Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Jonesin' 4:30 (Derek) 


LAT 3:34 (Derek) 


NYT 3:31 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim Q) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 513), “This Carries a Punch!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 513: “This Carries a Punch!”

Good day, everybody! Here is hoping you are all doing well as we head towards Easter Sunday. Good luck spotting the Easter Bunny out there!

This puzzle definitely can be defined as a “great” puzzle, given that each of the theme entries have the letters ALI spanning two words in the puzzle, a tribute to “The Greatest” himself (60D: [“I am The Greatest” boxer who appears in five horizontal answers]).

    • GENERAL IZZI (17A: [Wesley Snipes’ scene-stealing role in “Coming 2 America”])
    • CONGA LINE (24A: [Snaky dance with three shuffle steps and a kick])
    • DENTAL INSURANCE (37A: [Coverage for canines?])
    • TEA LIGHTS (47A: [Small candles on wedding reception tables])
    • MENTAL IMAGE (59A: [“Picture this!” picture])

Not sure if this happened to some, but the crossings of General Izzi with HAZAN (8D: [Italian cuisine doyenne and cookbook author Marcella ___]) and/or ABZUG could have made solvers take complete guesses with the Zs included in it (9D: [Social activist Bella ___, co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus]). Izzi was familiar because I watched the sequel, and also was familiar with Abzug, so no problems there even though Hazan is new for me. Biggest thing to stand out other than what was previously mentioned was the vertical stacks of nines in the Northeast and Southwest! Real pretty, with BROWN RICE standing out because I’m about to make some tacos here at home and deciding whether to use that or white rice to fill the taco (12D: [Healthy sushi roll grain]). Spring is here, so definitely time to CLEAN OUT a few things after being pretty much holed up all winter (4D: [Completely drain, as a bank account]). Interesting fill with the double feature of AMEN AMEN, as I usually don’t hear too many people say that words in succession (39D: [“Hear, hear!”]). Given that the frequency illusion occurs to me a lot, I’ll be here in this space next week telling you how I heard that at some point between now and next Tuesday! You watch!!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: RIOS (18D: [Ocho ___, Jamaica]) – On March 30, 1998, Chilean tennis player Marcelo Rios became the first Latin American man to be ranked No. 1 in the world in the ATP Tour. The lefty held the No. 1 spot for a total of six weeks while winning 18 career singles titles — including five Masters series events. Despite this, he is the only man in the Open Era (starting in 1968) to attain the world No. 1 ranking yet not win a Grand Slam title. The closest he came to one was the 1998 Australian Open final, losing to Czech Petr Korda.

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

Take care!


Alex Rosen & Brad Wilber’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

Today’s theme is pop-culture wordplay, with four MONONYMous (going by a single name) musical artists embedded within longer phrases. And knowing the singers by name is entirely unnecessary to solving the puzzle!

  • 20a. [Compensating reduction of greenhouse gas emissions], CARBON OFFSET, hiding BONO of U2, aka Paul Hewson.
  • 29a. [360° martial arts maneuver], SPIN KICK, concealing PINK (or P!nk), aka Alecia Moore.
  • 47a. [Distance for a first down], TEN YARDS with a little ENYA, or Enya Patricia Brennan in English, Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin in Irish.
  • 55a. [Greedy person’s cry], “MINE, MINE, MINE!” with EMINEM, or Marshall Mathers. Remember the seagulls scene in Finding Nemo?
  • 38a. [Person known by a single name, as found in 20-, 29-, 47- and 55-Across], MONONYM.

Now, there’s no rationale for why the mononymous names would be sandwiched inside other letters, but let’s roll with it. A fine Tuesday theme.


Unfaves: ELEV, EELY, SLUE, airline ANA, ORR, ENID, ECLAT. These are on the hard side for a Tuesday puzzle, no?

Five more things:

  • 14a. [Prefix with pad], HELI-. Mind you, that’s not a prefix with -copter, because the roots there are helico and pter, a whirling helix and a wing. Helicopad, anyone? No?
  • 15a. [Big name in vacuum cleaners and fans], DYSON. We have a new Dyson vacuum. Brilliant purchase—my son uses it all the time! Lightweight and chargeable and take-apartable, so you can whisk it hither and yon without fighting with a cord. And now my son does things like vacuuming the couch!
  • 67a. [Where one might go through withdrawal?], BANK. Great clue.
  • 21d. [Philosopher who lent his name to a “razor”], OCCAM. Not enough squares for Schick or Gillette.
  • 29d. [Opposites of picker-uppers?], SLOBS. I like this clue, too.

3.9 stars from me.

