Friday, November 12, 2021

Inkubator untimed (Rebecca) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


The New Yorker 6:22 (malaika) 


NYT 4:23 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim P) 


USA Today 4:42 (Darby) 


Patrick John Duggan’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 11 12 21, no. 1112

Solid 72-worder here. Fun to start right off at 1a with a GAY MECCA. I love living so close to Chicago’s GAY MECCA, Boystown—there was such a fun vibe at the Whole Foods there last weekend, since Mr. International Rubber Weekend was going on. I tip my hat to people who embrace masking and double-masking so enthusiastically!

Other fave fill: WARTHOG, LET FLY, BELIZE, MAALOX, EQUAL PAY, RUSTLE UP, VEXES, CREPT IN, BRUSQUE, and BEER KOOZIE. I use a koozie for cans of cold pop—a jaunty rainbow stripe, courtesy of a bank that tossed them out as Pride Parade swag a few years ago.

Seven more things:

  • 32a. [Interminably], ON AND ON. That’s also the title of a ’70s soft rock song by Stephen Bishop. Top 40 radio was weird in that decade. You’d get some bubblegum pop, some straight-up rock, easy listening/soft rock/yacht rock, disco, country, soul, and then, in 1979, “Rapper’s Delight.” Have a listen to the Bishop song and make the call: interminable, or no?
  • 42a. [Young stud], COLT. Question for the horsey types: Are colts designated to be breeding studs while they’re still in the colt age range? Or is this supposed to be about people?
  • 63a. [Hunter of fish], SEA EAGLE. Imagine if this erne had been plunked at 1-Across instead of GAY MECCA. The puzzle would have gotten off to a much flatter start.
  • 9d. [“Imagine a case in which …”], “IF, SAY.” Not keen on this as an entry.
  • 11d. [Zero reaction?], BRR. Great, now the crossword has summoned the polar vortex and we shan’t escape its icy wrath.
  • 36d. [Heroic exploit], GEST. This is one of those words that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen outside of crosswords. At best, it’s a 100 puzzles–to–1 non-puzzle sighting sort of word.
  • 54d. [Name of six popes, including one in the 20th century], PAUL. Somehow I read that as “one in the 6th century” and filled in PIUS first. At least the P and U held tight.

Four stars from me.

Erica Hsiung Wojcik’s USA Today crossword, “LOL”—Darby’s write-up

Edited by: Amanda Rafkin

Theme: Each themed answer is a phrase with the first letters of each word spelling out LOL.

Theme Answers

Erica Hsiung Wojcik's USA Today crossword, "LOL" solution for 11/12/2021

Erica Hsiung Wojcik’s USA Today crossword, “LOL” solution for 11/12/2021

  • 18a [“Diminutive figure ‘who was not afraid of anything,’ in a kids book”] LITTLE OLD LADY
  • 35a [“Minnesota-based butter maker”] – LAND O’LAKES
  • 49a [“Work-free existence”] – LIFE OF LEISURE

Overall, I thought that this was a solid theme. I saw the title and knew immediately what it was about, so that was solid if a little unsurprising. It’s also pretty impressive that there was no duplication in the O words for these answers. All three are tied for my favorite here, so sound off in the comments if you have a specific opinion.

Additionally, grid-wise, I thought that this was interesting, especially how closed-off the center three three-letter words (PAL, AKA, and GEM). However, I genuinely moved through this puzzle so smoothly.

Some Friday faves for you:

  • 31a [“Elliot of ‘The Umbrella Academy’”] – If you’re like me, any reference to The Umbrella Academy in any form of media is appreciated given my excitement for the new season.  As you can imagine, I was pumped to fill in Elliot PAGE.
  • 6d [“Singer Scott”] – I didn’t know who JILL Scott was, but I quickly discovered that she is a musician and actress who has appeared in First Wives Club and Black Lightning. More generally in this grid, we’ve got a lot of ladies, which is very fun to see. There’s MOANA over in 14d [“Polynesian Disney heroine”], AMY in 37a [“Name hidden in ‘dream yoga’”], and EVA in 57d [“Actress LaRue”]. These were nice and spread out, so it was easy to get those I wasn’t familiar with on my crosses.
  • 10d [“___ po’o (floral crown)] – I feel like we often see LEI clued as relating to Hawai’i in some form, but I appreciated that this specific clue focused more on a specific meaning of a LEI within its original context. You can learn more about making a lei po’o here.

Overall, a nice Friday puzzle! I hope you enjoyed it, and I’ll catch ya next time!

Jon Pennington’s Universal crossword, “Comings and Goings”—Jim P’s review

Theme: The letters of DOOR are found in “revolving” order in various familiar phrases.

Universal crossword solution · “Comings and Goings” · Jon Pennington · Fri., 11.12.21

  • 20a [Started by banging a gavel, say] CALLED TO ORDER.
  • 29a [Subject of a spelling bee contestant’s query] WORD ORIGIN.
  • 46a [Villain who fights the Fantastic Four] DOCTOR DOOM.
  • 56aR [What rotates sequentially in 20-, 29-, 46- and 56-Across?] REVOLVING DOOR.

I thought this theme seemed familiar. There are a couple instances of it in the Cruciverb database but one was from the LAT and one was from the WSJ and neither used these exact entries (except the revealer of course). So while it’s not an original theme, the entry choices are different from those other two and I enjoyed it well enough.

The fill is pleasant as well with LICORICE, FRACAS, BLOTCH, and BOO-HOO as my favorites, and nothing really to scowl about.

Clue of note: 4a [Florida’s second-largest city]. MIAMI. Whoa. News to me. It turns out Jacksonville is more than twice as large as MIAMI, population-wise.

A fine debut puzzle. 3.5 stars.

