Saturday, May 29, 2021

LAT 6:27 (Derek) 


Newsday 10:28 (Derek) 


NYT untimed (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim Q) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Adam Aaronson’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 5 29 21, no. 0529


Iffiest crossing: 49a. [Ginger at a sushi bar], GARI meets 24d. [Exclamation popularized by “Die Hard”], YIPPEE-KI-YAY. I’m not entirely confident that the world has settled on one particular spelling for the latter, and the former was new to me (making a mental note of GARI).

Question about 13d. [Caulking might prevent them], AIR LEAKS: I’m familiar with caulk being used to seal water leaks. What sort of caulking applications seal up air flow?

Lots of nice clues, but I gotta run now so I’ll sign off at four stars.

Freddie Cheng’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 05/29/2021

I think I have done one or two other Freddie Cheng puzzles, but it is not a byline I know that well. This one wasn’t too difficult, but there is a nice stack of 9- and 10-letter words in the center, which is what draws your eye to this grid immediately. The corners are also quite wide-open, and this puzzle, in typical LAT fashion, has very little obscurity in this challenging grid. Very well done! Freddie, nice puzzle! Keep ’em coming! 4.4 stars from me.

A few words …

  • 1A [153-year-old group that became unisex nationally in 1995] ELKS – OK … this seems backwards. Any Elks members out there that can explain this group? I know next to nothing.
  • 17A [“The Sound of Music” song opener] “DOE A DEER … “ – I thought this meant the opening song of this musical at first. But even then, there is a mini preamble to this song, is there not?
  • 31A [Perfectly executed] DONE TO A TEE – Part of the middle stack. This entry is spelled a few different ways, but look at all those easy letters in there!
  • 39A [Jazzman Saunders] MERL – I believe you. I don’t know jazz at all.
  • 43A [Drink with a 2021 Peeps variety] PEPSI – Bad idea all around!
  • 7D [Insect-resistant home feature] SCREENED-IN PORCH – This makes me think of my grandmothers, who BOTH wanted this for their homes.
  • 11D [Apt slogan on merchandise featuring MLB slugger Aaron Judge] ALL RISE – Yes, I have seen this on t-shirts a few times. Not a Yankee fan, though.
  • 29D [Roentgen cousins] RADS – I know most of what I know about nuclear energy from watching Chernobyl. It was excellent, by the way.
  • 34D [Cook with batter, usually] DEEP FRY – This generally makes food less healthy, but sometimes it is so delicious!
  • 42D [Two of the Spice Girls] MELS – Mel B and Mel C, if I remember correctly. These girls are all pushing 50 now! Man, I feel old again …

Off to work of some puzzles during this long weekend!

Stock & Vazquez’s Newsday crossword, “Themeless Saturday” – Derek’s write-up

Newsday 05/29/2021

The byline here says “Stock and Vazquez,” which I can only assume is Matthew Stock and Quiara Vazquez, as those names are in the constructor database. Please correct me if I am wrong. This wasn’t too difficult for me, but still a challenge. I think this was just in my wheelhouse. My theory that they are harder during holiday weekend has some holes this time! But I had fun, and that is what matters! 4.6 stars from me.

A few comments:

  • 15A [They’re tinny and tasty] PAN LOAVES – This clue doesn’t make any sense! Is this saying the bread tastes tinny?? Did the clue writer try too hard? Am I overthinking it?
  • 24A [Field full of seeds in the spring] BRACKETOLOGY – This is a great clue. Maybe not if you’re not a sports fan.
  • 32A [Weekly event for some clubs] OPEN MIC – I don’t know of any clubs around here that do this. Not that I am a “clubber” by any means! Lots of karaoke here and there; is that considered the same thing?
  • 35A [”What’s the worst that could happen?”] “DO I DARE?” – Great casual phrase!
  • 47A [”Idea worth spreading” heard on NPR] TED TALK – One of these days I will do a TED talk. Not sure on what topic …
  • 22D [Former big name in seat-pocket marketing] SKYMALL – Man, I haven’t seen one of these in forever!
  • 36D [Source of stats] DATA MINE – I had DATABASE, then DATABANK in here; which caused issues.
  • 39D [The __ did it (solution to ”Murder at the Winery”)] BOTTLER – Wonderful pun here! Is this an actual work or is this all a pun for the clue?
  • 45D [”Carmen” hero, e.g.] TENOR – I don’t know opera!
  • 50D [”Bien-__” (darling)] AIME – I know a fair amount of French, but I don’t think I know this term. Could just be me!

