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?