Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Jonesin' 4:19 (Derek) 


LAT 4:19 (Derek) 


NYT 3:54 (Amy) 


Universal 7:38 (Jim Q) 


WSJ 4:57 (Nate) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 420), “Water, Water, Everywhere”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 420: “Water, Water, Everywhere”

Hello there, everyone! How is everybody? The weather is heating up and it’s the perfect time to head into the water to cool down — assuming that you can swim of course, an activity that I have yet to perfect. Anyways, today’s grid gives you plenty opportunities to find some water to swim in, as each of the answers on the perimeter is also the name of a river, with the entry smack dab in the middle, RIVERSIDE, acting as the reveal (36A: [Today’s theme, as suggested by the eight answers on this puzzle’s edges]). Behold the river names in color!! (Thanks, Liz!)

  • COLUMBIA (1A: [New York University whose lion mascot inspired MGM’s logo]) – Did not know that factoid at all before today, and it’s a fascinating one!
  • MYSTIC (9A: [Occult figure])
  • CHICAGO (14D: [2002 film with Queen Latifah as Matron “Mama” Morton])
  • ORINOCO (46D: [Enya’s “____ Flow”])
  • COLORADO (68A: [Name of a Chevrolet pickup truck])
  • AMAZON (67A: [Giant of e-commerce])
  • ALABAMA (39D: [“Feels So Right” band])
  • CHARLES (1D: [William and Harry’s dad])

First and foremost, much props to the people in Canada who engineered the altering of the lyrics of O CANADA that used to go “true patriot love in all thy sons command” and changed it to “…in all of us command” not too long ago, and I was proud to sing that any time a Canadian team came to town to play a game in the United States that I attended (25A: [Anthem played at Toronto Maple Leafs games]). And, yes, for some reason (probably all the hockey games I’ve attended), I know the lyrics to O Canada in both English and French! There were some real tricky crossings in the grid, especially, at least for me, the one that included BABKA (6D: [Sweet-and-yeasty Polish cake]) and KAEL, and it was a total guessing game in getting that last “K,” hence why it was the last letter that I was able to get in solving the puzzle today (20A: [Critic Pauline who said “Trash has given us an appetite for art]). This grid was made all the better by the addition of a fellow graduate of the greatest journalism school in the country, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, in Mike TIRICO (43A: [Mike ___, host of NBC’s “Football Night in America”]). Oh, and the intersection of NO WAR (49A: [Peacenik’s message]) and IWO JIMA definitely stood out as well for its stark difference (44D: [Pacific battle site of WWII]). Going to go the hockey route with our next graph, but it does not have to deal with the first person to score 70 goals in a season in the NHL, Phil ESPOSITO (62A: [Hockey great Phil])

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: YEO (10D: [U.S. Navy enlistee)]) – As some of you know by now, the St. Louis Blues just won the 2019 Stanley Cup, led by interim head coach and former NHL Craig Berube, hired last Nov. 19 after St. Louis fired then-head coach Mike YEO, who also was a head coach in the NHL with the Minnesota Wild from 2011-2016.  According to Yeo, who now is an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers, his surname comes from the word “Yeomen” and was shortened along the way during the evolution of the family’s ancestry in later years.

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

Take care!


Jeff Stillman’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 6 18 19, no. 0618

The theme felt maybe a little twisty for a Tuesday, maybe better pitched to Wednesday. What do you think? Familiar(ish) phrases get an MC added to the front of the second word, turning it into a surname, with the resulting phrase clued accordingly.

  • 17a. [Autobiography of a “Star Trek” doctor?] BEING MCCOY. “Being coy” feels rather arbitrary as a phrase, since “being sad,” “being tired,” “being late,” and “being bossy” all seem equally (un)solid as the basis for wordplay.
  • 23a. [Kill off a major “Back to the Future” character?], SACRIFICE MCFLY. Not that SACRIFICE and “kill off” are synonymous.
  • 51a. [Film star Danny hurriedly leaving the set?], RUNAWAY MCBRIDE. Isn’t he more a TV actor? His lead roles were on the two HBO series he himself created, whereas his movie roles are pretty much all supporting, no?
  • 60a. [Help film star Steve recover from an action sequence?], ICE MCQUEEN. Not wild about using “ice queen” as theme fodder.

So the theme felt a bit spotty to me.

Favorite clue: 22a. [Audre Lorde or Lord Byron], POET. Nice word echo in the name pair.

Fave fill: B VITAMINS, TAPAS BAR, PIPE DREAM. Unfave: AREEL, I’D’VE, ISR, ZEES, and ANISE. (What? I know ANISE is a legit word, but I hate the flavor.)

This—27a. [Neighbor of Borneo], SUMATRA—reminds me, I read an article in The Atlantic today and it was fascinating. Check out “What Really Happened to Malaysia’s Missing Airplane.”

