Friday, August 26, 2022

LAT untimed (pannonica) 


The New Yorker 3:16 (Matt) 


NYT 4:18 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim P) 


USA Today 3:26 (Darby) 


Robert Logan’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 8 26 22, no. 0826

Instead of a themeless, we get a sort of doubly-themed stunt puzzle. In addition to the “Yes!”/”Yes”/”All right”/”Maybe” sequence in the 9s and 10s (YOU BETCHA! – YES, INDEEDY – OKEY-DOKEY – HARD TO TELL) the entire grid is thematic:

  • 64a. [A 50/50 chance … or a description of the lengths of this puzzle’s Across and Down answers, respectively], EVEN ODDS. The Acrosses are all 4, 6, 8, or 10 letters long, and the Downs are 3, 5, 7, or 9. I don’t think I’d have picked up on that without the revealer.

It’s an interesting-looking grid with lots of flow between sections, and generally smooth fill throughout. BESOT, OCTAD, and EEO are kinda blah, and there’s a “YES, YOU” that dupes both YOU BETCHA and YES INDEEDY. But I do like the four longest answers as well as ALPHA DOG, OVER-PLAN, BOOGIE board, SCHMALTZ, TRAVOLTA, and SHELTIE.

Four more things:

  • 9a. [Aidy of “Saturday Night Live”], BRYANT. Make that formerly. She finished her SNL run in May, along with Pete Davidson (*eyeroll*) and the great Kate McKinnon. Will definitely miss Aidy and Kate’s work on SNL.
  • 23a. [Retirement spots], DENS. Is that as in “we’ll retire to the den after dinner” or what? Feels weird to me.
  • 10d. [Joey who doesn’t wear pants], ROO. As in the young kangaroo in the Winnie the Pooh universe, and not Joey Tribbiani. (I Googled it. I think his pants thing was needing to change into maternity pants to accommodate a Thanksgiving feast.)
  • 26d. [Free movie starring yourself?], DREAM. This morning I dreamed I was kicked out of an art class because I was wearing a mask, got a ride home in a truck that somehow was being driven by my cousin (she is not a truck fan), and attended a wedding reception at the home of someone I follow on Twitter. This movie is terrible!

Four stars from me.

Rafael Musa’s USA Today crossword, “Getting Reedy”—Darby’s write-up

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme: Each theme answer begins with MARSH.

Theme Answers

Rafael Musa's USA Today crossword, "Getting Reedy," solution for 8/26/2022

Rafael Musa’s USA Today crossword, “Getting Reedy,” solution for 8/26/2022

  • 20a [“Country where Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner was born”] MARSHALL ISLANDS
  • 39a [“S’mores ingredient”] MARSHMALLOW
  • 58a [“Founding member of the Gay Liberation Front”] MARSHA P. JOHNSON

Rafa posted on Twitter that the copy editor had made one small change to the puzzle’s title, and based on the marshy start to each of these, I guessed that it should be “Getting Reedy” instead of “Getting Ready.” If I’m wrong, I’ll be sure to update this later.

I think it’s an impressive theme since none of these themers are particularly marsh-oriented by themselves. Plus, we’ve got the full noun set: a person, place, and thing. I liked, though, that Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner was mentioned as part of the clue for MARSHALL ISLANDS since I had not heard of her before.

This grid is asymmetric, which lends itself well to the three similar beginnings of each theme answer. Plus, we got the really lovely CHEAT SHEET and TERRACOTTA in the left side of the puzzle, both of which were just great content. I also enjoyed TUNA ROLLS hanging out in the northwest corner.

Some Friday faves:

  • 20a [“Country where Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner was born”]Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner is from the MARSHALL ISLANDS, and she is a poet and activist. She is also the founder of the nonprofit Jo-Jikum, which works to empower youth to think about climate change, and the Climate Envoy for the Marshall Islands Ministry of Environment.
  • 44a [“Hawaiian island named for a demigod”] – Did anyone else get MAUI’s song from Moana stuck in their head after this cue?
  • 55d [“Religion with the Asr prayer”] – The Asr prayer is one of the five mandatory daily prayers in ISLAM.

