Erica Hsiung Wojcik’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
This grid reminds me a bit of KAC’s Monday New Yorker grid, with a wide-open center ringed by four corner sections, though here two of the sections connect to the middle through two avenues.
Fave fill: ONLY NOW, BEARD OIL, DANCE AROUND a difficult topic, fascinating SYNESTHESIA ([Neuropsychological trait in which one might ascribe colors to numbers or tastes to words]), ER NURSES, “SO CLOSE!”, “MY PRETTY,” WILLA CATHER, LOOSE CHANGE, SUE BIRD, REESE’S.
Puzzle felt easier than the Friday NYT to me. Was that your experience?
Most mystifying clue: 32D. [Capricorn’s symbol], SEA GOAT. I know Capricorn’s symbol is the goat, but SEA GOAT?? Apparently it’s a mythical half fish, half goat. A mergoat, if you will. Live and learn.
Apparently I don’t follow any MEME ACCOUNTs because 31A. [Source of some popular Instagram or Twitter postings] didn’t ring a bell for me.
Considering the entirety of the puzzle, four stars from me.
Kate Chin Park’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
I’m short on time today, so I’ll point out one thing I really liked and one I really disliked:
- 1A [Staying safe, in a way] is MASKING UP. Almost nobody is doing it, even in NYC, these days. I’ll admit that I wasn’t, up until three months ago when my dad died of COVID-related complications. I’m all for getting on with our lives, but I am now also for putting a mask on when with a group in close quarters.
- 56A/44D crossing of the awkward ENSHRINEE with the unfamiliar MACEO was the source of 30 seconds of my above-average time. (And as you can see from the screenshot, I gave up and picked the wrong letter.)
Freddie Cheng’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Do It Again!” — pannonica’s write-up
Just some straight-ahead wordplay involving the prefix RE-.
- 26a. [Put the vacation itinerary in order again?] RE-SORT DESTINATIONS.
- 37a. [Follow venture capitalists again?] RE-TAIL INVESTORS.
- 48a. [Hoodwink religious ministries again?] RE-CON MISSIONS.
- 68a. [Frisk an aide again?] RE-SEARCH ASSISTANT.
- 84a. [Match instructional books with each other again?] RE-PAIR MANUALS.
- 94a. [Dole out pounds again?] RE-SERVE CURRENCY.
- 104a. [Procure a new board again?] RE-SOURCE MANAGEMENT.
In each case the author tried clue the entries far removed from the definitional sense of the original re- word.
(Song below is NSFW, believe me. But it’s catchy.)
- 7d [Finished edges] HEM. 43d [Be in a bee] SEW.
- 11d [Prepare for the fair, say] FATTEN. A bit dark.
- 20d [Chin-ups strengthen them] LATS, 61d [Shoulder presses strengthen it] DELT … I could’ve sworn there was a third clue like this.
- 27d [Short way to go?] DIR. First I thought VIA, then AIR.
- 33d [Carnival ride] CRUISE. Ride seems a bit iffy to me. Wonder if there was editorial discussion about using a question mark.
- 34d [“Tastes awful!”] BLEAH. Was expecting BLECH. Bleah is my preferred spelling, but I tend to use it more for describing situations rather than, say, flavors.
- 39d [Brest bestie] AMI. 34a [Pals, in texts] BFFS.
- 52d [Facial spots] was a misdirect for ACNE: SPAS.
- 86d [Nice round number] PAR, 87d [Just a number, supposedly] AGE.
- 95d [Crossword constructors, often] CLUERS. I genuinely thought this was going to be CLEVER, and was ready to opine on the cheekiness.
- 106d [Breeze (through)] SAIL. 1a [Crushing, as a final] ACING.
- 117d [Canal buildup] WAX. Specifically, an ear canal.
- 24a [Modern hieroglyph] EMOJI. That’s how I think of them.
- 74a [Dilute] THIN DOWN, with the THIN part being superfluous. But hey it’s idiomatic.
- 81a [Where It.’s at] EUR. The capital letter and the period give the game away.
Lester Ruff’s Newsday crossword, Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s write-up
Was surprised at how fast my time was, especially since I wasn’t hurrying. Truly a less rough offering!
- 15a [Cleaner named for its “round-the-clock” value] DIAL. Was unaware of that aspect of its origin.
- 17a [Magnetic north, to magnetic south] ANTIPOLE. First I got the -POLE, then the ANTI-.
- 18a [’20s mentee of Gertrude] ERNEST. Stein, Hemingway. 14d [Creator of Olga, Masha and Irina] ANTON Chekov. We often see Three Sisters invoked as a means of cluing OLGA.
- 19a [Top of Apple Records’ logo] STEM. Whereas the Apple Computer logo lacks a stem (but has a leaf).
- 22a [Very briefly, these days] A MO. For “a moment”, presumably. That doesn’t strike me as a recent formulation, or even something that’s more commonly said now than in the past.
- 31a [Human herbivores] VEGANS. Are herbivores still a descriptor for certain Japanese men? Wikipedia has a page on it.
- 47a [Word before “!” on direct-mail order forms] YES, but I first tried YOU.
- 51a [Take a dip] SWIM, 51d [Dipped] SLID.
- 57a [Spiritual reader’s resource] LIFE LINE. 5d [Spiritual reader’s resource] ESP.
- 1d [Android ancestors] PDAS. Isn’t Android the operating system and not the phone itself? Don’t we refer to an Android phone and not simply an Android?
- 7d [Word from the Greek for “milk”] GALAXY. My first entry filled.
- 9d [“Eezy Out” kitchen cooler] ICE TRAY. Are we laying groundwork for future use of EEZY in a crossword?
- 11d [2016 Best Actor Saturn Award role] HAN. Okay, that seems obscure cluing to me. But since I never saw it, the crossings filled it in automagically.
