Kate Hawkins’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap
A fun and lively themeless in the Friday difficulty range, just what we ordered.
Fave fill: DOES DONUTS, HIT THE BOOKS, BALL PIT, TOURIST TRAP, “REAL MATURE,” TIDBIT, “YOU SHOULDN”T HAVE,” AMAZONS, and “pfft, BE LIKE THAT.”
- 39d. [Prepared, as green beans], SAUTEED. I spent decades boiling or steaming green beans, and my husband also grew up that way. But recently he converted us to sautéing green beans and I’ll be damned if they aren’t better that way.
- Knowledge! 8d. [Only about 10% of human bodies have these], OUTIES.
- 36d. [Doubloons], PISTOLES. So PISTOLES are coins and not guns? From a French word for gold coins and apparently unrelated to pistols, etymologically? Unless there are two separate Middle French pistoles?
Four stars from me. A classic sort of Friday puzzle.
Annemarie Brethauer’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 61aR [Excluded, and what 18-, 22-, 38-, and 56-Across need to match their clues?] LEFT OUT. That is, when OUT- is furnished in front of the ‘normal-seeming’ entries to wackify them, things make more sense.
- 18a. [Pillow filling bought at wholesale?] LET DOWN (outlet down).
- 22a. [Specialized session of baseball practice?] FIELD DAY (outfield day).
- 38a. [Crown, scepter, and ermine robe?] FIT FOR A KING (outfit for a king).
- 56a. [Barbie, bush telly, choccy biccy, etc.?] BACK TALK (outback talk). ‘Bush telly’ is new to me, but it’s legit.
Kind of weird as themes go, extra points for innovation.
- 10d [Silences with a button] MUTES. 20a [Sent with a click] EMAILED.
- 12d [Fiddle stick] BOW. Quite.
- 65d [Demo stuff] TNT. Demo-lition.
- 17a [Compete in a hybrid winter sport] PARA-SKI. I mentally furnished ‘Olympic’ in the clue, which impeded my recognition of the answer.
- 58a [Share a course?] COTEACH. Great clue for not-so-great fill.
Aside from the theme, my biggest impression of this crossword is the quantity of 3-letter entries, many of them abbrevs. or initialisms—32 by my count.
Nate Cardin’s USA Today Crossword, “What a Triumph!” — Emily’s write-up
Congrats! Great job today!
Theme: the first word of each themer is a synonym for “triumph”
- 20a. [Tale of triumph], SUCCESSSTORY
- 39a. [Circumstance in which everyone triumphs], WINWINSITUATION
- 55a. [Triumphant cry], VISTORYISMINE
Everything is coming up roses today! With a themer set of SUCCESSSTORY, WINWINSITUATION, and VISTORYISMINE, there is a lot of celebrating and good feelings to go around. Hooray!
Favorite fill: ANITA, ANCHOVIES, and BLURB
Stumpers: ENCODE (new to me in regards to cryptocurrency), ONESEED (“fan fave” came to mind first), and SRSLY (my txt speak is lacking so needed crossings)
Smooth solve with a fun grid, great theme and themer set, plus enjoyable bonus fill and cluing. I love puzzles when the grid really opens it up for a variety of entries and nice flow—I find it can allow for more possibilities and creativity. Nicely done, Nate!
Gary Cee’s Universal crossword, “Stated Otherwise”—Jim’s review
Theme answers are familiar phrases whose final words are synonyms of the verb “put” (i.e. to situate in a specific location). The revealer is PUT DIFFERENTLY (57a, [In other words … or a hint to the ends of 16-, 24-, 34- and 48-Across]).
- 16a. [Ruler, e.g.] MEASURING STICK.
- 24a. [Doritos company] FRITO-LAY.
- 34a. [Springboard] JUMPING-OFF PLACE.
- 48a. [Repertoire on a resume] SKILL SET.
Nice, stealthy theme I don’t think I would have figured out without the revealer. The choices for theme entries are lively and interesting, and the revealer employed just a smattering of wordplay to make it fun. Nice job all around.
Note that the revealer is 14-letters long. Gary chose to put it in row 13, thereby requiring a set of blocks in the SW corner, but allowing for more room between theme answers in the grid. That’s a good choice (at least for this grid) that allows for more breathing space, fewer constraints, and better fill.
