Friday, February 25, 2022

LAT untimed (pannonica) 


The New Yorker 9:24 (malaika) 


NYT 5:34 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim P) 


USA Today 4:38 (Darby) 


Damon Gulczynski’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 2 25 22, no. 0225

Fun puzzle with a quirky grid that accommodates 14s, 12s, 9s, 8s, and 7s that are interesting, and somewhat chatty. Fave fill: “BUT THAT’S JUST ME,” “WILL YOU BE QUIET?,” that certain JE NE SAIS QUOI, MICHELANGELO, QUEBECOIS, new-to-me STAR LILY, WIKIPEDIA, and SCATMAN Crothers (he entertained me when I was a 1970s kid watching Chico and the Man). Also appreciated AVEDA, POTUS in the shorter range.

There were a few crusty sorts of entries in the midst: MEADE, the long-defunct AEC, and wow-I-haven’t-seen-this-one-in-ages Francis LAI. Might have preferred DIN IMO AER crossing NOR, and possibly French LUI crossing SOUPED for LAI, though there’s already a 12-letter French phrase nearby and a 9 across the way that may account for LAI being chosen here.

Five more things:

  • 25a. [Counterpart to projections, in accounting], ACTUALS. Lest you grouse that this is a fraudulently created plural noun form of an adjective, I’ll tell you that reporting the February actuals is on my to-do list for tomorrow.
  • 57a. [Pulled off], DID and59a. [Put off], TABLE. Nice pair of clues appearing together in the clue list.
  • 2d. [One represented by a blue-and-white flag with four fleurs-de-lis], QUEBECOIS. I sure don’t know any Canadian provincial flags! It’s tough enough identifying U.S. state flags.
  • 5d. [Chief inspiration for the Mannerist style of art], MICHELANGELO. If this were a trivia question, I’d have flailed without an answer. I appreciate that when crossword clues quiz us, we have the crossings to help us along.
  • 23d. [Classic 1942 film based on a book subtitled “A Life in the Woods”], BAMBI. Sounds a tad Thoreauish, doesn’t it? Does Thoreau’s father get shot by a hunter? I know his mother helped him “live off the land” by doing his laundry, etc.

I give this one four stars, BUT THAT’S JUST ME.

David Bloom’s Universal crossword, “Ripple Effect”—Jim P’s review

Theme: Things that make waves in different media. The revealer is MAKING WAVES (63a, (Causing trouble, or emulating 17-, 37- and 43-Across?]).

Universal crossword solution · “Ripple Effect” · David Bloom · Fri., 2.25.22

  • 17a. [Appliance for a stylist] CURLING IRON. Waves in your hair.
  • 37a. [Gentle winds at the beach] SEA BREEZES. Waves on the ocean.
  • 43a. [Eagles enthusiasts, e.g.] SPORTS FANS. Waves in a stadium. I was not thinking sports for this clue. I was opting for BIRDS or rock bands primarily.

A tidy little theme, yeah? I couldn’t see where it was going, and then the revealer provided a satisfying aha moment. The only little nit is that I wasn’t sure the two 8-letter entries in the fill (BET IT ALL and RETIREES) weren’t part of the theme. Of course, the revealer clue answers that question.

Speaking of fill, it felt pleasantly clean throughout with highlights FINAGLES, FACE CARD, ALCOVE, and the aforementioned BET IT ALL and RETIREES.

FNISS trash can from IKEA

Clues of note:

  • 16a. [A two may beat it]. ACE. Stupidly, I typed in ONE here first.
  • 24a. [___ Castellaneta, voice of Homer Simpson]. DAN. I’m always happy when voice actors get some love.
  • 50a. [Seeing things?]. EYES. That is, things that you see with.
  • 54d. [Place to buy a FNISS or a plate of meatballs]. IKEA. Time to check in on the IKEA product line. A FNISS is a 3-gallon trash can. I wonder if it comes with an Allen wrench.
  • 57d. [Where to watch the Ducks play the Blues]. RINK. Now I’m thinking of depressed ducks…and LOLing.

Pleasant theme, strong fill, and fresh cluing. 3.75 stars.

Karen Lurie’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 2/25/22 • Fri • Lurie • solution • 20220225

This is what’s known as unfortunate timing.

