Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Jonesin' 4:22 (Derek) 


LAT 3:32 (Derek) 


NYT 3:30 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim Q) 


WSJ 4:30 (Jim P) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 492), “Twisted Metal”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 492: “Twisted Metal”

Well, guys. We’re here. It’s Election Day (or Election Week, depending on how soon your state’s ballots are all officially counted). There are not too many people who are not filled with anxiety at the moment. I’m sure many who voted and/or will vote had someone or a group of people in mind when voting, and, as I voted, I had in the mind the countless numbers of American citizens, almost exclusively from marginalized communities, who have been affected by blatantly racist voter suppression going on generations. When I hear so many well-intentioned people plead and urge people to vote, I both agree with them AND also have in the back of my mind those who should have their votes heard but don’t because of voter disenfranchisement and outright cheating to keep Black people — American citizens like you and me — from voting, under the guise of preserving election integrity. Those folks are the ones I could not stop thinking about as my ballot was scanned. Thinking of them at that time, and right now, is keeping the nerves away at the moment. (Well, that, plus what the aggregate polling results going into today. But I won’t get too ahead of myself, of course.)

Anyways, you’re really here for puzzles, right? Well, today’s puzzle is a little bit of a twist, as five theme entries contain the letters IRON consecutively, but in a different order each time and explained in the reveal (61D: [Metal that’s anagrammed in five horizontal answers]).

  • RICE-A-RONI (17A: [“The San Francisco Treat”])
  • ORIN MANNON (25A: [“Mourning Becomes Electra” brother]) – Eugene O’Neill play that I am not familiar with at all, sadly. Anyone familiar with it who would like to chime and talk a bit about it?
  • CLARION (39A: [Brilliantly-clear, as a trumpet call])
  • NORI SHEETS (51A: [Paper-thin, sushi-making needs])
  • PINOT NOIR (64A: [Red wine choice])

Not too proud to say that I’ve downed more than my fair share of soft drinks in my life, and seeing LEMON SODA reminds me that I used to drink Sprite like it was going out of style right around high school (11D: [Citrus-flavored pop]). Also, around that time, I was still interested in staged wrestling, and can probably roll off all of the famous TAG TEAMS that I got to watch while I still thought that wrestling was not scripted (31A: [Wrestling twosomes]). I’m leaning towards the British Bulldogs (who came to the ring with a real-life English bulldog named Matilda), the Brain Busters and Demolition were some of favorite tag teams. (Yes, I know I’m losing a whole lot of my audience by this point of the blog.). Let’s talk a little Billy Joel to bring you back, and I bring him up because of first being exposed to ELAINE’S from “Big Shot” before actually going up to the Upper East and crossing the path of the establishment a number of times when a number of my college friends moved to the neighborhood soon after school (10D: [Restaurant in “Manhattan”]). Haven’t seen Manhattan, as I’m not much of a Woody Allen fan to begin with.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: BORG (1D: [Six-time French Open champion Bjorn]) – Among his 11 career Grand Slam singles championships, Bjorn Borg won four consecutive French Open titles from 1978-1981 and five consecutive Wimbledon titles from 1976-1980. His only hiccup in Grand Slam championship competition was in the United States, where he reached the final of the U.S. Open four times — only to lose in final each time. Two of those losses, in 1976 and 1978, came to Jimmy Connors, while his U.S. Open final losses in 1980 and 1981 came to John McEnroe.

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

Take care!


Amanda Chung & Karl Ni’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 11 03 20, no. 1103

I wasn’t quite making sense of the theme angle till I reached the revealer. 64a. [*Very convenient … or, when read in six parts, a hint to the answers to the starred clues], HANDY DANDY? Ah, there we go. The other themers are two-word phrases whose words start and end with “H and Y” and then “D and Y.” As a bonus, HANDY DANDY is a fun thing to see in a crossword (and it’s so meta—a theme revealer whose gimmick applies to itself as well). Here are the starred answers:

  • 18a. [*Classic TV show starring a cowboy puppet], HOWDY DOODY. From my mom’s childhood.
  • 40a. [*Nursery rhyme character seen in Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking-Glass”], HUMPTY DUMPTY. Hey, I had scrambled eggs for breakfast today.
  • 11d. [*Industrial-strength], HEAVY DUTY.
  • 35d. [*Peachy-keen], HUNKY-DORY.

Light theme plus familiar phrases, several of them fun to say. Good choice for a Tuesday puzzle.

