentioning a body part that pretty much every single human is born with.
  • 33a. [Movement to reduce frivolous lawsuits], TORT REFORM. Wow, that is an editorially slanted clue, isn’t it? That’s the argument for those who want to cut corporations a break, but there are many others who view TORT REFORM as a cut to consumers’ rights and a shield for corporate wallets.
  • 43a. [Bob ___, Canadian ambassador to the U.N.], RAE. I might have seen the name before? And maybe I haven’t. If you’re at all notable and RAE is one of your names, you’re gonna find yourself in crossword clues.
  • 15d. [Post master?], EDITOR-IN-CHIEF. The Washington Post just got a new EIC, Sally Buzbee, who starts next week. She replaces Marty Baron, who was portrayed by Liev Schreiber in Spotlight.
  • 54d. [Potter’s substance], SOIL. Didn’t even see the clue while solving, but if I’d approached it with no crossings, I’d have gone with CLAY. If you like pottery, or good-natured British competition shows, check out HBO Max’s Great Pottery Throw Down. And yes, I wish it were Throwdown in the title, or at least a hyphenated Throw-Down.

Four stars from me.

Orrin Konheim & Brad Wilber Universal crossword, “Tri-State Area”—Jim P’s review

Theme: Each theme answer is a world location containing three pairs of circled letters which turn out to be three state abbreviations. So they are, in a way, “tri-state areas.” Note there are numerous tri-state areas in the U.S. as listed here.

Universal crossword solution · “Tri-State Area” · Orrin Konheim & Brad Wilber · Fri., 5.28.21

  • 17a. [Seoul’s landmass] KOREAN PENINSULA. Oregon, Indiana, Louisiana.
  • 28a. [Washington archipelago with a Spanish name] SAN JUAN ISLANDS. New Jersey, Louisiana, North Dakota. These islands are a destination location for those of us living in the Evergreen State. We’ve been in Tacoma for 4.5 years now, but haven’t made it there. Hopefully soon.
  • 50a. [Denver backdrop] ROCKY MOUNTAINS. Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana.
  • 65a. [Vancouver’s province] BRITISH COLUMBIA. Rhode Island, Colorado, Iowa.

I was really hoping there would only be one instance of each state, but maybe that’s too much to ask for. Otherwise, this was really elegant and enjoyable. It is surprising that TRI appears at 9d when it’s also in the title.

Maybe because there’s so much theme material (two 14s and two 15s), there’s not a single bit of fill longer than six letters. I did like “OK THEN” and UGANDA which I noted has two states (Georgia, North Dakota) of its own.

Clues of note:

  • 11a. [Vowelless order at a deli]. BLT, which, obviously, stands for BOLO TIE.
  • 32d. [Cynthia with a pair of Emmys]. NIXON. Nice to see this entry with a different clue. I believe the Sex and the City actress ran for office in the last go-around.

Not much in the way of sparkly fill in this grid, but I did enjoy the theme. 3.9 stars.

Zachary David Levy’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 5/28/21 • Fri • Levy • solution • 20210528

Theme is phrases parsed literally as signals to spell things backward. The answers are common phrases.

  • 17a. [YENOH] INVERT SUGAR (honey).
  • 26a. [GOC] REVERSE GEAR (cog).
  • 36a. [TAR] TURNED TRAITOR (rat).
  • 60a. [NEMO] COUNTERSIGN (omen).

Works well enough.

What else have we got?

  • 8d [National animal of Malaysia] TIGER. They’ve appeared on many stamps over the years. But of course they’re extremely RARE (18d [Not seen much]) in life. Considered critically endangered: the World Wildlife Fund’s current estimate is of less than 200 in the wild.
  • 11d [Writing tool] ERASER. Minor misdirection there.
  • 68a [Case, for example: Abbr.] SYN. This clue format fools me about half the time, and today was one of those times.

That’s about all I have to say. Fine theme, mostly good ballast fill, so a moderately pleasing crossword overall.


Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s write-up

New Yorker crossword solution, 5 28 21

A smooth 68-worder from Patrick to close out the New Yorker’s puzzle week. My favorite entry is DOT DOT DOT, [You can imagine what happened next]. This pairs well with the SEX SCENES on the opposite side, where little is left to the imagination.

Other fave fill: HOLE PUNCH, DAENERYS, NORTH FACE, MOIRA Rose, DR. TEETH, and my beloved ETYMOLOGY. It’s nice to have relatively few (8) 3-letter words in a grid, less risk of ungainly abbreviations. Since this is a Berry, it stands to reason that the 4s and 5s holding the long stuff together will also be entirely smooth.

