Friday, July 2, 2021

Inkubator untimed (Jenni) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT 5:07 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal 5:13 (Jim P) 


Carla Frechette and Marya Doery’s Inkubator crossword, “Go For It!”—Jenni’s review

I enjoyed this debut from the Inkubator. It’s a before-and-after theme with a little extra. Depending on how you count, there are either three or five theme entries. Something’s going on with the circle in the middle. I didn’t figure it out until I got to the revealer at 62a. [Permission to proceed….with this puzzle?] is GREEN LIGHT. That’s what goes in the circle.

Inkubator, July 1, 2021, Carla Frechette and Marya Doery, “Go For It!,” solution grid

  • 7d [Science fiction salad dressing?] is SOYLENT[GREEN]GODDESS.
  • 39a [DC Super Hero Girl chasing a birdie?] is PUTTING[GREEN]LANTERN. That’s the first I knew that there’s a female Green Lantern. Since I last read a comic book in 1972 and she made her debut in 2014, that’s not too surprising, and it’s just the sort of thing I expect to learn from the Inkubator.

It’s a fun theme!

A few other things:

  • 12d [Cinnamon roll drizzle] is ICING. There’s nothing particularly abstruse about this entry. I just like cinnamon rolls.
  • 17a [Chipper] is BRIGHTEYED. I was looking for …AND BUSHY-TAILED somewhere.
  • 18d [Senate habit] is TOGA. Let us all give thanks that this does not refer to the U.S. Senate.
  • 24a [Socially distance?] is ESTRANGE.
  • 50a [Groovy sleep option] is a WATERBED. I presume “groovy” refers to the 70s vibe.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that baps are ROLLS (this entry is a dupe with the clue for 12d, which would have been easily avoidable, no matter how much I like cinnamon rolls).

Brooke Husic & Ada Nicolle’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 7 2 21, no. 0702

What on earth…? Another puzzle Brooke co-constructed, another puzzle with standard crossword symmetry? Fiiine, I can accept that, because the 15s are fresh and interesting. But the diagonal symmetry Brooke uses a lot—I’d have no problem contending with that in the NYT.

We’ve got four Across 15s bolted together by two Down 15s. I love GOOGLE TRANSLATE, really ought to embrace a more ACTIVE LIFESTYLE, pretty much never order SECRET MENU ITEMS, don’t need NOISE-CANCELLING headphones much (and might spell CANCELING with one L), and love A LONG TIME COMING. Boy, those 15s are REALLY SOMETHING!

There’s only room for a few more long entries in this grid, and they’re good too.

Trouble spot: The bottom left corner, with one word I’d never seen before and one usage I’d never seen before. 56a. [People of northeastern Canada], INNU? You can read about them here and learn some things if you didn’t know this, either. Then there’s 58a. [Streaks on the side of a wineglass], LEGS. Live and learn! Explanation here. Also new to me: 32a. [One-named rapper with the 2019 video “Can’t Explain It”], CHIKA. She hasn’t had any hit songs/albums yet, but she was nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy so she’s one to watch. And! The spoken portion before the song in the video below includes the words A LONG TIME COMING.

Five more things:

  • 33a. [Puts on the line, say], DRIES. Great clue! You think it’s about risking something rather than hanging laundry out to dry.
  • 9d. [In which you might see an échappé sauté], BALLET. I think sauté is related to jumping, and sautéeing food means it might jump around in that hot pan? Definitely not a term I knew, échappé sauté.
  • 14d. [Queer designation], FEMME. I love the inclusivity of this sort of clue and entry.
  • 29d. [Eponym for a mathematical pattern identified centuries earlier in India], FIBONACCI. Informative! It’s good to look past a Eurocentric viewpoint rather than accepting that as the be-all-and-end-all.
  • 43d. [Hwy. through Fargo and St. Paul], U.S. TEN. Ugh. Nobody spells out the numbers in interstate highway names! And I, for one, never tack on that “U.S.” at the front. Probably because I don’t ever drive on those older highways? Anyway, this one goes right through Lake Michigan if you drive your car onto a ferry.

Four stars from me.

David Alfred Bywaters’s Universal crossword, “It’s All in the Timing”—Jim P’s review

Theme: Common words with the prefixes PRE-, MID-, and POST- are re-imagined and clued wackily.

Universal crossword solution · “It’s All in the Timing” · David Alfred Bywaters · Fri., 7.2.21

  • 17a. [When to wish a tennis player luck?] PRE-SERVE.
  • 26a. [When you actually had to call people?] PRE-TEXTS.
  • 39a. [When not to interrupt a jazz soloist?] MID-RIFF.
  • 52a. [When to decide on a lover’s suitability?] POST-DATE.
  • 64a. [When to read Luke and John?] POST-MARK.