Speaking of which, highlights include: “FLOOR IT!,” ALL LIT UP, and REEFER. I’m on the fence with TV TROPE, I mean a trope is a trope whether it’s on TV or at the theater. SKIP AD sure looks like SKI PAD (whatever that would be).
I also like seeing Admiral ACKBAR. “It’s a trap!” shows up as crossword fill every once in a while, so it’s good to see the guy who says it. Note that the Arabic phrase “Allahu akbar” (which means “God is greater”) is spelled sans C.
Clue of note: 26d. [Pres. sworn in aboard Air Force One]. LBJ. Interesting. I never realized this was the case, but it makes sense given the events of earlier that day. Note that the plane was still on the ground in Dallas when the Oath of Office was administered.
Good theme, smooth fill. Four stars.
Jasmeet Arora’s Inkubator crossword, “Chart Toppers”—Jenni’s write-up
This was a fun puzzle to solve and I finished it with absolutely no idea about the theme. I blame jet lag and the fact that I do mostly puzzles that don’t have titles, because the title is the key to the whole thing. Thanks to Shannon for cluing (!) me in. Love Team Fiend.
The theme answers are all going down and they all have asterisks.
- 3d [*Present condition?] is FLOW STATE. Had to think about that for a second. That’s the state of being fully in the present and focused on what you’re doing.
- 16d [*Cosmetic product with pencil and liquid forms] is an EYELINER.
- 21d [*Motorola Razr, for one] is a FLIP PHONE.
- 31d [*Shell for circular desserts] is a PIE CRUST.
- 33d [*Title awarded in most episodes of a “Great British” show] is STAR BAKER.
Once I looked back at the title I realized it’s FLOW chart, EYE chart, FLIP chart, PIE chart, and STAR chart. Since the theme clues go down each chart is at the top. Very clever!
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that CHLOE wrote and recorded a song called “In Pieces.” Here it is. So glad I looked for this – I’ll be listening to more of her work.
Adam Aaronson’s New Yorker crossword—Matt’s recap
I needed the revealer to pull the themers together today, but let’s start with the latter:
- 17a [Inopportune time to get a pimple] PICTURE DAY
- 25a [Player who might have an ace up their sleeve] CARD SHARP. I always think this is “card shark,” and it very rarely, if ever, is. Is that an eggcorn of my own making, or have I heard it somewhere?
- 39a [Daunting task on a driving task, perhaps] PARALLEL PARKING
- 49a [Move forward with audience support?] CROWD SURF
- 62a [Fail to think of anything … or a crossword clue for the first word of 17-, 25-, 39-, or 49-Across] DRAW A BLANK
Fun revealer: PICTURE, CARD, PARALLEL, and CROWD are all things one can “draw.” And each is a different aspect of the verb “to draw,” at that.
I enjoyed the fill, as I’ve come to expect from New Yorker Fridays.
- 27a [Michael of “Dora and the Lost City of Gold”] PENA. I mostly know and appreciate Peña from his comedic roles (except CHiPs, which is a stain on the memory of the TV series), but see he has substantial filmography in more serious parts, as well. The Dora movie, in which Peña plays the main character’s father, has some amusing gags playing on the character’s fourth wall-breaking asides.
- 6d [Porter, but not Pilsner] ALE. A Pilsner being a variety of lager — lagers and ales are the two broadest categories of beer styles, with most other familiar terms being subsets of one or the other.
- 12d [Sci-fi subgenre that imagines a sustainable future] SOLARPUNK. This term is new to me, but inferable enough from “steampunk,” a related sci-fi subgenre the clue nods to here.
- 38d [“Sometimes it makes you trip out on your people,” per a A Tribe Called Quest] EGO. Compared to entries like ART, LOVE, and LIFE, we have only begun to scratch the surface of quotes from artists, philosophers, and musicians that allow us fill-in-the-blank clues like this for EGO.
- 41d [Effect used heavily in shoegaze music] REVERB. “What is shoegaze music?”, you might ask? I’m not entirely sure myself, and have a general sense from its occasional appearance in crossword clues.