Robert Wemischner’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Sibilance”—Jim P’s review

I’m getting flashbacks of Harry Potter speaking Parseltongue with this puzzle. Either that or the grid is deflating. Each theme answer is a well-known two-word phrase with a triple-S spanning the two words.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Sibilance” · Robert Wemischner · Tue., 3.30.21

  • 17a. [“Last Night of the World” musical] MISS SAIGON.
  • 28a. [Pay before taxes] GROSS SALARY. I wanted GROSS INCOME before I cottoned on to the theme. That seems like a more in-the-language phrase to me.
  • 36a. [Topic for Marx] CLASS STRUGGLE.
  • 43a. [Intersecting artery] CROSS STREET.
  • 59a. [Braised entree] SWISS STEAK.

I couldn’t get too excited about this one. There are a healthy number of phrases that feature a triple-S, so I’d like to see some other constraint applied here if possible. At least ensure there are no extraneous S’s (such as the starting S in SWISS—GRASS SNAKE could fit in that spot).

In the fill, I liked seeing fully-named ERIC CARLE and “YES, MA’AM.” I also appreciated GENEALOGY, ALLOWANCE, and FALSEHOOD, something I like in my puzzle but not coming from my government (and thankfully there’s a lot less of that these days).

I really could’ve done without long prefix SEISMO and the strong dose of crosswordese: SSR, ESAU, A PAR, IS A, AS TO. I tried to see if I could rework that SE section with OLLA in it and I managed it after a few minutes putting ALLY in that spot. It comes with SMS in place of SSA, but I view that as an even trade.

Bottom line, the theme feels like it belongs on a Monday. The long fill is nice, but there was enough kludgy short fill to be noticeable. Three stars.

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

Jonesin’ 03/30/2021

This whole puzzle is making me hungry!

  • 17A [It’s got a point to it] SHARP OBJECT
  • 28A [Island country north of New Zealand] REPUBLIC OF FIJ
  • 44A [His Secret Service code name is “Celtic”] JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR .
  • 58A [Tequila brand since 1886 whose name means “Old Town”] PUEBLO VIEJ

I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich hits the spot. Crunchy peanut butter, and a jelly other than grape or strawberry, which are usually the main choices. Try peach! I like the entry at 44A, and I don’t think I realized he was a junior? Is there a Joe Biden III? In addition to being hungry, I also want to go to Fiji: I’ll bet it’s warmer there! 4.5 stars for this one.

Just a few comments:

  • 15A [When to see la luna] NOCHE – As in buenos noches, which means good night. There is a lot of Spanish in puzzles, but you don’t see this word that often.
  • 24A [“Owner of a Lonely Heart” rock band] YES – Does this qualify as yacht rock? I don’t think so, but check out the Yacht Rock playlist on Spotify. Lots of oldies from the same era.
  • 2D [“The Elements” satirist Tom (who’s still alive)] LEHRER – He is 92, and like Matt, I am surprised he is still around!
  • 6D [Pharmaceutical for rheumatoid arthritis] ENBREL – I HATE pharma ads. They can go away immediately for all I care!
  • 18D [1994 Siouxsie and the Banshees single] O BABY – Definitely the OPCRotW. Never heard of this song; barely have I heard of the band.
  • 26D [John Wooden’s team] UCLA – Michigan’s opponent tonight; the winner is in the Final Four! But they tip around 10 pm!! I will need a nap …
  • 47D [White of “Family Matters”] JALEEL – Urkel!!
  • 48D [“Roger ___” (1960s cult cartoon hero)] RAMJET – I thought this was Roger Rabbit! Until I saw it is from the ’60s!

Go Blue!

Prasanna Keshava’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 03/30/2021

ANOTHER new byline to me! But a fun puzzle nonetheless. A new take on the quarantine we are all still under:

  • 17A [Perspiration cause by fear of failure] FLOP SWEAT – I remember this being an entry at an ACPT a few years ago, and I didn’t know it then either!
  • 23A [Lucky wristband] CHARM BRACELET 
  • 35A [“Don’t cheer yet!”] HOLD THE APPLAUSE 
  • 44A [Best woman?] MATRON OF HONOR
  • 56A [Confined to one’s residence … or, as the circles show, a description of four puzzle answers] HOMEBOUND

Very nicely done. We have flat, chalet, house and manor wrapping the theme entries. Just about hard enough for a Tuesday! Certainly easier than the Boswords themeless puzzle from the 29th. Ouch! 4.4 stars for this one.

