Hanh Huynh’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “A Little Advice”—Jim P’s review
The revealer is SUGGESTION BOXES (38a, [Slotted containers, and a clue to four of this puzzle’s squares]). Said squares are rebussed with synonyms of “suggestion” contained within.
- 17a [Proverbial preventative] STITCH IN TIME crossing 15d [Izumo Oyashiro faith] SHINTO. Hint.
- 18a [Blow-dryer part] HEATING ELEMENT crossing 4d [Representative group] CONTINGENT. Tinge.
- 60a [Business attire worn with knee-high socks] BERMUDA SHORTS crossing 50d [Furious] MAD AS HELL. Dash. Fun entries on this one. But wait…since when are BERMUDA SHORTS “business attire”?
- 68a [Sex ed subject] CONTRACEPTION crossing 59d [Metaphorical daily grind] RAT RACE. Trace.
This took me some time to unpack. I got nowhere in the top half of the grid, even after uncovering the revealer. I next came to 68a which I thought wanted CONCEPTION thus making 59d simply RACE (though I knew it had to be RAT RACE). Finally, BERMUDA SHORTS saved me and gave me the aha moment I needed. A fun time and an impressive execution of a rebus theme.
There are plenty of theme constraints everywhere in the grid yet we still get a couple of long entries (AREA CODES and IN PURSUIT) plus LOST DOG and pinball BUMPERS.
Didn’t know the Bluegrass musician Molly TUTTLE though the surname seems familiar to me. Google tells me there aren’t that many famous people with that name nor even fictional characters. Not sure where I know it from.
Clues of note:
- 21a. [Opposite of full]. NEW. Took me a few seconds after getting this right to realize it was about lunar phases.
- 15d. [Izumo Oyashiro faith]. SHINTO. This isn’t a person; it’s the name of the most important SHINTO shrines in Japan.
Impressive rebus grid. 4.25 stars.
Alex Rosen’s New York Times crossword—Ben’s review
Alex Rosen couldn’t make it any clearer what needs to be done with the theme clues in today’s puzzle:
- 17A: Punishes — DISCIPLES
- 19A: Interrupt … or what to do as you enter the answer to the previous clue — CUT IN
- 29A: Backed financially — SPORTED
- 31A: Prep for surgery … or what to do as you enter the answer to the previous clue — SCRUB UP
- 48A: Workplace with no commute — HOME ICE
- 50A: Leave … or what to do as you enter the answer to the previous clue — TAKE OFF
- 64A: Brazenly disregarding — FLING
- 66A: Flail at home plate … or what to do as you enter the answer to the previous clue — STRIKE OUT
The second clue of each pair of clues gives you the letters to cut, scrub, take, strike, or otherwise remove from the answer to the first clue to fit it into the grid. DISCIPLINES becomes DISCIPLES sans “IN”, SUPPORTED turns into SPORTED without “UP”, and HOME OFFICE and FLOUTING become HOME ICE and FLING minus their “OFF” and “OUT”, respectively.
Marty Feldman’s IGOR is legendary in Young Frankenstein
Michael B. Berg’s Universal Crossword, “Irrigation”— Jim Q’s write-up
This theme is slightly watered down.
THEME: Add the word “water” before the starred clues (not entries) in order for the entries to make sense.
- [*Loo] CRUSHING BLOW. Waterloo, that is.
- [*Shed] TRANSITION POINT. Watershed.
- [*Logged] SOAKED TO THE BONE. Waterlogged.
- (Revealer) JUST ADD WATER.
Really enjoyed solving this one, which is high praise considering I’m in Disney World at the moment after a 26-hours-without-sleep day of getting high school seniors on a plane, into a hotel, and into parks in suddenly-oppressive heat.
I admit I didn’t figure out the theme until a solid minute or so after I finished the solve. I was trying to add “water” in some form into the entries… like cramming two H’s and an O in there or something. A nice AHA (or “Oh, duh”) moment for me when I figured that out.
Lots of fun clue/answer pairs:
- RARER was a nice way to start with the fun fact that blue lobsters are RARER than the red.
- MSN reminded me that Bing is still a thing?!
- Mah-jonng suit that’s also a plant is BAMBOO… not BONSAI
- Nice misdirection in the clue for RUDOLPH. I was thinking mythology with Cupid in the clue.
- RANDOS is a great entry.
