Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “A Lack of Publicity” — two key letters are missing. – Erin’s write-up
Hello lovelies! This week’s Jonesin’ theme involves cutting out public relations by removing the initial PR from some phrases and allowing hilarity to ensue.
- 20a. [Emptying and refilling freezer trays, perhaps?] ICE ADJUSTMENT (PRICE ADJUSTMENT)
- 25a. [Headline about an exonerated kitchen appliance?] OVEN INNOCENT (PROVEN INNOCENT)
- 47a. [Run away, but end up locking lips?] ELUDE TO A KISS (PRELUDE TO A KISS)
- 53a. [Buyer’s remorse sound?] OOF OF PURCHASE (PROOF OF PURCHASE)
- 52a. [Former WWE rival] WCW. Ah, pro wrestling. WWE, who was once WWF, bought out WCW and ECW in 2001. Too many TLAs to keep straight.
- 5d. [1989 Prince song for a movie soundtrack] BATDANCE. Prince created the soundtrack for the Batman film starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson.
- 49d. [Angola’s unit of currency (the holiday ends in the double letter)] KWANZA.
- 40d. [Alaskan entree] SNOW CRAB. In recent years billions of snow crabs have disappeared from the Bering Sea.
Until next week!
Kiran Pandey’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Enter Laughing”—Jim’s review
Theme: Pop culture clowns. The revealer is SEND IN THE CLOWNS (55a, [Song from Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” appropriate to this puzzle]).
- 3d. [Response to 55-Across from DC Comics] HARLEY QUINN.
- 7d. [Response to 55-Across from Stephen King] PENNYWISE.
- 11d. [Response to 55-Across from “The Simpsons”] SIDESHOW BOB.
It’s just a list of mostly-villainous clowns, but I enjoyed it, because they’re all such great characters. I admit to not knowing HARLEY QUINN that well (haven’t read comics since I was a kid and have only seen one film with that character), but I know she’s a popular addition to the DC Universe. In fact, per Wikipedia, DC considers her the fourth pillar of DCU after Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. I guess you can’t have both HARLEY QUINN and The Joker in one puzzle, but the puzzle is no worse off for including her over him.
In the fill, I enjoyed those two long entries (stacked with a theme answer!) in the middle: PLAIN TRUTH and LATE-COMERS. Also good: SUNFISH and fully-named SÃO TOMÉ.
Clues of note:
- 5a. [Company with a famous “1984” commercial]. APPLE. Check out the blast from the past here.
- 57d. [Influential person, in British slang]. NOB. That’s not the British slangy meaning that I know.
Nice puzzle. 3.75 stars.
I debated whose version of the song to EMBED here: Collins or Sinatra. But since Sinatra’s version appears at the end of 2019’s Joker, let’s go with that one:
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 636), “Hi, Sugar!”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everyone! Here is hoping you are doing well and once again staying cool.
One way to stay cool and enjoy the rest of your summer is to indulge in some sweet foods (in moderation, of course), and today’s puzzle is fun with food puns, as either common phrases or proper nouns are made into sweet treat puns. It’s more than OK to have a bite of this puzzle, so long as you don’t spill some of the good stuff onto your shirt.
- ROBERT BROWNIE JR. (17A: [Chocolate treat invented by the actor who portrayed Iron Man?]) – Robert Downey Jr.
- GELATO WINNER (27A: [Jackpot recipient of a state-run game inspired by Tuscan ice cream?]) – Lotto winner
- THE TELLTALE TART (39A: [Poe story about a revelatory pastry?]) – The Tell-Tale Heart
- TORTONI DUNGY (46A: [Italian dessert inspired by the NFL coach who led th Colts to victory in Super Bowl XLI?]) – Tony Dungy
- I WANT YOU BAKLAVA (63A: [Jackson Five hit song about a coveted Greek confection?]) – I Want You Back
Definitely some chances for some earworms to develop after doing this grid (especially since I just watched the “I Want You Back” video twice before starting this part of the blog), and the OH SO answer falls into the category…though I will be avoiding that song since I know it will creep into my mind and linger for hours after (35D: [“It’s ___ Quiet (song covered by Björk]). Maybe R&B singer Faith EVANS (the widow of Biggie Smalls) popped into your head, as it is now with “I’ll Be Missing You,” which won a Grammy Award (54D: [“Dynasty” actress Linda]). How about a couple of different references to Edgar Allan Poe words instead of one, with LENORE to go along with the theme entry right in the middle of the grid (22A: [“The Raven” woman]). Fun puzzle. Now I want a couple of snacks to feed my sweet tooth because of it!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TATA (40D: [“Bye for now!”]) – Lionel Messi fever has officially hit the United States, and the greatest soccer player of our generation has not disappointed, scoring seven goals in his first four professional games on US soil, all for Major League Soccer team Inter Miami. If you’re wondering who the coach is for Messi’s team down near South Beach, it’s an Argentine named Gerardo “Tata” Martino, who coached Messi for one season at FC Barcelona, the squad Messi played for when be became a soccer icon. Martino has had success stateside as well, winning the MLS Cup in 2018 as manager of Atlanta United FC.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Desiree Penner and Jeff Sinnock’s Universal Crossword – “First Look” – Matt F’s Review
Today we have a classic add-a-letter theme that feels fresh thanks to its sparkly theme answers. However this partnership began, I hope whomever presented the theme closed their pitch by asking, “See what I did there?”
