Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “This and That” – Erin’s write-up
Hello my lovelies! This week’s theme took me a bit to get. The second word in each theme entry is replaced by the second word in a common “___ and ___” phrase to generate a new phrase.
- 18a. [Braggy answer to a food allergens quiz if you know your wheat proteins?] GLUTEN EASY. The initial phrase is GLUTEN FREE, and FREE is replaced by EASY, the second word in FREE AND EASY.
- 61a. [All-sock reenactment of the Swiss apple-shooting story?] PUPPET TELL. The initial phrase is PUPPET SHOW, and the second phrase is SHOW AND TELL.
- 3d. [Giant medieval structure being transported on wheels?] CASTLE ROLL. Initial phrase is CASTLE ROCK and the second phrase is ROCK AND ROLL.
- 30d. [Ripping coupons with your bare hands, as opposed to fancy scissors?] CASUAL TEAR. Initial phrase is CASUAL WEAR, second phrase is WEAR AND TEAR.
- 22a. [Part of the teen punk band name with the 2022 song, “Racist, Sexist Boy”] LINDAS. Their debut album dropped this year, but The Linda Lindas started playing together in 2018 and their performance at the Los Angeles Public Library for the above song went viral in 2021.
- 38a. [Costar of Sid on “Your Show of Shows’] IMOGENE. Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca starred in this 1950s variety show, which advanced variety shows by adding running sketches in with the usual one-time comedy bits.
- 42a. [Shade named for a flower] LILAC. This is the name of my 80-pound pupper! She’s ginormous but thinks she’s a lapdog.
- 27d. [PBS chef Martin] YAN. I have fond memories of watching “Yan Can Cook” with my grandmother as a child. The joy he gets from cooking is obvious.
- 4d. [“La Marseillaise,” for France] ANTHEM. I’m wondering if some Learned League members are wishing this had been last week’s puzzle…
That’s all for today! Here’s a little punk to cleanse your palate before the next review.
Adrian Johnson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Quiet Down!”—Jim P’s review
With that title, I was fully expecting to see entries featuring the letters SHH turned downward. Frankly, I was relieved this wasn’t the case, because I think I’ve seen enough of those types of themes to last me a good while.
Instead, the title is synonymous with the revealer, “INSIDE VOICES” (51a, [Teacher’s remark to a noisy classroom, and a hint to the circled letters]). Those circled letters, found in familiar phrases, spell out three voice types.
- 20a. [Igor, notably] LAB ASSISTANT. Bass.
- 27a. [Canada nickname] GREAT WHITE NORTH. Tenor.
- 45a. [Athlete’s asset during grueling competition] MENTAL TOUGHNESS. Alto.
Fun entries, especially those last two. Missing are the voice types soprano, mezzo-soprano, and baritone…and countertenor and contralto, depending on what list you consult. It’s not surprising only three of the voices work in this grid given the length of the others. But three is enough when the revealer is long enough to count as a theme entry. Solid hidden-word theme.
I loved “OH, IT’S ON!” and the informal “MORNIN‘”. It’s also nice to see new crossword staple ISSA RAE fully named. Everything else is solid but not necessarily sparkly.
Clues of note:
- 62a. [Cattle-herding dog]. CORGI. I wouldn’t have thought a dog with such short, stubby legs would be a good herder, but I came across this comment in my “research”: “Because they are small they can easily nip and [sic] the heels of the livestock they are herding which makes them specially suited for the work.”
- 7d. [Kind of race or runner]. ARMS. I’ve heard the phrase “gun runner” but never “ARMS runner.”
- 44d. [Nine of diamonds?]. INNINGS. Good clue. We also would have accepted [Cricket match division] mirroring the [Tennis match divisions] clue for SETS.
- 47d. [Like a cut from an amateur barber, perhaps]. UNEVEN. Anyone still cutting their own HAIRS? I was for a while and I wasn’t half bad at it. (Now I just keep it permanently longer.)
- 34a. [Falco hit “___ Kommissar”]. DER. Time for a cheesy ’80s musical interlude.
Carly Schuna’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
What a nicely imagined and executed theme! The revealer is 58a. [Big times in Silicon Valley … or a hint to 17-, 25-, 35- and 49-Across?], TECH BOOMS, and those four themers are all tech-related terms that end with things that make big BOOMS:
- 17a. [Make a goofy appearance in someone else’s picture], PHOTOBOMB.
- 25a. [Multipost rant online], TWEETSTORM.
- 35a. [What the “spinning beach ball of death” might indicate], COMPUTER CRASH.
- 49a. [Message sent to many recipients], EMAIL BLAST.
It’s elegant that each of those four is singular and the revealer is plural.
Fave fill: CRUMPLES, EAT FRESH with its clue [Subway line?]. I recently learned from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that Subway screws over its franchisees pretty thoroughly.
