Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Packet and Go” – Erin’s write-up
Hello everyone! This week’s puzzle brings the spice with a Taco Bell sauce packet theme! Each theme entry contains a sauce, in increasing heat level.
- 19a. [Historic Joan Crawford title role] MILDRED PIERCE, a 1945 film noir. Sauce is MILD.
- 32a. [Actor’s hard-copy headshot, typically] EIGHT BY TEN PHOTO. HOT sauce this time.
- 38a. [Risk taker’s worry about a big decision, maybe] WHAT IF I REGRET IT? We’re up to FIRE now.
- 49a. [They may write independently about the press] MEDIA BLOGGERS. Taco Bell’s hottest sauce is DIABLO.
- 29a. [Gets on one’s hind legs, with “up”] RARES. This puzzle took me longer than usual because I confidently puts in REARS and then couldn’t figure out where I went wrong. From what I’ve read, they mean similar things. I use “rears up” but “raring to go” which have the same origin.
- 56a. [Everywhere (or what Grover tried to teach by running a lot] NEAR AND FAR. I LOVED this as a kid. Let’s reminisce a bit, shall we?
- 54d. [Bacteriologist Jonas] SALK. He was a professor of bacteriology at the University of Pittsburgh, but the vast majority of his work involved viruses such as influenza, HIV, and most famously polio.
- 40d. [___ Raymi (Inca-inspired festival in South America] INTI. The festival celebrates the Incan sun god Inti at the Winter Solstice annually.
Until next week!
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Turning the Tables”—Jim P’s review
Common utensils are found backwards within familiar(ish) phrases. The revealer is SETTING BACK (62a, [Delaying, and a hint to the circled letters]).
- 17a. [Frontman of English folk-rock band Noah and the Whale] CHARLIE FINK. Knife. Didn’t know the band nor the frontman. But they did achieve some success, even in the U.S. so I’d say the name is crossword-worthy, though maybe more appropriate for later in the week.
- 30a. [Brazenly investigates] SNOOPS INTO. Spoon. Meh. “Snoops” works just as well to satisfy the clue. And I’ve heard “snoops around” far more than SNOOPS INTO.
- 47a. [Longtime “60 Minutes” correspondent] STEVE KROFT. Fork.
I like the title here. Presumably, if you’re turning the tables, you’re turning the table settings as well. But SETTING BACK makes for a rather bland revealer, and I wasn’t so keen on those first two entries.
I rather liked the fill better with COTTONWOOD, LIP READERS, NOBELISTS, ARKANSANS, OILSKIN, and LOSE BIG.
Clues of note:
- 1a. [Drug cooked up in a lab]. METH. I started taking METH last Friday (methocarbamol—for lower back pain), but it didn’t do me any good, so I stopped.
- 4d. [Toast start]. HERE’S TO. Couldn’t fill in this entry without earworming the song by The Call (see below).
- 10d. [Bill Clinton and Billy Bob Thornton, for two]. ARKANSANS. Here’s to my wife, also an Arkansan.
The theme didn’t do much for me, but I enjoyed the fill. 3.25 stars.
Dan Schoenholz’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
- 17a. [“Truthfully …”], “IF I’M BEING HONEST,” or IMHO (in my humble opinion).
- 36a. [Secure a seat at the table, say], RESERVE ONE’S SPOT, or RSVP.
- 54a. [“Hurry up!”], “AND MAKE IT SNAPPY!”, or ASAP.
Would’ve been cooler if all three were spoken phrases—a “ONE’S” phrase is markedly less zippy than the other two themers.
Goofy clue I liked: 1d. [Item on a bucket list?], PAIL.
Fave fill: GINGKO, BEAVIS (if you’re a Beavis and Butt-Head fan, you know there’s a revival series on Paramount+), LAID EYES ON, CONGRATS, HIPPY-DIPPY.
Are HOVERBIKES really [Futuristic modes of transport] that people think of? The BIKES portion made me work for it.
Not so Tuesday-friendly: OLEO, ELS, HONDO, MORT, TERP, ALEK.
3.3 stars from me.
Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
This was noticeably tougher for me than recent Tuesday New Yorker offerings, but in truth I was never stymied for long. So let’s call it moderate pushback, but … 17a [Succumb to pressure] CRACK.
The grid is unusual that it has two 14-letter entries framing the center, and the central across entry is a small three-letter entry is flanked by black blocks of equal size. Anchoring the corners are triple nine-stacks and five-by-five squares.
- 18a [Alternative to Wite-Out] INK ERASER. LIQUID PAPER wasn’t close to fitting.
- 58d [Initials of the author of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock“] TSE; 21a [“Let ___ then, you and I,/When the evening is spread out against the sky”: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”] US GO. It continues, famously: “Like a patient etherized upon a table”
- 30a [Unnatural color?] FAKE TAN. Was held up here because I carelessly filled in 28d [Lead-in to scope or plasm] as ECTO- rather than ENDO-.
- 31a [Conversational double-down] I SAID WHAT I SAID.
- 37a [They need be neither authentic nor married, paradoxically] REAL HOUSEWIVES. Good observation.
- 45a [Affluent, in Acapulco] RICA. Again, I threw caution to the wind and filled in RICO here. This led to my thinking that 43d [Jab intended to elicit a response] VACCINE began with VOC- and that it was something to do with vocal. Great clue, by the way.
- 51a [Legendary Chinese dynasty] HSIA. Needed all the crossings here.
- 9d [Title for Simone Biles or Serena Williams] THE GOAT. I feel this needs a qualifier such as ‘unofficial’.
- 10d [Experimental filmmaker Harun whose work was deemed “almost too interesting to be art,” in a Times review] FAROCKI. That’s quite the provocative statement.
- 39d [It may be revealed during the national anthem] HAT HAIR. I waited to see if this was HAT HEAD.
- 41d [Transition used in many Kurosawa films] WIPE. I was grateful for this personal gimme.
- 52d [“There ___ Frigate like a Book” (Dickinson verse)] IS NO.
- 56d [Online abbreviation to introduce a relatable experience] TFW, “that feeling when”.
- 57d [Political entity dissolved in 1806: Abbr.] HRE. Had not realized it lasted until quite so recently.