Monday, May 16, 2022

BEQ untimed (Matthew) 


LAT 2:11 (Stella) 


NYT 3:23 (Sophia) 


The New Yorker 6:20 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today tk (malaika) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Lynn Lempel’s New York Times puzzle– Sophia’s write-up

Theme: Each theme answer is a common phrase in the form of “[verb] LIKE A [animal]”. The theme clues are structured the same way as well.

New York Times, 05 16 2022, By Lynn Lempel

  • 20a [Imbibe copiously] – DRINK LIKE A FISH
  • 26a [Move speedily] – RUN LIKE A DEER
  • 43a [Toil arduously] – WORK LIKE A DOG
  • 52a [Observe intently] – WATCH LIKE A HAWK

Every time I see Lynn’s byline, before I even solve the puzzle I know I’m going to get a clean puzzle with a solid but probably not earth shattering theme, and that’s exactly what we’ve got here today. Honestly I’m surprised this theme hasn’t been done before, since the phrases fit together so well, particularly the last two. DRINK LIKE A FISH did make me slightly uncomfortable, as in my life I’ve only heard that phrase used in a worrying/unsafe behavior context, so it’s not a fun phrase to me. Overall, I wasn’t crazy wowed by the theme concept, but it’s solid, and newer solvers will be helped out by getting to drop in the “LIKE A” section of each answer even if they haven’t figured out the rest yet.

Today’s fill highlights include SHAKE UP, SOURBALLS, and GOOSE EGGS (is it inelegant to have another animal in the grid here? I personally don’t mind). The clue [Pita sandwiches of deep-fried chickpea balls] for FALAFELS threw me off at first, because I think of falafels as being the chickpea balls themselves as opposed to the entire sandwich, which might be a “falafel wrap” or something like that. The only section of fill I really don’t like is that LAIC/IRMA/RIME area, which I think could definitely stump solvers on any of those crosses. There are also an impressive number of rare letters in the grid with regards to J’s, Z’s, V’s. I don’t actively like these letters anymore than others, but their presence indicates that the grid includes words not completely overused in puzzles, which always makes a puzzle more memorable.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Bruce Venzke’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 5/16/22 by Bruce Venzke

Los Angeles Times 5/16/22 by Bruce Venzke

I need to be brief today, but then this theme doesn’t require a lot of explanation. The theme entries are all answers you might give when thanked, all clued as [Response to “Thanks”]:

  • 17A is GLAD TO DO IT.
  • 27A is YOU’RE WELCOME.
  • 48A is ANY TIME AT ALL.
  • 64A is MY PLEASURE.

I hate to say it since the constructor and I were puzzlemaking partners for quite a few years, but this theme doesn’t do it for me at all. It’s so straightforward that it belongs in Newsday on a Monday, although entries like ELAYNE Boosler (at least the Y is crossing a theme entry in a way that makes the I implausible fairly early on) and K-STAR would have disqualified it there.

Ben Zoon’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Red Rover”—Jim P’s review

I will apologize in advance to the constructor and you all for the brevity of this post; I’m rushing to catch a plane. This appears to be a debut, and it’s a pleasant Monday puzzle.

Each theme answer is a known (if not well-known) phrase that starts with a word that is the name of a MARS rover (63a, [Where to find the first parts of the asterisked answers]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Red Rover” · Ben Zoon · Mon., 5.16.22

  • 17a. [*Service offering on-demand documentaries] CURIOSITY STREAM.
  • 26a. [*Former slave who became an abolitionist and women’s rights activist] SOJOURNER TRUTH.
  • 42a. [*Carrier touting ultralow fares] SPIRIT AIRLINES.
  • 55a. [*Forgone benefit, in economics] OPPORTUNITY COST.

Very nice. I’m not familiar with the first one but I think I may have heard of it. The last one is definitely new to me, but sounds legit. I still want it to be OPPORTUNITY LOST though.

Fill is nice with MAINSTAY and “JEEZ, PEOPLE” though I really wanted “JEEZ LOUISE”. As for the other long Down…I NEED TO RUN.

3.75 stars.

Michele Govier’s Universal crossword, “Seasoned Professionals” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 5/16/22 • Mon • Govier • “Seasoned Professionals” • solution • 20220516

The title seems to me to promise something more than what is delivered. The pun half-references the clue for the revealer and also the theme entries, but somehow feels lacking. As if there were a Venn diagram for puzzle and title that has significant overlap but not enough to be interesting? Don’t know quite how to characterize it.

But enough with relative superficialities, eh?

  • 20a. [One who gets to the root of something?] DENTAL SURGEON.
  • 25a. [One who gets bodies in better shape?] AUTO MECHANIC.
  • 47a. [One who likes crude stuff?] OIL RIG WORKER.
  • 54aR [“This isn’t new to me,” or what 20-, 25- or 47-Across might say?] I KNOW THE DRILL.

Do you see what I mean? Or is it just me who feels it isn’t sufficiently cohesive in light of the title?

  • 8d [Ariel’s tormentor] URSULA. Silly me, I was thinking of Shakespeare.
  • 12d [Green expanses in suburbs] LAWNS. I’m primarily anti-lawn. Why Mow? (Michael Pollan)
  • 51d [Title of most series’ openers] PILOT. ‘Title’ seems weird here. ‘Name’? ‘Designation’?
  • 52d [Japanese dog breed] AKITA, apparently the only Japanese breed known to crosswords. Here is a TOSA INU in full ceremonial regalia, which seems not to have an OBI (7d [Japanese sashes] OBIS).
  • 1a [It may be open-and-shut] CASE. I reflexively filled in CASE, but realized as I did so that it could also be DOOR, but after that understood that the hyphenation precluded that. So, a vote for first instincts!
  • 19a [Fuzzy brown fruit] KIWI. Named for the bird and its plumage rather than its egg. And despite the New Zealand name (and industry) this gooseberry originated in China.
  • 53a [Touch lightly, when read forward or backward] TAP (or PAT). Cute.

