Good news! Aficionados of solving via a .puz file can once again turn to Martin H’s server for the easy-peasy access to the Universal, WSJ, and Jonesin’ crosswords. Big thanks to Martin for wielding his technical wizardry and server power for the benefit of crossword junkies who just want their puzzles exactly the way they want them.
Lance Enfinger’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
A solid 70-worder today.
I hadn’t known that FILET MIGNON was 24d. [Literally, “dainty slice”]. Makes sense!
Two Irish singers are in the mix: ENYA is 4d. [Singer who owns Manderley Castle in Killiney], and 18a. [Irish form of “Jane”] evokes SINEAD O’Connor.
Fave fill: THREE-LEGGED RACE, GUIDE DOG, LEAD BALLOON, and SLIDING DOOR clued as 10d. [Future-altering decision point, metaphorically].
Druggie two-fer: 44d. [Pot holder] is a BLUNT if you’re smoking pot, and at 48d the same clue works for CHEF.
Three more things:
- 31d. [Pac-12 squad], UTES. The Pac-12 will be losing at least two teams soon! It remains to be seen if the conference rebrands itself with a different number, or dispenses with a numeral altogether. The Big Ten has, what, 14 teams now?
- 5d. [Word added as an intensifier], ASS. As in big-ass, bad-ass, ugly-ass, and so on.
- 26d. [Location designed to attract whales], HOTEL CASINO. It’s amazing when those whales breach!
Kate Chin Park’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
There’s enough good stuff in this themeless that I’ll forgive it for being too easy. Such as:
- 13A [Acrobatic Brazilian martial art] I don’t believe I’ve encountered CAPOEIRA in a puzzle before, and I was glad to.
- 22A [[I’m a ghost!]] is a cute way to clue BOO.
- 40A [“Good gravy!”] is JEEZ LOUISE. Both the clue and the answer are fun to say!
- 60A [Person to split a bill with] is a nicely deceptive clue for COSTAR.
- 61A [Age line?] made me laugh: I FEEL OLD. Boy, do I.
- 28D [Standing order?] is also a nice pun for PLEASE RISE.
- 35A [Hands-on experience, hopefully] for TRUST FALL: The punny hits just keep on coming!
19A POPS, as clued [Stands out] was a bit of a trigger for me, but that’s because I work in advertising. If I had a dollar for every client who’s said “make it pop!” about everything on a particular page or screen, I wouldn’t have to work in advertising. Hint to everyone: If you bump up the intensity of the graphic design on multiple elements of the same page, then none of them will pop because they’re all fighting for your attention. Okay, climbing off the soapbox now.
Highly enjoyable, though I could’ve wished for it to be a bit harder.
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Addled” — pannonica’s write-up
A straightforward add-some-letters theme, in this case it’s the trigram LED suffixed to words/phrases. So it’s a lot of past-tense stuff. Followed by led, heh.
- 22a. [Shop tool bent under pressure?] SAW BUCKLED (sawbuck).
- 24a. [Berth in a tournament clinched?] OPEN SEALED (open sea).
- 37a. [Fruit preserved in brine?[ CHERRY PICKLED (cherry-pick).
- 48a. [Crucifix sent down an alley?] CROSS BOWLED (crossbow).
- 62a. [Boxer’s assistant blending in with others?] SECOND COMINGLED (second coming). Didn’t know that term in this particular context. Probably descends from a duelist’s second.
- 79a. [Infant scurried away?] BABY BUSTLED (baby bust). The original phrase is the 96d [Opposite in character] POLAR complement to a baby boom, such as Generation X.
- 90a. [Flooring decor choice sorted out?] CARPET TACKLED (carpet tack).
- 103a. [Radio operator committed larceny?] HAM BURGLED (Hamburg).
- 105a. [Distiller’s product was a failure?] GIN FIZZLED (gin fizz).
I found these to be mostly fun and entertaining.
Can’t think of any good explicitly LED songs, so I’ll share this earworm, which at least has the letters.
- 9d [Connects to a space station on a return trip] REDOCKS. A bit tortured cluing, and even so I’m not sure that it’s accurate.
- 32d [Private doctors] MEDICS. Little army punnery there.
- 73d/54a [Chestnuts, e.g.] STEEDS, HORSES.
- 81d [Chicken __ (buttery dish)] KIEV. Clever way to get around the now-preferred Ukrainian spelling Kyiv. Names of food dishes would seem to lag behind current events. We still sometimes see Ceylon tea and Celebes coffee!
- 89d [Word that’s ironically a trochee] IAMB. Thus it is not an autological word; it is heterological. 26a [Well-versed sort] POET.
