Kevin G. Der’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Almost nothing came easily in this 66-word puzzle. A worthy inhabitant of the Saturday slot!
Fave fill: LUNAR YEAR, ZAZIE BEETZ, LATE MODEL, HABANERO, “I GOTTA GO,” TABLETOP games (board games, dice games, etc.), and HIZZONER, which was definitely used for Chicago’s first Mayor Daley.
Kevin’s studied piano, so it’s unsurprising to see so much music in the grid: GONG, CLARINET, RUBATOS, ARIETTAS. I needed crossings to point the way on all of these.
Did not know that CLAM CAKEs are a thing. Hard pass. Also did not recall that 22d. [Holden’s brother in “The Catcher in the Rye”] is ALLIE.
Seven more things:
- 26a. [Pair of pants?], LUNGS. As in the organs at play when someone is panting for breath.
- 52a and 54a are easy to parse incorrectly. DEMOR EELS! SKIP ASSES!
- 1d. [Wind known for its warmth], CLARINET. I really wanted something like SCIROCCO here.
- 13d. [Attacking a sub, say], EATING. Cute.
- 26d. [Out of bounds, in a way], LONG. Like a football thrown too far, something along those lines.
- 29d. [Foundation, often], DONEE. As in the recipient of donations. I kinda wanted this to be a makeup clue.
- 32d. [Incorporeal], BODILESS. My hair is often incorporeal!
Kyle Dolan’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
Little time today, so I’ll just say this was a hard one and give a few notes:
- Not sure I buy [Stock option in a seafood business?] as a clue for BISQUE. BISQUE is, I suppose, an option for what you can do with your soup stock if you like, but even with the question mark, this clue is pointing you to options for types of stock to buy (fish stock? lobster stock?) rather than a soup that you can make with stock, IMO. I guess that would make me one of the…
- 39A PURISTS [Grammar police, e.g.]
- 32A COULEE [Washington’s Grand ___ Dam] I’m waiting for when this word gets clued with reference to Shea.
- 25D [Keep from cracking, perhaps] is a nice clue for MOISTURIZE
At 3:45, this was much harder than the LAT Saturdays have been of late, but not in a way that I really loved — I wished there were more wordplay and less trivia.
Lisa Senzel & Jeff Chen’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “How Ironic!” — pannonica’s write-up
And now I’m thinking of that silly bit with Baldrick from Blackadder. In any case, the chemical symbol for iron, Fe, has been inserted into phrases to wacky effect.
- 23a. [Dregs of a military academy?] FEWEST POINT CADETS (West Point cadets). What kind of points are the metric here, I wonder?
- 37a. [Cat’s snub of a ball of yarn?] FELINE ITEM VETO (line-item veto).
- 45a. [Paradise lost?] GOOFED HEAVENS (good heavens).
- 66a. [Nabisco’s
ominousaudacious goal?] WAFER TO END ALL WAFERS (war to end all wars). Ominous indeed.
- 82a. [Places accessible only to New Mexico cognoscenti?] SECRET SANTA FE (secret Santa).
- 90a. [Get wild at a PETA demonstration?] PROTEST FERALLY (protest rally).
- 111a. [Put Indy’s hat on him?] FEDORA THE EXPLORER (Dora the Explorer). Did we… did we just use fedora as a verb?
These mostly seem kind of forced to me. Also it feels as if there should be another layer, something unifying them besides just the FE thing. Or perhaps a justification for why we’re fortifying these phrases with iron?
- 11d [Famed Florentine family] MEDICI. What’s with all the six-letter Italian Renaissance families? MEDICI, Borgia, Sforza.
- 15d [Slangy frat house request] BEER ME. 29a [Copper-colored ale] IRISH RED. 51a [Hoppy brew, for short] IPA. 89a [Brewer Bernhard] STROH.
- 32d [Dancer’s landing pad] ROOF. Santa’s reindeer.
- 51d [Homebody’s propensity] INERTIA, which seems off. Seems to want something more like INTROVERSION.
- 67d [Drs. who deliver] OBS. And more.