3.3 stars from me.

Ross Trudeau’s Universal Crossword, “Don’t Look Down”—Jim Q’s write-up

Thanks, Ross, for giving us a heads up today!

THEME: Situations that require people to keep their heads up


  • 19A [Back-muscle builder in yoga class] FULL LOCUST POSE. Not familiar

    Universal crossword solution * 6/18/19 * Don’t Look Down * Trudeau

    with this pose, or with yoga in poses in general {googles} sure… looks like their heads are up.

  • 24A [Straight razor offering] HOT TOWEL SHAVE. Love these… as long as the barber’s name is neither Sweeney nor Todd.
  • 46A [Staying afloat] TREADING WATER. Keep that head up for sure!
  • 53A [“Things will get better,” or a hint to {theme answers}] KEEP YOUR CHIN UP




Full Locust Pose

I like this set just fine. While this was another one where I didn’t figure out what was going on thematically until after I finished the puzzle and looked back, it seemed somehow different in a quirky way. “Situations that require people to keep their heads up” is just such an oddball theme description. I’ll take it.

Didn’t love a chunk of the fill- and this grid took a lot longer than usual to fill in (partly due to solving in the web-app rather than in Across Lite). DITS, RIRI, ARESO, ISI, FETE, MAL, MANU, LEW, THA, OSSO, ERY, OKRAS (plural?), the dreaded ULEE, and UPTO mixed in with other standard fill made it a bit of a grind.

2.9 stars.

** A previous version of this post said “FULL LOTUS POSE” instead of “LOCUST.” LOCUST works much better in the images! Sorry!

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “It’s the Big One” – Derek’s write-up

Jonesin’ 06/18/2019

The flavortext says “a sizeable pair,” which happens to correspond to the size I wear now, which isn’t all that great, actually …

  • 17A [Meals provided at meetings, sometimes] BOX LUNCHES 
  • 39A [Oversized candy that includes paraffin] WAX LIPS 
  • 64A [Magnifying glass component] CONVEX LENS 
  • 11D [Comic book villain introduced in 1940] LEX LUTHOR 
  • 33D [Like none of the words in this clue, uncharacteristically] SIX LETTER 

Yes, the letters XL are hidden in each theme answer, and I cannot squeeze into a Large anymore! I will be 50 soon, but I still think I can lose this 30 lbs!!! Still, another Jonesin’ gem this week. No obscure pop-culture this week, so there is sure to be something next week I have never heard of. 4.4 stars this week.

A few more things:

  • 26A [Interstellar dust cloud] NEBULA – This was a Learned League answer just the other day. I got it wrong, of course.
  • 46A [Reason to use sunscreen] UV RAY – Only one ray??
  • 50A [Network that revived the CBS show “Press Your Luck”] ABC – These summer game shows are fun to watch. If nothing else, they bring back fond memories of the time when there were several of these on during the day.
  • 53A [French automaker that turned 100 in March] CITROËN – I don’t think they sell these in the US. Not sure why. I don’t think you can get a Peugeot here either.
  • 58A [Ingredient in some margaritas] LIMEADE – Why am I all of a sudden thirsty …
  • 6D [Penguin projectiles?] PUCKS – How about the St. Louis Blues winning the Stanley Cup last week? Made for a fun story.
  • 51D [“L’Etranger” novelist] CAMUS – I know this better as “The Stranger!”
  • 54D [“Nixon in China,” for one] OPERA – Still haven’t seen an opera!

Another Jonesin’ coming next week!

Jeff Stillman’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 06/18/2019

Didn’t try Downs Only this week; I had a busy weekend and didn’t feel like a struggle. This puzzle still felt like a slight struggle, and I even had an error! Easy theme, though. Revealer is the last themer:

  • 20A [*Do something in a whole new way] BREAK THE MOLD 
  • 34A [*Clever twists in a story] NEW WRINKLES 
  • 41A [*Depressed, colorfully] IN A BLUE FUNK 
  • 51A [Movie reviewer’s warning … or what the last words of each starred answer can be?] SPOILER ALERT 

Did you curl up your nose when you understood what the theme meant? Yes, mold, wrinkles and funk (!) can all denote something has gone bad. I suppose if nothing else this puzzle does a good job of evoking a word picture! Solid Tuez: 4.3 stars. Jeff has the Tuesday NYT too, so congrats!

Several more things!