- 98d [Big gulp] CHUG. First SWIG, then, SLUG, finally CHUG.
- 27a [Artistic creations] OPUSES. Had OPERA—technically a plural—first, but that would have duplicated 2d [Title princess in a Gilbert and Sullivan opera] IDA.
- 47a [Menswear designer Behar] IKE, 107d [Fashion designer Posen] ZAC. Didn’t really know these.
- 52a [Lower in social class] DECLASS. That’s a verb. More commonly we see the adjective borrowed from French, déclassé. SEE ALSO (20d) 112a [Cheapen] DEBASE.
- 57a [Plains tribe] KANSA. Obviously the namesake for Kansas, but I don’t recall seeing it in a crossword before.
- 75a [Another name for the piranha] CARIBE. This I did not know. Wikipedia indicates that it’s a localized term, especially in Venezuela.
Steve Mossberg’s Newsday crossword, Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s write-up
Well, another one that kicked my butt. And another one where the lower left section was the final area to fall.
- 1a [H’s horizontal] CROSSBAR. I confidently filled this in right off the bat, but then rescinded it when none of the crossings seemed to work, especially 6d [AAA recommendation] which seemed certain to be RTE. Reader, it was BNB. >>shakes fist<<
- 13a [Inculpatory adage ender] SHAME ON ME. The other parts are “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice …”
- 14a [Literally, “the god”] ALLAH. Had EL CID for a time. That means “the lord”, as it turns out.
- As usual, there were a bunch of clues that felt just outside the realm of the gettable, but then were. A localized cluster—as an example—includes 17a [Sit on it] GLUTE, 21a [Charging option] AMEX, 23a [It all comes down to them] HEIRS. The key to making a successful Stumper is calibrating everything to be just on the edge of the critical mass where it becomes unsolvable. It’s like one of those chemical solutions where you shake it enough and the particles fall out of suspension.
- 26a [Pre-grilling advice] ADMIT NOTHING. I was kind of expecting a misdirection like this, but it was still difficult to hit on. Great clue.
- 33a [Curler collection] REPS. This is a tryhard gym clue and I don’t think it works.
- 37a [State bordering the most provinces] MONTANA. I would have thought it would be an eastern one, like New York, WHICH ALSO HAPPENS TO FIT.
- 41a [Paradoxical feedback] I’M SPEECHLESS. You know what also fits? I CAN’T HEAR YOU. Another fine clue.
- 53a [Word from the French for “sorting”] TRIAGE. Was very helpful to my solve to have known this.
- 55a [Basin descriptor] TIDAL. Was thinking it might be GREAT. Combine this with tough long downs and a nearby cross-referenced pair of short across entries and you can see why this was such a tough area to complete.
- 60a [Do business] HAIR SALON. Ooh, tricky. No one expects such a terse pun, right?
- 3d [Novel by the author of “the great ‘GF'”] OMERTA. Okay, this is obviously Mario Puzo and GF = godfather, but … wha-a-a-a-a-a-a-t?
- 5d [Walk-on part] SOLE. This would be a great Shrödinger clue for ROLE as well.
- 32d [Electronic stop] BASS PEDAL. I don’t think I understand this one. >checks Wikipedia< Oh, I see was just ignorant of what those things were called.
- 39d [Trekker’s British counterpart] WHOVIAN. There’s a lot of overlap and transoceanic cross-pollination between Star Trek and Doctor Who fans.
- 56d [Watch term since the ’70s] LED. Flashback to the WSJ crossword!
Amanda Rafkin’s USA Today crossword, “Spread the Word”—Matthew’s write-up
Familiar theme type to kick off the weekend today, as we’ve got “WORD” bracketing three themers:
- 19a [Document of facts or events] WRITTEN RECORD
- 35a [Platter for serving charcuterie, often] WOODEN BOARD
- 53a [Widely celebrated] WORLD RENOWNED
Amanda’s made the most of the flexibility afforded by only three entries, and for my money the long downs are the star of the show: WINK WINK, TEETOR TOTTER, I’M OLD FASHIONED–I particularly love [“My preferences are a bit antiquated”] to clue that!–and MIND MELD. I was pleased, as well, to Google “On Her Own Ground” (32d) and learn it’s a biography of African American entrepreneur and philanthropist Madam C.J. Walker. I knew of Walker, but not of the biography, which was written by one of her descendants, and I’m frankly not sure I would have Googled the clue if I weren’t writing this review. So I’m a bit curious why Walker wasn’t name-dropped in the clue — it wouldn’t have meaningfully changed the difficulty, I don’t think — but I found my way to some learning, so all’s well that ends well.