Brooke Husic & Yacob Yonas’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
Not as tough as many other Saturday NYTs, and chock full of good fill and fun clues.
Fave fill: ADDIS ABABA (Ethiopian [World capital whose name means “new flower”], who knew?), “IS THAT A YES?”, “IT’S ALL OVER!”, ALL-TIME HIGH, EMPTY-NESTER, CHESS MOVE.
Clues of note:
- 16a. [Place for some outlets], MALL. Despite the family talking about outlet malls over dinner, I opted for WALL here first. Just me?
- 42a. [Basic assessment], PH TEST. As in basic vs. acidic.
- 52a. [It’s slightly larger than all of New England combined], IDAHO. New England looks tiny and Idaho looks big, and yet.
- New to me: 63a. [They’re about to say “I do”], NEARLY-WEDS.
- 1d. [Something a person typically drops on purpose], ACID. I went with HINT … but then HINTS AT revealed itself below and I reconsidered.
- 5d. [Mobile relatives], STABILES. Alexander Calder made both mobiles and stabiles for Chicago sites. The Flamingo at the Kluczynski Federal Building rivals Picasso’s Daley Plaza sculpture in the category of Showiest Large Sculpture Before the Bean Came Along. I think his biggest mobile was at Sears Tower, but it was dismantled a few years ago, unfortunately.
- 28d. [Fourth letter of the Arabic alphabet], THA. Did not know this one.
- 53d. [Democracy imperative], VOTE. I have my mail ballot and will complete it in the coming week, then drop it off an an early voting location.
Mary Lou Guizzo and Brooke Husic’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
Little time to write this one up, so I suppose it’s good that I finished in 2:31. I would’ve liked a puzzle that put up more of a fight, though. THINGS FALL APART is a bit of a trivia chestnut at this point. ICE COLD BEER HERE was fun and also feels like Patti-bait, given her love of baseball. Nice fun fact about LIP GLOSS. I’m from Philadelphia, so I’m here for a SEPTA reference.
This one leaned a little too far into the trivia and away from the wordplay clues for my taste.
Erik Agard’s USA Today crossword — Matthew’s write-up
Themers all contain the letter string -XL-, neatly across a word boundary:
- 19a [Protective style for natural hair] FAUX LOCS
- 31a [Carried interest, for one] TAX LOOPHOLE
- 46a [Packaged meal] BOX LUNCH
Long downs hold the grid together, and include plenty of assets for my money: LADY GAGA, HYACINTH, VICTORY LAP, EMPANADA. I particularly enjoyed the clue for the last, [34d Food that Maricel Presilla called “the ultimate master of disguise”].
- 28a [Air Canada ____, former name for Scotiabank Arena] CENTRE. This building is the home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and NBA’s Toronto Raptors. Scotiabank has had the naming rights for four years now, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop saying “Air Canada Centre”, or even slipping to “Maple Leaf Gardens.”
- 57a [Chopped dish] HASH. Intersecting with REHASH. I generally don’t call out dupes, because several editors aren’t avoiding them as strongly as in the past, most of the time I don’t notice them during my solve, only when picking through the grid for a review, and I don’t think there’s any inherent reason they should be avoided. The long-standing rule has set expectations for solvers, and we may need to un-learn that, and so be it. However, in this case, when the entries are this close together, even intersecting, it does detract from my solve. The more variety I can get out of a single puzzle, the happier I am.
- 8d [Fragrant flower with toxic bulbs] HYACINTH. Hyacinths are among my favorite blooms, if only I could keep anything alive!
Adam Simpson’s Universal Crossword, “Universal Freestyle 43” — norah’s write-up
- TACO 16A [Soft or crunchy food item at Chipotle]
- SEAGULL 33A [Boardwalk thief with wings]
- TABLETOPGAMES 51A [Dungeons & Dragons, Scrabble, etc.]
