Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Another Steak Out” — they all make the cut. – Erin’s write-up
Hello lovelies! This week’s Jonesin’ grid features some “skirt” steaks…cuts of beef that “flank” the edges of the theme entries. Are two steak puns in one sentence too many? Should they be more rare, or does it not matter as long as they’re well done?
- 18a. [Aggressive handshaker’s quality] STRONG GRIP. A STRIP steak is hiding in the borders here.
- 32a. [Sudden good fortune, for example] CHANGE OF LUCK (CHUCK)
- 41a. [Shade enhanced by a diet of shrimp] FLAMINGO PINK (FLANK)
- 58a. [Betty White’s character on “The Golden Girls”] ROSE NYLUND (ROUND). I love this find!
- 25a. [Amorphous (or creepy U.K. TV character Mr. ___ … yeah, go look it up] BLOBBY. I looked it up. It’s from the BBC One show Noel’s House Party, and please don’t look it up. I’ll be having nightmares about it, I’m sure.
- 63a. [School poster paper] OAKTAG. Oak tag, or tagboard, is thinner than poster board and is also used for sewing patterns.
- 49a. [Home of the world’s tallest building for about six years] TAIPEI. Taipei 101 stands at 1,667 feet. It replaced the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur (1,483 feet) in 2004 and was beat out by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (2,722 feet!) in 2009.
Until next week!
Joanne Sullivan’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Put a Bow on It”—Jim’s review
Theme answers are familiar phrases (in the down direction) with circled letters that spell articles of clothing (in the up direction) that can be “wrapped” around one’s person. The revealer is WRAPS UP (49d. [Finishes, and a hint to the sets of circled letters in this puzzle]).
- 1d. [Yarn batch identifiers] DYE LOTS. Stole.
- 8d. [French road race card game] MILLE BORNES. Robe.
- 10d. [NBA team whose name is a nod to auto and horse racing] THE PACERS. Cape.
- 25d. [“Mighty Aphrodite” Oscar winner] MIRA SORVINO. Sari.
- 34d. [Informal greeting likely heard often by Sophia Loren] “CIAO BELLA!” Boa.
That works well enough for me. Grokking the theme before I finished helped me resolve a couple themers I was unsure of (robe and stole, specifically). I know I’ve seen the game MILLE BORNES, but I needed just about all the crossings for the second word. (Wikipedia says the board game is in the GAMES Magazine hall of fame.) On the other hand, MIRA SORVINO was a gimme for me, so I’d call that about even. I believe CIAO BELLA appeared recently somewhere, and there were comments as to whether it was crossword-worthy. It sounds common enough to my ear, so I don’t have a problem with it.
There’s not much room for long fill with this grid design and the 7-letter revealer, but highlights include KENNETH Branagh, EUROPOP, CHABLIS, and NAIVETE.
Clues of note:
- 10a. [Ink (when “too” is apparently too much)]. TATS. No idea on the meaning of the parenthetical comment here.
- 30a. [Grow like ivy]. CLIMB. My mind kept trying to make CLING work here.
- 21d. [Cosmetics brand owned by Estée Lauder]. MAC. Usually stylized as M·A·C.
Solid puzzle. 3.5 stars.
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 630), “Time for the Closing Bell!”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everybody! Here is hoping that you’re well, and if you’re in the extreme heat that’s enveloping the South, here is hoping that a) you have power, and b) you’re staying cool.
Today’s puzzle rings the bell, literally. Each of the five longest across answers is a multiple-word entry in which the last word is also a type of bell.
- NEW YORK LIBERTY (16A: [Brooklyn-based WNBA franchise whose alums include Teresa Weatherspoon and Rebecca Lobo]) – Two original Liberty players from the league’s inaugural 1997 campaign! Can the Liberty finally win its first WNBA title this year?!?!
- RIGHT HAND (23A: [Essential assistant])
- REHEARSAL DINNER (34A: [Pre-wedding event])
- FOUR ALARM (46A: [Very spicy-hot chili designation])
- TAKE ME TO CHURCH (53A: [Hozier hit song with the lyric “Amen, Amen, Amen”])
Lots of long, non-themed fill to like in the grid, especially the tag team of ESTROGEN (11D: [Hormone type]) and SOY SAUCE in the northeast (12D: [Japanese condiment]). Speaking of soy sauce, how many of you keep different varieties of soy sauce in your kitchen? When I make Thai food, especially a pad cew ew dish (grilled chicken mixed in with wide rice noodles and cut broccoli), I add in both regular soy sauce and sweet soy sauce in the wok. Soooooo good! The intersection of IPSA (13A: [“Res ___ loquitor]) and SPECIE could have been a tough one to untangle (2D: [Coined money]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: DEER (50A: [Woodland grazer]) – Back when he played baseball in the 1980s, former Milwaukee Brewer and Detroit Tiger outfielder and designated hitter Rob Deer was much more of a novelty with his prodigious power and propensity of striking out. In an eight-year stretch from 1968 to 1993, Deer racked up a whopping 1,298 strikeouts, leading all of baseball in whiffs four times (1987, 1988, 1991 and 1993) and going down on strikes at least 147 times in seven of those eight years. Deer also hit at least 20 home runs in each of those seasons, including a career-high 33 in 1986 for the Brewers.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Anthony Gisonda’s New York Times crossword — Jack’s write-up
Theme: circled letters in the grid contain four types of mustaches written out in the same shape that they take on a person’s face.