New to me: TOTORO
Nit of the day:
- [Word hidden in “washrooms”] ASH. I really like these types of clues when the entry is apt with the word in which it is hidden. Otherwise they’re really just… bizarre. ASH? Why is that clued via “washroom”? So strange!
4.5 stars from me. Thanks for this!
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Crossword #1471, “Replacement ID”—Darby’s review
Theme: Each theme answer includes an anagram replacing the place of “ID” in the typical phrase.
- 14a [“Cash used for a bathroom feature”] BIDET MONEY / DEBIT MONEY
- 16a [“Chiefs coach Andy in a remake of ‘Aladdin’?”] MAGIC CARPET REID / MAGIC CARPET RIDE
- 53a [“Lateral movement between the jungle gym and the swings?” PLAYGROUND SIDLE / PLAYGROUND SLIDE
- 57a [“Whatever author Gore meant to say”] VIDAL POINT / VALID POINT
- 4d [“That je ne sais quoi of the cleaning staff”] MAID’S TOUCH / MIDAS TOUCH
- 29d [“Texter’s response to ‘What’s UR lazy dog doing?’”] IDK NAPPING / KIDNAPPING
I thought that this was an interesting theme. MAGIC CARPET REID made it pretty clear from the start, and so that was useful as I finished the rest of the puzzle. I think anagrams are fun within puzzles, and so I’m always excited to see them appear, and it was nifty that BEQ kept ID together in each. I also appreciated the Across/Down combo and the fact that so many themers squeezed into this puzzle, especially in IDK NAPPING. That’s exactly what my dog is doing as I right this.
BEQ notes that this was a tight fill because of the theme answers, and you can see that in the stacks of threes on the left and right sides of the grids, but I think it was nice that the corners opened up a bit for words like ONE NOTE, WEIGHTY, ABANDON, NOT A LIE, etc. 37d [“Song sung by Maple Leafs fans”] O CANADA could also be clued in reference to the Sabres, since Buffalo always plays the Canadian national anthem in addition to the American one.
Overall, a fun puzzle with a bunch of great themers.
Brooke Husic’s USA Today Crossword, “Pop Trio” — Sophia’s recap
Editor: Amanda Rafkin
Theme: The second word of each theme answer is a type of soda.
- 19a [“Spirited Away” creature that sheds black dust] – SOOT SPRITE
- 37a [“I sooo want to be besties with that person” feeling] – FRIEND CRUSH
- 54a [Another name for pico de gallo] – SALSA FRESCA
Every time I solve the USA Today, I try to guess what the theme is going to be from the title alone. Today, I was pleasantly surprised that the theme was more interesting than just “the letters POP appearing three times”. Each of these theme answers turns the soda name on its head, and is a lovely answer besides. I’ve never seen “Spirited Away” (I know, I know), but the clue was very helpful in seeing SOOT SPRITE, and I found it to be an intriguing answer. I also love the term FRIEND CRUSH and use it often.
- I recently had a long debate/argument with a friend about whether the 90’s fad was SLAP or SNAP bracelets. I’m glad to say that the puzzle agrees with me and that SLAP is totally the correct answer here. It did make me smile that SNAP turned up later in the puzzle (at 64a [Sound made by fingers])
- I enjoyed that the last two across answers were TEAS and TEES – fun with homophones!
- The hardest part of the puzzle for me was 10d[Hybrid Indian language], HINGLISH. I overthought the 22a [Juniper-flavored alcohol] (it’s just GIN), and thought that the fourth letter was going to be a D, giving HINDxxxx. But no! Oh, and I also thought raita had “cilantro” instead of CUCUMBER at first for some reason. No excuse for that one, it’s on me.
Katherine Baicker’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
In this puzzle by Adrian Johnson, the grid is one square longer to accommodate WHATABOUTISM, the [Rhetorical strategy of countering an accusation with another accusation, and an apt description of the answers to the starred clues] even-numbered central revealing answer.
Each of four other long across entries are bookended by WHAT, i.e. have WHAT about them:
- [*Easy order for a bartender], WHISKEYNEAT
- [*The place to be, informally], WHEREITSAT
- [*Toast choice], WHOLEWHEAT
- [*”Is it almost time for dinner?”], WHENDOWEEAT
Error: [Homeopathic treatment for bruises], ARNICA – should read “herbal”. The homeopathic treatment for anything is water or possibly another diluent like alcohol…