Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Point of No Return”—Erin’s write-up
Clever theme this week! Phrases ending in palindromic words are cut off after the middle letter of the palindrome.
- 17a. [Did some aviation, but only with way awesome instruction?] FLEW UNDER THE RAD (from “flew under the radar”)
- 27a. [Jewelry store, but only for fun?] RECREATIONAL KAY (recreational kayak)
- 47a. [Essential Spanish word for “sun”?] INSTRUMENTAL SOL (instrumental solos)
- 63a. [Completely different Bulgarian currency?] A WHOLE NOTHER LEV (a whole nother level)
- 16a. [32 degrees, maybe] ACUTE. Nice ambiguous clue. I was expecting it to refer to temperature, not angle measurement.
- 38a. [Wrestler in a mawashi] SUMO. Here’s a blog post with tons of information about mawashi, including how most of the professional mawashi, called shimekomi, are made by one artisan on a manual loom.
- 26d. [“Who ___ But Quagmire?”] (“Family Guy” bit) ELSE. There are so many was to clue ELSE. Why pick a bit about a cartoon character’s sexual behaviors?
- 9d. [Microsoft font named for Mount Rainier] TAHOMA. Təqʷuʔməʔ (Tahoma or Tacoma) is the mountain’s name in the Twulshootseed language of the Puyallup tribe.
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Shell Game”—Jim P’s review
Today’s theme entries are all familiar phrases that have a CHEESE FILLING (33a, [Feature of some pasta shells, and 17-, 24-, 46- and 54-Across]).
- 17a. [Discover by chance] STUMBLE UPON. Bleu. We also would have accepted [Defunct website for searching the Internet].
- 24a. [Actuary’s list of mortality rates] LIFE TABLE. Feta. Never heard the phrase before.
- 46a. [School with a leprechaun mascot] NOTRE DAME. Edam. This phrase I’ve heard of, especially since I’m an alumnus.
- 54a. [Patisserie purchase] APRICOT TART. Ricotta. Wow, what a nice find. Worth the price of admission, this one.
Solid Tuesday offering. I tried CHEESE STUFFING at first because “stuffed shells” is a phrase, but CHEESE FILLING is definitely better.
In the fill, that SW corner is quite nice with HOT TODDY, COCOONED, and FANFARE stacked vertically. On the opposite side, I didn’t know the author ED MCBAIN [Crime writer with an 87th Precinct series], but Wikipedia tells me, “His 87th Precinct novels have become staples of the police procedural genre.” Other niceties: EL TORO, TOP OFF, “DE NADA,” and BAD RAP.
Clues of note:
- 42a. [Woman with a train]. BRIDE. Not all brides wear a wedding dress. A “sometimes” is probably warranted here.
- 18d. [Jazz Age singer Smith]. BESSIE. Her version of “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” dropped just two weeks before the stock market crash of 1929, almost guaranteeing its popularity (along with her powerful delivery, of course).
A fine Tuesday puzzle. 3.75 stars.
Olivia Mitra Framke’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
What a treat! It’s April and there’s a theme centered on the word “strike” and not a single themer is about baseball. I’m not sure baseball fans realize just how pervasive their fandom feels (to those of us who could take it or leave it) when a new season starts … it’s kind of a lot!
- 16a. [What might be rolled for a strike], BOWLING BALL.
- 25a. [What a clock might strike]. MIDNIGHT.
- 37a. [What might strike during a storm], LIGHTNING.
- 52a. [Who might go on strike], EMPLOYEE. Worker, labor, union member—those feel a bit more apt to me than EMPLOYEE.
- 62a. [What might strike you while solving this puzzle], INSPIRATION.
Roughly five different uses of “strike,” though the LIGHTNING and INSPIRATION sort of both land on the “hit” meaning. Works for a Tuesday puzzle.
Fave fill: PLUS ONE, SAME-SEX (this court makes me nervous about established rights remaining established, though), MEDUSA (role model for us all!), and a NEW TAKE (though fresh take might be more fun) on a familiar concept. I also like TRYNA, as in an elided “trying to.” “I’m not tryna run a website that comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted.”
Three more things:
- 5a. [Home of the comics heroes Asterix and Obelix], GAUL. That’s rather hard pop culture for a Tuesday puzzle, no? Both European and of yore. Just realized, though, that the character names are close to typographical symbols, the asterisk and obelus (which I know mainly as the dagger, but it’s other symbols, too).
