Catherine Cetta’s New York Times crossword — Sophia’s write-up
Today’s theme is SAY CHEESE, where types of cheese are arranged in arcs resembling smiles. We have CREAM, EDAM, FETA, SWISS, and BLUE, which is a good amount of thematic material! There are no true “theme” answers because of the layout, but a lot of answers are constrained by the stacked answers, so Catherine did a good job keeping the grid as clean as she did. FACETIMED, GROUP HUG, and RAISES HELL are all standout entries. I’ve also been watching a lot of old “Project Runway” seasons recently, and I liked that CARRY ON reminded me of Tim Gunn’s catchphrase.
The lack of longer theme answers – or really, longer answers at all – helped me speed through this grid, finishing much faster than usual. There was very little here that held me up at all – I’m curious if that was true for other folks as well. Is DIET POP a thing people say? I’m from the pacific northwest, so we already say “soda” rather than “pop”, but even while I was in the midwest for college I don’t remember hearing it. Anyways, it took me a while to get the second half of that answer. I also didn’t know that Thomas Jefferson’s religious belief was DEISM, but that was quickly uncovered by crosses.
Happy Monday all!
Lynn Lempel’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Stockholders”—Jim’s review
Homes for critters are found at the beginnings of familiar phrases. The revealer is ANIMAL HOUSE (57a, [Raucous frat film, and a hint to the starts of the other four long Across answers]).
- 17a. [Lure for baseball buffs] COOPERSTOWN.
- 24a. [Manual for writers] STYLE GUIDE.
- 38a. [Emperor groups in Antarctica] PENGUIN COLONIES.
- 46a. [Mayberry’s deputy on 1960s TV] BARNEY FIFE.
A light theme, to be sure, but perfectly apt for a Monday. I certainly needed the revealer to make sense of it. I was thrown off for half a beat upon getting to the revealer and going back and seeing PENGUIN. I think it would have been a touch nicer if there weren’t any animals in the theme entries. PENCIL SHARPENER would’ve done the trick.
Lynn’s a veteran at making clean Monday puzzles, and this one’s no exception. Fill highlights include FRONTLINE and CIVIL SUIT.
Clues of note:
- 31a. [Rocker Van Halen]. ALEX. I only know lead guitarist Eddie, so I needed the crossings to get his brother the drummer.
- 39d. [In a bad way (and also an Italian espresso brand)]. ILLY. Funny looking word, but I will admit to having some of their espresso in the house.
- 46d. [Interest-free?]. BORED. Nice clue.
- 59d. [Savings plan for srs.]. IRA. Hmm. The savings plan is really for everyone.
Straightforward, but solid grid. 3.5 stars.
Katie Hale’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
Here’s a simple theme elevated by its newsy relevance: King Charles III’s coronation day was Saturday, and of course Saturdays are for themelesses, not for easy Monday themes, but two days later works. 24D [Some sparklers at King Charles III’s coronation, and a literal feature of 3-, 7-, and 22-Down?] is CROWN JEWELS. This means that each theme entry is “crowned” with a type of gemstone, and the theme has to be done in the Downs rather than in the more typical Acrosses so that the gemstone word is literally on top of, or “crowning,” the theme phrase.
- 3D [Rolling Stones song that inspired a restaurant name] is RUBY TUESDAY.
- 7D [Aromatic bulbs in coq au vin] is PEARL ONIONS.
- 22D [Nickname for Ireland] is EMERALD ISLE.
The grid is smooth, with a minimum of proper nouns and more 6- and 7-letter entries than one usually gets on a Monday. I like!
Taylor Johnson’s Universal crossword, “Movable Type” — pannonica’s write-up
This crossword has two-part instructions regarding its theme. There’s a quasi-revealer at the end, and we’re also advised which letters to anagram in the other answers.
- 65aR [Musical movement? … or a theme hint] KEY CHANGE.
- 17a. [Creative community (in this answer, anagram letters 2–8)] ART COLONY (control).
- 25a. [Not spill the beans, say (… letters 3–8)] KEEP A SECRET (space).
- 39a. [Mexican foods that may be topped with a slaw (… letters 1–5)] FISH TACO (shift).
- 54a. [Despised rival (… letters 4–8)] BITTER ENEMY (enter).
Those of course are all elements of a computer keyboard. Once again, I feel as if I’ve encountered this theme before, but perhaps not quite in this presentation. Nevertheless, it gets the job done.
- 10d [Canadian neighbor of Montana] ALBERTA. In the news, and not for good reason.
- 37d [Pizza layer over the crust] SAUCE. In most versions, yes.
