Mary Lou Guizzo & Jeff Chen’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap
There’s a 19-letter theme entry split in three across the center: Supreme Court Justice KETANJI / BROWN / JACKSON, newly on the job. Nice!
Fave fill: ZEBRA (with a comedian’s joke in the clue: [“How fast does a ___ have to run before it looks gray?”: Demetri Martin]), HANGER-ON, a LATE GAME, Billie EILISH, tasty STREUSEL, the KONA COAST (had to work for the COAST part of this), ARMADILLO (great language clue: [Animal that the Aztecs called ayotochtli, or “turtle-rabbit”]), GOES ALL IN. (Note: I don’t like EILISH because it’s a pop culture name I know–it’s because she’s a talented songwriter and rocker who’s carving out a career in the sexist music industry on her own terms.)
Not sure how I feel about MAC ‘N CHEESE. That’s how I pronounce “mac & cheese,” yes, but I don’t spell it with ‘n.
27d. [Car modified into the Monkeemobile], GTO. Did not know that, but it’s nice to get an old car clued via pop culture instead of with gearhead references entirely unfamiliar to many.
Four stars from me.
Hanh Huynh’s Universal crossword, “Ghostbusters”—Jim P’s review
I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghosts! Mainly because we busted them up in this puzzle. The circled letters (assuming you have circled letters in your grid) spell out the names of the ghosts from PAC-MAN (67a, [Video game whose ghosts are in this puzzle’s theme answers]).
- BLINKY is found in RAMBLIN‘ / KYLO REN. Bonus points for finding a crossword-suitable entry that ends in _BLIN.
- PINKY is found in SPIN / KYRGYZSTAN. I’ll have you know that I filled in KYRGYZSTAN (spelled correctly) without a single crossing letter, thanks to my knowledge of PAC-MAN ghosts and some wild-ass guessing with the spelling.
- INKY is found in MADE A STINK / YAPS.
- CLYDE is found in TREACLY / DEBITED. I initially thought the fourth ghost was Sue, but that’s the fourth ghost from Ms. Pac-Man.
Fun theme, especially for one who knows (most of) the ghosts’ names. The choices for long theme entries are fun as well. It would have been neat if the grid could’ve resembled a PAC-MAN maze, but that’s probably too much to ask.
No sparkly long fill today, but there are numerous likable 7s: BAD DEAL, RUB DOWN, 10,000 MANIACS, SEE NOTE.
Clues of note:
- 24a. [SoulCycle verb (Last 3 + …)]. SPIN. I was confused because I assumed this was a musical group. Nope, we’re talking stationary bikes here.
- 28d. [Money spent at a konbini]. YEN. Konbini are Japanese convenience stores which Japan has more of than any other country. Here’s a fun guide.
- 29d. [Quirky]. ZANY. Hmm. I don’t equate these. “Quirky” is more subtly eccentric to me where I equate ZANY with “madcap.”
Enjoyable puzzle. 3.75 stars
Robin Stears’ Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Two-word phrases. The second word is monosyllabic and has an O for the vowel, and that O is doubled to wacky effect.
- 17a. [Filming that takes place in a vault?] BANK SHOOT (bank shot). I recommend Spike Lee’s Inside Man.
- 25a. [Revenue for the Witch Museum] SALEM’S LOOT (Salem’s Lot).
- 36a. [Blast from a tugboat powered by spuds?] TATER TOOT (tater tot). Ironically, the less juvenile approach.
- 50a. [Fantastic display of hustle?] GREAT SCOOT (great scot). That merited an Ngram query:
- 60a. [Footwear worn in a meatpacking plant] SPAM BOOTS (spambots). Oh, I guess that one wasn’t two words originally. Also, kind of gruesome.
I’ll just note that there are Os elsewhere in the grid that are unaffected by the multiplicative process. Makes for a less constrained grid that’s easier to construct.
- 12d [“Just Dance” game company] UBISOFT. All the crossings are easy, so this potentially tough entry is mollified.
- 24d [Time, in German] ZEIT.
(An extended but rewarding listen. I contend that certain parts can alter your heartrate.)
- 26d [Not for the hoi polloi] ELITE, crossing 31a [Reprobate] LOWLIFE.
