Monday, March 28, 2022

BEQ  4:58 (Matthew) 


LAT  1:46 (Stella) 


NYT  2:52 (Sophia) 


The New Yorker untimed (Rebecca) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today untimed (malaika) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


The New Yorker just announced that it will be adding two more daily crosswords to its schedule, occupying the full weekday slate. “Monday through Thursday, the puzzles will be themeless and will decrease in difficulty each day, with a new beginner-friendly puzzle on Thursdays. For the first time, Friday’s puzzle will be themed, of light to moderate difficulty.” There will be an expanded roster of constructors.

Leslie Rogers’s New York Times Crossword — Sophia’s recap

New York Times, 03 28 2022, By Leslie Rogers

Hey folks, Sophia here after watching a wild Oscars broadcast with some very predictable awards! Today’s puzzle is probably best explained through the theme answers themselves:

  • 16a [Q.U.E.U.E.S.] – DOTTED LINES – “Queues” is a synonym for “lines”, and the letters have dots between them, hence “dotted lines”. The same logic explains all following answers.
  • 27a [E+X+T+R+A+S] – ADDED BONUSES
  • 44a [W/H/E/E/L/S] – SLASHED TIRES
  • 58a [D-R-E-A-M-S] – DASHED HOPES

Interesting theme for a Monday! The best crosswords in my opinion are ones that let me look at words in new ways, and this one certainly did that. I loved the aha moment that came from figuring out the pun-ctuation clues (haha). At first I had no idea what was going on, but once I got the concept of the answer, the rest fell quickly. None of the answers are incredibly flashy, but they are a solid set all around. ADDED BONUSES feels like a bit of a punctuation outlier here, but I don’t mind it because it follows the same structure as the other answers.

Super solid Monday level fill all around here, with NOT IT as the only semi-shaky answer in the entire puzzle. That’s especially incredible when you look at the number of exciting answers Leslie was able to cram into this puzzle without sacrificing fill quality: ALL ABOARD, SAD TO SAY, BENTO BOX, CUSS WORD, SANTA SUIT. For a Monday, I also like that none of the long answers involve pop culture or proper nouns that might only be known to a certain subset of solvers. I think this puzzle should have mass appeal to the NYT audience – it certainly appealed to me!

Other notes:

  • I feel like it’s rare to see ADA clued in reference to the Americans with Disabilities Act, as it was today at 57a [___-compliant (wheelchair-accessible, say)]. Normally we get the name or the dental association.
  • Glad to see AVA DuVernay get a shoutout on the day that Jane Campion became the third woman ever to with the Oscar for best director!
  • For those curious: the world’s highest unclimbed mountain is Gangkhar Puensum in BHUTAN. It’s 24,840 ft tall, and in Bhutan it’s prohibited to climb any peak higher than 20,000 feet, as these are thought to be the homes of protective spirits.

Happy Monday all!

Prasanna Keshava’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “By-Products”—Jim P’s review

Theme: Two-word phrases with the initials B.Y.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “By-Prodcuts” · Presanna Keshava · Mon., 3.28.22

  • 20a. [“It’s going to get rough…”] “BRACE YOURSELF!”
  • 34a. [Some investment returns] BOND YIELDS.
  • 42a. [Period of exceptional business for a company] BANNER YEAR.
  • 57a. [1950 Judy Holliday movie] BORN YESTERDAY.

Solid Monday-level theme. Not a lot to say here, but I like the chosen entries. BOND YIELDS is maybe a bit ho-hum, but the rest are nice. Hey, how about a Russian leader we could actually respect a little?

Boris Yeltsin

RING A BELL and “YOU FEEL ME?” in the fill are fun even though the latter dupes the YOU in one of the themers. And a BODY RUB makes for a feel-good entry.

Clue of note: 1a. [In the altogether]. BARE. I don’t think I’ve heard this idiom. How old is it? Sounds old.

3.5 stars

Lynn Lempel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 3/28/22 by Lynn Lempel

Los Angeles Times 3/28/22 by Lynn Lempel

I have very little time today to go through this one, so it’ll mostly be theme explanation today. The revealer at 60A [House with short staircases, and a hint to each row of circles] gives us SPLIT LEVEL, because the circled letters in each theme row are SPLIT by a black square, and each set of circled letters spells out a synonym for LEVEL.

