David Karp’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap
Last day of September! Wasn’t it just 2021 a couple days ago?
Fave fill: SEXIEST MAN ALIVE (do you agree that it’s an “honor” that’s negotiated with a star’s publicist and possibly is bestowed on the guy who promises to give the most media time to it?), SCOFF, HIGH-STAKES POKER, NO BARS, NAPTIMES (I wish I could take naps!), MORAL OF THE STORY, SLAM DUNK CONTEST, BAHA’IS, COLLECTORS’ ITEMS. Kinda fun to see AVS, knickname of the Colorado Avalanche hockey team; that’s legit.
Quibble: 30d. [Hold the ___], FORT. Isn’t the phrase “hold down the fort”?
3.9 stars from me with a slight ding for the not-in-the-language-for-me ACE TEN.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Inserting some letters today.
- 65aR [Extra, and a two-word hint to the answers in the starred clues] ADDED, or add ed.
- 17a. [*Teachers who demand perfect asanas?] YOGA PEDANTS (yoga pants).
- 24a. [*Blogs and newsletters about raising a family?] MAMMA MEDIA (mamma mia).
- 49a. [*Lion or tiger in the National Zoo?] FEDERAL CATS (feral cats).
- 58a. [*Ocean predator taking whatever comes its way?] MAKE-DO SHARK (mako shark).
Those are fun.
- 1d [Young chickens] FRYERS. Depressing.
- 4d [Many a “We’ve suspended your account” text] SCAM. 45a [Inbox clogger] SPAM.
- 7d [Oppressive atmospheres] MIASMAS. Literally, ‘bad air’.
- 13d [Treatments that many are prone to enjoy?] MASSAGES. Clever and cute.
- 26d [Shot not allowed in some pool halls] MASSÉ. Because inexperienced players might rip the felt surface of the table.
- 35d [Entrance] APPEAL TO. Homonyms are a staple of crossword cluing.
- 39d [23andMe’s stock in trade] DNA DATA. Seems a sort of arbitrary phrase, though I expect it googles/ngrams well.
- 1a [Blood relative?] FLESH. As in the phrase ‘flesh and blood’.
- 6a [Like a WiFi-enabled toaster] SMART. “Smart”. I have no desire to welcome spying electronic devices into my home.
- 16a [AQI monitor] EPA. That’s the Air Quality Index.
- 31a [Fancy-free adventures] LARKS. For intangible reasons this is my favorite clue/answer combo.
- 53a [Hägar creator Browne] DIK. I briefly conflated him with old Hollywood director Tod Browning.
- 54a [Area that’s far from the strike zone] GUTTER. Bowling, not baseball.
- 62a [Nightingale, notably] NURSE. Seeing it under SHARK triggered some neurons. “The nurse shark genus Ginglymostoma is derived from Greek language meaning hinged mouth, whereas the species cirratum is derived from Latin meaning having curled ringlets.” (Wikipedia)
An engaging and entertaining offering.
“Arpeggiata Addio” (Giovanni Kapsberger, performed by Rolf Lislevand, Arianna Savall, et al.)
Jared Goudsmit’s Universal crossword, “Don’t Start With Me!”—Jim P’s review
The title is actually an instruction. Each theme answer’s clue starts with the letters “ME.” Remove those letters and read the clue again to get the actual clue for the entry.
- 17a. [Merest?] TAKE A BREAK. Rest.
- 31a. [Meshed?] STORAGE UNIT. Shed.
- 40a. [Meowed?] WAS IN THE RED. Owed.
- 60a. [Mead?] COMMERCIAL. Ad.
Effective theme. It had me guessing for about half the solve then the penny just dropped and I could proceed apace. Not so keen on the ungainly phrase WAS IN THE RED as a theme answer, but I had grokked the theme by then, and with a few crossings, it fell quickly.
I love the long fill today with MAKE WAVES, GROUP HUG, NINTENDO, and “NO WORRIES.” Having only four theme answers allows the grid to breathe and thus we get lovely stuff like this.
Clue of note: 54a. [“That’s so relatable,” informally]. MOOD. New to this Gen-Xer, and I needed all the crossings. It’s often used as a caption to an image depicting the sender’s current feelings.
Nice puzzle. 3.75 stars.
Leslie Young’s New Yorker crossword–Matthew’s recap
I’m not someone who seeks out the revealer in puzzles, but it would have helped me today with a tricky puzzle. Let’s get into it:
- 17a [Exhaust fans] AFICIONADOS
- 27a [Smoke screen] COMPUTER MONITOR
- 44a [Gas tanks] CRASHES AND BURNS
- 60a [Talk things out … or what to do to make sense of the clues for 17-, 27-, and 44-Across] CLEAR THE AIR
The revealer is key here. Removing “exhaust,” “smoke,” and “gas,” the clues and answers make sense. And of course the grid entries are common phrases, so that’s a plus. Relatively segmented grid, to account for 15s in rows 6 and 9, so let’s get to notes:
- 6a [Like the taste of cilantro, to some] SOAPY. I am not in this group, and I’m glad for it.
- 22a [Alternative to dragon fruit, in a smoothie bowl] ACAI. I have never seen dragonfruit as an option, only ACAI or pitaya
- 12d [Alternative to Grana Padano] ASIAGO. Of the two, I prefer Grana Padano, which is a bit nuttier and less salty to my palate.
- 30d [U.F.C. champion Rousey] RONDA. I recognize that Ronda Rousey is perhaps the biggest name from women’s MMA, but she hasn’t competed in the U.F.C. since 2016.
Neville Fogarty & Erik Agard’s USA Today Crossword, “Weather…or Not”—Darby’s Review
Editor: Erik Agard
Theme: Each theme answer includes RAIN—or a homophone for it, making each one “weather…or not.”
- 18a [“Carte blanche”] FREE REIN
- 38a [“In good order”] RIGHT AS RAIN
- 59a [“Actress in the 2022 rom-com ‘Anything’s Possible’”] EVA REIGN
The play on “whether or not” here is really fun. I didn’t expect to see RIGHT AS RAIN, but I suppose that’s the “weather” portion of the puzzle’s title. EVA REIGN is a fun name, and a good way to use REIGN. Together, with the other two answers, I think that these themes work really well.
This grid is asymmetric, and it all flowed together really well. I enjoyed the double 28a and 37a [“Rower’s need”] for BOAT and OAR. It was interesting that the latter of these was right under 34a [“Not a want but a___”] NEED (which, side note: always makes me think of High School Musical. I also really loved the inclusion of 58a [“TCUs: ___ colleges and universities”] TRIBAL. There are 37 TCUs in the United States. 10d [“Reality show won by Maryanne Oketch in 2022”] SURVIVOR and 38d [“Worth mentioning”] RELEVANT were great as well.
Short one from me today, but I thought this was a great Friday ACTIVITY!