Each theme answers takes a common phrase and drops an “I” in front of it to make a new punny phrase:
- 17A – [*Computer symbol designer?] = ICON ARTIST
- 32A – [*The Creator?] = IDEAL MAKER
- 46A – [*Whiskey served with certain pancakes?] = IHOP SCOTCH
A fitting reveal tells us what’s going on:
- 62A – [Astonishing and enlightening … or a phonetic hint to each starred clue’s answer] = EYE-OPENING
What a perfect reveal to cap off this theme. The “?” in each theme clue threw me off at first, but I think it works to let the solver know that something silly is going on in the answer. It’s a bit of a role-reversal: where typically the “?” would indicate a pun in the clue, here it is serving to indicate a pun in the theme answer itself.
Even the most overplayed theme type can be zhuzhed up with the right theme set, and this one is a good example. I thought the theme answers were clever and the puzzle was a joy to work through. Subtle touches like 10A and 14A both using “inedible chips” in their clues helped elevate my solving experience. Hearing “drag race” in a totally different context lately, 6D – [Vehicle in a drag race] threw me for a second, and I really enjoyed that subtle misdirect.
Thanks for the puzzle, Desiree and Jeff.
Zachary Levy’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap
Neat geographic theme. The revealer is 64a. [Borders represented four times in this puzzle — both in the grid and on a map], STATE LINES. There are heavier bars between the words in the theme entries, representing those state borders. The first word each time ends with a two-letter state abbreviation, while the second word starts with one. Thus, ROYAL | FLUSH has ALabama neighboring the FLorida Panhandle. FANNY | PACK has NY and PA. STARBUCKS | COFFEE goes to the western edge of KanSas, where it meets COlorado. And while ANGKOR | WAT is in Cambodia, ORegon and WAshington are neighbors.
Fave fill: XANADU, BANK GUARD. I’m on the fence about a singular COCOA PUFF. From a trademark standpoint, it’s no-go, but if you’ve ever picked up a Cheerio, you know that singular cereal pieces are in the language. Crosswordy find: COCOA PUFF and tennis star COCO GAUFF share an awful lot of letters! Wonder if Peter Gordon has paired the two entries in one of his Fireball themelesses.
Fill in the “tough for a Tuesday” category includes T-SLOT, ULNAR, and maybe a TAM. And this one, which I did not know: 56d. [Actress Raymonde of “Malcolm in the Middle”], TANIA. Star Frankie Muniz was on 150 episodes; Ms. Raymonde played one of Malcolm’s classmates in a whole four episodes. TANIA is not a good name for crosswords now that we’re nearly 50 years past Patty Hearst using it as a criminal alias; America needs a current and significant TANIA for the entry to be worthwhile.
3.5 stars from me. I liked the theme!
Natan Last’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
This one felt right on target for ‘moderately challenging’.
- 10a [Sarah McLachlan hit that lost a Grammy to “My Heart Will Go On”] ADIA, which is a latter-day crossword staple that I haven’t seen very recently.
- 17a [Minecraft and Limbo, for two] INDIE GAMES. I hadn’t realized Minecraft was an indie, since it seems to be so pervasive.
- 18a [Striplings] LADS. 47d [Rascal, maybe] TYKE.
- 22a [“Shut it, __?” (curt request for silence)] WILLYA. Crossed by the very New Yorker-esque cluing for 22d [Letters of disquietude in a Marc Maron podcast title] WTF.
- 24a [One with a leg up in a cast, perhaps?] is a very precious misdirection clue for the trendy term NEPO BABY.
- 27a [Just having some fun, say] DOING A BIT. 37d [Pretends to be sore] ACTS MAD.
- 30a [Woodland male] HART. In crosswords, woodland almost always codes for deer, just as river codes for otter.
- 34a [Word after “Trade” and “Class,” in the title of a 2020 book on how economic inequality threatens international peace] WARS. 2d [Economic class in Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-first Century”] RENTIER.
- 4d [Frames for a Tinseltown job?] STILLS, as in movie stills. But does the clue actually work? “for” seems misapplied, yes?
- 36d [Sleepy number?] HEIGH HO.
- 40d [ __ League] LITTLE. My least favorite clue of the puzzle, despite its innocuousness. Maybe because it’s so wide open?
So, was it too laden with pop-culture references for some solvers? That seems to be the standard complaint with this constructor’s offerings.