Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Jonesin' 5:13 (Derek) 


LAT 3:28 (Derek) 


NYT 3:16 (Amy) 


Universal tk (Jim Q) 


WSJ 4:02 (Nate) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 443), “Move Over, Turkey!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 443: “Move Over, Turkey!”

Hello there, everyone! Hope all is well with you as we quickly approach the end-of-year holiday season. (Honestly, how is it the month of December by the end of this week?!?)

As you all get ready for Thanksgiving, here is hoping that today’s crossword offering gets you in the mood to have some good, home-cooked meals. There is only one actual theme entry in the grid, SIDE, but that answer indicates everything that’s going on with all of the circles going diagonally (30D: [On the ____ (and how this puzzle’s Thanksgiving dishes are served — bon appêtit!)]).

  • The five side dishes that make up the words contained in the diagonal circles are: PEAS, STUFFING, BRUSSELS SPROUTS, POTATOES, CORN.

After finishing the grid, I immediately looked back up at the northeast corner and to the COO entry, as I’m trying to think of all of the times that I’ve ever come across “bill and coo” outside of the old-time movie about a whole town of birds that did human-like tasks and actions (8D: [Bill’s partner]). I now know it’s a term used to describe romantic talk and actions, which, I guess, make sense. As much sense as a whole society of birds that drive taxi cabs, wash clothes, etc. 

If all of the references to food failed to leave you fill, there’s SALMI (34A: [Highly-seasoned stew]) that you can dine on before having an ECLAIR for desert (24D: [Slender cream puff]). Loved the entry IT’S THE LAW, especially since the Crash Test Dummies (Larry and Vince…?) commercials of yesteryear have popped into my head (33D: [Phrase that follows “Buckle Up” on driver safety signs]). I know that the slogan that I’m thinking about is “You Could Learn a Lot From a Dummy: Buckle Your Safety Belt,” but I couldn’t help thinking about those commercials regardless. And I guess this time of the year, where celebrations are in high number and alcohol consumption will definitely be a part of those celebrations, to be extra, extra careful on the roads and how much you consume! A great holiday season is also a safe one.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: GORE (10D: [Clinton’s vice president)]) – Yesterday afternoon, current Buffalo Bills running back Frank GORE passed the legendary Barry Sanders for third place on the all-time rushing yards list in NFL history. The 15-year pro out of the University of Miami now has amassed 15,289 yards on the ground, only trailing Cowboys great Emmitt Smith and Bears icon Walter Payton on the career rushing yards chart.

Thank you so much for the time, people! Have a wonderful rest of your day and, as always, keep solving! Happy Thanksgiving!

Take care!


Olivia Mitra-Franke’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 11 26 19, no. 1126

Short on time tonight, so a quick sum-up. Theme surprised me, as I won’t recognize the names of the various tarot cards out of context. Revealer is 63a. [One examining the starts of 17-, 27- and 48-Across], TAROT CARD READER. Those other three themers start with tarot cards:

  • 17a. [It resulted in human language division, per Genesis], THE TOWER OF BABEL.
  • 27a. [It’s better than what’s not familiar, in a saying], THE DEVIL YOU KNOW.
  • 48a. [Classic American novel set in France and Spain], THE SUN ALSO RISES.

Lively batch of phrases in the theme, and a little learning for those of us who don’t know our tarot.

The fill’s solid overall, on target for a Tuesday, and KISSED UP and SMART KEY are particularly nice.

Four stars from me, a good example of what a Tuesday puzzle ought to be like.

