Adam Aaronson’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
Fave fill: PLOT ARMOR, RIDESHARE, “AND YOU ARE?”, WAKANDA, TIDE POOL, FALSE HOPE, RHEA PERLMAN.
Iffiest crossing: 49a. [Ginger at a sushi bar], GARI meets 24d. [Exclamation popularized by “Die Hard”], YIPPEE-KI-YAY. I’m not entirely confident that the world has settled on one particular spelling for the latter, and the former was new to me (making a mental note of GARI).
Question about 13d. [Caulking might prevent them], AIR LEAKS: I’m familiar with caulk being used to seal water leaks. What sort of caulking applications seal up air flow?
Lots of nice clues, but I gotta run now so I’ll sign off at four stars.
Freddie Cheng’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
I think I have done one or two other Freddie Cheng puzzles, but it is not a byline I know that well. This one wasn’t too difficult, but there is a nice stack of 9- and 10-letter words in the center, which is what draws your eye to this grid immediately. The corners are also quite wide-open, and this puzzle, in typical LAT fashion, has very little obscurity in this challenging grid. Very well done! Freddie, nice puzzle! Keep ’em coming! 4.4 stars from me.
A few words …
- 1A [153-year-old group that became unisex nationally in 1995] ELKS – OK … this seems backwards. Any Elks members out there that can explain this group? I know next to nothing.
- 17A [“The Sound of Music” song opener] “DOE A DEER … “ – I thought this meant the opening song of this musical at first. But even then, there is a mini preamble to this song, is there not?
- 31A [Perfectly executed] DONE TO A TEE – Part of the middle stack. This entry is spelled a few different ways, but look at all those easy letters in there!
- 39A [Jazzman Saunders] MERL – I believe you. I don’t know jazz at all.
- 43A [Drink with a 2021 Peeps variety] PEPSI – Bad idea all around!
- 7D [Insect-resistant home feature] SCREENED-IN PORCH – This makes me think of my grandmothers, who BOTH wanted this for their homes.
- 11D [Apt slogan on merchandise featuring MLB slugger Aaron Judge] ALL RISE – Yes, I have seen this on t-shirts a few times. Not a Yankee fan, though.
- 29D [Roentgen cousins] RADS – I know most of what I know about nuclear energy from watching Chernobyl. It was excellent, by the way.
- 34D [Cook with batter, usually] DEEP FRY – This generally makes food less healthy, but sometimes it is so delicious!
- 42D [Two of the Spice Girls] MELS – Mel B and Mel C, if I remember correctly. These girls are all pushing 50 now! Man, I feel old again …
Off to work of some puzzles during this long weekend!
Stock & Vazquez’s Newsday crossword, “Themeless Saturday” – Derek’s write-up
The byline here says “Stock and Vazquez,” which I can only assume is Matthew Stock and Quiara Vazquez, as those names are in the constructor database. Please correct me if I am wrong. This wasn’t too difficult for me, but still a challenge. I think this was just in my wheelhouse. My theory that they are harder during holiday weekend has some holes this time! But I had fun, and that is what matters! 4.6 stars from me.
A few comments:
- 15A [They’re tinny and tasty] PAN LOAVES – This clue doesn’t make any sense! Is this saying the bread tastes tinny?? Did the clue writer try too hard? Am I overthinking it?
- 24A [Field full of seeds in the spring] BRACKETOLOGY – This is a great clue. Maybe not if you’re not a sports fan.
- 32A [Weekly event for some clubs] OPEN MIC – I don’t know of any clubs around here that do this. Not that I am a “clubber” by any means! Lots of karaoke here and there; is that considered the same thing?
- 35A [”What’s the worst that could happen?”] “DO I DARE?” – Great casual phrase!
- 47A [”Idea worth spreading” heard on NPR] TED TALK – One of these days I will do a TED talk. Not sure on what topic …
- 22D [Former big name in seat-pocket marketing] SKYMALL – Man, I haven’t seen one of these in forever!
- 36D [Source of stats] DATA MINE – I had DATABASE, then DATABANK in here; which caused issues.
- 39D [The __ did it (solution to ”Murder at the Winery”)] BOTTLER – Wonderful pun here! Is this an actual work or is this all a pun for the clue?
- 45D [”Carmen” hero, e.g.] TENOR – I don’t know opera!
- 50D [”Bien-__” (darling)] AIME – I know a fair amount of French, but I don’t think I know this term. Could just be me!
Everyone have a safe and healthy long weekend!
Chase Dittrich’s Universal crossword, “Now You See It” — Jim Q’s write-up
Title says it all!
THEME: -IT is added to common phrases and wackiness is born.
- 18A [Thumb’s alternate name?] THE BIG DIGIT.
- 28A [Make ready for a moon walk?] GRAVITY TRAIN.
