Kelly Morenus’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
Cool Saturday puzzle, Friday-easy, with excellent flow throughout the grid.
Fave fill: REPAIR SHOPS (I like the clue, [Stores with fixed costs?]), SECOND OPINION, VENMO, “DON’T INTERRUPT ME,” DISCRETIONARY spending, SOY LATTE, writer Ibram X. KENDI, and of course, the memeable “TAKE MY MONEY!”
FINNS is clued as [Many Laplanders]. Don’t use the “L” word for the indigenous Sami people in that area!
Could do without the comparatives SORER and WANNEST. I mean, I’m pretty pale, but I can’t imagine using the word WANNEST, not even when my cousins and I compete to see whose lower legs are the most pale.
Matthew Stock’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
This is almost like two different puzzles. The top half was so easy that I was mentally writing my post while I was solving, thinking it would start with “Don’t hate me for saying this puzzle is too easy and belongs in Universal instead of LAT.” The bottom half…I’ve solved ACPT A finals puzzles (alas, in my seat, not on the podium) that were easier. All this led to an overall time that was longer than average.
- 9A [Nintendo console with a GamePad] is WII U. Lots of folks say this console was very underrated/underappreciated. I had one, and I haven’t had enough others (or paid attention to what’s said about various gaming consoles) to know whether this is true or not. I do know that Mario Kart 8 was pretty great.
- 14A [Huevos ___] is a super easy clue for RANCHEROS IMO, contributing very much to my quick solve of the top half.
- 32A Another gaming-related clue with [Take turns before everyone else?] for PLAY-TEST. Very clever!
- 36A [Pore (over)] is OBSESS. I’m gonna argue that PORE OVER and OBSESS OVER are not quite synonymous and that this clue feels hard bordering on unfair as a result.
- 42A [Designer of Uma Thurman’s iconic 1995 Oscar gown] I’m embarrassed that it took me so long to get PRADA. Of course, it didn’t help that (see below for comment on 36D).
- 52A [Mythical birds without feet that fly continuously from birth until death] is MARTLETS. Whoa, that’s a deep trivia cut.
- 26D [Computer-based civil disobedience] is HACKTIVISM, which is a cool entry.
- 36D [For all to hear] It’s obviously far easier to drop in ALOUD here than the correct ON AIR, which contributes a lot to the difficulty in this area — when your toehold is wrong, everything goes wrong.
Universal: “Universal Freestyle 95” by Rich Iurilli, norah’s review, 3:12
- ⭐18D PHOTOBOOTHS [Where shots are taken at parties?] Clue of the puzzle!
- 28A SECRETSANTA [One may read an article titled “Gifts Under $25 Your Co-worker Won’t Hate”] If only!
- 32A TAGYOURSELF [Meme format that involves picking the most relatable image] I said this just today in dms with a friend. :)
- 19A ARCH [St. Louis landmark] (Hi Rich)
- 41A LAP [Perch for a friendly cat] This summer I visited the Neko Cat Cafe in Bellingham, Washington where a single cat perched on me and stayed there for our entire session. Nice.
- 10D GLORIA [Italian love song covered by Laura Branigan in 1982]. Also adopted by the St. Louis Blues as the unofficial anthem of their championship 2019 season.
- 33D FILLMEIN [“I want to know what I missed!”]. Choosing to believe Rich is referencing the crossword podcast.
Heyyy another PR at 3:12! (thanks Rich!)
A very very happy print debut to my friend and DCL colleague Rich Iurilli! What a great grid – a fun and ambitious layout that gives us a lovely center stairstack with two great long downs running through it and corners that have just the right amount of chonk for Universal.
I learned: Xiaolongbao 8D ATE [Enjoyed xiaolongbao, say]. A steamed bun traditionally eaten for breakfast that can be served in soup (or not).
You should know: EEL 6D [“Shrieking” sea creature in “The Princess Bride”]
If you liked this, try Rich’s “Album of the Year” – a short and wide midi with a fun feature.
Thanks Rich and the Universal team!
