Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Round and Round” – Erin’s write-up
Hello lovelies! This week’s Jonesin’…or should I say, JOOnesin’, involves adding OO to three phrases.
- 20a. [Air conditioning that doesn’t move?] STATIC COOLING. Original phrase is STATIC CLING.
- 36a. [New York baseball player publicly displays affection?] YANKEE CANOODLES (YANKEE CANDLES)
- 48a. [Ruling family full of cows?] MOOING DYNASTY (MING DYNASTY)
- 1a. [New England soccer squad, for short?] REVS. New England’s MLS team is, fittingly, the Revolution.
- 24a. [Abbreviation for the president] CINC, short for Commander in Chief.
- 40a. [They’re specialized for Big Macs] BUN. Does this refer to the extra middle bun in a Big Mac, or are the top and bottom Big Mac buns otherwise different than, say, a Quarter Pounder bun?
- 12d. [Japanese synthesizer brand since the 1960s] KORG. The company was founded as Keio Gijutsu Kenkyujo Ltd., then Keio Electronic Laboratories. They marketed their first electronic organ under the initials of the founders’ names, Kato and Osanai, plus the RG of “organ.”
Until next week!
Sam Koperwas and Jeff Chen’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “You’re Breaking Up”—Jim P’s review
Theme entries are familiar two-word phrases or compound words whose first words are rough synonyms of “split,” i.e. to break into two pieces. The revealer is FRONT SPLITS (53a, [Gymnastics or yoga maneuvers, and a hint to the starts of 18-, 24-, 35- and 48-Across]).
- 18a. [Remarkable or hilarious] RIPSNORTING. I tried RIP-ROARING first, which fit just as nicely.
- 24a. [Chuck Yeager, for one] CRACK PILOT. Not sure I’ve ever heard this phrase and it Googles poorly. I’ve heard of a “crack shot,” but not one of these (see image below).
- 35a. [It’s difficult to dine with one of these] CHOPSTICK. “One” being the keyword.
- 48a. [Pulp producer] HACK WRITER.
I had a heck of a time discerning this theme because an early version of the puzzle was missing all the Down clues after 11d. That meant as I was beginning my solve, I’d occasionally run across a Down clue that was simply a hyphen, which of course looks like it might be thematic. Once I realized there were too many of these blank clues, I figured out that the clue gremlin struck again. This happens occasionally at the WSJ where the file somehow gets truncated though it remains readable.
Anyway, the puzzle got fixed relatively quickly, so if you solved it any time after that, you had a fairly normal solve.
As far as synonym themes go, this one’s pretty typical. The entries are on the fun side, though as I said, CRACK PILOT doesn’t seem so in-the-language, at least to me.
Nothing longer than a 7 in the fill, but there are some nice ones: CAPTCHA, SKI MASK, LIP SYNC, EGO TRIP, PATELLA, “I REPEAT…,” and NPR TOTE. I’ve never seen ALIBIED or “alibi” used as a verb, so that felt odd.
Clues of note:
- 22a. [Not safe]. OUT. Think baseball for this one.
- 58a. [Zodiac Feline]. LEO. The .puz version has a capital F though the .pdf version does not.
- 3d. [Bank job attire]. SKI MASK. Nice clue.
Solid synonym theme and grid. 3.5 stars.
Ailee Yoshida’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
Great theme! It’s subtle and I didn’t understand what was going on till I made sense of the theme revealer: 62a. [Kara Zor-El’s identity in DC Comics … or a punny hint to the answers to the starred clues], SUPERGIRL. Each of the themers combines a synonym for super with a girl’s name. And the constructor is a high school student making her debut … so she’s today’s cruciverbal SUPERGIRL. The themers are:
- 17a. [*Sincere intentions], GOOD FAITH.
- 25a. [*One who’s “Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and a-singin’ his song,” in a 1958 hit], ROCKIN’ ROBIN.
- 38a. [*With 39-Across, flower named for its distinctive shape], STAR / LILY.
- 51a. [*Considerable amount of money, in an idiom], PRETTY PENNY.
