The New Yorker just announced that it will be adding two more daily crosswords to its schedule, occupying the full weekday slate. “Monday through Thursday, the puzzles will be themeless and will decrease in difficulty each day, with a new beginner-friendly puzzle on Thursdays. For the first time, Friday’s puzzle will be themed, of light to moderate difficulty.” There will be an expanded roster of constructors.
Leslie Rogers’s New York Times Crossword — Sophia’s recap
Hey folks, Sophia here after watching a wild Oscars broadcast with some very predictable awards! Today’s puzzle is probably best explained through the theme answers themselves:
- 16a [Q.U.E.U.E.S.] – DOTTED LINES – “Queues” is a synonym for “lines”, and the letters have dots between them, hence “dotted lines”. The same logic explains all following answers.
- 27a [E+X+T+R+A+S] – ADDED BONUSES
- 44a [W/H/E/E/L/S] – SLASHED TIRES
- 58a [D-R-E-A-M-S] – DASHED HOPES
Interesting theme for a Monday! The best crosswords in my opinion are ones that let me look at words in new ways, and this one certainly did that. I loved the aha moment that came from figuring out the pun-ctuation clues (haha). At first I had no idea what was going on, but once I got the concept of the answer, the rest fell quickly. None of the answers are incredibly flashy, but they are a solid set all around. ADDED BONUSES feels like a bit of a punctuation outlier here, but I don’t mind it because it follows the same structure as the other answers.
Super solid Monday level fill all around here, with NOT IT as the only semi-shaky answer in the entire puzzle. That’s especially incredible when you look at the number of exciting answers Leslie was able to cram into this puzzle without sacrificing fill quality: ALL ABOARD, SAD TO SAY, BENTO BOX, CUSS WORD, SANTA SUIT. For a Monday, I also like that none of the long answers involve pop culture or proper nouns that might only be known to a certain subset of solvers. I think this puzzle should have mass appeal to the NYT audience – it certainly appealed to me!
- I feel like it’s rare to see ADA clued in reference to the Americans with Disabilities Act, as it was today at 57a [___-compliant (wheelchair-accessible, say)]. Normally we get the name or the dental association.
- Glad to see AVA DuVernay get a shoutout on the day that Jane Campion became the third woman ever to with the Oscar for best director!
- For those curious: the world’s highest unclimbed mountain is Gangkhar Puensum in BHUTAN. It’s 24,840 ft tall, and in Bhutan it’s prohibited to climb any peak higher than 20,000 feet, as these are thought to be the homes of protective spirits.
Happy Monday all!
Prasanna Keshava’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “By-Products”—Jim P’s review
Theme: Two-word phrases with the initials B.Y.
- 20a. [“It’s going to get rough…”] “BRACE YOURSELF!”
- 34a. [Some investment returns] BOND YIELDS.
- 42a. [Period of exceptional business for a company] BANNER YEAR.
- 57a. [1950 Judy Holliday movie] BORN YESTERDAY.
Solid Monday-level theme. Not a lot to say here, but I like the chosen entries. BOND YIELDS is maybe a bit ho-hum, but the rest are nice. Hey, how about a Russian leader we could actually respect a little?
RING A BELL and “YOU FEEL ME?” in the fill are fun even though the latter dupes the YOU in one of the themers. And a BODY RUB makes for a feel-good entry.
Clue of note: 1a. [In the altogether]. BARE. I don’t think I’ve heard this idiom. How old is it? Sounds old.
Lynn Lempel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
I have very little time today to go through this one, so it’ll mostly be theme explanation today. The revealer at 60A [House with short staircases, and a hint to each row of circles] gives us SPLIT LEVEL, because the circled letters in each theme row are SPLIT by a black square, and each set of circled letters spells out a synonym for LEVEL.
- 17A STALINGRAD and 19A EASY have GRADE in the circled squares.
- 24A EERIER and 26A ANKLE have RANK in the circled squares.
- 38A GANGSTA and 40A TUSCANY have STATUS in the circled squares. (I like this lively row!)
- 47A HORDE and 49A GREECE have DEGREE in the circled squares.
Very easy grid as is par for the course from Lynn, and you’ll never get any complaints from me for putting BACH in that mood-setting 1-Across slot.
Karen Steinberg and Paul Steinberg’s Universal crossword, “Ouch!”
… and edited by David Steinberg; don’t know if something familial is going on, but it seems likely?
- 49aR [Plan to discuss a point later, or a hint to 20-, 33-a and 41-Across] STICK A PIN IN IT.
- 20a. [No-tech messaging platform?] BULLETIN BOARD. Eh, it’s still technology.
- 33a. [Eerie effigy] VOODOO DOLL.
- 41a. [Ring bearer?] JEWELRY BOX.
Odd that just two of the three theme clues are questionmarky, and my hypothesis is that any attempt to make a cutesy or punny clue for VOODOO DOLL would carry unwarranted cultural baggage.
Nevertheless, a good theme and an easy-breezy crossword.
- 1d [Color TV pioneer] RCA. Completely on autopilot for this one. Haven’t we seen this clue verbatim seemingly hundreds of times? Mondays especially can be like that.
- 5d [CNN host whose name is a fruit] DON LEMON. 21d [Cooking acronym whose third letter stands for “olive”] EVOO.
- 10d [Respectful refusal] NO MA’AM, but 18a [“Madam, I’m __” (palindrome)] ADAM. 23a [Night before New Year’s, e.g.] EVE.
