Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Singularity” – Erin’s write-up
Hello, everyone! This week’s Jonesin’ celebrates 1111 puzzles with a fun 1/I/one theme. Each of the theme entries replaces the letter I, which looks like the Arabic 1 or the Roman numeral I, with the written-out ONE.
- 20a. [Art student who passed all the Impressionist courses?] MONET GRADUATE (MIT GRADUATE)
- 27a. [“Mr. Robot” actor’s cousin who’s part of an influential pink band?] RAMONE MALEK (RAMI MALEK)
- 45a. [Like writers of Seth Rogen comedies, maybe?] STONER-CRAZY (STIR CRAZY)
- 53a. [“Have a sample, Mr. Clooney?”] GEORGE TAKE ONE (GEORGE TAKEI)
- 10a.[___ Danger (MAC lipstick shade)] DFOR. Normally I don’t love partials, but I can’t remember one being used to clue a lipstick shade before, so I’ll let it slide.
- 47a. [Airport code at the 2002 Olympics] SLC. This would’ve been easier if I remembered the 2002 Olympics took place in Salt Lake City.
- 23a. [Ancient Jordanian city] PETRA. The city, ٱلْبَتْرَاء in Arabic (Al-Batrā), was partly built from and partly carved into the sandstone cliffs.
That’s all for now. Until next week!
Trip Payne’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Backup Devices”—Jim P’s review
Theme: Apple devices are found backwards in familiar phrases. The revealer is APPLE TURNOVERS (47a, [Fruity desserts, and a hint to the circled words]).
- 20a. [Lysine or arginine, in biology] BASIC AMINO ACID. iMac.
- 25a. [Listened to something break the silence] HEARD A PIN DROP. iPad.
- 42a. [Request after a bad diagnosis] SECOND OPINION. iPod.
I needed the revealer for the aha moment. After the first entry I was looking for undergarments (like a Cami). After the third one, I was wondering (1) if this was some sort of weird word ladder or (2) if these were some whacked-out Dwarfs (Cami, Dapi, and Dopi). Thankfully, the revealer gave me what I needed. Enjoyable theme.
14- and 13-letter theme entries are a challenge to work with, but having only four of them gives the constructor some much-needed breathing room. So we’re still able to get fun entries like fully-named TERI GARR, HOLLERS, ID CARDS, and especially the lovely SKIVVIES…plus, “I’M NEXT” and GO BALD as well.
Clues of note:
- 19a. [Pinocchio creator Collodi]. CARLO. I’m pleased to see this writer get some crossword love here. In many ways, Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio was a groundbreaking serialized story that became a book. It appeared in one of the very first periodicals for children and became a novel when children’s literature was itself a novel concept. The book has been translated into about 250 languages and sold countless millions of copies. Fun facts: Did you know Pinocchio originally killed the Talking Cricket by hitting it on the head with a hammer and that he himself died a gruesome death by hanging when the original serialized story ended? A 2020 adaptation included the hanging scene to some parents’ horror, and Guillermo del Toro’s take on the story is set to come out in December and may be even darker.
- 5d. [Lose contact with one’s roots?]. GO BALD. Ha!
- 30d. [The “nothing really matters” part of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” e.g.]. OUTRO. Sounds like a good choice for a musical interlude. Here’s Jake Shimabukuro’s version on the ukulele.
Nice puzzle. Four stars.
Rebecca Goldstein & Rachel Fabi’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
You can say that again! A reduplicative phrase (one that repeats it words) goes one further with a distinct meaning for the single version:
- 17a. [Verbal disapproval of a boy king?], “TUT-TUT, TUT!”
- 28a. [Food for a sturdy Chinese dog?], CHOW CHOW CHOW. If you watched TV in the 1970s, you may remember the Purina Cat Chow commercials with the “chow chow chow” cat dance.
- 47a. [Conference call for Mazda’s marketing team?] “ZOOM ZOOM” ZOOM.
