Sunday, December 17, 2023

Jeremy Newton’s New York Occasions crossword, “Get Over It” — Nate’s write-up

Pleased Sunday! This week’s puzzle is kind of the multi-tiered thoroughfare, and the puzzle’s taste textual content offers us truthful warning:

“For seven key squares on this puzzle, an acceptable rebus will probably be accepted, as will the only letters from 122-Throughout. Should you’re nonetheless caught, additional clarification of at the moment’s theme might be discovered on Wordplay.”

21A: CAM(BRIDGE) UNIVERSITY [Where Lords Byron and Tennyson studied] whose (BRIDGE) crosses a highlighted (b)OG through – 4D: SN(b)OG [Make out, in London]

– 12D: BURNED (BRIDGE)S [Left jobs on bad terms, say] whose (BRIDGE) crosses a highlighted BA(y) through – 44A: URBA(y)N ART [Murals or graffiti, e.g.], with

– 41D: A(BRIDGE)D TEXT [Long story short?] whose (BRIDGE) crosses a highlighted (g)ULF through – 46A: SO(g)ULFULLY [How one might sing an R&B ballad]

– 30D: BUILDS (BRIDGE)S [Practices diplomacy] whose (BRIDGE) crosses a highlighted (o)CEAN through – 66A: OF MI(o)CE AND MEN [1937 Steinbeck novella]

– 58D: LLOYD (BRIDGE)S [Co-star of “Airplane!” and “Hot Shots!”] whose (BRIDGE) crosses a highlighted LAGOO(n) through – 85A: HELLA GOO(n)D [2002 hit song for No Doubt]

– 83D: A (BRIDGE) TOO FAR [Over the line, so to speak] whose (BRIDGE) crosses a highlighted LAK(e) through – 87A: ALAK(e)AZAM [Cry for a spell?]

– 114A: WATER UNDER THE (BRIDGE) [Past disagreements that are no longer of concern … or each block of shaded squares in this puzzle?] whose (BRIDGE) crosses a highlighted (s)EA through – 105D: ID(s)EA [Brainstorm]

– 122A: BYGONES [Apt word spelled from this puzzle’s “covered” letters, top to bottom] – Take a look at the ( ) letters within the entries above that the bridges crossed over!

What a building! My mind is spinning determining how one would even go about placing a puzzle like this collectively. The double revealer tells us that this puzzle is de facto about forgiveness and letting BYGONES be WATER UNDER THE (BRIDGE), fairly actually as BYGONES is spelled by the letters crossed over by the (BRIDGE) rebus in seven entries and, amazingly, these crossed entries every comprise a physique of water proper whee the (BRIDGE) rebus crosses! Every crossed entry has a lacking letter within the bridge sq., and its the our bodies of water / BYGONES revealer that helps us put these seemingly unchecked letters in place. Wow!

I’m positive Wordplay describes what’s happening right here higher, however I hope my abstract is doing even some justice to this tour de pressure idea. And to have the puzzle’s fill be largely clear with alllll the constraints this theme posed? Bravo! It’s no marvel that that is the constructor’s twenty sixth Sunday crossword for the NYT – the expertise positively exhibits.

What did you consider the puzzle and it’s multi-layered theme? Tell us within the feedback! For now, I’m off for a number of weeks whereas some all-star friends be part of us to evaluate the remainder of the 12 months’s Sunday NYT puzzles. I’ll see you in 2024! Till then, be properly.

LA Occasions crossword, “Creatures of Behavior” by Rebecca Goldstein & Rachel Fabi — Jack’s write-up

Theme: Widespread animal phrases are reinterpreted to think about these animals considering they’re one thing/somebody they’re not.

  • 22A. [Canine that thinks it’s an old-timey news announcer?] = CRYING WOLF
  • 32A. [Bird that thinks it’s a television show host?] = TALKING TURKEY
  • 48A. [Marsupial that thinks it’s an actor?] = PLAYING POSSUM
  • 67A. [Tabbies that think they’re collies?] = HERDING CATS
  • 86A. [Insects that think they’re outfielders?] = CATCHING FLIES
  • 99A. [Lambs that think they’re census takers?] = COUNTING SHEEP
  • 115A. [Bird that thinks it’s a restaurant critic?] = EATING CROW

This is able to be introductory crossword to provide to a newbie. The fill is impressively clear for a Sunday and the theme is kind of simple. As somebody who has been fixing crosswords day by day for over a decade, I’ve seen a whole lot of animal themes, so there’s a cap to how thrilling I can discover them at this level. I didn’t know the phrase CATCHING FLIES nevertheless it’s fairly humorous (To have one’s mouth agape, as whereas asleep or when staring bemusedly). I additionally barely know TALKING TURKEY, so someway I simply wasn’t the audience right here. It’s barely inelegant that chook is the one animal used twice within the clues (for turkey and crow). Additionally, utilizing the phrase PLAYING to imply “doing what an actor does,” doesn’t fairly click on with me. I get that they play roles, however: tv present hosts speak, outfielders catch, actors… play?

There have been a whole lot of lengthy entries right here that had been used to good impact. RAINY DAY, DOG SLED, PE CLASS, GAY ANTHEM, DEEP FRIES, LASER-CUT, NETI POTS – that’s a whole lot of enjoyable stuff! My favourite entry is the properly colloquial NO NOTES 92D. [“I love everything you’ve done here”].

