Kate Hawkins’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
This theme is solid. No, wait, one of the shapes is 2-D rather than 3-D, so the theme is good. The revealer is 26d. [“Get it together!” … or a hint to the highlighted letters]. “SHAPE UP!” and the four longest Downs contain the names of shapes spelled upwards in the circled/shaded squares:
- 3d. [Author of “Jurassic Park”], MICHAEL CRICHTON. Now I’m mad I never noticed that backwards word CIRCLE in his name.
- 22d. [Shift blame to someone else], PASS THE BUCK, with a CUBE.
- 15d. [“Beats me!”], “I HAVE NO CLUE,” with CONE.
- 10d. [Fleeting romantic interest], FLAVOR OF THE WEEK, with OVAL. I guess the constructor couldn’t find a good 15 with REDNILYC or MSIRP or DIMARYP in it.
Fave fill: SEAGLASS, PLUMPEST clued via peaches (it’s not yet peach season in the Midwest but the South is cranking ’em out), HUMDRUM.
Four more things:
- 14a. [13th-century Persian mystic who is one of the best-selling poets in the U.S.], RUMI. The poet was a man but Beyoncé’s 4-year-old daughter shares the name. Apparently much of the popularization of Rumi’s poetry in the West has been accompanied by pretending the Muslim spirituality isn’t there.
- 41a. [Tech that enables contactless credit card payments], RFID. I moved cautiously here, confirming the letters via the crossings.’
- 59a. [Jiffy], HOT SECOND. Presumably in the setting of “in a hot second”—but I’ve never used the phrase myself.
- 41d. [Farrier’s tool], RASP. Everything I know about horseshoeing, I learned from crosswords.
Four stars from me.
Ethan Cooper’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Food Fight”—Jim P’s review
Theme: A food fight is imagined by replacing words in familiar phrases with their food homophones.
- 20a. [The cafeteria fight started near the tikka masala with some…] NAAN AGGRESSION. Non-aggression.
- 30a. [Then, by the sandwich counter, there was a…] WRAP BATTLE. Rap battle.
- 39a. [Then, by the salad bar, there was…] BEET BOXING. Beatboxing.
- 48a. [Finally, by the soups, it broke out into…] WONTON VIOLENCE. Wanton violence.
Cute. I enjoy a good pun, and these felt rather fresh. Tying everything together in an imaginative scenario is a big plus, too.
Fave fill: STAND-UPS, BALONEY, SCHOOL TRIP, “KISS ME,” and CREOLES. SAY IT’S OVER feels a little manufactured.
I struggled in the greater SE area since both BALONEY or AXE HEADS had opaque clues, and MODAL and MAREN were new to me. Finally getting ALLAH helped put things in their proper place.
I gotta run. I hope your Wednesday is going swimmingly. 3.75 stars.
Rachel Fabi’s Universal crossword, “Tough Exterior” — pannonica’s write-up
This puzzle is part of the Universal Pride Month series.
… and its theme is relevant to that subject.
- 40aR [1969 LGBTQ+ uprising site … or any side of this grid, based on a word that can follow each starred answer?] STONEWALL. 6d [Establishments such as 40-Across] INNS; nominally true, but I understandably put in BARS first.
- 1a. [*Bottle top] CAP (capstone).
- 4a. [*What might make sparks fly?] FLINT (flintstone).
- 9d. [*Sepulcher] TOMB (tombstone).
- 12d. [*University in Providence] BROWN (brownstone).
- 52d. [*Nephrologist’s focus] KIDNEY (kidney stone).
- 74a. [*Decryption tool] KEY (keystone). 69a [Encryption system] CODE.
- 73a. [*Lead-in to “day” or “place”] BIRTH (birthstone).
- 72a. [*Spot for a sweatband] HEAD (headstone).
- 53a. [*Tactile sense] TOUCH (touchstone).
- 1d. [*Throw (together)] COBBLE (cobblestone).
So it’s all walled in, so to speak. Solid, ha, theme.
- 18a [“__Vision” (Disney+ miniseries] WANDA. Can’t think of another time I’ve seen a fill-in-the-blank that’s only part of a word, albeit this particular compound word is only loosely cobbled together.
- 30a [F-, for one] ION, though it looks like an extremely poor grade.
- 31a [Groups such as Dashboard Confessional] EMO BANDS, which significantly dupes sweatband in theme clue 72-across.
- Pride-series related content: 71a [Show about NYC ball culture] POSE.
- 2d [“Children of Blood and Bone” author Tomi] ADEYEMI. Not a name I knew.
- 4d [Internet cheer hidden in “software”] FTW, ‘for the win’. Compare TFW (‘that feeling when …’) and WTF (‘what the fuck’).
- 49d/51d [Wicked cool] DA BOMB, RAD.
Byron Walden’s AVCX, “Heads or Tails” — Ben’s Review
Byron Walden’s got today’s AVCX, and rather than circling or shading anything in the grid, the revealer at 66A points out that it applies to “the four longest grid entries”. Let’s take a look at those, first:
- 17A: Abruptly stops using — QUITS COLD TURKEY
- 28A: “Right at this moment…” — EVEN AS WE SPEAK
- 47A: Final track on “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” — A DAY IN THE LIFE
- 60A: Phil Collins’ first solo hit — IN THE AIR TONIGHT
The rest of 66A asks for a “Phrase for which the “heads” of the four longest grid entries can all be “tails””, which turns out to be CALL IT — CALL IT QUITS, CALL IT EVEN, CALL IT A DAY, and CALL IT IN THE AIR.
A few other nice grid bits: PAGEJACK, “ATTAGIRL”, TOLD YA, WAWA, STARKIST, POINSETTIA, GETS WET, and EDDIE EAGLE
Kevin Christian’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
Today’s puzzle celebrates the legendary DRACULA and his aversion to (BLACK)MIRRORs, (TENT)STAKEs, (LEFT)CROSSes and (UNDER)THESUN, but not garlic because there aren’t many phrases with garlic in them… The article in the last entry is an excellent grace note.
ECASH is something of a dud 1A answer… Not sure it’s even real. I had no idea TRIX was colourful, I thought those were Froot Loops? Who can resist the word PLOTZED though?
The BUSYDAY ([Reason to skip lunch, maybe] – I call that a day around here; I’ve long since stopped packing lunch or imagining things like coffee breaks exist), OFFMIKE, BOOSTER section was my favourite. I must say the clue for BOOSTER seemed off, the seat or the vaccination seem much more legit clueing angles than an [enthusiastic supporter]?
Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword – Jenni’s writeup
There’s nothing like a Patrick Berry crossword. It doesn’t matter what the difficulty level is – they’re all smooth and solid and fun to solve. This was a lovely way to end my day, especially sitting out on my porch in delightfully cool and non-humid weather.
Things I noticed:
- I enjoyed the juxtaposition of SAT UP and PRONE in the NW.
- Loved the long Across answers, ERROR MESSAGE and PUT ME IN COACH.
- 4d [Displaying unfashionable clothing lines?] is UNIRONED.
- Is there a mini-theme in the long Downs? TOMB RAIDER and GO ON SAFARI seem at least loosely connected to me.
- 52a [Places where hogs are taken to drink] is BIKER BARS. The motorcycles aren’t drinking.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that there’s a documentary about “Troll Movie 2” called “Best WORST Movie.” Now I’m curious.