  • 51dR [Cold War concern … and what created 20-, 32-, 40- and 55-Across?] H-BOMB. See what I mean?
  • 20a. [Aroma of freshly grilled steak] NEW CHAR SMELL. Oh no, it gets worse.
  • 32a. [Horror film writer’s mantra?] PUT A SHOCK IN IT. Ay. Please, no more.
  • 40a. [What Stanford University catchers’ gear protects] CARDINAL SHINS. Um.
  • 55a. [“Always dust before you vacuum” and others?] CHORE BELIEFS. Whew?

Apologies that I’m not too keen on this one today.

  • 11d [Shadow target] LID. Don’t understand this one.
  • 30a [Third of a game?] TIC. Don’t understand this one either.
  • 21d [Land measure] AREA. Admit it, you put in ACRE.
  • 41d [Under control] IN CHECK. 9a [Checks] BILLS. Also, I don’t understand 9-across.
  • 54d [According to] AS PERAsper is defined as: (adj) rough; rugged; harsh; bitter; stern; fierce. (noun) rough breathing – as in, aspirating the letter h in pronunciation.
  • 61a [2008 Visa event, briefly] IPO. Am surprised it was so recent.

That’s all. 🇺🇦

Claire Rimkus’s USA Today crossword, “We Started This”–Darby’s write-up

Theme: Each theme answer is two words, with the first beginning with a W and the second an E, making it so that “WE started” each one.

Theme Answers

Claire Rimkus’s USA Today crossword, “We Started This” solution 2/25/2022

Claire Rimkus’s USA Today crossword, “We Started This” solution 2/25/2022

  • 17a [“Teary”] WATERY-EYED
  • 39a [“WayHaught’s TV show”] WYNONNA EARP
  • 62a [“Alternative to solar power”] WIND ENERGY

An 11- and two 10-lettered words make up the theme answers today. They move nicely through the grid. WYNONNA EARP was the first one I had filled in its entirety, mostly because EARP is pretty hard to miss, even though I don’t watch the show. When I started WIND ENERGY (and before I got the theme), I started typing with ELECTRIC, but that quickly changed. WATERY came last, especially once I filled EYED.

Most of my fill came on the Down answers, honestly, and I almost wish I’d just started there rather than skimming through the Acrosses first. When I switched to Down, I cruised through. I loved that all four corners had some nice sixes, sevens, and even eights for us! WHODUNNIT crossing WYNONNA EARP was such a treat, and I loved that HOWARD got the highlight in 1d [“University in D.C.”]. I also felt that these longer answers were nicely balanced by a few threes muttered throughout the puzzle. Plus, the middle section surrounding WYNONNA EARP with AEIOU, FLOUR, SHUTS, and GRUNT definitely like I was moving from one section to the other, even though I think that the corners still had plenty of openness for flow.

Overall, I wish I had a video of the construction process on this one with that power mix of longer answers that felt really fun and fresh. It’s a solid and satisfying Friday puzzle.

Erik Agard’s New Yorker puzzle– malaika’s write-up

Good morning, everyone, and happy Friday! I hope you are all consuming an amount of news that does not make you sick to your stomach but does keep you informed on the general state of *waves hand* all of this. Onwards!

Erik Agard’s New Yorker puzzle

  • Loved to see MASALAS here. My sister once shoplifted a $15 jar of garam masala from Whole Foods, which she called an act of anti-colonialist rebellion.
  • CHEATS for [Goes to a different barber, perhaps] was something I slotted in easily due to Being Very On Twitter and Knowing Erik Wrote This Puzzle. The idea being that a man’s relationship with his barber is intimate / precious similar to a romantic relationship. There are some fun tweets of people sharing the texts they sent “breaking up” with their barber.
  • SAME HERE is a great entry
  • What’s your favorite ROM com? I am partial to Happiest Season.
  • As soon as I put in BURY Me at Makeout Creek, I put on BURY Me at Makeout Creek. I love Mitski and not just because I stan all half Asian women.
  • BET ON / SIDE ON / BASED ON is the kind of dupe that I literally do not care about at all, but I am mentioning it here so that y’all feel validated if it is the kind of dupe that you do care about
  • I have certainly heard of the Queen of Dark, but I knew her nickname, not her given name, so I needed pretty much every cross to get NYAKIM GATWECH.
  • NORTE is one letter off from “north,” I had “oeste” in there at first because I do not know how to spell or count apparently :D
  • TWO PAIRS is…. hmmm…. not a great entry, I think
  • OH COME ON is a great entry
  • I don’t like random “oh look, vowels” French like EAU in crosswords
  • AHA refers to a type of acid used in some skin products. It’s typically contrasted with BHAs. I had not heard of the former, but I have definitely done masks with the latter.
  • [Construction specs?] is a brilliant clue for SAFETY GLASSES and I wish this was a Monday so it could have been question mark-less
  • On the flip side, I think [Certain sneaks] for NIKES absolutely needed a question mark
  • WE WIN as a partial made me actually roll my eyes as I solved. Do y’all think the clue saved it? (Pairing it with DID as [Question from a fan who slept through the game]) I do not…
  • Love love love the clue [Food that may come with a waiver] for HOT WINGS, which, on its own, is a delightful entry