I suppose a 20-year-old solver might not know fictional WKRP and Mike DITKA, so that K could be a tough crossing. I was an ’80s teen, though, so these were gimmes for me.

Two more things:

  • 18a. [Flower’s sepals, collectively], CALYX. That is just a gorgeous word, isn’t it? I find it so esthetically pleasing. I may have even worn Clinique’s Calyx fragrance back in the day.
  • 59a. [Make known, as an opinion], GIVE AIR TO. This actually feels a bit awkward to me.

Four stars from me.

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36 Responses to Friday, May 28, 2021

  1. pseudonym says:

    Nice NYT clues for ART CRITICS and HONOR ROLLS.

  2. MattFI says:

    I found the NYT to be quite tough but ultimately doable. Hard to get footholds and vague, jokey clues… I like hard-but-doable puzzles, but on Saturday, please.

  3. damefox says:

    The NYT is really bothsidesing it today with TRANSICON and DICKCHENEY.

    On the positive side, the clue for TOME made me smile because it reminded me of a Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone scene that makes that same joke.

  4. Ethan says:

    NYT: I didn’t understand the clue for ART CRITIC. Doesn’t the *artist* use the oils?

    • Sandy H. says:

      Yes, but it’s the critic who does the panning.

    • R says:

      “Oils” is a common (for the art world) term for “works painted with oils.” Using works to pan other works is pretty standard criticism. Sounds fine to me.

  5. dh says:

    My hen uses “they” and refuses to lay eggs.

  6. Mutman says:

    NYT: Found the NW rather difficult. Beer Garden? Yes. BEERBAR, No — never heard it used.

    ESSIE? Please name someone named Essie. Never heard of that either.

    • David L says:

      Essie Davis

      I’m with you on BEERBAR

    • Gary R says:

      When I was a youngster (in the 60’s) in Wisconsin, the drinking age was 18 for beer and 21 for wine or hard liquor. So there were “beer bars” that catered to the under-21 crowd. That said, I didn’t care for the clue/answer either. I went with brew pub first.

    • marciem says:

      Essie = common nickname for Esther, Estelle & maybe others I can’t think of.

  7. Mary Flaminio says:

    Off topic. Anyone else having trouble printing Matt Gaffney’s The Week puzzle?

  8. Greg says:

    As tough a Friday as I remember, but ultimately solvable.

    Can’t figure out how “clash of the titans?” comes out as EGOS. Anyone?

    • marciem says:

      I jus take “titans” as big shots/honchos, and with two of them together their egos can clash. The word titans isn’t capitalized so I don’t think its talking about superheros.

      • Greg says:

        Thanks. That’s pretty much what I surmised. But it strikes me as a particularly awkward clue. “Cause of clash of the titans?” adds two words, but at least works.

        • marciem says:

          I think constructor was trying to be cute and play on the movie title rather than being too helpful :) .

  9. David L says:

    I agree with Ethan on the clue for ARTCRITICS — it doesn’t make sense.

    Also not keen on BALE = “Roll in the hay?” A bale is a roll of hay, although I supposed it might be sitting outside along with a bunch of yet-to-be-baled hay.

    Clues that try too hard to be cute do not make me smile.

    • Gary R says:

      Re: BALE – I thought it might be defensible if BALE and roll are verbs. But not very defensible. ;-)

      • marciem says:

        I’m good with that. We can “roll out the barrel” so why not “roll in the hay” (except that hay bales are usually square… :D )

        • Ch says:

          I was going to comment on that – here in farm country, there are rolls of hay and bales of hay, but a roll is not a bale as far as I know.

  10. PJ says:

    LAT – Today’s ear worm, “The Cat Came Back.” Thanks, P.

    NYT – I’m not an active timer but I do look at my times every now and then. The puzzle felt difficult while solving but my time was lower than what I think is typical for me on Friday. With no errors.

  11. Gareth says:

    LA: NEMO and TAR work better and if more options that could work as unrelated words were found the deception would be so much more satisfying…

  12. Rose says:

    It’s nice to see yet another definition of areola. I never knew that about insects. Throwing down clay in pottery vocab is called wedging.

  13. joel roman says:

    How can someone say Matt Gaffney’s puzzle “stunk” when his email announced it wouldn’t be sent until Saturday?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Matt has a weekly puzzle in The Week, and that’s the Gaffney puzzle cited above.

  14. Ch says:

    Having made that Sunset angel pie several times now, it’s really not difficult or time-consuming, and it looks and tastes FANTASTIC. Make it, you won’t regret it!

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