Lee Taylor’s Wall Srreet Journal crossword, “Job Crises” — pannonica’s write-up
I was feeling every inch of this 21×21 grid this morning. Not the puzzle’s fault—I was a bit of a 79d [Slugabed] LATE RISER today.
Anyway, punny job complaints:
- 23a. [Telemarketer’s job complaint?] I MISSED MY CALLING.
- 40a. [Taxi driver’s job complaint?] I’M OUT OF GAS.
- 59a. [Tennis pro’s job complaint?] WHAT A RACKET.
- 74a. [Computer geek’s job complaint?] I CAN’T HACK IT.
- 96a. [Plastic surgeon’s job complaint?] I NEED A LIFT.
- 115a. [Radio personality’s job complaint?] NO ONE LISTENS TO ME.
- 5d. [Doorman’s job complaint?] THERE’S NO WAY OUT.
- 53d. [Comic’s job complaint?] THE LAUGH IS ON ME.
And there you have it. They’re all fine.
- 10d [Rust buckets] JALOPIES. Etymology unknown, alas.
- 13d [Kind of congressional bill] OMNIBUS. When it’s, y’know, functional.
- 46d [Paint solvent] ACETAL. This entry stood out to me as the most obscure in the grid, but the crossings were fair.
- 60d [India and Brazil are on its board] RISK. Fake-out!
- 61d [Ceres or Vesta, e.g.] ASTEROID. Ceres was the goddess of the harvest, while Vesta embodied the hearth.
- 22a [Leaf blower alternative] RAKE. Gas-powered leaf blowers are the worst.
- 67a [Microwaves?] RIPPLES. I like it.
- 78a [Hurt badly] MAUL. 1d [Hurt badly] MAIM. 16d [Damage] HARM. Ouch.
- 110a [Sky line?] HORIZON. Okay.
- 122a [Bloodhound trail] ODOR. I always try to highlight instances of non-pejorative ODOR use in crosswords.
(This is a traditional Vietnamese melody. Title translates to “The Scent of the Dong Thap Lotus”.)
Stella Zawistowski’s Newsday crossword, Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s write-up
This one felt tougher than my solve time would suggest. The hardest section by a fair margin was the upper left.
There, it wasn’t until I thought more laterally about 2d [Grade school instruction] that I finally broke it open: LINE UP, not academic at all! From there I was able to complete the beginning part of 17a [Routines without resolution] ANTICOMEDY. Is MUM really 22a [Tacit]? 20a [The Buick stops here] REST AREA is a terrible pun but also a welcome gimme.
- 29a [No longer under a misapprehension] DISABUSED. I probably use this word too often.
- 31a [Resistance units?] NOS. Deceptively simple. Similarly: 6d [Units of volume] TOMES.
- 39a [Fancy formal wear] EARRINGS. Huh?
- 43a [Main force] ARMADA. Proud that I was hip to this one based only on the crossing A from 40d [Scattershot] RANDOM. I think the presence of the M helped subconsciously.
- 45a [Nursing degree] SIP. Li’l too cute, if you ask me.
- 7d [Block buster] IDEA. As in a mental block.
- 11d [Isfahani, for instance] IRANIAN. Sure, I hardly ever pass up an opportunity to share this beautiful melody:
- 21d [Rank between Scout and Second Class] TENDERFOOT. I had no idea this was a formal designation. <queries internet> Oh, this is Boy Scouts stuff.
- 24d [Link] TIE TOGETHER. Like, say, an area rug in a room? Kind of a big dupe with 42d [Makes fast, perhaps] TIES ON.
- 35d [Name from the Greek for “foreign”] BARBARA. The same root for barbarian. But I thought that referred to beards? Perhaps those ancient foreigners were bearded and so the two meanings are intertwined?
- 36d [One delivering mail] ARMORER. In a regular crossword, this would surely be question-marked.
- 50d [Letters after numbers of refreshments] FL OZ, fluid ounces. Curious that I’ve never seen this as an entry in a crossword before. It’s a commonly seen abbrev. in real life, and they seem like useful letters to have in one’s quiver.
- 52d [Saw around] WAS. This is a Puns-and-Anagrams cryptic-lite type clue. A straight-up reversal.
And that’s a wrap.