Eric Rollfing’s New York Times crossword — Sophia’s write-up
Theme: Each theme answer contains the letter sequence UITS, thus literally putting “IT” between “US”.
- 16a [Eating utensil with a serrated edge] – GRAPEFRUIT SPOON
- 32a [Catholic academy like Gonzaga or Xavier] – JESUIT SCHOOL
- 40a [“Stop dragging your feet!”] – QUIT STALLING
- 56a [“Let this be our little secret” … or a hint to letter sequences hidden in 16-, 32- and 40-Across] – KEEP IT BETWEEN US
This is a solid “shared letter” theme, with a (grid-spanning!) revealer that ties it together perfectly. There are a fair amount of words with this letter pattern (think “fruits”, “suits”, etc.) but not too many phrases where the “uits” is split across two words as it is here. QUIT STALLING was my favorite phrase here, but maybe that’s just because I don’t eat GRAPEFRUIT, with a SPOON or otherwise.
Fill highlights: MOON ROOF, MINT LEAF, FAJITA
Clue highlights: [___ Tap (mockumentary rock band)] for SPINAL, [Prepare for use, as a Slip ‘N Slide] for UNROLL, [Declaration delivered (or not) in a “Love Is Blind” finale] – I DO (honestly this clue was the highlight of the puzzle for me)
New to me: Apparently, the correct spelling of Georgia O’KEEFFE‘s name – I spelled it with an I and had to hunt down my error after completing the puzzle.
Happy Monday all!
Lisa Senzel & Jeff Chen’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Feeling’ Groovy”—Jim’s review
Theme answers are familiar phrases whose first words are also slangy synonyms for “cool.” The revealer is “THAT WAS COOL” (60a, [“Neato!” (and a hint to the starts of 17-, 25-, 35- and 51-Across)]).
- 17a. [Square root symbol] RADICAL SIGN.
- 25a. [Film character with an army of winged monkeys] WICKED WITCH.
- 35a. [Battle at the end of a level, often] BOSS FIGHT.
- 51a. [Black-and-white cruiser?] KILLER WHALE.
That’s a really fun set of entries. I had forgotten the name for the RADICAL SIGN, but it came right back to me with a few crossings. I wonder how it got that name. Was the person who came up with it that much of a rebel? And as someone currently in the throes of Tears of the Kingdom, I enjoyed seeing BOSS FIGHT.
The 9-letter central entry results in larger-than-usual corners in this grid, filled quite nicely for the most part. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a MID-SOLE, but I liked EPAULET, SLOSHED, BAKLAVA, OIL RIGS, TOP SOIL, and “NICE ONE!” I feel like I’ve seen WHAM-O a lot recently, but that’s always a fun entry, as is CAP’N. LORES is a bit weird in the plural, though.
Clue of note: 57a. [Deer or rear]. HIND. Specifically, a female red deer is called a HIND.
Smooth, pleasant, clean puzzle. A nice start to the week. Four stars.
Desiree Penner and Jeff Sinnock’s Universal crossword, “P-U!” — pannonica’s write-up
Simply two-word phrases with the initials P-U.
- 18a. [Full of anticipation] PSYCHED UP.
- 26a. [Very computer-savvy people] POWER USERS.
- 46a. [Instinctual impulse] PRIMAL URGE.
- 58a. [Home of Brigham Young University] PROVO, UTAH.
Only four theme entries, allowing the rest of the grid to breathe. And it flows well.
- 3d [Conversation in which people are often lying?] PILLOW TALK. 19d [Make a bed?] HOE.
- 6a [Country mentioned in “Come Fly With Me”] PERU. Beginning with P and ending with U. Just observing.
- 17a [“Roger” follower, on a radio] WILCO. “Will comply”.
Pressed for time this ayem, so that’s all I’ll write.
Natan Last’s New Yorker crossword–Amy’s recap
Yay, a Natan Monday! *FIST BUMPS*
Fave fill: “YOU DO YOU,” FREE REIN (which many misspell as reign), SAFETY NET clued as an [Asset for a risktaker] (sure is easier to start a business if you have plenty of other support to fall back on if it hasn’t MADE MONEY and isn’t a CASH COW), BANH MI, comedian Nikki GLASER (her routine is not for kids), MONA LISA, SUNRISE MOVEMENT, CASH COW, plus lots of solid longish fill that’s a little less sparkly. Boo to FUELERS.
No idea what this means: 33a. [When employees might stop working: Abbr.], COB. Change of …, conclusion of …–ah! Close of business sounds right. Never seen that abbreviated before.
Four stars from me.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Washington Post crossword — Matthew’s write-up
YMMV, but this is my kind of themeless grid. Lots of sixes and sevens giveth (TREKKIE, DR TEETH, PANTSED, NEATNIK, NOT A FAN) and taketh away (RUSSULA, CABALAS), and somewhere in the middle (TOE BONE, RESEVERS). The clues in particular are a highlight here, whether color, misdirection, or plain difficulty. I’m looking particularly at [“Hard pass”] for NOT A FAN, [DJ with the catchphrase “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars”] for Casey KASEM, and [Keep home] for CASTLE — “keep” as an architectural feature.
Limited in time for notes: While he’s well into his own career, this may be the first time I’ve seen Luke RUSSERT grouped with his father Tim, who is something of a hometown son for those of us from Buffalo, and whose memoir “Big Russ and Me” was an unavoidable Fathers’ Day gift in Western New York in the years following its publication.