Brooke Husic’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
And sometimes Brooke uses a grid with standard rotational crossword symmetry. Felt like a Saturday puzzle, and that’s what we come here for.
Fave fill: BATWOMAN, CHIWETEL EJIOFOR, SKIN CARE ROUTINE, TIME IS ON OUR SIDE, VAGUE IDEA, the Library at ALEXANDRIA, and LIFE OF PI.
Two things I’d not heard of before: 67a. [Barkeeps] being called TAPSTERS (is a hipster vibe required?) and 31d. [Fitness activity done while suspended from a hammock], AERIAL YOGA. We are, however, three short weeks away from the next Aerial Dance Chicago show, “Broken Compass”. My cousin-in-law Chloe Jensen founded the troupe. If you can be in Chicago July 8 or 9, pick up a ticket to the show! And enjoy the video below.
Five more things:
- 26d. [Peshwari ___ (raisin-filled fare)], NAAN. Haven’t seen that, but it sounds yummy!
- 1d. [Supports], BACKS and24d. [Supports], DEFENDS. I kinda thought one of these might be a noun, but nope, both verbs.
- 33a. [Solving crosswords with a bunch of friends, say], NERDFEST. The suffix felt maybe a tad arbitrary to me.
- 47d. [Match point?], TINDER. I was thinking this was about lighting some tinder with a match, but on reconsideration it’s the app Tinder where you might meet a match.
- 66a. [Some audio downloads, informally], PODS. Really? People are calling podcasts pods?
Four stars from me.
Gary Larson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Singled Out” — pannonica’s write-up
Parse that title as ‘single D out’ and you get the idea. For each of the original multi-word phrases that constitute the theme entries, the final word starts with a D, which has been dropped for whimsical effect.
- 23a. [Super laid-back painting style of Bob Ross?] TRANQUILIZER ART (… dart).
- 46a. [Like pairs of animals during the Great Flood?] KEPT IN THE ARK (… dark).
- 68a. [Operating a Zamboni?] ROLLING THE ICE (… dice).
- 89a. [Domestically produced paper product?] AMERICAN REAM (… Dream).
- 114a. [Highlighting precipitation in a Doppler image?] CIRCLING THE RAIN (… drain).
- 17d. [Falling-out among George Washington’s troops?] CONTINENTAL RIFT (continental drift, which is an obsolescent misnomer).
- 45d. [Astroturf?] RECREATIONAL RUG (… drug).
Note also that the removed letter is the only D in each original phrase.
- 33d [Gary or Eugene] CITY.
- 100d [Complaint] WHINE. Seems [Complain] would be a more straightforward, clearer clue. But I don’t mean to —
- 101d [Spine feature] TITLE. Books.
- 116d [Something to chew] CUD. 88a [Bossy remark?] MOO. 122a [Black cattle breed] ANGUS.
- 61a [Spiral-tusked sea creature] NARWHAL, 62a [61-Across, e.g.] MAMMAL. The tusk is mostly found in males and nearly all of the time formed by the the upper left canine tooth, piercing the lip and growing in a helix fashion. The scientific binomial is Monodon monoceros, meaning ‘one tooth, one horn’.
- 112a [Parts of hearts] ATRIA.
Lester Ruff’s Newsday crossword, Saturday Stumper
This one’s billed under the banner of ‘less rough’ and boy is it ever. Hardly any devious clues and a highly integrated, flowing grid. I practically flew through this one!
On my initial swing-through, 18-across was the first clue that had an obvious answer: [Break in the proceedings] RECESS. No other gimmes in that area aside from 26a [Toon bruin] YOGI, but because I was considering only STEWS or FRETS for 30a [Worries] I removed YOGI as those letter combinations didn’t look promising.
Animation struck again with 46a [White-tailed toon] BAMBI, and this time I was able to build readily upon that beachhead. 48d [Word on São Paulo stamps] was obviously BRASIL, 53a [Cordial] WARM, 49d [Foul] IMPURE, and so on. Slight hiccup in CRY UNCLE before SAY UNCLE at 65-across. Also, I was glad to have restrained myself at 41-down [Cornmeal product] for it was CHEETOS and not DORITOS as I was suspecting.
From there, I simply journeyed clockwise through the grid, dropping in letters and words with near-abandon. Another small hiccup at 58a CO–––––: [Western predator] was COUGAR not COYOTE.
Probably the toughest clue in the puzzle was 34d [Shape of some office desks] TEE, and that really isn’t so troublesome, is it?
