Wednesday, May 26, 2021

LAT 3:29 (Gareth, 1E) 


The New Yorker 5:00 (Amy) 


NYT 3:30 (Amy) 


WSJ 5:20 (Jim P) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


AVCX 10:40 (Ben) 


Zachary David Levy’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “You Wouldn’t Understand”—Jim P’s review

Theme: INSIDE JOKES (61a, [You might not get them, and what the circles contain]). Well, not really. Those aren’t “jokes” inside the other themers, they’re the results of jokes.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “You Wouldn’t Understand” · Zachary David Levy · Wed., 5.26.21

  • 17a. [Domineering type] HARD CHARGER.
  • 24a. [Column attachment] STEERING WHEEL.
  • 39a. [Doing the dishes and taking out the trash, for two] HOUSEHOLD CHORES. Nice find.
  • 50a. [Okinawa empire that reigned for 450 years] RYUKYU KINGDOM. Be honest, you read this in Curly Howard’s voice, didn’t you? New to me and, I’m sure, a lot of solvers. If we had been stationed in Okinawa as part of our Air Force career—which seemed likely for a period of about a month—I’m sure I would have heard of this. You can read more about it here.

Despite my quibble about those hidden words being “jokes,” I enjoyed the theme entries, including the last one. What would be a better revealer? I’m not sure, but maybe something having to do with laughing on the inside.

USUAL FARE and AUSTRALIA make for nice marquee non-theme entries. I also liked seeing Gloria ESTEFAN, and GO TO POT is fun (though I wanted GO SOUTH to answer the clue [Deteriorate]).

I cahn do without ICAHN and OLEAN, though. I’m fairly familiar with HSBC [Europe’s largest bank], since I lived in England for a time, but I don’t know about the average solver. I would have thought Deutsche Bank was bigger. Hmm. According to Wikipedia, BNP Paribas is biggest with HSBC at number two. Deutsche Bank is down at number eight.

And that’s all I have. I like the theme, but the revealer doesn’t work. 3.3 stars.

Will Nediger’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 5 26 21, no. 0526

The theme revealer is 58a. [Ominous request from a teacher … or a hint to the first words (and following letters!) of 17-, 26- and 43-Across], 
“SEE ME AFTER CLASS.” Those other themers (BUSINESS MEETING, GYM MEMBERSHIP, GERMAN MEASLES) are phrases whose first word is also a high school class (at some schools), and the second word starts with ME. SEE that ME that comes AFTER that CLASS?


Did not know: 38d. [Major pilgrimage destination in Spain], SANTIAGO.

Fave clue: 13d. [They run when they’re broken], EGGS. This is fine so long as those eggs will be thoroughly mixed, for an omelet or a baking recipe. Do not come at me with runny eggs on a plate, with whites and yolks not fully immixed!

Four stars.

Quiara Vasquez and Brendan Emmett Quigley’s AVCX, “AVCX Themeless #57” — Ben’s Review

AVCX 05/26/2021 – “AVCX Themeless #57”

It’s a themeless week at the AVCX!  This week’s puzzle is a collab from Quiara Vasquez and Brendan Emmett Quigley, and as editor Ben Tausig put it, they’re a real power duo.

  • It took me a second to get ZOOM FATIGUE as my last entry in the grid, despite the fantastic clue “Screened-out condition?”, but it’s nicely balanced with the easier DOMESTIC ALE (“Sam Adams, e.g.”)
  • I hadn’t really thought about what the various components of a CHOCO TACO are supposed to represent, but I’ll take “Good Humor treat on which the peanuts represent, I don’t know, salsa” as a decent explainer for part of it.
  • I can feel BEQ’s music-y influence on this one, from genres like SKA and BAROQUE POP in the fill to clues like “Pick up a bass, say” for ANGLE and “Name in hard rock ratings” for MOHS

Happy Wednesday!

Stella Zawistowski’s Universal crossword, “Get Down” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 5/26/21 • Wed • Zawistowski • “Get Down” • solution • 20210526

Not sure that this theme hasn’t been done before, but there’s nothing wrong with dipping back into the well every so often.

  • 35dR [Oscar-winning Donna Summer song, and a hint to the starred answers’ ends] LAST DANCE. For the Thank God It’s Friday soundtrack. The film poster (below) looks as if it was illustrated by someone on the Mad magazine payroll. Can’t think of the specific artist I have in mind, though.
  • 3d. [*Not-too-spicy dip] MILD SALSA.
  • 28d. [*Relaxing place to sway] PORCH SWING.
  • 25d. [*Affectionate touch] LOVE TAP.
  • 9d. [*Gig on top of one’s primary job] SIDE HUSTLE.

Salsa, swing, tap, hustle. Wasn’t sure that swing was correct as a name rather than a genre, but Wikipedia gives it some credence as a standalone term, despite listing all sorts of types in the category.