- 15a. [“It’s cold in here!”], BRR. Saw a little snow today in Chicago, we did. On April 18. Sigh. My husband lucked out and spent the day in and around Boston, where it was sunny and did not snow, though he had to run all the way from Hopkinton to Back Bay.
- 63d. [Christmastime concoction], NOG. Does anyone call it that? Or does everyone say eggnog?
3.5 stars from me. Cheers!
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
I haven’t done enough of the New Yorker’s new daily crosswords to calibrate their absolute difficulty levels, but Tuesdays are intended to be the second-hardest of the week, after Mondays.
This one felt relatively easy. There were a few entries—mostly in the southwest, as it turned out—which I needed to sit on, to resolve dilemmas via crossings:
- I banjaxed myself upon entry, as I misread the clue for the easy 43a [Indian princes] as [Indian princess] and filled in RANEE instead of RAJAS. As a result, 30d [Graham played by Meryl Streep in “The Post”] was KATHERINE rather than KATHARINE.
- 38d [Prepares for a big date, say] was going to be either PREENS or PRIMPS. I or E? 47a didn’t help, as [Accustom] could be either INURE or ENURE. I needed more crossings beyond the P, R, and S! Eventually I seeped my way through it all.
Over in the southeast, my answer for 52a [Nondairy latte ingredient] was an instaget of SOY MILK. Unfortunately, 53d [Feline fellow] Y–M wasn’t looking too good, and my brain
compulsively took a Y-cat detour for the obviously-doesn’t-fit and obviously-too-obscure-for-a-regular-crossword jaguarundi, Herpailurus yagouaroundi. Perhaps if I ever get around to constructing crosswords I’ll see if I can work it in.
So, a correction to TOM and OAT MILK.
- 2d [Vice-President Harris, to Cole and Ella] MOMALA. That’s a Yiddish hypocoristic.
- 9d [Tropical-drink garnishes] UMBRELLAS. Was definitely thinking of the edible kind.
- 17d [Line sometimes seen at the end of a letter?] SERIF. This was a pretty good misdirection; not directly related to epistles.
- 28d [Sooner] OKLAHOMAN. This would have been trickier had I not already encountered the crossing long entry 34a [Kaunas residents, e.g.] LITHUANIANS. On the other hand, I was fooled by 40d [Madison and Jackson, e.g.] CITIES, which I ran into before either of those more central items.
- 32d [Read incorrectly] MISJUDGE. More metaphorical than my misreading of, say, 43-across.
- 34d [Movie-studio exchange of one actor for another, temporarily] LOAN-OUT. This, I assume, would be back in the studio-system days? At least if we’re discussing Hollywood.
- 6a [Eighteenth-century hairpieces] PERUKES. Forgot about this word, and was instead thinking of the antecedent word PERIW[H]IGS, also obviously too long. 48a [Salon, e.g.] ROOM.
- 25a [Mickey Mantle’s number] SEVEN crossing 11d [Roughly six per cent of craps rolls] ELEVENS.
- 30a [Ability to make the cut?] KNIFE SKILLS. Cute.
- 49a [Gobs] A TON. 20a [Vast amounts] SEAS. (gob is also a word for a sailor)
- 50a [Tiny bit] MODICUM. With the I in place, I toyed with the idea of ONE IOTA, but since I’d already entered ONE MILE at 15-across [Eight furlongs], I was reasonably confident there wouldn’t be a duplication of ONE.
For rough comparison (if you’re into that sort of thing) my solve time was about 6½ minutes, which includes fussing with the web app’s settings (stay in current word; space bar erases current letter).
Rafael Musa’s USA Today Crossword, “Up Ahead“ — Emily’s write-up
What a trip! More challenging for me today but great entries and cluing with a fun theme and themers.
Theme: each themer starts with U for the first word and P for the second for the two-word phrase
- 19a. [Field concerned with city design], URBANPLANNING
- 31a. [Travel document for American citizens], USPASSPORT
- 55a. [Indian state that’s home to the Taj Mahal], UTTARPRADESH
Fun theme and themers that felt like they took me on a trip! URBANPLANNING creates and maintains location, and for this trip I’ll grab my USPASSPORT then travel to UTTARPRADESH for the sites and (always a travel focus of mine) delicious food. The first two were easy for me but the third themer needed crossings, as my world geography is not as strong.
