Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Jonesin' 4:00ish (Derek) 


LAT 8:21 Downs Only (Derek) 


NYT 4:26 (Amy) 


Universal 6:01 (Jim Q) 


WSJ 4:21 (Nate) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 416), “Earn Baby Earn!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 416: “Earn Baby Earn!”

Hello there, everyone! Hope all is well and you all have recovered from whatever feelings you may have had after the Game of Thrones finale! Today’s grid is all about adding the letters “URN” consecutively somewhere inside of common phrases/proper nouns to create some puns with the themed entries.

  • THE TURNIN MAN (18A: [‘Wizard of Oz” character who is always hitting the hay?]) – The Tin Man.
  • TURNED DANSON (25A: [Took a “Cheers” actor out for a spin?]) – Ted Danson.
  • GONE FURNISHING (38A: [“Out of office” sign for an interior decorator?]) – Gone fishing.
  • TAX AND TURNIP (55A: [Line items on a rutabaga lover’s restaurant bill?]) – Tax and tip.
  • FUNNY FURNACE (64A: [Hepburn/Astaire film about a hilarious hotspot?]) – Funny Face.

From the outset, the longer fill was going to be good after solving for SATSUMA (1D: [Type of mandarin orange]). That’s definitely an entry that you might come across in a puzzle later in the week, but good to see in this grid nonetheless! Loved the trivia/historical aspect in the clue for TAIWAN, as I had not come across/heard the word Formosa for a good long while until today (61A: [Formosa, today]). Initially was thinking of some type of bird when reading the clue for ORION before its crossings made that answer of the constellation apparent (7D: [Hunter in the sky]). As you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that I’m currently on a bus going to Toronto, which means I definitely will be NOT AWAKE for most of the 12 hours it will take to head up there (42D: [Still sleeping, say]). Probably should have a ROB ROY or two before boarding to knock myself out and not think about how my body will handle the ride (13D: [Sir Walter Scott novel or a scotch cocktail]).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: UNION (14D: [Labor group)]) – Giving American soccer some love, as, in 2010, the Philadelphia Union made its debut in Major League Soccer as a expansion team. Their name and logo, the latter of which includes 13 stars, is an homage to union of the Thirteen Colonies, while their colors are navy blue and gold, the colors of the Continental Army uniform. Though the team has yet to win a major trophy in its decade in existence, they have gone to the U.S. Open Cup Final in 2014, 2015 and 2018. At the moment, the Union sit in first place in the Eastern Conference, so if you’re in the Philly area, check out a game!

Thank you so much for the time, everyone! Have a wonderful rest of your Tuesday and, as always, keep solving!!

Take care!


Gary Cee’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up

Quite the onomatopoeic Tuesday WSJ from Gary Cee today:

WSJ Solution 5 21 2019

WSJ crossword solution, 5 21 2019

18A: ARCTIC BLAST [Frigid weather from the north]
23A: GRAND SLAM [Hit that produces four runs]
37A: COMPUTER CRASH [Memory loss rationale]
52A: OSCAR BUZZ [Excitement surrounding a prestige position]
58A: ITS ALL NOISE [“That’s just talk, talk, talk,” or a hint to the ends of the starred answers]

All in the language phrases with quite bombastic-sounding endings. An enjoyable and smooth solve!

Random thoughts:
– I liked the juxtaposition of ETA and ALFA and their clues!
– 58A: Is it a dupe to have INS be the answer to [People in power]? It essentially uses the answer as part of the clue.
– 41A: It’s often true that a BOY is a [Future man], but not always. But often, boys understand their gender identity much better as they grow up and understand themselves to be the women they genuinely are. I know the clue doesn’t mean to be dismissive, but it’s a good reminder that things like gender aren’t quite binary.
– Not many women in the grid, but we at least got to see representation from ANA Cabrera and IRMA la Douce. Better than nothing?