Entirely unfamiliar to me: 45a. [Designer dog that crosses a Pomeranian and terrier], PORKIE. Half Pom, half Yorkie, I assume. It looks a little weird to have “pork” in the MOOSHU clue, but there’s no pork involved in this PORKIE.

Probably I knew this, but I didn’t remember it: 62a. [National mammal of the United States], BISON.

Fave fill: PEDWAY, “SO I HEAR,” SIDLED UP. On the hard side for a Tuesday puzzle: IDYL, French literary SWANN, DIT.

Five more things:

  • 34d. [Place to get highlights], ESPN. I tried to think of a 4-letter synonym for a hair salon, dammit. That is where I’ve gotten all of my highlights done.
  • 41d. [Practice of males mating with one female, but not vice versa, as in bees and ants], MONOGYNY. This is also high-end vocab for a Tuesday, but scientifically interesting. Those queens, their milkshake brings all the boys to the yard/hive/nest.
  • 57d. [Marriott competitor], HYATT. You know what billionaire family’s been running the Hyatt corporation for over 60 years? The Pritzkers. One of the Pritzkers, J.B., is my governor.
  • 25d. [Gossipy meddler], YENTA. One of those words with more than one legit spelling, so you need to wait for the crossing to tell you if it’s YENTA or YENTE. (And YENTL is a fictional character.)
  • 49d. [___ Oh, first Asian woman to host a major awards show], SANDRA. Anyone else know of her back when she was a Canadian actress doing Canadian projects? My husband and I saw her in Double Happiness back in 1995.

Four stars from me.

Bill Conner’s Universal crossword, “Place A Wager” — Jim Q’s write-up

Looks like a debut for Bill Conner! Congrats!

THEME: The word BET is hidden in common phrases.

Universal crossword solution · “Place a Wager” · Bill Conner · Tue., 11.05.20


  • 64A [Certain roulette wager… or a hint to {the themers}] INSIDE BET

Always nice to see an unfamiliar byline!

This one is solidly standard fare for Universal. INSIDE BET is a new term for me… is that like an inside joke? I think I played roulette once. Put a chip or two down on red. Lost. Moved on to the slots. Something like that.

I liked FIT TO BE TIED, YOUTUBE TV, and ICE CUBE TRAY (great clue for that one!). GLOBE TROT as a verb feels off. I don’t think one is likely to say “She’s going to GLOBE TROT for a bit.” “She’s quite the GLOBETROTTER!” sounds more in-language.

I’ve heard RARE BIT (or RAREBIT now that I google it) before, but never realized what it was! Fun to find out.

3 Stars.

Thanks, Bill!

Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Pitch In”—Jim P’s review

CAST is the keyword today (55d, [Throw, and what you can do to the first words of 17-, 24-, 39-, 47- and 58-Across]). Each theme answer starts with a word that can go with CAST.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Pitch In” · Mike Shenk · Tue., 11.3.20

  • 17a. [Fighter training alone] SHADOWBOXER. Cast a shadow.
  • 24a. [Organization’s appreciative gesture] VOTE OF THANKS. Cast a vote. I’m betting this was the seed for this puzzle. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this phrase before, but it checks out.
  • 39a. [Miniseries start] PART ONE. Cast a part (in a play, for example).
  • 47a. [Word processor feature] SPELL CHECKER. Cast a spell.
  • 58a. [Norah O’Donnell, e.g.] ANCHOR WOMAN. Cast anchor.

My initial feeling was that there was some inconsistency here in that some of the words seemed to change meaning (especially “anchor” and “spell”) while others didn’t. But then I learned that a VOTE OF THANKS isn’t actually a vote, and shadowboxers don’t actually box against their own shadows, so that placated me enough.

Speaking of actual votes, you’ve cast yours, right? If you haven’t and are still able to, get to it!

Before this day is out, a hit of MORPHINE might be SPOT ON. Anyone know a good DRUG DEALER? OCEAN SPRAY probably isn’t going to cut it. And, um, PULL TABS! (Sorry, couldn’t work it in.)

Clues of note:

  • 42a. [They’re sometimes striking]. UNIONS. You should be aware that there is talk of a general nationwide strike (or some more targeted strikes) if it appears that Trump is trying to subvert the election outcome.
  • 43a. [Primer girl]. JANE. This clue made me nostalgic for the time I bought “Dick and Jane and Vampires” to read to my young daughter. Good times!

Easy, breezy Tuesday puzzle. 3.5 stars.


