united states today4:09 (Darby)
universal (Sunday)9:41 (Jim P)
The New York Times Crossword by Jessie Trudeau and Ross Trudeau "Rise to the Challenge" - essay by Nate
Our newlywed designers are up to something... literally in this puzzle! Let's see what is happening:
8/10/22 New York Times Sunday Puzzle
– 25A / 8A: Chimney Sweep [*brush worker [three steps]]
– 56A / 33A: SUBMARINE COMMANDER [*Captain with periscope [four steps]]
– 90A / 45A: CHERRY HARVEST [*fruit tree in season [eight shoots]]
– 101A / 81A: TELEPHONE REPAIRER [*AT&T or Verizon worker [four steps]]
– 123A / 106A: PAINTER [*wears a coat outside [three steps]]
- 65A: UP THE LADDER [progress through corporate levels... and what does the answer to each stellar clue in this puzzle do]
– 8D: HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH [Visual representation of the team of professional stars]
The five themed professions climb stairs as part of their jobs, and in this grid they each climb stairs from the left side of the grid to the right side of the grid (depending on the number of steps taken) in a symmetrical manner. So rewarding! It takes skill, experience and finesse to make it all work (especially with that long line of 8D Hs!) which made this a fun thing to tackle for me. I especially appreciate that they let everyone go up the ladder and none of them came down.
Of course, to make the grid work and be mostly clean, there were some partials (SO A, IN I), a numbered pope (PAUL VI) and included a Roman numeral (MDL). Overall, though, I appreciated that the grid felt modern in its inputs/tips, especially with bits likeESCAPE ROOMmiA VILLAGE(a verbal abbreviation for non-binary (NB)).
I can't stay much longer today, it's quite a busy weekend so I hope you'll allow me the short review. Let us know what you think of the puzzle in the comments below. Be good!
Adrian Johnson's Universal Sunday Crossword, "Jumbo Freestyle 4" - Review by Jim P
I like these universal jumbo freestyles. They tend to be a fun-filled festival.
Universal Sunday Crossword Solver · "Jumbo Freestyle 4" · Adrian Johnson · 9/10/22
This starts withDOOZIESand ends withSTEINERand in between there's a lot to like. The longer things really shine:ADVENT CALENDAR,CONTRACULTURE, “I OWE YOU A LOT OF TIME!"TASMANIAN DEVIL, mi "COME AT ME BROTHER!” There's alsoHISTORIC,FREEZE DAY,RARE VARIETY,ROTTEN APPLES, “GOOD NEWS!“, „the fault is mine“ELECTRIC EYE,CREATE,PRESS PASS,KOBOLD,CALVO,LIME STACK,SCANTRONS, mi "WE UNDERSTAND!” A remarkable phrase!
That was the only draw for me.O'REE[Willie Hockey Hall of Fame]. But now that I know he was the first black player in the NHL, I'll probably remember his name. He is also the namesake of the NHL's Willie O'REE Community Hero Award to "recognize the individual who has worked to make a positive impact in their community, culture, or society to better people through hockey."
- 17 [Seasonal shopping counting down the days to Christmas].ADVENT CALENDAR. If you've ever played Exit: The Game (escape room games you play at home), you might be interested to know that they make an ADVENT CALENDAR. Every day brings you a new puzzle to solve to get closer to your destiny. We haven't tried one yet, but the reviews are good and we'll probably have one soon.
- 54a. [¿Discurso de stop motion?].FREEZE DAY. Good track.
- 91d. [Bat Appreciation Month (April)].OCTOBER. I'm going to spend one of these daysbuild a bat house. I think this is the right month for that.
Excellent themed puzzle. 4.5 stars
Drew Schmenner's Universal Crossword, "Gap Year" - essay by Norah
HE:OPEN SEASON 55A: [Time period in which critiques and a clue to the words that frame responses to highlighted clues may arise], giving us FALL, WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER with bookends 15A, 21A, 33A, 44A.