  • 14A [__ Field: Mets’ ballpark] CITI – This park is on my list to visit, as well as the new Yankee Stadium. I have been to maybe a dozen major league parks, some still here, some not.
  • 23A [Chinese-born architect I.M. __] PEI – I believe he recently passed away. Definitely crossword famous!!
  • 61A [Most burger meat] BEEF – Unless you have an Impossible Burger, which is plant based. These are allegedly so popular now they are hard to get!
  • 4D [Capture the first piece in chess, typically] WIN A PAWN – I know Matt Gaffney liked this clue! This is a fantastic entry that I need to add to my word list!!
  • 5D [Bond order] MARTINI – Oh, THAT Bond!
  • 25D [Nissan brand relaunched in 2013] DATSUN – I vaguely remember hearing this. I don’t think I have seen a Datsun on the road, but I don’t think they are for sale in the US.
  • 26D [One lacking pigment] ALBINO – I don’t know anyone who is an albino. Do any of you?
  • 29D [Half a sestet, in an Italian sonnet] TERCET – Tough word for a Tuesday, and since it is a new word to me this was where my error was!
  • 30D [Like a good-sized garage] TWO-CAR – Now you need a three-car garage for all of our STUFF!
  • 31D [Barely manage] EKE BY – EKE is quite common in puzzles; this phrase not so much. But this is more like how it is casually used. Very nice.
  • 39D [Words of regret, perhaps] I FEEL BAD – This is also a great longer crossing entry. Also very nice.

That is all! Have a wonderful week!

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

Just in time for summer, we have some “Warm Fronts” on our Tuesday horizon…

WSJ Solution 06 18 2019

WSJ Solution 06 18 2019

16A: HATS OFF TO [“My admiration for…”]
23A: HOLDS ONES TONGUE [Keeps quiet]
34A: HELEN OF TROY [Launcher of a thousand ships, its said]
48A: HANDS ON TRAINING [Activity for the newly hired]
56A: HOT HEADED [Impetuous, and what 16-, 23-, 34- and 48-Across are, initially]

I’m warming up (zing!) to the idea of this puzzle and maybe would have liked it more than I do if it had some stronger theme entries; the first two themers don’t do it for me and seem forced/awkward. 23A especially seemed forced in to be symmetrical to the letter count of 48A. Either way, we’re used to seeing themes like this with two-word phrases, so I’ll give this puzzle points for the more novel three-word phrases / three-letter revealer word.

What did I enjoy?
– [Start or end for a fly?] for SWAT was clever as was [Biblical mounts] for ASSES. I was so ready to give this puzzle side eye for SINAIS or some weird plural like that.
– [Boyfriends] for BEAUS which, in Pride Month, I will only accept as two guys who are BEAUS of each other. Any other reading of this clue is officially non-canonical. : )

What didn’t I enjoy?
HELEN OF TROY, Yoko ONO, ANGELA Merkel, NIA Long are the only women throughout the whole grid – fill or clues! I guess the puzzle gets some credit for having one of its themers be a prominently-featured woman but, seriously, compare that short list to allll the men in the puzzle (Jeff BEZOS, NAS, BEAUS, Bobby ORR, INGE, MAO, ALF, SHEL Silverstein, RUMI, and James Bond). I understand that it’s not always possible to cleanly include as many women in the grid, but I’d argue that each constructor can (a) include more women in their word lists so that they can be included when possible and (b) include more women in the cluing to at least get some representation!
– Also, [Trimmer’s target] for BEARD strikes me as the puzzle assuming a male solver, which I wasn’t as excited about.

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22 Responses to Tuesday, June 18, 2019

  1. Brian says:

    that was an enthralling read Amy, thanks for sharing!

    • Jim Peredo says:

      Absolutely agree. But not something I needed to read the day before flying across the Pacific!

  2. VB says:

    I was hoping for SUMMERMCLOVIN (or MCLOVINSPOONFUL!). That would have been super-bad.

  3. WhiskyBill says:

    Regarding the Universal, I also thought it should be “Full Lotus Pose,” but in fact, the answer is “Full Locust Pose” ! I didn’t even know there was such thing–

  4. e.a. says:

    the gendering of nyt 66a seems very unnecessary

    • DW says:

      Agreed. Sometimes I think Shortz purposely does stuff like this to thumb his nose at everyone who has criticized his 1950s take on the world.

  5. CFXK says:

    Re: Xword Nation:

    CHARLES River?
    MYSTIC River?
    Phil ESPOSITO?

    And no Bobby ORR? What kind of puzzle is this, anyway? ;)

  6. Margaret says:

    I didn’t care for the LAT as much as Derek did. The theme failed my breakfast test as did 1D, and I thought it had an awful lot of crosswordese, particularly for a Tuesday (STENOS OTOE BRAE COSEC LEDA etc.) I never feel older than when I can promptly fill in ALETA and KEIR. RANI crossing AMAH seems like it could be a Natick for new solvers. I can see why the idea of SPOILER ALERT referring to actual spoilage seemed fun but for me the execution was off. Pun intended.

    • jefe says:

      Agreed. Too many abbrevs, TLAs, foreign words. My grandmother has wrinkles but certainly hasn’t spoiled.

