Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “On a Larger Scale” — using up the full ruler – Erin’s write-up
Hello lovelies! This week’s Jonesin’ puzzle involves upsizing — each of the theme entries has the letters IN (the abbreviation for inch) changed to FT (abbr. for foot).
- 20a. [Person who picks up after an annual NFL or NBA event?] DRAFT CLEANER (from DRAIN CLEANER)
- 40a. [Classic musical comedy involving a lifeboat?] SINGIN IN THE RAFT (SINGIN IN THE RAIN)
- 56a. [Botanical transplant, but completely on the level?] GRAFT OF TRUTH (GRAIN OF TRUTH)
The theme idea is fine, but I don’t love how IN is found two other places in the middle theme entry when the theme mechanism is solely changing IN to FT.
Thoughts on the fill: I’m not feeling too great right now so I’ll just leave you with one comment. I got 9d. [Company with a star logo] TEXACO right away thanks to the Texaco Star Academic Challenge (which was the Comcast Academic Challenge in my area by the time I got my butt kicked on local cable but whatever). Hope I’ve brought back a wave of nostalgia for some of you.
Until next week!
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 621), “Hidden Tear-Jerkers”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everyone! Hope all of you are doing very well to begin the new week!.
Unlike this title, the solving experience should not make you cry! Each of the first words in the four long theme entries is also a type of onion, with ONION also appearing in the grid as the reveal (62A: [Kitchen bulb…and the puzzle theme]).
- BERMUDA TRIANGLE (17A: [Mysterious area of the Atlantic Ocean])
- PEARL MOSQUE (28A: [Agra landmark (known as Moti Masjid) that’s made of white marble])
- GREEN GOBLIN (42A: [Adversary of Spider-Man])
- SWEET CHILD O’ MINE (55A: [Guns N’ Roses song of 1988])
Lots of fun, non-themed fill in this entry, with TOM FORD immediately kicking things off (1A: [Fashion designer mentioned by Jay-Z in Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie”]). Probably the best long fill going down was REPLY ALL, something I’ve definitely pressed in error a couple of times over the years (17D: [Email option not meant for private, gossipy messages]). Of course, SETTLES is a very timely entry given the high-profile case involving Dominion and Fox News, and given that there may be a couple of more settlements of lawsuits that might end up occurring regarding that same “news” outlet and its 2020 election coverage (63A: [Avoids a trial]). Now it’s time to name your favorite three-word SEAGAL film title (51A: [Action film actor Steven]). Mine is Above the Law. What’s yours? Hard to Kill? Out for Justice? Fire Down Below? Marked for Death?
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: HOLLIS (40A: [Area of Queens, New York where members of Run-DMC grew up]) – The first placekicker in the history of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mike Hollis ended up being one of the more reliable kickers in the National Football League during his time in Duval County. Seven of his eight seasons were spent with the Jaguars and he made 200 out of a possible 250 field goal attempts during his career, a solid 80 percent. In 1997, Hollis was voted to his only Pro Bowl after making 31 of 36 field goal attempts for the Jags.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Yael Rusonik’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Headpieces”—Jim’s review
Theme answers are song titles that have parts of the face in them. The revealer is FACED THE MUSIC (53a, [Accepted the consequences of one’s actions, and what the artists did with the hits in this puzzle?]).
- 20a. [1967 Van Morrison hit] BROWN-EYED GIRL. Ye gods, this song! Every time I was in the student union back in college (late 80s/early 90s), this came on the juke box. Drove me crazy! And it’s still following me around!
- 28a. [2014 Meghan Trainor hit] LIPS ARE MOVIN‘. Didn’t know this song but it peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- 44a. [1935 Fred Astaire hit] CHEEK TO CHEEK. One for the olds!
Another nice theme! (And hey, it’s a debut, too.) It would’ve been really nice to get another facial feature in there, but there probably aren’t too many songs about noses and chins. (Ha! Jimmy Durante had a song titled “It’s My Nose’s Birthday”.)
Fave fill includes DOG LOVERS, THIN AIR, SKYCAPS, TAKE AFTER, and LEMMING. That upper section of VOTRE, I BEAM, NONNA and “EMAIL ME” feels pretty clunky, but it didn’t take too long to sort it out. Aside from that section, everything else felt smooth.
Clues of note:
- 3d. [Papa ___ (New England pizza chain)]. GINO’S. Tough one for a West Coaster and anyone else not from New England, I’m guessing. What’s the deal with pizza chains beginning with “Papa”?
- 11d. [Folks who prefer companions who are fetching?]. DOG LOVERS. I don’t know about “prefer” but our doggo ain’t much of a fetcher.
An enjoyable theme and overall nice surrounding fill. Four stars. Congrats on a fine debut!