Favorite fill: ELATE, NUEVO, and ADOBO
Stumpers: ASANA (stuck on another word for “pose” instead of type of yoga), EDNA (tricky cluing style for me, usually need crossings to narrow options), and JEST (needed all crossing, just didn’t click for me today)
The southwest corner was a tough section for me. DOO and INN just weren’t enough to give me a foothold and being stumped with the themer, I was hoping for more crossings to get 55a. Finally with AUDIT and ASANA in place, the rest filled in quickly. Hopefully you all had an easier time with this corner than I did today. Excellent, fun puzzle none-the-less!
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 568), “What Crossword Chameleons Do: 4 wds.”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everyone! I hope you are doing well and staying safe!
It is a double dose of Gorski today, as she also produced today’s puzzle for The New Yorker, and today’s offering in this space provides a cleverly hidden message, one that is the answer to the teaser posed in the grid’s title, “What crossword chameleons do.” When the four words at the end of each theme answer are put together, in order from top to bottom, you get the homophonic phrase, “Hyde inn plane site,” which, of course, is standing in for “Hide in plain sight.”
- JEKYLL AND HYDE (15A: [“Dual” personality type])
- HOLIDAY INN (28A: [Crosby/Astaire classic with the Berlin hit, “White Christmas”])
- PRESS PLANE (42A: [Aircraft for White House journalists])
- E-COMMERCE SITE (57A: [Web-based seller of goods, services and digital products])
I’ve seen FREE WIFI in puzzles a few times lately (including one that I constructed a few months back), and definitely was curious, before solving today’s, all of the funny ways that that could be clued…and we can add this one to the list (12D: [Hotspot that’s on the house?]). The clue for TORSO reminded me that the shape of mine is definitely much more shaped like an “o” than the “v” mentioned in the clue (35D: [Body builder’s v-shaped area]). Liked seeing the entirety of HAN SOLO in the grid compared to just one of the names being mentioned in many grids (7D: [Harrison Ford’s role in “Star Wars”]). My time to leave and get ready to cover a Major League Baseball game in person is AT HAND, but not before some MLB talk in the next graph (9D: [Within reach]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ECKERT (3D: [MLB commissioner between Frick and Kuhn]) – One of the shortest tenures by a Major League Baseball commissioner, William Eckert’s reign, from 1965 to 1968, came right in the middle of the height of social unrest in America, and Eckert’s decision to not cancel games after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy in 1968 are probably the most memorable moments of his time as baseball commish. Eckert, a lieutenant general in the US Air Force, served in the military from 1930 to 1961 and, during World War II, was assigned to Europe as commander of the 452nd Bomb Group in the summer of 1944.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Billy Ousak’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
I didn’t grok this theme until I got to the revealer and even then it was more of an “oh, OK” moment than an “aha!” realization. My pop cult education is somewhat deficient.
The theme answers are identified with *s.
- 17a [*Extremely hostile situation] is the BELLY OF THE BEAST.
- 33a [*Toyota RAV4 alternative] is the NISSAN ROGUE.
- 42a [*Offensive in the First Gulf War] was DESERT STORM.
- 59a [*Netflix series about a chess prodigy] is THE QUEEN‘S GAMBIT.
67a ties it all together: [Marvel comics mutants, four of whom can be found at the ends of the answers to the starred clues] is XMEN. It appears that BEAST, ROGUE, STORM, and GAMBIT are all part of the XMEN. There are lots more. OK, then. This is a perfectly fine Tuesday theme, which fell into place just fine despite the lacunae in my knowledge base. It doesn’t do much for me, and that’s totally on me.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: well, the XMEN. I also didn’t know that New Mexico’s state flower is the YUCCA.
Kathy Lowden’s Universal Crossword, “Taken for Granite”— Jim Q’s write-up
That title rocks! [pun very much intended]
THEME: Rocks + things having to do with one’s body
- GRAVEL VOICED
- STONE FACED
- ROCK RIBBED
- (revealer) MINERALOGIST
Didn’t fully appreciate this theme until now as I only assumed the first words shared anything in common. Finding rocks (minerals? I forgot my 8th grade earth science material) with body parts has to be a narrow theme type for sure.
That said, I’ve never heard of ROCK RIBBED. At all. A quick google says that it’s typically used in a political sense to describe uncompromising politicians… all the examples I see use Republicans. Regardless, it’s a fun term to learn, even if it’s a reminder of how ROCK RIBBED so many of us have become.
AMC at the center of the puzzle is a reminder that I’m champing at the bit to watch Better Call Saul now. I’ve waited a long time for this season.