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Going Dim” – Derek’s write-up

Jonesin’ 11/03/2020

Matt is back! No more rehashing old blog posts this week, and as you would expect, the theme is timely:

  • 17A [Yoda, for one] JEDI MASTER 
  • 26A [It might obscure identity] BLURRED IMAGE 
  • 44A [Creator of another crater, maybe] SECOND IMPACT 
  • 58A [Question from someone who just resurfaced (like me after running “best of” puzzles?)] WHAT’D I MISS 

Good to know Matt still has it! I’ll bet the break was good for his sanity, as cranking out a puzzle every week for 20 years and the accompanying deadline is quite the feat. But the creative wheels are still going, and I wonder if the seed idea for this puzzle was from a certain musical that was made available to all on Disney+ this past summer? Just a thought! Keep the puzzles coming, Matt! 4.5 stars this week.

Just a couple of things:

  • 2D [“FoxTrot” cartoonist Bill] AMEND – I love this comic strip. I believe there are only new ones on Sundays now. I could be wrong.
  • 4D [Worthy of copying] IMITABLE – It feels like this word should have more letters in it.
  • 11D [Reply to “No offense”] “NONE TAKEN” – Great casual phrase!
  • 18D [“Get ___” (GSN show of 2020)] A CLUE – Does the Game Show Network make original shows? Evidently they do! I don’t think I have this on YouTube TV, though.
  • 22D [Kitschy plant from the mint family] CHIA – These seeds are edible. And evidently healthy, or something.
  • 33D [Entertaining displays of ineptitude] EPIC FAILS – There are tons of Facebook/YouTube videos showing these. Isn’t it great everybody has a camera now on their phone?
  • 40D [One of an elephant’s four] KNEE – I guess this IS true. Clever!

There should be another new Jonesin’ next week!

Debbie Ellerin’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 11/03/2020

I remember many months ago convincing Debbie to attend the ACPT, and then 2020 happened. In the meantime, I will still enjoy Debbie’s puzzles that I get to blog about, including this quite timely Tuesday edition:

  • 16A [Roughly] GIVE OR TAKE
  • 21A [Like medicine not requiring a prescription] OVER THE COUNTER
  • 48A [Debater for the opposition, at times] DEVIL’S ADVOCATE 
  • 54A [Place sheltered from reality] IVORY TOWE
  • 35A [With 37-Across, Election Day practice … and a hint to this puzzle’s theme] SECRET BALLOT

Is there an election somewhere today? I haven’t heard! I won’t drone on too much today, since I will be hunkered down inside watching results like most of you. I am sure there will be some puzzles done during that time as well to keep my sanity! 4.4 stars from me.

A few comments:

  • 28A [Like rice and potatoes] STARCHY – Say what you want about how healthy they are, but a good french fry is awesome. I am also a fan of Asian rice dishes. This entry makes me hungry …
  • 45A [Mozart rival] SALIERI – I STILL have not seen Amadeus! Perhaps this week … ?
  • 1D [Faddish ’90s disc] POG – I remember the ’80s. I don’t remember these.
  • 6D [Indy pacesetter] LEAD CAR – Is NASCAR more popular than Indy Car? Is Formula One more popular than BOTH? In all cases, this term is used fairly often. I think.
  • 20D [Ready to mate] IN HEAT – This seems to risque for a Tuesday puzzle!
  • 26D [State school near L.A.] UCSB – There are so many universities in the Cal system you never know what initials come next.
  • 42D [Read the riot act] REAM OUT – This seems to harsh for a Tuesday puzzle! The origins of this phrase cannot be great …

Have a safe and healthy week!

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4 Responses to Tuesday, November 3, 2020

  1. Rob says:

    As always, a wonderful puzzle by team Amanda and Karl in the NYT!

  2. Billy Boy says:

    Competitor? I’d rather stay in a Hyatt than any other chain of hotels by a mile. Marriotts are often run as glorified dumps, sad they bought SPG, not the Pritzkers, but the logistics of a private company buying a publicly held one is a nightmare.

    The Pritzker family has an architectural foundation and if you’re into that sort of thing, the oldest Hyatts have remarkable architectural features. I would think Pritzker Prize is prime crosswordese, seems I’ve seen it often.

  3. David L says:

    PEDWAY is new to me. It makes sense, I guess, but I had to doublecheck the crosses to make sure it was right. Is it a regional thing?

    I know PORKIE as a Cockneyish bit of slang for a lie — pork pie, lie.

  4. Mutman says:

    NYT: First two themers I got were HOWDY DOODY and HEAVY DUTY. Was hoping there’d be different ways to phonetically spell out ‘DUTY’, since it is our DUTY and privilege to vote today (or for the last few weeks)!

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