Hello! We’re supporting the New York Times Guild members’ 24-hour walkout on Thursday, so this blog won’t be reviewing the Friday NYT crossword till daytime Friday. Please join us in not accessing the Friday puzzle on Thursday night, whether it’s via the Internet or the app. There are lots of other crosswords you can do in the meantime! Many thanks.–Amy
Hanh Huynh’s Universal crossword, “Interception”—Jim P’s review
Theme: TAKING A PASS (57a, [Sitting this one out … or a hint to the starred clues’ answers]). The other theme answers have the word PASS added to familiar phrases to create crossword wackiness.
- 17a. [*Skip the queues?] BYPASS LINES. Bylines.
- 30a. [*Fashion for the boundary-crossing type?] TRESPASS CHIC. Très chic.
- 35a. [*Log-in requirement for the Wi-Fi in heaven?] PASSWORD OF GOD. Word of God.
- 43a. [*Travel documents held in flash drives?] USB PASSPORTS. USB ports.
Having a four-letter repeated word gives the solver quite a lot of freebies during the solve, but I’m not complaining. These were mostly nice, and I especially liked the notion of wifi in heaven. That one was worth the price of admission. But why would you need internet security if all the baddies are in the other place? And what would God’s password be? His kid’s birthday (jc12250000)?
Anyhoo, we have some nice long fill in the stacked CRAP SHOOT and HIVE MIND plus the almost-thematic PASADENA as well as ROSEBUD, “BEATS ME,” GALILEO (Galileo), and the bane of my existence: PET HAIR.
- 48a. [Astronomer whose name is repeated five times successively in “Bohemian Rhapsody”]. GALILEO. A gimme for many solvers, especially if they own the pictured t-shirt.
- 51d. [Individual People?] ISSUE. People Magazine. Nice clue.
Fun theme answers and lovely long fill. Four stars.
Katie Hale’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
The cutesifying suffix -IE is introduced for the theme entries.
- 17a. [Gourmet chef’s argument about plating?] FOODIE FIGHT (food fight).
- 24a. [Paying attention to the portraits in a social media feed?] SELFIE-CONSCIOUS (self-conscious).
- 38a. [Photographers who specialize in permanent markers?] SHARPIE SHOOTERS (sharpshooters). Is Sharpie® on the cusp of becoming a proprietary eponym?
- 49a. [Patches on one’s favorite sweatshirt?] HOODIE ORNAMENTS (hood ornaments).
- 60a. [Exclamation before putting on one’s favorite pajamas?] NIGHTIE TIME! (nighttime).
Eh, it’s okay.
- 23d [Leads up the garden path] LIES TO. A sentence constructed in such a way as to subvert expectations based on how it starts is called a garden-path sentence.
- 26d [Stewart’s “The Daily Show” successor] NOAH. And he’s stepping down shortly.
- 27d [Honbasho sport] SUMO. Just looked up honbasho (本場所), which turns out to be a professional SUMO tournament.
- 32d [Container store?] CARGO HOLD. This clue has a question mark because it seems to invoke the name of a retailer.
- 46d [Confessional visitor] SINNER.
- Looking theme-adjacent, but not: 50d [“Cotton Comes to Harlem” director Davis] OSSIE. Raiford Chatman Davis was born in Cogdell, Georgia… He inadvertently became known as ‘Ossie’ when his birth certificate was being filed and his mother’s pronunciation of his name as ‘R. C. Davis’ was misheard by the courthouse clerk in Clinch County…” (Wikipedia)
- 1a [Obama daughter] SASHA. Dropped in the two As and waited for the crossings.
- 10a [Pester] NAG. 36d [Bother] IRK. 47d [Buzzing pest] GNAT.
- 30a [Hong Kong neighbor] MACAU. I hadn’t realized they were quite so close—a mere 66km (41mi).
- 58a [Wet bar?] SOAP. Hum, haven’t seen that clue (for a relatively entry) common before.
Will Nediger’s USA Today crossword, “She’s So High, High Above Me”—Darby’s review
Editor: Erik Agard
Theme: Each theme answer in this puzzle is a Down answer, and it begins with letters spelling out SHE.
