Friday, May 13, 2022

Inkubator untimed (Rebecca) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


The New Yorker untimed (Matthew) 


NYT 4:30, 1 error (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim P) 


USA Today untimed (Darby) 


Brooke Husic & Nam Jin Yoon’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 5 13 22, no. 0513

Well, that’s annoying! I figured out a clever clue, and that was my favorite part of the puzzle but I failed to notice that I needed to change that B to a C. I’d had BIO for 43a. [Data head?], figuring the prefix BIO worked there, and then when I realized 27d. [Summons before congress?] was about sex rather than House committees and the answer was BOOTY CALL, I left it as BOOTY BALL, which is not (to my knowledge! afraid to google that) a thing. Chief information officer, CIO. Oof.

Other fave fill: “AREN’T WE ALL?” and “ANY TAKERS?”, KID crossing German KINDER, TCHOTCHKE referenced in the DECLUTTER clue, LAYABOUTS, RAISE HELL, “AMEN TO THAT,” PLAY HOOKY, WEIRDS OUT, and CRUSH HARD (I feel like “crushing” as the verb for having a crush on someone is a newer usage—when did that kick in?).

Five more things:

  • 31a. [Orchestral instrument that doesn’t make a sound], BATON. I thought this was pretty tricky and quizzed my husband on the clue. He got it in under 5 seconds. (He’s far more musical than I.)
  • 9a. [Creatures with asymmetrical ears for accuracy in hunting], OWLS. I learned something new.
  • 6a. [Abbr. in skin care], SPF. The UV index is high in the Northern Hemisphere, friends! Wear your sunscreen. Get your skin checked by a dermatologist every so often.
  • 44d. [Given a number, maybe], RATED. 4.5 stars from me for this one. Fun and fresh, chatty, a junk-free grid.
  • 23d. [Given (to)], WONT. Raise your hand if you are wont to use this word in conversation.

I didn’t notice the diagonal axis of symmetry till well into the blogging process. A grid that accommodates 16 long entries (9-10 letters)? Yes, please! I’ll take more of these.

Danny Reichert’s Universal crossword, “Revolutionaries”—Jim P’s review

Love the play on words in the title. The revealer is THE SPINNERS (57a, [Band that sang “Then Came You” with Dionne Warwick, or how you might refer to 17-, 27- and 44-Across?]). The other theme answers are people who spin things.

Universal crossword solution · “Revolutionaries” · Danny Reichert · Fri., 5.13.22

  • 17a. [Radio station employees] DISC JOCKEYS. They spin records…or at least they used to.
  • 27a. [They maintain images] PR SPECIALISTS. They spin topics. Hmm. Not so sure about that job title, but it works well enough I suppose.
  • 44a. [Winter Olympians who may perform ice dances] FIGURE SKATERS. They spin themselves.

A nice set that kept me in the dark until I uncovered the revealer right at the end. Made for a fun aha moment.

Keeping with the ’70s musical theme, we have DONNA SUMMER as a highlight in the fill along with fun ASIAN FUSION. Also good: Amerigo VESPUCCI, MOJAVE Desert, and DIAPER with a fun clue [Changing requirement?].

Clues of note:

  • 34a. [Craft made with a plate, perhaps?]. UFO. “Craft” meaning spacecraft, not necessarily as in “arts and craft,” but that too, I guess.
  • 37a. [Apt guess from Aegean Airlines?]. ETA. Cute.
  • 8d. [Family picture?]. TREE. Took me a second to realize it’s using “picture” as a synonym of “diagram.”
  • 11d. [She sang “On the Radio”]. DONNA SUMMER. I always heard her singing “On the Reedio.” I know it doesn’t make sense, but that’s how it’s always sounded to me. Anyone else hear that?

Nice puzzle all around. Four stars.

Stefan Fatsis’ Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 5/13/22 • Fri • Fatsis • solution • 20220513

The byline may seem familiar to you, as Fatsis was behind the 2001 Scrabble documentary Word Freak, but this is possibly his crossword constructing début—his name isn’t familiar to the tags in DoaCF’s collective memory.