  • 39a [Is loudly angry with] RAGES AT.
    “Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light …” Dylan Thomas
  • 42a [Black, Red, or Yellow] SEA. Is it just me, or does this clue seem a little open-ended, even for a mid-week level crossword, and despite the capitalizations?
  • 58a [Silent place to find a volume] LIBRARY. >squint, moue<
  • 68a [Medium’s power, for short] ESP. That reminds me: I misread 17a [Frying medium] OIL as “Flying medium” and was thinking of someone—a charlatan if not a fictional character—who goes above and beyond the typical.
  • 24a [Group of mah-jongg tiles] MELD. Need to remember that the term applies here as well.
  • 21d [ __ Madness (shopping board game)] MALL. Sounds horrific.
  • 37d [Garment with a band measurement] BRA. How you know your constructor is female.

Solid and well-made crossword, but not super-exciting.

this is not disco

Aimee Lucido’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 5 26 21

A quick recap today.



Fave clue: 1a. [Does the damn thing], ACTS. Just do it! And yes, I tried SINS here first.

Four stars from me, because the five-star long fill is offset by the short glue.

Winston Emmons’ LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

We get an interesting double theme today. DRAMA is the revealer and we have, in order, LINE, SCENE, ACT and PLAY. Further, each phrase is DRAMAtic: CROSSTHELINE, CAUSEASCENE, REFUSETOACT and BOTCHTHEPLAY; quite a broad secondary theme, but makes for a doubly fun revealer!

Clue-wise the puzzle played quite easy but with a few tricky names. RIPRAP and KNESSET I knew, but could see them proving tricky for some solvers. My error was at ISITOn/SnEETS. I have never heard of the superhero Booster Gold or SKEETS. Will I be alone?


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12 Responses to Wednesday, May 26, 2021

  1. Ethan says:

    NYT: When I think about “business class,” I think of the fancy seats on a plane or a train. I honestly never even considered that the puzzle was referring to an actual HS class, and I thought it was a significant flaw of the theme that it was the only phrase where “class” changed meaning. But maybe I’ll get a whole bunch of responses from people who fondly remember taking business, German, and gym right before lunch.

    • huda says:

      Yeah, I think of business class as being a more college level course?
      I guess the statement could come from a college professor but then the revealer sounds more high school..

      • janie says:

        in addition to its college-prep tracks, my all-girls public high had a full “business track” as well: typing, stenography, bookkeeping… this was in the mid-’60s.

        am wondering if today 1) this remains an option [founded in 1844, this was the first public school in the country to offer girls a high-school education — and remains an all-girls institution] and/or 2) it would now include “keyboarding” and optimizing computer use (seems to me it would have to!), and *management* studies (would hope so!!).


        • janie says:

          >a full “business track” as well: typing, stenography, bookkeeping…

          ergo, each was a “business class”..

          me? overthinking?


      • R says:

        I’ve worked in community colleges for years, so BUSINESS CLASS reminds me of a school (whether undergraduate or continuing education) before a plane, especially since I’ve never ridden anywhere but coach.

  2. Crotchety Doug says:

    AVCX – Very crunchy! I had to google two squares in 44A. Hollis comes up all over in google searches, but obviously doesn’t work. And I had to google the long name at 14A. Enjoyed finding out that RBG’s lace collars had a specific name.

    I’m going to use this opportunity to tout Quiara’s own website (which I found from BEQ’s website). Check out if you haven’t already. Those are some of the most challenging and entertaining puzzles I’ve seen.

    Just one aside to Quiara – I haven’t commented on your site because I only see commenting from a Google Account. I don’t want to share that with the web. Make your site commentable as just a normal email address like here on Fiend and I’ll gladly post comments.

  3. JohnH says:

    It’s a little late to reply to my own comment on Sunday’s NYT, so forgive me if I do it here instead. I’d asked why a division is enclosed in square brackets, and looks like no one replied. I’ve had no end of math and mathy physics, and there are conventions for what brackets might mean, and I still can’t find a convention that fits here.

    But it got me thinking. The puzzle also uses curly brackets for the items from which one is to determine a mean and median. Technically, those generally denote a set, and a set isn’t allowed to have duplicate items. There’s a rarely seen concept with a name you probably never saw before for a sorta set that does have dupes, and in plain English we talk about data sets (although without curly brackets), but not worth trying to justify this one. So overall, I’d say this setter isn’t really as math oriented as claimed.

  4. Lester says:

    Universal: Today’s Google Doodle celebrates swing dancing.

  5. pseudonym says:

    NYT theme gave me a chuckle

  6. just stopping by says:

    WSJ: did “MISDO” [bungle] bother anyone else? It follows the rules of English, certainly, but I’ve never heard or read it used in real communication. “Misdeed,” in fact, has a rather different connotation.

    • JohnH says:

      I actually was slow to enter it, for the same reason. But I’m cool with it. Crosswords are full of quasi-words, like all those pretend words beginning A-. This felt like a relatively minor misdeed.

  7. anon says:

    AVX: 19a – “Tool that might even the score?” = SAW

    As David Rose would say, I don’t know what that means.

Comments are closed.