Kate Hawkins’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
Okay! That settles it. Yesterday’s puzzle took me almost 50% longer than this one, so I hereby declare that the Friday and Saturday slots were switched.
I really enjoyed this puzzle. Such a fun vibe throughout, with JUMPY, the great APOLOGY TOUR, “NO TAKE-BACKS,” ASMR, a HOLE-PUNCH clued as [Inefficient confetti-making tool], quaint JOLLITY, “COULD IT BE…?”, an arts & crafts PIPE CLEANER (I have half a mind to order myself a bunch and start making little homunculi), EVEN A LITTLE, PATSY Cline, the old SWITCHEROO, GET THE NOD, and MARASCHINO. Lots of energy in the vocab.
That said, if I never saw IN A PET again in a crossword, it would be fine by me. [Where the coins surgically extricated by a veterinarian had been]?
- 31a. [Wild side?], WEST. A bit on the oblique side. The Wild West was a thing, and you can have a west side, but couching it in the entirely idiomatic “wild side” is tricksy.
- 42a. [Empty bottles?], TOPE. I entered a plural S at the end of the entry before I thought better of it. Emptying bottles of booze and drinking is toping, so “empty” isn’t an adjective in this clue.
- 46a. [“I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to ___ in his own way”: Robert Frost], HELL. This is a terrific quote.
4.25 stars from me.
Brooke Husic’s USA Today crossword, “Tea Infusions”—Matthew’s recap
Themers in this diagonally-symmetric grid contain the string -TEA-
- 19a [Not working too hard] TAKING IT EASY
- 39a [Clothing from Nubian Skin] INTIMATEAPPAREL
- 53a [Maori name for New Zealand] AOTEAROA
- 43a [The Guardians, on MLB scoreboards] CLE. Formerly known as the “Indians” dating back to 1915, the Cleveland Guardians adopted their new name for 2022, a few years after phasing out an insensitive caricature of a logo.
- 49a [Congressperson, for short] REP. It has also bugged me that “Congressperson” commonly refers to “members of the House of Representatives” and not “members of the House of Representatives or Senate.” But oh well.
- 65a [Whale form taken by the mythological spirit Akhlut] ORCA. I was unfamiliar with Akhlut until this clue and a post-solve Google, but of course “whale form” and a crossing are enough to lead a solver to ORCA.
Taylor Johnson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
Another short writeup from me this time.
The top left corner of this puzzle is, IMO, markedly harder than the rest of the grid, which made it hard to get the first foothold and smooth sailing thereafter.
I liked: SLANKETS, FLOOR IS LAVA, TAPAS BARS, TUNA SALAD (to be clear, I like the entry as it’s evocative and everyday, but I do not actually like to eat tuna salad!), HOLOGRAM. I would’ve liked a bit more wordplay and a bit less trivia in the clues.
Pelagia Horgan’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Book Fare” — pannonica’s write-up
Perfect title for a theme in which the titles of books have a noun replaced by a type of comestible. Only one letter is changed in each theme answer, which is presented as an alternate title.
- 22a. [Or “A Pastry Cook’s Journey From Rags to Riches”?] THE BUN ALSO RISES (The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway). See, I don’t understand why the preposition ‘from’ is capitalized while ‘to’ is not. English has weird conventions.
- 30a. [Or “An Indian Chef’s Memoirs”?] THE REMAINS OF THE DAL (The Remains of the Day, Ishiguro).
- 49a. [Or “How I Built My Fast-Food Empire”?] LORD OF THE FRIES (Lord of the Flies, Golding).
- 65a. [Or “Notes From My CBD Bakery”?] LOAVES OF GRASS (Leaves of Grass, Whitman).
- 83a. [Or “Or Garden Greens Year-Round”?] THE WINTER’S KALE (The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare).
- 100a. [Or “Remembrances of a Gin and Tonic Enthusiast”?] IN SEARCH OF LOST LIME (In Search of Lost Time, Proust).
- 114a. [Or “Confessions of a Disgruntled Sommelier”?] GONE WITH THE WINE (Gone With the Wind, Mitchell). The only female author of the lot.
In case your meta-mind is wondering, the neither the introduced letters nor their substituted counterparts spell anything meaningful. SYLETTD for the latter and BLROKLE for the former.
- Had one incorrect letter when all was said and done. Combing through the across answers revealed nothing amiss, but the wayward entry became evident as I scanned the downs—turns out that 42a [RISD degree] was a lowly BFA rather than an MFA.
- 2d [You’ve heard it before] ECHO. This seems philosophically rich.
- 7d [Jumbled mass] WELTER. It has a rich etymology.
- 15d [Close] IMMEDIATE. Interesting cluing choice.
- 23d [Caboose] BUTT. RUMP here delayed me for some time, including cracking the theme.
- 65d [Guitar composer Antonio] LAURO. New to me.
- 66d [Final notice] OBITUARY. Rarely do we see the full word in a grid.