These are kinda cute. I especially liked MID-RIFF and POST-MARK. But the title would have you believe that it’s the prefixes that have changed meaning to be about time, but really it’s the latter half of each word that has changed meaning; the prefixes only change meaning when necessary. For example, the POST in POSTDATE means “after” in both the original word and in the clued entry, but in POSTMARK, it clearly changes meaning. If you look up the etymology of both PRESERVE and PRETEXTS, you find that the PRE originally did mean “before” although those meanings have evolved over the centuries.

So what I’m saying is the theme is not entirely consistent.  Clearly, it’s going more for the joke than consistency, and that, in my view, is not an entirely bad thing. If the theme is entertaining without being 100% consistent, that’s okay by me, as long as it’s close enough. These are entertaining and close enough.

On the other hand, as a constructor, I certainly would have excised PRECLUDES (3d) from this grid. It’s not thematic, and even though it’s in the Down direction, it’s quite noticeable.

Moving on, PARACHUTE, TRADE GAPS, HONORARIA make for fine long non-thematic entries. TORPEDO, CATLIKE, KRAKEN, and LIBIDOS are also colorful. And there’s very little in the way of CRUD (aside from CRUD).

Clues of note:

  • 43a. [Multiple fish, in Italian]. PESCI. I never realized Joe PESCI’s last name meant this. That’s a much more difficult clue for Universal than I would expect.
  • 11d. [Remove from a package]. UNBOX. You ever watch an unboxing video on Youtube? Here’s an interesting (but older) article on the bizarre phenomenon.

Nice, if not entirely consistent theme. Some humor and very clean fill. 3.9 stars.

Dallas Fletcher’s Los Angeles crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 7/2/21 • Fri • Fletcher • solution • 20210702

Ironically, the theme became self-evident rather quickly. Upon encountering the first asterisked answer I saw that the trigram ACT was pivotal, but it was a bit curious, as it was not functioning as a rebus square. Furthermore, the crossing entry had no use for it.

With the second theme entry also turning out to need ACT, I realized what was going on was a literal disappearing ACT. Since the Los Angeles Times crosswords don’t have titles, I knew it had to be the revealer, and sure enough that central spanner had the correct number of letters—I filled it in without even bothering to read the clue.

  • 40aR [Magic trick that affects the answers to starred clues] DISAPPEARING ACT.
  • 17a. [*Runs drills] PR{ACT}ICES.
  • 22a. [*Extremely demanding] EX{ACT}ING.
  • 23a. [*Did a double-take, say] RE{ACT}ED.
  • 31a. [*Produce milk] L{ACT}ATE.
  • 59a. [*Like two-humped camels] B{ACT}RIAN.
  • 73a. [*In a concise manner] COMP{ACT}LY.
  • 12d. [*Strategic maneuver] T{ACT}IC.
  • 41d. [*Has an effect on] IMP{ACT}S.
  • 65d. [*Thing that matters] F{ACT}OR.

So that’s a big bunch of themers, with no symmetry as regards to placement or distribution. There’s no law set in stone that says one can’t do that, but it isn’t often seen.

Do note, however, that each of those theme answers is a legitimate word even in the absence of the ACT sequence: prices, exing (we usually see it as x-ing), reed, late, Brian, comply, tic, imps, for.

  • 2d [Home plate edge] CORNER. Wait, the edge is called a corner?
  • 24d [ __ Twins: online comedy duo] DOLAN. Unknown to me.
  • 28d [Quick dip?] GUAC. Fun little clue, but I missed it while solving. Only discovered it because I had to hunt for an incorrect square upon completion of the grid. I’d answered the crossing 33-across [“Indeedy”] as YEP but it needed to be YUP.
  • 43d [1:15. e,g,] is not a time but a RATIO.
  • 56a [Tot’s bruise] OWIE, 70a [“Ouch!”] I’M HURT.
  • 64a [Religious groups that allegedly communicate with ETs] UFO CULTS. Well, that’s nice for them, I suppose.

Robyn Weintraub’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 7/2/21 • Weintraub • solution • 20210702

Just a smooth themeless here, with some nice long answers to hold it solidly together: two grid-spanning verticals and two offset stacks of eleven-letter acrosses.