One different thought: 1A. [Squirrel’s cheekful] = ACORN. Did anybody else count on this entry to be plural? “The squirrel had a cheekful of acorn.” Perhaps I simply observed it greater than typical as a result of it was the opening entry.

Neville Fogarty’s Washington Publish crossword, “Prime Gear” — Matthew’s write-up

A goodie this week from Neville Fogarty, Evan’s newest stand in. Six theme entries have a string of circled letters, and a seventh tells us what to do with them:

  • 23a [Net-working opportunity?] TENNIS PRACTICE
  • 36a [Historical romance novel] BODICE RIPPER
  • 42a [Green Day’s “American Idiot,” e.g.] ROCOk OPERA
  • 71a [Vice president under Richard M. Nixon] SPIRO T AGNEW
  • 97a [Phase of pregnancy] TRIMESTER
  • 105a [Actress who voiced Jane Porter in Disney’s “Tarzan”] MINNIE DRIVER

I wanted the revealer to make any sense of a standard thread: 121a [Furniture for new parents … and a literal description of the circled squares (look on top of them to find this puzzle’s six-letter meta answer)] CHANGING TABLES

So every string of circled letters is a jumbled up desk. That makes for a neat sufficient theme set — “periodic” in BODICE RIPPER and “working” in SPIRO T AGNEW are fairly cool finds.. However Neville has taken it two steps additional: above SPRAC — a “craps” desk — we’ve DICE, which go on a craps desk at 20 throughout. The total set of pairs:

CRAPS – DICE PERIODIC – IRON POKER – ANTE OPERATING – PATIENT TIMES – EIGHT (this one is just a little completely different, I suppose) DINNER – ROLL

Following the directions from 121-Throughout, the ultimate, Birnholz-ian piece of this theme is to see that the primary letter of these entries sitting atop the “tables” spell DIAPER, an apt ending level for a puzzle throughout Evan’s parental go away. All this in a grid that actually doesn’t appear to pressure beneath the burden of a multifaceted theme. Bravo to Neville!

Amie Walker’s Common Sunday crossword, “Gilt Journey”—Jim’s evaluate

Theme solutions are acquainted(ish) phrases with an added AU (the chemical image for gold). The revealer is GOLD MINE (126a, [Big money-making opportunity … and a hint to the starred clues’ answers]).

  • 1a. [*Puff-in piece?] AUK DRAMA. Ok-Drama. Whoa. This was powerful to place proper in the beginning. I’ve by no means heard the bottom phrase, so it was tough to parse this. The Ok was my final letter within the grid after I slowed right down to grok the clue. Now it is smart and I discovered one thing new, nevertheless it was nonetheless a tricky begin.
  • 23a. [*”FYI, I’m a redhead now,” e.g.] AUBURN NOTICE. Burn discover. Love the clue. I caught on to the theme right here.
  • 38a. [*Say “I’m not listening on principle, and here’s why …,” perhaps?] PROTEST AURALLY. Protest rally. However I don’t love this clue. What’s the level of the protester talking and explaining themselves? [Refuse to listen on principle] appears to suffice.
  • 55a. [*Fingerpainted masterpiece?] KIDS’ TABLEAU. Youngsters’ desk. Good one.
  • 82a. [*Pastry chef’s representative?] GATEAU AGENT. Gate agent. Wouldn’t a GATEAU AGENT symbolize the cake, not the chef?
  • 97a. [*Halloween omen?] PUMPKIN AUSPICE. Pumpkin spice. I truthfully didn’t know that “auspice” means “omen.” I’ve solely ever heard “auspices.”
  • 115a. [*Same old, same old Passover?] SEDER PLATEAU. Seder plate. Is “seder plate” an in-the-language phrase? It was simple sufficient to deduce, although.

Regardless of my nits above, I loved this fairly a bit. Regardless that I grokked the theme early on, there was nonetheless sufficient chewy wordplay to maintain me . Nicely performed!

However on high of that, there’s some stellar lengthy fill within the grid. ALL-STAR GAME and PACKS A WALLOP make for excellent aspect pillars within the grid. And hey, in case you have GOBSMACK in your puzzle, you’ve received me over with that alone. Elsewhere, there’s “LOOK HERE,” “I SWEAR IT,” PHONE TAP, BOBA FETT, and EPIC HERO. SKI PASSES and WHALE SONG are fantastic, too, however I want they weren’t given question-marked clues: [Just the tickets for people needing a lift?] and [Musical pod-cast?], respectively. They’re good clues, however the query marks make them appear to be theme solutions, particularly the place they’re positioned within the grid. Very distracting. Additionally, new to me is ON TILT [Betting in a rage, in poker lingo], and I didn’t bear in mind SNICK [Cable programming block that featured “Clarissa Explains It All” and “All That”], which is a portmanteau of Saturday and Nickelodeon.

Clue of notice: 65a. [Like Frosty at the end of “Frosty the Snowman”]. MELTED. See under for some good recommendation from the Most Attention-grabbing Snowman within the World.

Beautiful puzzle! 4 stars.

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