Some pairings: 22a [Pick] TAP, 39a [Picks] SELECTS; 32d [Free TV spot] PSA, 54a [Paid pitches] ADS; 49d [Foul] IMPURE, 52d [Foul] DIRTY.
Some pears: 50a [Still-life subject] PEAR. ’strewth. It’s a seductive shape for artists. A search of the Metropolitan Museum’s holdings garnered 57 paintings. A simple Google image search returns myriad examples.
17a [Twitter message] BIRDSONG. 15a [World’s largest volcano by volume] MAUNA LOA. I couldn’t find a shareable version of the title track from Birdsongs of the Mesozoic’s 1995 release Dancing on A’a, so I’ll settle for a callback to today’s Wall Street Journal crossword with
Adrian Johnson and Brad Wilber’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
When I see Brad Wilber’s name in a byline, I get excited because I expect that I’m going to have to work for my solve. I’m a little sad that that wasn’t really the case here, although there’s a lot to like in this puzzle. Highlights:
- 17A [Stranger in many a family photo] for MALL SANTA made me chuckle.
- 34A [Delighted toddler’s demand] for AGAIN is cute, although maybe I think it’s cute and not triggering because I don’t have children.
- 44A [Org. whose members take hikes?] is a clever take on the very common filler entry NFL.
- 64A [Ride between runs] is also very clever, for CHAIR LIFT.
- 27A Loved seeing AGUA FRESCA in the grid. Aguas frescas are yummy!
- 39D I liked the STEM angle of [Some mechanical connectors] for MALES.
- 55D [“Proof” or “Doubt”] is a great clue for PLAY.
Quibble: Doesn’t the 13D clue [Flirting with] lead to ON THE BRINK OF, not ON THE BRINK, which is what’s in the grid?
NYT: I came close to breaking the 10-minute mark, which I don’t expect with a Brooke Husic puzzle.
TAPSTER does sound like a hip new term, but Merriam-Webster dates it to the 12th century.
I also thought TINDER was the stuff you might apply a match to to start a fire. That seems a more straightforward reading than a reference to the Tinder app — why ‘point,’ in the latter case?
PS LIFEOFPI was a big deal when it came out but, boy, I hated that novel.
I abandoned it within the first thirty pages.
I always feel guilty when I do that, but I figure life requires enough effort as it is…
NYT: Am I alone in disliking “Opinion offerer” for OPED? It feels like “opinion” was duplicated.
My understanding of the etymology of “oped” is that it stands for “opposite editorial”, as in the page opposite the page of editorials, so this wouldn’t be a dupe.
Enough people think that oped is “opinion editorial” that this often-used clue might qualify as trolling. It does get someone every time.
It almost got me the in the last few days, one of the puzzles (I forget which) clued it with “opinion ” right there. It made me scowl, but I went and looked it up before I commented/griped, and learned that the op is for opposite not opinion. :) .
I thought it was “opinions/editorials”, so I’ve learned something new.
Well this was the first (and likely the last) time the Stumper was easier than the LAT, which required some help from Google. Possibly my brain remembered the Stumper from years ago, if this was a rerun.
WSJ: Couldn’t help but notice that both Ashe and Agassi were clued via Australian Open wins. Didn’t they win anywhere else? :D … (I don’t know tennis at all… but I bet they did.)
Also noted the small cattle-vibe in there.
They both won other places … many many times.
But it’s always fun to have duplicate clues with different answers! Although these clues are not exact duplicates.
“Plate Tectonics” doesn’t fit the theme as well as “Continental (D)rift”. I’d call the latter more of a disproven theory than an obsolescent misnomer.
LAT … There’s a 44-year-old human being out there somewhere who’s willing to allow people to call him SCOOT? According to his Wikipedia article, “His father began calling him Scooter when he was about two years old. “A lot of people are like, oh, it must be some amazing story. But it’s because I used to scoot around on my butt,” says McNairy.”. Fascinating.
Scoot McNairy also had large roles in “Narcos: Mexico” and a Netflix western called “Godless.” Both (and “Halt and Catch Fire”) are worth watching.
NEWSDAY: Have any of you long-term solvers out there been experiencing Newsday déjà vu?
If so, you have excellent memories, as the past two weeks of Newsday crosswords, i.e., from June 5th forward, have all been repeats from ten years ago. With very few clue changes.
From the puzzle site; “NOTE TO READERS: Crossword editor Stan Newman is on vacation from June 5 to June 18. Puzzles published during this time originally appeared in 2012 and were recently updated by Newman.”