A few things:

  • 9A [“Mazes and Monsters” novelist Rona] JAFFE – Another crossword famous person, as I don’t know much about her other than from puzzles. It seems like I may have seen her a million years ago on Donahue or something similar. She passed away in 2005.
  • 39A [Gave the go-ahead] OK’D – This seems like an invention just for crosswords, but it works! (Now to make sure it’s in my word list … )
  • 51A [University of New Mexico player] LOBO – This team has been in the NCAA tournament before, but not much national prominence for this team. We know this school here in northern Indiana as a place where former ND coach Bob Davie ended up.
  • 6D [Third-stringers] C-TEAM – If you’re on the C Team, you are barely on the team. I guess this phrase is used, but it doesn’t seem popular. Could be just me?
  • 22D [“500” initials on Wall Street] S AND P – Very timely, as the stock indices are all at or near record highs. When will it all crash??
  • 42D [Best Actor winner for “On the Waterfront”] BRANDO – I have never seen this movie! Brando passed away in 2004 at the age of 80. (I was curious so I looked it up!)

Everyone have a safe and healthy week!

Lynn Lempel’s Universal crossword, “Carried Away” — Jim Q’s write-up

THEME: Common phrases reimagined as if something is being transported.

Universal crossword solution · “Carried Away” · Lynn Lempel · Tue., 3.30.21


  • 18A [Transport some bike parts?] CARTWHEELS. Cart (the) wheels. 
  • 24A [Transport some roosters?] SHUTTLECOCKS. Shuttle (the) cocks.
  • 40A [Transport some white wine, informally? TAXICAB. Taxi (the) cab. 
  • 51A [Transport some anglers?] FLY FISHERMEN. Fly (the) fishermen. 
  • 60A [Transport some dogs?] JET SETTERS. Jet the setters. 

My third Lynn Lempel solve in so many days! Wapo. NY Times. And Universal today. Lucky me :) Of this trifecta, this one didn’t land as solidly for me. Still enjoyable, of course. Her puzzles always are. But just didn’t get too excited about the theme. SHUTTLE COCKS is a tad cringy imo (am I being juvenile?), and CAB being referred to as a white whine (as in cabernet sauvignon) is off. In 100% of my experience as a bartender and wine drinker, if someone is referring to CAB in discussion, it’s red. If they are referring to cabernet sauvignon blanc, they would refer to it by its whole name or just “sauvignon blanc.” Lastly, I don’t think of JET as a verb the way it’s being used.

One last nit is the clue for EDS [Puzzle tweakers, briefly]. It has a navel-gazing quality to it that I’ve seen in the Universal on more than a few occasions. I think once, ART was clued as [Crossword puzzle construction, for example] or something very close to that. Is it true? Sure. Just… I dunno… feels like it has too much of a *wink wink* attached. EDS in this puzzle felt the same.

Loved the clue for 35A [They may absorb stuff in classrooms] MOPS. Very accurate. MOPS frequently absorb more than the MIND(s) that I initially tried to enter.

3 stars from me.

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8 Responses to Tuesday, March 30, 2021

  1. huda says:

    NYT: You have an excellent son, Amy–armed with a DYSON and obviously not a SLOB…

  2. Scott says:

    NYT. I thought Cher would be in the grid.

  3. Mutman says:

    NYT: Was hoping for a U2 theme (BONO) then an Irish theme (ENYA) then was fine with just the mononyms.

    Solid Tuesday.

    Is a MILER a distance runner? Certainly not relative to a 10K or marathon runner, but easily when compared to a 100/200/400 meter dasher. Any tracksters out there??

    • BryanF says:

      NYT: I always have to laugh when “distance runner” is MILER. As a marathoner/triathlete, running a mile does not seem like distance running to me. But I will never not celebrate when someone who’s taking up running is able to run a mile for the first time. It’s an incredible accomplishment. As you mention, it’s all relative and to some: a mile is a great distance.

  4. Zulema says:

    A very pleasing puzzle, today’s NYT. It’s always good when Brad is involved.

  5. dj says:

    “Now, there’s no rationale for why the mononymous names would be sandwiched inside other letters…”

    Isn’t this kind of the point of a theme puzzle? Not a big fan of this one.

  6. Steve Manion says:

    My thoughts always turn to Alberto Juantorena, the great Cuban runner who doubled in the 400 and 800 in the ’76 Olympics. He is the only athlete to do so. Several have accomplished the 800-1500 double.


    I think of the 800 as the transition distance between sprint and distance.


    • R says:

      Elite runners can sprint a 400, but no one can really sprint an 800, which is why doubling 400 and 800 is notable. In general parlance, 100 and 200 are sprints, 400-1500 are middle distance, and 3K+ is long distance

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