Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Jonesin' 4:10 (Derek) 


LAT 4:02 (Derek) 


NYT 3:58 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim Q) 


WSJ 4:44 (Jim P) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 511), “Let’s Have a Cold One!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 511: “Let’s Have a Cold One!”

Good day, everyone! Supposedly, spring is around the corner (and it feels like it in some parts of the country), but enough cold SNAPS have cropped up, including snowstorms in the middle of the country (63A: [Crispy cookies]). Here is hoping those still in the cold are staying warm and safe!

Speaking of the cold, today seems like the perfect day to solve this puzzle given its gelid nature. Was totally hoping that one of the entries would by “CHILLY RECEPTION,” which is so convenient as a 15-worder. Alas, we are still left with these great theme entries.

        • POLAR OPPOSITE (15A: [Dove, to a hawk])
        • FROZEN SCREEN (22A: [Computer problem that may be solved by a reboot])
        • GLACIAL STARE (48A: [Unfriendly look])
        • ARCTIC MONKEYS (55A: [English indie rock band with the hit single “Do I Wanna Know?])

    Lots of fun fill, especially in the middle left portion of the grid where it really popped out. NEW DIGS (25D: [Moving day destination, slangily]) was great and very modern, yet so was HELLO AGAIN (27D: [“Greetings…you’re back!”]) and WELL YES (35A: [“Actually, that’s right!”]). The very top of the grid has a somewhat sticky crossing of BAP (1A: [Certain Protestant: Abbr.]) and AMARA, but knew the former from past crosswords to not be snared (13A: [Met soprano Lucine]). We get all musical in the middle with RAPPERS — and some good ones at that (7D: [Lauryn Hill and Cardi B., professionally]) — and CROONS (8D: [Sings soothingly]), and finally have some beauty products and/or their descriptions with AGE-DEFYING (12D: [Phrase on a jar of anti-wrinkle skin cream]) and GELS (53A: [They can make one’s hair stand on end])

    “Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: INTER (11D: [Prefix with state or national]) – One of the most popular sporting clubs in the world is Serie A side Football Club Internazionale Milano, better known as Inter Milan or, simply, Inter. The Italian club formed in the first part of the 20th century after it split from a club that would soon become Inter’s biggest soccer rival, A.C, Milan. On the pitch, Inter has won 18 league (Serie A) titles, and currently is in first place this season and on their way to No. 19. On the European stage, Inter has won the most prestigious club trophy in the world, the UEFA Champions League, on three occasions, the most recent coming in 2010.

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

    Take care!


Lindsey Hobbs’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 3 16 21, no, 0316

Our refreshing theme revealer is ICED TEA: 39a. [Beverage with a phonetic hint to 17-, 26-, 51- and 63-Across]. In old-timey gangster slang, icing someone is killing them, and here the constructor has killed a “T” (tea) at the start of familiar phrases:

  • 17a. [Jane Goodall, at times?], APE RECORDER. The old-school tape recorder lost its T.
  • 26a. [Corn farmer at harvest time?], EAR JERKER.
  • 51a. [Lumberjacks in unsafe working conditions?], AX DODGERS. Nice one.
  • 63a. [Caterer’s coffee dispenser?], URN OF EVENTS. I like a good turn of events, sure, but URN is used more in crosswords than in real life, so I don’t love it as the core of a wordplay themer.

Fair enough. The theme is executed consistently, works all right but the URN, eh.

Six more things:

  • 50a. [Name of self-identification, as “Deutsche” for “Germans”], AUTONYM. I’m not sure I knew this word, actually. Feels way too hard for a Tuesday puzzle, if you ask me.
  • 33a. [“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the ___” (quote attributed to Katharine Hepburn)], FUN. Does this apply to crossword tournaments? Discuss.
  • 43a. [Garr of “Young Frankenstein”], TERI. I watched this recently for the first time since I was a child. Wow, there was a lot more “big dick sex” content than I had remembered. I think my parents took me to see this movie when I was about 8! Marty Feldman is still my favorite part of the movie.
  • 7d. [Late jazz pianist Chick], COREA. He just won a Grammy on Sunday.
  • 8d. [Call to have food delivered], ORDER OUT. Support your local restaurants! They’ve had a tough year.
  • 49d. [Strong aversions], ODIUMS. This is a weird plural.

3.4 stars from me. Good night!

