Simon Marotte’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
Solid, not-too-tough, 72-word Friday puzzle with lots of sparkle in the longer fill. Faves: LOADED DICE, PIZZA ROLLS (eww), WINE SNOBS, PRAIRIE DOG, BODY DOUBLE, MS. OLYMPIA, “I DON’T WANNA” (my mantra), NESPRESSO, NIGHT SHIFT, and “I GOT NOTHIN’.” Yes, that’s two “I” phrases (“CAN I?” is a third) but I like them both. I actually type I got nothin’ fairly often.
Glad I didn’t even see IROCS ([Classic Camaros]) while solving, because meh.
Fave clue: The contemporary context for IRAN, 6a. [Site of 2022’s “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests]. I appreciated the Iranian men’s football/soccer team standing silent during their national anthem at a World Cup match, in solidarity with the women who would very much like to not be hassled (and arrested) by dudes enforcing laws about their appearance when they’re out in public.
Four stars from me.
Paul Coulter’s Universal crossword, “That’s a Stretch”—Jim P’s review
Theme answers consist of entries that are actually three words in one: The unclued entire entry, a shorter word (in circles) which is a synonym for “a period of time,” and a clued word using the remainder of the letters. The revealer is PUT IN THE TIME (55a, [Make special effort, and a theme hint]).
- 19a. [*In a way that relates to vision?] OPERATICALLY.
- 27a. [*Ambulance initials] EMPHASES.
- 36a. [*Place for food storage?] PAGEANTRY.
- 48a. [*Unkind?] METERMAN.
I found these pretty interesting, especially the fact that the entries are still crossword-valid once the “time” word is removed. I’m not so keen on that EMPHASES entry, though, since it results in only an initialism whereas the others are all words. Plus, the fact that it doesn’t have a question mark really threw me off for a while.
In the fill I liked KIBOSH, PACE CAR, “SO SUE ME,” ALL THAT, and “OH BOY!” I don’t know that I’ve ever heard the phrase END LINE [Football field boundary], and AIR BNBS would be better in the singular.
Clues of note:
- 51a. [Language used at Gallaudet University]. ASL. Hmm. The L is “Language.” Seems like a no-no to use it in the clue, then.
- 69a. [Match makers?]. SETS. Tennis. Nice clue. I was thinking actual burnable matches until I got the crosses.
Neat wordplay in the theme. Fun fill. 3.75 stars.
Emma Oxford’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
This is a bare-bones edition, as I meant to do the write-up last night but fell asleep and am now out the door in a short while.
The theme makes use of the two-letter postal abbreviations for US states. They come at the beginning of phrases, creating new ones:
- 16a. [Flower of the Hoosier State?] IN CARNATION (Indiana carnation, incarnation).
- 24a. [Basement access in the Palmetto State?] SC AREAWAY (South Carolina areaway, scare away). ‘Areaway’ is a new term for me.
- 30a. [Clothing in the Sunshine State?] FL ATTIRE (Florida attire, flat tire).
- 44a. [Girls from the Show-Me State?] MO LASSES (Missouri lasses, molasses).
- 50a. [Psychedelics from the Evergreen State?] WA ’SHROOMS (Washington ’shrooms, washrooms).
- 62a. [Fortified wines from the Ocean State?] RI VERMOUTHS (Rhode Island vermouths, river mouths).
I really like the wordplay going on here; fun theme!
One item of note. The long entry at 34-down (PASS NOTES) has the semblance of another theme answer because of its length and because it starts with PA, the abbreviation for Pennsylvania, the Keystone State. No such issue with the symmetrically located 3-down SYCOPHANT.
I’m away this weekend, so look for other Fiendsters to cover the Wall Street Journal crossword and the Saturday Stumper.
Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword—Matthew’s recap
Our themers today are words added to Merriam-Webster’s dictionaries in 2022: TERRAFORM, SHRINKFLATION, GREENWASH, VIDEO DOORBELL, METAVERSE, MUD SEASON. This conceit should lead itself to colorful entries, and it does here, though I’m a bit distracted by TERRAFORM, which I’ve been hearing for years (SHRINKFLATION as well, though a bit less so) and am somewhat surprised it’s only made it to M-W now. A reminder that dictionaries are not the be-all and end-all of language. Perhaps most of us don’t need that reminder.
Nothing too notable in the fill for me — the choice of tennis player Michael CHANG in the center of the grid is a bit curious — Chang was undoubtedly a top name in tennis in the early 90s, and is a useful trivia answer as the youngest man to win a major, but is also not current. In contrast, I enjoyed seeing ELSIE clues to a Downton Abbey character rather than the marketing mascot.
Enjoy your weekend!
Erik Agard’s USA Today crossword, “Two Tight”—Darby’s recap
Editor: Erik Agard
Theme: Each theme answer had two double letters and all four sets spelled out KNOT twice.
