Adrian Johnson’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
Really enjoyed this fairly breezy themeless. Lots of chatty fill, like “OH, BEHAVE!”, “BE SEATED” (courtroom fun!), “SADLY, YES,” “SPARE US,” “IT’S NOT EASY” (which is maybe not as idiomatic as the rest), “CAN I SEE?”, and “I DON’T WANNA.” There’s also plenty of other fill I liked.
Fave fill: CELESTE NG, RICE BOWLS, LATE NITE, LIVE WIRE, P.E. CLASS, SOBER UP, THE LORAX, and … a NIHILIST.
Did not know two of the names:
- 30d. [Actress George of “Animal Kingdom”], LEILA. She’s Australian and relatively new on the scene.
- 49d. [Romanian philosopher Cioran], EMIL. Here’s his Wikipedia page. Sounds like an interesting guy, and his hair was wild. He was a 34d NIHILIST.
4.25 stars from me. A likable puzzle!
Dylan Schiff’s Universal crossword, “A Little Off”—Jim’s review
Theme answers are familiar phrases whose final words are one letter off from the word QUITE. The revealer is NOT QUITE RIGHT (54a, [Amiss, or a hint to the ends of the starred clues’ answers]).
- 19a. [*Saying under a senior’s headshot] YEARBOOK QUOTE.
- 36a. [*End a relationship] CALL IT QUITS.
- 42a. [*Hotel amenity for a wedding party] BRIDAL SUITE.
I finished the puzzle still puzzled about the theme. I was focused on the wrong word in the revealer thinking that there was going to be some play on the word RIGHT. I did notice the similarity of those final words, but it still took a few beats to put it all together.
I don’t know that I can make logical sense of the phrase NOT QUITE RIGHT as it applies to the theme. It seems like QUITE, NOT RIGHT or NOT-RIGHT QUITE would make more sense, but the fact that it seems “a little off” is strangely thematic and therefore acceptable. Maybe it’s best to just not think too hard on it.
Nice fill in CINEPHILES, REGIMENTED, OPAQUE, and LACQUER. I needed nearly all the crosses for singer Nick LACHEY and I’m surprised that ASMARA, Eritrea, is completely unfamiliar to me. Other than those two sticking points, very smooth fill.
Clues of note:
- 23a. [Enjoy a bit of a sea breeze?]. SIP. No idea on this one. That’s a drink, is it?
- 35a. [Second person?]. EVE. I’m liking less and less the assumption that the Bible is a common point of reference for all solvers. I don’t really object to the clue, but I would prefer it to be something like [Biblical second person].
Nice puzzle. 3.75 stars.
Doug Peterson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Four different spellings of the phoneme /′bē/ are suffixed to the theme entries.
- 20a. [Phrase on a card in Desert Monopoly?] DO NOT PASS GOBI (Do Not Pass Go).
- 33a. [Doll with many advanced degrees?] GENIUS BARBIE (Genius Bar).
- 41a. [Part of the year that’s filled with possibility?] MONTH OF MAYBE (month of May).
- 56a. [Sport whose players wear furry hides?] BEARSKIN RUGBY (bearskin rug).
These are … okay?
- 29d [Myanmar, once] BURMA. Still is, to many,
- 38d [Element of a warrior pose] KNEE BEND. See: virabhadrasana.
- 36a [Nevada city on I-80] ELKO. I of course tried RENO first, so was primed for 69a [Nevada city on I-80] RENO.
- 52a [Bamboo fencing?] KENDO. Nice clue.
Chandi Deitmer’s USA Today crossword, “Sink Ships”—Darby’s recap
Editor: Amanda Rafkin
Theme: Each theme answer includes SHIP, which appears progressively lower in the grid, imitating its sinking.
- 3d [Chinese opera singer who doubled as a spy] SHI PEI PU
- 20d [Toronto dish with rice crust and fish toppings] SUSHI PIZZA
- 10d [Element of the Tarpan ritual] ANCESTOR WORSHIP
I love that SHIP descends further and further in this puzzle. I’d never heard of SHI PEI PU before, so I was pretty dependent on the crossings in order to fill it in, which was not a problem. 38a [Trembling in fear] SHUDDERING was both fun for its length and for its helping me solidify 3d. SUSHI PIZZA came like a sudden revelation, and it sounded so much odder based on the clue than it did once I actually filled it, which made me laugh. ANCESTOR WORSHIP took me a second too, but I got there.
There were a lot of fun things that I loved about this puzzle. 64a [Sounds from 12-Down] BLEATS from EWES made me laugh so hard. BLEATS is an excellent word. I also just really loved highlighting a historical figure like SHI PEI PU. People have such interesting LIVES!! I also really liked 14a [Informercial’s “Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime buy!”] CALL NOW and 17a [“Wait until I give the signal”] ON MY CUE.