  • 17A STALINGRAD and 19A EASY have GRADE in the circled squares.
  • 24A EERIER and 26A ANKLE have RANK in the circled squares.
  • 38A GANGSTA and 40A TUSCANY have STATUS in the circled squares. (I like this lively row!)
  • 47A HORDE and 49A GREECE have DEGREE in the circled squares.

Very easy grid as is par for the course from Lynn, and you’ll never get any complaints from me for putting BACH in that mood-setting 1-Across slot.

Karen Steinberg and Paul Steinberg’s Universal crossword, “Ouch!”

Universal • 3/28/22 • Mon • Steinberg • “Ouch!” • solution • 20220328

… and edited by David Steinberg; don’t know if something familial is going on, but it seems likely?

  • 49aR [Plan to discuss a point later, or a hint to 20-, 33-a and 41-Across] STICK A PIN IN IT.
  • 20a. [No-tech messaging platform?] BULLETIN BOARD. Eh, it’s still technology.
  • 33a. [Eerie effigy] VOODOO DOLL.
  • 41a. [Ring bearer?] JEWELRY BOX.

Odd that just two of the three theme clues are questionmarky, and my hypothesis is that any attempt to make a cutesy or punny clue for VOODOO DOLL would carry unwarranted cultural baggage.

Nevertheless, a good theme and an easy-breezy crossword.

  • 1d [Color TV pioneer] RCA. Completely on autopilot for this one. Haven’t we seen this clue verbatim seemingly hundreds of times? Mondays especially can be like that.
  • 5d [CNN host whose name is a fruit] DON LEMON. 21d [Cooking acronym whose third letter stands for “olive”] EVOO.
  • 10d [Respectful refusal] NO MA’AM, but 18a [“Madam, I’m __” (palindrome)] ADAM. 23a [Night before New Year’s, e.g.] EVE.
  • 30d [Home material that’s an anagram of 38-Across] ADOBE; 38a [“Humble” home] ABODE.
  • 42d [King of the jungle] LION. Most live in savanna habitats. A modicum of searching informs me that jungle is derived from Hindi and connotes ‘uninhabited’ place. Here are a few good responses to the question of lions and jungles.
  • 50d [Romulus or Remus] TWIN. 56d [King or queen, but not prince] BED.
  • 28a [Squid, in Italian cooking] CALAMARI. From m-w: “The word calamari was borrowed into English from 17th-century Italian, where it functioned as the plural of ‘calamaro’ or ‘calamaio.’ The Italian word, in turn, comes from the Medieval Latin noun calamarium, meaning ‘ink pot’ or ‘pen case,’ and can be ultimately traced back to Latin calamus, meaning ‘reed pen.’ The transition from pens and ink to squid is not surprising, given the inky substance that a squid ejects and the long tapered shape of the squid’s body. English speakers have also adopted ‘calamus’ itself as a word referring to both a reed pen and to a number of plants.” Further, Sepia is a genus of cuttlefish (another cephalopod).

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday Crossword — Matthew’s recap

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword solution, 3/28/2022

Tim Croce-esque grid from BEQ today, with stacks in each corner and 8- and 9-letter entries flowing from the edges into the middle. It makes for a connected grid that offers plenty of alternative paths when I got stuck.

I had to work down the left edge after getting stuck at [22a “Attica” documentarian Stanley _____] NELSON — perhaps if I had watched the Oscars instead of soccer last night I would have gotten it, but that’s a choice I’d never make — and ended up bouncing around quite a bit. OUT OF FAVOR [18a No longer highly regarded] and SICK BURN [33d Diss that’s going to leave a mark] were highlights for me, while I struggled to piece together OREL [25d Russian city on the Oka River] and got slowed down by “onoff” instead of OFFON at [9d Switch labels]. Most of the rest of the grid was solid but passed without much reaction. On the whole, an enjoyable solve and solid challenge.