Everyone have a safe and healthy long weekend!

Chase Dittrich’s Universal crossword, “Now You See It” — Jim Q’s write-up

Title says it all!

THEME: -IT is added to common phrases and wackiness is born.

Universal crossword solution · “Now You See It” · Chase Dittrich · Sat., 5.29.21


  • 18A [Thumb’s alternate name?] THE BIG DIGIT
  • 28A [Make ready for a moon walk?] GRAVITY TRAIN. 
  • 44A [Small spoiler in a certain film from abroad?] SUBTITLE HINT. 
  • 58A [Songs that don’t go on forever?] FINITE TUNES. 

Stephen King’s type of puzzle. That creepy clown makes an appearance 4 times over today.

I’ve never heard the phrase THE BIG DIG. Have absolutely no clue what it refers to. An insult? Archeology? Let’s look that up… Oh. It was a highway project in Boston. That’s not as exciting as I was hoping for. Learned something though!

I’m not typically a big fan of cross-references but very much enjoyed the PAYPHONE / OUTDATED reference. Especially because I uncovered PAYPHONE first and thought to myself “Well, that’s outdated….”

A FINE (and FINITE I suppose :) puzzle today.

3 stars.

Sheldon Polonsky’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Marquee Matchups” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 5/29/21 • “Marquee Matchups” • Polonsky • Sat • solution • 20210529

I get that there’s a thing—especially (apparently?) in soccer aka football—called a “marquee matchup” but I can’t help thinking that a better title might be the punnier “Marquee Mashup”:

  • 22a. [Just another day in Congress, some would say? (Jack Lemmon/Uma Thurman)] GRUMPY OLD MEN | KILL BILL.

§ Okay, so right away I knew the general principle of what was going on, but went slightly in the wrong direction. Completing this as GRUMPY OLD MEN AND WOMEN, I figured Ms Thurman was in an adaptation of the Hemingway story Men and Women, but I was wrong on numerous counts. First, the title of that work is Men Without Women, and second, I was probably vaguely thinking of Henry & June. But I soon enough saw the errors of my ways. §

  • 42a. [Result of too many posts from online disrupters? (Anna Kendrick/Sandra Bullock/Bill Skarsgård/Faye Dunaway)] TROLLS | CRASH | IT | NETWORK. Note how It is reparsed.
  • 63a. [M&M’s vs. Willy Wonka? (Jack Nicholson/Tony Todd)] MARS ATTACKS | CANDYMAN.

§ Oh hi, me again. I suppose ‘mashups’ wouldn’t be an acceptable title, since (unlike my original attempt, described above, there is no overlap of title words; just concatenation. §

  • 82a. [Why only skilled parents should make spaghetti? (Mila Kunis/Donald Sutherland/Bill Murray)] BAD MOMS | M*A*S*H | MEATBALLS.
  • Macaca fuscata ©Jasper Doest

    ©Jasper Doest/National Geographic

    105a. [Reason  monkeys don’t like the Arctic? (Kristen Bell/Woody Allen/Will Ferrell)] FROZEN | BANANAS | GET HARD. I should probably pop in an Arctic Monkeys song here, but I don’t think I like the acclaimed band so much. So instead I’ll post a photograph of Japanese macaques, aka snow monkeys.

This was an amusing set of theme answers. I appreciate that in choosing actors to represent the films, the constructor and editor made an effort to approach gender parity.

  • 2d [Flier with feathers] ARROW. That part’s called fletching.
  • 4d [Programmers fill them] TIME SLOTSNetwork flashback.
  • 7d [Ocean ingredient] SALT, 8d [ __ over (helped financially)] TIDED.
  • 15d [Whitesnake guitarist Beach] REB. Uh.
  • 23d [Caravan stopovers] OASES, 40d [Sax great Getz] STAN. Couldn’t find an example of him playing Ellington’s famous “Caravan”, so instead here’s supreme tenorman Coleman Hawkins, aka BEAN (88a) performing that tune:
  • 36d [“Film camera” or “silent movie,” e.g.] RETRONYM, though they may seem to be somewhat redundant, these can be necessary constructions.
  • 46d [Knock the audience’s socks off] WOW ’EM. Threw me for a loop, as I wasn’t expecting the elision.
  • 65d [Director Kurosawa] AKIRA. Let’s try our hand at this game using his filmography: Drunken Angel | Dreams | High and Low? Or perhaps Stray Dog | Ran | The Lower Depths?
  • 103d [Key chain parts?: Abbr.] ISLS. Izzles!
  • 20a [What Jacques Cousteau got his inspiration from?] AIR HOSE. A BIT (80d) forced, but still ok.
  • 21a [Lovecraftian, in a way] EERIE. Not ELDRITCH? How can it not be ELDRITCH.
  • This dude

