Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Jonesin' 6:16 (Derek) 


LAT 10:07 Downs Only (Derek) 


NYT 3:30 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim Q) 


WSJ 5:06 (Nate) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 417), “Finding One’s Inner Spirit Animal”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 417: “Finding One’s Inner Spirit Animal”

Hello there, people! Here is hoping that you all had a good holiday weekend. Today’s grid is a little fun time with animals, sort of. Common items and/or phrases that have the name of an animal inside of it are turned into puns, reimagined by its “spirit animal” cluing. 

  • WIRELESS MOUSE (15A: [Spirit animal of a Bluetooth user?])
  • CLOTHES HORSE (22A: [Spirit animal of a couturier?])
  • COPYCAT (35A: [Spirit animal of a scribe?])
  • LOUNGE LIZARD (48A: [Spirit animal of a couch potato?])
  • IRON BUTTERFLY (56A: [Spirit animal of a metalworker?])

How many of you have made good on your New Year’s RESOLUTION(s) almost halfway through 2019 so far (28D: [Pledge made after January 1])? Can’t say that I am big in taking part in that ritual normally, though I liked seeing the word in the grid. Also liked seeing TIEBREAKER (11D: [Deadlock ender at Wimbledon]) and TENNIS, especially given that the French Open is underway and Wimbledon is right around the corner (44D: [Venus and Serena’s sport]). UMLAUTS (43A: [They’re spotted in Düsseldorf and Münster]) was also fun to see, though having it cross PETULA is making it hard for me not to have an earworm develop with her song in my head for the next few minutes (30D: [“Downtown” singer Clark]). Here is hoping people didn’t have too much trouble with K-FED, a.k.a. Kevin Federline, famous for about 30 seconds for his romantic relationship with Ms. Spears before their break-up and his complete flameout as a hip-hop artist (53D: [Britney’s ex, in tabloids]). Finally, THERMOS made me want to ask you all a question in forcing you down memory lane: If you had a lunchbox/thermos combination that you brought to school when you were younger, what was the artwork depicted on them (27D: [Lunchbox flask])? I had two growing up, one being a San Diego Chargers themed lunchbox (random for a NYC kid, I know) and a Transformers lunchbox set! Man, I wish I could find it and carry it out one last time, possible weird glances at my direction be damned!

How could I not have been the coolest kid in third grade carrying this into the cafeteria?

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: GROSSO (8D: [Concerto ______ (Baroque musical form)]) – There is a short list of men and women who have scored the game-winning goal at a FIFA World Cup Final and, in 2006, Italian defender Fabio GROSSO added his name to that list. After Italy and France ended 1-1 after regulation and after 30 minutes of added extra time, the game ended up being decided in a penalty shoot-out, which Italy won after converting all five of its penalties. The final penalty kick was converted by Grosso, who also scored the game-winner in the 119th minute in the semifinal game against World Cup host Germany. Here is how Grosso’s final kick of the 2006 World Cup final sounded on Italian television. “Campioni del mondo!!! Campioni del mondo!!!”

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

Take care!


Aimee Lucido’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 5 28 19, no. 0528

Sit right down for this theme:

  • The revealer is 64a. [Disagree … or a hint to the starts of 17-, 26-, 40- and 49-Across], BUTT HEADS. The other themers begin with words that can also be nouns synonymous with “butt.”
  • 17a. [Wander locally with no plans], BUM AROUND.
  • 26a. [Hitchcock movie with James Stewart and Grace Kelly], REAR WINDOW.
  • 40a. [Backstage], BEHIND THE SCENES.
  • 49a. [Final amount], BOTTOM LINE.

Cute! Beavis would approve.

Five more things:

  • 16a. [___ bar (toffee candy)], HEATH. Dessert tonight was the Dark Knight at Gordo’s Homemade Ice Cream Bars: chocolate ice cream dipped in dark chocolate, rolled in pieces of Heath bar. I am stuffed.
  • 59a. [Weather-related game cancellation], RAIN-OUT, like today’s White Sox game around the 5th inning. The Midwest has had so much rain this spring, Lake Michigan is reaching record high water levels, the beaches are shrinking, and the beach piers are washed by aggressive waves.
  • 67a. [Basket part grabbed after slam-dunking], RIM. Last night, we watched the Netflix movie Rim of the World with our local college kids. It’s sort of an ’80s-style action/adventure sci-fi movie centering 13-year-olds and it was lots of fun. I may have screamed more than once with the jumpscares.
  • 3d. [“Hell, yeah!”], “DAMN RIGHT!” Fave fill.
  • 27d. [Chocolaty spread], NUTELLA. I know a lot of people love it, but this stuff is crap. Basically, it’s a jar full of sugar and palm oil (what a yummy combo! not) with some hazelnut and cocoa and whatnot.

Four stars from me. Smooth Tuesday puzzle that would be even smoother without ELL and ARAL.