Grant Boroughs’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap
Easy, breezy puzzle with a wordplay theme. Assorted plural nouns ending with -IES are clued as if they’re two-word phrases where IES takes the long “i” sound rather than the long “e” sound of words like “duckies.”
- 17A. [“It’s worth only 20 cents,” “It has Abe Lincoln on it” and others?], QUARTER LIES.
- 26A. [Flute-playing Greek god makes an effort?], PAN TRIES.
- 40A. [Terse summary of Alec d’Urberville’s fate? (spoiler alert!)], CAD DIES. He had it coming.
- 53A. [Peel the apples, roll out the dough, turn the oven on, etc.?], PREP PIES.
- 65A. [Neckwear reserved for fancy occasions?], SPECIAL TIES.
There are, of course, plenty of -y nouns whose -ies plurals do not lend themselves to this theme. To wit, this puzzle’s own EATERY and PATSY.
Did not know: That TAMPA is nicknamed the “Big Guava.” I’ve been to Tampa a few times, and used the airport a whole bunch. Never heard this nickname!
Clever clue: 39A. [“Rooster” that’s not a rooster], HEN. In that a hen will roost on her nest.
Fave fill: CAMPINESS, the board game MOUSETRAP.
Mining subtheme: Both ORE and LODE are clued as a [Mined find]. COAL, which of course is mined, is a [Combustible rock]. And then [Mine, in France] is … A MOI, the pronoun sort of “mine” rather than the hole drilled in the ground (which is la mine in French).
Jennifer Lee & Victor Galson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
I finished the puzzle, saw the revealer, and still had to think for a bit before I could parse all the theme answers. The “aha!” moment made me smile. Satisfying!
It’s a 16×15 puzzle to accommodate the longest themer.
- 18a [Slopes accessory] is a SKI MASK.
- 26a [Inauguration text] is the OATH OF OFFICE.
- 38a [Bahia Men hit single] is WHO LET THE DOGS OUT. Not my favorite since the “dogs” of the title are women deemed inadequately attractive.
- 52a [Dystopian thriller starring Charlton Heston] is SOYLENT GREEN.
And the revealer: 64a [Ad campaign featuring white mustaches, and a hint to the starts of the answers to 18-, 26-, 38-. and 52-Across] is GOT MILK. SKIM, OAT (that was the one that briefly stumped me), WHOLE, and SOY. I like the symmetry – the first and third answers have a type of MILK that spans two words and the second and fourth are parts of words. That may have been entirely unintentional! Overall a nice solid Tuesday theme.
A few other things:
- 1a [American marsupial, familiarly] is the POSSUM. The only marsupial native to North America, in fact.
- About 25 years ago my brother ordered a MESCAL flight at a Mexican restaurant in NYC and I couldn’t stand the stuff. Now I prefer it to tequila in almost every drink and enjoy it straight. Go figure. Still don’t like heavily peated single malt, though. That tastes like rubber cement to me.
- 21a [Autocorrect target] is a TYPO. If only autocorrect limited itself to typos. My name is not a typo.
- [Place to store cups and bowls?] is a fun clue for TROPHY CASE.
- 39a [“I can’t believe they did that!”] is THE NERVE. Love that.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Charlton Heston starred in SOYLENT GREEN. I do know what the titular substance is made of even though I never saw the movie.
And 26d reminded me of this.
Paolo Pasco’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
As advertised, I found this one to moderately challenging.
Last section to be completed was the lower left, where I had to experiment with 41a [Key in PC’s three-finger salute] to see whether it was ALT or DEL (CTRL was out of the question). The breakthrough was seeing ANALOGUE for 33d [Scale model, e.g.]. From there, ANGUS at 49-across and then I could see that 32d [Coop for cooers] was the uncommon PIGEONRY.
Returning to my initial forays, I started off strong by criss-crossing the opening entries in the upper left, with only a slight hiccup when 13a [Expert on noses and legs?] could not accommodate OENOLOGIST (definitely needed to see the OE- prefix to decode the clue) and needed to be revised to OENOPHILE.
- 7d [Opening that accommodates change] SLOT. 50d [Device of note?] ATM.
- 14d [Entertainer who’s still performing in public?] HUMAN STATUE. Can’t decide whether I loathe or love this clue.
- 26d [“It’s an honor just to be __”: Sandra Oh] ASIAN. Contemplated ALIVE here, but I certainly prefer the actual quote.
- 40d [Ride (on)] DEPEND. More metaphorical than transportational.
- 15a [Olympic snowboarder Kim] CHLOE. Unknown to me. I’m going to say the name is Chloe Kim rather than Kim Chloe, because I think it sounds better. Of course, matters might be confused if she’s Korean and Kim is her surname. LET’S FIND OUT … okay—it is Chloe Kim and she is of Korean descent, but she puts her given name before her surname, in the American fashion.