- 64a. [Glutes developed while dancing at the Moulin Rouge?], CANCAN CAN. Some dictionaries split the dance as “can-can.” I’ve never been keen on can as slang for the butt.
Fave fill: KAPUT, LIZ LEMON, UPPER HAND.
Three more things:
- 46a. [Puts two and two together, e.g.], ADDS / 62a. [Put two and two together, e.g.], IDIOM. Fun two-fer!
- 26a. [Fragrant conifer], CEDAR. Atlas cedar is one of the fragrances in my favorite fancypants hand soap.
- 30d. [Bracelet dangler], CHARM. There’s a certain charm to a clue like this.
I do fret that newer solvers may have encountered some surprisingly tough stuff in this puzzle, such as singular ALGA and the multi-word answers SIP ON, I CARE, and TO NOW.
3.4 stars from me.
Kelsey Dixon & Brooke Husic’s USA Today Crossword, “Doubleplusungood” — Sophia’s recap
Editor: Amanda Rafkin
Theme: “Double-plus Ungood” – Pairs of theme answers intersect at the letter A in the string “BAD”, thus creating a plus-sign shape of “ungood” words.
- 22a [McEntire album with a featured artist on every track] REBA DUETS
- 13d [Event where the Sun and Sky select new players] WNBA DRAFT
- 51a [Explore a coral reef] SCUBA DIVE
- 35d [Caribbean islander who might celebrate Crop Over] BARBADIAN
This was the first USA Today puzzle where I couldn’t parse the title. I couldn’t even figure out where the word breaks were- was it “double plu sun good”? “double plu sung ood”? After I solved the puzzle, I googled the title: it’s Newspeak from Orwell’s 1984, and it means very very bad. Not an auspicious title to give your puzzle, but luckily the result could not have been more different.
I loved the theme answers that the constructors chose today! Congrats to the Las Vegas ACEs on winning the WNBA championship yesterday – I’ll almost forgive you for knocking out the Seattle Storm on the way there. I had never heard of REBA DUETS but the clue made it easy to puzzle out. Less easy for me was the spelling of BARBADIAN: I had the I as an O for most of the solve. The diagonally symmetric grid is very aesthetically pleasing although it did feel a bit choppy as I worked through it – there are almost 30 3 letter answers, and that many starts to feel like a lot to a solver.
Fill highlights: SAPPHO, JEAN SMART, RAP SNACKS
Clue highlights: 47d [Surprised Pikachu, for example] – MEME, 27d [Breakfast chain with a Minions collaboration] – IHOP, 30d [Hiro, to Tadashi Hamada, for short] – BRO (a “Big Hero 6” reference, for those not in the know).
Natan Last’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Tidy, smooth-flowing crossword here.
- 1a [Empty-headed Adonis] HIMBO. That’s a Statement of sorts, opening the grid with this.
- 6a [Pay as little as possible] SKIMP, 11a [Pay what’s owed] PONY UP.
- 15a [Spherical infuser] TEA BALL. Not to be confused with TEE-BALL.
- 26a [Type of vacuum tube] MAGNETRON. Needed a lot of crossings for this one.
- 32a [Things that are “like Cobwebs which may catch small Flies, but let Wasps and Hornets break through,” per Jonathan Swift] LAWS. Some things never change, it seems.
38a [Kinkajou, by another name] HONEY BEAR. Not the first time I’ve seen this alternate appellation in a crossword. Frugivorous in the wild, apparently they really enjoy honey when in captivity. “Honey bear” is also a colloquial name for sun bear, Helarctos malayanus. I just learned that the type specimen (important for taxonomy) was collected in Suriname.
- 44a [One-__ max (weight lifter’s limit)] REP. Sounds as if that’s describing a weight at one’s maximum strength. I mean, what else could it mean?
- 50a [In high __ (angry)] DUDGEON. Looked as if it would have an interesting etymology, but m-w and American Heritage both indicate that the origin is unknown.
- Something wry about stacking SATURNALIA and KIERKEGAARD, eh? 6d [Festival that the poet Catullus called “the best of days”], 7d [Author of “Either/Or”]
- 43d [Common conjunction combination] AND/OR.