- FU MANCHU
- 59-Across reveals the theme: [What each set of circled letters in this grid represents] = MUSTACHE
I love when an empty grid sparks intrigue. The wobbly patterns of circled squares promise a fun time and the puzzle did not disappoint. I paused before starting my solve to study the shapes and see if I could guess what they would all have in common, but nothing clicked. DALI was the first one I uncovered and I thought for sure that the theme would be about his painting, The Persistence of Memory, where the other curved entries in the puzzle would represent melting clocks. It’s a cool idea for a theme but I was disappointed that I figured it out so early. Then FU MANCHU jolted me out of my overconfidence. Mustaches shaped like the real thing! What a creative idea.
I’m curious how difficult it was to fill this grid. On the one hand, it has fewer thematic squares than average and only AND THEN, and ALOHA span two themers. On the other hand, the themers are contorted in unusual ways. Fitting FU MANCHU in particular requires clean crossings on the MUF and CHU. Whatever the answer, Anthony did a wonderful job keeping the fill smooth. Whiskers aside, there wasn’t a hairy corner to be found.
Great fill at every turn too. GLAM ROCK, AS PROMISED, BABADOOK, MOM-TO-BE, and even the colloquial I’M A FAN in the ever-important 1-Across position was more than enough to delight this solver.
It appears that this is Anthony’s crossword debut — congratulations! I hope we see more from you soon.
Aimee Lucido’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Not too tough today, although there was some material I definitely didn’t know—most notably the crossing of 5a [Delevingne of “Only Murders in the Building”] CARA and 6d [“Sommersby” director Jon] AMIEL. Fortunately, the most conservative guess turned out to be the correct one.
The only other major misstep—as opposed to holding off on an answer until the crossings were more informative—was 4d [Music genre for David Guetta and Calvin Harris] EDM (electronic dance music), for which I had EMO, another crossword staple.
Oh! And also the minor correction to 5d [How one might feel after a massage] CALMER, to which I reasonably answered CALMED.
- 46a [Inscribers of the Linear B tablets at Knossos, e.g.] CRETANS. ‘Knossos’ was a big hint here.
- 54a [Shut Down alternative] SLEEP. Computer settings.
- 21d [Not available] IN USE. Quite literal.
- 23d [Digs through a sock drawer, maybe] SNOOPS. I hadn’t initially considered that this was in reference to someone else’s sock drawer!
- 30d [Some retro audio players] TAPE DECKS. This is a trend that surprises me, that cassettes are popular again. And I say this as someone who prefers to listen to full albums in their original track sequence.
- 37d [Hard drive disks?] HUBCAPS. Too much of a stretch in the wordplay department?
- 40d [Climbed] WENT UP, 29a [Mounted] GOT ON. Both very simple formulations; as such, they kind of snuck under my radar.
All told, a good, moderate challenge with decent grid flow.
Prasanna Keshava’s Universal Crossword – “Full-Page Spreads” – Matt F’s write up
Sorry, I mistakenly put up Wednesday’s puzzle for today’s review! I think I have it all straight now.
We have a nicely executed bookend theme today, as hinted at by the reveal at 50A – [Newsstand attractions … and a hint to the first two and last two letters of 20-, 36- and 41-Across] = MAGAZINE COVERS. Each theme answer features a 4-letter magazine title split 2/2 at the front and back:
- 20A – [Audrey Hepburn’s role in “My Fair Lady”] = ELIZA DOOLITTLE (Elle)
- 36A – [Final, in sports] = TITLE GAME (Time)
- 41A – [Vehicle on Boston’s Green Line] = STREETCAR (Star)
Not many 4-letter magazines out there for a theme like this. Each theme answer is also enjoyable on it’s own. I had a good time working through this one!
The puzzle had sparkly fill all-around, to the point it felt nearly like a Universal Freestyle. Smooth and flowy, with long spaces used well: POOL SHARKS, AWARD GALAS, LEGO ART, and IT’S A BOY claiming the top slots.
Thanks for the puzzle, Prasanna!
Ed Beckert’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
I noticed the connections (!) between the first two theme answers. The revealer still made me smile. Nice solid Tuesday theme.
The theme answers:
- 18a [*Ocular opening] is EYE SOCKET.
- 23a [*Noise blocker] is EAR PLUG.
- 51a [*Parachute opener] is a RIP CORD.
- 55a [*Fall planting in a flower garden] is a TULIP BULB.
And the revealer: 35a [Facetious comment when turning on a device whose components end the answers to the starred clues] is LET THERE BE LIGHT. SOCKET, PLUG, CORD, and BULB are all parts of a light fixture. Nice!
A few other things:
- Am I the only one who hears the old McDonald’s commercial every time she sees the phrase BEEF PATTY?
- 41a [Alpine warbles] had me thinking about birds. Nope. It’s YODELS.
- 46a [Perches in churches] is an amusing clue for PEWS.
- I filled in NYAH from crossings and was confused. The clue is [Taunting symbol that’s usually repeated]. Not my favorite entry.
- Cream is what I think of when I see the word CLOT. Occupational hazard, I guess.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: never heard of THAD Jones. My loss.