Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Jonesin' 3:34 (Derek) 


LAT 3:18 (Derek) 


NYT 3:16 (Amy) 


Universal 5:08 (Jim Q) 


WSJ 4:35 (Jim P) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 521), “I’m In!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 521: “I’m In!”

Hello everyone! Hope you all are doing well as we fast approach the unofficial start of summer and Memorial Day.   

Today’s puzzle features some personal butting in with the theme entries, as the letters “IM” are included in phrases to create some pretty cute puns.

  • MIME MYSELF AND I (16A: [Self-centered title of a Marcel Marceau autobiography?]) – Me, Myself and I
  • LIMA DIDA (28A: [Fancy-schmancy slogan for a Peruvian capital?]) – La Di Da
  • PRIMO BOWL (34A: [NFL event held at a stadium named for author Levi?]) – Pro Bowl
  • IMP DIDDY (44A: [Mischievous stage name for Sean Combs?]) – P. Diddy
  • DENIM OF THIEVES (57A: [2018 action heist film about a jeans-robbing syndicate?]) – Den of Thieves

There is a decent chance that I have used T-FAL pots and pans in the past, but definitely never heard of the company until coming across this interesting fill in today’s solve (54D: [Big name in nonstick pans]). What I definitely have come across in my lifetime, however, is a BUM KNEE, and love the clue and the entry (3D: [Crummy joint]). Can almost hear my balky joints creak a little when filling in the entry. Mind blanked just a little bit on JOANNA as I knew of her counterpart/husband Chip (9D: [“Fixer Upper” star ___ Gaines]). Guess I need to put more of the names of the stars of all those HGTV shows into memory more. If so, then maybe I’ll know more about home renovations and such, which can never be a bad thing.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: JAWS (9A: [Killer shark flick]) – Before Brett Favre became the ironman of NFL quarterbacks, that title used to be held by former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski, nicknamed “Jaws,” who started in a then-NFL record 116 consecutive games between 1977 and 1984 before being surpassed by Favre. Jaws was a pretty good quarterback after he came into the league from Youngstown State, and in 1980, was the NFC Player of the Year in helping to lead the Eagles to their first Super Bowl, where they lost to the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV. For many years, Jaworski was a television analyst at ESPN, including being one of the few people to be named to the broadcasting booth for Monday Night Football games.

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

Take care!


Kristian House & Mike Dockins’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 5 25 21, no. 0525

An emphatic and surprised “No!!” is the theme here—things you might say when you are told something that beggars belief:

  • 20a. [“Really?!”], “I DON’T BELIEVE IT!”
  • 24a. [“Impo-o-ossible!”], “NO FRIGGIN’ WAY!” One notes that NO FUCKING WAY would also fit the letter count.
  • 45a. [“Oh, come on now!”], “GET OUTTA HERE!” I had OUT OF at first.
  • 53a. [“How ridiculous!”], “THAT’S CRAZY TALK!”

Fun theme, though there are variations on the phrases that make it perhaps a bit tricky for a Tuesday.

Fave fill: EVEN BETTER, CHILI SAUCE, BAR NONE, RONALDO, THE VOICE, ZEKE (only a faint recollection of 58d. [“___ and Luther” (onetime Disney Channel sitcom)], but I’m always good with a Zeke).

Less keen on PRAT, ENGR, GO NOW, BIG SALE, PLEB, SYR, and—eww—HAD AT. VOTED NO is maybe a bit iffy and it crosses NO FRIGGIN’ WAY, dupe city. Heck, I’m even tired of TV AD(S) as a crossword answer. Don’t we usually call ’em TV commercials?

That’s all I’ve got in my head for the moment. 3.5 stars.

Ella Dershowitz and Matthew Stock’s Universal crossword, “Early Riser” — Jim Q’s write-up

I’m not a morning person, but this puzzle was a fun one to wake up to :)

THEME: “A.M.” is added to the top of common phrases, creating wackiness.

Universal crossword solution · “Early Riser” · Ella Dershowitz · · Matthew Stock · Tue., 5.25.21


  • 3D [*Ultimatum for a comedian facing a hostile crowd?] AMUSE IT OR LOSE IT.
  • 5D [*Social studies class that lacks an honor code?] AMORAL HISTORY. AMORAL SURGERY would’ve worked as a base phrase here too!
  • 9D [*Romans, say, when taking the scenic route to battle?] AMBLING EMPIRE. Great visual. BLING EMPIRE is new for me- looks like a Netflix reality show.
  • 11D [Cheerful greeting that hints at what was added to each starred answer’s start] TOP OF THE MORNING!