Alex Eaton-Salners’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up

Excuse the tardiness of this review – my husband and I moved this weekend (and went to a lot of “Points of Purchase” as we got settled into our new place). Let’s see what shops are in this puzzle:

WSJ Solution 05 28 2019

WSJ Solution 05 28 2019

16A: OUTLET MALL [Place that really plugs its products?]
24A: TACKLE SHOP [Place catering to the left and right of center?] – Nice misdirect here! No political connection here.
35A: SECOND HAND STORE [Place that might help you on your watch?] – As in help with Paul Blart, Mall Cop’s watch?
45A: JUNK DEALER [Place whose products are on sail?]
54A: FLEA MARKET [Place to get a little bite?]

Puns, dad jokes, and misdirects, oh my! I’ll admit to groaning at a few of these themers (in a good way) as I solved. I appreciate that each of these is firmly in the language and uses a different meaning of the first word in each themer.

Loved seeing such fun women in the grid, especially expert puzzles solver and song writer extraordinaire Lisa LOEB, who I got to see in person a few months back when she helped solve one of Laura Braunstein’s puzzle on stage at a Zach Sherwin show! Also loved seeing [North Carolina’s first female senator] DOLE, CELESTE, Michelle OBAMA, KAT Dennings, and more! There were a lot of proper nouns I didn’t know and they were all bunched together (ISAAC GIL SAL), which made certain parts of the grid harder than I would have liked.

My biggest beef with this puzzle? 61A. To quote this puzzle, THE NERVE. I’m not here for normalizing 61A’s ex in any possible way.

A clue I was on the fence about / that felt purposely misleading: 14A’s [Home of the Indians]. Before I had the answer filled in, I was ready to get on a soapbox about use of the term Indian, especially if this was in relation to the sports team of the same name, but then the answer turned out to be ASIA and the clue is referring to residents of India. That’s better, except the clue seems too cute by half and the “the” in the clue makes it seem odd and purposefully misleading or meant to invoke the other (not great) uses of the term.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “That’s Awful” – Derek’s write-up

Jonesin’ 05/28/2019

This one took me a little longer than normal, but it has been a stressful couple of weeks. The stress is thankfully over, so we are back to a routine of sorts. As the title suggests, the theme answers are “full” of “AW”!

  • 17A [Sketch a habanero?] DRAW PEPPER (Dr. Pepper)
  • 20A [Midweek time for floods?] AWASH WEDNESDAY (Ash Wednesday)
  • 36A [Intersection where pet feet meet?] PAWED XING (Ped Xing)
  • 58A [Tweety’s guide to business planning?] I TAW MANAGEMENT (IT management)
  • 64A [Cuts through a small fish?] SAWS MINNOW (S.S. Minnow, from Gilligan’s Island)

I often wonder how the brainstorming process goes on some of these puzzles, and this one is certainly no exception. I have no idea how the seed of an idea gets planted, but to run with it to this puzzle seems like a fun journey. 4.4 stars from me today.

A few more high points:

    • 16A [She played Talisa on “Game of Thrones”] OONA – Yes, GOT is finally over, but I am sure HBO will be able to cash in for years to come with spin-off and prequel shows!
    • 27A [His record for patents was surpassed by a Japanese inventor in 2003] EDISON – I wonder who this was?
    • 34A [Language spoken in “Avatar”] NAVI – This moneymaking blockbuster set all kinds of records that are being obliterated by the Avengers: Endgame movie. Yes, I saw it already!
    • 49A [Gary Numan lyric after “It’s the only way to live”] IN CARS – Yes, this song:

  • 4D [Louisiana Territory state] IOWA – There are lots of states that fit this bill. I guessed UTAH at first!
  • 7D [Like some whiskey] AGED – Not a huge whiskey fan, but I will give a shout out to Crown Royal Apple. Great with Mountain Dew!
  • 28D [Only country name in the NATO phonetic alphabet] INDIA – For puzzle purposes, you should know this alphabet by heart!
  • 39D [“The Genius” of the Wu-Tang Clan] GZA – I don’t know all of these rappers, but a quick search reveals that several of them have gone on to either solo careers or acting. I’ll leave you to Google this on your own!
  • 45D [“Nothing Compares 2 U” singer] O’CONNOR – This took me to long to remember. I know Prince wrote this song (the 2 and U are signatures of his song titling style), but I couldn’t remember this singer’s name. She is now in her early 50s, which means I am gettin old again!

Craig Stowe’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 05/28/2019

Back to Downs Only for this Tuesday puzzle, and it was not too horrible, given that the theme is in the Down answers!

