Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Jonesin' 4:48 (Derek) 


LAT 2:53 (Derek) 


NYT 4:19 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim Q) 


WSJ 6:21 (Nate) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 465), “Working Into the Tee Hours”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 465: “Working Into the Tee Hours”

Hello there, everybody. Here is hoping you are all doing well as we quickly find ourselves on the doorsteps of the month of May!  

Today’s crossword puzzle takes a little bit of WT off of our shoulders, in a way. The theme entries are puns that are made when taking a well-known phrase/noun and changing a “W” in the phrase into a “T,” reimagining those phrases.

  • TAX MUSEUM (17A: [Home of “Whistler’s Audit” and “Still Life with Form 1040”?]) – Wax museum.
  • LUKE SKYTALKER (23A: [“Star Wars” blabbermouth?]) – Luke Skywalker.
  • TASTE NOT WANT NOT (36A: [Adage that discourages nibbling?]) – Waste not, want not.
  • FINNEGAN’S TAKE (46A: [James Joyce novel about a hod carrier’s cut of the action?]) – Finnegan’s Wake.
  • TAG THE DOG (56A: [Political satire film about a canine identified on Facebook?]) – Wag the Dog. Cute!

A reference to “Starr” that has nothing to do with Ringo nor Ken is a refresher, giving extra points to the BRENDA entry (26A: [Starr portrayed by Brooke Shields]). I am fortunate to have never stepped on LEGOS before, though some of my friends who are now parents have told me about the horrors of stepping on kids’ toys, including Lego (66A: [When stepped on with bare feet, they elicit screams (your own)]). Though I’m a born-and-raised New Yorker, I have gone a pretty long while since having a KNISH, which might hurt my NYC authenticity down the road (14A: [Savory deli turnover]). Took a while for me to discover the wonders of CHROME, but it has been my browser of choice for about a year or so, replacing Firefox (20A: [Google browser]). We were so close to having a NINER be a player who can be called a defending Super Bowl champion, but that was before the Kansas City Chiefs pulled off a fourth-quarter comeback in February to win the Lombardi Trophy (48D: [West Coast NFLer]). That game was played in Miami and, 27 years prior, the Big Game was supposed to take place in the Grand Canyon State. However…

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: CHUCK D (5D: [Rapper born Carlton Douglas Ridenhour)]) – Do you know the story of how the lead singer of one of the most influential hip hop groups of all time possibly affected where a Super Bowl was played? Well, on March 13, 1990, during its annual owners’ meeting, the city of Tempe, Ariz. was voted as the host of Super Bowl XXVII, which would take place in 1993. However, later in 1990, Arizonas, as required by its state’s constitution, had to approve Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday in the state. Largely because of a confusing-looking ballot (surprise, surprise), the initiative failed, and the massive national backlash against the state was highlighted by the release of the rap song “By The Time I Get to Arizona” by the popular group Public Enemy, whose leader singer was/is Chuck D. At the next owner’s meeting, the NFL pulled the game from Tempe and relocated Super Bowl XXVII to Pasadena, Calif. and the Rose Bowl. In 1992, Arizonas did eventually end up voting for making MLK Day a national holiday in the state, opening the door for the NFL to award Super Bowl XXX to Tempe. 

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

Take care!


Joel Fagliano’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 4 28 20, no. 0428; wow, it’s almost May, but wasn’t it just March a few days ago?

You ever wake up and think “Wow, I slept in, it’s almost 9,” but then you eventually discover that it was actually 7:15 and you should’ve gone back to sleep? So I’m sleepy and don’t want to blog tonight. In brief, the theme changes TR— words to TW— words:

  • 19a. [Endorsement from a brand’s account?], COMPANY RETWEET. Retreat.
  • 24a. [Some Halloween candy discovered in February?], OLD BAG OF TWIX. (Yes, please.) Tricks.
  • 40a. [When the whole clan gets their eyebrows done?], FAMILY TWEEZE. Trees.
  • 46a. [CliffsNotes version of “Huckleberry Finn”?], HIGH-SPEED TWAIN. Train. The only themer where the R/W switch was the only spelling change.