- 40d [Lionel’s middle name?] IONE. They’re the central letters within. Wikipedia lists only 6 notable people with that name.
- 43d [“I agree with you two!”] ME THREE. 60a [Threesome] TRIAD.
- 23a [Milk source for manchego cheese] EWE. One of my favorite cheese varieties.
- 35a [Some are scrambled] EGGS. Not going to lie—I considered EGOS for the answer.
- 69a [Look over carefully or hastily] SCAN. Appreciate that the clue acknowledges the contranymy of the word.
As illustration of the familiarity of the the theme, I’m going to invoke the same song used the previous time(s) I wrote in regard to it:
Liz Gorski’s New Yorker crossword–Amy’s recap
Fave fill: UNIVERSAL TRUTHS, ADAM’S RIB, WACKIEST, UBER EATS, MOVED OUT, BAD TASTE, TOASTY because it’s a cold and rainy day in Chicago.
Unfave fill: EDO, TWI, ETTE, L.A. RAM, and the hideous ERODIBLE.
Didn’t know The Bluest Eye‘s protagonist, PECOLA BREEDLOVE, glad to learn it. (Didn’t struggle with the other names in this grid. For example, PREET Bharara has trickled into my Twitter feed a good but over the past several years.) Also never heard of sorority SISTER BRACELETS, or non-sorority bracelets called SISTER BRACELETS? No idea what those might be, despite having a sister.
- Clues of note:
32d. [“The profoundest fact of the human condition,” per Octavio Paz], SOLITUDE. Did not know it, but I do like literary FITB clues.
- 42a. [Complaint], AILMENT. Perfectly clear if you’re thinking about medical complaints, but inscrutable if you’re thinking of nit-picking and whining … which I was. I won’t complain about it.
3.5 stars from me. A tad easier than many other Mon TNY puzzles, but not markedly so.
NYT: Sped through the grid (though not as quickly as Sophia). Clean and smooth with a pleasant theme. It did actually put a smile on my face, though through my own doing, not because of the theme. In answer to the clue [Automotive pioneer whose name preceded a “mobile”], I hurriedly put in OTTO.
I thought today’s NYT was charming, just right for a Monday.
The clue for 52D in The New Yorker was wicked. I loved it!
I didn’t see that answer coming until I had the first two letters. Pretty devious!
The one that deceived me longest was 19A Charters. ERODIBLE seems an unlikely word, but felt like the only kludge in a good puzzle. I had to relearn the Toni Morrison character and, unlike Amy, to learn PREET. But totally fair play, especially for TNY, as one would expect from Gorski.
I never saw the “Charters” clue. It’s another sneaky one.
NYT: Sophia, I can tell you that POP was what you called sweet fizzy stuff in a bottle in the Midwest of my youth. Soda was something that came in a glass at the soda fountain. But the only DIETPOP I knew of was Tab, which was always and only referred to by its brand name, it being considered a different sort of beast altogether. The mothers of some of my friends drank it, but nobody else that I knew of. That was many miles and many years from where I’ve spent most of my adult life, so things have probably changed. ;)
Also, if you worked in a General Motors plant (never “factory” but sometimes “the shop”), as my uncles did, you took your summer vacation in mid-August because that’s when the production lines shut down for retooling, in preparation for the the new fall models. I don’t recall ever hearing the word REFIT in that context.
It’s still pop in Chicagoland, but I think Wisconsin might be more soda territory.
I grew up in western Wisconsin, and it very much is “pop”. I think folks in Minnesota, (where I’ve lived for the last 15 years), are more likely to be “soda” sayers
New Yorker: I don’t really have a sense of how long a Monday New Yorker puzzle usually takes me, but this went pretty quickly for me. It would have been faster if I had any idea about PECOLA BREEDLOVE, which took pretty much every cross there was. I’ve also never heard of SISTER BRACELETS, but that was a little easier to figure out.
ERODIBLE *is* kind of yucky. I had ERODaBLE for a long time, making it impossible to see SNIDE — especially as I’d forgotten that Javier Bardem played DESI Arnaz.
Just saying – for anyone who did the nyt and the wapo puzzle today … i know there can be some duplicate answers/clues across puzzles on a single day, but today there were A LOT of answers similar between the two: Ocho, Leno, Obey, plus i/hope so, redid/refit, say no/say cheese. That seemed like an oddly lot to me.
I noted the same thing. I do six daily puzzles and there were a crazy number of repeat answers between today’s NYT puzzle and the four puzzles I did before it.
Universal: the review has a mistake in 25A. The answer is Escape, not Space.