Three more things:
- 55a. [Foamy part of un espresso], CREMA. It’s also what sour cream may be labeled at a Mexican mart.
- 61a. [Actress/model Bo], DEREK. Star of 10 in 1979. That movie was directed by her husband, John Derek. Bo and John got together when she was 16 and he, a 46-year-old married man. They actually stayed together for 20 years, till he died—and now she’s married to a handsome actor John Corbett, who’s four years her junior.
- 3d. [Honey source], CLOVER. “Source” feels maybe too direct a term when the clover is a big step removed from the honey. Clover -> pollen -> bees -> hive -> honey, yes?
Four stars from me.
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 575), “Top Bun”—Ade’s take
Good day, everybody! I hope you all are doing well as summer is fast approaching!
Today’s grid almost got me hungry enough to get the wheat bread from the top of the refrigerator and make myself a sandwich. Though that didn’t happen, there was bread stored at the top of this puzzle, with the four long down entries all starting with words that are types of delectable buns.
Hey! Nice buns!
- STICKY WICKET (3D: [Awkward situation, at Oxford])
- HAWAIIAN SHIRTS (9D: [Brightly-colored tops accessorized with leis])
- CINNAMON CARTER (14D: [Agent played by Barbara Bain on TV’s “Mission: Impossible”])
- HONEY-DO LISTS (20D: [Collections of household tasks compiled for one’s partner])
Along with all the bread, there is a stack of nine-letter entries that continue the food theme, with both TACO STAND (12A: [Provider of Mexican street food]) and TRIMMINGS making the mouth water (16A: [Items traditionally served with a Thanksgiving turkey]). One thing that definitely stuck out to me was seeing USMA (2D: [Sch. at West Point]) in the same grid as ARMY, given that those two can be used interchangeably when referring to the school (27A: [Major employer?]). Love the earworm that’s provided when putting in DENIECE, and now I need to remember the last time I watched Footloose, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t watched it since, at the latest, 1992 or so (41A: [“Let’s Hear It For the Boy” singer Williams]). This might be the best grid I’ve solved this year for one reason: the inclusion of my alma mater, with both SYR (39A: [Medit. nation]), if reimagined as the abbreviation for Syracuse, and ORANGE, Syracuse’s mascot, both in the puzzle (49: [Carroty color]). Let’s Go Orange!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SANTO (4D: [___ Domingo (Caribbean capital)]) – One of the most adored athletes in the sports-mad city of Chicago, former Cubs third baseman and broadcaster Ron Santo was one of the great third basemen to ever play…yet took much longer than it should have to get his due in Cooperstown. The Cubs teams during his time in Chicago (1960-1973) were not that great, but Santo was; he was a nine-time All-Star, a five-time Gold Glove winner and had four seasons where he hit over .300 and also four seasons where he hit at least 30 home runs. Playing a position known to produce power hitters, Santo remains the only third baseman in MLB history to have at least 90 RBI in eight consecutive seasons. All this, and he performed his whole career while battling diabetes. Despite those credentials, Santo is probably best known for coming up just short of induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame in every year he was eligible while he was alive. Santo died in 2010, and the Golden Era Committee voted Santo into the Hall of Fame posthumously in 2012.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Robin Stears’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Sophia’s write-up
Hey folks! I’ll be covering the LA Times Tuesday puzzles for the month of June while Jenni’s on vacation. Full disclosure, I very very rarely solve the LA Times, so I’m excited to try out some new puzzles!
- 19a [*Social media time out] – FACEBOOK JAIL
- 26a [*Channel bottom] – CREEK BED
- 34a [*Area of HersheyPark with the Candymonium roller coaster] – CHOCOLATE TOWN
- 47a [*Bit of trickery on a return] – TAX DODGE
- 54a [“Shoo!”, and an instruction that goes with the last words of the answers of the starred clues] – GET OUT OF HERE
So, the last words of each theme answer can make phrases with “get out of”, such as “get out of jail”, or “get out of bed”. Pretty neat! I had no idea what was going on for the majority of the solve, but as soon as I got the revealer I understood everything, which is a great feeling to get from a crossword. I actually had some trouble getting the theme answers: I didn’t know the term FACEBOOK JAIL and I thought “channel” was referring to the English Channel (I’m gonna blame the capitalization for that one), so I wasn’t expecting something as small as a CREEK. I also didn’t know CHOCOLATE TOWN, but the HersheyPark clue made it pretty easy to get once I had a few letters in place.
As a new LAT solver I’m not sure what this puzzle’s difficulty is calibrated at, but I found it to be squarely in Monday NYT time for me. I struggled the most right off the bat when I didn’t know that [Multivitamin mineral] was ZINC; that could have been anything to me. I also wanted “lasso” for LARIAT and “husk” instead of COB for the corn discard. Thank goodness for Rachael Ray and her love of EVOO – that’s “extra virgin olive oil” for those of you who don’t religiously watch the food network – that answer got me back on track.
