Adam Aaronson’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
I’m watching the circus now (the one on C-SPAN), so this is distracted blogging right here.
Fave fill: “GOSHDARNIT,” OUT OF TOUCH, ON A PLATTER, a touch of Italo Calvino with ITALIAN LIT, a real STAND-UP GUY (if you’ve got HBO Max or HBO, check out Atsuko Okatsuka’s comedy special—she’s funny!), SHROOMS, ’round THESE PARTS, SUNDRESSES, IN THE LOOP, SCARE AWAY not far below SCREAM, “DID YOU HEAR?”, and Ken JENNINGS.
Two perplexing bits for me:
- 43d. [Human-shaped board game piece], MEEPLE. Never heard of it! Background here. Basically, it’s my + people.
- 11d. [Bit of casino restaurant fare?], BAKED CLAM. Can you have just a solitary BAKED CLAM outside of having just one of your baked clams left on the plate? Reminds me of Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development saying “Here’s some money. Go see a Star War.”
Los Angeles Times crossword — no new puzzle today
For reasons I am not privy to, today’s Los Angeles Times crossword is a rerun, not a new puzzle. Carry on!
Lars G Doubleday’s Newsday crossword, Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s write-up
Decidedly easier than most Stumpers, including I think even the ‘Lester Ruff’-penned offerings.
No cryptic-style clue this time, nor is there a what-someone-wasn’t-called entry. But there were a few where the obscuration/difficulty dial was definitely turned way up:
- 33a [End of a Tolstoy title]] MIR (no indication of original language needed). 59a [Organic orb] PEA. 2d [“Café” ingredient] AGUA.
All right, perhaps in retrospect not as many as I thought.
- 16a [“Bohemian Rhapsody” feature] GUITAR SOLO. 28a [Short solo] ARIETTE.
- 34a [Fictional fantasizer] MITTY. My first entry, and right in the center. That boded well.
- 39a [Stock tip] -ADE. 57a [Cultural leader] AGRI-.
- 45a [Second governor of New York] JOHN JAY. This seems as if it would be difficult for non-locals.
- 47a [She was billed above Bogart in “High Sierra”] LUPINO.
- 49a [ __ dash] MAD. Considered MRS, but noted the lower case ‘dash’.
- 52a [Hebrew word for “delight”] EDEN. Did not know this, but it puts Bosch’s famous painting in a more recognizable light.
- 3d [French “wood” in oboe’s etymology] BOIS. As in hautbois, ‘high wood’.
- 11d [Tagline for a ’30s star’s first sound film] GARBO TALKS. I knew this from something referencing in my childhood. Maybe Mad Magazine or a Looney Tunes cartoon? Thee film in question is Anna Christie (1930).
- 25d [“I am an __ of things accomplished”: Whitman] ACME, though I kind of like my first attempt, which was ACRE. Any case, this sure sounds as if it comes from “Song of Myself”.
- 27d [Where to see shooting stars] HORSE OPERA. Cute clue.
- 34d [’20s fad just before the crossword puzzle] MAH-JONGG. I’m telling you, that double-G looked so impossible for a while.
- 41d [Code component] LAW. Have to thank today’s NYT (54-down) for priming me on this one.
- 44d [Meat rich in zinc] OYSTER. I knew it was rich in zinc, but calling it ‘meat’ gave me pause, though of course it certainly is fleshy animal protein.
- 49d [Focus of a Barcelona museum] MIRÓ.
In truth, I’m somewhat relieved that it was on the easy side today. Allows me to get my day started that much sooner!
Universal Crossword, “Universal Freestyle 54” by Evan Mulvhill — norah’s write-up
- PASTAFARIAN 33A [Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster follower]
- AVENUE 53A [“___ Q” (musical with puppets)]
- SANSKRIT 55A [Source of nirvana?]
- TREE 58A [One might be sappy]
- HOWONEARTH 4D [“Surely that can’t be possible?!”]
- NATIONALFORESTS 7D [They contain branches of the government]
- NIGIRI 42D [Type of sushi whose name translates to “two fingers”]
I ADORED 41D [Really loved] today’s puzzle! The center stack is fantastic, and what a lovely little easter egg to have NOODLE at 2D to accompany PASTAFARIAN. :) Enough stuff that’s a little more on the tricky side than usual with the grid spanning NATIONALFORESTS given a misdirecty clue without the ? in [They contain branches of the government] and a few things that are a little nichey, like AVENUE Q clued without much help if you aren’t familiar. In that same corner, I hesitated on BONIVER because while that was my first gut reaction, for some reason I thought they were a group rather than a single “musician”, and originally wanted MANIcure at 36D. I also like FREEPASSES clued succinctly as [Comps]. [One might be sappy] (again, without a ?) is so funny for TREE. To be clear, this is all a good thing! Just a little bit of resistance makes for a nice solve.
Tony Orbach’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Loaded Language” — pannonica’s write-up
Since there are so many colorful synonyms for being intoxicated, it’s a rich furrow for crosswords. This is far from the first time we’ve seen a theme like this, nor will it be the last.
- 22a. [Wrecked New Year’s promise?] HIGH RESOLUTION.
- 38a. [Pixilated pub quiz, perhaps?] STIFF COMPETITION.
- 51a. [Numb noggin?] WET NOODLE.
- 62a. [Besotted boyfriend?] TIGHT SQUEEZE.
- 69a. [Sloshed sourpusses] STEWED PRUNES.
- 87a. [Plastered plug?] BLIND SPOT.
- 94a. [Intoxicated interpretation?] LOOSE TRANSLATION.
- 118a. [Oiled Rembrandt?] FLYING DUTCHMAN.
For funsies, most of these have alliterative clues—the exceptions are the first and last entries.
Quick run-through, as I have some obligations to fulfill today:
- 2d [Pound, e.g.] UNIT. 3d [Pound’s kin] DOG SHELTER.
- 8d [Render speechless] STUPEFY. For some reason I tried the obsolete word STUPEND.
- 14d [Get the most efficiency from] OPTIMIZE. Brain was misfiring again, tried MAXIMIZE.
- Another sequential double: 41d [Washington from Chestnut Grove, Virginia] MARTHA. 42d [Sound of Washington] PUGET.
- Favorite clue: 45d [Long time follower?] NO SEE.
- 62d [Pitched places] TENTS. As in, places to stay, I guess.
- 75d [Boiling] HOPPING MAD crossed by 74a [Boil] SEETHE.
- 96d [Astronomical alignment] SYZYGY. I once played this word in Lexulous (a Scrabble knock-off). It wasn’t the most points I could have made on that turn, but I wanted to be able to say that I played it.
- 120d [Chu __ (Chinese philosopher)] HSI. Also known as Zhu Xi.
- 50a [Rider of a black horse named Tornado] ZORRO. If I ever knew this (which I probably did), I’d forgotten it.
- 59a [“Sprechen __ Deutsch?”] SIE. Kennen Sie Deutsch sprechen?
- 60a [Puts in the mail?] ARMORS. Oof. 40d [Stocking stuffers] FEET.
- 93a [Overly sentimental] SOPPY. Hands up, everyone, for SAPPY.
Enrique Henestroza Anguiano’s USA Today crossword, “All Star Cast”—Matthew’s recap
I have borked this post twice trying to get my recap in here today — thanks to whatever Fiend colleague fixed things. Short and sweet – themers are actresses whose names end in -ALL; an “all star cast”