Lisa Senzel & Jake Halperin’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Negotiations”—Jim’s review
I’ll readily admit I finished without grokking the theme, and further, I read the revealer as GETTING TOYES, since I’d never heard of the book [1981 bestseller on principled negotiation, and a hint to 20-, 28-, 35- and 44-Across]. It took me a few beats to realize it’s GETTING TO YES and that all the other theme entries are names and phrases that end in the letters YES (though not the word “YES”).
- 20a. [Fuchsin and rose bengal, for two] CHEMICAL DYES.
- 28a. [Tony winner whose eponymous theater is the smallest on Broadway] HELEN HAYES.
- 35a. [Prepare to leave, in a way] SAY YOUR GOODBYES. Ooh, a nice grid-spanner. And I much prefer “YOUR” to “ONE’S”.
- 44a. [Sinatra nickname] OL’ BLUE EYES.
All those Yeses make the puzzle sound like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. So, I’m going to have to conclude that that’s a good theme!
The long fill was interesting today. Maybe not as sparkly as some puzzles but not at all bad. I liked TOOL SHEDS and BLOSSOMS. MOSUL, IRAQ wasn’t too hard to suss out. TEACHERY caused an eyebrow to raise as did BOTCHY, but they’re kinda fun. Other intriguing bits of fill include EL CHAPO, LIONEL (the toy train maker) and YO MAMA.
Clues of note:
- 1a. [Strips in front of a window, perhaps]. SLATS. *waggles finger* Can’t trick me that easily.
- 27a. [Reading goal]. ROLE. As in, reading for a part.
- 52a. [Something see-through to wear]. GLASSES. Okay, you got me with that one. Good clue.
- 60a. [Company that offers little training]. LIONEL. Also a good clue. Brought a smile to my face.
- 44d. [Lifesaving donations]. ORGANS. On behalf of Amy, I’m going to thank all those who have agreed to be organ donors.
I’d never heard of the revealer, so my aha moment was rather late in coming, but I like the puzzle nonetheless. 3.75 stars.
Sam Donaldson’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap
Fun theme! The revealer is 60A. [Britney Spears classic … or a confession applicable to three answers in this puzzle?], “OOPS! … I DID IT AGAIN.” The three themers have an extra IT wedged into phrases to change the meaning:
- 16A. [Vicious pet handler’s query?], “WHO CAN IT BITE NOW?” Riffing on the 1980s Men at Work hit, “Who Can It Be Now?”
- 28A. [Observation when the collection plate is overflowing?], “IT’S A GOOD TITHING.” Is this a riff on a Martha Stewart line?
- 47A. [“So much for my theory that the universe has no end”?], “I GUESS IT’S FINITE.” “I guess it’s fine” feels like a more generic thing one might say.
Fave fill: I believe ACID WASH jeans hit it big several years after Men at Work. X’S AND O’S, KATMANDU, GLOM ONTO, GO BUST, and the EUROZONE brought some flavor.
Needed all the crossings, and on a Wednesday!: 41A. [Stubborn Seuss character, with “the”], ZAX. It’s Scrabble-legit as a roofing tool, if you’re lucky enough to have the Z and X at the same time.
Four stars from me.
Parker Higgins’s AV Club crossword, “Tunnel Vision”–Amy’s recap
Funky theme. The black squares flanked by the highlighted answers are two-way portals. 22a ANEMones finds its second half in the symmetrical spot across the grid, 52a ONES (clued as a legit entry unto itself). 15d YOW tunnels to 55d LED. 23a O TYPE blood felt clunky (“type O”) but it completes the 51a STERE to finish 51a as STEREOTYPE. 31d RUN TH needs its 29d tunnel buddy ROUGH to be RUN THROUGH.
Fave fill: Italy’s TAORMINA, MALAYSIA, and fictional VICE CITY. Tasty TAHINI. CLOSET SPACE, such a struggle! STYLE ICON (any faves from the Met gala Monday night?), movie-I-never-saw TIME BANDITS.
Four stars from me.
Amie Walker’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
I have heard of exactly half of the weather phenomena in this puzzles: SUPERSTORMS, COOLWEATHER. No idea what BOMBCYCLONES or FIRERAINBOWS are, though they sound like something in an overhyped American news headline… Anyway, the tie-in between COOLWEATHER and the other three makes the theme very narrow – the other start with a synonym for COOL as in “genial”; although I feel like COOL = THEBOMB not just BOMB?
More up-to-date clues and answers included ASMR and the “ERAS” Tour of Taylor Swift. I have no idea what TUMMYTIME is, but it sounds faddish…
The most awkward spot for me was [“Uh, guess again”] for UMNO, because UH and UM are basically the same thing.
Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword–Amy’s belated recap
Didn’t get a chance to do the puzzle on Wednesday, and now it’s Thursday! Oops. Classic Wednesday New Yorker difficulty.
Fave fill: The spanner FUNHOUSE MIRRORS! Maybe I should get one for home. Petulant “DO I HAVE TO?” Machiavelli’s THE PRINCE. MALICE, a pretty word for an unpretty thing; just based on the sound, wouldn’t Malice make a nice name? ROXIE HART. MILLINERY, because my late grandma worked for a milliner as a young woman. CEREBRAL!
New to me: [Savory dish of Lancashire embraced by Catholics as a Friday meal option], BUTTER PIE. Apparently it’s a potato and onion sort of pie.
Four stars from me.
AVCX: Nice theme! However, that AESIR/CUTMEN/CANTAB/TAORMINA section was pretty rough.
I got frustrated trying to figure out how the theme worked, even trying to put rebuses in the “unchecked” squares. I should have set the puzzle aside. Maybe I would have figured out the theme on my own.
I lucked out guessing TAORMINA. I don’t know anything about it, but it fit whatever letters had in the grid.
I’ve seen CANTAB in a few grids in the last month or so. Both times, it was clued in part as a Harvard graduate. (It’s short for “Cantabrigian,” someone from Cambridge.) I assume the aluminum can clue was an attempt to update that, though I have always called those “pull tabs” or “pop tops.”
Except for the theme answers, the puzzle seemed easy to me.
Recap of the AV Club crossword omitted the fact that the uncrossed letters spell out WORM HOLE.
And it reminds me that this puzzle reminded me of a favorite LAT from a few years ago. Answers like USS Enterprise and Millennium Falcon went into a wormhole in the top of the grid and came out the other end in the bottom of the grid.
Maybe I liked it better than today’s AVXC because I got the trick.
I want the space-time of CLOSET SPACE and “TIME BANDITS” to be relevant to the theme, too.