Overall, a super fun puzzle!

Christina Iverson & Beth Rubin’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 8/26/22 • Fri • Iverson, Rubin • solution • 20220826

  • 60aR [Places to return library materials, and a hint to how the authors in four Down clues help complete the answers to the starred clues] BOOK DROPS.
  • 15a. [*Folded brunch dish] FRENC{H OME}LET (Home, by 16d Marilynne Robinson).
  • 21a. [*Ethical challenges] MORAL DIL{EMMA}S (Emma, by 25d Jane Austen).
  • 36a. [*Fleet operator headquartered in Montreal] AIR CAN{ADA} (Ada, by 38d Vladimir Nabokov).
  • 49a. [*Planet in the Super Mario Galaxy] MUSH{ROOM} WORLD (Room, by 50d Emma Donoghue).

Torn on the theme. I think it’s fun, but it also seems to be lacking an extra dimension to tie these things together. The containing entries have nothing in common, the authors have nothing in common, the novels have nothing in common. So to me the end result is an unamalgamated curiosity.

  • The longest entries are a pair of downs. 2d [Places where things often end on a high note?] OPERA HOUSES. 24d [Calming aromatherapy option] LAVENDER OIL.
  • 17a [Chose] OPTED.
  • 11d [Blue] SAD. 8a [Collars] NABS.
  • 61d [Small digit] ONE. 54a [Small digit] TOE.
  • 12a [Pop by] BOP IN. Had the more formal VISIT at first.
  • 14a [“J’accuse!”] GOT YA. >side-eye< not working for me here.
  • 18a [Dalmatian with a red hat, perhaps] FIRE DOG. FIREDOG is also regionalism for andiron.
  • 29a [Long opening in poetry?] ERE, as in ere long.
  • 31a [Hand-me-down] OLD. I consider hand-me-down to be a noun, whereas OLD in this context is an adjective. However, m-w directs one to hand-me-down (adj).
  • 66a [Light shade?] RED. Is the clue alluding to stoplights?
  • 57a [ __ ball] MATZO.

Gary Larson and Amy Ensz’s Universal crossword, “Dress for the Weather”—Jim P’s review

Theme: Familiar phrases are re-imagined as items you wear in certain weather situations.

Universal crossword solution · “Dress for the Weather” · Gary Larson and Amy Ensz · Fri., 8.26

  • 17a. [Shoes for the dog days of summer?] HEAT PUMPS.
  • 26a. [Lens holders for a winter wonderland?] FREEZE FRAMES.
  • 45a. [Timepieces for spring downpours?] STORM WATCHES.
  • 61a. [Hosiery items for a blustery fall?] WIND SOCKS.

Now that’s a nice, tight theme. Granted, two of the items aren’t articles of clothing, but they are items you wear. And granted, you don’t wear “frames,” you wear “glasses,” but I think a little leeway can be arranged. The fact that each phrase has a weather-related first word really seals the deal. Our constructors even managed to tie the entries to all four seasons. An elegant touch, that.

Nice fill, too: RED CARDS, ELM TREES, NEST EGG, RAT TRAP, SATURN, “ZIP IT!” I did not know RAITA [Indian yogurt dish], though I’ve probably seen it before in a crossword and I’ve probably even enjoyed eating it as well since I partake of Indian food now and again. Here’s a basic cucumber RAITA recipe that sounds good for summer.

The ultimate Hawaiian food

Clues of note:

  • 55a. [Its rings are disappearing]. SATURN. Did not know this. Enjoy them now, because they’ll be gone in 300 million years.
  • 55d. [Canned meat in Hawaiian cuisine]. SPAM. And in (my) Chamorro culture. Guamanians eat more SPAM than any other “country,” according to the SPAM Museum.

