Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Citing Your References” – Erin’s write-up
What’s going on with this week’s Jonesin’ theme? The three longest entries’ clues refer to other entries, and it looks like Matt left out some spaces, too:
- 20a. [See66Across] TOURNAMENT TASK. How did we get to this? Let’s look at 66 Across, which is DING. This looks to have nothing to do with tournaments…until we take into account the lack of spaces in the clues. We’re supposed to combine “See” with the referenced entry to give us our actual clue. See+DING = SEEDING, which is indeed a tournament task.
- 40a. [See8Down]. 8 Down is THING. Adding SEE leads to SEETHING, which means REALLY REALLY MAD.
- 55a. [See43Across]. 43 Across is PINTO. Combining to SEE creates SEE PINTO, or SEEP INTO, which means PERMEATE SLOWLY.
- 23a. [Go out to play?] TOUR. Love this clue.
- 46a. [Spanish architect Gaudí] ANTONI. Most of the Catalan Modernist’s works are located in Barcelona, including the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell.
- 52d. [“Kung Fu ___” (2008 animated film)] PANDA. The movie led the way to two more full-length films as well as short films, TV series, and the line “There is no charge for awesomeness…or attractiveness.”
- 55d. [Purplish brown] PUCE. The color comes from the French word for flea and refers to the color a flea leaves after being crushed, or its droppings. Lovely!
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 578), “Let’s Horse Around!”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everyone! I hope you are all doing well and getting ready for the holiday weekend that is to come!
We have some seriously horseplay going on with today’s grid, especially when looking at the circled boxes in each of the five theme entries. Those entries, when combining the letters that are circled, end up splitting up a word that can come before the word “horse.”
- ROYAL PALACE (17A: [Queen’s residence]) – Race horse.
- SISTER-IN-LAW (25A: [Venus Williams, to Alexis Ohanian]) – Sawhorse.
- WATERMELON SUGAR (37A: [Harry Styles hit single with a sweet-hounding title]) – War horse.
- WORRIED SICK (47A: [Extremely anxious])– Workhorse
- SECRET SANTA (57A: [Gift-giver at a family party]) – Seahorse.
The adjoining 9-letter entries in the corners of the grid were the big highlight for me, with the ones in the northeast, LOOM LARGE (11D: [Appear imminent]) and GRAB A SEAT, the standouts of them all (12D: [“Pull up that chair!”]). Can’t wait to get the opportunity to be ON COURT and hit a few balls, as that’s one of the activities I’ve promised to do this summer (23D: [Like most tennis-training sessions]). Been about six years since last hitting a tennis ball on court, and that’s way too long. In incoming summer weather also means that there’s the chance for many of you to take out the THONG that you’ve had buried in your dresser drawer and put it on just in time for those relaxing times to the beach (2D: [Daring, baring swimwear]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TOMBA (22A: [“La Bomba” of skiing]) – I can tell how much of a Winter Olympics junkie I am by being able to plop down TOMBA upon reading the clue, and we will talk about one of the greatest skiiers — and shot-callers — who ever lived. Tomba won gold in both the slalom and giant slalom in the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, winning the former by .06 seconds. Soon after winning double gold, he attended the women’s figure skating long program to see German superstar Katarina Witt perform. Before the figuring skating program, Tomba, who eventually asked Witt out, famously said, “If Katarina doesn’t win the gold tonight, I will give her one of mine.” Smooooth! Tomba also won gold in the giant slalom in the 1992 games in Albertville while earning silver in the slalom in both 1992 and the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Scott Graham’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
How unusual! A 66-word puzzle on a Tuesday. It plays like a themeless with easy clues, and the theme is quite understated: Two-word terms with T.T. initials.
- 13a. [“Try and do better!”], TOP THIS. I’d have preferred “top that!”
- 15a. [Traditional medicine uses its oil], TEA TREE. Great for skin blemishes.
- 29a. [Tantalizing film preview], TEASER TRAILER. I believe a teaser trailer is a shorter trailer released before they’ve edited enough of the film to make a full-length promotional trailer. (My job involves watching a fair amount of movie trailers!)
- 35a. [Thieves’ stash, maybe], TREASURE TROVE.
- 56a. [Table the rehearsal for a bit, say], TAKE TEN.
- 57a. [Tiger’s slot on the schedule, e.g.], TEE TIME.
What just popped out at me from this list is that each clue starts with a T—and in fact, every clue in the puzzle begins with T. That explains the unusual “Trapeze” clue for Anais NIN, and a Cars song title I’m not familiar with for RIC Ocasek. Totally didn’t notice the T clues while solving! Am usually not a big fan of that sort of cluing stunt, but the puzzle still played like an easy Tuesday puzzle despite the tormented clues, so I can’t really complain about this Two-Fer Tuesday theme.