The puzzle: I liked it but didn’t love it.

Natan Last’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s write-up

New Yorker crossword solution, 5 16 22 – Natan Last

Tough like a Saturday NYT, but not super-tough. The fill seemed maybe not as zippy as the usual Natan grid—he’s usually a bit SLYER.

Did not know: 22d. [Anthropologist who developed the concept of everyday communism in “Debt: The First 5,000 Years”], DAVID GRAEBER.

Best clue: 36a. [Battle waged with weapons in some cases], PILLOW FIGHT. Pillowcases!

Three more things:

  • 17a. [Alpha parents, often], GEN Y. I don’t get it. Is alpha the name for a generation of current children? Apparently, yes: Generation Alpha is kids born in the early 2010s through to the future kids born in the 2020s to early 2030s.
  • Two change-outs for common crossword-friendly surnames: Instead of washed-up actor Scott Baio, we have [Vampire Weekend bassist Chris] BAIO (never heard of him, personally), and instead of steroid* baseball star Sammy Sosa, [Argentinean folk singer Mercedes] SOSA. I’ve seen her name, likely via crosswords. She’s welcome here, since there are plenty of men in the clues and fill and not many women.
  • 46d. [Strike sites], LANES. As in lanes in a bowling alley. Raise your hand if you tried LODES first.

3.75 stars from me.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday puzzle– Matthew’s write-up

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword solution, 5/16/2022

Satisfyingly difficult puzzle for me today. I’m writing this several hours after solving, unfortunately, so I just spent a good moment trying to un-mis-parse REBAM CENTIRE [33A Singer with a record 11 Favorite Country Female Artist American Music Awards].

Jokes aside, UNICYCLE instead of “clowncar” at [15a Circus vehicle] was a heck of a trap, and it took me a while to get going, as MYRA [5d Hart who co-founded Staples] and ICH [4d ___ glaub’, mich tritt ein Pferd” (German title for “National Lampoon’s Animal House”)] didn’t come nicely at all. The German title translates to “I think a horse is kicking me”. Despite obviously not being a direct translation of “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” I still got plenty hung up. DELI MEAT [1a Sub standard?] is a fun clue adding difficulty to that corner, as well.

Didn’t realize that MATH ROCK was a punk genre, but goodness knows BEQ knows more about that than me. Some room for geography buffs today, with OAHU clued to Hanauma Bay on its southeast corner, some NYC neighborhood trivia connecting Hells Kitchen to the JAVITS CENTER, and reminders that ELBE and UDINE exist in the real world — in Livorno and at the foot of the Venetian Alps, respectively — and not just in puzzles. A pair of hockey clues after some wonderful playoff games this weekend in ON GOAL [56a Headed for the net] and ONE TIMER [60a Slap made on a moving puck], though the former could be soccer, as well.

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13 Responses to Monday, May 16, 2022

  1. marciem says:

    NYT: I also liked the juxtaposition of 1a. mares and 64a. beast as side-themers. On seeing Gooseeggs I was somewhat expecting/hoping for another symmetrical animal-type word at 33d. to tidy it all up.

    10a. Egos aren’t always inflated… that bothered me.

    Enjoyed the puzzle despite the nits :) .

  2. sanfranman59 says:

    Uni … The punny clue for AUTO MECHANIC {25A: One who gets bodies in better shape?} doesn’t really make any sense. In my experience, AUTO MECHANICs don’t do body work as part of their typical job duties. You take your car to an auto body repair shop if you need dents pounded out or other repair on the body. If you’re having mechanical trouble, you take it to an AUTO MECHANIC (that’s why they’re called MECHANICs).

  3. sanfranman59 says:

    NYT … FWIW, this theme was done by Michael Dewey in the NYT ten years ago (1/9/2012, also a Monday). It was his first published crossword and he’s had five other NYT puzzles since then. The only overlapping themer is WATCH LIKE A HAWK. MD also had FLY LIKE AN EAGLE and SING LIKE A CANARY. I’m not being critical here. I have no beef with repeating a theme idea, especially since it’s been ten years and only one of the themers is a repeat.

    (How come the blog comments feature isn’t remember my name and email address anymore? Yes, I make sure the “Save my name, email, and website” box is checked. Are others having this problem the last few days? No big deal … just curious if it’s only me.)

    • marciem says:

      me too… I thought it was because I got a new modem or something, but now I see even after all that, I still have to reenter my pedigree. And yes I’ve checked the appropriate box.

      But it seems like it is a daily thing. If you post more than once in a day it holds on to your info. I think.

    • Eric H says:

      The comments form has forgotten me, too.

  4. David Roll says:

    WSJ–seemed difficult for a Monday.

  5. Billy Boy says:

    Low scores for NYer today, It killed me (needed a cheat or five) but I recognized it was very good and my skill wasn’t up to it for a proper solve.

    Today’s solve cartoon for the NYer was hilarious and 100% on point

    • Eric H says:

      I thought it was substantially easier than Friday’s NYT puzzle, but I had a fair number of gimmes.

      And the clue for PILLOW FIGHT is classic.

  6. Eric H says:

    New Yorker: This is about the only Mercedes SOSA song I know, but it’s beautiful. I first heard it on the radio about 30 years ago and immediately loved it.

Comments are closed.