Evan Kalish’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 5 21 19, no. 0521

I caught on to the theme surprisingly quickly, and filled in the last two themers with no crossings, just the number of circled letters narrowing down the letter possibilities for 7- and 6-letter planets. Not that I flew through the puzzle particularly fast (by tournament standards), mind you. The revealer is 35a. [Has a huge impact … or a hint to this puzzle’s circled letters], CHANGES THE WORLD, and planet names are scrambled in the midst of the four themers. IGNORE THAT has Earth, LEAVES UNSAID has Venus, ARMY RECRUITS is a nice find for Mercury, and Saturn’s in a fresh BONUS TRACK.

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition graphic depicting the signs and symptoms. http://ovarian.org/about-ovarian-cancer/what-are-the-signs-a-symptoms

I bet a lot of solvers from roughly my generation saw the Across answer preceding 65a. [Comic Radner of early “Saturday Night Live”], GILDA, and went “Awww.” GENE isn’t just a [Chromosome component], it’s also Gene Wilder, who lost the love of his life, Gilda Radner, to ovarian cancer. It’s important to know the incredibly vague and nonspecific symptoms of ovarian cancer, since it’s nigh impossible to screen for it. If you or a loved one has these symptoms, it’s a good idea to check with a physician, even if you think you’re making too much of nothing.

Not keen on cluing a SIGH with 24d. [Ah, me]. Who says that? And who is out there literally cheering 1d TGIF? Anyone? And I loathe TEHEE, but I’m good with tee-hee.

Fill is mostly fine. Theme mostly works for me (IGNORE THAT feels a little weird). 3.4 stars from me.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Your Choices Are” – Derek’s write-up

Jonesin’ 05/21/2019

This theme does remind me of a multiple choice test! This is a theme I didn’t see immediately, but the unique spelling of the name at 54A makes this theme possible:

  • 20A [Legendary producer of “Charlie’s Angels” and “7th Heaven”] AARON SPELLING
  • 30A [Washington Post editor portrayed by Liev Schreiber in “Spotlight”] MARTIN BARON
  • 44A [Star of “An American in Paris” and “Gigi”] LESLIE CARON
  • 54A [Guitarist/songwriter for System of a Down and Scars on Broadway] DARON MALAKIAN

The obscure-pop-culture-reference of the week is certainly 54A for me, although 30A is vague at best, and that was even in a movie I have seen! Who knew there were variations of this spelling that use A, B, C and D. Nice puzzle, Matt! A solid 4.3 stars for this one.

A few more things:

  • 1A [Hearty drink] QUAFF – Always great seeing a Q at 1-Across!
  • 14A [Three-time World Series of Poker winner Stu] UNGAR – I tried spelling this with an E instead of an A. Why do I know these poker players when I don’t really know or care about this game?
  • 36A [“Par ___” (airmail stamp)] AVION – Not sure if this has an accent in it, and I am too lazy to look at this moment!
  • 43A [“Epic ___ Battles of History”] RAP – I didn’t know about these until it came up regarding a Panda Magazine puzzle. These are hilarious; Google it!
  • 63A [1099-___ (annual tax form from the bank)] INT – There are a few 1099 suffixes out there. A 1099-MISC is the one I think if you win big at the casino!
  • 5D [Jagger, to the Stones, e.g.] FRONTMAN – This famous frontman is getting back to healthy from reports I have seen.
  • 22D [“___ Shot” (2019 Seth Rogen movie)] LONG – This movie just came out. It is not worth a night at the theater, at least to me. It will be enjoyable when it debuts on HBO!
  • 45D [Eurovision Song Contest 2019 host] ISRAEL – John Oliver spoke about this on his May 19 show, and I just saw it so this was a gimme although it is quite obscure to most folks here!

Another Jonesin’ coming next week!

John-Clark Levin & Jeff Chen’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 05/21/2019

John-Clark Levin is definitely a name I don’t know, but the name is in the database on this site! I wonder how many crosswords he has made? I had quite a time doing this one Downs Only, and they are always harder when the theme answers are going down. Sometimes it is easier, especially if you understand the theme, but if you don’t, it can get ugly. My time is not horrible for a Downs Only, but look at all the errors in the grid! Also, as you can see, my Downs Only copy didn’t have the circles. I will mark the circles letters in red in the theme entry list. Each set of circled letters contains a prefix meaning something really small:

  • 4D [It’s often worn with a hood and mortarboard] ACADEMIC ROBE (1 millionth)
  • 10D [Computer screen array] DESKTOP ICONS (one trillionth)
  • 25D [Longtime late-night host] CONAN O‘BRIEN (one billionth)
  • 26D [Don Ho’s signature song … and a hint to this puzzle’s circled letters] TINY BUBBLES

You know that song is going to end up in this blog post, don’t you? Yes, prefixes meaning “tiny” are in circles, which do look like “bubbles,” don’t they? Very nicely done. In a few days I will torture myself watching Andy Kravis solve this puzzle Downs Only in about 2 minutes. 4.4 stars from me for this puzzle that has me yearning for some champagne!

Some more things:

  • 9D [Grad student’s income] STIPEND – This needs to be something provided to college football players, since there is a lot of money made on the backs of these kids. I will get off my soapbox now.
  • 21D [“Selma” director DuVernay] AVA – She comes up in puzzles a lot more than AVA Gardner these days. The is likely already famous, but she is becoming crossword-famous!
  • 30D [“Stormy Weather” singer] LENA HORNE – I don’t know why this gave me fits. I should have known this much quicker than I did.
  • 31D [In a naive way] ARTLESSLY – This is a little hard for a Tuesday, but still a nice word.
  • 35D [Stabilizer for movie shooters] STEADICAM – Most cell phone video cameras have this feature nowadays, since everything is on video now!
  • 36D [Outmoded calculator] SLIDE RULE – I have no idea how to use one of these. I’m not THAT old!
  • 48D [Thorax membrane] PLEURA – I believe you!

Have a great week everyone! Oh, I almost forgot:

Erik Agard’s Universal Crossword, “Put ‘Em Together”—Jim Q’s write-up

This puzzle came in handy today.

THEME: Types of “hands” are placed together and clued wackily.


  • 17A [Nailed one’s exit?] LEFT RIGHT. As in, left correctly. Left hand. Right hand. 

    Universal crossword solution * 5 21 19 * “Put ‘Em Together” * Agard

  • 26A [Insignificant duel partner?] MINUTE SECOND. Minute hand. Second hand. 
  • 46A [Cheech and Chong, e.g.?] HIGH CARD PAIR. Hand in poker with a high card. Hand in poker with a pair. 
  • 62A [What 17-, 26-, and 46- Across do] JOIN HANDS. 

Really like this one today. Especially as it led up to the revealer which gives it an AHA click. At first, I thought the theme was dealing with opposites, then balked at MINUTE SECOND (since they’re not really opposites). HIGH CARD PAIR definitely added to the confusion. But I like when the revealer comes as a surprise and makes perfect sense.

The clues (and resulting answers) for the themers were great- nice balance of completely absurd, yet somehow sensical. The only nit that I have is that MINUTE as clued (My-Noot) is pronounced differently than MINUTE as in “MINUTE hand.” But who cares? This was a solid puzzle today.

4 Stars.

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8 Responses to Tuesday, May 21, 2019

  1. mt says:

    I definitely pronounce TEHEE in my head as “tuh-hee” when I see it in crosswords. I don’t know if anyone actually spells it like this or if we’ve just let it slide in xwords.

  2. David Eisner says:

    Gilda Radner died on May 20, 1989 — thirty years ago today.

  3. Jenni Levy says:

    I’ve stared at 71a in the CN puzzle for a while now and I still don’t get it. “GO SEES?” for [Modeling job interviews]? Huh?

  4. Alan D(erKazarian) says:

    Today’s Jonesin’ had quite the Armenian feel to it with both DARON MALAKIAN and RAFFI in the puzzle! System of a Down is one of my favorite bands ever so seeing Daron’s name in there was nice. I’ve heard they’re back together more or less so we may be getting some new music in the future.

  5. RSP64 says:

    I have a nit on the Universal puzzle. Logs are not pieces of lumber, at least in common usage. I worked in the forest products industry for many years and we never referred to logs as lumber or vice versa. Logs are potential lumber, but lumber isn’t created until the logs are sawed into pieces of lumber (studs, planks, boards, cants, etc). Still liked the puzzle a lot.

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