Fave fill: GAP KIDS, SPAMBOT, NOODLES.
Mystery item: 9d. [Kind of fitness test for K-12 students], PACER. Never heard of of this. To the Google! Good gravy, it’s an acronym. Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run. Pretty sure this did not exist when I was in school.
Modern slang that I’ve seen before but am too old to legitimately use: 58a. [Chucked forcefully, in modern lingo], YEETED. As in “I want to yeet every authoritarian leader into the sun.”
Four stars from me.
Jared Goudsmit’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
Good morning from Gate 20 at the San Jose airport!
I think this is a bit on the crunchy side for a Tuesday. Just me? Travel fatigue? I can’t say precisely why I feel that way, so maybe it is just me. I enjoyed the theme; I noticed the pattern and still enjoyed the wordplay in the revealer.
The theme answers:
- 18a [*”Well, shoot!”] is AW SHUCKS.
- 27a [*Immunotherapy injection] is an ALLERGY SHOT.
- 44a [*Plane passenger’s selection] is an AIRLINE SEAT. I don’t think that’s a thing anyone really says. It’s not wrong, per se, though. And for the record, I prefer an aisle seat. Luckily both my husband and daughter prefer the window so there’s no in-family tussling.
- 55a [*Director’s “That’s a wrap!”] is AND SCENE. I like this one a lot, which helps me look past 44a.
And the revealer: 65a [Capital of Greece, or a three-word hint to the answers in the starred clues] is ATHENS – A THEN S for the starting letters of the two words in each theme answer.
Since I don’t feel like digging my power cord out of the suitcase, I’ll skip right to the end. What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Carson Daily hosts THE VOICE.
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 593), “Same Difference!”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everyone! I hope you are all doing well as we head into the middle of October.
Today’s puzzle features fun with homophones, as the first word in the three theme answers are all pronounced the same but spelled differently.
- CLAIRE UNDERWOOD (17A: [Robin Wright’s “presidential” role on “House of Cards”])
- CLAIR DE LUNE (31A: [A little “night” music by Claude Debussy]) – We have this lunar entry and A MOON (46A: [O’Neill’s “___ for the Misbegotten”]) in the same grid. Very slick.
- CLARE BOOTHE LUCE (53A: [“The Women” playwright who served as U.S. Ambassador to Italy])
Got slowed down a lot in the Northwest when I immediately put Toledo after getting the first “O” and not coming off of that for a long while until realizing something was amiss — despite Toledo being perfect for that clue, even with LORAIN being the word that had to fit with this particular grid (5D: [Lake Erie port city]). Loved the clue for EINSTEINS, though I’ll never be mistaken for one anytime soon (56A: [Wise guys?]). Anyone else see CREEP and then immediately think of the hit Radiohead song (6A: [Lowlife])? If not, then here it is. This was definitely a popular tune in bars of college towns, as I’m sure it is still a hit in those establishments right now.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ROMANO (42D: [TV comic Ray]) – Unfortunately, the Toronto Blue Jays being eliminated from the MLB playoffs this past Saturday ruins the perfection of the timing of this entry, but we’re still going to give Blue Jays relief pitcher Jordan Romano some love here. Romano, born in Markham, Ontario, became the Blue Jays’ closer last year and continued his success in closing out games in 2022, earning his first-ever All-Star Game appearance this past July. On October 2, Romano earned the save for the Blue Jays in a game in which Brampton, Ontario-born Zach Pop earned the victory, marking the first time in Toronto Blue Jays history in which Canadian-born pitchers earned both the win and the save in the same game. (The Blue Jays’ first season in MLB was in 1977.)
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Aimee Lucido’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
This was a perfect solving experience for what’s advertised as a moderately challenging themeless crossword puzzle.
Every time there was significant resistance—which was rather often—there were nearby entries that were able to help, after they themselves were populated with a new letter or two. This process occurred over and over during the solve, so it was truly a matter of ‘working’ the puzzle.
- 17a [Mixer that glows under a black light] TONIC WATER. I either didn’t know this or forgot it.
