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Chase Dittrich and Jeff Chen’s New York Times puzzle – Sophia’s write-up

Hi people and glad Monday! I’m coming off a “probably as good as I’m ever going to do” fifty fifth place end within the Lollapuzzoola on-line division so I’m glad to be fixing a puzzle that’s rather less advanced than these ones (though they have been all unimaginable and I actually encourage people to get their arms on them if they’ll!)

New York Times, 08 29 2022, By Chase Dittrich and Jeff Chen

Theme solutions:

  • 18a [Environment that reinforces one’s biases] – ECHO CHAMBER
  • 24a [Major thoroughfare] – TRAFFIC ARTERY
  • 50a [“Similarly …”] – IN THE SAME VEIN
  • 60a [Precautionary device in a pneumatic machine] – SAFETY VALVE
  • 38a/41a [With 41-Across, classic love song suggested by the ends to 18-, 24-, 50- and 60-Across] – PIECE OF MY HEART

I preferred this theme lots. First of all, the track is nice, and has been coated by principally each artist you may consider. It was initially recorded by Erma Franklin (bear in mind her for future “Erma” clues!), however made well-known by Janis Joplin. Some different notable covers are by Faith Hill, Shaggy, Beverly Knight, and even ETTA James (who makes an look on this puzzle).

But sufficient music historical past! Each of the theme solutions stands alone pretty nicely, and do job of adjusting the which means of the guts elements. I wouldn’t say “obscuring” essentially – by the point I had gotten ECHO CHAMBER and TRAFFIC ARTERY I had an thought what was happening – however getting the revealer nonetheless felt satisfying. Speaking of satisfying, I like how neatly the 14-letter revealer is damaged up throughout the center of the puzzle. Also, there aren’t any notable coronary heart elements lacking, which helps the set really feel extra full.

Given that there are 5 (technically 6) theme solutions, there’s lots of constraints on the fill. And sure, the NW and SE corners are fairly closed off, which is one among my pet peeves in grid design. But have a look at every part else! I imply, ABBEY ROAD and LETS IT FLY each cross three completely different theme solutions, and RIOT ACT and LA SCALA each cross two. There’s nearly nothing in right here that I feel is unreasonable for a Monday – mayyybe YURI or ALTA, however that’s it. There are some non-thrilling phrases like SHH, STET, and each OHO and OHOH, however hey, it’s a Monday crossword, people should be taught their crosswordese ultimately.

Favorite clues as we speak:  [Blinky, Pinky, Inky or Clyde, in Pac-Man] for GHOST and [Wonderstruck] for AWED – congrats to Taylor Swift on her VMAs triumph (iykyk).

Andrea Carla Michaels & Doug Peterson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Hair Care”—Jim P’s overview

Theme: SPLIT ENDS (59a, [Concern for a stylist, and what’s found in the circled letters]). Theme solutions are acquainted phrases whose outer letters spell out a synonym of “end” (i.e. behind, derrière, tuchus, buttocks, gluteus maximus).

Wall St Journal crossword answer · “Hair Care” · Andrea Carla Michaels & Doug Peterson · Mon., 8.29.22

  • 17a. [“Who’s on First?” comedian] BUD ABBOTT
  • 23a. [Like off-the-rack garments] READY-TO-WEAR
  • 34a. [Ranch worker] HIRED HAND
  • 50a. [Approve as a matter of routine] RUBBER STAMP

It was fairly clear what was happening with the theme solutions by the point I bought to the second, however I nonetheless couldn’t tie it to the title. I wanted the revealer for that aha second, then all of it made sense. I ponder what a brand new solver thinks when their first theme reply leads them to the phrase BUTT.

Moving on…loads of fascinating, albeit shortish, lengthy fill as we speak. Highlights embrace MAUDLIN, MID-EAST, MASTODON, TACO BELL, FLANNELS, TRAPEZE, BEAMS UP, AD BLITZ, GUARDED, and BAD LIE. Some tough-for-Monday fill consists of British creator Eric AMBLER, SIOUAN (language household), and EID crossing UTICA.

Clues of observe:

  • 44d. [Plant bugs, e.g.]. SPY. It took me some time to appreciate the primary phrase within the clue is a verb, as is the entry itself.
  • 47d. [Duffer’s problem, to be honest?]. BAD LIE. A cryptic-esque clue. Nice one.

Solid Monday providing from two establishing veterans. 3.5 stars.

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