Very enjoyable start to the day, which started way earlier in the A.M. for me than usual because I have two giant Great Danes who decided to play a game called Let’s-See-Who-Can-Step-On-Daddy-More at 4:30.  It’s odd to go to bed knowing that you will have some sort of painful experience waking up.

I liked all the themers. Technically, the revealer is a bit off (the morning is at the TOP of the phrases… nothing is really at the TOP OF THE MORNING), but it’s a fun 15-letter phrase that gets at the gist, so that’s good enough for me.


  • 49A [Initial reply when shocked?] OMG. Good one. The “initial” portion of the clue referring to the O, M, and G.
  • 54A [La Paz’s co-capital] SUCRE. No crosses needed! Just ran into this clue a few puzzles ago. I have a feeling it’s firmly in my brain to stay, finally.
  • 21D [Andre whose full name is hidden in “American Dream”] ERIC. New name for me, but excellent clue! I wonder if he’s aware that his name is hidden in that phrase.
  • Two other new names (fairly crossed) were Gwen IFILL (which also could’ve been clued as [Apt surname for a crossword constructor]) and Rebecca LOBO.


4 stars.

Amanda Rafkin & Ross Trudeau’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Meat Market”—Jim P’s review

Theme: SIDE OF BEEF (58a, [Slab in a meat locker, and a feature of 17-, 23-, 38- and 47-Across]). Each of the other theme entries starts with a word that is also a cut of beef. Not a puzzle for the meat-averse.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Meat Market” · Amanda Rafkin & Ross Trudeau · Tue., 5.25.21

  • 17a. [“Father of Rock and Roll”] CHUCK BERRY.
  • 23a. [Output of fluorescent tubes, in Britain] STRIP LIGHTING. I didn’t know that was a British term. Curious. The clue reflects the dictionary definition, but google the term and you get plenty of hits regarding strips of LED lights (which is what I think of when I hear the term).
  • 38a. [Outburst from the audience] ROUND OF APPLAUSE.
  • 47a. [Carefully avoid a topic] SKIRT THE ISSUE.

I won’t go through where these cuts come from because I’m sure some are not interested. If you always wanted to know, try looking here.


BASSI is not the greatest way to start off your grid, and INSTS isn’t a great way to end it, but thankfully, most everything in between was good.

Clues of note:

  • 10d. [Island near Naples]. CAPRI. With this entry stacked next to OCEAN BLUE, one can only think of that island’s famous Blue Grotto.
  • 52d. [Turn outward]. EVERT. Bleh. Why not clue this with respect to one of the greatest tennis players ever?

A solid grid, but not everyone will enjoy the theme. 3.5 stars.

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

Jonesin’ 05/25/2021

Sorry for the delay! We have another clever theme today. How well do you know your periodic table?

  • 17A [*”Batman & Robin” role for Uma Thurman] POISON IVY
  • 23A [*What your remote might have slipped under] COUCH CUSHION
  • 49A [*Response to “I had no idea”] “SO NOW YOU KNOW!”
  • 62A [*WWE wrestler and member of the Undisputed Era (and not the chess player)] BOBBY FISH
  • 38A [What each character in the starred theme answers is (comprising a full set from the periodic table)] ONE-LETTER SYMBOL

So let me see if I have them all: B (boron), C (carbon), F (fluorine), H (hydrogen), I (iodine), K (potassium), N (nitrogen), O (oxygen), P (phosphorus), S (sulfur), U (uranium), V  (vanadium), W (tungsten) and Y (yttrium). I did that from memory! (OK, I may have looked one or two of them up!) A nice idea that is entertainingly executed. As is usually the case with a Jonesin’, I’ll bet the brainstorming was half the fun! 4.6 stars from me.

A few observations:

  • 7D [Actress Feldshuh who played 3-Down on Broadway] TOVAH – No idea who this is. Clear winner for the OPCRotW!

    Tovah Feldshuh

  • 24D [“All Eyez ___” (1996 Tupac Shakur album)] ON ME – Also the name of a 2017 film telling his story. Something else to watch!
  • 26D [With 27-Down, Apple portable player from 2005 to 2017] IPOD NANO – I ran with one of these for quite a while a few years ago. I even watched a movie on its tiny screen!
  • 34D [Bike race with hills] BMX – I need to go mountain bike riding. I think I would like it. I have a road bike that I ride the most.
  • 36D [“Harvesting the Heart” author Picoult] JODI – How many famous Jodi’s are there ending in I? I am thinking not many.
  • 46D [Pricey stadium seating] SKYBOX – Also a brand of trading cards, if I remember correctly.

That is all! Another Jonesin’ next week!

