Kate Hawkins’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
This puzzle reminds me of Barbara Lin’s Friday NYT—similar solving time and another grid that’s packed with fresh fill.
Among my faves: STEER CLEAR, MOON SHOT, BEACH READ, ART HOUSE movies, a PICK-ME-UP, CUT TO THE CHASE, TRUE LOVE, “LET’S SEE SOME ID,” and HITS A NERVE.
Three more things:
- 50a. [Language in which “Dia dhuit!” is “Hello!”], ERSE. Not a fan of dropping ERSE into a grid, as I’m not sure speakers of Irish/Gaelic are out there calling the language Erse. Wiktionary labels the term dated, sometimes offensive. Try to cut this one from your word lists, constructors.
- 43d. [Chocolate brand with the slogan “Irresistibubble”], AERO. This is a bubble-filled candy bar (you’re buying air!) sold in the UK, Canada, and other places (only as an imported product here in the US).
- Clue duo: Both HOWEVER and EVEN SO are clued [“Be that as it may …”]. I thought there was another such pair but I’m not seeing it now.
Doug Peterson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
I love me some Doug puzzles! This one was a lot of fun, and I suspect many folks found that it played on the hard side. My time was about average for a Saturday, but if it hadn’t been for the fact that I knew GRUMPY OLD MEN (a movie I’ve seen way too many times) and LINUS AND LUCY (a piece I learned on the piano as a kid) in the center with no or few crossings, I think I would’ve had a bit more of a struggle. The SW corner in particular has some very devious cluing that it took a while to unravel.
- 15A [Cape Canaveral’s 321, for one] was AREA CODE. I was not fooled by this clue at all and in fact this is the first entry I dropped, but it’s still clever to allude to NASA countdowns.
- 20A [Shelter named for a senator] is ROTH IRA. Tax shelter, get it? Pretty sneaky although I’m not sure this is the first time I’ve seen this angle.
- 45A [They swell with pride] is a brutal and awesome clue for GAY BARS, especially since the crossings can so easily lead one to GAS BAGS.
- 50A [Nick name in Paris?] is PERE NOEL (please excuse the lack of diacritics, I’m too lazy). This is a reference to St. Nicholas/Santa Claus. Cute!
- 53A [One MCU character] is UNIVERSE. That is, one “character” in the abbreviation “MCU” stands for UNIVERSE. I had too many crossings to be fooled by this by the time I got to it, but it’s a great clue.
- 7D [Docs with DOBs, often] is IDS. This did fool me for a little bit into thinking it was a clue about doctors, when in fact it is a clue about documents.
- 11D [Remote possibility?] is TV CHANNEL. Ha!
- 27D [Mass performance] is HYMN.
- 31D [Locks in a barn?] is MANE. Like, locks of a horse’s hair. Awesome.
- 39D [A little buggy, perhaps] is TOY CAR. That’s some Saturday Stumper-level action right there. Also, see above where the missing crossings in GAY BARS led me astray; this was one of them.
Yeah, OK, there are some entries I could do without (ANSON, ERIS, ENE, ANAT), but overall this puzzle is jam-packed with clues I wish I’d thought of. Loved this puzzle!
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “A Little R&R” — pannonica’s write-up
Two-part words and phrases; for each part, the letter R has been inserted and spelling adjusted as necessary.
- 22a. [Thug’s muscle woe from roughing up people?] BRUTE CRAMP (boot camp).
- 24a. [Routes for puritanical hikers?] PRIG TRAILS (pigtails).
- 39a. [Vining plant that’s really awesome?] GREAT CREEPER (gatekeeper).
- 43a. [Runs made escaping turncoats?] TRAITOR TROTS (tater tots).
- 65a. [Getting more gratification from horse training?] BREAKING PROUDER (baking powder).
- 86a. [Tingling feeling while practicing maneuvers?] DRILL PRICKLE (dill pickle).
- 90a. [Mason’s tool for filling gaps between bricks?] BREACH TROWEL (beach towel).
- 109a. [Melee at the monastery?] FRIAR BRAWL (fireball).
- 111a. [Gambling game involving rolling on the lawn?] GRASS CRAPS (gas caps).
OK entertaining enough. Good, flowing grid, et cetera.
- 12d [Femur setting] LEG. 60a [Radius setting] ARM.
- 20d [Lot divisions] SPACES. More like a parking lot rather than a real estate lot or an auction lot.
- 25d [Pull down] RAZE. Had EARN first.
- 85d [Like a diamond in a deck] RHOMBIC. Not a word one sees every day.
- 88d [Limited support?] RAILS. Some express trains are designated ‘limited’.
