Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Taking Directions” – Erin’s write-up
Hello lovelies! This week’s theme invloves adding direction words to famous names.
- 20a. [Eight-time Oscar-nominated actress in a light camera shot?] GLENN UP CLOSE
- 28a. [“The Producers” star who’s always passing other motorists?] NATHAN LEFT LANE
- 48a. [Olympian turned WWE wrestler whose finishing move involves a protractor?] KURT RIGHT ANGLE
- 56a. [“Psych” star who’s taken up skiing?] DULÉ DOWNHILL
I don’t love when words crucial to the theme are found in the fill, such as 49d. UP LATE.
- 38d. [Eye doctor Shinobu who lent his name to a color perception test] ISHIHARA. He developed the color blindness test involving reading colored numbers set in a background of varying shades of red and green.
- 12d. [Rubella spot] MEASLE. German measles is another name for rubella, not to be confused with rubeola, which is another name for measles.
- 53a. [“La Cage aux Folles” costar Tognazzi] UGO. The Italian actor is best known for his role as nightclub owner Renato Baldi, but he also acted in “Barbarella” and “Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man.”
Until next week!
Lee Taylor’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Call the Cops”—Jim P’s review
Theme answers consist of phrases re-imagined as if they were crimes. The revealer is CRIME SPREE (31d, [Rash of unlawful activity, as featured in this puzzle]).
- 18a. [Commit a diamond heist in a ballpark?] STEAL A BASE. Bonus for incorporating “diamond” into the clue.
- 29a. [Commit assault in a shop?] SLASH PRICES.
- 47a. [Commit battery at the pool?] BEAT THE HEAT.
- 59a. [Commit fraud at the hospital?] CHEAT DEATH.
- 3d. [Commit game theft in the kitchen?] POACH AN EGG.
Not a bad theme. I could tell what was going on with the first theme answer I uncovered (3d), but it still kept my interest throughout. I found BEAT THE HEAT and CHEAT DEATH to both be especially good.
I will say that I think the revealer is not as strong as I’d like. It doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that we’re playing with words here, and it itself does not have any jokey wordplay that I’d expect. If I may offer an alternative revealer, I’d have gone with WORD CRIMES [Weird Al song for grammarians, or what the theme answers are, in a way]. That is, these aren’t real crimes, but we might consider them as such when we play with the words.
Having theme answers in both directions means there’s not much room for long fill. But the four 7s radiating from the center make a nice set (OAT MILK, OPEN-AIR, STEPS IN, STORAGE).
Clues of note:
- 48d. [Line of text?]. HYPHEN. Nice clue.
- 57d. [Mussorgsky’s “Pictures ___ Exhibition”]. AT AN. I do enjoy this piece, and I would’ve embedded it below, but you know…”Word Crimes.”
Joe Deeney’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
Theme explainer in this 14×15 grid is 57a. [“Stay focused”… or a punny description of the placement of this puzzle’s circled letters], EYES ON THE PRIZE. The circled letters are all I (“eye”), and each pair of I’s are parked above the first and last letters of TROPHY (within ASTROPHYSICIST), CUP (within PLAYED CUPID), and MEDAL (within ZOOMED ALONG). It would have been more elegant with no other I’s elsewhere in the grid, but it would have wrecked the solving experience to restrict things.
Fave fill: RUPAUL, UP TO SPEED, the dreaded large-group REPLY ALL.
- 55a. [John who wrote “How Does a Poem Mean?”], CIARDI. I think he might be who translated the edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy that I read in college. May I just say that I hate the book title in the clue?
- 65a. [Spent some time in a cellar, say], AGED. “Honey? How long have I been down here?”
- 9d. [Damning verbal attack], PHILIPPIC. High-end vocab for a Tuesday!
3.75 stars from me.