- 23a [Dance style for the Nicholas Brothers] TAP. Here’s their famous sequence from the 1943 film Stormy Weather.
- 27a [ __ in life] LOT. I would’ve preferred that the clue had included one’s preceding the blank.
- 29a [Fusion-cuisine option that combines two wrapped foods] SUSHI BURRITO. Pretty sure I don’t need to know anything more about this.
- 32a [Ability to deal with pricks?] PAIN TOLERANCE. Is this a racy clue?
- 36a [Movement that might be confused for a stim] TIC. Stimming is short for ‘self-stimulating behavior’ and is associated with some autistic people.
- 53a [Cryptocurrency catchphrase that evokes lunacy?] TO THE MOON. This clue would have been much easier for me had it omitted mention of cryptocurrency.
- 54a [Only body parts visible in the dark, often, in cartoons] EYES. Evocative clue.
Jeff Stillman’s Universal Crossword – “Animal Rights Protest” – Matt F’s write up
To connect the title to today’s theme, I found it helpful to parse as “Animal” + “Rights Protest.” Not only is each theme answer an animal, but the right half of the animal’s name is a synonym for protest. Nice! Only three theme answers, but this is a very tight theme that does not need extra padding:
- 20A – [Spiky-tailed bird] = SAGE GROUSE (grouse: complain pettily; grumble.)
- 41A – [Crustacean whose leg span can be five feet] = ALASKAN KING CRAB (crab: grumble, typically about something petty.)
- 59A – [Fish that has a metallic gray color] = SILVER CARP (carp: complain or find fault continually about trivial matters.)
I’ll take this theme as a warning that I better not levy any petty complaints against this puzzle! Frankly, I don’t see anything to complain about here anyway. The grid was fun and long slots were utilized well: U.S. GRADE A, SACK LUNCH, OSCAR NODS, NAILED IT. Good stuff!
Clues I enjoyed the most:
22A – [Stomach woe caused by nervousness] = fun angle on KNOT.
62D – [Helper in the House] = AIDE, as in a political aide in the House of Representatives.
What I learned today:
The other animal in the grid, 58A – LOON, is a cool bird. Loons have solid bones which allows them to dive underwater more easily but makes it more difficult to take flight. Their presence can be a sign of good water quality because they like to hang out on clear lakes where they can easily see their prey underwater.
Thanks for the puzzle, Jeff!
Scott Earl’s USA Today Crossword, “You’re Disrupting My Flow!” — Sophia’s recap
Editor: Erik Agard
Theme: Each theme answer ends with something that can disrupt a flow.
- 20a [Marine mammal with a trunklike snout] – ELEPHANT SEAL
- 38a [Bit of self-promotion] – SHAMELESS PLUG
- 55a [Netflix series based on an Alice Oseman graphic novel] – HEARTSTOPPER
This was a great puzzle! The title actually threw me off a bit – I was expecting a hidden word theme where something was physically “disrupted” in the middle of the theme answer. But once I got all the theme answers, I quickly got what was going on. SHAMELESS PLUG is a great modern answer. I also can’t recommend HEARTSTOPPER enough – it’s incredibly cute, and it’s a show where good things actually happen to the queer characters. Can’t wait for the next season.
Fill highlights: INSULIN PUMP, LASER TAG, SLEEP MASK, ACCENT CHAIR, BARCADE with the equally great clue [Place to drink beer while playing Pong]
New to me: The ORCA Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut, that CPR can be done to the tune of “Baby Shark”
NYT: My only hiccup was reading the clue for CAMPINESS as referring to “John Wayne movies.” Judging from the Wordplay comments, I wasn’t the only one who did that.
I plunked in OXEYE for OXLIP and didn’t notice the nonsensical acrosses until the end…
I had OXeye too, but not for very long.
I just don’t love the word CAMPINESS since the shorter CAMP is right there. I might have just gone with HAPPINESS and changed SLY to OCT.
Same thought on CAMP. I’d also have liked the theme more if the last themer changed the meaning of its first half at least a little. Instead, SPECIAL just means special. And maybe also if the clues were more grounded in something one might say or think, bringing them closer to humor. Say, one could have been “Friends you see now and then” for CASUALTIES.
I know Evan’s right and it’s a mistake to care about the ratings, but it’s a bummer to see these great New Yorker puzzles have low average scores every day.
I had a DNF on today’s puzzle because of the names crossing at 30D and 34A. Tried a couple of things that didn’t work and gave up. (I guessed RUE correctly, but it was a guess).
I don’t understand the ‘jokey’ (I assume) clues for OENOPHILE and TOTHEMOON. What do legs and cryptocurrency have to do with them?