- 23d [No-cook fish dish] TUNA TARTARE. Spent a little too much time wondering how ceviche was going to work there.
- 27d [One of the Twelve Olympians] HERA. Needed crossings to eliminate ZEUS and ARES.
- 50d [Guy in a jeep on ’70s “TV Guide” covers] ALDA. Seemed tough at first, but a few moments’ reflection brought this crossword staple’s name to the fore.
- 53d [Hurricane following Gerda (1969)] INGA. Made the mistake of popping in a leading H here, forgetting that not all named tropical depressions become fully-fledged hurricanes.
Bruce Haight’s USA Today crossword—Matthew’s recap
Three themers contain words associated with bowling:
17a [Reason for some picket lines] LABOR STRIKE
39a [Ice cream parlor order] BANANA SPLIT
64a [Gap between completion and a deadline] TIME TO SPARE
With only three themers and 78 words, most of my enjoyment here was finding nuggets in the clues. I quite liked [Iftar fruit] for DATE, in particular.
Have a good weekend!
Stumper: Those crosses of SAOIRSE RONAN with SPEER and ETTA are tough. If you don’t already know how to spell that actress’s name, you’re just guessing. The R could be many things, and the A could easily be an E.
After I guessed right and finished, I had to look up who Hess and SPEER were. Aaaand they’re Nazis. Is that really how you want to clue SPEER? I mean, I don’t know how else you’d clue it, but if your grid necessitates a Nazi, maybe it’s time to pull some stuff out and refill it? What do others think about this?
I didn’t care for it either, although I knew the reference. Albert Speer rehabilitated himself, sort of, to the point that he was seen as an authority on Nazi history. But he was still a Nazi, and I don’t know to what extent his rehabilitation was genuine.
I had ETTE before ETTA but fortunately knew how to spell SAOIRSERONAN.
I thought AMO was a modern acronym that I’m unfamiliar with, not “a mo,” which was something my mother said as far back as I can remember.
The ETTA/SAORISERONAN cross did me in. I can’t decide whether it’s meant to be tricky.
A less ambiguous clue for ETTA: “It cuts an aria short.”
Arietta, a short aria, and the suffix cuts the word “aria” short.
SAOIRSE is a tricky name, to be sure, but RONAN is a common Irish surname whereas RONEN is … not.
Yes, totally, but having written in ETTE, it’s not easy to see a need to rethink it, esp. after the fleeting feeling of victory that came with spelling Saoirse correctly, which I managed to do in the puzzle but not in my comment.
Fair enough. I have made such errors myself more often than I care to remember.
Nazis in the puzzle: Better than a grid that reminds some solvers of a swastika (unintended by the constructor), or worse?
SAO Paulo and SAO Tome help me remember how SAOIRSE starts.
Stumper: To counter my earlier comment with something nicer, I love the clue on PASSED GO. I put in PASSED early, thinking it was something about passing a class, and only later got the GO part and realized what it meant. Very nice. (I had ANTIPOdE for a bit so GALAXY wasn’t jumping out at me at first.)
NYT: Much harder for me than Friday’s puzzle (it took me three times as long to solve).
The SW corner almost did me in. I don’t recall ever hearing Capricorn called the SEA GOAT, MEME ACCOUNT is new to me, and it took forever to see MY PRETTY. I probably typed TEPID about five times before I finally got the crosses to work.
KATANA was a gimme, and I was pretty sure about THANKS.
Ah, well. At least the rest of the puzzle solved smoothly.
WSJ 88d – Whopper request – NO CHEESE. The default Whopper doesn’t have cheese. It has to be added. I recall adding, “with cheese” to my orders so many years ago.
NYT was the same as Friday for me. MEME ACCOUNT was new to me, too. LLANOS is one of those words I relearn over and over. And now I want to read Alexander’s Bridge, since I’ve only read Death Comes for the Archbishop, being in New Mexico and all.
The Stumper was going so smoothly until I got to the SE. ELI was the only thing east of TSG and south of SAOIRSE RONAN (I got bit by ETTe/RONeN). I floundered around down there far too long. I don’t know why I resisted putting IAN in at the end of 43D for so long – once I did, SYRIAN seemed obvious and GARP came to mind, then ALDA which was a LIFELINE for finishing. INes before INGA didn’t help much. And who knew Galileo ever took his eyes off the skies long enough to drink WINE?!
NYT … I was about 6% faster completing today’s puzzle than I was yesterday’s. Like others, I struggled with the SEA GOAT/SYNESTHESIA cross (my last letter in the grid). I don’t think I’ve ever heard that Capricorn has anything to do with the sea.
Stella, I’m sorry for your loss. All the best to you and your family.
Stumper: On 11D: I had never heard of the Saturn Awards, but I was curious and looked them up just now. Turns out the clue is factually incorrect: Harrison Ford won the *2015* Best Actor award, not 2016 as stated in the clue. Obvs wouldn’t have mattered to my solve, but still.
Stumper: About 10 minutes faster than the NYT — possibly the quickest I’ve ever solved a Stumper. I’m sure I was helped by having seen PDA and SAOIRSE RONAN here before I started, but I’m pretty sure I would have gotten those anyway.
It was the little stuff that I initially got wrong, like Hurricane INes and “little” ETnA. And when Chekhov didn’t fit, it never occurred to me to try ANTON until I had three or four letters from the crosses.
Re Stumper: The National Hurricane Center shows “Holly” was the hurricane after “Gerda” in 1969 (reached hurricane status on 9/15/1969). But I guess Mr. Newman’s clue didn’t specify the hurricane “immediately” following Gerda (1969).
This seems like a clue similar to “Name related to ____.” There were 5 named hurricanes “following Gerda” in 1969.