The conceit—or should I say twist?—here is taking literary titles in the format “X of a Y” and condensing them via rearrangement to Y’s X.

  • 20a. [Play about the shortcomings of capitalism, abridged?] SALESMAN’S DEATH (Death of a Salesman).
  • 25a. [YA series about an insecure preadolescent, abridged?] WIMPY KID’S DIARY (Diary of a Wimpy Kid).
  • 42a. [Film about a crime in a small town, abridged?] MURDER’S ANATOMY (Anatomy of a Murder).
  • 49a. [Novel about a Japanese entertainer, abridged?] GEISHA’S MEMOIRS (Memoirs of a Geisha).

I appreciate how these are presented as different formats (play, book series, film, novel) although a diversity shortcoming is that they’re all authored by white men, but hey that stuff happens, we know.

  • 2d [“I’m __ here!”] OUTA. I would tend to spell this with a doubled T. Ngrams agrees.
  • 4d [El Diablo of “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” e.g.] DOBERMAN. Unknown to me, but rather guessable. PSA: please don’t crop your dogs’ ears or dock their tails. The intent behind this is to alter the appearance to seem ever-alert (ears up) and less-than friendly (disguising a wagging tail).
  • 6d [Rise in pitch that can make a statement sound like a question] UPTALK. I wonder, was there editorial consternation about whether to add a question mark to this clue.
  • 7d [Moon theater?] APOLLO. And why did they name those 1960’s moon missions after the sun god APOLLO rather than his sister, the moon goddess Artemis? I’m gonna blame the patriarchy. 32a [Nutrition bar marketed to women] LUNA.
  • 25d [Chinese martial arts] WUSHU. Not to be confused with wuxia.
  • 29d [Chili rating unit] ALARM.
  • 37d [Rolling Rock openers?] has little to do with the beer itself and instead refers to its spelling—both words begin with the eighteenth letter of the alphabet.
  • 40d [Basket made without weaving?] SET SHOT. Brilliant clue! Maybe one of those ORCA contenders. Weaving, obviously in differing contexts, is common to both basketmaking and basketball. A SET SHOT is one made without dribbling a lot and trying to evade defenders. Fitting clue from an erstwhile sportswriter.
  • 1a [Steinbeck surname] JOAD. Protagonist of Wrath’s Grapes.
  • 9a [Overdoes the fandom, in slang] STANS. The origin is usually credited to Eminem, but I’m contemplating trying to convince people that it’s short for ‘standard bearer’.
  • 17a [Inadequate Wikipedia entry] STUB. Fresh angle.
  • 48a [Apple gadget] IPOD. Just read that they’re ceasing production of the last model. It was a 22-year run.
  • 59a [Hunter-gatherer diet] PALEO. I’d prefer the clue to specify that it’s ‘inspired’ by hunter-gatherer lifestyles.
  • 61a [Craftsy retailer] ETSY. I wonder, is that connotation of the -tsy ending part of the the website’s name’s origin? … Okay, Wikipedia reports: [One of the founders] said that he named the site Etsy because he “wanted a nonsense word because I wanted to build the brand from scratch. I was watching Fellini’s 8 ½ and writing down what I was hearing. In Italian, you say etsi a lot. It means ‘oh, yes’ (actually it’s ‘eh, si’). And in Latin and French, it means ‘what if’.” In Greek, Etsy means ‘just because’.

Byron Walden’s New Yorker crossword—Matthew’s write-up

Byron Walden’s New Yorker crossword solution, 5/13/2022

Our seven (!) theme entries cycle through the solfege musical notes, two to an entry and helpfully highlighted by circles. The 16×15 grid does well to manage those themers without getting too gummy. I love the cluing angle for ABCD [1a Snippet sung to the same tune as the lyrics “Twinke, twinkle” and “Baa, baa, black sheep”], as that’s an entry that I’m rarely eager to see. Otherwise nothing really jumps out to me, and I’ve had a brutal week, so think this is it for today. Have a good weekend!