- 83d [Bandage site in a Van Gogh self-portrait] EAR. You know the one.
- 85d [Long short story?] NOVELLA. Reminded of this cartoon.
- 102d [Crews’ directors] COXES. Short for coxswains.
- 5a [Unit of iron weighing about 93 yoctograms] ATOM. Theme-adjacent.
- 9d [It’s everything, so they say]
- 87d [It’s about a foot] SHOE. Cute.
- 99a [Concrete-strengthening rod] REBAR. Made of iron? Or steel? … Answer: steel, which is an iron alloy in any event.
Matthew Sewell’s Newsday crossword, Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s write-up
After an underchallenging Stumper last week, we’re back on track with a more ornery offering today.
Was slow going, but I managed to make it across the finish line, after fits and starts as well as some guessing and deducing. That’s how tough puzzles work!
Going to keep it—TIMING!—brief, as there is some housework that needs doing this morning.
- 5a [Certain high school functions] SINES. Yup, tricky.
- 16a [Olympians’ emotional episode] KISS AND CRY. Nonplussed by this one; don’t even know if it’s athletics or mythology.
- 20a [Start of a three-R rule rhyme] I BEFORE E. Just noticing that the wholly unrelated JAMBOREE ends the same way.
- 28a [What Holmes calls Hudson] MRS. Also mysterious to me.
- 49a [You’d expect it to flop in the art world] BERET. >groan<
- 3d [First name of the only member of the Inventors and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame] LES Paul. Clue needs a ‘both’ to be clearer.
- 6d [“I agree”] INDEED, 29a [“I agree”] OK SURE. Hard not to read the latter as sarcastic, but perhaps that’s just me.
- 7d [How oxygen is formed from supernovas] NUCLEOSYNTHESIS. Kept trying to make something ending with –GENESIS.
- 23d [Disney’s Splash Mountain, essentially] FLUME. Think I saw a headline recently about them reconfiguring or reimagining it so it’s more distant from the highly problematic Song of the South.
- 39d [Not mock] ACTUAL. Sneaky adjective!
- 46d [Not mind at all] REBEL. Huh?
Zhouqin Burnikel’s USA Today crossword, “Hide-A-Bed”—Matthew’s write-up
We’ve got a classic hidden word theme, playing nicely to the title in the revealer:
- 17a [Time of the week for al pastor] TACO TUESDAY
- 42a [Birthplace of Doris Miller] WACO TEXAS
- 60a [Measure that makes cigarettes more expensive] TOBACCO TAX
A nice theme set for an asymmetrical grid. I was unfamiliar with Doris Miller; he is the first Black American to be awarded the Navy, Cross for his heroism during the attach on Pearl Harbor. I’m glad to learn about him now.
Outside of the theme, I quite liked CELERY SALT (though I haven’t had a hot dog, Chicago-style or otherwise, in some time), KEEP AT IT (nicely clued by [“Don’t give up!”], and a bit of childhood nostalgia in TRIX. I learned something new from the clue for ELMS — I’d never heard of zelkova trees before — and in discovering that there is indeed a bassist named LOWE [32a Apt surname for a bass player]: I’ve at least found Garry Lowe of the Canadian band Big Sugar. And I’m glad for that — I’m not sure how much patience I have “apt surname” clues given how many more possibilities there are than first/given names.
Rafael Musa’s Universal Crossword, “Universal Freestyle 28” — Jim Q’s write-up
- BUNGEE CORD with a great clue! [Jumper cable?]
- EMPTY THREAT
- I’M POSITIVE (though that sounds like it takes on a very different meaning these days)
- BITTER PILL
- WHAT DID I DO?
Some fun trivia today too, such as all of U-HAUL‘s trucks having Arizona plates in the lower 48. Had no clue. I’m gonna be looking for sure now. And POLAR BEARS being the largest land carnivores.
Loved the Russian Doll nod to NADIA, though I must admit I keep falling asleep during this last season that was recently released. That’s just because I always start it at bed time. It’s an awesome show.
Thanks for this one!