Congratulations to Mr. Goldberg for his NYT crossword debut!
The month of June is Pride Month, celebrating the STONEWALL riots of 1969. So today, we have a tribute puzzle to that event, even though it took place on June 28. Cleverly, the puzzle presents a series of answers around the outside of the grid that take the word "stone" as the second part of the clued phrase. Thus, 1A: *Graveyard sight (HEAD) refers to "headstone."
Anybody here play HEARTH[stone]? It's somewhat like Magic: The Gathering, I suppose, based instead on the video games World of Warcraft. I played that first game years and years ago. But collectible card games have never been my thing.
Otherwise, I like all the answers, including BIRTH[stone] and BROWN[stone] especially. The construction of the grid with all of those theme answers fixed into place along the edges of the puzzle means there are few long sparkly answers in the fill. 9D: Widespread panic (HYSTERIA) is a better entry than OPENATAB, but the term has lost some of its appeal to me because of its long use in Neurology as a way of putting down women's complaints. We much prefer the phrase "conversion disorder" instead.
|My RYE of choice|
The other answer I raised an eyebrow at was ASPERSE. When Googled, you get the dictionary definition, and nothing more. This is my quick and easy way to prove that nobody ever says this word in real life. But I don't want to be SNIDE.
There are some nice clues and answers to lift one's spirit. I like 22A: Tear sheet? (TISSUE), and 12D: Like the words "literally" and "ironic," often (MISUSED) brings a smile to my face. Other fun answers include YKNOW and EASYOUT.
Here's looking forward to the turn!