Universal, D. Schmenner, 22.09.10
- FREE FOR ALL15A [*super confusing situation]
- JUG OF WINE21A [*Sommeliergefäß]
- SPECIAL ORDER33A [*Order a custom cake maybe]
- BATTERY BOX44A [*percussion marching band member]
The reveal is straight to the point and "opens up" each season. The clean fill gave me a slightly faster resolution time than usual. It is good that the entries follow the order in which the seasons occur. When solving these problems, I am always interested in what the designer chose.Nowear. a trip toList of wordstells me that the possibilities for 33A are actually much more limited than I expected. for example duringSPRINGAWACHENIN G(15) is certainly an interesting entry, obviously not a candidate for having PRIMAVERA at the start. I would like to see more puzzles that use WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER and FALL and take advantage of the six letter length.
- RAYA39A [Disney character searches for a dragon] I feel like Raya and the last dragon aren't getting the love they deserve? It's a beautiful movie with imaginative world building and terrific acting.
- IOWA12A [Hawkeye State] Iowa is the largest corn-producing state in the US, with 90% of its land used for agriculture. I'll be driving in a few weeks; Iowanese, say hello!
- PLACES10D [Parents meeting] Cute!
- PEA56D [Vegetable pod] The pod is the fruit, the pea is the seed; there are no vegetables involved. (I know, lose the fight.)
- STL8D [Gateway Arch City: Abk.] 💖
Evan Birnholz's crossword puzzle in The Washington Post, "Body of Word" - essay by Matthew
Crossword Solving by Evan Birnholz Washington Post, Body of Work, 10/9/2022
We have circles and Evan's left-right symmetry. Six subjects contain parts of the face, usefully circled. What impresses me most is that not only the subjects, but also the body parts of each are relatively accurate in relation to the whole.
But that's not all - the revealer[site 121a, whose name serves as a reference to the theme of this puzzle] FACEBOOKemphasizes that all our subjects are books. The books, the arrangement of subjects including face parts, and the face parts themselves, which are pretty much in the right place - any two and it might have seemed a bit flimsy to me. But all three and it's a good effect.
- 29a [houndstooth tile] DOMINO. I don't know this game. I guess it's clearer when touched than the Wikipedia summary.
- 48a [„The Game“-Star Mowry-Hardrict] TIA. I filled that in with Mowry, but The Game ran for nine seasons on The CW and BET.
- 85th [DC Fundraising Organization] PACS. Probably "DC" is the evasion hint "politically", which is what the "P" in PACS provides, but PACS exists outside of DC, right? What about non-DC based races/seats? Maybe I should remember that the puzzle is in the mail and leave it at that.
- 126a [Australian "Warbird" of 1932] EMU. A war that, according to Wikipedia, ends in "failure" for Australians.
- 36d [Creatures of the deep?] MARINE ANIMALS. "Anemones" was too long on the first and fourth tries.
Zhouqin Burnikel's USA Today Crossword, "Fast Trip Down the West Coast" – essay by Darby
publishers: Anna Gundlach and Erik Agard
He:Each reply in the thread begins with an abbreviation (the "quick" in the title) for a West Coast state, and we take a journey from north to south.
USA Today Crossword Zhouqin Burnikel West Coast Crossword Quick Answer for 9/10/2022
- 16a ["Like clothes that do not need to be ironed"]GUERRAHAND AND WEAR
- 26a ["Czech-German mountains known for their mines"]MINERALBERGE
- 59th ["Oriole, who played 2,632 consecutive games"]KALRIKEN JR.
I was very excited when I saw the title of this puzzle, even though I had no idea how it would develop into its theme. It's always fun to see really creative themes and I think the fact that we're moving in a certain direction to go on a 'journey' with this is really cool.ORE MOUNTAINSFiller (that's a word, right?) seems to be related to the crossword puzzle love of the word ERZ in general, which is why it made me chuckle as I typed the answer.
A few other things I noticed:
- 7d ["Mul-naengmyeon Broth Cubes"]– I love noodles, and I basically eat all noodle soups, so this recipe that makes a cold noodle soup withTHEREThat seems exactly my thing.
- 11d ["Material for joots (jean boots)"]- Definitely did not know that Joots - bootsCOWBOYS– existed, and again, my idea of theSHOULDs of these things has changed. When I filled that out, I immediately said "yesIT IS SO?”
- 34d ["'The last one is a ___!'"]– I didn't understand this right away because I always heard the phrase "Last there is aFABLES EI!” I love that this nine letter answer made it to the grid though.
That's all from me! This puzzle was anything butMORE OR LESS.