Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “An Easy Puzzle” — some similar similes. – Erin’s write-up
Hello lovelies! We have another Mystery Clue puzzle this week. Let’s see what’s going on:
- 20a. [Mystery clue 1] ALIAS NETWORK
- 33a. [With 43-Across, [Mystery Clue 2]] NUMBER AFTER THE
- 43a. [See 33-Across] TAKING OF PELHAM
- 57a. [Mystery Clue 3] BAKED DESSERT
So Alias aired on ABC, the 2009 movie was The Taking of Pelham 123, and the baked dessert Matt’s looking for hereis PIE. Combine this list of answers with the puzzle title and blurb, and we get three possibilities to complete the simile “Easy as ___.”
- 16a. [Hack-a-Shaq target] O’NEAL. This strategy involves intentionally fouling basketball players who are bad at free throws.
- 63d. [“Extraordinary Attorney ___” (Korean Netflix show] WOO. Park Eun-bin stars as a new attorney with autism and photographic memory and details how she makes a name for herself while dealing with discrimination.
Until next week!
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 644), “It’s Payback* Time!”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everybody! Welcome to fall! Here is hoping all of you are doing well today!
If you solved the puzzle without looking at its title, it might have been hard to spot what the theme was, especially given that there was no reveal answer inside of the grid. Reading the title brings everything together, as the answer to each of the starred clues is an multiple-word entry in which the last word can also come before the word “pay.”
- STOLEN BASE (17A: [*Wrigley Field heist])
- ON MERIT (40A: [*One method of being considered for a promotion])
- CANDY APPLE (64A: [*Sticky street fair treat on a stick])
- THIS IS SICK (11D: [*Phrase that can mean “Awful!” or “Awesome!”])
- MOCK COMBAT (29D: [*Staged battle where no harm is intended])
Halloween will soon be upon us, and there surely is a chance to see NORMAN/Anthony Perkins again on a re-air of Psycho on TCM during its tribute to the scariest characters movies and portrayals (18D: [Bates of “Psycho”]). I’m all about anything Vincent Price is in during that block. Nice to know the bit of information included in the clue for the oft-used MHOS (16A: [Electrical units (now named siemens)]). Worst part about the cooler weather coming in is making sure my body stays as TONED as it got during the summer when running on a daily basis and drinking enormous amounts of water and Crystal Light (Firmed up, as muscles]). It’s been raw, the past couple of days here weatherwise, as we’ve felt the remnants of Ophelia on the EAST coast (54A: [Sunrise direction]). Clear weather with temps in the mid-60s are coming this way in the next couple of days, so definitely can’t wait for that … especially since I’ll be outside most of the week watching baseball games.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: RATS (69A: [“Phooey!”]) – If you followed the Florida Panthers’ run to the Stanley Cup Final this past spring, you would have seen that fans would throw plastic rats onto the ice when the team won a home playoff game. What the heck is that about? Well, it goes back to 1995, when former Panther player Scott Mellanby used a stick to kill a rat in the locker room before the season opener, then scored two goals using that same stick. The story got out, the team made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final that season, and fans threw plastic rats onto the ice after every goal. New rules were implemented to prevent delays associated with the cleanup of the rats, but the fake rodents have made appearances here and there since … including during last year’s magical run to the championship round.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Laura Effinger-Dean’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Treasure Hunting”—Jim’s review
Theme answers are familiar(ish) phrases with a HIDDEN IDOL (57a, [Valuable find on “Survivor,” and a hint to this puzzle’s theme]).
- 17a. [Currency on which Elizabeth II’s image was replaced with local wildlife in 2013] FIJI DOLLAR. I couldn’t have told you what the currency of Fiji was, but I like that clue!
- 24a. [Super Bowl champions in 1973 and 1974] MIAMI DOLPHINS. Were those the last times? Yikes.
- 47a. [LeAnn Rimes song on the “Coyote Ugly” soundtrack] “BUT I DO LOVE YOU.” Not familiar with the song, but it wasn’t hard to parse out.
Solid hidden word theme. I don’t think I’ve ever watched an episode of Survivor, so the revealer wasn’t a familiar phrase to me. But it’s a key part of the show, so it makes for a good theme basis.
Nice long fill with PAJAMA TOP, MISGUIDED, EROTICA, “AM I LATE?,” KER-PLOPS, and MS. PAC-MAN. Having only four theme answers gives plenty of breathing room, and our constructor took good advantage of that.
Clues of note:
- 42a. [“Tik Tok” singer]. KESHA. Not to be confused with TikTok the social media app or Tik-Tok, L. Frank Baum’s mechanical man.
- 41d. [Program listing?]. CODE. Nice trickeration there.
Solid theme, good fill. And a debut! Congrats! 3.75 stars.
