Dave Taber & Laura Moll’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Let Your Hare Down”—Jim P’s review
The revealer to this puzzle is at 62a: BUNNY SLOPES [Beginners’ spots when visiting 16-Across, and an apt name for this puzzle]. Words that can precede “bunny” are found in the circled letters sloping down from the NW to the SE. Those words are EASTER, DUST, DUMB, and BUGS. Edited to add: There is a fifth bunny word that was mistakenly uncircled in this version of the puzzle. ENERGIZER starts in square 19 and slopes down to the right.
I don’t know that JACKSON HOLE [Wyoming resort] at 16a is a necessary part of the theme, but I suspect it was put there by design since it’s the grid counterpart to the revealer.
Cute theme. I caught on pretty quickly thanks to the title, but the revealer does a better job of nailing it down.
The tough part about a theme like this is all the triple-checked squares. There were a number of locations that I found clunky: the SOTO/TOE-IN crossing, OGEE, TD PASS, UNU, NIM, and GROANS AT. CO-HEIRS isn’t great, but it gets a great clue: [They share the wealth].
The goodies I did like are: MESS KITS, PODCASTS, MEAT PIE, PULL TAB, BURPEE, TALMUD, and PREGGO crossing PRE-TERM.
Other clues of note:
- 36a. [Ready for a shower, informally]. PREGGO. I momentarily considered NEKKID.
- 39a. [Fife player on TV]. KNOTTS. Don KNOTTS played Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show. Tough clue if you didn’t know that.
Cute theme with some strong fill, but I definitely noticed the kludgy bits. 3.5 stars.
Jake Halperin’s New York Times crossword—Ben’s review
It’s all about phonetics in today’s NYT from Jake Halperin:
- 17A: Wight, e.g.? — LONG I ISLAND
- 28A: Crunch bar and Cadbury Creme Egg, e.g.? — HARD C CANDIES
- 44A: 1995’s “Johnny Mnemonic,” e.g.? — SILENT M MOVIE
- 59A: Sloth, e.g.? — CAPITAL S SIN
LONG ISLAND, HARD CANDIES, SILENT MOVIE, and CAPITAL SIN are all phrases on their own, but Wight is an ISLAND with a LONG I, Crunch and Cadbury Creme Egg are both CANDIES with HARD Cs, Mnemonic has a SILENT M, and Sloth (as capitalized in the clue) has a CAPITAL S.
Man, I had not remembered that Johnny Mnemonic takes place in 2021, y’all.
Elsewhere in the fill: I know that BAR-B-QS is a way of spelling that particular kind of get together, but it just looks weird in the grid as BARBQS.
Emily Sharp & Kunal Nabar’s USA Today Crossword, “USB Connection” — Sophia’s recap
Editor: Amanda Rafkin
Theme: Each theme answer is a two word phrase where the letters USB span both words
- 20a [Agency whose data determines a state’s representative count] – CENSUS BUREAU
- 37a [Civil rights campaigns in Montgomery (1955-56) and Tallahassee (1956)] – BUS BOYCOTTS
- 54a [Piece of legislation intended to spur the economy] – STIMULUS BILL
A classic USA Today theme type today, executed very well. As a former IT worker, struggling through USB connections is relatable to me! It took me a long time to get into this puzzle – I usually run through the first half of the across clues before switching over to the downs, and I think today I had about 4 answers in the top half of the puzzle before switching over. Luckily the down answers were kinder to me and I ended up with an average solving time. All the themers are solid answers that I liked seeing, although I can never spell BUREAU correctly on the first try.
Gorgeous extra answers in MISSISSIPPI and BOUNCED BACK – actually, the whole northwest and southeast sections of the puzzle are lovely. I also liked how open the middle of the grid feels. Of course, this tradeoff means there are a lot of three letter answers in the northeast and southwest corners, but the constructors chose interesting words and clues which helped it not feel like a slog.
My best wrong answer today – For 29d [“Thx” counterpart], instead of PLS I had “plz”, which meant that 36a [Org. issuing nine-digit IDS] was “SZA” instead of SSA. Now that would be an unexpected career move for her!
Peter Gordon’s Fireball Crossword, “Themeless 152” – Jenni’s write-up
Do not adjust your set. This puzzle showed up last week because Peter is on vacation this week. I fouled myself up with 1a so it felt a little slow to me. There’s lots of fun fill in this one!
