Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Must Be” — I know it’s early. – Erin’s write-up
Hello lovelies! I’m guessing Californians will have an easier time getting this week’s theme. Let’s see what’s going on:
- 18a. [She inspired a boycott] ROSA PARKS
- 20a. [“SNL” alum who starred in the recently canceled “American Auto”] ANA GASTEYER
- 39a. [Her Modernist sculptures include “Contrapuntal Forms” and “Rock Form (Porthcurno)”] BARBARA HEPWORTH. The original “Rock Form (Porthcurno)”, seen below, resides on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, while casts have been installed in several other locations.
- 60a. [Big name in 1990s tennis] MONICA SELES
- 63a. [Tag on some holiday presents — or where the beginnings of each theme entry derive?] FROM SANTA
The first word of each theme entry can follow SANTA to produce a female saint, or the name of a city in California, among other places. The timing seems strange until you realize that July 25th is when some people celebrate Christmas in July.
- 65a. [Lucky Charms charm] HEART. I appreciate Matt including one of my six-year-old’s four food groups here.
- 30d. [Actor Kinnear] RORY. I had American actor Greg here, but crossings eventually led me to British actor Rory.
- 48d. [“Hold on there!” (this is the correct spelling, and I will be taking no further questions)] WHOA. Agreed.
Until next week!
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 634), “Creating a Stir”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everybody! Hope you are all doing well and continuing to stay as cool as possible! Hey, at this time next week, it will be August! When did that happen?!
Today’s crossword puzzle has some anagrammed letters to digest, as each of the first four theme entries start with the same four letters, but in a different order. The reveal answer, FAIR SHAKE, lets you in on the trick being pulled off (60A: [Equal chance … or a hint to the puzzle theme]).
- FRIAR TUCK (17A: [Kind-hearted friend of Robin Hood])
- RIA FORMOSA (23A: [Lagoon on Portugal’s southern coast])
- AFRICAN ANTELOPE (37A: [Serengeti grazer])
- FRAIDY CATS (52A: [Cowardly ones, in kidspeak])
If I only ate seafood, then I would enjoy what so many have raved about when downing some FISH TACOS (33D: [Mexican seafood snacks]). Outside of bass, don’t have too much seafood, as I’m trying my best to find other fish that don’t really have a fish-like odor to it so I can at least try it and not automatically think I’m going to hate it! Perfect timing for PERTH, as that’s one of the nine cities that will host games in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup that is going on right now (16A: [Capital of Western Australia]). Just a reminder that the United States women’s team will be playing its season game in the WWC on Wednesday evening against one of the other top teams in the tournament, the Netherlands, in a rematch of the 2019 World Cup Final that was won by the Stars and Stripes. Speaking of the beautiful game…
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: LUKAS (8D: [Haas of “Witness”]) – One of the premier strikers in European football in the 21st century, former German international Lukas Podolski was a member of Die Mannschaft (the German men’s soccer team’s nickname) when it won the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In 130 games playing for Germany, Podolski scored 49 goals in international play, the third-highest goal-scoring tally for any player in Germany’s history. .
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Alexander Liebskind’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Get a Grip”—Jim’s review
Theme answers are familiar phrases that end with something you “catch.” The revealer is GOTTA CATCH ’EM ALL (35a, [Pokémon slogan, and a hint to the ends of 18-, 23-, 50- and 56-Across]).
- 18a. [Traveler in a canal?] SOUND WAVE. Catch a wave (“and you’re sittin’ on top of the world.”)
- 23a. [Wedding dress feature, sometimes] BRIDAL TRAIN. Catch a train.
- 50a. [Chewy red candy] SWEDISH FISH. Catch a fish.
- 56a. [It may give you access to the briefing room] PRESS PASS. Catch a pass.
Nice. Fun theme entries and all the “catch” phrases are familiar enough. “Catch a pass” doesn’t feel quite as common as the others, but it’ll be recognized by anyone who’s ever watched a game of American football. (“Break” or “cold” could’ve been alternatives there.)
Fill highlights include ARM-IN-ARM, SAMOSAS, and Benny Goodman’s CLARINET.
Clues of note:
- 36d. [Cook with Apple]. TIM. Cute, although the capital A gave it away.
- 44d. [Cherry on the cake, so to speak]. CAPPER. I think most people would call it a “topper,” but that’s probably a nit not worth quibbling over. I might’ve changed the A to an O and crossed it with OVE (as in A Man Called Ove).
Nice grid. 3.75 stars.
Gary Larson & Doug Peterson’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap
Ha! Surely 40-Across is what sparked this theme, and it’s great. The phrase KISS AND MAKE UP is clued as if it’s about the band Kiss and what lead singer Gene Simmons wore on his face, or [Two things associated with Gene Simmons?]. The other themers didn’t delight me nearly as much. I have no idea how TURNS figure into the game horseshoes, for TOSSES AND TURNS. ROCK AND ROLLER feels awkward with a Sisyphus clue. Actually, I do like [Two things associated with the Vatican?] for TOWN AND COUNTRY–Vatican City is both a sovereign nation and its capital city.
Fave fill: CRISS-CROSS, SAGUARO, CLIP-ON TIES.
Gonna sign off early with a 3.75-star assessment.
Roger Miller’s Universal Crossword – “Plane Fun” – Matt F’s Review
This puzzle might have you daydreaming about your next getaway, or, maybe the airports you might have to navigate along the way.