- DEALBREAKER 54A [It disqualifies a romantic partner]
- KOOKABURRAS 13D [Laughing flock]
I’ve heard this kind of grid shape in which large chunks of blocks appear in each corner as “cookies.” I like that term a lot! The cluing throughout is fun and fresh and full of interesting and specific references.
I really, really need to remember IGA Swiatek. This is not the first time this name has stumped me! (49A [2022 US Open winner Swiatek]).
Thank you Adam!
NYT: It didn’t seem particularly hard to me, but maybe that’s because we’d had friends over for dinner, and they brought a MALBEC.
Nice clueing throughout, with enough scattered gimmes to keep me moving.
Brooke Husic ranks close to the top of my list of favorite constructors, so I guess I’ll be doing the LAT puzzle if I get the time.
LAT: 17A should be SIGH.
If you solve it in 2½ minutes, I guess it doesn’t matter if it’s not 100% correct.
It took me considerably longer than that.
Good NYT, altho not very challenging for a Saturday.
I don’t understand “Sink hole” as a clue for BASIN. Basin and sink are pretty much synonymous, in my language, and they both have holes… but the hole in a sink isn’t a basin.
I think it is referring to geographical features with that name.
That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me either. A geographical basin is a large-scale feature; a sink hole is a very small-scale one. And the causes are quite different.
Not sure how COASTLINES answers the clue: Areas impacted by global recessions?
Erosion due to rising sea level.
recession indicates sea level receding, going out, not what we normally think of under current global warming, but historically (geologic time) relevant during glaciation
NYT: how does Ring=ECHO? I guess a sound that rings (or rings out) could be echo-y, but that seems like a real stretch. Is there some other link that I’m missing?
Stumper: why is an OAR an instrument of metaphorical meddling? Why is FIG a minimal bit?
Bottom left killed me. I had inAnER not WEAKER, icES not RYES, viTa not ANTI, inice not KENYA (no idea who Dinesen is).
“Rose by another name?” for SOARED is so good.
Today’s Stumper was Stumperiffic.
put (one’s) oar in(to) (something)
1. To offer or express one’s opinion (on some matter), even though it was not asked for or desired.
2. To involve oneself in an intrusive or nosy manner into something that is not one’s business or responsibility.
I’ve omitted the sample sentences.
I got about 2/3 of the puzzle but couldn’t make any more headway.
Fig: Minimal bit … “I don’t care a fig” … very old-time expression.
Isak Dineson : Pen name for writer of “Out of Africa”, based on her life. Multiple Oscars for the movie.
No idea on why oar is the metaphor.
Agree on Rose=soared.. Great
A real stumper for me today, in several areas. Still picking a bit.
meant as reply to Seth :) .
Apparently, “stick your oar in it” means meddle. https://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-sti4.htm
Thanks. Some idioms just seem less known. I never heard that one about oars, and I’m sure many never heard “don’t care a fig”.
LAT: . thought it was a little tougher than the NYT puzzle, but not that hard. The long answers all took a bit of work to ferret out.
Amy – same exact HINTS and WALL errors here to start in the NYT. I guessing these constructors set that trap very much on purpose (and we fell straight into it).
Ditto, and I’m surprised others mostly found the puzzle easy for a Saturday. I had trouble getting started and then expanding outward from the SE. I had all the questions raised in other comments as well. But done, and it was satisfying.
Did help that I’d a malbec just recently. I associate it with just awful South African wines, so it was interesting how often it enters very good French blends (under one name or another). So when I saw a French varietal, I figured how bad could it be? It was just awful and very sweet.
I am irrationally irritated by the final Across clue in today’s Universal. A necktie is not part of a suit (hence the phrase “suit and tie”), and even if it were, I would assume you TIE A TIE *before* you don a suit jacket, not the other way around?
Lovely puzzle, to be clear, with a fun grid shape. I just went ????? at that clue.
Glad you enjoyed my puzzle!
My original clue for TIEATIE was Get ready for prom, perhaps?
Still no WSJ solution after more than two days?