Ross Trudeau’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up

According to the constructor, the alternate title to today’s “Bottom Feeders” puzzle was “Colorful Characters” – let’s see whether those titles bear fruit:

11.26.19 WSJ Solution

11.26.19 WSJ Solution

4D: GILBERT GRAPE [Title role for Johnny Depp]
9D: PRINCESS PEACH [Mushroom Kingdom royal in Nintendo games]
17D: PROFESSOR PLUM [Academic suspect in a Clue game]
23D: MISTER ORANGE [Tim Roth’s role in “Reservoir Dogs”]
6D: LOW HANGING FRUIT [Easy pickings, and a feature of 4-, 9-, 17- and 23-Down

Each of today’s colorful themers features a fruit hanging at the bottom AND each fruit is one that would hang from its respective branch or vine, which feels like nice attention to detail. I really liked this theme! I loved the consistently strong / iconic pop culture angle to the theme entries, and plunking in the revealer made me smile. Also, any puzzle that features my icon and legend PRINCESS PEACH so prominently wins with me!



Other random thoughts:
– Look at the diverse, exciting slate of women represented in the grid! LORENA Ochoa, Tori AMOS, DAKOTA Fanning, Missy Elliott, PRINCESS PEACH, LADY, Queen NOOR of Jordan, Margaret Mead, and Yoko ONO.
– There was a slight inelegance with ADD ONTO crossing TO SEED but, otherwise, I have no GRIPE with this puzzle. Bravo, Ross!

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “I Before E?” – Derek’s write-up

Jonesin’ 11/26/2019

Matt is back with more puns, this time playing on a familiar phrase we all learned in like the second grade!

  • 19A [Reattaches a tomato to a plant (but in a messy way)?] REPINS ON THE VINE
  • 32A [Actor who’s all about the money?] ROBERT DINERO
  • 41A [Autobiographies, two by two?] PAIRS OF LIVES 
  • 56A [Roll call on a ship?] CHECK-IN OF THE SEA 

We have common phrases with the “I” and “E” switched around. It took me a minute to get the phrase referenced in the third one, but we are talking about pairs of Levis, a brand of jeans that I used to wear all the time 30 years ago, and I may need to buy a new pair! The best one is the last one, which is usually the way you want to line them up in a puzzle. Another job well done by one of the best. 4.4 stars today.

A few more things:

  • 14A [“London Warsaw New York” musician born in Poland] BASIA – Who?
  • 22A [Grammy-winning bossa nova musician Gilberto] JOAO – Who??
  • 64A [___ Yun (performing arts company with ubiquitous ads)] SHEN – Who??? These are all obscure, at least to me, but the crossings seemed easy enough.
  • 4D [Gaming company behind “Assassin’s Creed” and “Just Dance”] UBISOFT – This I DO know! I may have even played one or both of these games at some point in my existence!
  • 3D [Inexpensive ’80s keyboard manufacturer] CASIO – They still make “inexpensive” keyboards, don’t they?
  • 11D [“Us” actress Lupita] NYONGO – This movie is on HBO now, but I am scared to watch it. I don’t like horror movies!
  • 26D [Formerly Portuguese Indian territory] GOA – Not sure I knew this was Portuguese at one point …
  • 53D [Boxed soup and bouillon brand] KNORR – I have seen this before!

It’s a holiday week! Hopefully you have at least one or two days off this week!

Kurt Krauss’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 11/26/2019

This is another byline I am not too familiar with, but that is OK! The last themer has the punny revealer:

  • 17A [Transmission specification] GEAR RATIO
  • 25A [Stockholm-born three-time Best Actress nominee] GRETA GARBO
  • 36A [Longtime New Year’s Eve bandleader] GUY LOMBARDO
  • 50A [Video game series with a Warriors of Rock edition] GUITAR HERO
  • 59A [Leave the house … and a literal feature of 17-, 25-, 36- and 50-Across] GO OUTSIDE

Nice and neat! Not too complicated at all, which is how I like my Tuesday puzzles! I don’t have the time to do ALL the LAT puzzles (I am not Brian Cimmet!), so Kurt, if you have them on other days of the week, I may not see them all! But keep them coming! 4.3 stars for this one.