- 48d [Losing color] PALING. >moue<
- 51d [“__-daisy!”] OOPSY. Kind of fitting that this is a non-theme double-O.
- 52d [Shapes formed by angled spotlights] OVALS. 2d [Hand] OVATION. I just checked to see if they had a common etymology, if an ovation is literally a loose ’round’ of applause, but no—they have distinct roots. 19a [Comet’s path] ORBIT.
- 1a [Fiddler’s supply] ROSIN. Always nice when you can get the first entry right away.
- 23a [Cracker with seven holes] RITZ. There’s some trivia. Baking ken: those holes are called dockers and let steam escape during heating.
- 58a [“Solutions and Other Problems” writer Brosh] ALLIE. More contemporary than a reference to an ’80s sitcom.
- 66a [Bad start?] DYS-. But a good place to end!
Emily Carroll’s New Yorker crossword–Matthew’s recap
Long, in-the-language themers (including a spot-on-revealer) and lots of long downs made this a quick solve. Back after the workday with a recap.
Rafael Musa’s USA Today crossword, “With a Cherry on Top”–Darby’s recap
Editors: Anna Gundlach and Erik Agard
Theme: Each theme answer can have the word cherry added before it (literally, putting a cherry on top).
- 3d [“Marinara, for example”] TOMATO SAUCE / CHERRY TOMATO
- 7d [“Gaining momentum”] PICKING UP STEAM / CHERRY PICKING
- 10d [“Grow to become”] BLOSSOM INTO / CHERRY BLOSSOM
I figured out the theme as soon as I filled in TOMATO SAUCE, and it certainly helped me correct the SPEEDING UP I initially put in the first half of 7d (as did ROCKY). I thought that all three of these themers were really fun, and I love the connection to cherries. It’s such a well-crafted combo of answers and using the phrase “with a cherry on top” as the impetus to have Down theme answers.
The fill in this was also really fun. I especially related to 2d [“Verbal exams”] since I have my ORALS in two weeks. I also really LOVED the use of 33a [“‘I’m ___!’ (‘That’s hilarious!’)”] DEAD because I say it all of the time. Plus, we got a double “Telephone” reference with mention of both BEY’s and LADY GAGA’s songs. 47a [“‘He who ___ it dealt it’”] SMELT is also a classic.
Some other Friday faves:
- 25d [“Rounded building tops”] – This immediately made me think of the game Santorini, in which you’re working to build a temple to a Greek god and then stand on it. If you’re the first player to do so, you win. You can do some defense but placing DOMES on top of completed temples to stop other players from standing on them, even though you’ve made it so you can’t stand there either. It’s a super cute game – definitely would recommend.
- 29d [“Linguist’s speech notation system (Abbr.)”] – IPA refers to the International Phonetic Alphabet created by another IPA, the International Phonetic Association. It is uses a set of symbols to represent each distinct sound and encompasses all languages spoken (on earth, at least). I thought that this was a fresh way to clue IPA since we so often see references to beer.
- 48d [“Astros, in the 2021 World Series”] – I mentioned the Guardians yesterday in my review of BEQ’s puzzle, but the mention of last year’s World Series LOSERS made me laugh. Today is the first day of postseason baseball.
I had a great time with this grid! Aside from a few typos running up my time that set a few things AMISS and made me say OOPS, I had a pretty smooth solve.
Nancy Serrano-Wu and Kate Chin Park’s Inkubator crossword, “Firelight”—Rebecca’s write-up
Fun puzzle this week, with a quote from Sonia Sotomayor as the theme.
- 20a [Part 1 of a notable quote from a lauded First Gen alumna] THE LATINA IN ME
- 35a [Part 2 of a notable quote from the Justice known as “Baseball’s Savior”] IS AN EMBER THAT .
- 52 [Part 3 of a notable quote from Sonia Sotomayor, first Hispanic and woman of color to serve on the Supreme Court] BLAZES FOREVER
This puzzle played a bit like a themeless, and in addition to the themers we had some nice long answers, with WATCH PARTY, SAY NO MORE, I OVERSLEPT, and TEA COSIES all adding to the enjoyment of the puzzle.