Malaika Handa’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
Fun puzzle! Lots of good stuff in it, and I like it.
Fave fill: MOONSHINE (good clue, [Illegal product that’s still made?], as in a distilling still), “I SHOULDN’T (but I will),” the WET SEASON, OUTSCORES, FRENEMIES, SIKHS, RENT STRIKE, CODE-SWITCH, newish-to-me SUNDAY SCARIES (all too real!), “OH, LORD,” MAE WEST, SCENTED CANDLE, and I-guess-they-still-have-those POT DEALERS (it’s all legal dispensaries here in Illinois).
Four more things:
- 43a. [___ Day of Visibility (March 31 observance)], TRANS. A reminder that this site is explicitly pro-trans and anti-transphobic. When people are transphobic, they are against my friends, against the children of my friends. It is hard for me to be tolerant of people who would deny my friends’ rights and safety.
- 51a. [Protagonist in a long-running Phyllis Reynolds Naylor book series], ALICE. Naylor’s name is new to me. She started writing books for kids and teens when I was in my 20s and my kid didn’t read her. Here’s the Wiki of this Newbery Medal-winning writer.
- 10d. [___ B. Parker, Democratic candidate for president in 1904], ALTON. Not a name I knew. He ran against Teddy Roosevelt going for his second term.
- 41d. [Having rhythm], CADENT. This … is a word? That people use?
Four stars from me.
Noelle Griskey’s Universal crossword, “Just Desserts”—Jim’s review
Theme answers are two-word sweet treats where each word starts with P. The revealer is SWEET PEAS (37d, [Fragrant flowering vines, and a hint to 17-Across, 29-Down and 31-Down]).
- 17a. [Refreshing chocolate treat] PEPPERMINT PATTY.
- 29d. [Former frozen Jell-O treat] PUDDING POP.
- 31d. [Thanksgiving treat] PUMPKIN PIE.
First off, mmmmm, I love the smell of sweet pea flowers.
Secondly, nice theme. I don’t know that I ever heard of a PUDDING POP, but it was easy enough to infer. Now, for the record, the Peanuts character is PEPPERMINT PATTY. The York branded confection is spelled Peppermint Pattie. But there are many online recipes for making your own patties, so I can accept a generic spelling with the Y instead of the IE.
I had a quick look to see if I could find any other potential entries for this theme, but I couldn’t. So having a 15, two 10s, and a 9 as your theme set means you’re going to have an uncommon grid setup. I like how it was handled here with the 15 at the top going across and the other three going down. In fact, this is probably the only possible configuration unless you’re lucky enough to have your 10s cross the 15. Yes, the three bottom sections are quite separated from each other, but with straightforward clues, it all solved itself in good time. And we still get some nice long entries like EARPIECES, SLOW DANCE, and ALLEY OOP.
Clues of note:
- 1a. [Egyptian home of the world’s largest food court]. CAIRO. Huh. Here’s the info from the Guinness people back in 2011, but I can find no current information about the place. In fact, Trip Advisor even reports that it’s permanently closed.
- 4d. [Final shampoo instruction]. REPEAT. I know the old mantra was, “Lather. Rinse. Repeat.” But I thought shampoos got away from that. I checked what we use and it indicates that once is enough. Here’s some more info from Mental Floss.
- 27d. [It never stops flying]. TIME. Not sure I’d agree. Sometimes it crawls.
Nice puzzle. 3.75 stars.
Robin Stears’ Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Puns involving names for Asian leaders—are they honorifics?
- 17a. [Official ortraitist for a Mongolian leader?] KHAN ARTIST (con artist).
- 25a. [Condiment for an Ottoman leader?] SULTAN PEPPER (salt and pepper).
- 42a. [Paltry stipend for a Middle Eastern leader?] EMIR PITTANCE (a mere pittance).
- 56a. [Humble abode for an Arab leader?] SHEIK SHACK (Shake Shack).
Pretty good, depending on your tolerance for such things.
- 15a [Bracelet spot] ANKLE. This is me holding the line that bracelets are for arms/wrists and anklets are for legs/ankles. It could be the same exact ITEM (32d) but the name changes depending on application.
- 34a [Tends to a draft] EDITS. Manuscript was the third sense that I considered, after beer and chill wind.
Not much to write about for the ballast fill. It’s solid and unremarkable.
Aimee Lucido’s New Yorker crossword—Matt’s recap
Our themers are clear from grid design, if the connection is not clear before the revealer:
- 17a [Player known for supremacy on clay courts] RAFAEL NADAL. “Tennis” is omitted from the clue, but given Nadal’s prevalence in crosswords I doubt that caused many issues.
- 25a [Assumed name of a con artist who infiltrated wealthy New York society] ANNA DELVEY. As seen in the Netflix series “Inventing Anna.”
- 51a [“Screamin'” performer of “I Put a Spell on You”] JAY HAWKINS
- 62a [Impressed remark about the work of 17-, 25-, or 51-Across?] WHAT A RACKET
Fun approach to (what I imagine was) the seed phrase WHAT A RACKET — Nadal of course uses a tennis racket, Delvey’s extended fraud (and continued grifting since), and Hawkins’… I guess the sound of his music is a racket? I enjoy the three different meanings of the term, but also generally think of “racket” as a negative thing, so not sure how much “impressed” in the revealer clue does to clarify whether we like Jay Hawkins or not. In the opposite direction, I don’t have a lot of patience for being “impressed” by Delvey, or any of these grifters whose story reaches a wider audience thanks to a tense antihero miniseries on one streaming platform or another.
Those questions aside, I like the theme + revealer idea. At 78 words, there’s not a lot of room in the grid for interesting longer entries. I did like [Result of pressing the flesh?] for JUICE.