Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Free-Flowing” — it’s that time again! – Erin’s write-up
Hello lovelies! Matt is mixing it up this week with a themeless puzzle! To start off, I love the central triple stack of BARBENHEIMER, OK I’M CONVINCED, and COUNTERTENOR. I’m sure the first one showed up somewhere over the summer, but I don’t think I’ve seen the last two in a grid before. I also enjoy [Big name on a cup?] for REESES and [Way to travel from Victor Hugo to Voltaire] not referring to anything literary, but to stations on the Paris METRO.
Now for things I learned today:
- 1d. [Philippines’ second-largest island] MINDANAO. Geography is one of my weak areas.
- 31d. [Often-imitated 1976 movie character] Travis BICKLE from Taxi Driver. I know of the “You talkin’ to me?” monologue but not the character’s name.
- 25d. [Action film adventurer Wiliams] REMO. Guess I need to brush up on my 70s and 80s movies.
- 44d. [Cringe-inducing things, in recent slang] ICKS. I was able to figure it out from crossings, but haven’t heard this used in the wild.
Until next week!
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Midterms”—Jim’s review
Theme answers are familiar phrases that feature the letters TERM non-consecutively somewhere within. The revealer is HOUSE (67a, [Legislative body involved in this puzzle’s midterms]).
- 17a. [“By the same token…”] FURTHERMORE.
- 24a. [1993 Robert Townsend superhero comedy film] THE METEOR MAN.
- 37a. [Open-mic night player, perhaps] AMATEUR MUSICIAN.
- 48a. [Publisher’s symbol on a book’s title page] PRINTER‘S MARK.
- 58a. [Platitude] TRITE REMARK.
At first, this looked like a pretty straightforward theme. Then I started wondering why there was always one uncircled letter within each TERM. Turns out they collectively spell out HOUSE, which, yes, I’ve already mentioned is the revealer, but I didn’t realize there was another layer to the theme. A nice touch that elevates the theme elegantly.
The long fill is quite nice today with STOP-MOTION, FRANCISCAN, CARSEATS, and UTTER ROT.
Clues of note: 43a. [Honker in the air]. GOOSE. With __OSE in place, I wanted it to be something related to NOSE, but that word showed up at 63a, clued [Honker on the face].
Nice puzzle with a stealthy meta aspect. Four stars.
Kevin Curry & Daniel Bodily’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
The revealer is down in the bottom middle: 53d. [With the giant letter formed by the black squares immediately above this answer, what the answers to the starred clues all literally have], TOPS, or T-TOPS. Those five themers run in the Down direction and have a T- at their start: T-BONE STEAK, T-STRAP SANDAL (what is that? apparently a sandal with a thong between the toes, which explains why I have none), T-BAR LIFT (not sure if the word LIFT generally accompanies T-BAR, but I’m not a skier), T-SHIRT CANNON, and T-BALL GLOVE (had no idea that was a thing). I like the revealer’s little trick with the giant “T,” less wild about the precise T-phrases used.
Little-bitty bonus answer: 22a. [Actor whose name is appropriate to appear in this puzzle], MR. T.
Fave fill: NEXT-GEN, ZUMBA, CAN’T-LOSE (tried CAN’T-MISS first), DOG TOY. Surprised to find an ADZE in a Tuesday puzzle, and I’m never excited to see a spelled-out ampersand as in A AND E. Is “USE ME” a thing that people actually say when offering assistance, in idiomatic English?
3.5 stars from me.
Howard Neuthaler’s Universal Crossword – “Delhi Food” – Matt F’s Review
Mmm another food-themed puzzle. My favorite! Today we are served up a plate of Indian cuisine in the form of homophones substituting into common phrases. Delhi, the Indian city, is doing double-duty in the title to tip off both the cuisine type as well as the homophone – Delhi Food => deli food. Nice touch!
Let’s take a look at the theme answers:
- 17A – [Indoor spaces full of savory snacks?] = CHAAT ROOMS (chat rooms)
- 26A – [Flatbread appetizer?] = NAAN STARTER (non-starter)
- 43A – [Logo for a restaurant selling marinated meat?] = TIKKA SYMBOL (ticker symbol, I think? Put on a heavy New England accent and it makes sense)
- 58A – [Attire worn while eating a lentil dish?] = DAL CLOTHES (doll clothes)
The regional dialect required to make 43A work felt like a stretch, but nonetheless I found this to be an enjoyable puzzle. It’s a nice, narrow theme set and I’m sure there are not many Indian foods that would qualify for this gimmick. The bonus slots were well-utilized, too, with SHAKE ON IT + TALK TRASH in the SW corner, opposite ACT NORMAL + BLUE STATE in the NE corner.
Thanks for the puzzle, Howard!
Side note: This may be the first Universal puzzle I’ve noticed with an editorial byline that does not say David Steinberg. This one is edited by Jared Goudsmit. Is this an editorial debut? Does Universal have a team of editors? Crossword community sleuths, please fill me in if you know what’s going on. Shoutout to Jared and all the editors working tirelessly to polish up these wonderful puzzles for us.
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Cr♥ssw♥rd Nation puzzle (Week 650), “Putting In Some Extra Hours”—Ade’s take
Hello there, everyone! Hope you’re all doing well and that the extra hour of sleep we gained from last weekend was somewhat beneficial to you.