- I didn’t love how closed off the NW and SE corners of the puzzle are – there aren’t any terrible crossings, but if you for example don’t know either EVOO or NERF, you might be a little screwed in that section.
- I did, however, love the longer fill in the other corners! BALLET, CANAPE, and especially Beverly CLEARY.
- I had 58a [Skeptical laugh] as “har” rather than HAH so it took me a long time to see RUTHIE Foster, since she was a new name to me.
- I can’t believe EWAN McGregor is right next to MOULIN Rouge and we don’t even get a cross reference.
Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Just a really smooth, flowing puzzle, with lots of fun entries and clever clues. A joy, however brief, to solve.
Not sure what to highlight as I re-tour the grid. Have a bunch to do today and need to get an early start.
- Two early/mid-20th century English authors: 30 [“A Shropshire __” (A.E. Housman poetry collection)] LAD; definitely worth reading. 11d [“The Moon and Sixpence” novelist W. Somerset] MAUGHAM; have never read him, so cannot make an informed endorsement.
- 32a [Dude] BRO. Is there a meaningful difference in contemporary usage among the terms dude, BRO, and dudebro?
- 39d [Muscle developed by preacher curls] BICEPS. No idea how these are performed vis-à-vis standard curls. Fortunately it was an irrelevant specification.
- 1d [Stone “endowed with five virtues,” per the Han scholar Xu Shen] JADE. From Shuowenjiezi (Discussions of Writings and Explanations of Character) – benevolence, for its luster and brilliance; honesty, for its translucent texture; wisdom, for its tranquil and far-reaching tone; integrity and bravery, for it may be broken but cannot be twisted. (source)
- 20d [Fraught with danger] RISKY. I saw an adventure film last night that I suppose was intended to seem fraught with danger, but since all of the characters were paper thin and the plot was utterly ridiculous, there was no emotional connection and the putative dangers never felt palpable. It’s called Uncharted and I don’t recommend it. Turns out it’s based on a video game franchise.
- 24d [Utter debacle, in military slang] CHARLIE FOX. I’m going to guess that the initials CF really stand for clusterfuck.
- 42d [“The Horse Fair” painter Bonheur] ROSA. (painted 1852–55)
Gary Larson and Amy Ensz’s Universal Crossword, “Start Small” — Jim Q’s write-up
THEME: SM is added at the beginning of common phrases to create wacky new ones.
- [Doesn’t stop smiling smugly?] SMIRKS TO NO END. Irks to no end.
- [Quick-witted casino employee?] SMART DEALER. Art dealer. Way to evade a drug dealer reference.
- [Go overboard in a cafeteria food fight?] SMASH TRAYS. Ashtrays.
- [Fawning constituency?] SMARMY BASE.
I really like this one. Sure, the idea is nothing new, but the resulting phrases are pretty good! Lots of wackiness and funny visuals. SMARMY BASE for the win. Anything with the word SMARMY is a win.
The grid features L/R symmetry, but oddly enough, three of the themers still cross. SMART DEALER is bookended by SMASH TRAYS and SMARMY BASE. Pretty nifty.
Speaking of bookending, I enjoyed the clue for MAY [What aptly bookends “Memorial Day]. I like those Betcha-Never-Noticed-This-Before type clues (as long as they are indeed apt, and not just random word-within-word finds).
NEONATE is a new word for me. I like it. I’m going to use it often.
Love the revealer in the title today!
4.25 stars from me.
Enrique Henestroza Anguiano’s USA Today Crossword, “All Over the Place” — Emily’s write-up
Loved today’s puzzle and hit a personal record! While the title might suggest otherwise, it’s an excellent, focused, and fun solve!
Theme: the end of each themer is a location
- 20a. [Bittersweet postcard message], WISHYOUWEREHERE
- 37a. [“On my way, sit tight!”], ILLBERIGHTTHERE
- 54a. [Queer visibility slogan that’s the title of a 2019 visual history book], WEAREEVERYWHERE
Ah, WISHYOUWEREHERE is such a classic phrase but in agreement with the cluing, not one I write anymore. ILLBERIGHTTHERE also immediately filled in for me upon reading the clue. It’s amazing when 15s are such a perfect fit! WEAREEVERYWHERE took me a few moments longer than the others but not much. Truly a fantastic themer set. The ordering of the themers is superb as well, given that it’s a common phrase on its own. Also, it’s a Beatles song though I’m not familiar with this love ballad.
Favorite fill: CASHGRAB, RHYME, HORCHATA, PRIDE and PARADE (and they cross!)
Stumpers: SPCA (“PETA” and “ASPCA” came to mind first) and ATBAY (needed crossings)
Great clues, entries, and an excellent theme and themer set made it easy to include this in my all-time favorites. It had a nice flow and I really enjoyed the grid as well. Just delightful!