Geoff Brown’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Business Liquidity”—Jim P’s review
Theme answers consist of two-word financial terms where the final word is also a body of water.
- 20a. [Cash generated on a regular basis] INCOME STREAM.
- 26a. [Business’s ability to maintain a competitive edge, per Warren Buffett] ECONOMIC MOAT.
- 46a. [Backing for some securities] MORTGAGE POOL.
- 53a. [Retail stores or online marketplace, e.g.] SALES CHANNEL.
What better venue for this puzzle than the Wall Street Journal? That said, I’ve only ever heard of one of these phrases (the first one), so I personally didn’t get a lot of joy from it. But I can appreciate the tightness of the theme. I just don’t know how many solvers know these phrases.
I like the pairing of SOCRATES and TEMPESTS as well as the formal “I CANNOT,” CELESTE, and “LET’S GO.” I wasn’t too keen on the crosswordese sprinkled throughout like ENIAC, SSR, plural OLINS, and weird NAMER [New parent, e.g.]. It took just a few minutes for me to replace that entry with NAVES and SLOPE with SLINK to get crossings AVIS, KENT, and ASKS. Similarly, the SE corner could be cleaned up to remove SSR.
Clues of note:
- 1a. [Winner of the Ballon d’Or seven times]. MESSI. I was thinking this was an award for filmmaking, not sports.
- 10a. [Conciliatory gestures]. SOPS. Meh. Who uses this in this way?
- 16a. [Michael R. Jackson won one for “A Strange Loop” in 2020]. OBIE. He also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for that musical.
- 44d. [Babar’s spouse]. CELESTE. We also would have accepted [Stargazing owl in “Animal Crossing”].
Overall, I didn’t feel like I was in the target audience for this grid though I appreciate its consistency. There are some nice bits of fill, but other areas could’ve used some tidying up. 3.25 stars.
Matthew Stock’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
Theme revealer: 60a. [Accept defeat, informally … or what the last words of 19-, 24- and 49-Across do vis-à-vis the first], TAKE AN L (loss). I’ve only seen take the L. The three themers are 3-word phrases where word 1 takes an L to become word 3:
- 19a. [Innate response to a threatening situation], FIGHT OR FLIGHT.
- 24a. [Ante up for participation], PAY TO PLAY.
- 49a. [AC/DC album after “Highway to Hell”], BACK IN BLACK. I like that word 2 is different in all three.
Learned this Spanish vocab, glad to learn it: 51d. [Abuela’s grandchild], NIETO.
Never heard: 41a. [“No ____, Bob!”], PROB. Regional thing? Generational?
3.75 stars from me.
Lee Taylor’s Universal crossword, “Double Deutsch” — pannonica’s write-up
Today’s theme features some German vocabulary. Specifically, it’s relatively modest compound nouns—only two elements per, although the language famously has a penchant for creating very long words.
- 18a. [Glove in German, literally] HAND-SHOE (der Handschuh).
- 34a. [Porcupine in German, literally] SPIKE-PIG (das Stachelschwein).
- 43a. [Raccoon in German, literally] WASH-BEAR (der Waschbär).
- 61a. [Cotton in German, literally] TREE-WOOL (die Baumwolle).
- 6d. [Vacuum in German, literally] DUSTSUCKER (der Staubsauger). The clue references a vacuum cleaner, not a literal vacuum.
- 30d. [Hippopotamus in German, literally] RIVER-HORSE (das Flusspferd). Our word is directly from Greek, meaning exactly the same thing, although in German (or English, for that matter) order it would be potamohippus.
This was a fun theme for me, as I’ve studied German a little bit, ein Bisschen. It’s somewhat strange that three of the six theme entries are animals, mammals more specifically: Säugetiere—suck-animals.
- 19d [What beats a heart?] SPADE. Clue sounds like archaic verse.
- 27d [Chew like a rat] GNAW. Guess what the German word for rodent is? Nagetier, gnaw-animal.
- 32a [DVD player message] NO DISC. A good phrase which I don’t recall having seen in a crossword before. Crossed by the colloquial 23d BOO-YA [“Heck yeah!”]
- 56a [Polar feature] ICE CAP.
I wonder if this puzzle’s theme will be polarizing.
Aimee Lucido,’s AVCX, “Swear Words” — Rebecca’s Review
This week’s AVCX Classic from Aimee Lucido, was a very entertaining 3/5 difficulty.
When I saw the title “Swear Words,” I was wondering what we’d be in for – and this puzzle didn’t disappoint. We have four well known lies in the puzzle, each with a swear word above it, with the perfect revealer LYING UNDER OATH.
- 22A: BS line on receipt of a bad gift IT’S WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED
- 43A: BS line uttered March 29, 1992 I DIDN’T INHALE
- 86A: BS line uttered November 17, 1973 I AM NOT A CROOK
- 107A: BS line uttered at high
school reunions YOU HAVEN’T CHANGED A BIT
- 63A: Committing perjury … or what four answers in this puzzle are doing LYING UNDER OATH
And the swears, each clued as “@#$%&!”