- 76d [Sparkle] CORUSCATE. Can’t share it because the album isn’t on YouTube, but John Surman’s Corsucating is a lovely, recommended record.
- 77d [Pierre Trudeau, e.g.] QUEBECKER. Certainly I was not the only one to try QUEBECOIS for this.
- 81d [Brimming, as with tears] ASWIM. Yet another unusual word and clue choice; this crossword has a distinct authorial tone that keeps peeking through.
- 101d [White birds-in-__ (Florida flower)] A-NEST. Macbridea alba.
- 102d [Person with a title] OWNER, not NOBLE. 103d [Speeds off] FLEES, not FLIES. Fortunately, by this point I’d understood the theme and the crossing 114-across helped resolve these.
- 111d [Counter statement?] NEXT. Contender for my favorite clue of the puzzle.
- 26a [It can be soft or firm] TOFU. Or extra firm or silken. Is the latter the same as soft?
- 55a [Rome’s Galleria Nazionale __ Moderna] D’ARTE. Here’s a link to a description one of their current exhibits.
- 60a [“The hottest spot north of Havana”] COPA.
- 75a [Give in] ACQUIESCE. Looks nice in the grid.
- 120a [Roman goddess of night] NOX. Have not seen that one in a long while. The Greek equivalent is NYX.
In conclusion I’ll gently point out that both books and meals are meant to be consumed.
Steve Mossberg’s Newsday crossword, Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s write-up
Surprised by how fast this one went. Started off promisingly, then sparsely, but ultimately it collapsed and crumpled quite readily.
- 9a [Nobody you know, these days] RANDO. 1d [Hulking, these days] SWOLE.
- For the two longest entries we first get 28a [Unfond farewell] GOOD RIDDANCE and then are introduced to 44a [Early artistic l eaf] FRONTISPIECE.
- 34a [“Edible” synonym of “noodle”] BEAN. 15d [It’s spotted in corrals and kitchens] PINTO.
- 40a [Another ’70s nickname for “Schwartzy”] ARNIE. I’ve never seen nor heard that ‘Shwartzy’ for Schwarzenegger.
- 53a [Where the current goes out] CATHODE. 9d [Where the current goes out] RIPTIDE.
- 57a [Way, way out] OUTRÉ.
- 3d [Land due north of Libya] MALTA. Had to wait to see if it would be this or ITALY. Once that was determined, I was able to pretty much complete the entire northwest section here.
- 8d [“Firestarter” skill] PYROKINESIS. This was a 1980 Stephen King novel, made into a film twice.
- 11d [Overly ingratiating] NICEY-NICE. This feels like a crossword début.
- 24d [Reply to a would-be reneger] A DEAL’S A DEAL. Toyed with WE MADE A DEAL but eventually sussed out the required answer.
- 30d [St. Michael’s, after renovation] ALCHEMISTS. Aha, the return of the singular cryptic clue. In this case, an anagram.
- 31d [Crook or crew] STAFF. Tidy.
- 32d [All the courses everywhere] CURRICULA. Say, did Tim Curry ever play a vampire?
- 50d [What kiwifruit is, ultimately] ASIAN. My first thought was BERRY, as it’s also known as Chinese gooseberry. Then with the N in place I abstractly wondered about MELON (which makes no sense) before letting the crossings do their job.
- 59d [Expert in attestation and internal controls] CPA. If you say so.
Not minding that this one was a relative pushover, as I have Many Sundry Tasks pending this morning.
Universal Crossword, “Universal Freestyle 49” by Garrett Chalfin — norah’s write-up
- CRY 23A [Good ___ (what a sad person might need)]
- TUPPERWAREPARTY 37A [Event where burping is a selling point?] ⭐
- IWANTITALL 56A [“Everything shall be mine!”]
- STEW 62A [Birria, e.g.]
- LOOKYHERE 10D [“Well, well, well …”]
- SCRAPPY 20D [Full of fight]
- ICEDLATTE 27D [Refreshing coffee order]
- HAT 35D [“Finishing the ___” (Sondheim memoir)]
A fun and quick 72-worder with a cute center stack and plenty of other long and fun stuff throughout. Clues that are silly and make me laugh always get top marks from me, and today [Event where burping is a selling point?] for TUPPERWAREPARTY fits the bill. I don’t get why OREO (50D [Cookies and cream brand?]) gets a ? – discuss.
- ERIE 55A [Great Lake that has the most shipwrecks]. Of course it’s ERIE (it’s always ERIE) but I didn’t know this fact. It reasons because it’s the shallowest of the Great Lakes. According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, there could be debris from up to 2,000 sunken ships in the lakebed. It’s also believed that ERIE originated “as a shortened version of erielhonan—a word meaning “long-tailed cat” in the language of the Iroquois tribe that once lived along the lake’s southern shores.”
- Caruru (11D OKRA [Pod veggie in caruru]). Caruru is a dip/condiment of semi-mashed peanuts, okra, shrimp, and spices usually served with rice or friend balls made of black-eyed peas, called acarajé. (OKRA still a fruit tho)
Thank you Garrett!