Three more things:
- 37d. [Thing checked at a polling station], VOTER ID. Not keen on this clue. The thing checked by the poll workers is probably a driver’s license, passport, or state ID. My state, at least, does not have an object called a VOTER ID. Better to clue as the type of (unnecessary) law making it harder for people to vote.
- 58a. [Thought through, with “out”], SUSSED. I do like this word.
- 46d. [Thwacked, biblically], SMOTE. Thwacked! Not the typical verb in a SMOTE clue.
Four stars from me.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s Universal Crossword, “Catching Some Z’s” — Jim Q’s write-up
THEME: Z is added to the front of common phrases to create wacky new ones.
- 17A [Welcome note from one’s dermatologist?] ZIT’S NOT A PROBLEM! IT’S NOT A PROBLEM!
- 26A [Clowns giving a charity performance, perhaps?] ZANY VOLUNTEERS. ANY VOLUNTEERS.
- 43A [Broadcaster based in a Utah national park?] ZION TELEVISION. ION TELEVISION.
- 58A [Area set aside as a library?] ZONE FOR THE BOOKS. ONE FOR THE BOOKS.
I warmed up to this one after a bit of a rough, frustrating start. I just kept stumbling over my own metaphorical feet: OLAF for OLAV, TORE for TORN, ALIENS for AGENTS, and brainfarts on BLUE, BEL AIR, GAZA, OLIN, and UNSWAYED. Wechsler puzzles often have me flailing around, but I got a hold of myself after the top third went awry and finished strong.
Themewise, it’s an oldie but a goodie. All the phrases landed for me and the bases are solidly in-language. Only nit is that I don’t like when pronunciation changes from base to modified phrase, as it does in ZONE FOR THE BOOKS vs. ONE FOR THE BOOKS (ZONE and ONE sound nothing alike) and ZANY VOLUNTEERS vs. ANY VOLUNTEERS.
Nothing much of note in the fill. Standard crossword fare. BEADY was the Wordle word a few days ago. So that’s fun. Somehow I got it in two guesses because I started with the word READY that day.
Anyways… 3.25 stars from me! Right over the plate today.
Erik Agard’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Despite the two six-block B-2s, this is a well-integrated grid, buttressed by an H-shape formed by stacked vertical fifteens and a central across thirteen-letter entry featuring—what else?—a female basketball star: 30a [Basketball Hall of Famer and eight-time American Tennis Association champion nicknamed the Queen of Two Courts] ORA WASHINGTON.
- 1d [“Hi, new friend!”] SO NICE TO MEET YOU. 2d [A minimal amount] LITTLE OR NOTHING. 9d [“We’re back!” events] GRAND REOPENINGS. 10d [Send a message via post?] RESIGN IN PROTEST. I don’t understand that last clue.
- At 1-across [Drastically decreasing] I had CRASHING rather than SLASHING, which impeded my progress for a bit. 14a [Steadily increasing] ON THE RISE was no problem, on the other hand.
- 16a [Word in the names of five world capitals] CITY. Can you name them?
- Last section for me to complete was the nexus of these four entries, which took a while to tease out because half of them were proper names unfamiliar to me: 15d [Beauty retailer Thirteen __ ] LUNE and 24a [“Nope” star Palmer] KEKE. 18a [Submit via Blackboard, say] TURN IN I can now see is referencing some sort of academic software for students and teachers, and 18d [Disk that might launch a game] is a deliberately oblique clue for TOKEN.
- 19a [Initialism that can stand for a body part or a Texas music festival] ACL. Anterior cruciate ligament, Austin City Limits.
- Number of strings on a guitar, to Andrés Segovia] SEIS.
- 37a [ __-to-worker pay ratio (statistic that, for S. & P. 500 companies in 2020, averaged 299:1] CEO. Three hundred times, three hundred.
- 48a [Fixes a flat, in a way?] AUTOTUNES. I was definitely thinking of a British spelling for some synonym of ‘remodels’.
- 11d [Unity] ONENESS.
- 33d [The movie Spencer?] OCTAVIA. Mildly awkward clue is an obvious misdirection for last year’s biopic of the erstwhile British princess.
- 46d [Whe’wha’s people] ZUNI. Whe’wha was a prominent lhamana, roughly equivalent to what’s more commonly known today as non-binary or two-spirit.
Solid themeless which I found to be somewhat tougher than Monday’s, due entirely to that niggling section mentioned above.
Taylor Johnson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
I’m back! We had a wonderful six weeks of travel and adventure and were very very very lucky – no serious travel delays and only one very mild case of COVID (my kid, several days after we returned from Europe. She’s fine). I also had my first experience responding to a medical emergency during flight. I’m now tempted to travel with my own complete first-aid kit because the supplies on board were seriously lacking. Luckily we didn’t need much, the “patient” was not dangerously ill, and all was well.