Kate Chin Park’s USA Today crossword, “Breakfast Sides”—Darby’s write-up

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme: Each theme answer ends with a breakfast item on the right side.

Theme Answers

Kate Chin Park's USA Today crossword, "Breakfast Sides" solution for 5/13/2022

Kate Chin Park’s USA Today crossword, “Breakfast Sides” solution for 5/13/2022

  • 17a [“‘Take your attitude and shove it’”] KISS MY GRITS
  • 39a [“Raise a glass, say”] PROPOSE A TOAST
  • 62a [“Making circular skid marks at an Oakland sideshow, say”] DOING DONUTS

I was pumped up when I saw the title of this puzzle, and I was not disappointed. These were really fun theme answers. I don’t know that I’ve heard KISS MY GRITS, but it also sounded familiar as soon as I filled it in. PROPOSE A TOAST and DOING DONUTS were both so fun, and I definitely am all ready for someone to make me breakfast.

This was a great grid. I had a few stumbles. In particular, I got snagged up for a bit at the intersection of 64d [“Channel with old movies”] TCM and 71a [“‘Yuri on Ice,’ e.g.”] ANIME, though I should have intuited the M more quickly. It did not help that I was emphasizing the “A” in my head as I cycled through answers, making it seem like ANIME was pronounced A NIME. Eventually, I realized the error of my ways.

A few other Friday faves:

  • 32a [“Warriors forward Toscano-Anderson”]JUAN Toscano-Anderson’s number, 95, is a reference to his childhood home, located at 95th and A Street in East Oakland and originally bought by his grandfather after he immigrated to the U.S. from Michoacán. You can read more about Toscano-Anderson’s journey to Golden State here.
  • 12d [“Most sacred site in Islam”] – The KAABA is located near the Great Mosque in Mecca. Every Muslim during their pilgrimage to Mecca walks around the Kaaba seven times before kissing it. It’s early history is not well-known, but both the legends around it and what is known is super interesting. Learn more here.
  • 21d [“Character never seen in the same room as Bruce Wayne”] – This reference to the BATMAN meme is truly iconic
  • 51d [“‘The Destroyer,’ in Hinduism”]SHIVA is known in the Hindu tradition as both the protector and the destroyer, linking him with both creation and destruction. Interestingly, the Met has put together a really cool lesson for students around the “Art of Belief” that uses a statue of Shiva to teach students. Check it out.
  • 62d [“Singer ___ Lipa”] DUA Lipa is a name that has become so often used in crosswords, and, unsurprisingly, it has also has gained traction among new parents, with DUA doubling in popularity in England between 2017 and 2019, according to this BBC article using stats from the Office for National Statistics. It also mentions that Kylo has likewise gained popularity since 2015.

I was smiling throughout my fill; this was such a great puzzle. Anything that is food-themed has my immediate undying affection.

Annemarie Brethauer’s Inkubator crossword, “LOVE ‘N’ THE NOVEL”—Rebecca’s review

Anagrammed novels made for a fun puzzle today, with each themed answer anagrammed within the clue for the entry.

Inkubator, May 12, 2022, Annemarie Brethauer, “LOVE ‘N’ THE NOVEL” solution grid

  • 17-Across [Frances Hodgson Burnett’s tale of an orphaned girl and her embittered uncle, whose CHASTENED REGRET centers on a hidden place on his estate] THE SECRET GARDEN
  • 35-Across [Ann Patchett’s novel about opera-loving hostages and shifting alliances, which ultimately crescendoes into violence and a NOBLE ACT] BEL CANTO
  • 47-Across [Toni Morrison’s fictional account of the town of Ruby, AS PAIRED with the lives of the women of its convent] PARADISE
  • 67-Across [Zora Neale Hurston’s story of African American migration, in which she captures hope and despair vividly, HAVING SOJOURNED through the significant plot points in her own life] JONAH’S GOURD VINE

Fun cluing throughout the puzzle, and I definitely got a kick out of seeing ELON and TESLA so close in this grid clued as [University in North Carolina] and [Magnetic induction measure].