Cute. Outside of the theme, the fill was okay.

Didn’t love seeing “truth” in the AINT clue, so close to TRULY.

3.5 stars?

Emily Carroll’s Universal crossword, “Natural Look”—Jim Q’s write-up

*Sigh* A reminder that In-N-Out is not an option in my neck of the woods. Never had it, but I’ve heard such good things!

Universal crossword solution · “Natural Look” · Emily Carroll · Tue., 4.28.20

THEME: Clothing and/or accessories that are preceded by an animal name.


  • 18A [Poisonous plants with bell-shaped flowers] FOX GLOVES. 
  • 23A [Sherwood Forest fellow] ROBIN HOOD. 
  • 51A [Show for aspiring entrepreneurs] SHARK TANK. 
  • 56A [They’re crafted by mixologists] COCKTAILS. 
  • 37A [Option on In-N-Out Burger’s secret menu, or a hint to 18-, 23-, 51- and 56-Across] ANIMAL STYLE. 

Love the revealer, despite having no idea what ANIMAL STYLE is! Let’s google that…

According to Wikipedia: “Animal Style” is one of the most popular “secret” styles; in addition to the standard toppings, Animal Style burgers include mustard fried onto each meat patty, pickles, grilled onions, and extra spread.

Hmmm… “popular secret” seems a bit oxymoronic to me, but hey! I wasn’t clued in ’til now!

Saw the ANIMAL thing happening in the theme, but didn’t really catch on to the  part until after the solve, which led to a nice AHA! COCKTAILS seems like the runt of the theme litter here (aka LITTLEST!) because it’s not two words, and both COCK and TAILS aren’t the first things that come to mind when I think ANIMAL and STYLE.

Overall, very enjoyable! Nice longer answers and minimal crud. New to me were SHERMAN and PEGG.

3.8 stars.

Zhouqin Burnikel’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up

WSJ 4.28.20 Solution

WSJ 4.28.20 Solution

3D: FRUIT WINE [Sangria’s cousin]
9D: CHAT WINDOW [Customer service feature online]
21D: RIGHT WING [Hockey position]
29D: INSTANT WIN [Like some scratch-off tickets]
35D: TWIN FALLS [City of southern Idaho, and a hint to this puzzle’s theme]

It took me a beat to grok this puzzle’s theme. At first, I thought the revealer meant that both words in each theme entry would have something to do with the word FALL(S), but that wasn’t quite right. It turns out that you should read it as TWIN being a word that FALLS in the four themers. TWIN is hidden in FRUI TWIN E, CHA TWIN DOW, etc. I like it! And I enjoy how fresh and evocative a lot of the theme entries are – it made the solve fun all the way through. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a not-as-common city be a revealer before, but it at least gave me a chance to learn more about the city/region here. And, as usual, there’s nothing to HATE ON in this puzzle – the fill is smooth and lovely, as can be expected from a Zhouqin Burnikel puzzle!

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “In Storage” – Derek’s write-up

Jonesin’ 04/28/2020

Is the dark image too much? I am trying to see if I like the dark mode in the Black Ink software. You can disable it, but my eyes are shot and I do things in dark mode whenever I can. What do you think?

As far as the puzzle goes, this could be yet another theme inspired by the quarantine period; perhaps Matt is wandering around certain areas of his house!

  • 3D [*Sycophants] HANGERS-ON
  • 7D [*It helps out in the closet (as demonstrated by the other starred answers)] ORGANIZER 
  • 11D [*Product’s freshness period] SHELF LIFE 
  • 28D [*Steph Curry’s sport] BASKETBALL 
  • 31D [*”The Twilight Zone” creator] ROD SERLING 
  • 49A & 53A [… what a 7-Down helps keep] CLOTHES IN ORDER

Fun! Go clean your closets now, if you haven’t already! 4.3 stars.

