Brooke Husic & Brian Thomas’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Waaaait a minute. What’s with this standard crossword rotational symmetry? Brooke is branching out in this collaboration. Nary a 12- to 14-letter entry to be found! But you know what? These 7- to 10-letter entries are SPARKLERs, too. (P.S. I hate 4th of July sparklers. Don’t drop it on the ground and go barefoot!)
Fave fill: “HE’S DEAD, JIM,” BASMATI rice, PLAY DIRTY, SEES REASON (entirely common letters, but also a neat phrase), PRESS BOX (the clue, [It covers the field], evokes Team Fiend’s Adesina Koiki, no stranger to stadium press boxes), JURY-RIG, BOSTON POPS, Rihanna’s given name ROBYN FENTY (namesake for her wildly successful makeup business, Fenty Beauty), a PERSIMMON, and European ASTERIX.
I don’t love dupes, so “I’M AMAZED” and “I’M A GONER” bugged me a bit.
Seven more things:
- 22a. [Prefix with -graph], TRI. This was tough! The trigraph isn’t familiar vocab. In short, it’s a chunk of three letters pronounced as one sound, like the “you” sound in bEAUtiful or the “sh” of a SCHilling.
- 30a. [Carefully exiting a parking space, say], EASING OUT. Rear cameras help a lot!
- 41a. [“How Long ___ Black Future Month?” (N. K. Jemisin short-story collection)], ‘TIL. I didn’t know the title, have not read much sci-fi since high school. But obviously Jemisin is a legend and I do love that title.
- 4d. [They might go for a few bucks], DOES. So deer don’t make for life?
- 10d. [Retailer originally named the S. S. Kresge Company], KMART. I am old enough to have shopped at our local Kresge store as a kid. The same plaza had a Woolworth’s, and I can’t remember which of the two had a lunch counter. I think Kresge?
- 13d. [What those with protanomaly have difficulty seeing], RED. A type of color blindness, and a word this former medical editor didn’t know.
- 50d. [Asexual, informally], ACE. It’s Pride Month! Know your LGBTQIA+ terminology. The “A” can also stand for aromantic. (Hey, has anyone worked that word into a cryptic crossword yet, with it having that N stuck into aromatic?) I know at least two lovely, talented people who are ace, and presumably some of you reading this also are. Happy Pride to you!
Four stars from me.
Joe Deeney’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Let’s Make Something Out of What’s in the Kitchen” — pannonica’s write-up
Kitchen items reinterpreted wackily. Let’s go.
- 22a. [Group of directors who slash company spending?] CUTTING BOARD.
- 33a. [Ask a lot of questions about utilitarianism?] PEPPER MILL. That’d be John Stuart MILL.
- 40a. [Regular joint?] STOCK POT. Cannabis.
- 53a. [Le Monde, e.g.?] FRENCH PRESS.
- 75a. [Pre-kidnappers?] EGG POACHERS. That’s a little weird, and creepy.
- 90a. [Try to uncover the truth about what happened to Hook?] GRILL PAN. That’d be Peter Pan.
- 99a. [“What are you in for?” and the like?] CAN OPENERS. Prison.
- 110a. [One who abuses both steroids and fake tanner?] ORANGE JUICER. Hmm, sound like anyone we know?
Mildly entertaining stuff.
Theme-adjacent material, though only one is clued in culinary fashion: COOLER, APRON, DISH. (7d, 69a, 78a)
- 34d [Do one’s part?] ROLE PLAY. Definitely needs that question mark.
- 46d [One preceder] NOON. Like a doofus, I filled in NONE before correcting via crossings.
- 84d [Tree with serrated leaves] ELM. Quite so.
- 97d [Snatches away, informally] YOINKS. I was under the impression that the splendidly APT (109d) word was coined by The Simpsons, but that’s only partly true; another sense of the word has been around since the 1950s. See the Wiktionary entry.
- 102d [Fuzzy footwear option] UGGS. I still await the first appearance of QWARUBA in a crossword.
- 106d [Senior moment?] PROM. Good clue, my favorite of the crossword.
- 7a [Break cover] CAST. Having trouble parsing the clue here. Any help? Wait, wait! I’ve got it. Broken bone. Ooh, tricky.
- 20a [Title character in Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur”] ARLO, but I guessed ALLO, as in allosaurus.
- 30a [Longjing, for one] TEA. It is a pan-roasted green tea, to be more specific. Also called dragon well tea.
- 61a [Falcon-headed god] HORUS, followed immediately by 63a [Hawks’ home] ATLANTA.
- Least favorite entry: 94d [Shared capital] THE EURO, with that intrusive definite article.
- 65a [Painter Magritte] RENÉ. 107a [Brown noddy, e.g.] TERN. The bird depicted in La Grande Famille is definitely not a tern (you can tell by its rounded head, but since it’s depicted at the ocean, I’m going to say close enough.