    35a [Medici family member who sponsored Michelangelo] LORENZO. If I recall correctly, he was kind of a big jerk. But he did get a lot of great art made. >sucks teeth<

  • 40a [Drink order on a date, perhaps] SAME. Liked this clue.
  • 59a [Turkey part?] ASIA. The majority of the nation is on the Anatolian Peninsula. >consults web< 97% of its land mass, and 90% of its population.
  • 93a [Part of a capital gains calculation] BASIS. Well that’s kind of wonky, but don’t forget that this is the Wall Street Journal.
  • 114a [Overstaters of expenses] PADDERS. Seems a bit roll-your-own, as we say around these parts.

Overall a fun crossword, not bad for a début(?).

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14 Responses to Saturday, May 29, 2021

  1. huda says:

    NYT: Yeah, it’s a good puzzle with some great entries, but some parts of it killed me. I had so many shots in the dark, I was laughing at myself. My favorite/most out there was the source of honeydew being “oPioD” instead of APHID. Mind you, I work on opioids… But I thought maybe it was a street name that I hadn’t heard of… could you see it?
    I love AND YOU ARE? Soooo rude.

  2. Steve Manion says:

    This was a tough day for solvers: extremely tough Spelling Bee and today’s NYT was very tough for me. I couldn’t imagine ever responding AND YOU ARE?


    • Billy Boy says:

      A form of a very common type of response on internet discussion boards, especially after criticising a professional athlete.

  3. pannonica says:

    NYT: GARI, as you may imagine, isn’t pronounced with a an R sound; it’s more of a subdued D.


  4. Jim G says:

    NYT: Caulking can also be used to weather-seal windows, I think.

    I spent a whole bunch of time trying to figure out economic indicators for an inflation stat (gdp, cpi, etc.) before the crossing answers filled in PSI for me. Nice.

    • Mike H says:

      It is definitely used to seal for drafts in colder environs, such as New Hampshire (USA) where I live.

      BTW – I did the same on the PSI clue!

  5. MattF says:

    A nice NYT puzzle, about as hard as yesterday for me. Note that ‘Roger’ in radio communications doesn’t mean ‘yes’, it means ‘I received your communication and will carry out your order’. It makes a difference if, e.g., you’re communicating with an air-traffic controller. Doing OK with the Spelling Bee, but not quite yet at the bail-out point.

  6. R Cook says:

    Despite solving the Stumper, I still don’t understand some of the clues.

    “See, señor”: The answer is Spanish for SIGHT. This is a real stretch.
    “They’re tinny and tasty”: I agree with Derek when I say “Huh?”
    “Service call”: The clue sounds as if you’re requesting service. The answer is more confusing.
    “Eyesore”: This is also a stretch, but maybe I’m alone in thinking an eyesore is something larger than a small mark.

    • marciem says:

      “See, senor” : When a spanish-speaking person wants you to look at (see) something, show you something, they will say “Mira” and point it out.

      I’m with all on “tinny and tasty” other than maybe some breadpans are made of tin? I use aluminum… Maybe it isn’t bread loaves (meatloaf?) me too overthinking.

  7. Michael in Chelsea says:

    Adding to the huhs of this week’s Stumper:

    Why is a BREAKROOM specific to conventioneers?

    Isn’t it a faux pas that STAT was an answer and, pluralized, in the clue to 36-Down?

    I’m eager to read an explanation of the tinny/tasty teaser.

  8. Teedmn says:

    The Stumper clue I find most irritating is “Piece of one’s mind” for ESSAY. I get it, but ugh. 15A, with “tinny” had me thinking of sardines (pilchards, anyone?)

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