- 44A [Small spoiler in a certain film from abroad?] SUBTITLE HINT.
- 58A [Songs that don’t go on forever?] FINITE TUNES.
Stephen King’s type of puzzle. That creepy clown makes an appearance 4 times over today.
I’ve never heard the phrase THE BIG DIG. Have absolutely no clue what it refers to. An insult? Archeology? Let’s look that up… Oh. It was a highway project in Boston. That’s not as exciting as I was hoping for. Learned something though!
I’m not typically a big fan of cross-references but very much enjoyed the PAYPHONE / OUTDATED reference. Especially because I uncovered PAYPHONE first and thought to myself “Well, that’s outdated….”
A FINE (and FINITE I suppose :) puzzle today.
Sheldon Polonsky’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Marquee Matchups” — pannonica’s write-up
I get that there’s a thing—especially (apparently?) in soccer aka football—called a “marquee matchup” but I can’t help thinking that a better title might be the punnier “Marquee Mashup”:
- 22a. [Just another day in Congress, some would say? (Jack Lemmon/Uma Thurman)] GRUMPY OLD MEN | KILL BILL.
§ Okay, so right away I knew the general principle of what was going on, but went slightly in the wrong direction. Completing this as GRUMPY OLD MEN AND WOMEN, I figured Ms Thurman was in an adaptation of the Hemingway story Men and Women, but I was wrong on numerous counts. First, the title of that work is Men Without Women, and second, I was probably vaguely thinking of Henry & June. But I soon enough saw the errors of my ways. §
- 42a. [Result of too many posts from online disrupters? (Anna Kendrick/Sandra Bullock/Bill Skarsgård/Faye Dunaway)] TROLLS | CRASH | IT | NETWORK. Note how It is reparsed.
- 63a. [M&M’s vs. Willy Wonka? (Jack Nicholson/Tony Todd)] MARS ATTACKS | CANDYMAN.
§ Oh hi, me again. I suppose ‘mashups’ wouldn’t be an acceptable title, since (unlike my original attempt, described above, there is no overlap of title words; just concatenation. §
- 82a. [Why only skilled parents should make spaghetti? (Mila Kunis/Donald Sutherland/Bill Murray)] BAD MOMS | M*A*S*H | MEATBALLS.
105a. [Reason monkeys don’t like the Arctic? (Kristen Bell/Woody Allen/Will Ferrell)] FROZEN | BANANAS | GET HARD. I should probably pop in an Arctic Monkeys song here, but I don’t think I like the acclaimed band so much. So instead I’ll post a photograph of Japanese macaques, aka snow monkeys.
This was an amusing set of theme answers. I appreciate that in choosing actors to represent the films, the constructor and editor made an effort to approach gender parity.
- 2d [Flier with feathers] ARROW. That part’s called fletching.
- 4d [Programmers fill them] TIME SLOTS. Network flashback.
- 7d [Ocean ingredient] SALT, 8d [ __ over (helped financially)] TIDED.
- 15d [Whitesnake guitarist Beach] REB. Uh.
- 23d [Caravan stopovers] OASES, 40d [Sax great Getz] STAN. Couldn’t find an example of him playing Ellington’s famous “Caravan”, so instead here’s supreme tenorman Coleman Hawkins, aka BEAN (88a) performing that tune:
- 36d [“Film camera” or “silent movie,” e.g.] RETRONYM, though they may seem to be somewhat redundant, these can be necessary constructions.
- 46d [Knock the audience’s socks off] WOW ’EM. Threw me for a loop, as I wasn’t expecting the elision.
- 65d [Director Kurosawa] AKIRA. Let’s try our hand at this game using his filmography: Drunken Angel | Dreams | High and Low? Or perhaps Stray Dog | Ran | The Lower Depths?
- 103d [Key chain parts?: Abbr.] ISLS. Izzles!
- 20a [What Jacques Cousteau got his inspiration from?] AIR HOSE. A BIT (80d) forced, but still ok.
- 21a [Lovecraftian, in a way] EERIE. Not ELDRITCH? How can it not be ELDRITCH.
35a [Medici family member who sponsored Michelangelo] LORENZO. If I recall correctly, he was kind of a big jerk. But he did get a lot of great art made. >sucks teeth<
- 40a [Drink order on a date, perhaps] SAME. Liked this clue.
- 59a [Turkey part?] ASIA. The majority of the nation is on the Anatolian Peninsula. >consults web< 97% of its land mass, and 90% of its population.
- 93a [Part of a capital gains calculation] BASIS. Well that’s kind of wonky, but don’t forget that this is the Wall Street Journal.
- 114a [Overstaters of expenses] PADDERS. Seems a bit roll-your-own, as we say around these parts.
Overall a fun crossword, not bad for a début(?).