Kurt Krauss’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Fun times! Not overly quick today, but definitely a fun solve. Lots of fun stuff in this one. Did I mention I had fun? I am not too familiar with Kurt Krauss’ byline, but I think I have seen it a few times before. If I was really stats inclined, I would start some sort of database of all the constructors I have blogged, but that would take a bit since I have blogged probably 1,000 puzzles or so by this point. Who has that kind of time?? (Now that I say it out loud, I am kinda curious now!) Nice puzzle, Kurt! 4.5 stars from me.
A few notes:
- 1A [Made a seat-of-the-pants mistake?] BUTT-DIALED – This is a GREAT 1-Across entry.
- 26A [Palmer of “The Boys From Brazil”] LILLI – Is there actually a LILLI spelled this way? I must make sure this is in my word list!
- 48A [California city name meaning “tar”] BREA – How did I not know this??
- 4D [Address limited to 18 minutes] TED TALK – Giving a TED Talk is on my bucket list. Not sure what I would talk about, but it’s a goal!
- 5D [Monetary unit of The Gambia] DALASI – I believe you.
- 9D [Old cooking show that often had a Creole theme] EMERIL LIVE – This entry might be a little dated for the young ones out there!
- 10D [Literature Nobelist Walcott] DEREK – This is the best entry in the puzzle for obvious reasons!
- 35D [“The Wire” antihero __ Little] OMAR – As a side note, OMAR Sy stars in Lupin, which is back on Netflix as of Friday. I watched the first part (6 episodes or so), and, if you don’t mind subtitles, it is FANTASTIC>
- 39D [Real things?] MCCOYS – Another fairly good clue. In a dad joke kind of way!
- 52D [Günter’s gramps] OPA – I actually know someone who used this term. They were of Ukranian descent, I believe. There must be a similar word in that language. Or not. What do I know?
That is all! Off to do more puzzles!
Anna Stiga’s Newsday crossword, “Themeless Saturday” – Derek’s write-up
Full disclosure: I solved this while watching TV! I don’t think this is overly tough, but it also isn’t easy. I think Stan might be finding a sweet spot of difficulty, although I think I am in the camp of I like them hard. Fair, but difficult. Part of my joy of solving is getting lost in my thoughts. “Vibing,” as Paolo Pasco would say. That did not happen here! But still a fun solve. 4.3 stars today.
Some high points:
- 1A [Back] GO TO BAT FOR – Really deceptive clue here. That’s usually how the one-word clues are!
- 25A [Star of the “Rear Window” remake] REEVE – I haven’t seen EITHER of these movies in forever.
- 39A [K ration, e.g.] RDA – Best clue in the puzzle!
- 50A [Tony winner as Sweeney] LEN – Who is this referring to? Evidently LEN Cariou. I only know him from crosswords. He’s crossword famous!
- 56A [Like the French motto] TRIPARTITE – As in it’s three words. One is libery, one is equality, I forget the other one. Fraternity, maybe? These would all be in French, of course!
- 3D [Brownie relative] TORTE – Now I want a snack …
- 6D [Checking 33 Across] AMTS – 33A is NOS., as in numbers. A number on the check would be an amount, I suppose!
- 12D [GPS functions] ODOMETERS – Do you use your GPS as an odometer?? Yeah, me neither. But I think you could, I suppose. Not sure why you would!
- 13D [Subject of Ken Burns’ “America’s Best Idea” series] MESA VERDE – I have no idea what this clue is talking about. Probably something about the national park?
- 32D [Doubly misnamed edible] GRAPE NUTS – Yes, it has neither grapes or nuts. I am still a little hungry now … !
Everyone have a safe and healthy weekend!
Adrian Johnson’s Universal crossword, “Pride Month Themeless II” — Jim Q’s write-up
*This puzzle is part of Universal’s Pride Month series.
My suspicions last week that there would be more themelesses to come were correct! Woo hoo!
- 1A [Phrase on a Hawaii license plate] ALOHA STATE. Colorful way to start the puzzle.
- 17A [They’re served with wasabi] SUSHI ROLLS. Just like that, I’m craving sushi. Perhaps with a side of RICE PILAF.
- 13D [Stayed out too long?] OVERSLEPT. Nice clue.
- 33D [Person with many contacts?] EYE DOCTOR. Clue gets a delightful EYE ROLL :)
- 34D [“Break a $20 bill by ripping it in half,” e.g.] BAD ADVICE. I thought this was going to be BAR TRICK… like one of those stupid challenges where there’s an overly clever way to accomplish a simple feat. Fun clue for a solid entry.
Not much to grimace at. Really nicely crafted puzzle. The only nit I have is the clue for TIP [Reward for a waiter]. I don’t think of that as a reward. It’s a waiter’s pay that they earned for working. Reward carries a different connotation for me.
I have a feeling the Saturday themeless streak will continue for at least this month. Perhaps beyond? Fingers crossed!