- 30d [Home material that’s an anagram of 38-Across] ADOBE; 38a [“Humble” home] ABODE.
- 42d [King of the jungle] LION. Most live in savanna habitats. A modicum of searching informs me that jungle is derived from Hindi and connotes ‘uninhabited’ place. Here are a few good responses to the question of lions and jungles.
- 50d [Romulus or Remus] TWIN. 56d [King or queen, but not prince] BED.
- 28a [Squid, in Italian cooking] CALAMARI. From m-w: “The word calamari was borrowed into English from 17th-century Italian, where it functioned as the plural of ‘calamaro’ or ‘calamaio.’ The Italian word, in turn, comes from the Medieval Latin noun calamarium, meaning ‘ink pot’ or ‘pen case,’ and can be ultimately traced back to Latin calamus, meaning ‘reed pen.’ The transition from pens and ink to squid is not surprising, given the inky substance that a squid ejects and the long tapered shape of the squid’s body. English speakers have also adopted ‘calamus’ itself as a word referring to both a reed pen and to a number of plants.” Further, Sepia is a genus of cuttlefish (another cephalopod).
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday Crossword — Matthew’s recap
Tim Croce-esque grid from BEQ today, with stacks in each corner and 8- and 9-letter entries flowing from the edges into the middle. It makes for a connected grid that offers plenty of alternative paths when I got stuck.
I had to work down the left edge after getting stuck at [22a “Attica” documentarian Stanley _____] NELSON — perhaps if I had watched the Oscars instead of soccer last night I would have gotten it, but that’s a choice I’d never make — and ended up bouncing around quite a bit. OUT OF FAVOR [18a No longer highly regarded] and SICK BURN [33d Diss that’s going to leave a mark] were highlights for me, while I struggled to piece together OREL [25d Russian city on the Oka River] and got slowed down by “onoff” instead of OFFON at [9d Switch labels]. Most of the rest of the grid was solid but passed without much reaction. On the whole, an enjoyable solve and solid challenge.
- 27a [Pol who said “War is a contagion”] FDR. Hoo boy, how long did I keep POT in here? Long enough to say “27d is a word like FORAY… that starts with a P?” and *still* keep it there. Guess I need to brush up on my history.
- 56a [Delicacy made with cornmeal, milk, butter, and eggs] SPOONBREAD. I hadn’t seen this before, but once I got enough crosses decided it must be correct. Looking it up, it occurs to me (1) that I’ve made this before, but called it “corn pudding”, and (2) that it really should be on a menu somewhere around me (in rural North Carolina), and I’m not going to the right restaurants, I guess.
- 10d [Scooped?] A LA MODE. Delightful clue – I had a very satisfying aha moment with it. I find it’s tough to get a question mark clue that doesn’t telegraph the misdirection, and this avoids that trap nicely.
- 50d [Garbage disposal: Abbr.] APPL. I’m not sure what’s going on here. Is APPL short for ‘appliance’? If so, I’d like a “, for one” or some such in the clue. But that may not be what’s going on at all.
Clean but crunchy puzzle today with lots to enjoy. My Monday brain took quite a while to put the pieces together, but while tough the puzzle was thoroughly enjoyable. Of the long across answers, I got CRACK A SMILE first and then filled in term PAPERS – went back and got CONTEXT CLUE which allowed me to fix my error and get to EXAM PAPERS.
Some favorite clues:
18A [Key collaborator] PEELE
11D [One who hasn’t adapted to the times] DINOSAUR
21D [In the mail, say?] ARMOR CLAD
3D [What Georgia has that Geneva lacks] SERIFS
Here’s some ELO in honor of spring:
Elizabeth Goodney & Hoang-Kim Vu’s USA Today puzzle, “Family First”– malaika’s write-up
Theme: The first part of each theme entry is a family member
- Refined baking ingredient– GRANULATED SUGAR
- Dish that may be served alongside tortilla espanola– PATATAS BRAVAS
- Its chimney is watched for papal news– SISTINE CHAPEL
- Started to perspire– BROKE INTO A SWEAT
After I got “gran,” I wondered if this puzzle would use all English terms for family members, or if they’d mix it up. (DID I STUTTER would have been an awesome theme answer if they’d done the latter.)
I was slow on this puzzle!! My solve times for USA Today puzzles are around 5mins, and this one was over 10. Did you guys find it hard? I’ll go through some thoughts on the clues, including some I thought were hard.
- The term “trans MASC” is not new to me, but it might be to some of you– it can refer to a few things, including men who are trans, or non-binary people who feel masculine.
- SEMINAL is tricky vocabulary, I think. I know how to use that word, but I wouldn’t be able to give a concise definition it if you asked me, which is why it took me a while to put in.
- The clue [Wheel coverings] didn’t click for me with the entry TIRES. Is that how they work? I guess I thought TIRES were wheels.
- A nutmeg is a soccer trick where you get past an opponent by dribbling the ball through their legs. It’s brutal. I usually hear this abbreviated to “meg.”
- I thought the clue [Acrylics, for example] was ambiguous because it could be NAILS or “paint” but in retrospect, the plural indicates the former.
- I am not convinced that TP-ED is an abbreviation for “teleported”….
- What are y’all’s thoughts on sweet potato PIE? Personally, I never want a vegetable in my dessert.
- There are jjimjilbangs alllll over New York and New Jersey, and I know many people who go to them, but I’ve never heard this term before (I just hear “Korean spa”).
- God bless a mention of “HAROLD and the Purple Crayon.” I freaking loved that book.