Christopher Youngs’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “$&@#%!”—Jim P’s review

With that title, I was hoping for something a little more risqué. Instead, we have the revealer PARDON MY / FRENCH (64a, [With 66-Across, phrase that may accompany an oath (and this puzzle)]. The other theme answers are common phrases that came from the French.

The theme answers aren’t marked in any way, but I think I caught all of them:

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “$&@#%!” · Christopher Youngs · Tue., 3.16.21

  • 17a. [Witty remark] BON MOT. Translation: Good word.
  • 18a. [It’s got no outlet] CUL DE SAC. Translation: Bottom of a sack.
  • 34a. [Seductress] FEMME FATALE. Translation: Fatal woman.
  • 44a. [Illusory art technique] TROMPE L’OEIL. Translation: Trick of the eye.
  • 11d. [“That’s how the cookie crumbles”] C’EST LA VIE. Translation: That’s life.
  • 36d. [Big day in the Big Easy] MARDI GRAS. Translation: Fat Tuesday.

If you don’t like too many foreign-language words in your puzzle, you probably didn’t like this. Me, I would have rather there was some tighter connection between the phrases other than, “These are French phrases.” As you might expect, there are a lot more of them. I am impressed at the number of terms here and the fact that the Down entries cross two Across entries each. Well done.

With all that theme, you shouldn’t be surprised there’s not much flash in the fill. KICK OUT is a good entry, though the clue [Evict] brings to mind people in danger of losing their living arrangements due to the pandemic, and MOSEYED is colorful. ROSWELL, AZALEA, and DOODAD are also nice additions.

Clues of note:

  • 25d. [___ Adams (Declaration of Independence signature)]. SAM’L. Is this common knowledge? Because I didn’t know it, and I can’t find any verification of it on the internet. And I just don’t see it when I look at the image of his signature.
  • 33d. [Like the twin with the goatee, stereotypically]. EVIL. I love this clue. I wonder where this TROPE started. Perhaps EVIL Spock? Welp, my twin, if he exists out there somewhere, must be a good guy.

A lot of theme in this puzzle, but I wish it was tighter. 3.3 stars.

Ed Sessa’s Universal crossword, “Nosy Pun Intended” — Jim Q’s write-up

This puzzle is taking some Zzzzz’s!

THEME: Common phrases have a “Z” sound added to them, and wackiness abounds.

Universal crossword solution · “Nosy Pun Intended” · Jeffrey Wechsler · Tue., 3.16.21


  • 20A [High rollers’ dice game?] LUXURY YAHTZEE. Luxury yacht.
  • 28A [Lengthy lunches and frequent breaks, for a certain guy negotiating his contract?] LAZY MAN’S TERMS. Layman’s terms. 
  • 40A [Specialized employees at a flower shop?] DAISY LABORERS. Day laborers. 
  • 54A [Extraordinary ski trip, e.g.?] MOUNTAIN DOOZY. Mountain Dew. 

This one is an aural experience. Most of the time, it’s an actual Z being used to create the desired sound, and sometimes the base phrase spelling is altered, but what matters is how it’s heard when it’s said aloud. A DOOZY of an idea! Out of curiosity… does anyone use the word DOOZY outside of trying to sound quaintly old fashioned? I can’t hear that word without picturing Ned Ryerson from Groundhog Day 

Fill didn’t excite me too much. DOLL SIZED doesn’t feel like a stand alone. YES I CAN also feels somewhat odd in the same sense. SEEN AT feels like a partial to me. And despite being an avid theatergoer, I’ve never heard the term PLAYLET.

Couldn’t help but think of Piers Morgan when I read the clue for 18A [Departs in a huff, say] WALKS OFF. 

Solid theme overall makes up for any fill nits :)

Fantastic title!

3.4 stars.

Jonesin’ 03/16/2021

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Not Quite!” – Derek’s write-up

I had to take another look at this puzzle before I figured out what was going on, but the title hints at it quite nicely. I believe the technical term for these are “eye rhymes”:

  • 16A [Winter road clearer] SNOW PLOW
  • 20A [Grass cutter that might use a battery] POWER MOWER 
  • 29A [Acquire a second time] OBTAIN AGAIN 
  • 42A [Group in Santa Fe or Sacramento] STATE SENATE 
  • 57A [Serious symptom of a cold, maybe] ROUGH COUGH 
  • 61A [Actor shown in “One does not simply …” memes] SEAN BEAN 

We have phrases with two words that end with the same letters, but they are pronounced quite differently. Some may argue depending on which accent or drawl they may have, but I believe a check of the phonetic spellings in any dictionary should quell those arguments. Quite a fun puzzle. Apologies for the late post! 4.5 stars.