Nice puzzle all around. Four stars.

David Steinberg’s New Yorker crossword—Matthew’s write-up

David Steinberg’s New Yorker Crossword solution, 8/26/2022

This week’s themed offering from the New Yorker comes from David Steinberg. Each entry can be parsed as a letter of the alphabet+a word to form a new word:

  • 18a [Option on a multiple-choice sports-medicine test?] ASTEROIDS
  • 27a [Option on a multiple-choice accounting test?] BLENDERS
  • 42a [Option on a multiple-choice state-nicknames test?] CHOOSIER
  • 53a [Option on a multiple-choice psychology test?] DEMOTION
  • 66a [Option on a multiple-choice Latin-grammer test?] EVOCATIVE

Constraining the set a bit is the “multiple choice” element; we can imagine the answers including the multiple choice label: “A – Steroids” and so on.

I’m in New York City for Lollapuzzoola this weekend, and solved this with my friend Brooke Husic, who wondered with an editor’s eye whether it would have been possible to find five such entries all from the same topic, such that they could putatively be from the same test. Certainly would be a cool theme set, if anyone can pull it up.

The grid is 16-wide to accommodate the eight-letter central themer, and we’ve got some long stacked bonus entries in the corners — my favorite of which is AEROMEXICO — but even with that space I found the grid a bit chunky to navigate through — CHOOSIER is a bit walled off, and I didn’t get into a flow in the middle. I also think this was clued a bit tougher than the last few Friday’s from the New Yorker, and I haven’t done a puzzle from David in a little bit. But I also cottoned onto the theme from the jump, and enjoyed my solve plenty looking forward to each successive themer.

I’ll pass on notes today. Have a good Friday!

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13 Responses to Friday, August 26, 2022

  1. Gary R says:

    NYT: Interesting “theme” today, but I would never have noticed it without the revealer. No particular complaints about the fill, but the puzzle seemed Wednesday-easy to me. I think I had 15 Across answers go in without crosses on my first pass through the puzzle – very unusual for me on a Friday. Maybe I was just on the right wavelength, but the cluing didn’t seem very challenging for a Friday.

    • Mutman says:

      I found it pretty easy for Friday as well. The revealer only made it easier.

      Favorite clue: Bank Regulator for LEVEE

    • JML says:

      Definitely a same-wavelength kind of puzzle for me too. That was my fastest Friday ever

  2. PJ says:

    LAT – 31a [Hand-me-down] OLD. I consider hand-me-down to be a noun, whereas OLD in this context is an adjective.

    My initial reaction was the same. Then I thought of “Hand Me Down World” by The Guess Who.

  3. JohnH says:

    I found TNY hard going indeed for a weekly themer, although I got the theme almost at once and entered three of five. If I’m not mistaken, it would have been more helpful (and accurate) if I- in the clue for 37D could have appeared with a superscript minus rather than an in-line hyphen. 20A’s “mythological trickster” is perhaps a bit high-falutin’ for the entry as well.

  4. marciem says:

    TNY: I really enjoyed this puzzle! It made me work harder than the last several Friday themers, which makes it good in my book.

    I didn’t understand the theme at first, I think it was C. Hoosier that gave it away, and that made for a satisfying AHA for me :) . I had no idea what a vocative (case) was but crosses got me there. I also found reading about those trickster Coyotes after the fact very interesting (and new to me)… again, getable from the crosses without knowing what it was.

    So it checked a lot of my boxes… chewy but doable, themed, learn some new stuff.

    I like Matthew and Brooke’s idea of coming up with a similar theme but all the words related somehow to a single topic… C’mon constructors! :D :D .

    • gyrovague says:

      Yes, this is just the sort of Friday themed puzzle I’ve been hoping for. Keep ’em coming, New Yorker!

  5. JohnH says:

    I meant only that I assume the trickster is not Loki or some half-remembered Figure out of Greek myth but Wiley Coyote.

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