- 10a [Beverage flavored with vanilla, cinnamon and citrus] COLA. That does sound good, doesn’t it?
- 27a [Carbureted hydrogen, more familiarly] METHANE. Much more familiarly. Carbureted is a new word for me.
- 59a [Free-range fowl] HEN. I haven’t complained in a while about the cynical euphemisms swirling around in terms like free-range. Let this be a marker.
- 97a [Darken, poetically] BEDIM. Did a quick Ngram search. Early on, at least, the preferred context was tears that BEDIM one’s sight. 34a [Demonstrate despondency] SOB.
Stella Zawistowski’s Newsday crossword, Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s write-up
Not too rigorous today. Toughest section for me was the upper right, despite early on having 18a [Craft presaged by da Vinci] DIRIGIBLES (not HELICOPTER) and the second part of 9d [Traditional rite] WHITE WEDDING. Eventually, after some tentative fiddling, it all thankfully fell into place.
On the heels of that last: 32d [Marriage metaphor] KNOT, 54d [Something to take seriously] VOW, and perhaps even 13d [Date ender, perhaps] KISS.
- 22a [Not in harmony] AT ODDS. It’s good that I had AULD locked in for 11d [The __ Country (Scots’ ancestral land)], otherwise I would certainly have been tempted by ATOnal.
- 24a [“Captain America” exhortation] OOF. That’s just quasi-random.
- 33a [Domelike dispenser] SCOOP. That’s just deliberately obtuse.
- 34a [Guy a la mode] DAPPER DAN. Not entirely sure how this clue works, but I did get the answer without too much trouble.
- 35a [Alaskan capital before Juneau] SITKA. Mindlessly filled in SIMKA here.
- 37a [Get the 411, once] DIAL O. Quite literally.
- 38a [Ear or eye] ATTENTION. Quite metaphorically.
- 42a [Nickname on a singer’s ’72 40 Across album] MISS M, Bette Midler. 40a is of course DÉBUT.
- 44a [It was just behind ATL and DFW in ’21 traffic] DEN. See, unless you’re some kind of aviation nerd, that’s just a very obfuscatory way to clue simple fill. This is the stuff of Saturday Stumpers—but, I hasten to add, not exclusively.
- 57a [Never again?] ONCE. Nice little clue.
- 58a [Product of 250+ US companies in 1908] AUTO. Looks as if it was a real free-for-all back then, before shutterings and consolidations.
- 1d [Green’s enemy] WASTE. “Enemy” doesn’t seem like the right word. Bane would be closer.
- I really liked the two long pairs of stacked vertical entries: 2d [“Fighting fuel” of WWII] ANTHRACITE / 3d [Forbidden City roofing material] TERRA COTTA, 30d [Over and over and over and …] AD ABSURDUM / 31d [Trash-talk] CALUMNIATE. Had a wee bit of trouble figuring out the appropriate suffix for that last one.
- 7d [Bowl parts, briefly] QTRS. (1) again, deliberately opaque/oblique, (2) this is right next to 6d [Fleeting] BRIEF. See what happens when you try to be too clever?
- 12d [Rep, rather recently] CRED. m-w indicates the coinage as dating to 1981. I’m really rather surprised it’s such a recent word form. Seems to me writers of earlier ERAs (23a)—especially epistolarians—would have seized on such a convenient shortening.
- 21d [Common midday duo] SOUP AND SALAD. Getting this long answer early on, facilitated by completing the lower left section for the SALAD component, really helped move my solve along.
- 22d [Parts of a vegan crunchy sandwich] BAC-OS. I had no idea they were not made from bacon.
- 29d [Cracker toppers] BRIES, not PÂTÉS. That misfill stymied my progress for a time.
- 33d [Korean dish with lettuce wraps] SSAM. Whoa.
- 48d [Sweet brand trademarked in 1912] OREO. ‘Sweet’ isn’t the first descriptor one would turn to for this, but I think many crossword solvers have a reflexive OREO response to ‘1912’.
- 52d [Power source of little power] AAAA. First manufactured in 1989. Younger even than CRED.
How did this one treat you?
Brooke Husic’s USA Today crossword, “Ship Out”—Matthew’s recap
Our themers are bracketed by the letters of the word “BOAT”:
- 14a [Warmth from cuddling] BODY HEAT
- 25a [Rhythm named after a rock-and-roll legend] BO DIDDLEY BEAT
- 45a [Safety device for a child traveling by car] BOOSTER SEAT
- 58a [Nonhuman “employee” in a New York City corner store] BODEGA CAT
Really great set of themers, if you ask me. And of course, consistent in how BO-AT is broken up. The asymmetrical grid allows for colorful long bonus answers BEDROOM POP and NEVER CHANGE, as well.