The main reveal is at 48A – [Good beginning, or a hint to the initials of 20-, 24-, or 42-Across] = FLYING START
And also there’s a… second reveal?… at 56A – [Light piece of mail, or a bonus hint to this puzzle’s theme] = AIR LETTERS
I wonder if this helped anybody, really, or just left you wondering why the puzzle needed two “hints” about the theme… I thought the first one was enough! Anyway, the starting letters of each theme word spell out a U.S. airport code:
- 20A – [“Time for a vacation!”] = LET’S GET AWAY (LGA = LaGuardia Airport, New York City, New York)
- 24A – [What a stressed person may do on vacation] = BLOW OFF STEAM (BOS = Boston Logan Intl. Airport, Boston, Massachusetts)
- 42A – [Unserious reason to travel] = JUST FOR KICKS (JFK = John F. Kennedy Intl. Airport, New York City, New York)
With so many airport codes to choose from, I think this theme works as a “tight” set because, for one, all the airports are in one geographical region,
New England the Northeastern United States (sorry to NYers for mistakenly lumping you in with New England!), and two, all theme phrases are clued in relation to vacation or travel.
This one works well enough for me! I didn’t find any value in the “bonus” reveal, but hopefully it served as a good hint for solvers who didn’t catch the theme right away. We get UNSEASONED as the lone “long bonus” and a few 6’s and 7’s that I liked, namely SALAAM and SKITTLE. Most importantly, the fill is clean, and the puzzle was fun to solve.
Thanks for the puzzle, Roger!
Joe Deeney’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
This one was fun! I saw the theme very early. I knew there’d be a revealer, which there was, and I hadn’t figured out what it would be. I like it better that way, especially when the revealer is amusing, as it is today.
OK. I’ve used up my ration of commas. Here are the theme answers:
- 16a [Denomination of most of the world’s Muslims] is SUNNI ISLAM.
- 25a [Spiced cold drink made with sweetened condensed milk] is THAI ICED TEA. Had to give that up when I lost all tolerance for caffeine. I miss it.
- 37a [Pro on the slopes] is a SKI INSTRUCTOR.
- 49a [Coastal resort town east of Italy] is AMALFI ITALY.
And the amusing revealer: 60a [Nonverbal communication concern, and a phonetic hint to a feature of 16-, 25-, 37-, and 49-Across] is EYE CONTACT. I – I in every theme answer. Nice!
A few other things:
- 3d [“No time to chat!”] is CAN‘T TALK. I started with CAN’T STOP.
- ERSATZ is a fun word.
- FTR, I despise HOW R U and its ilk. When my kid started texting with us I told her that if she texted me a request and it was not properly spelled and punctuated, the answer would automatically be “no.” That was adequate incentive. I did allow for words she didn’t know how to spell. When she was 15 we took her to Paris. While we were planning the trip, she texted me one day “Can we go to Versi?” I figured this was a store and did a Google search for VERSI PARIS. Google politely asked “Did you mean Versailles?” Why yes. Yes we did.
- When I see[Spicy pizza topping] as a clue I don’t think of JALAPENO. I think of sausage or red pepper flakes. I suspect that’s because my pizza taste comes from New York. And no, I do not believe that ham or pineapple belongs on pizza.
- I filled in STD from crossings and [Normal: Abbr.] was not where my mind went.
Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Decidedly easier than recent Tuesdays in this venue. A pleasant but minor challenge.
- 18a [Country whose national bird and national currency are both the quetzal] GUATEMALA. Hot take: all currency should exclusively feature fauna and FLORA (1a) instead of people, architecture, etc. Collectively, we do not adequately respect nature, even with the plainly evident effects climate change manifesting.
- 30a [Meat-heavy Wendy’s cheeseburger] BACONATOR. Something with a name that sounds like part of an engine doesn’t really appeal to me.
- 35a [ __ swear ()earnest promise)] PINKY. I wonder what the origin of this is. Did people swear to cut off their little finger if they broke the covenant? Seems plausible, no?
- 50a [Sch. whose student newspaper is the Reveille] LSU. I have no idea why my reflexive instinct was the correct answer here, since I definitely possess no conscious knowledge of that fact. Wasn’t a strong enough feeling to fill in the answer, though, and it was left to crossing entries.
- 1d [Home of Arizona’s Lowell Observatory, at which Pluto was discovered] FLAGSTAFF. It has a high elevation.
- 2d [Person who doesn’t catch the kickoff?] LATECOMER. Misdirection didn’t fool me, thanks in no small part to the question mark.
- 6d [Ancient Peloponnesian city-state ruled by Pheidon in the seventh century B.C.] ARGOS. Is this a gimme in New Yorker-land?
- 16d [Bygone licorice-flavored breath freshener] SEN-SEN. Unknown to me.
- 27d [Rancho hands?] MANOS. Another one where the misdirection was clear and the answer was easy. This characteristic of the ‘tricky’ cluing is in part why the crossword fell so quickly.
- 30d [Star of the 2022 film “Living”] BILL NIGHY. It’s a Kazuo Ishiguro-penned remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru, which in turn was partially inspired Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich. I’ve heard good things about the new film.
- 39d [Carpenter shark, by another name] SAWFISH. The Family name is Pristidae, which derives from the Greek word for saw, or sawyer. Most of the species therein are critically endangered.