  7. dj says:

    NYT – “being coy” just doesn’t work as a phrase. Kind of ruins the whole puzzle.

  8. DW says:

    LAT: “Eke by” isn’t a phrase. “Eke out [a living]” is the phrase. This is a prime example of the perils of using a word list — the constructor has let it override common sense and dictionary (and established) usage.

    Just one of many problems in this puzzle. Big percentage of the fill is proper nous, abbrevs., partials, initialisms, and crosswordese. STREET didn’t need to be clued as yet another proper noun. Please stop clueing with sports when many alternatives are out there (IRON, ARE). NEW WRINKLES are new developments in an ongoing event, not in a fictional tale. WRINKLES indicate aging, not going bad. Police sometimes TASE, and otherwise harm, people people who aren’t “perps.”

    Constructers, please strike OGLE from your wordlist. You will not be unable to fill a section.

    Gold star for non-masc. clue for MANS, but it isn’t enough to cancel out all of the above.

    • Martin says:

      “I don’t say this” isn’t the same as “this isn’t a phrase.”

      How soon they forget, George Bush barely eked by in two elections, 2004 and 2008 … is one citation from the wild. There are also lots on sports pages.

        • Martin says:

          “Not as popular a phrase” also isn’t the same as “not a phrase.”

          Terry McAuliffe eked by with a win is another one.

          I’d even be generous with “that’s an obscure phrase,” but “not a phrase” seems easy to rebut.

          • DW says:

            Everything below is written in a friendly way, in case that isn’t clear — just sharing other information in response to what you shared.

            My comment was based on dictionary definitions (Merriam Webster, Oxford, Cambridge), not on my preference. I’m sticking with their published definitions/usage.

            Also, with regard to your finding the phrase online: Keep in mind that a lot of internet content gets posted without being copy-edited or edited in any way; lots of it contains grammatical and factual errors. And, even if a publication still has a copy desk, it’s understaffed (the past 20 years have been very rough for copy desks), so even reputable publications are publishing errors. That’s why I don’t view “It’s on the internet x number of times” as authoritative. (I checked the NYT, which has 43 “eke by” to 3490 “eke out,” and some, possibly many, of the former are an error for “get by” — “I get by on $__ a month.”)

            In time “eke by” might find its way into the dictionary, just as the used-to-be-wrong use of “literally” (in a figurative context) has, but we’re not there now.

            • Martin says:

              I agree that “eke by” is informal. My hunch is that it is influenced by “squeak by.” That said, it doesn’t quite mean the same as “eke out.” You eke by a specific amount (eke out a win by one run) on your way to eking out an improvement in the standings.

              Again, because it’s a bit punchier than “squeak out,” I think it will be with us regardless of what lexicographers think. Here are another 3,000 citations from a variety of sources.

      • DW says:

        I made my statement based on dictionary definitions (not my preference). There may come a time when “eke by” is accepted simply because the error has become common — as is the case with “literally” used as figuratively — but we aren’t there yet.




    • Sanfranman59 says:

      FWIW, this sports nut rather enjoys sports clues. I’m certain that there are topic areas in which you excel that I struggle with as well. Some of my blank spots are mythology, Harry Potter, The Simpsons, rap/hip-hop and other popular culture clues. I’m not so bothered by these clues except in rare cases where they dominate the puzzle.

      Such is the nature of puzzling, no? You can’t please all of the people all of the time. Besides, I wouldn’t call “We Are Marshall” a sports answer. It’s a movie and a very inspiring one at that.

      • DW says:

        I wasn’t clear — thanks. I have no problem with encountering trivia that I don’t know — like you say, that’s the nature of solving, and it’s fun to learn new things (as long as the crossings are fair).

        I do have a problem with answers that aren’t specifically sports-related being clued as sports, because sports is the one area where there’s a big gender divide — according to ESPN, men watch 3-4x as many sports events as women do — and it’s the only genre of fill where that’s the case. (The arts, history, science, politics, etc. — the “I know / I don’t know” doesn’t split along gender lines.)

        That’s why I highlight answers that get clued as sports even though they aren’t strictly (IRON) or remotely (ARE) sports-related* — it’s another example of male constructors and editors ignoring the degree to which puzzles omit women in the fill, or are clued in ways that appeal less to women. If women don’t enjoy solving, they’re not going to make the leap to constructing, and the current sameness will be perpetuated.

        This exclusion of women is a big problem not just in society but also in puzzles, which shapes the way that some solvers see society.

        *I singled out ARE because of the LAT clue: “We ___ Marshall” — 2006 football drama

  9. DW says:

    Derek: There were news reports in Feb. 2019 that Peugeot plans to sell in the US again, though maybe not til 2026. And cheer up, XL isn’t so bad …

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