Pamela F. Davis’s New York Times puzzle —Jenni’s write-up
This is Pamela Davis’s debut puzzle for the NYT and it has me hungry for more! I love a wordplay theme. Each entry is a food-based pun.
- 17a [“So, this red thing, Mom? This is not good.”] is the BEET REPORT (beat report). BEAT REPORTER is more common and I don’t even care, because the clue is just as funny as the answer.
- 27a [“The French one is my favorite. Wait, no, the pretzel one.”] is a ROLL REVERSAL (role reversal).
- 48a [“Ewww, mollusks…I don’t know, didn’t this make me sick last time?”] is an unpleasant MUSSEL MEMORY (muscle memory).
- 63a [“Wow, Mom, this is like at a restaurant! Dibs on the chocolate pudding!”] is a MOUSSE CALL (moose call).
And a bonus entry at 39d [Popular meal kit (or the mother of the food critic featured in this puzzle)] is HOME CHEF. I don’t think it’s a revealer because it doesn’t really explain the theme. It’s a nice little addition, though. This theme made me giggle. It’s Monday-accessible and lots of fun. Take a look at the constructor’s notes on Wordplay for an interesting glimpse into the process.
A few other things:
- Extra food content: SPUD and ADOBO. Also lamb in the clue for EWE.
- Does anyone say MEGAFLOP for [Epic failure?] It was easily inferrable so I don’t mind it too much.
- I always thought that SPOOR was animal poop, not scent. Apparently I was wrong.
- Happy to see Phillipa SOO instead of the eponymous canals.
- Appropriately enough, the last entry is SUPS (and the first one is SPUD).
Susan Gelfand’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
My 2:05 solve time notwithstanding, boy, do I find this puzzle an odd choice for a Monday. Note: This is not a dig on the constructor in the least, as it wasn’t her choice what day of the week this is for. I think Wednesday or even Thursday, with correspondingly tougher cluing, would be more appropriate.
That’s because the theme is not nearly as straightforward as one expects on Monday. Going down to the revealer at 62A [Three-goals-in-one-game hockey scoring feats … or what the ends of 17-, 28-, and 46-Across are when they’re rearranged?], we get HAT TRICKS, and boy is that revealer clue almost a paragraph. I bet it could have been a bit shorter on a later day of the week. In any case: The “trick” is that the second word in each of the theme entries can be anagrammed into a type of hat.
- 17A [Auto on-off baking gadget] is an OVEN TIMER. Not sure I buy that definition of an OVEN TIMER. Every oven I’ve ever used merely beeps when the time is up, it doesn’t turn the oven on or off. Not saying that no OVEN TIMER does this, just that for sure not all of them do, and the clue ought to reflect that. Anyway, anagram TIMER into MITER (or MITRE if you’re a Brit), a hat that abbots and bishops wear in some Christian denominations.
- 28A [Artisan who makes delicate items] is a GLASS BLOWER. If you’re in upstate New York, the Corning Glass Museum is worth a visit, and the live glassblowing demo is pretty damn cool. Anagram BLOWER to get BOWLER, a hat a la Charlie Chaplin.
- 46A [Exact repetition of what was said] is a DIRECT QUOTE. Anagram QUOTE to get TOQUE. Today I learned that a TOQUE, which I most think of as those white chef’s hats, can also mean other types of brimless hats.
Which is to say: This is a fine, well-executed theme that should have run later in the week. I’m not sure that inexperienced solvers are going to pick up on “rearranged” in the revealer clue meaning “anagrammed,” or that the three hats that the words are anagrammed into are extremely well-known. MITER and TOQUE do appear in fill from time to time, but for a new or Monday-only solver, I think they’re on the tough side.
Favorite fill entry: ARAM Khachaturian at 10D, because I’ve been on a piano concerto listening kick of his lately.
Prasanna Keshava’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Bound by Law”—Jim P’s review
Today’s theme entries are familiar phrases whose outer letters (the “bounds” that the title refers to) spell out a synonym for “law.”
- 17a. [Taking advantage of] CASHING IN ON. Canon.
- 28a. [Radio address from FDR] FIRESIDE CHAT. Fiat.
- 36a. [War] ARMED CONFLICT. Act.
- 44a. [Graph used to determine the best course to take] DECISION TREE. Decree. Nice 6-letter find.
- 59a. [Charity fundraiser, of a sort] RUMMAGE SALE. Rule.
That works, and it’s straightforward enough for a Monday. I wouldn’t call it especially fun or exciting, but it does the job and aids the solver in filling the grid.
Top fill: SPOT CHECKS and SAFE HAVEN. I’ve never heard of REDSTARTS [Colorful warblers], so I checked and double-checked all those crossings. I’m glad to learn it though. You can listen to one here.
Clues of note:
- 54a. [Court legend Arthur]. ASHE. I got this right immediately, but that clue looks like it could almost work for King Arthur.
- 25d. [It has belts and can be worn]. TIRE. I was now years old when I realized “worn” here means “eroded.” Good misdirection. Of course, some people do actually wear tires.
Solid grid. 3.5 stars.
Emet Ozar’s Universal crossword, “I Want the World to Know” — pannonica’s write-up
This puzzle is part of the Universal Pride Month series.
Between the first theme clue, its answer, and the title, I was easily able to deduce the theme, and made a correct guess on what the revealer would be.
- 65aR [Phrase often said on October 11, or a hint to 17-, 31- and 47-Across] I’M COMING OUT. 11 October is National Coming Out Day. The crossword’s title is the second line of Donna Summer’s big disco hit and unofficial gay anthem, “I’m Coming Out“.
- 17a. [(Birth canal)] NEWBORN BABY.
- 31a. [(Burrow)] GROUNDHOG.
- 47a. [(Formal ball)] DEBUTANTE. Probably the closest to the ostensible original sense of the song.
- 4d [“Broad City” comedian Jacobson] ABBI. This seems like prime crossword fodder.
- 32d [Thick Japanese noodle] UDON, 1d [Thin Japanese noodle] SOBA.
- 48d [Breathe out] EXHALE. Clue reads as a bit of a duplication regarding the theme.
- 55d [Like an indirect insult] SNIDE. I’m just going to point out to the crossword community that there’s an acclaimed if not very well known band named CLEM Snide led by EEF Barzelay.
- 60d [People of southern Nigeria] IGBO. Another useful crossword word.
- 19a [Slow motion in a sports video game, say?] LAG. Cute.
- 66d [Word after “fat” or “cool”] CAT.
Liked this one. Straightforward theme (so to speak), done well, and apropos to the month’s celebration.