Just a couple of things:

  • 27A [Squeeze bunt stat (or so I’m told… it’s sports)] RBI – Yes, Matt, it’s a run batted in. If baseball ever starts again maybe we can watch a game together over Zoom!!
  • 34A [Wu-Tang Clan member born Robert Diggs] RZA – This dude is an actor now. He’s my age; hard to keep rapping when you’re 50!
  • 42A [Rosie of “Birds of Prey”] PEREZ – Speaking of age, she is now 55 years old. Time flies!
  • 69A [Showtime series set in Agrestic Township] WEEDS – Another show to binge watch, even though it is a few years old. Hopefully it’s in HD!
  • 13D [’70s supermodel Cheryl] TIEGS – Do you young kids know who this is??
  • 43D [“Your Moment of ___” (“The Daily Show” feature)] ZEN – This was started by Craig Kilborn when the show started years ago, and it continues today. Where the heck is Kilborn now? He’s almost 60 now!!
  • 51D [“___ vincit amor”] OMNIA – I have no idea how I knew this immediately. Oh yeah: solving crosswords!!

That is all for now! Sorry for the late post!

Kevin Salat’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 04/28/2020

Breezed through this one in under 3 minutes! Did you find it easy as well? The circled letters form a composite message, with a tie-in/revealer included in two down answers:

  • 18A [1981 fantasy about thieves hopping through historical eras] TIME BANDIT
  • 39A [Many a millennial, now] THIRTYSOMETHING
  • 60A [“It’s taken care of”] “YOU’RE ALSET” 
  • 5D & 47D [… multitalented Broadway star … or what’s “veiled” in this puzzle’s circles] TRIPLE THREAT

I see this as one long threat: “I mean it – try me, or else!” I swear someone must have uttered this phrase in a movie at some point! Not the most positive theme, but I am a realist, and this is how people treat each other at times. Nice easy Tuesday. 4.2 stars.

Just a couple of things:

  • 34A [Channel covering Capitol Hill] C-SPAN – Fine for watching the daily coronavirus briefings!
  • 68A [Contribute to a GoFundMe campaign, e.g.] DONATE – … as in donate for your friend’s hospital bill! On a lighter note, there is a Kickstarter for some daily puzzles!
  • 3D [“Inside Out” (2015) studio] PIXAR – Another movie I have never seen. Add it to the list!
  • 35D [Adidas product] SHOE – The answer isn’t YEEZY??
  • 55D [New Rochelle college] IONA – I think this school’s mascot is the Gaels. Not sure what that is, exactly …

Every have a safe and healthy week!

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10 Responses to Tuesday, April 28, 2020

  1. armagh says:

    RE: NYT
    So now speech impediments are fodder for shitz and giggles in the NYT? Having raised a child with a lisp and knowing first-hand the ridicule they endured until years of speech therapy rendered it undetectable, this comes off as tasteless. Shortz really has become tone deaf.

    • Kevin S says:

      This was my first thought as I started solving too. There are lots of sound change puzzles you can construct… it’s not hard to avoid doing ones like these that could easily offend people.

      • R says:

        Forming ‘r’s as ‘w’s is a normal stage of child English development, and could have been explained as such in a theme revealer, but absent that, it’s going feel insensitive to people who’ve struggled with this beyond early childhood.

    • Diana says:

      Wow. I really don’t think the constructor meant to wound so deeply. Take a chill pill.

  2. JohnH says:

    Nate always posts regarding the WSJ mid- to late afternoon. Would it be rude to suggest that he make this more of a priority? I toss a puzzle and forget it by then.

    • Jenni Levy says:

      Yes, it would be rude. We do the best we can. We’re an all-volunteer group and most of us have day jobs. So since it would be rude, we’ll assume you’re not going to do it, ’k?

      • sanfranman59 says:

        Plus, not every crossword solver and reviewer in the world lives in the Eastern Time Zone of the US.

  3. Stephen B. Manion says:

    Will Shortz is being rejected by his own puzzle site. ANOA was rejected as an acceptable word in today’s Spelling Bee: MNAGHY surrounding O

    I enjoyed the fill in today’s puzzle.


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