Thanks, Erik for the puzzle! It was a little stickier than my usual Friday time, but I wouldn’t call it hard.

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18 Responses to Friday, February 25, 2022

  1. Mark says:

    Was loving the NYT until “Pilau”. Am I the only one who has never heard this? And I lived in the UK for 3 years…seems like that could have been edited to something more gettable. “But that’s just me.”

    • Anne says:

      Pilaus are Indian rice dishes. Similar to pilafs, which was my first guess at this answer. But if you lived in the UK, I’m surprised that you haven’t heard this, given the ubiquity of Indian cuisine there.

      • Joe Pancake says:

        PILAU is not just Indian (although that is how I first heard of it), it’s a popular rice dish in many parts of the world, and different cultures have their own takes on it.

        It’s not just the English spelling of PILAF—it’s a dish (or type of dish) in and of itself.

        • David L says:

          To the best of my knowledge, pilau and pilaf are different spellings (among many others) of the same thing. It’s a rice dish that comes in many forms from many parts of the world, but the basic idea is the same.

  2. Boston Bob says:

    The TNY might have been “lightly challenging” to Nyakim Gatwech’s mother.

    • Mr. [Not Always] Grumpy says:


    • JohnH says:

      Yeah, it’s given me serious trouble, and not in good ways. I still have at least two crossings that make no sense or are still more dreadful proper names. As for the fashion model, I did get it from all the crossings but guessed it was NYAKI MGATWECH. But Erik Asgard puzzles are always all about his frame of reference. But glad he included SLOGS.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I did the puzzle after seeing comments here about the model’s name, and it still took me a challenging/Monday amount of time to solve it. I will say that Erik took care to MAKE SURE each crossing of Nyakim Gatwech was fair and gettable—but I think this should have been slotted for a Monday or Wednesday.

    • Bernie Haas says:

      Nyakim Gatwech was prominently in the news recently, so perhaps those who have never heard of her are mostly shut-ins.

      • JohnH says:

        She might be in the news, but frankly I read right by her name, focusing on the academic creep who insulted her. It just wasn’t important to me who she was. But so sorry for her and indeed anyone with a sense of justice that it took this to get her a mention in the news outside the Style section.

        Still, my previous point stands: the long entry many of us, quite obviously from the thread here, don’t know surely made it a tougher puzzle, especially for a Friday, but every puzzle has something that someone might not know, and that’s not what makes a puzzle a slog: it’s the sheer quantity of pop culture, including unfair crossings, and this setter was way out of bounds, again especially for a Friday.

  3. Billy Boy says:

    I got a lapel pin in Quebec once, got me off to a good start.

    Technically fine puzzle, didn’t thrill me

    WILLYOUBEQUIET is so rude – let’s just shut down any discussion as I have ALL the answers


    That must have been it

  4. LA Times:

    “Shadow target”: LID, as with eyeshadow.
    “Third of a game”: TIC, as in tic-tac, etc.
    “Checks” as BILLS? I too don’t understand that one.

  5. David L says:

    Almost came to grief in the very last square of the NYT. AE_/DO_. N, maybe? But then I ran the alphabet and AEC sounded right, as did DOC. For the record, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Back to the Future, or if I did it was a very long time ago. So what I know about it comes from crosswords and clips.

    • Mr. [Not Always] Grumpy says:

      Atomic Energy Commission — replaced by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in … early 70s? And DOC is a very funny character in a light-hearted movie. You could waste time on worse ones.

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