  • 27a [Pol who said “War is a contagion”] FDR. Hoo boy, how long did I keep POT in here? Long enough to say “27d is a word like FORAY… that starts with a P?” and *still* keep it there. Guess I need to brush up on my history.
  • 56a [Delicacy made with cornmeal, milk, butter, and eggs] SPOONBREAD. I hadn’t seen this before, but once I got enough crosses decided it must be correct. Looking it up, it occurs to me (1) that I’ve made this before, but called it “corn pudding”, and (2) that it really should be on a menu somewhere around me (in rural North Carolina), and I’m not going to the right restaurants, I guess.
  • 10d [Scooped?] A LA MODE. Delightful clue – I had a very satisfying aha moment with it. I find it’s tough to get a question mark clue that doesn’t telegraph the misdirection, and this avoids that trap nicely.
  • 50d [Garbage disposal: Abbr.] APPL. I’m not sure what’s going on here. Is APPL short for ‘appliance’? If so, I’d like a “, for one” or some such in the clue. But that may not be what’s going on at all.

Will Nediger’s New Yorker puzzle– Rebecca’s write-up

Will Nediger’s New Yorker puzzle, March 28, 2022

Clean but crunchy puzzle today with lots to enjoy. My Monday brain took quite a while to put the pieces together, but while tough the puzzle was thoroughly enjoyable. Of the long across answers, I got CRACK A SMILE first and then filled in term PAPERS – went back and got CONTEXT CLUE which allowed me to fix my error and get to EXAM PAPERS.

Some favorite clues:

18A [Key collaborator] PEELE

11D [One who hasn’t adapted to the times] DINOSAUR

21D [In the mail, say?] ARMOR CLAD

3D [What Georgia has that Geneva lacks] SERIFS


Here’s some ELO in honor of spring:

Elizabeth Goodney & Hoang-Kim Vu’s USA Today puzzle, “Family First”– malaika’s write-up

Theme: The first part of each theme entry is a family member

  • Refined baking ingredient– GRANULATED SUGAR
  • Dish that may be served alongside tortilla espanola– PATATAS BRAVAS
  • Its chimney is watched for papal news– SISTINE CHAPEL
  • Started to perspire– BROKE INTO A SWEAT

USA Today– “Family First”

After I got “gran,” I wondered if this puzzle would use all English terms for family members, or if they’d mix it up. (DID I STUTTER would have been an awesome theme answer if they’d done the latter.)

I was slow on this puzzle!! My solve times for USA Today puzzles are around 5mins, and this one was over 10. Did you guys find it hard? I’ll go through some thoughts on the clues, including some I thought were hard.

  • The term “trans MASC” is not new to me, but it might be to some of you– it can refer to a few things, including men who are trans, or non-binary people who feel masculine.
  • SEMINAL is tricky vocabulary, I think. I know how to use that word, but I wouldn’t be able to give a concise definition it if you asked me, which is why it took me a while to put in.
  • The clue [Wheel coverings] didn’t click for me with the entry TIRES. Is that how they work? I guess I thought TIRES were wheels.
  • A nutmeg is a soccer trick where you get past an opponent by dribbling the ball through their legs. It’s brutal. I usually hear this abbreviated to “meg.”
  • I thought the clue [Acrylics, for example] was ambiguous because it could be NAILS or “paint” but in retrospect, the plural indicates the former.
  • I am not convinced that TP-ED is an abbreviation for “teleported”….
  • What are y’all’s thoughts on sweet potato PIE? Personally, I never want a vegetable in my dessert.
  • There are jjimjilbangs alllll over New York and New Jersey, and I know many people who go to them, but I’ve never heard this term before (I just hear “Korean spa”).
  • God bless a mention of “HAROLD and the Purple Crayon.” I freaking loved that book.
This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Monday, March 28, 2022

  1. Paul J Coulter says:

    I loved the NYT today. It’s a Monday that’s actually innovative. Congrats, Leslie. I agree with Sophia that ADDED is a bit different than the others. It didn’t bother me, either, but I might have gone with something like STARREDREVIEW – [C*R*I*T*Q*U*E] and adjusted the slashed one to a 13 like SLASHEDPRICES.

  2. Michel says:

    WHEELS and TIRES are not at all equivalents

    Tires go on wheels, they are not the same thing, I see this as a huge error, given that crosswordss are often about fine definitions of words. Very sloppy in an otherwise fine little puzzle.

  3. Leah says:

    NYT: I really enjoyed the puzzle- but did wish that the clue for 37A had been “highest number on a -standard- die” or similar, as there are lots of dice with much higher numbers.

  4. JohnH says:

    Interesting about TNY. I wonder how well they’ll manage the goal of decreasing difficulty. With their minimal to nil editing, they have sure had mixed results thus far, so that I base expectations on the name of the setter more than the day.