1a is [Large vessels] and I dropped in URNS. I may have been drinking coffee at the time, so that’s my excuse. Turns out the answer is ARKS.
I absolutely love the word SCHNOODLE. It’s a schnauzer/poodle mix. So adorable!
I also loved the 12-letter Across answers: NUTTER BUTTER and HUGGER MUGGER. As he often does, Peter gives us a couple of related-sounding entries in symmetrical spots.
A few other things:
- SNEETCHES! That is all.
- [Oxygen source] is CABLE TV. The channel, not the element. It’s the old hide-the-uppercase-letter-at-the-beginning-of-the-clue trick.
- We have another crossbreed referenced at 12d. The manticore is part LION, part human, and all terrifying.
- I don’t understand the clue [Big crunch topic] for UNIVERSE. Please enlighten me.
- The ZAPATEO is a Cuban folk dance, not to be confused with the zapatero, which is a cocktail.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Puerto Rico does not observe DST and that divining rods are made of HAZELWOOD.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Crossword #1447, “What the H? No”–Darby’s write-up
Theme: Where there would usually be an H in each common phrase, the letter was replaced with NO.
- 19a [“Edit so that the viewer falls asleep?”] SNIP TO SNORE / SHIP TO STORE
- 36a [“Severus’s wide-bottomed glass”] SNAPE SNIFTER / SHAPE SHIFTER
- 49a [“Goes [humph! Humph!]?”] SNORT SNORTS / SHORT SHORTS
This was a fun theme to figure out, and I thought that the phrases BEQ riffed on were great themers. I got SNAPE SNIFTER first, then SNIP TO SNORE. SNORT SNORTS came together mostly via the crosses at first, but knowing where to replace the H was key. The repeated SNOR in SNORT SNORTS and SNIP TO SNORE was buffered also by SNAPE SNIFTER, both in the set and literally since SNAPE SNIFTER appears in the middle of the grid, which I think was crucial for these themers.
It usually takes me a while to solve BEQ puzzles, and today was no different. I bounced all over the place in my solve. Some of my favorite clues included 48d [“The old man”] POPS, 17a [“Peter Pan rival”] JIF, and, of course, 44d [“Collect $200, say”] PASS GO.
That’s all from me for today!
Jessie Fielding, Pete Muller & Andrew White’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
Today’s puzzle is by messrs. Fielding, Muller & White. It features a revealer, USEAN/ALIAS, that starts and ends the puzzle. What the gimmick this reveals is, is more mundane: five entries include the trigram AKA. If it was all names, like the first, ELIAKAZAN, it may have had more oomph, but there must not have been sufficient examples to mine from. SNEAKATTACK, BREAKALEG and STEAKAUPOIVRE are at least interesting answers, though lat220223, especially as plural, strikes rather as an “it fits” moment.
Quite a lot of longer abbrs. today: CMAJ, AUST, RECT all going across. It’s likely a side effect of longer downs plus a crowded theme.
Worth noting: […Korean act…] BTS have had tons of success, and have very handy letters. They are likely to become entrenched in crosswords anon.
Mike Torch’s Universal Crossword, “Lead Single”— Jim Q’s write-up
THEME: “Lady” can precede the starts of each of the theme entries.
- GODIVA CHOCOLATE. LADY GODIVA.
- BIRD SANCTUARY. LADY BIRD.
- LUCK OF THE DRAW. LADY LUCK.
- (revealer) THREE TIMES A LADY.
I was really enjoying this one and trucking right along. Spotted the theme and thought “Aha! LEADING LADIES will be the revealer!” But that would dupe the first word in the title… so I was mystified. I was kind of let down by the actual revealer. I don’t really get how THREE TIMES A LADY is all that solid. I get that there are three “LAD(ies),” but how does that connote that each is at the start of the phrase? And there’s only one LADY in each, not three. So I’m confused.
How is the revealer not LEADING LADY?!?! That’s so much better! Or at least make that the title and find another phrase to replace the “revealer.” Seems easy enough. Tons of options! LADY DAY, LADY FINGER, and… well that’s all I can think of now where it would be easy to find phrases for.
I don’t get the title either actually. Are all the LAD(ies) single? Like that Beyonce song?
Anyway, all in all I really enjoyed the solve process.
Anyone have a way to help me remember the difference between AXLE and AXEL? I can never get that straight.