Note: No WSJ puzzle today due to the Christmas holiday.
Kurt Weller’s New York Times puzzle – Sophia’s write-up
Happy holidays folks! It’s gonna be a short write up today since I’ve got back to get back to being around my family :)
- 20a [Stick your tongue out, say] – MAKE A FACE
- 34a [Move onto a new topic of conversation, metaphorically] – SWTICH GEARS
- 43a [Pass to a different owner, as a business] – CHANGE HANDS
- 59a [Epitome of precision … or a description of 20-, 34- and 43-Across?] – CLOCKWORK
So each of the idioms relate to things that make a CLOCK WORK. Do the first words of the theme answers matter? I guess that the hands of a clock make the FACE, and they CHANGE with the them, and the GEARS move…. but maybe it’s simpler than that and I’m just supposed to think about the last word. Either way, it’s a pretty tight theme, which is nice.
There’s some really nice fill in today’s puzzle! ROCK OPERA and ANTITOXIN are both great, and I would have liked MNEMONIC if I knew how to spell it (I also didn’t know the mnemonic mentioned in the clue, [Memory device like “How I wish I could calculate pi,” e.g.]). There’s also some things that were less great, like URIS, COE, ELY, PEN IN, and maybe even GREER and ESSEX. I might have liked to see slightly cleaner fill even at the expense of a long answer or two or some of the rarer letters like X or Z.
Lynn K. Watson and Will Nediger’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
This is a theme that, had its revealer been the title of the puzzle, would have been right at home in USA Today; with a revealer, it goes here in LAT on Monday. Said revealer at 57A [Solve a mystery, and a hint to the answers to the starred clues] is CRACK THE CASE. That is, each theme entry “cracks” the word CASE with a bunch of letters inserted somewhere into CASE:
- 20A [*Pink flower native to eastern North America] is a CAROLINA ROSE.
- 35A [*Like a game that involves evasive subterfuge] is CAT-AND-MOUSE.
- 43A [*Migratory honker] is CANADA GOOSE.
I tend to find this type of theme most interesting when the split word is split differently in each theme entry (C/ASE, CA/SE, CAS/E), but this way, in which the word is split consistently CA/SE in all three theme answers, works too.
I could do without TALI and LAIC on Monday, but otherwise the grid is very smooth, leading to a sub-two solve.
Will Nediger’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s recap
Tough one today, eh?
Fave fill: TEAR IT UP, SCARY GOOD (this describes the top solvers at the Boswords Fall Themeless League, where Will Nediger finished second in the standings with blazing fast speed), ASSHATS, YACHTING. a DRY HEAT from the Southwest, SHAHADAH (also spelled shahada, this pillar of Islam is the profession of faith), DURIANS, SOUS-VIDE, I VOTED.
Less keen on a Twitterian A THREAD, UNSEWS (!), UPROOTING crossing UP TO NOW at UP’s P.
Did not know:
- 9d. [Haida sculptor Bill], REID. A noted artist of the Haida Nation, in Canada.
- 20a. [Environmental activist Hopkins who co-founded the Transition Network], ROB. He’s British.
Fun clue: [Word confused with a name, in an “Airplane!” gag], SURELY. “Surely you can’t be serious.” “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”
3.5 stars from me.
Jimmy Peniston’s Universal crossword, “Twist Your Words” — pannonica’s write-up
No write-up as yet. This is a post-facto post, as I was unable to do crosswords for a few days. I’ll try to drop in some more discussion (still) later on.