Stella Zawistowskis’s New York Times crossword — Sophia’s write-up
Theme: Each theme answer ends with a way to listen to music, starting from the oldest technology and ending with the newest.
- 17a [Listing of disciplinary infractions [1950s to early 1980s]] – PERMANENT RECORD
- 26a [Tan adhesive [1970s to early 1990s]] – MASKING TAPE
- 45a [Fixed-term bank offering that pays well [1990s to 2000s]] – HIGH YIELD CD
- 57a [Recycling option that collects paper, plastics and metals together [2010s to present]] – SINGLE STREAMING
Cute theme! I figured out what was going on around the time of the second theme answer, and it helped me out a lot, especially on HIGH YIELD CD, which I did not know at all. MASKING TAPE held me up a little because I don’t really think of it as tan? So I was thinking of, like, body tape or something like that. I had heard of SINGLE STREAMING recycling, but just as “single stream”, I’m not sure which version is more common. But I liked all the answers that Stella chose, and they work effectively as a progression.
Other fun things in the puzzle: OH EM GEE, TOM CRUISE, MONA LISA, and the cross referenced cluing of COPA and LOLA. I had [Song syllables] as “bars” at first because I was thinking the clue referred to a particular term, not the generic LA LA. Other hold ups for me were COTES and ESTAB, which felt like there were many potential abbreviations. Besides that, the fill was pretty smooth.
Congrats to Team Fiend member Stella on a great puzzle!
Sean Ziebarth’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Extreme Rides”—Jim’s review
Theme answers are familiar phrases whose final words can go with the word “board” to form a sporting activity. The revealer is GET ON BOARD (59a, [“Join the team,” or what you might do to the ends of the starred answers]).
- 18a. [*Overly frugal sort] CHEAPSKATE. Skateboard.
- 24a. [*Browse through TV options] CHANNEL SURF. Surfboard.
- 37a. [*Celebration of a life, with drinks and dancing] IRISH WAKE. Wakeboard.
- 50a. [*At extreme risk of burning at the beach] WHITE AS SNOW. Snowboard.
Nice. Fun theme answers and an accessible theme just right for a Monday. Wakeboarding is not an activity I’ve had occasion to become familiar with, but it’s to water skiing as snowboarding is to snow skiing.
The fill is smooth and solid with UNDERTOW and MINI CARS as highlights. The stacks of 7s in the corners aren’t bad either with TIN HATS, SCARE UP, MATISSE, and AMNESIA keeping things interesting.
Clue of note: 42a. [Hot Wheels or Matchboxes]. MINI CARS. I guess they are technically mini cars, but I think I usually heard them referred to as diecast cars or just diecasts.
Steve Faiella’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up
A look at the revealer at 62A [Arriving with great speed, and what the first words of the answers to the starred clues are doing?], COMING IN HOT, tells us that each starred-entry clue “comes in,” or begins with, a word that can follow HOT to form another phrase:
- 17A [*Holders of small liquor servings] is SHOT GLASSES, leading to HOT SHOT.
- 29A [*Facial feature of Frosty the Snowman] is BUTTON NOSE, leading to HOT BUTTON.
- 48A [*Theater buff’s memento] is TICKET STUB, leading to HOT TICKET.
I would’ve maybe liked one more theme entry, given that two of the long Down answers (HEAD HONCHO and SEAT COVERS) are as long as two of the themers.
Zachary David Levy’s Universal crossword, “Little Help?” — pannonica’s write-up
This feels like an old crossword theme that’s probably been done many times, but the presentation of the theme answers is unorthodox, so it’s a bit of a spin.
- 6dR [Plea for assistance … or what you might say to 58-Across, 3-Down or 9-Down] GIVE ME A HAND.
- 3d. [Hostile audience] TOUGH CROWD. “Please clap.”
- 9d. [Patek Philippe, for onw] WATCHMAKER. Hm, would you really say “give me a hand” to a watchmaker?
- 58a. [Insurance salesperson?] BLACKJACK DEALER. I’m sure insurance figures into the game as an option, but I don’t really know how.
- 24a [Plea for freedom] LET ME GO. Crossing MEs in answers to “plea” clues.
- 35a [Assembled] MADE. 46d [Puts up] ERECTS.
- 5d [What the 2024 Dodge Charger aptly is] ELECTRIC CAR. Technology catching up with the name, or at least putting a different cast to it.
- 13d [Scottish hillside] BRAE. Probably the least Mondayish fill in this puzzle.
- 51d [Sarcastically enthusiastic response] OH JOY. My only mis-fill, where I put in OH BOY.
Natan Last’s New Yorker crossword – Jenni’s write-up
I really enjoy Natan’s puzzles. This one was on the hard side of Monday New Yorkers so I enjoyed it even more than usual. There were lots of entries I didn’t know, all with fair crossings so I learned a few things!
I could do a whole post of “what I didn’t know before I did this puzzle.” Hey! Maybe I will!
- 13a [“No Country for Old Men” antagonist Chigurh] is ANTON.
- 16a [Actor who said, in his Oscar acceptance speech, “My journey started on a boat . . . and somehow, I ended up here”] is KE HUY QUAN. He won last year for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which I have still not seen, and the boat came from Vietnam, although his heritage is Chinese.
- I was initially concerned about a Natick crossing 16a with 7d, [Cartoon Network series set in a parent-free forest wonderland] which was also completely new to me. They cross at the I of CRAIG OF THE CREEK so that was easily inferrable. Also I read the clue at first as “…pants-free forest wonderland…” and now I want to watch that show.
- 25a [1966 Otis Redding record that mostly consists of covers] is THE SOUL ALBUM. I was six when this was released. Never heard of it.
- 36a [Prank interviewer who asked Buzz Aldrin whether he was jealous of Louis Armstrong] is ALI G. I don’t usually like Sacha Baron Cohen’s work, but that sounds pretty funny.
- 54a [AMC became one in 2021] is a MEME STOCK. Inferrable, and here’s more information.
I give you Otis Redding. No, that’s not Otis on the album cover.