    In fact, I found Monday’s pretty easy, although I’m sure not complaining. I did learn Key & Peele, a fill that mystified me until I looked it up. SERIF may not be perfect either, since it’s so font dependent. Must admit I didn’t know the Nobel Prize winning woman biologist, so that was good to learn. OTOH, the clue once again was easy for a Monday; all they wanted was Italy for someone with an Italian name.

    • Mark B says:

      The SERIF clue wasn’t indicating that Georgia has serifs in the word, which would be font-specific, if that’s what you’re implying. The clue meant that the font called Georgia has serifs, while Geneva is sans serif. :)

    • Matt Gritzmacher says:

      John, this isn’t the first time you’ve commented on TNY’s editing. Why do you say it’s “minimal to nil”?

      • sanfranman59 says:

        I’m wondering the same thing. Though the pop culture references often trip me up, TNY puzzles are consistently among my favorites and they’ve got a terrific slate of accomplished constructors. My only fear is that with additional constructors coming on board, I’ll see fewer Elizabeth Gorski, Robyn Weintraub and Patrick Berry grids (but, maybe not … we’ll see).

        Re John’s comment about “mixed results” with decreasing difficulty through the week, I’ve kept track of my solve times for every crossword puzzle I’ve solved over the past thirteen years and have every puzzle that TNY has published in my database. Based on this particular measure of puzzle difficulty, it seems like they’ve done an excellent job of getting the difficulty right through the week. Sure, there have been a few hiccups along the way, but if you ask me, that’s been the exception, not the rule.

        • JohnH says:

          I’m sure I could be wrong, but I’m not the only one here who has often raised the question, based on difficulty ordering, puzzle delivery format, or just lack of an editorial credit. Besides, the difficulty issue has come up in the main posts. I’d mention someone who has said so repeatedly in comments but don’t wish to put words in someone else’s mouth.

    • malaika says:

      inre Key & Peele, i am so jealous that you get to watch this sketch for the first time:

  5. sanfranman59 says:

    USAT: PATATAS BRAVAS {24A: Dish that may be served alongside tortilla espanola} and OLE {32A: Cheer after a nutmeg} crossing ALAN {27D: Radiology pioneer ___ L. Hart} … ouch! Would someone explain “Cheer after a nutmeg” please? I’ve been Googling for the last ten minutes and can’t come up with anything.

    • Quiara says:

      A “nutmeg” is when a futbolista kicks a ball through an opposing player’s legs.

    • Paul Coulter says:

      A nutmeg is an impressive soccer move, where a dribbler taps the ball between a defender’s legs, runs around him, collects it on the other side, and continues with it down the field. Thus, the fans might shout “Ole!”

    • sanfranman59 says:

      Thanks to both of you. I’ve watched a good bit of soccer in my day and love the game, but am nowhere near as knowledgeable about the slang as I am with American football, baseball, basketball and soccer. I don’t recall ever reading or hearing the nutmeg reference.

      In case anyone else is as naïve to this as I and is interested in the etymology, Wikipedia has three possible explanations:

      (1) “Nuts refers to the testicles of the player through whose legs the ball has been passed and nutmeg is just a development from this” (Huh … okay)
      (2) Nutmeg means leg in Cockney rhyming slang (not sure this makes much surface sense as an explanation for use of the term in soccer, but that’s what’s in the article)
      (3) There was known to be lots of shenanigans in the early nutmeg trade and unscrupulous traders would pad bags of nutmeg with wooden replicas. “Nutmegging” came to characterize any situation where a trickster dupes an unwitting victim. (FWIW, this explanation seems to me to be the most likely of the three)

  6. Quiara says:

    Weird decision in the WSJ today: why clue BORN YESTERDAY as a 70+-year-old film rather than the very familiar idiom? Particularly on a Monday.

    (Cluing a marquee entry as just [(year) (name of actor) movie] is poor form either way, imo.)

  7. joel roman says:

    NYT (Monday) minor point for 20A: Isn’t the direction of the Morning Light to the West, not the East, from which it cometh?

  8. Michel says:

    DOOR NUMBER THREE,to%20England%2C%22%20writes%20Seddon.

    You also shave the nuts, like one shaves a nutmeg, especially if it’s the poor goalkeep.

    Happens virtually every game at the top level, gets talked about more when leaving to a attempt on goal

Comments are closed.