- 20a [“Author of the poem ‘Allowables’”] NIKKI GIOVANNI
- 38a [“Baking tool that migt be star-shaped”] COOKIE CUTTER
Revealer: 58a [“Shoelace-securing strategy”] DOUBLE KNOT
I’m notorious for my shoelaces coming untied, and so this was a very relatable puzzle. I appreciated that the title – “Two Tight” – hinted at the double letters and the KNOT spelling throughout the themers. NIKKI GIOVANNI is not someone I’m familiar with (though I’m linking the mentioned poem, “Allowables,” here), but once I had most of the crosses, it was easy to fill in her last name GIOVANNI based on what I know of traditionally Italian names. COOKIE CUTTER was also very fun and cute.
There was a lot of fill to like in this puzzle, and I particularly loved 36d [“‘Mm-hmm…’”] SURE SURE and 35d [“Unsurprising”] NO WONDER. NEIGHED, ORIOLE and CRAISINS were also really fun. Plus, we got both 1d [“Metaphor for something irresistible”] CATNIP and 44d [“Short sleep”] CATNAP.
Keeping it short and sweet today, but this was very fun!
Fast Friday; set a PR on it. I liked the cluing for WINE SNOBS, too.
if it was never used before “funny bones” was a great clue
Jim P wrote: Hmm. The L is “Language.” Seems like a no-no to use it in the clue, then.
of all the instances where folks get particular about “dupes” (and not to single Jim out, this is a very common sentiment), this is probably the one where I most strongly object to the objection, because what most often happens when you can’t say “language” in an ASL clue is 1) the clue ends up awkward and inscrutable and 2) it makes it sound like ASL is not a language but some other thing. I don’t think anyone would ever say “system of communication” to clue ENGLISH so it’s very weird to constantly do it for ASL. no-dupe rules are arbitrary and procrustean in general but this case in particular might be the epitome of listening to crossword brain over common sense brain
cool story bro
There must be less officious ways to say it that don’t have the clue in the answer and don’t make ASL users feel second class compared to English speakers. “Means of communication”? “Way to say hello?” “Here’s talking to you?” I don’t know, though I realize that calling English a system is a bit technocratic. (If only it were more systematic!)
Speaking of language, I recognized only METAVERSE in TNY, although I can’t imagine ever using it myself out here in the world beyond sci fi and gaming. Indeed, my conclusion would be opposite of Matthew’s, not that dictionaries aren’t a serious authority, but, sure, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the terms that have caught on in one’s circle of friends and the sites one frequents aren’t necessarily dictionary ready and an obligation on others yet. But anyhow, it’s so natural a theme for crosswords that hard not to praise Patrick Berry for leaping for it.
I’m bemused by your supposition that I would only rely on my “circle of friends and sites [I] frequent” to consider how in-the-language something is. It’s quite an assumption to make about someone you don’t know!
Carl Sagan proposed terraforming in the 1960’s, and it’s been commonly used in science fiction since, so I think that’s a pretty good argument for its inclusion being slow.
A guilty-pleasure movie for me is “The Arrival,” starring Charlie Sheen. 1996 sci-fi horror movie that (spoiler alert!) introduced the term terraforming to me. Mainly I like the aliens with their backwards-hinged knees and super jumping skills.
NYT: Nice puzzle with lots of good fill. LOADED DICE was my fave.
Last entries were the “T” in TRI and the “N” in SANDY. After initially choosing I GOT NO clue over I GOT NO idea for 11-D, I couldn’t re-parse the phrase and couldn’t make sense of I GOT NO THIN. In my defense, there were several bottles of good wine (I’m no WINE SNOB) consumed at Thanksgiving dinner earlier in the evening.
I’ve never heard of tricips as TRIS, but it could just be me, so I’m not complaining. Funny, but I had trouble parsing I GOT NOTHING, too. My embarrassment.
Loved the LAT. Hilarious wordplay. Confidently plopped in WABASH RIVER at 16A. Oops. [FWIW, the state flower of Indiana is the peony. Had to look that up]
Mixed feelings about the Universal. Fun to solve, but “putting the time IN” just gave you four unclued words that had nothing to do with each other or any apparent relevance to anything, unless I;m missing something, which is always a possibility. TAKE A TIME OUT [same number of letters] would have worked better IMHO, but I have no idea whether the puzzle could be reworked to make that work.
The New Yorker was a pleasant surprise, since those “year in review” puzzles [pretty sure 2021 had a language one] have usually run at the end of December, no? This one was very, very nice.
Amy, would love to see one of your team start blogging the AVCXword crosswords.
The younger constructors are getting more and more obscure for a dinosaur like me!
Thx for considering it.
Friday 11/25 nyt croassword contains an error. Clue 8-down: “Org. originally founded to support conscientious objectors”. Puzzle creator gives the answer as ACLU. The AFSC (American Friends Service Committee) was founded in 1917 to defend young men being prosecuted for refusing to serve in WW II. The ACLU was founded in 1929 to defend immigrant radicals from prosecution resulting from the infamous Palmer Raids. The answer to the clue should be AFSC, but only ACLU fills the puzzle.