  • 4a [“__ anything” (“I’m an open book”)] ASK ME. Nice, but that gratuitous parenthetical unfortunately duplicates a notable part of 3d [Epitome in a tome] TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE, whose clue I really liked.
  • 22a [Molecule whose structure was studied by Rosalind Franklin] DNA. With no mention of Messrs. Crick and Watson, which is fine. It’s been a long while before Franklin started getting her due in the public imagination.
  • 23a [Sets out on a journey] EMBARKS. If we were being rigidly literal, this would refer only to boat journeys. 38a [Downwind, to a sailor] ALEE.
  • 33a [Title character of “The Ugly Duckling,” actually] SWAN. 59a [Members of a gaggle] GEESE.
  • 45d [Urban legends, e.g.] MYTHS. Good job avoiding duplication in 34a [Russo who plays the Norse goddess Frigga in the Marvel Cinematic Universe] RENE. Poor job, alas, in the following 35a [First man, in Maori mythology] TIKI.
  • 41a [Part of an R-rated movie, barely?] SEX SCENE. iswydt
  • 55a [Fútbol cheer] OLÉ. Random factette: the indie label Matador uses the prefix OLE in its catalog numbers.
  • 57a [Joel Coen’s directing partner] ETHAN. Last night I watched Intolerable Cruelty (2003), which was directed by Joel sans Ethan, though it was a Coen brothers production. The film was just okay.
  • 58a [Cars front man Ocasek] RIC. Always interesting to see the New Yorker’s editorial style in evidence; in this case it’s frontman as two words.
  • 60a [Stage between “in” and “retro”] PASSÉ. Incisive clue.
  • 43d [The Dutch tulip craze of the sixteen-thirties and the Beatles craze of the nineteen-sixties] MANIAS. Indeed, Tulipmania and Beatlemania.
  • 51d [Do some chopping before dinner service, say] PREP. Update on my viewing of Chef! from last week: Series One—which I had seen long ago—is the only one that’s really good. Series Two is middling, and Series Three is atrocious.
  • 52d [“Toodle-oo!”] TA-TA.

Matador OLE 371-1 (2000)

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26 Responses to Friday, July 2, 2021

  1. Ethan says:

    NYT: Fine puzzle overall, but if you actually are a “language learner” please, please, stay the hell away from GOOGLE TRANSLATE.

      • Karen says:

        Re: Google translate in NYT – I speak a few languages fluently and have a superficial knowledge of others. (Huda, I believe you are multi-lingual also)? I have been following online translation sites, apps and other sources for years, appreciating the improvement and progress. Google translate ranks among the worst, topped by Facebook’s automatic translator of posts. When I see Google translations of languages in which I am bilingual, I cringe from the errors and often misleading if not downright wrong versions of the truth. The single best translator I wholehearted recommend is
        I have tested it in French and Spanish and checked with my daughter who is also fluent in Portuguese. Spot on all the time, Even with slang and innuendos. It currently has 26 languages (including 2 country versions of English and Portuguese. Astounding.

  2. Sarah O says:

    I had “Spock” for “Dr. for kids” for so long I’m astonished I ever solved this dang thing.
    It was with extreme reluctance I gave it up, and great relief when I remembered that other doctor.

  3. Rob says:

    TNY: Whenever I see Robyn’s byline, my eyes light up. Thanks for another smooth as silk puzzle!

  4. huda says:

    NYT: That was fun!!! I too was surprised by the LEGS, INNU corner, but it unfolded easily enough for some reason. The whole puzzle was stuffed full of goodies.

  5. Billy Boy says:


    SEUSS is bound to disturb. Surprised to see it.

    Old White guy fail on the rapper (doh), needed crosses, slowed me.

    To be fair, I don’t listen to any popular music

    I also eat at In-N-Out – not McDonald’s, so several 15’s were just fill in the blank including that secret one.

    Good if easy Friday puzzle.


  6. GlennP says:

    NYT: The highway in 43D is properly US 10. Interstate 10 runs across the southern states from Florida to California.

    • Mutman says:

      Agreed — but there’d be even more complaints if there were actual numbers in a Friday NYT puzzle.

      Chill people. I’m gonna take a drive on US ONE to relax a bit.

      • Billy Boy says:

        US ONE is almost crosswordese. In South Florida counties, US 1 is literally known as Federal Highway.

        Interstate numbers run opposite Federal Highways.

        Interstates 90 & 94 are northernmost, I-95 is east most, I-5 Washington State to CA’s Mexican border


  7. Crotchety Doug says:

    Somebody fix the link on the LAT. It goes to Sunday May 2nd puzzle.

    • Gary L says:

      Crotchety or not, I think a “please” would be in order here.

    • Jim Peredo says:

      Fixed, but it reset the ratings. Hopefully, our guru Dave can sort it out.

      • Dave says:

        There were 3 LAT reviews I moved over from 5/2 to 7/2.

        • Crotchety Doug says:

          As an every day reader and sometimes contributor, but not a participant in the actual workings of this blog, I was not aware of the workings of ratings and links. Many thanks to all of you who work behind the scenes to keep this site so much fun and useful.

  8. Me says:

    NYT: Not a fan of the CHIKA/NIKE cross. Very Natick-y. That seems more Saturday (or never) than Friday.

    • JohnH says:

      Yeah. I didn’t get it, and I”m not sure having it fall on a Saturday would help. It could, after all, have been NILE, since who knows but in the right myth that river was the daughter of another.

  9. sanfranman59 says:

    Uni: I definitely agree with Jim that including a non-theme PRECLUDE in a puzzle with this theme is bad form. I really don’t get the YouTube UNBOXing video thing. Just bizarre. Some folks really need to step away from the computer a little more.

  10. Molly M says:

    I can almost always figure out the WSJ theme, but Friday the one day no one writes about it, is usually the day I can’t. Today’s puzzle should be easy to figure out, but I didn’t.

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