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.
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.
The other clue duo I think you’re thinking of is “Booty” for 2d and 12d :)
NYT: feels like this week’s Fri/Sat should have been swapped
Not for me. Today was two minutes slower than yesterday. Liked them both.
My solve times suggest the same. I was 2-1/2 minutes faster today, but I was really only held up by the NW corner of yesterday’s puzzle. 80% of that puzzle played Easy/Easy-Medium for me also. NYT themeless puzzles sure seem to be getting a lot easier lately.
Stumper: really hard, but eventually got through it, but with a completely unfillable square and a wrong letter. Unfillable: SSAM and SITKA?? That S could have been any consonant. And S would have been literally the last one I guessed. Wrong letter: I thought it was DAPPER DoN, and CoLUMNIATE looked correct, as far as words-I’ve-never-seen go. Not to mention that MISS M could have been literally any letter too.
NW and NE were hardest for me. Green’s enemy for WASTE…oof, that is a rough Stumper clue. And I had WHirl before WHACK, which really made the NE hard.
I seem to be ATODDS with other solvers today. I didn’t think the Stumper was that tough by Stumper standards. WATT was a gimme, so WASTE wasn’t hard to see. I don’t understand the clue for DAPPERDAN but like pannonica I filled it in pretty quickly. I had CRACK before WHACK, but WHITEWEDDING set me straight.
No idea about SSAM but I knew SITKA as a town and as the eponym of the Sitka spruce. I wanted ADNAUSEAM at 30D, except for the inconvenience of it being a letter short.
All I know about Dapper Dan is that he is a Harlem fashion designer/icon, so that must be where the clue is going. He is “à la mode” (fashionable) as the French might say. Otherwise dapper don is more idiomatic (IMO) .
The only Dapper Dan that came to my mind was from the Coen Bros movie, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” There’s a scene where George Clooney’s character wants to buy some hair pomade, and is offered a brand he doesn’t care for. No thanks, he says, I’m a Dapper Dan man, that being his preference.
I’m pretty sure that had nothing to do with the clue!
ETA: Wikipedia references a variety of Dapper Dans, including a horse.
A Dapper Dan is “a man who dresses and is groomed in a fancy, elegant, or fastidious manner.”
One source says that the term “comes from a 1921 song of that name written by Lew Brown and Albert Von Tilzer, who also wrote ‘The Girl in the Gilded Cage’ and ‘I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl that Married Dear Old Dad.’ ”
Stumper wasn’t as tough as some for me but still a good workout.
I paused at DIALO at 37a for two reasons – back in the day I dialed 411 for local information. I see from Wikipedia that 411 was used as far back as 1930 in large cities. Also, you dialed 0 for the operator, not O. Of course it’s possible I’m missing some history here.
Stumper was a pretty good run for me. Though I have to say the LAT was a harder go, primarily for all the obscurities shoveled in the upper right (Google absolutely required!).
NYT: Fair point from Amy on “erse” which is not a word I’ve heard any actual Irish person use.
LAT: Objection to clue for ASTA, who was a Schnauzer (in the book) and a Wire Haired Terrier (in the movies), not a hound, a hunting dog which tracks by scent.
Quite true, but hound is also a general synonym for ‘dog’, so it’s acceptable.
NYT 31A [Parent’s command when something almost gets broken by roughhousing siblings] GO OUTSIDE
Universal 22A [“Stop clowning around outside!”] GET IN HERE
Make up your mind!
Stumper: “Houstonite”?? I guess they wanted to give an example of last week’s SHIBBOLETH.