Speaking of time, we’re dealing with extra time in today’s puzzle … but we’re not talking about time added on to the ends of a PERIOD in soccer (3D: [Sentence ender]). The names of nouns are turned into puns when adding the letters “OT” inside of them.
- MIRACLE MOTETS (15A: [Choral pieces written for the winners of the 1969 World Series?]) – Miracle Mets.
- AND I LOVE YOU SOOT (28A: [Chimney sweep’s serenade to flue dust?]) – And I Love You So. Shoutouts to Perry Como and Don McLean!
- INAUGURAL BALLOT (44A: [First of a series of secret votes?]) – Inaugural Ball
- PINOT CUSHIONS (58A: [Shock absorbers that keep wine bottles from breaking?]) – Pin Cushions
Absolutely thrilled to see RALPH in the puzzle, especially given that Invisible Man is one of my favorite books, but bummed that I have yet to read Juneteenth yet (43D: [“Juneteenth” author Ellison]). Couldn’t help but notice that the paralleling entries of TAILOR TO (13A: [Adapt for]) and ORATORIO are somewhat close to being anagrams (52A: [Handel’s “Saul,” e.g.]). Not as many sunny days in this part of the country, so ICARUS can go flying as high as he wants around here at the moment (29A: [Mythical flyer]). Don’t know about you, but I can’t see “Icarus” without thinking about Kid Icarus, the video game! Probably took me about a decade from the time I owned the game to learning about the mythical character, and once I did learn about the character, I know I immediately thought, “Ooooh, so that’s why Pit had wings!!” Almost similar to learning about classical music figures years after watching Looney Tunes cartoons.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: KRISTI (26A: [Skating great Yamaguchi]) – Some may have first encountered her when she won Dancing with the Stars, but those a little older remember Kristi Yamaguchi winning the gold medal in figure skating in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. Later that year, Yamaguchi successfully defended her World Championship that she first won in 1991. Soon after, Yamaguchi turned professional. In 2000, Yamaguchi married another star on the ice, former National Hockey League defenseman Bret Hedican.
Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!
Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up
This was a bit tougher than New Yorker Tuesdays have been recently. In fact, for the final square I needed to cycle through a few vowels at the intersection of 35-down [“The Eighteenth __ of Louis Napoleon” (Karl Marx publication)] BRUMAIRE and 45-across [Medieval musical form] LAI. As they say, 6d [“Yikes”] OOF.
- 1a [Where to retire?] PIT STOP. In more ways than one, eh?
- 13a [“I wish I may, I wish I might,” e.g.] ANAPHORA.
- 16a [Genre for Chris Marker and Jean-Luc Godard] ESSAY FILM. I highly recommend Chris Marker’s 1962 short film La Jetée. It’s unique, highly influential, and was the inspiration for Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys (1995).
- Women-oriented entries comprise the long central stack: 32a [Double-platinum Joni Mitchell album of 1974] COURT AND SPARK, 35a [Certain Victorian trinity] BRONTË SISTERS, 36a [Pop singer whom Madonna once called “my talisman”] BRITNEY SPEARS.
- 55a [“Horse Eats Hat” director Welles] ORSON. Deep cut. It was a relatively early play and not a film.
- 8d [Last word of both Romeo and Juliet] DIE. “Thus with a kiss I die” and “O happy dagger, This is thy sheath: there rust, and let me die”, respectively.
- 21d [Certain mark of approval] GOLD SEAL. I waited to see whether it’d be SEAL or STAR, but in truth SEAL is more appropriate to the clue.
- 29d [Settle down] SOOTHE. Mildly tricky. Same goes for 48d [Deliver an oath] CUSS.
- 42d [One-named New Age singer] YANNI. I thought he was a musician and not a singer. Hey, whaddaya know? Wikipedia backs me up on that—so this looks to be an incorrect clue.
- 50d [Conned] GOT. I’ve been watching some films involving con artists lately. Some of them have meta qualities, where the films are also conning the audience.
- 53d [Opening of a rodeo cry] YEE. Quite surprising that this was neither cross-referenced to 22a [Hem and __ ] HAW nor to some notable person with that as a surname.
Michèle Govier’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up
I enjoyed the theme of this puzzle before I got to the revealer. It’s sort of a double-layer thing.
The theme clues kind of resemble Tom Swifties.
- 19a [One known for clutch performances?] is a RACE CAR DRIVER.
- 31a [One who is sometimes a dummy?] is a BRIDGE PLAYER.
- 39a [One who is not on a roll?] is a D PLUS STUDENT. Honor roll, that is.
And the surprised revealer: 53a [“No, thank you,” or something 19-, 31-, and 39-Across might say?] is I THINK I’LL PASS. A fun, solid Tuesday theme! I don’t recognize Michèle’s name. I’ll have to keep an eye out for her – I really enjoyed this. There were a few bumpy moments in the fill (E–CASH? Really?) which were worth the price of admission.
A few other things:
- 2d [Joe Friday’s declaration in the classic “Dragnet” intro] is I‘M A COP. I can only hear it in Jack Webb’s voice.
- 13a [Thin-strapped top] is a CAMI, not a TANK, as I first thought.
- I filled in SEPTA at 26a from crossings and thought of Philly mass transit. The clue was actually [Nasal membranes].
- 66a [“The Simpsons” disco guy] is STU. Everything I know about “The Simpsons” I learned from crosswords. Also “Game of Thrones.”
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that NEAL McDonough appeared in “Arrow” and “Legends of Tomorrow.”