Jacob McDermott’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
Hey! Not a bad solving time considering I caught myself nodding off twice while working the puzzle. Not because the puzzle was dull, just that I stayed up too late last night.
Fave fill: PLEXIGLASS (guess they didn’t think “Plexiplastic” would sell as well), a GOODY BAG and PARTY FOUL evoking festivities, “SANTA BABY,” EVIL GENIUS, helpful-for-feet GEL INSERTS (you can put foot comfort in my crossword any time), DARN TOOTIN’, LIBERAL ARTS with a fun clue ([Oh, the humanities!]), BODY DOUBLES, SAFETY FIRST.
I will deduct points for any instance of “AH, ME,” which is among my least favorite entries of all time, and TO LET irks me because signs in the US invariably say “for rent.” Ick.
I just saw a YouTube video featuring a giant OTTER. [Cousin of a wolverine]? Oh, yeah. The giant otter can be six feet long, and it is indeed a carnivore that might eat piranhas and anacondas. You still think otters are adorable. Terrifying!
3.5 stars with the AHME TOLET deductions.
Jake Halperin’s Universal crossword, “Moving In”—Jim’s review
Theme answers are familiar phrases except that the letters IN have been moved to a different position, thereby creating crossword wackiness.
- 17a. [Eatery’s fancy tableware?] RESTAURANT CHINA. Chain.
- 27a. [Bouncer at a wine bar?] PINOT GUARD. Point. Ha. I’m picturing a surly dude at a snooty bar.
- 50a. [Young S.F. football fan?] NINER CHILD. Inner. I was confused for a minute, wondering if this was about Steve Young, the Niners QB when I lived in the Bay Area as a kid.
- 65a. [Contemporary fabrics?] LATTER-DAY SATINS. Saints.
Nice theme that provided a pleasant aha moment once I got to the second entry. I would think there are a good number of potential theme answers here, so I wonder if it could be tightened up. But it’s nice as it is with lively theme entries.
I liked JUST IN CASE and “I’M A DAD!” in the fill. Never heard BALL IS LIFE, but that’s not saying much.
Clues of note:
- 46a. [Silver Dollar City attraction]. RIDE. Never heard of this theme park near Branson, MO. I really thought this was about Nevada (the Silver State) and was going to be about gambling.
- I enjoyed these crossing clues: 23a [That’s what you think!] for IDEA and 5d [It’s the wurst!] for SAUSAGE.
- 7d. [Where a Dorito shaped like the pope’s hat sold for $1,209]. EBAY. I guess I need to be a bit more judicious when I rip into a bag of Cool Ranch.
Good puzzle. 3.75 stars.
Carly Schuna’s Inkubator crossword, “Themeless #48″—Jenni’s write-up
This is a themeless with a mini-theme and I thoroughly enjoyed both parts.
- 40a [Pup’s post-surgery accessory] is the CONE OF SHAME.
- 53a [Joke everyone with a “sled dog” has heard about 1,000 times] is WHO‘S WALKING WHO? Our first black lab pulled like a freight train and we definitely heard that a lot.
Other things I liked:
- 9d [Gender discrimination that hasn’t changed much in the last two decades] is the PAY GAP. I don’t like the PAY GAP. I do appreciate the attention to it. Let’s remember that a significant part of the gap is the motherhood penalty. Women with children are paid less, are less likely to advance, and are less likely to be hired in the first place. And since all women are presumed to at some point become mothers….you do the math.
- 44a [Manhattan summer?] is a fun clue for BAR TAB. You add up the costs of your Manhattans.
- I enjoyed having HORA and AHORA in the same grid.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that ASHA means “alive and well” in Arabic.
Katie Hale and Chandi Deitmer’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 40aR [Staple legumes, or parsed differently, what 16- and 24-Across did for 51- and 63-Across] LENTILS. The bigram IL has been transferred from the upper two theme answers to the others in the lower half of the grid.
- 16a. [“Alert: Yo-Yo’s here!”?] YOU’VE GOT MA (you’ve got mail).
- 24a. [Machines used on a peacock farm?] FEATHER PLOWS (feather pillows).
- 51a. [Really hot person in the cockpit?] MELTING PILOT (melting pot).
- 63a. [Wooden model of an Italian city?] STICK MILAN (stick man).
These mechanical themes based on random amenable words are starting to wear thin for me. I think the field is becoming exhausted. Not to pick on this puzzle specifically, but it does feel as if we are approaching the bottom of the barrel.
- 6d [To, the contrary] FRO. Punctuation!
- 14d [Tahiti sweetie] AMIE. Oh right, French there.
- 38d [Lob] TOSS. 42a [Like some larb] LAO.
- 40d [Exempli gratia, e.g.] LATIN. Cute meta-clue.
- 53d [Bhagavad-__ ] GITA.
- 64d [Flat-iron brand] CHI. First time I’ve seen this reference for that entry.
- 5a [Recipient of a half-hearted gift?] BFF. I’m supposing this is one of those paired pendants that fit together to make a whole. So, quite a literal clue.
- 12a [Encouraging start?] ATTA. As in, attaboy and attagirl.
- 36a [Performed a saut de chat, e.g.] LEAPT. This is a ballet term.