A few more things:

  • 23A [Trucker on a radio] CB-ER – I think truckers are pretty much the only ones that use ham radio anymore, right? Maybe the military?
  • 30A [Weekend show with Aidy Bryant, to fans] SNL – She is becoming a main player on this skit show, and she has a show on Hulu as well.
  •  42A [PC key near Z] ALT – I read this too quickly and put in ESC!
  • 4D [Teri of “Young Frankenstein”] GARR – Crossword famous!
  • 36D [Looked through a home remodeling magazine, perhaps] GOT IDEAS
  • 47D [“Seinfeld” regular] ELAINE – There was a discussion of this on the Fill Me In podcast last week: the issue was clueing Elaine by referencing her character with another one, even though her character is just as famous as anyone from that show. She stands alone in this clue!
  • 61D [Hagen of Broadway] UTA – Crossword famous!

Everyone have a great holiday week!

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20 Responses to Tuesday, November 26, 2019

  1. Anne says:

    Ugh, 42a, Prince Andrew? I thought we had had enough of him. Well, I certainly have.

    Otherwise an interesting and somewhat surprising theme.

  2. Jenni Levy says:

    Did not Tuez!

  3. JohnH says:

    PEDS threw me in the WSJ. I first tried “meds,” although in time there was no denying the fruit.

  4. Noam D. Elkies says:

    Framke/NYT: 40D:KISSED_UP is nice, but cluing it as “Was a brown-noser” makes it a violation of the breakfast-table test :-( The puzzle was fine otherwise, though the three theme entries (all 15’s!) resonated individually much more than as part of the theme. A bit of a concern is that this puzzle didn’t feel much more than OK but still got this week’s POW award on xwordinfo; does that mean I shouldn’t expect much of tomorrow’s puzzle and the one on Thanksgiving Thursday? ;-)

    Nice theme in Trudeau’s WSJ puzzle. Also the Gorski / Xword Nation grid looks amazing with all those twice-checked diagonal letters. (But the appearance of GORE in that grid is a really weak excuse for trotting out some random facts about a pro athlete who happens to have the same name . . . no, stuffing your memory with such consumer-sport trivia does not make you smarter.)


    • David L says:

      I have a feeling that many people use the phrase ‘brown noser’ without thinking about what it actually means, and would be a little horrified if they were informed.

      • Noam D. Elkies says:

        True, but enough people still remember where “brown-nose” comes from, and “kissed up” only reinforces that image . . . (cf. the SCUMBAG brouhaha)

        • Olivia Mitra says:

          I admit – didn’t know the etymology! Whoops!!!

        • JohnH says:

          After all these years, I had no idea of the origins either. I think it’s fair to say it’s left etymology behind, like so many words and phrases. Indeed, it’s a truism of language studies that etymology doesn’t determine meaning or usage. (To be honest, I of course know what “ass kissing,” obviously related, pictures, but it’s never felt gross, just obsequious, maybe because it doesn’t depend for its implications on you know what.)

  5. Jim Peredo says:

    WSJ: Ian Livengood’s NYT puzzle of August 26, 2013 came early in my solving career, and I remember it for being so clean and elegant. I recall Ian saying in his constructor notes that he made sure to use fruits that actually do hang from a tree or a vine.

    Ross Trudeau’s grid today, with the exact same theme, may be even more elegant since he adds the constraint that all the theme answers are fictional characters. Impressive!

    BTW, anyone know whatever happened to Ian Livengood? His last published puzzle was in 2017.

  6. mikem says:

    I really did not like today’s Universal crossword, where the answers continue off the edge of the grid, but with no indication as to how long they are or first letter or anything. And the visible parts are not ideal — PEACHMANGO SALSA?

    It’s a clever idea, but I didn’t like the execution at all.

  7. John Doze says:

    I was not at all happy with Jonesin’. The amount of name-knowledge was unreasonable.

  8. Ben says:

    Boring and without insight. Used to matter on this site.

  9. CLAY U DAVIS says:

    Most days I click on Universal and nothing happens yet it is rated. What am I missing?

    • pannonica says:

      Readers can rate the puzzles. Sometimes we bloggers don’t get to all of them, so occasionally (perhaps too frequently with some lately?) there will be a header but the write-up will remain “tk” (to come) indefinitely. Alas.

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