Sometimes when you go on vacation, you remember towards the end of the Sunday of your first weekend at the beach, that you are responsible for that week’s blog reviews of the New York Times Crossword puzzle.
I suppose only very few of our loyal readers will have experienced this particular feeling, but here we are! It’s been a lovely first day, and now I get to tell you all of my feelings about today’s Sunday Times puzzle. We often express a small amount of disapproval here at HAFDTNYTCPFCFA when a grid relies on a brand name to fill in a tough area. Very small, mind you, but there’s that slight feeling of disappointment at the intrusion of the commercial.
Today, we turn that on its head and laugh at the brand names, which have been repurposed as silly clues for the theme answers. For example, 21A: Five guys? (OFFENSIVELINE). My favorite clue today has to be 65A: General Mills? (MILITARYACADEMIES) - yes, it is true, they do turn out the generals, don’t they? Nobody else is doing it.
I very much enjoyed the clueing today, which I thought played at a tougher level than many we’ve come across recently. 23A: It may have desks and drawers (ARTROOMS) is cute. If someone can fill me in on why EWELL is a good name for a Christmas caroler, I would be grateful. There’s something clever there, but I’m missing it (my go to choice would have been Noel).
11D: Help when writing a letter (STENCIL) was not “spell check” or “thesaurus.” 50D: Magic can be seen here (ORLANDO) is not on the stage or at a kid’s birthday party. I also really liked 56D: They can help you see or taste (GLASSES).
I’ll overlook NEWAGEY and APRONED. This was a fun Sunday, and I hope a start to a great week of beach weather and good puzzles!