- 3d [“Thin pieces of tin, for example”] SHEET METAL
- 5d [“Detective who inspired ‘House, M.D.’”] SHERLOCK HOLMES
- 9d [“Raiser of rams and ewes”] SHEEP FARMER
- 11d [“Scams involving shuffled cups”] SHELL GAMES
Having binged House, M.D. by renting the DVDs from my local library, I easily plopped in SHERLOCK HOLMES. I needed a little help with SHEET METAL, and MASON and PEEL gave me a nice boost with the latter half of the word especially. I had a similar experience with SHELL GAMES, partly because I really struggled with that NE corner for some reason. EURO fell right in, but I could not remember the name of Mariah Carey’s HERO at 19a, nor what a 10d [“Theater worker”] was called, so I kicked myself when I finally saw USHER.
The bottom section likewise took me a bit. IN TURMOIL was what I accepting. I also read 55d [“Food in an edible shell”] as more focused on the food in the shell rather than thinking about food with an edible shell for TACO. I also wasn’t familiar with 62a [“Chief Joseph’speople”] NIMIIPUU, but I always appreciate when Indigenous names are in puzzles, especially in a way that encourages us to learn more about Indigenous history. You can learn more about the NIMIIPUU people here. The crosses here really supported me, especially once I got IBM and ZINES.
A few Friday faves
- 30a [“Carolina Panthers’ org.”] – This felt apt to me after watching the NFL’s Thursday Night Football game in which Baker Mayfield was released on waivers from the Panthers, picked up by the Rams, and helped win his first game with the LA team after just two days on his new team.
- 35d [“Text such as the Kebra Nagast”] – The Kebra Nagast is an Ethiopian EPIC whose title translates to the “Glory of Kings.”
- 40d [“Food classification system in which a Pop-Tart is considered a calzone”] – The CUBE RULE is a way of identifying food based on the location of its starch. Hot dogs in this system are TACOs. It’s a great way to stir up some drama at your next friendly gathering.
I really enjoyed this puzzle! From four themers to some really rich fill (and a reference to an incredible song), I had a great time going down a bunch of different rabbit holes. Have a great weekend!
Brooke Husic & Hoang-Kim Vu’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
This puzzle was a bit harder than the average Fri NYT, which is not a complaint. I like challenging, crisp themelesses.
Fave fill: PRAYER MAT is a great 1-Across and the clue’s clever: [Something faithfully rolled out]. “I GOTTA SAY,” SITS STILL, BUYING UP, “APOLOGY ACCEPTED,” POP-UP SHOP, TAY-TAY, RED STATE, and “DON’T GET UP” are also colorful.
I don’t follow [Lawyer/voting rights activist Sherrilyn] IFILL on Twitter, but the folks I do follow retweet her regularly and I always like what I see (and the name was a gimme. Sounds like it made her day to be in the puzzle! (Yes, the late journalist Gwen Ifill was her cousin, if you’re wondering.)
This one doesn’t feel natural to me: 58a. [Excited shout after a thrill ride], “LET’S DO THAT AGAIN.” Feels like arbitrary word choices. “C’mon, let’s go again!” “I wanna do that again!” “Let’s do it/this again.”
Four stars from me.
Zaineb Akbar and Barbara Lin’s Inkubator crossword, “thud from another room”—Jenni’s write-up
I totally spaced this on Friday. I’m adding it in because it’s a fairly complex theme so this is for posterity, I guess – for anyone who goes looking after the fact.
The “thud from another room” is what happens when you cat pushes something off a surface. Each theme answer has a letter shoved off, leaving just the CAT. There are helpful circles.
- 17a [Goal of a certain playground game] is CAPTURING THE FLAG. The P is above the answer.
- 29a [Achievement for eleven UConn women’s basketball teams] is the NCAA TITLE. One A is below.
- 42a [Bitter, fizzy drink] is TONIC WATER. The W is above.
- 58a [Celebration after the curtain goes down] is a CAST PARTY. Once the C moves below, we’re left with the very fitting CAT PARTY.
And the revealer: 71a [Reprimand to a certain mischievous pest…who’s made some appropriate changes to this grid] is KEEP YOUR PAWS OFF.