Shannon Rapp & Rebecca Goldstein’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap
Theme revealer is 38a. [Dietary network in an ecosystem … or a punny hint to the answers to the starred clues], FOOD WEB. The themers are tech terms that begin with foods:
- 17a. [*Program that detects junk emails], SPAM FILTER.
- 23a. [*Slang term for convoluted and unstructured computer programming]. SPAGHETTI CODE. Not a term I knew.
- 49a. [*Online icon comprised of three parallel horizontal lines, familiarly], HAMBURGER MENU. This one I knew, from work, but I dispute the logic of calling three flat lines of equal thickness a “hamburger.”
- 60a. [*Download that may improve streaming lags], JAVA UPDATE.
Here’s a spamghetti “recipe” for you–you’ll need a pound of pasta, a can of Spam, and a jar of spaghetti sauce, sounds pretty gourmet.
Fave fill: HAD A HUNCH, SALAD BARS, “I’LL BE FINE,” STEPDAD.
You know what’s bugged me for decades? These NYT puzzles that clue AVES as [Street crossers: Abbr.], as if it’s universal that “streets” and “avenues” are always perpendicular to one another. Looking at one little section of downtown Chicago (Streeterville and River North), you find Grand Ave. crossing Wabash Ave., and Huron St. crossing St. Clair St. Is this a rule in NYC, that streets go one way and avenues are perpendicular?
A little surprised to find ONE-L in a Tuesday puzzle.
3.5 stars from me. Your mileage may certainly vary, but the theme didn’t particularly grab me.
Doug Peterson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
I noticed the pattern in the theme answers and figured there’d be a cutesy revealer. I was right. Well-pitched for a Tuesday!
- 14a [*Like birdies and eagles] is UNDER PAR.
- 23a [*Expert in community development] is an URBAN PLANNER.
- 40a [*Published of scholarly journals] is a UNIVERSITY PRESS.
- 53a [*India’s most populous state] is UTTAR PRADESH.
And the revealer: 70a [Presumptuous newcomers, and what the answers to the starred clues literally have] is UPSTARTS. Each themer starts with U P. Nice!
A few other things:
- Who decided that ODOR is an [Off-putting smell]? SCENT is good, ODOR is bad.
- 4a [Generic dog name] is FIDO. I suspect I’m not the only one who started with SPOT.
- 16a [“Tres chic!”] is OO LA LA. I always thought that was more “sexy!” than “chic.”
- I gather CATAN dropped the “Settlers of” from the name.
- AND is not a very interesting entry; a clue like [“Is there more?”] makes it a bit more enjoyable.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that AARON Paul was in “Breaking Bad.” I had to look him up to figure out which was his first name.
Brooke Husic’s USA Today Crossword, “Inner Nerd” — Sophia’s recap
Editor: Amanda Rafkin
Theme: Each theme answer contains the string “NERD”.
- 16a [Candlelit meal, perhaps] – DINNER DATE
- 36a [Salsa or tango, for example] – PARTNER DANCE
- 57a [Met Gala outfit, often] – DESIGNER DRESS
Solid theme/title and a great theme set to go with it! Interestingly I had already been thinking about the word “partner” after seeing the clue [Romantic “other half”] (turned out to be SPOUSE), and then PARTNER DANCE was right beneath it. It’s fun that both DINNER DATE and DESIGNER DRESS are alliterative, too.
Fill highlights: ART SCENE, ESPRESSO, BODY JEWELRY, BEAN CURD
Clue highlights: [Insect with a species that’s all female] for ANT, [“King of the jungle” that doesn’t actually live in jungles] for LION
New to me: [“Solo: A Star Wars Story” actress Kellyman] for ERIN
Evan Kalish’s Universal Crossword – “Animated Discussion” – Matt F’s Review
It’s an anagram theme you didn’t see coming! (More on that later). In case you got to the end like I did without seeing the pattern, we have a helpful reveal to shed light on what’s going on:
- 60A – [Engender public controversy, or a hint to the word scrambled in each starred clue’s answer] = STIR DEBATE
The remaining theme answers contain the string D-E-B-A-T-E in some “stirred” order:
- 17A – [Put some bucks on the Bucks, maybe] = PLACED A BET
- 25A – [Oscar nominee for “Network”] = ED BEATTY
- 37A – [Cover that gets plugged in] = HEATED BLANKET
- 50A – [Process by which a neutron might become a proton] = BETA DECAY
As I alluded to above, it’s unusual for Universal to run an anagram puzzle without a major tip-off to the solver, such as circled letters or even hints in the clue like, “see letters 7-12 in this answer.” To that end, today’s reveal provide a nice “aha” and a reason to look back at the grid to see what was going on in the theme answers. I think I prefer a puzzle like this that does not blatantly tip its hand to the solver. A nice change of pace in my opinion.
Clean grid with some fun bonuses, too: IS THAT OK, ALWAYS ON, STARGAZER, and SERIES ARC are all great.
Thanks for the puzzle, Evan!