Josh Goodman’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
A pop culture trivia theme greets us for this Wednesday puzzle. There are three women who’ve been inducted twice into the ROCK AND ROLL / HALL OF FAME: STEVIE NICKS (solo and with Fleetwood Mac), CAROLE KING (solo and as half of a songwriting duo), and TINA TURNER (solo and as half of a duo, the other half being her abusive ex; ain’t it a shame she wasn’t recognized first for her solo career?). There are 20-some men who’ve been inducted twice.
Fave fill: MOORE’S LAW (43a. [“Rule” stating that the number of transistors per microchip doubles every two years]), Janelle MONAE (just saw her in the movie Glass Onion), SCANDAL, Chicago legend JANE ADDAMS, Canada’s NANAIMO bar (interesting backstory: the colonizing Europeans couldn’t pronounce the name of the indigenous people there, and anglicized Snuneymuxw to “Nanaimo”).
Didn’t love all the fill, but nothing stumped me and I appreciated the focus on women in music.
3.5 stars from me.
Rich Proulx’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Squeeze Play”—Jim P’s review
Theme: CRUNCH TIME (60a, [Do-or-die moment, or what you must do to this puzzle’s theme answers]). The other theme answers are familiar two-word phrases that include a unit of time. The theme clues are also familiar phrases that include a unit of time, albeit a longer one, and the non-time words in both clue and answer can be roughly synonymous.
- 18a. [Year of the Cat, briefly?] PRIDE MONTH. The Year of the Cat gets crunched down into a month honoring a pride of lions.
- 23a. [The Me Decade, briefly?] PERSONAL DAY. The Me Decade gets crunched all the way down to a single PERSONAL DAY.
- 31a. [Greatest Generation, briefly?] FINEST HOUR. A generation becomes an hour and “greatest” = “finest.”
- 43a. [Season finale, briefly?] LAST MINUTE. A season becomes a minute, and “finale” roughly means “last.”
- 51a. [Summer break, briefly?] SPLIT SECOND. Summer gets crunched into a single second, and “break” is synonymous with “split.”
Welp, I have to say I found this confusing. These don’t all translate in exactly the same way, and I found myself going back and forth trying to find an easy way to explain it. I wanted there to be a consistent way of reducing the time (e.g. a year becomes a month, a month becomes day, a day becomes an hour, etc.), but that’s not possible when there’s the constraint of tying the other halves of the phrases together.
Still, it’s pretty impressive to have found all these pairs of phrases (clues and their answers) which roughly line up but for a reduction in time period. And then getting all these to fit symmetrically is another feat. Unfortunately I don’t think it translated into a fun time for the solver (at least not this one).
In the fill, SOUL ON ICE shines (though I didn’t know it) and I also liked TOP-SEEDED. I’m on the fence with ECONOCARS (do people actually use that term?), and I’m downright skeptical about “HOP ON IT” [“Get going already!”]; “Hop to it” sounds more familiar to my ear.
Clue of note: 17a. [Guitarist’s accessory]. CAPO. I’ve seen this occasionally in crosswords and never knew what it does. Today I do since I looked it up. It’s basically a clamp that goes across all the strings at a chosen fret thereby raising the pitch of the guitar.
Three stars from me.
Matthew Stock’s USA Today Crossword, “Anagram Et Al.” — Emily’s write-up
Fun puzzle with great fill and and easier theme than first thought.
Theme: each themer ends in an anagram of “et al.”
- 19a. [Colorful North American duck], BLUEWINGEDTEAL
- 34a. [How a person might show up to a party, but not a meeting], FASHIONABLYLATE
- 52a. [Story used as a warning], CAUTIONARYTALE
At first, I tried mallard but BLUEWINGEDTEAL filled in quickly with a few crossings. Cluing for FASHIONABLYLATE was excellent, though had me misdirected to thinking about clothing instead of timing. The point of most fairytales are a CAUTIONARYTALE, meant to teach morales and warning listeners/readers about dangers. With the theme, we get the following themer endings: TEAL, LATE, and TALE.
Favorite fill: MULAN, TINGA, DILL, and SOL
Stumpers: JADE (stuck on green like “emerald” so needed crossings), JEWELL (new to me), and AREA (needed crossings)
Smooth solve today, though for some reason I got hung up in the NE corner. Cluing just didn’t quite click for me, though it wasn’t particularly difficult, other than the sports player I didn’t know but since it was all together, it was the last portion that I finished.
Good morning, friends! Bullet points today, for this easy breezy Wednesday puzzle:
- [Sarcastic chant directed at a third-stringer from the opposing team] is such an aggressive image for the entry MVP, I love it
- [Rod for a snapper?] was a nice little misdirect for SELFIE STICK
- PALAK paneer threw me for a second, I typically hear this dish as saag paneer
- Here is my unpopular opinion: I have never used a PIZZA CUTTER that was sharper / easier to use / better at cutting than a regular old knife
- KUJICHAGULIA is one of seven principles of Kwanzaa, and it translates to “self-determination”– I wish the clue had included the translation, I think it would have been more interesting that way. The principles are in Swahili (as is the word “Kwanzaa”), which is the same language that my name is in.
- I liked seeing the clue [Beast MODE], and it made me want to see the full entry BEAST MODE in a grid.
Julian Lim’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
I’m not sure that [Sly, and a phonetic hint to the pattern in the last words of 17-, 24-, 42-, and 58-Across], DEVIOUS gets across what is going on in today’s theme, or at least I’m too thick to understand the hint. I get that each of four answers is D-VOWEL-V-VOWEL-S, but after that I’m lost. Anyway, the entries are:
- [Actress who wrote the 2022 memoir “Dying of Politeness”], GEENADAVIS
- [Expeditions made by freegans, say], DUMPSTERDIVES
- [Policy debate sides during an international conflict], HAWKSANDDOVES
- [Prima donnas], OPERADIVAS.
Can’t say I was a fan of the multiple contrived plurals in today’s puzzle: [Hollywood’s Vigoda and basketball’s Saperstein], ABES; [Actresses Cheryl and Diane], LADDS; [Legal honorifics: Abbr.], ESQS; [Yelps of pain], OWS…
Adam Simpson’s Universal crossword, “Enter the Octagon” — 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.