Brooke Husic’s USA Today Crossword, “Ends in a Tie” — Sophia’s recap
Editor: Anna Gundlach and Erik Agard
Theme: Each theme answer ends with a type of tie
- 17a [Tress style named for a mythical sea creature] – MERMAID HAIR (hair tie)
- 29a [Simple T-shirt style] – CREW NECK (neck tie)
- 43a [Story surprise] – PLOT TWIST (twist tie)
- 58a [Fleece jacket style] – QUARTER ZIP (zip tie)
Simple and well executed theme today! I liked all the answers Brooke chose, although I thought that [Tress style named for a mythical sea creature] was “fishtail braid” for an embarrassingly long time (note to self: fish exist). QUARTER ZIP feels very fall appropriate, and it’s a phrase that starts with two rare letters in Q and Z so that’s neat. I didn’t love that TIED was randomly down in the bottom right corner of the puzzle – if it’s there, just make it a revealer, or else take it out. But maybe I’m the only one bothered by that….
So many great bonus answers today (especially if you’re a basketball fan!) Basically every answer over 6 letters is worth mentioning here, which is an incredible use of space. Loved PUMP FAKE, BARBIECORE, CLUB SCENE, VIDEO PHONE, MEAL PREP.
Happy Tuesday all!
Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Well this was a really super themeless. Flowing, reverse S-shaped structure, with lengthy stacks in the top, middle and bottom sections. Very little if any junk in the fill.
- 15a [“The Lovers” painter Magritte] RENÉ. That’s the one with the two kissing figures whose heads are individually shrouded.
- 18a [Mountain that grew approximately a hundred feet taller in 2021 due to volcanic activity] ETNA. I either did not know this or forgot it.
- 22a [2018 action film about a seventy-five-foot-long prehistoric shark’ THE MEG. A shortening of the species name for Otodus megalodon, which is no longer considered to be a very close relative of great white sharks, Charcharodon carcharias.
- In the middle now. Staircased thirteens. RIDDLE ME THIS, CHOCOLATE CHIP, GRANITE STATE.
- 53a [A little room to grow?] ACRE. A quietly great clue for tired crossword fill.
- 4d [First name of the title character of Dickens’s “Little Dorrit”] AMY. 9d [Wynona who played Jo March in “Little Women” (1994)] RYDER. 33d [Saoirse who played Jo March in “Little Women” (2019)] RONAN.
- 29d [ __ Planetarium (Chicago attraction)] ADLER. I feel as if I should have known this.
- 30d [What may brighten some smiles?] FLASH. Only now realizing this is a camera flash, and not someone who is flashing a smile.
- 49d [“The Mystery of __ Vep” (satirical play)] IRMA. Title character is an obvious anagram of vampire. Have never seen the play but did watch the 1996 film version with Maggie Cheung. Oh and I’ve just learned that this year’s miniseries version was created by Olivier Assayas, who made that film version.
- 54d [Language suffix] -ESE. Yay, languagese!
Rebecca Goldstein & Rachel Fabi’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
This was a cute puzzle! I’m glad I solved it on Monday since Tuesday is erev Yom Kippur and not a day when I want to really think about food. Each theme answer is a double-barreled ingredient.
- 20a [*Bright yellow sandwich topping] is a BANANA PEPPER.
- 34a [*Marinara ingredient] is PLUM TOMATO.
- 44a [*Citrusy herb in Thai cuisine] is LEMON BASIL.
And the revealer at 57a: [Supermarket section containing each component of (as well as the complete answers to) the starred clues] is the PRODUCE AISLE. Plus we get two extra theme-related answers: [57-Across spray] for MIST and [Bad sound in the 54-Across], SPLAT. Fun! I do take issue with one thing. We have a wonderful produce section in our local Wegman’s and they do not regularly have LEMON BASIL. This is not a serious objection to the theme.
A few other things:
- We have CORGI without a reference to the late Queen. I presume this is both because it’s 1a in a Tuesday puzzle so it needs a nice easy clue and because it was submitted before the Queen died.
- KELP FORESTS always make me think of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Their kelp forest cam is very soothing.
- According to Bon Appetit’s website, YAMs are not really [Sweet potato kin]. In US supermarkets they’re almost certainly sweet potatoes; true YAMs are a different genus entirely. I always wondered about that.
- The other long down is just as delightful as the aquarium reference. I love TOUR DE FORCE.
- For the record, the PALEO diet is not a “throwback.” It may be helpful for some people; the rationale that we “evolved” to eat that way is, in a word, bushwa.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that the ERIE Canalway Trail is 365 miles long.