I don’t give star ratings but I wouldn’t rate this particularly highly. The clue for LIPID seems oddly precise, and I don’t think of REDTAPE as a kind of busywork. REDTAPE is stuff that’s irksome and time-consuming but has to be done, because rules. Busywork is stuff that doesn’t need to be done but is done to make a person appear to be doing something. KITED for ‘made soar’ is debatable.
I don’t get the “cryptocurrency” part of the clue for TOTHEMOON either, as I’m certain it is/was the catchphrase of investors in GameStop shares. Is it also being used for crypto investors?
The SW gave me the most trouble in this grid. It was mainly the Downs that eluded me. Kept trying to make ALT work at 41-Across as I refused to accept PC as a sufficient abbreviation qualifier, so that’s my fault I guess. A very frustrating DNF as a result of this section. The rest of the grid I think was fair, albeit somewhat bland and a bit of a chore in my opinion.
When you drink from a wineglass (especially red wine), the wine might briefly streak down the inside of the glass. Those streaks are called legs. (Don’t ask me what the presence or absence of legs indicates.)
From The Motley Fool: “Investors who hope for a big increase in their cryptocurrency or other asset’s value will use the phrase ‘to the moon.’” I expect the clue has a question mark because of the wordplay of “lunacy.”
RED TAPE reminds me of an interesting government class I took on bureaucracy. One argument in favor of RED TAPE is that all those forms and such are necessary to provide accountability: Does the person getting this government benefit really meet the requirements for it? (But you’re right; the “busywork” clue doesn’t really fit.)
In my vocabulary those streaks are called ‘tears.’
Having done some contracting work with the federal govt, I understand the principle that red tape is essential to ensuring fairness and accountability. But often, the red tape is mandated by White House or Congressional action demanding this or that special interest or concern be accounted for, and the red tape metastasizes into molasses, so to speak.
When I first started drinking what I would call fine wines, I found myself at tastings with other folks at about my same level of knowledge. The legs seemed to resonate because everybody could see them as opposed to some of the more esoteric features like the wine having black currant notes. They don’t have anything to do with the quality of the wine but everybody could successfully identify them.
Too much trivia. YMMV. Give me fair crosses and I’ll rate the puzzle higher.
Exactly. I don’t know what there is for Matt or anyone else to like about this, much less call it great. People are stating their preferences, which is what the ratings are for.
Yes, there are some great TNY puzzles getting panned for no reason.
Completely agreed that the ratings don’t matter if it’s only the complainers who are set in their ways and don’t want anything new that are keeping the average down. (This is happening with other puzzles too, with a few repeat offenders entering their ratings.) How about this, complainers? Not your demographic? Pick a different puzzle and stay in your own lane. People are complaining about the smallest things like “the file had a glitch or wasn’t available… 1 star!” or “Too much ‘trivia’! 1.5 stars!” “Not enough knee jerk stuff I recognize! .5 stars!”
Oh and it’s called learning new things.
Yes, G.B. Life’s too short to hate-solve puzzles you invariably don’t enjoy. Why do that to yourself? There’s no law that says you need to solve every crossword you can find.
I Youtubed a video about misunderstood songs recently. The anthropologist in me loves the poetic irony of, for example, “Born in the U.S.A.”–a song about blue-collar struggles–played at a public nationalistic event, or “Every Breath You Take”–a song about stalkery obsession–played at a wedding. Anyways, “Who Let the Dogs Out” was on there and they were saying it’s actually a feminist song, and the titular individuals, in contrast to your comment, are misogynist men employing derogatory language at women. But I wonder how many people actually hear it that way.
New Yorker: Much more challenging than Monday’s — arguably a DNF for me, as I checked a bunch of answers in the SW corner. The rest of it went smoothly, though.
I’d never heard of RINA SAWAYAMA before, and that’s a difficult name to figure out.
Two things from Amy’s review:
14d [Entertainer who’s still performing in public?] HUMAN STATUE. Can’t decide whether I loathe or love this clue.
I loved it, though it took several crosses to see STATUE.
26d [“It’s an honor just to be __”: Sandra Oh] ASIAN. Contemplated ALIVE here, but I certainly prefer the actual quote.
I had Alive for a long while, then A star (which sounds pretty egotistical), before finally landing on ASIAN.
I enjoyed today’s LAT, although I sincerely doubt that the California Milk Processor Board wanted its GOT MILK? ad campaign to encourage you to drink oat milk or soy milk. :-)
Hi! I’m the constructor of the WSJ Crossword today, and I just wanted to thank you for your review! I appreciate your kind words, and will definitely take the critiques into account in future construction. Just finished up my first year of university yesterday, and finally have the time to make some more crosswords, so hopefully you’ll be seeing more of me soon.
congrats Yael!! great theme!
Yael, I hope you know that your name is “supervocalic,” in that it contains each of the five vowels exactly once. You’re right up there with constructor Robyn Weintraub and Mozambique.
Congrats again, Yael! And thanks for stopping by!