- 11d [New York suburb bordering New Rochelle] PELHAM. I feel this would be difficult for people not from the NYC region. Perhaps they might know it from the film The Taking of Pelham One Two Three?
- 14d [They might be replaced by xeriscaping] LAWNS. Another good option is rewilding them, replacing sod with a variety of native plants. Often more aesthetically pleasing and decreases one’s environmental footprint.
- 22d [Wisenheimer] SMARTYPANTS, 27d [“The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” novelist] ANNE BRONTË. This is the stacked pair symmetrical with 6- and 7-down.
- 40d [Biblical creation with a double standard?] ARK. Cute.
No vocals on this, strangely I would think, for an Yma Sumac recording, so it just sounds like a typical exotica recording of the period:
Amie Walker’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
I didn’t understand the theme until I started writing a blog post about how it doesn’t work. It works. Let’s take a look.
Each theme answer has a word circled in the middle.
- 17a [Showers someone with money?] is MAKES IT RAIN. Train.
- 27a [“Spit it out!”] is TELL ME ALREADY.
- 44a [Cheese, beans, guacamole, sour cream, etc] are NACHO TOPPINGS.
And the revealer at 58a [Voter’s crossover ballot, and what can literally be found in the circled letters] is SPLIT TICKET. TRAIN TICKET, MEAL TICKET, HOT TICKET. That makes sense. I didn’t understand the SPLIT until I looked at what I just typed and realized that each type of ticket is SPLIT over two words. Aha, as they say! That’s a nice solid theme in an appropriately accessible Tuesday puzzle.
It’s been a long day so I’ll skip to “what I didn’t know before I did this puzzle.” I didn’t know that LAURA Linney was in “Ozark.”
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 590), “Sal Paradise”—Ade’s take
Good day, everyone! Hope you all are doing well on these final couple of days of summer!
Each of the theme answers in today’s puzzle has a man in the middle! That is, the name “SAL” is hidden in all of those entries, spanning multiple words in the theme entries.
- THE GANG’S ALL HERE (17A: [Shout heard at a fully-attended reunion])
- CARLOS ALCARAZ (23A: [Spanish tennis player who, at 19, became the youngest World No. 1 (he also won the 2022 U.S. Open)]) – Seeing “Carlitos’ march toward the title, which included three five-setters and a couple of matches that ended well into the next morning, was captivating!
- AS GENTLE AS A LAMB (38A: [Totally harmless])
- IT’S A LONG STORY (50A: [“There are many chapters in this saga…”])
- THREE TIMES A LADY (58A: [1978 #1 hit for the Commodores])
Though probably not intended, we also have a “SAL” appearance with SALMAN intersecting one of the theme entries (9D: [“Midnight’s Children” author Rushdie]). I’m now losing track of all of the movies and TV shows that IDRIS has been on the past few years, and only knew pretty recently that he was in Thor (50D: [“Thor” actor Elba]). OPEN RANGE (3D: [Extended area where cattle roam freely]) was nice fill, while seeing NATIONALS reminded me that, not too long ago, the team that is well on its way to a 100-loss season in 2022 was a World Series champion just three years ago (35D: [Washington team that won the 2019 World Series]). Oh, and about the song mentioned in the clue for ISAAC to give you a wonderful earworm as you go about your day (8D: [Hayes who sang “Walk On By”])?! Let’s go!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: BAGEL (4D: [Food described a “a doughnut with the sin removed”]) – The term “bagel” has picked up in popularity in the tennis world, as that’s the nickname for a set in which a player wins by a score of 6-0. The reason it’s been in the news in the tennis world regularly is because of the No. 1 player in the world, Iga Swiatek, who has recorded 19 bagel sets this season during her dominant season, one in which she amassed a 37-match winning streak. For more on the Polish powerhouse who just won the US Open alongside Carlitos, read this feature here. I hear the person who wrote it is a funny guy!
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!