Agnes Davidson & C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 05/25/2021

I like it when these themes seem so simple, and yet I feel like an idiot that I cannot come up with similar ideas:

  • 16A [*Historic lifetime golf or tennis achievement] CAREER GRAND SLAM 
  • 19A [*Cushioned Adidas running shoes] CLOUD FOAM 
  • 21D [*Social status hierarchy] CLASS SYSTEM
  • 23D [Seafood appetizer, and what each answer to a starred clue literally is?] STUFFED CLAM 

Did I miss any? I think there were just the four theme answers. I think that is all of them, since each one of the ways to split CLAM is used just once. Elegantly done! I think these two collaborated on another puzzle I blogged on a random Tuesday, and they seem to make a great team! 4.5 stars from me.

A few notes:

  • 5A [“Notorious” justice, initially] RBG – She will live on in crossword fame!
  • 20A [TV censoring device] V-CHIP – Do they still have these in TVs?
  • 58A [“Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. __] CHU – This was a funny movie. I admittedly don’t know a lot about Asian culture or history, especially the history of Singapore, where a lot of this movie takes place.
  • 7D [Steffi in the Tennis Hall of Fame] GRAF – The French Open starts on Sunday! I don’t know if anyone is close to winning a natural Grand Slam on the ladies side of tennis. Graf was the only female to accomplish this. Even Serena couldn’t do it!
  • 27D [Links tournament with two-person teams] PRO-AM – The Pebble Beach Pro-Am is coming up in a few weeks. I usually like to watch the duffers look bad! Charles Barkley, I am talking about you1
  • 49D [Marinade in Philippine cooking] ADOBO – Hot tip: works great in scrambled eggs!
  • 55D [Language of Pakistan] URDU – I have met several people from Pakistan over the years, but I don’t know a word of Urdu. I should work on that!

Everyone have a safe and healthy week!

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14 Responses to Tuesday, May 25, 2021

  1. Steve says:

    When I was growing up, the word in NO F…. WAY (I can’t even type it…LOL) was very, very vulgar (modern dictionaries still list it as vulgar) so I was super surprised to see it in a crossword, let alone the NYT. When did this become an acceptable phrase? Yikes!

    • huda says:

      I wonder whether that’s affecting the ratings… Or some entries that seemed a little hard for Tuesday…
      I liked the theme. I’m still learning to say No, hopefully a little less adamantly.

      • RM Camp says:

        I think it might be the latter, this one felt like more of a Tuesday-sized Wednesday puzzle.

    • Ethan says:

      I remember my first puzzle for the NYT 20+ years ago, Will asked me to change SNOT (clued as something like “Obnoxious brat”) because it was too rude a word for the Times no matter what the clue. Now SNOT is in the puzzle routinely with that very meaning. Clearly many standards have shifted.

      • Kelly says:

        Yes, and yet today’s NYT crossword marks an unusually significant and jarring shift when it highlights a vulgar word for female masturbation [FRIGGIN in 24A, a theme answer] which over time, as pointed out by the Urban Dictionary, has become a sort of euphemism for an even more vulgar word. Is this evolution or devolution?

      • Billy Boy says:

        SNOT ‘snot always what one thinks it is ? however its common vernacular is I suspect, the most common usage and it’s not really appreciated from this seat.

        I did find FRIGGIN totally out of place and without any defence.

        Really weird puzzle, I thought.

    • R says:

      It’s been a common, relatively benign euphemism for decades and you can find it in mainstream news outlets including many uses in the NYT itself. Words change constantly, especially how they fit into politeness and formality. Here’s
      another view (ocelot included for scale).

  2. JohnH says:

    I’d swear I hadn’t heard of STRIP LIGHTING (in the WSJ), so I’m actually relieved to hear it’s British usage, and MW11C labels it British as well. (RHUD doesn’t have an entry, only for “striplight,” which is different, more like footlights.) So sure, that one slowed me up a bit, as did the indicator “Output of,” since I think of lighting as the light fixtures themselves.

  3. Mark Abe says:

    I haven’t seen the review up yet, but just wanted to say I really enjoyed the LAT today. Smooth going and a cute theme.

  4. David M says:

    I’m sorry. I don’t get the clue “Element suggested here: NOPQSTU” for argon. At first, I thought maybe it was saying, “no P, Q, S, T, or U”, is that it??

    • Matt Jones says:

      Where’s the R?

      • David M says:

        The reference is to the NYT Mini today. The answer also occurred in the NYT Daily today. The mini had the “Element suggested here…” and the Daily had the clue “The first element…”. Sorry for the puzzle confusion on MY part. But, in the end, argon contains no P, Q, S, T, U. I guess that’s what Joel wanted.

    • Mark Abe says:

      I think it was that the “R” is gone…”R” gone…Argon.

      • David M says:

        A different approach to cluing, but charming perhaps. Maybe that’s what Matt J was hinting at (that I missed). Duh.

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