  • 3D [*The next one starts in 2026] YEAR OF THE HORSE
  • 10D [*Iffy] TOUCH AND GO
  • 21D [*Rare medical service these days] HOUSE CALL
  • 29D [*Exhibiting] SHOW CASING
  • 14D [Arctic spectacle … and what the answers to starred clues have?] NORTHERN LIGHTS

So the theme is playing on some phrases that start with light: light year, light touch, lighthouse, and light show. And since they are going down, the descriptor “Northern” is appropriate. Nicely done. I probably would have finished this faster if I hadn’t had HOME VISIT at 21D. I’m too young to remember house calls! 4.3 stars for this one.

Some of the highlights (in the Downs, again!)

  • 7D [Actress who won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for “Once and Again”] SELA WARD – This took waay to long to get. But this is a show I have never heard of, let alone seen.
  • 9D [Granite State sch.] UNH – You have to know that New Hampshire is the Granite State, which I did not readily know!
  • 11D [Jackson 5 brother] TITO – This clue is ALWAYS Tito. There are no other 4-letter brothers!
  • 36D [Number of Chicago Cubs’ World Series wins] THREE – I cheekily wrote in EIGHT. The Cubs have been horrible for over 100 years!
  • 40D [Zeus or Ares] GREEK GOD – … or is it a ROMAN GOD? I can never remember which is which!
  • 50D [Boo-boo] OWIE – Kids have both of these!
  • 51D [Help for a stumped solver] HINT – I am not opposed to hints anymore when I am stuck. That’s how you learn!

Enjoy your week!

Jeremy Newton’s Universal Crossword, “Feeling of Closure”—Jim Q’s write-up

If you’re happy and you know it solve this crossword!

THEME: Phrases that end with a synonym for “happy.”


  • 17A [Showered and shaved, say] FRESHENED UP.

    Universal crossword solution * 5 28 19 * “Feeling of Closure” * Newton

  • 25A [Out of the closet] OPENLY GAY.
  • 30A [Machine that munches branches] WOOD CHIPPER. 
  • 40A [A little unclear?] MOSTLY SUNNY. 
  • 47A [“Sesame Street” game show host] GUY SMILEY. 
  • 56A [Feature of a fairy tale… or each {theme} answer] HAPPY ENDING. 

UP, GAY, CHIPPER, SUNNY, and SMILEY. All phrases are solidly in language and contain a HAPPY ENDING indeed. Though “UP” is possibly the weakest synonym of the bunch (followed by “GAY,” which very rarely means “happy” in modern use).

GUY SMILEY was a fun answer- one of those on-the-tip-of-the-tongue characters that you *thought* you forgot about.

Smooth fill overall. Really enjoyed LUCKY DOG– but I’m not so sure its symmetrical partner IN SHARDS is a thing.

3 stars.

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10 Responses to Tuesday, May 28, 2019

  1. AV says:

    Clue for 64a has an error. It should read:
    Disagree … or a hint to the starts of 17-, 26-, 40- , 49- and 62- Across], BUTT HEADS

  2. Lise says:

    Crossword Nation: My lunchbox/thermos theme was Peanuts. Since this was the early 1960s, it was the younger Peanuts art. I’m a little sorry that I don’t have it still.

    I did not know KFED, but that’s a convenient letter combination to help out constructors, as is COS Cob, Connecticut. I’ll know those next time!

    NYT: Loved the theme and the clues. Also loved both CN and NYT writeups (all that have been posted as of this writing). It’s a great Tuesday.

  3. huda says:

    NYT: The theme cracked me up, and I loved the revealer because it made me realize the juxtaposition of Butt in the second meaning, with Heads.
    Very smooth and very fast for me.

  4. DD says:

    LAT: A question about accessing the Across Lite file for it, and sorry to ask if this information is elsewhere but I simply didn’t see it.

    I can access the LAT puzzle online and solve it online, so that’s not a problem. I would rather solve it using Across Lite, however. When I go to this site’s Today’s Puzzles page and click on the LAT’s AL icon, I get redirected to the Cruciverb site (which hasn’t yet approved my registration request).

    Is there another way to get the AL file for the LAT puzzle? Thank you.

  5. DD says:

    LAT — A very good idea that wasn’t executed as well as it could have been.
    1. The verb “showcase” and participle “showcasing” are one word — you can’t pull out the 1st syllable to attach it to “light” when all of the other clues have a stand-alone first word. (Though “house call” is a single noun, it’s made up of two words.)
    2. The puzzle would have been stronger if the constructor had made the theme answers consistent in format — all two words, for ex., or all phrases (“year of the horse” and “touch and go” were very, very good), or all single nouns composed of two words (like “house call”). I know it’s hard to do that — I know! — but putting in the extra time for a stronger theme set would have paid off.

    WSJ: Loved the punny-ness of the theme answers. JAFAR / FOYT was a natick for me; I wish AES — a great constructor — had created a different corner, but maybe that wasn’t possible (the NKD of JUNKDEALER put some constraints on the SW).

    • DD says:

      LAT — Constructor did a really nice job with those double- and triple-stacked 7s in the corners.

  6. Steve Tice says:

    No, no, no. The lights in the LAT are going south!

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