- 18a [Oft-disobeyed warning to be surreptitious] DON’T LOOK NOW. Also the name of an eerie 1973 film starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie.
- 25a [Meas. for rapid spinning] RPS. Revolutions per second, rather than per minute.
- 52a [Pita go-with] BABAGANOUSH. Great fill.
- 58a [“Every. Single. Day.”] ALL THE TIME. Shades of 32-down in yesterday’s Universal.
- 1d [Frantic scramble] MAD DASH. Filled it as MAD––SH until I could rule out RUSH.
- 11d [Reluctance to move] INERTIA. 16a [Person who doesn’t like to idle] DOER.
- 35d [Confrontation at a local court, perhaps] HOME GAME. Not about suing your neighbor.
- 43d [Suddenly, in music] SUBITO. The only entry I didn’t know at all.
- 52d [“Humph!”] BAH.
Enrique Henestroza Anguiano’s USA Today Crossword, “Star Fruit” — Sophia’s recap
Editor: Anna Gundlach and Erik Agard
Theme: Each theme answer is a person whose last name is a fruit.
- 24a [Academy Award winner for “Monster’s Ball”] – HALLE BERRY
- 37a [American Book Award winner for “There There”] – TOMMY ORANGE
- 53a [Grammy Award winner for “Fetch the Bolt Cutters”] – FIONA APPLE
This theme reminded me of the “Bore Fruit” NYT puzzle from last year, which also used HALLE BERRY and FIONA APPLE as theme answers. However, since all the answers are real people in this one, it feels effectively different, and I liked the title a lot. I have never heard of TOMMY ORANGE – for a while, when I had xANGx at the end of the word, I wondered if I might be dealing with someone with the last name “mango”! Luckily the other people I was able to drop in just from the clues without any crosses.
Favorite answers: VELCRO, FRO YO, having both LEO and PISCES in the puzzle
Favorite clues: 3d [Series of names on standby for a brunch spot] for WAITLIST, 23d [“The ___ Ring” (satirical crime movie)] for BLING, 36d [Like some zom-com characters] for UNDEAD (although I wish the clue had gone full “Warm Bodies” and said “zom-rom-com”)
Wondering if LETSPLAY in the NYT was ever clued in reference to the genre of online videos showing video games played through. Would kind of align with YEETED on age range.
NYT: Excellent puzzle! It has a fresh and breezy feel to it. I needed to work around several answers, e.g. ROCKIN ROBIN, YEETED, PACER (!) and yet I finished in good Tuesday time, which told me it was well constructed and well clued.
And a definite moment of revelation at the end. Very cleverly done!
NYT: Impressive, fun debut with some amusing clues (e.g. 45D INHERIT).
I finished with a Thursday-like time because I had LUnA/AnT instead of LUCA/ACT. That’s a difficult error to find, especially if you haven’t read all the clues.
NYT – how are “good” and “pretty” synonyms for “super”? Am I missing something?
They’re not synonymous. Maybe it’s better to think of the theme as a collection of positive adjectives rather than strict synonyms for SUPER.
Not just positive. Positive in the sense of “considerable.” “He’s worth a good million.” “That cost me a pretty penny.” “
I guess. Seemed like a stretch to me, too.
Agreed, but it worked for me anyhow. Others like Huda have already noted what I found the hard stuff. That and LUCA, although ACT seemed obvious and I wasn’t tempted by “ant.”
Incidentally, just in case it’s not obvious, I didn’t mean that “falafel” is an alternative spelling of BABAGANOUSH, only that it’s a word that I never know how to spell in a puzzle. (I do like to think that there’s a movement Ich Babaganoush in Bach’s B-Minor Mass.)
Oh, darn, sorry again. I see in Wiki it’s not in the mass but a cantata (Ich habe genung). So much for my memory.
Agreed totally on how TNY had just the right balance of difficulty and the means to overcome it. (Nice review.) Indeed, one reason I liked BABAGANOUSH as fill is that you can’t take it for granted, for fear of variant spellings (like falafel).
I didn’t know that tonic water can be made to glow either. Sorry I don’t have the means to test it.
Surprised no Matt Gaffney today?