There is a puzzle to write about! There are four theme answers, two in each direction, all starred to help us find them.
- 11d [*Fruity treat often dusted with powdered sugar] is a JELLY DONUT.
- 17a [*”Let me enjoy my guilty pleasures!”] is DON‘T JUDGE.
- 30d [*Move that captures two checkers] is a DOUBLE JUMP.
- 63a [*”Feelin’ fine!”] is JUST DANDY.
I was pretty sure I knew where this was going, and I was right. The revealer is at 40a: [Dance club compilation, and what the answer to the starred clues literally are]. The answer is DJ MIX. The theme works and all the theme answers are solid. It’s a fine Tuesday theme.
A few other things:
- 6d [Handy list in the back of the book] is an INDEX. I recently read a very enjoyable book on this subject. “Index, A History of the” by Dennis Duncan is a fast and funny read; for this crowd, I think it would be a good beach book. Highly recommend.
- 10d [Three, in Italian] is TRE and gives me an excuse to share a vacation photo from Venice. This is Burano, one of three islands we visited (there’s the tie-in).
- 32a [Ready to go trick-or-treating, say] is MASKED UP. I suppose this clue sidesteps political minefields and makes the puzzle less tied to our moment in time. Halloween is not my first association with masks these days.
- It’s a hot muggy day and I wouldn’t mind a SPLASH in a pool this afternoon.
- 67a [Apollo project destination] is the MOON. Recommendation #2 for the day is the BBC podcast “Thirteen Minutes to the Moon.” I am not particularly interested in the space program and I found it riveting. The first season is about Apollo 11 and second about Apollo 13. Trust me.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that ST JOE is in northwest Missouri. Geography is seriously not my strong suit.
Tom Locke’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “It’s a Setup”—Jim P’s review
Theme: Things that have to do with FRAMING (36a, [Activity associated with each of the starred answers]).
- 17a. [*Shutterbug’s endeavor] PHOTOGRAPHY. Composing a shot. Here’s a lengthy, but informative (and at times humorous) article with tips on improving your photo composition skills.
- 23a. [*Founding Fathers’ legacy] THE CONSTITUTION. Referring to the framework of the document which endeavored to divide power among the three branches of government (among other things). I guess? Help me out here.
- 51a. [*Recent development] NEW CONSTRUCTION. A physical framework of (usually) wooden beams.
- 58a. [*Fall guys in some cases] INNOCENT MEN. Being framed for a crime. But why “men”? And why plural men? “Innocent Man” is more in-the-language (at the least it’s a Billy Joel song).
I like the use of the different meanings of the word FRAMING. Interesting that there’s no usage here of actually putting a picture in a frame—not even in the title.
Not a lot of long sparkle in the fill, but I do like NULL SET, PEP PILL, and TAHITI (where I learned what it feels like to step on a sea urchin—spoiler: it hurts!). I’m not sure how I feel about ATINGLE, but I think I like it. However, I’m not so keen on TITOV [Second cosmonaut to orbit Earth] as fill. We’re supposed to know that? The crossings were fair enough, however.
Clues of note:
- 35a. [People person?]. CELEB. Referring to People Magazine, I take it.
- 67a. [Strikes sharply]. SLAPS. We also would have accepted [What an excellent song does, in modern slang].
Kelsey Dixon’s USA Today Crossword, “Three Strikes” — Emily’s write-up
A tougher one for me today but still enjoyable with great fill and clues!
Theme: each themer is a type of “strike”
- 17a. [Strike zone], PICKETLINE
- 33a. [Strike zone], BOWLINGALLEY
- 55a. [Strike zone], METEORCRATER
A fun theme today and a nice set though I found it a bit more challenging than usual. PICKETLINE is a group of people in an area striking like a company or corporation, sometimes for union rights or over pay, etc. BOWLINGALLEY has lanes with 10 pins that if all knocked over is a strike. METEORCRATER is a little stretch for me (and if you have a better explanation then please let me know in the comments) but I think it fits because the space rock strikes the ground. With the same cluing, I relied on crossings today, getting the second themer then the third and finally the first, given that the NW corner gave me some trouble today—see the stumpers below.
Favorite fill: MUPPET, OLDSOUL, ROBOT, and LAURYN
Stumpers: PLAITS (new cluing for me and the crossings weren’t fully helping today), LOCALS (cluing makes perfect sense now but it just wasn’t clicking for me during the solve), and OKURR (not seen it this way before so needed all crossings)
So much other wonderful fill, especially bonus fill, and excellent cluing!