- 18A: CRAP
- 40A: FUCK
- 84A: SHIT
- 106A: DAMN
The fill of this puzzle kept me engaged throughout as well – here are some favorites:
- 33A: Medium for a “smash the patriarchy” pillow — CROSS STITCH
- 47A: Pan providers, at times — CRITICS
- 57A: Portmanteau place for some beer pong or regular Pong — BREWCADE
- 45D: Bring together using bunny ears, say — TIE
- 14D: Water mark? — TAN LINE
And of course I always love to see a Sweeney reference for PIE
Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s recap
Fave fill: STAIRMASTER, DOVETAILED, SCRUNCHIES (great clue, too, the tricky [Bands popular in the eighties and nineties] suggesting music rather than hair elastics), BLUEBONNET, PLUNDERED. Least fave: MISDO (have never legitimately used this word in my life), MENLO Park.
51a. [Metaphorical place often invoked by men with “nice guy syndrome”], FRIEND ZONE. Memo to “nice guys”: No woman owes you her attentions or affections. Work on your personality and interests instead of complaining that you always get friend-zoned.
Quick puzzle; fell faster than I expected it to, though a look at the blog archives would probably show sub-4:00 times are my norm for Wed TNYs. 3.75 stars from me.
Bonnie Eisenman’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
I’m not sure this theme is cohesive enough for crosswords: three of four answers involving forcing a clothes word into an unrelated phrase, and one is the word CLOTHES. The first three involve adding a sound to create the clothes word, the last changes COAT to BOAT which involves a consonant change…
- [Impractical way to get dressed?], SHOESONFIRST. WHOS
- [Planning meeting for the costume department?], CLOTHESCALL. CLOSE
- [Disappointing sign on a store selling warm-weather garments?],
- OUTOFSHORTS. SORTS
[Really pulls off a jacket?], ROCKSTHECOAT. BOAT
Two answers I had no clue about, but emerged through crossers: [Food cart snacks in South Asia], CHAAT, [Corp. computer exec], CTO. I can also see [Anime genre featuring giant robots], MECHA being unfamiliar to some, but the connection to mechanical should make it work-outable…
Erik Agard’s USA Today Crossword, “Do You Remember?” — Sophia’s recap
Editor: Erik Agard
Theme: The central answers’ clues are “BA” “DE” “YA”, which is a lyric in Earth, Wind, and Fire’s song “September”.
- 27a [BA] – BACHELOR OF ARTS
- 32a [DE] – DEFENSIVE END
- 34a [YA] – YOUNG ADULT
Well, if anyone is going to remember the 21st night of September, it’s me because today’s my birthday! Despite knowing exactly what the title referred to as soon as I opened the puzzle, I didn’t see its connection to the theme until after I finished and looked up the lyrics to September. I always thought they were just saying “ah” as opposed to “ba de ya”, so I’ve learned something new today. The abbreviations are all totally common and legit, and I like the slightly outside of the box theme.
Very low word count grid today by USA Today standards – by my count only 70 words. That means that on top of the (stacked!) theme answers, we get a whole ton of interesting longer fill that was still clued in a friendly enough manner that it’s easily gettable for a newer solver. Favorites for me were SELFISH DNA, RADIO EDIT, GRADUATE CLASSES and the clue 20d [Louis Armstrong reportedly used one to smuggle weed through customs] for US PRESIDENT (the president was Richard Nixon, and apparently the bag Louis asked him to carry contained 3 lbs. of weed. Iconic behavior.)
NYT: “No PROB, Bob!” apparently comes from a BBC show for young children:
It was new to me, I think. It was so easily gettable from the clue that I may have heard someone use the phrase before.
This is a decade older than the BBC cartoon:
NYT: Anyone else seeing a typo at 26D? OVID wrote “Metamorphoses,” not “Metamorphosis.” Seems like the editors really should have caught that.
NYT: Agree with Amy about “take an L” vs “take the L” never heard anyone use the former expression. Obviously, the theme doesn’t work with “take the L” but a pretty big deal to change a common expression to make a theme work IMO
TAKE AN L still Googles to a sufficient frequency that it didn’t bother me, and the theme was a nice catch, although it would have been nice had all three been idiomatic phrases.
I thought the PAAK/SAMOSA cross was iffy for a Wednesday. Never heard of the former but I know my Indian food, fortunately. And I had BACKTOBLACK first, but that’s the (fantastic) Amy Winehouse song. I’ve seen BACKINBLACK before but only because of crosswords (I couldn’t name or hum any song by AC/DC).
TAKEANL held me up for a moment too, and ‘No PROB, Bob’ is new to me, although easy to guess. I liked the theme answers here but thought the fill was awkward in a number of places.
I also filled in the Winehouse title, without looking at the clue.
We’ll David L, you can now claim to know one AC/DC song, since BACK IN BLACK is the title song from that album.
OK, one song. But don’t ask me to hum it :)
If you watched the Daily Show back when Lewis Black had a segment, you know that segment was called “Back In Black.” (The AC/DC song played in the title sequence.)
Although out-to-lunch editing has become the expectation with the USA Today crossword, it’s worthy of mentioning a blatant factual error today. Nixon was vice president during that (likely apocryphal) story involving Louis Armstrong. That he eventually became president doesn’t matter; the plain fact is Armstrong did not use a US PRESIDENT to smuggle drugs.