This song has been stuck in my head since seeing 36-Down, so here’s some Sheryl CROW

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19 Responses to Friday, May 13, 2022

  1. john morgan says:

    I thought the fill on the NYT was awesome today. Kudos to the constructors.

    • JohnH says:

      Agreed that it’s excellent, and I learned some vocabulary. I did eventually get CALL as more plausibly a summons than ball, but sorry to admit that I needed To come here to make sense of CIO.

  2. zevonfan says:


    I made the same mistake you did. I thought “Booty Ball” could be feasible given the across clue. When the happy pencil didn’t come up, I knew that had to be my error.

    Another fantastic puzzle by Brooke (this time with a co-creator).

  3. Erhan says:

    Oops. Meant to rate the NYT 4.5 stars and misclicked. Just a gorgeous puzzle. Fave Friday of the year I think.

  4. JohnH says:

    TNY printout today combines their usual space-hogging grid and its overly small numbers with tiny type for clues. Ouch.

    At least I got my wish for it to fit on a page. Normally I do without the clues on a second page, a bit like those who insist on solving only from the across clues without crossings but not meaning to show off. (Of course, it takes me longer.)

    • JohnH says:

      At least it’s a gift to Crossword Fiend, which can now debate whether the notes of the scale belong to Rogers & H or most everyone else. (I’m neutral, since I don’t feel one can dismiss people influenced by so popular a song, even if I don’t care for it, as not part of “usage.” Both MW11C and RHUD have SO as a less common alternative, which works for me. The puzzle has the more standard SOL.)

  5. Mr. [Not Always] Grumpy says:

    NYT was great puzzle, although I felt more like I survived it than enjoyed it.

    • Eric H says:

      Same here. I can’t remember the last time a Friday puzzle took me as long as this one did. Still fun, though.

  6. pannonica says:

    “[Creatures with asymmetrical ears for accuracy in hunting], OWLS. I learned something new.”

    Don’t know that it’s true for all or even most owls, but it is a feature of barn owls, Tyto alba.

  7. e.a. says:

    pannonica, seconding your take on LAT 40d – serious clue of the year contender

    • Alan D. says:

      Can I just say I’ve been enjoying the heck out of the LAT since Patti took over. Nothing against Rich Norris but Patti’s brought on a different vibe and I’m all for it! The clueing in particular has been fresh and great.

  8. Mike H says:

    LAT – I got everything except 1A/1D – Natick for me. That first letter was not something I could come up with.

  9. CC says:

    RE: USA Today:

    The origin of “Kiss My Grits:” the character Flo (played by Polly Holiday) had it as her catchphrase on the 70s/80s sitcom “Alice.”

    • Mr. [sometimes] Grumpy says:

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha …. It’s ‘kiss mah grits” ain’t it? Thanks for the memory.

  10. dh says:

    I found the NYT difficult also – I held on to “ANGIE” instead of “CRAIG” for too long. I wonder if they know each other. The “Etsy” name origin is interesting – it’s a similar story to the “KODAK” brand. Eastman wanted a nonsense word with hard consonants that could be pronounced easily in any language. In the UNIX operating system there’s a folder called “etc” which is pronounced “Etsy”.

  11. Brenda Rose says:

    I’d say the apt guess for Aegean Airlines clue/answer ETA was clever. Cute? No. Eta has been around for decades & was a quick gimme.

  12. AlanW says:

    TNY 40A: A stalemate is not quite the same as an impasse:

  13. Billy Boy says:

    I guess NYer is fairly easy on Friday as well (now my default puzzles) but this one had a lot more age variety than yesterday’s.

    A fun, but definitely not cute puzzle :-) I suppose

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