Erik Agard’s New Yorker puzzle– malaika’s write-up

Erik Agard’s November 12, 2021 New Yorker puzzle

Good morning, and happy Red (Taylor’s Version) day to all who celebrate!! I wanted to see if I could finish this puzzle while listening to All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) and I was successful!

I really like themeless puzzles that have a central staggered stack of entries. I usually see 11-letter or 13-letter words there– this layout allowed Erik to stack two 12-letter entries with one 13-letter entry. Notes below:

  • Wind CHIMES (1A) are a plot point in an episode of  Psych and seeing them, or seeing the term, always reminds me of it.
  • OREIDA (16A) is one of those terms that I learned from crosswords and have only ever seen in crosswords. I don’t spend a lot of time in the Savory Frozen Food section though. (I am a Sweet Frozen Food kind of gal.)
  • TRANS PRIDE (18A: Sentiment expressed by a light-blue, light-pink, and white flag) is an awesome entry. Two rows below, we have HRT (25A: Part of some transitions, colloquially), which some trans women use when they are transitioning.
  • Seeing DUE clued in relation to libraries (29A: Expected back at the library) was a nice reminder that New York Public libraries recently permanently eliminated late fees which is awesome! Late fees frequently discourage people from going back to the library, so getting rid of them is a big win.
  • I got a bit tripped up with the clue for ROBERTA FLACK (30A: “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” singer) because I know the version by Leona Lewis. (It’s beautiful- listen here.)
  • “Panther’s meal?” for the entry FREE BREAKFAST refers to a program that the Black Panthers ran. You can read more here.
  • The clue for PRIMAL SCREAM (35A) was a little tricky– I thought it could have used a question mark. “Piercing healing method” sounds like how you would heal say, an ear piercing. But actually, “piercing” refers to a piercing scream.
  • Ey, ze, or bun are all examples of NEOPRONOUNs (47A), or ways to refer to people that aren’t she, he, or they. I have heard of ze (which tends to be paired with zir), but the other two were new to me.
  • I really enjoyed the description for SOAP BUBBLE (6D: Shimmering orb produced by a wand) which sounds like a spell is being cast.
  • “I put my thing down, flip it, and REVERSE it” (19D) is a lyric from Missy Elliott’s bop Work It. Listen here.
  • I liked the clue for NAAN (47D), which referenced keema, an Indian dish of minced lamb. My family usually roasts a leg lamb for Thanksgiving, which is called raan– a word I am surprised I have yet to see in a crossword puzzle. I’ll close with a picture of my dad in action:


David Alfred Bywaters’ Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 11/12/21 • Fri • Bywaters • solution • 20211112

Bird puns today.

  • 17a. [Bird’s perspective?] ORIOLE VIEW (aerial view).
  • 26a. [Nurtured by a bird?] GROUSE-FED (grass-fed).
  • 38a. [Amorous bird?] TANAGER IN LOVE (“Teenager in Love”).
  • 51a. [Bird painting?] OWL FRESCO (al fresco).
  • 60a. [Bird-wrestling move?] THRUSH HOLD (threshold).

Some of these stretch quite a bit, but they’re still decipherable.

Quick run-through:

  • 26d [Preservers of proclivities] GENES. Somewhat problematic, clue but I won’t go in to it now. Feel free to discuss in the comments if you have an opinion.
  • 28d [Depart cautiously] EASE OUT. Crossworthy?
  • 52d [Dumb sound?] SCHWA. That’s the u in ‘dumb’.
  • 46a [In one’s slip?] MOORED. Tricksy clue, nice.
  • 55a [Park __ ] BENCH. Kind of open-ended for a fill-in-the-blank.
  • 43a [Composer expelled from the Paris Conservatoire in 1882] SATIE.

Analise Zocher’s Inkubator crossword, “Role Play”—Rebecca’s review

Fun D&D themed puzzle that takes common phrases and rethinks them as Dungeons & Dragons characters

Inkubator, November 11, 2021, Analise Zocher, “Role Play” solution grid

  • 17A [Dungeons & Dragons character for a meandering megalomaniac?] POWER RANGER
  • 27A [Dungeons & Dragons character for a blacktop brawler?] STREET FIGHTER
  • 48A [Dungeons & Dragons character for an arcane arcadist?] PINBALL WIZARD
  • 64A [Dungeons & Dragons character for a stealthy SUVdriver?] NISSAN ROGUE

Quick write up today. I loved this theme- PINBALL WIZARD came first for me, since I was raised on show tunes and classic rock, but generally smooth sailing thanks to these clever answers NISSAN ROUGE felt like a bit of an outlier, since the other answers were all people, but the charm of the puzzle made up for any momentary trouble that caused.

The non-theme stuff was clean too. I got a nice flow going and breezed through the grid, entertained along the way.

And here’s PINBALL WIZARD for your viewing and listening pleasure

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15 Responses to Friday, November 12, 2021

  1. Greg says:

    Daddy Eliel Saarinen, not son, Eero? I’m as surprised as I would be if the creme-filled chocolate cookie ended being a hydrox.

  2. huda says:

    NYT: It surprised me in that I kept thinking a corner was going to be completely out of reach for me (e.g. with multiple pop culture clues) but then I’d come up with the answers. There was enough to counterbalance and allow a workaround. Well done!

  3. Dan says:

    The LAT crossword for Friday, November 12, 2021 has as the clue for 52A “Dumb sound?” for the answer “schwa”.

    I find this to be a dumb clue, because a schwa is not the vowel sound in the word “dumb” (but rather the sound of the second vowel in the word “vowel”).

  4. Jim says:

    NYT: Filling in POLICE CAR instead of PATROL CAR stalled me for a while.

  5. Jeremy says:

    Still stumped by New Yorker 33A “Panther food?” = Free Breakfast

Comments are closed.