Theme: The second word in each theme answer could follow the phrase “strike a.”
- 17a [“Footwear giant headquartered in Boston, Mass.”] NEW BALANCE
- 25a [“Fait accompli”] DONE DEAL
- 53a [“Downward dog, for one”] YOGA POSE
- 63a [“Group of notes that often sounds sad”] MINOR CHORD
Revealer: 37a [“Ump’s call after a first pitch…or a hint to the ends of 17-, 25-, 53- and 63-Across”] STRIKE ONE
Anything that involves a baseball clue is usually going to get my attention right away. I was able to fill in all of the themers except for MINOR CHORD without really needing the revealer to pull it all together for me. However, it was a huge help as I finished up MINOR CHORD, having focused too much on the idea of the “often sounds sad” part of the clue. As someone who is not a musician, I was a bit lost there, but the revealer made it easy to plop it in.
This felt like a really fair grid for a Monday. There were a few places where I had to make some quick adjustments (FLOP instead of BOMB for 6a, RATS instead of DRAT for 16a, etc.). I thought that the southwest corner was really well done with SAYS I DO, EGO TRIP, and LEGO ART. I was not as familiar with MICROSLEEP (but loved that both this and NAP made it in for one of the most undoubtedly sleepy days of the week). Its symmetric counterpart, though, SLIP N SLIDE was super fun.
Overall, I loved how clean this was and enjoyed the four themers packed into the grid plus some nice 7-letter fill in each of the corners.
Four stars from me.
Priyanka Sethy & Ajeet Singh’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Nebulous”—Jim P’s review
Theme: IN THE CLOUD (57a, [Stored on a remote server, and a hint to three answers]). The other theme answers are familiar phrases whose outer letters spell a cloud-like object.
- 17a. [Birthplace of three major religions] MIDDLE EAST.
- 26a. [Small, bat-eared pooch] FRENCH BULLDOG.
- 42a. [Charmingly persuasive] SMOOTH-TALKING. This .puz version of the grid doesn’t have the final G circled, but the versions on the WSJ site (both online and .pdf) have it circled correctly.
Works for me. I could see what the theme answers were doing as I solved, but I couldn’t figure out what the revealer would be. It made perfect sense once I got it.
Enjoyable long fill with BEFUDDLING, BAD KARMA, FOLLOWED UP, and MANDOLIN. I did not know HATHA [Yoga system whose name is Sanskrit for “force”] right off the bat, but I’ve seen the word before. Still it might be tough for a Monday, especially where it crosses Japanese beer ASAHI.
Clues of note:
- 60a. [Scarecrow’s fear]. FIRE. I’m assuming this is referring to the character from The Wizard of Oz and not just any scarecrow.
- 43d. [Like the inlay on the Taj Mahal]. ORNATE. See picture and learn more here.
Carly Schuna’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
Always a delight to see a Carly Schuna byline. I had the pleasure of editing a puzzle of hers for Inkubator a few months back, and in that puzzle and in others I’ve seen of hers, she’s always brought a fresh eye to cluing. Themes too, as we see in this light and easy Monday. No revealer needed with the clues clearly indicating that the first word in each theme phrase is a slang term for “awesome.”
- 20A [Awesome event in military history?] is a BOSS BATTLE.
- 33A [Awesome side at a barbecue?] is SWEET CORN.
- 41A [Awesome double Dutch accessory?] is a TIGHT ROPE.
- 52A [Awesome tennis racket?] is a FLY SWATTER, a clue/answer combo that made me giggle.
Clues like [Tree in a tray] for BONSAI and a reference to [Judy Blume’s “Tales of a Fourth ___ Nothing”] for GRADE add extra fun. Into it!
Sophia Maymudes’ Universal crossword, “Pushing Boundaries” — pannonica’s write-up
- 39aR [Engaging in an adventurous lifestyle, as suggested by this puzzle’s border entries] LIVING ON THE EDGE.
- 1a. [Legislative group] HOUSE.
- 6a. [Movie advertisement] TRAILER.
- 15d. [Verbal jabs] DIGS.
- 38d. [Google
spysmart thermostat] NEST.
- 57d. [Scout mother’s group] DEN.
- 67a. [Become embedded] LODGE.
- 66a. [Kind of cheese also called curds and whey] COTTAGE.
- 47d. [Ballet shoe] FLAT.
- 26d. [“The Hate U Give” actress Regina] HALL.
- 13d. [Skater’s knee protector] PAD.
Haven’t seen an edge theme in a while. Good job on managing to mostly clue those answers with non-thematic references.
- 13a [Movie advertisement] POSTER. Never a fan of mixing theme and non-theme clues or entries.
- 50a [King with a labyrinth] MINOS. Namesake of Minotaur. Labyrinth is of uncertain origin, but if you’re interested have a look at the Wikipedia discussion regarding its etymology, which I won’t reproduce here.
- 52a [Jazz composer Mary __ Williams] LOU.
- 63d [Sign before Virgo] LEO.
- 9d [Words exchanged by brides] I DO. Cleverly ambiguous.
- 33d [German “You’re welcome”] BITTE. Also means “please”.
- 36d [Danity Kane member Aubrey] O’DAY. Correctly guessed (just now, not during the solve) that this is the name of a musical group. A more contemporary reference than jazz singer Anita.
- 55d [Monkey bars piece] RUNG. I still find it ironic that what we commonly consider monkeys cannot brachiate. That is, they don’t locomote by swinging with their arms above their shoulders, the most common approach on ‘monkey bars’.
Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s recap
Quick recap, gotta run, it’s my birthday!
Fave fill: BLENDED FAMILY, ONLYFANS, GENDER TROUBLE (a title I didn’t know), GAG GIFT, EARBUDS, REFUELING with food, EASY OUT. Liked seeing TAO clued via RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan.
Didn’t know: BEN LERNER. Have you read him?
Not keen on: AGUE, ASO, AGAR, ESTS, ONE FOR ALL near awkward ONE REEL, awkward partial ON SO.
2.75 stars from me.