A few more things!

  • 8A [Counts with margins of error] POLLS – Are these even worth it anymore? They are usually quite inaccurate in recent times.
  • 14A [Prefix meaning “end”] TELO – As in telomere or … I don’t know any others!
  • 34A [Mountain Dew energy drink] AMP – I am still not drinking these things. My ticker cannot take it!
  • 50A [Rice wine used in Japanese cooking] MIRIN – Never heard of it. But I would try it!
  • 2D [Genre for “One-Punch Man”] MANGA – My son explained this to me a long time ago: ANIME is movies, MANGA are books. I think.
  • 7D [“This Is ___ Do It” (Montell Jordan hit)] HOW WE – Heard this song all the time … 25 or 30 years ago!
  • 15D [Title ender of a 1974 film that distinguishes it from an earlier Best Picture Oscar winner] PART II – A Godfather reference here!
  • 17D [Photographer William who depicts Weimaraners with human hands] WEGMAN – I feel like I just learned something here!
  • 44D [Gardening headwear] SUNHATS – I need to wear one of these now when I am outside. Getting old stinks.

That is all!

Rebecca Goldstein’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 03/16/2021

This is another name I am not familiar with. In a normal year, I would say something along the lines of “hope to see you at the ACPT,” but as we all know that is not happening. But we will be having an online event, and I will surely be there!

As for this puzzle, we have a hidden word theme, and a revealer that explains it all:

  • 17A [*Embezzled] STOLE MONEY
  • 11D [*Everyone in Paris?] TOUT LE MONDE
  • 25D [*King or prince] MALE MONARCH
  • 63A [Fish dish garnish, or a hidden feature of the answers to starred clues] LEMON SLICE

I hope I got them all! Nicely done, and an easy Tuesday with enough clever entries to make this entertaining. Keep ’em coming, Rebecca! 4.3 stars today.

A few notes:

  • 26A [Call from the rear?] BUTTDIAL – Best clue in the puzzle!
  • 34A [Forensic tech’s tool] UV LAMP – Depending on what you’re looking for, eww!
  • 39A [Result of too many six-packs?] BEER GUT – I used to have one of these, but I don’t drink much beer these days. Now it’s just simply a “gut!”
  • 54A [Decade in which many Gen Zers were born] NINETIES – I think I am a Gen Xer. I should check …
  • 4D [“Well done” award] GOLD STAR – As in what the teacher used to put on your paper but now there is no Zoom equivalent. At least not yet!
  • 7D [Comedy special for which Hannah Gadsby won a 2019 Emmy] NANETTE – This was funny. Check it out!
  • 43D [Pastry with an ursine name] BEAR CLAW – Now I am hungry …

Everyone have a safe and healthy week!

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12 Responses to Tuesday, March 16, 2021

  1. sanfranman59 says:

    LAT: Are .puz files no longer going to be available for the LA Times puzzle on the Today’s Puzzles page?

  2. Billy Boy says:

    Even seeing the correct ICED tea did not do it for me today.
    Oh bother …


  3. jefe says:

    I thought the LAT was particularly good today. Great entries, minimal junk fill.

  4. Gene says:

    I don’t get the criticism of URN. Caterers definitely use them.

  5. Jason M Chapnick says:

    I know that there were problems with newspapers’ credits for constructors a few months ago, but the Universal is by Jeffrey Wechsler, not Dr. Sessa. It was so presented by the masthead. I too noticed the LAT has been dropped, and even very reliable Derek has not posted a review today despite the puzzle being fun. I also wonder why the dormant Puzzle Society Crossword
    David Steinberg, ed. is still listed.

    • Evad says:

      Sorry, I’ve been doing a bit of maintenance on the Today’s Puzzles page and didn’t realize that I had inadvertently dropped the link to Kevin’s LAT archive for AcrossLite .puz files. It’s back up now.

      I have dropped the Puzzle Society Crossword entry. Thanks for the heads up!

  6. Joan Macon says:

    I agree that today’s LAT was fun. Is it some transfer problem that leaves the puzzle out so often, or is it just a geographical situation?

Comments are closed.