Jill Singer’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Inside Information”—Jim P’s review
Today’s long theme answers consist of words that have a related word hidden within and identified by circles. The clues all feature sets of question marks which should be replaced with the circled words.
- 20a. [It might be ????] PRECIPITATION. Rain.
- 36a. [Get rid of a ???, say] EXTERMINATE. Rat.
- 42a. [Result of a bad ????] INDIGESTION. Diet.
- 57a. [Like a ???? scream] BLOOD-CURDLING. Loud.
Pretty nifty theme. I don’t know how one goes about trying to find words that fit this theme, other than poring through lists of potential candidates, so kudos to our constructor for putting together a nice set. I wonder what other entries were left on the cutting room floor. Can you think of other examples?
Nice long fill with Richard the LIONHEART and ENDTABLES topping things. New-to-me are RIMA [Terza ___ (verse form)] and PENTE [Board game akin to go], but the crossings were all fair (assuming the solver knows Marisa TOMEI).
Clues of note:
- 48a. [Ford and Friedan]. BETTYS. Betty Friedan was a writer whose 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, “is often credited with sparking the second wave of American feminism in the 20th century.” (Wikipedia)
- 54a. [Gimpel of “God Friended Me”]. ERICA. Never heard of the CBS show which was canceled during the height of the pandemic.
Clever theme, solid fill. 3.5 stars.
Ryan Patrick Smith’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap
Cute theme, with Tom Swifties that are all fresh to me:
- 17A. [“You cooked this? It’s *disgusting*!” said Tom ___] IN VERY POOR TASTE.
- 26A. [“What do you mean there are no PlayStations left in stock?” asked Tom ___] INCONSOLABLY. As in video game consoles.
- 48A. [“I’m worried I may have anemia,” said Tom ___] UNIRONICALLY, on account of his low iron levels.
- 63A. [“You guys are supposed to be ‘Wise Men’ and *these* are the gifts you bring a newborn?!” asked Tom, ___] FRANKLY INCENSED. Frankincense!
Funnier than many prior Tom Swifty themes, if you ask me.
Fave fill: ALANON, CHEW TOY.
Not crazy about the entry, but it makes me nostalgic: 51D. [Visiting the Natl. Museum of African American History and Culture, say], IN D.C.
Please, no, this is terrible: TWO-D. I like to pronounce it twod, rhymes with clod.
3.9 stars from me.
Dan Schwartz and Shannon Rapp’s Universal crossword, “Pizza Making 101” — pannonica’s write-up
I solved without referring to the title, so I could see that they all contained foods, but not what they specifically had in common. Sandwich ingredients, perhaps? But the title cleared things up immediately.
- 17a. [2022 sequel to “Knives Out”] GLASS ONION. Practically up-to-the-moment.
- 19a. [English contributor to the scientific method] FRANCIS BACON.
- 39a. [Words that make you smile?] SAY CHEESE.
- 61a. [“This rocks!”] AWESOME SAUCE.
- 65a. [High society] UPPER CRUST.
BACON seems less traditional than the other ones, CRUST isn’t a topping but is certainly a main component of pizza. Minor points.
- 24d [Poet Laureate Limon] ADA. I feel as if I should have known this.
- 35d [Sunshine Protection Act’s subj.] DST. What a name.
- 38d [Fur baby, maybe] PET. Not a term I care for.
- 65d [Colo.’s country] USA. Weird clue, to my mind.
That’s all I’ve got.
Zhouqin Burnikel’s USA Today Crossword, “No-Win Situations” — Emily’s write-up
You literally can’t lose (or technically win) today with this puzzle! We’re just playing to have fun!
Theme: each themer ends with a synonym for “No-Win” outcomes
- 17a. [Perk for a driver], FREECARWASH
- 34a. [Chance-based game with prizes], LUCKYDRAW
- 64a. [Fashionable piece of neckwear], DESIGNERTIE
FREECARWASH took me a bit of time to complete, as I had the first word right away but kept thinking “rides” or “cab fare” for some reason but from it, we get WASH. I needed all the crossings for LUCKYDRAW which instead of a win I do get a DRAW. For DESIGNERTIE I had the last word of TIE right away but it took a few crossings to fill in the rest. All in all, a fun set with a great title hint.
Favorite fill: ALLTHERAGE, TAIPEI, DRED, and TOSTADAS
Stumpers: SLENDER (misread clue as “merger” so needed crossings), REDEEMS (first thought “cashes in”), and HERE (cluing is great but just didn’t click today)
Even though I didn’t get truly stuck anywhere, my time was still a bit higher as I had to pick my way through the grid while making steady progress. Feels very apt for today’s theme!
Liz Gorski’s New Yorker crossword–Amy’s recap
Quick ‘n easy, but tomorrow’s will be even easier. I like how the New Yorker does indeed calibrate the easier and easiest themelesses’ clues to the promised difficulty level. I mean, I prefer a tough themeless myself, but themelesses are my fave and I want all solvers to embrace them, even if the Fri/Sat NYT puzzles are too daunting. Wed/Thurs TNY are typically a good bit easier than the Fri NYT!
Jarring to see GUT HEALTH parked at 1a, but honestly, who can complain? GUT HEALTH is a good thing if you’re able to have it.
Fave fill: PROUD MARY, STYROFOAM (don’t bother recycling it, it’s generally trash), ARCHENEMY (who’s your cruciverbal archenemy or nemesis?), YAMMERED, FAMILY NAME.
Never heard of 28d. [Début novel for which Julia Glass won the 2002 National Book Award], THREE JUNES. If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? And isn’t it quaint that the New Yorker insists on that accent in debut?
Blurgh: NET WT. Slightly better than NTWT, but meh.
3.6 stars from me.
Doug Peterson & Christina Iverson’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
Doug Peterson & Christina Iverson’s give us a list theme of things that “pop-up” with the twist of envisaging them as items in a “pop-up store”. I suppose you can buy CHAMPAGNECORKS sans bottles, and the rest of the set are TOASTERWAFFLES, FOLDINGCAMPERS and JACKINTHEBOXES (jacks-in-the-box?).
Trickier and/or fresher entries:
- Vocab time: a [Smartphone border] is a BEZEL.
- A [Sleeping spot for some dogs] is a PETCRATE. For ours it’s bed or nothing…
- [TD caller] is a NFLREF. A tad strained, but a creatively consonsant heavily answer.
- A [Projecting window] is an ORIEL, not to be confused with the bird or the angel…
- [Malicious trackers] online are SPYBOTS.
Karen Lurie’s AVCX, “Totally Down” — Rebecca’s Review
I am LOW KEY OBSESSED with this week’s AVCX Classic 3.5/5 difficulty from Karen Lurie
This is my absolute favorite type of theme. The type where as I’m solving I have no idea what the relationship between the themed answers is, only to find the most perfect revealer at the end of the puzzle.
- 27A: Sweet, gooey breakfast CINNAMON BUN
- 48A: 1980s boxing champ immortalized in a Warren Zevon song BOOM BOOM MANCINI
- 67A: “Train to Busan,” e.g. ZOMBIE MOVIE
- 86A: With 87-Across, preoccupied, or what the constructor was when she typed the consonants in 27-Across, 48-Across, and 67-Across LOW KEY OBSESSED
And here’s the Warren Zevon song about BOOM BOOM MANCINI