Friday, May 27, 2022

LAT untimed (pannonica) 


The New Yorker 3:46 (Matthew) 


NYT 4:51 (Amy) 


Universal 3:47 (Jim P) 


USA Today 6:15 (Darby) 


David Distenfeld’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 5 27 22, no. 0527

So much fun and fresh stuff in this grid! Fave fill: CATFISHES, LONG PAUSE, DIE-HARD FAN, IN THE WEEDS, STAGE MOMS, TWITTER FEED, HOUSE WINES, “I HAD NO IDEA!,” and ALL THE FEELS. If you’re looking askance at ALL THE FEELS, read what the Merriam-Webster folks wrote about phrases with the feels in them.

Never heard of: 66a. Film technique that accommodates wide- and full-screen display], OPEN MATTE.

Four more things:

  • 52a. [First name in gossip], RONA. That’s Rona Barrett, who had a media career from 1957 to 1991. I just glanced at her career phases in Wikipedia, and have decided that late-night host Tom Snyder just might have been a sexist jackass.
  • 4d. [Some pudding ingredients], FIGS. This made me wonder: Is figgy pudding actually made with figs? Per this source, the figgy pudding of seven centuries ago “was more of a wet, sticky, thick porridge consisting of boiled figs, water, wine, ground almonds, raisins and honey.” Yum?
  • 10d. [They’re used during film production and promotion], TRAILERS. Double meaning. Trailers that are parked vehicles with dressing rooms, etc., inside, used during movie production, and then the promotional trailers/previews used to market a new movie.
  • 63d. [Source of withdrawal?], ATM. Cute clue!

Four stars from me.

Matt Westman’s Universal crossword, “Liquid Assets”—Jim P’s review

The last word of each of the main theme answers HOLDS WATER (58a, [Seems valid, or what the end of 17-, 23-, 35- or 48-Across does]).

Universal crossword solution · “Liquid Assets” · Matt Westman · Fri., 5.27.22

  • 17a. [Self-serving use of government funds] PORK BARREL.
  • 23a. [Replacement on the mound] RELIEF PITCHER.
  • 35a. [Icon in Wikipedia’s search bar] MAGNIFYING GLASS.
  • 48a. [He finds a Willy Wonka golden ticket] CHARLIE BUCKET.

Nice. I didn’t guess the THEME (52d) before uncovering the revealer, so it provided a pleasant aha moment.

Any puzzle with CHARLIE BUCKET in it is a winner in my book. I’ve seen the original movie many times since I was a kid, and that moment—when all hope is lost and Charlie is at his lowest, when suddenly and unexpectedly he finds there’s a chance for him and the tension builds—well, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still well up and have a thrill in my heart as that hint of gold is revealed and that piccolo sounds. You go, Charlie!

Elsewhere we have an OMELET BAR with EGG WHITES as its symmetrical counterpart, plus ON PURPOSE and CAME CLOSE. Nothing much to scowl at, though LOW PH looks odd in the grid.

Clue of note: 20a. [Basketball legend Bird]. SUE. Shame on me for only thinking of Larry.

Enjoyable grid. 3.75 stars.

Gary Larson & Amy Ensz’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 5/27/22 • Fri • Larson, Ensz • solution • 20220527

  • 67aR [Holiday song, and, phonetically, an apt description of the answers to the starred clues] NOEL. Maybe partially phonetically, because it isn’t just the letter L that’s been dropped from the original phrases but the EL bigram. (68a [Start to sneeze?] ESS.)
  • 17a. [*Genetically engineered retriever?] DESIGNER LAB (designer label).
  • 24a. [*Colleague of an Idaho farmer?] POTATO PEER (potato peeler).
  • 36a. [*Advice to someone who doesn’t want more kittens?] FIX THE CAT (Felix the Cat).
  • 52a. [*Teaches tricks to circus animals?] LION TRAINS (Lionel trains). While I appreciate the play on ‘train’ here, I can’t conscience the ‘circus animals’ reference. It constitutes animal cruelty and most circuses have moved beyond such inhumane practices. Even the Nabisco cookies have finally shed the trope.
  • 57a. [*Food and water supplied during a marathon?] RACE RATIONS (race relations).

Theme’s okay, but not too exciting. And it has that major ding.

  • Speaking of dings, there’s another right at 1-down: [“You should smile more”] BE HAPPY. Really? That could be triggering to some. An anodyne Bobby McFerrin reference would’ve just as easy and far less controversial (despite the earworm).
  • 3d [Soprano Teresa known for her recording of Berg’s “Lulu”] STRATAS. That seems a bit obscure, even to me.
  • 4a [Sacks] BAGS, 4d [Sack] BED, 5d [Body spray brand] AXE. Soooooo close to a triple-sack!
  • 25d [Promotional links] TIE-INS. For a brief moment I imagined sausages with logos on them.
  • The orthographic resonance between 43d [ __ Angier: fashion house known for accessories] ETIENNE and 44d [Sneaks on the court?] TENNIES is fun.
  • 55d [Shrinking Asian sea] ARAL. “sea” (62a [Future louse] NIT.
  • 16a [Binary pronoun] HER, 34d [Binary pronoun] SHE.
  • 29a [Relatively small upright] PIANINO. Had SPINNET first.
  • 33a [Socket set] EYES. Not tools here.

One final question: doesn’t the cusp of summer seem like an odd time to run this a crossword with this theme?

Claire Rimkus’ New Yorker—Matthew’s write-up

Claire Rimkus’ New Yorker crossword solution, 5/27/2022

This week’s themed New Yorker was a bit tougher than the last few for me. Oh wait, it’s slightly oversized, at 16 wide. Now I’m not sure.

Anyway, our theme plays on phrases with numbers in them:

  • 18a [Bikini alternative] (One) PIECE BATHING SUIT
  • 37a [Unfaithful] (Two) TIMING TIMING
  • 45a [Win back-to-back-to-back championships] (Three) PEAT PEAT PEAT
  • 65a [Adjective describing many sedans] (Four) DOOR DOOR DOOR DOOR

If we haven’t seen this exact mechanism before, we’ve seen something like it, but it’s still a good time. I was thrown off throughout the whole puzzle by the difference between the first themer, which has different words, and the rest of the set, which have the same word repeated. The end result was I pretty much filled in each of the second, third, and fourth themers at the same time before cleaning up the remainder. I wonder if there’s a set out there that works for two-, three-, four-, and five-.

Other notes:

  • 21a [France: Cesar :: Mexico : _____] ARIEL. I did not know of this award. From Wikipedia: “The name “Ariel” was inspired by a series of short writings called El Ariel by Uruguayan writer José Enrique Rodó that inspired generations of young Latin Americans in the first decades of the 20th century.” Neat!
  • 22a [Cable convenience] TIVO. Has TiVo been generalized enough as a term to stand in for any form of DVR? I’m sorry I don’t have the time or bandwidth to research this at the moment.
  • 74a [Whaler that inspired Melville’s Pequod] ESSEX. I’m always delighted for Moby-Dick references that aren’t AHAB. (I’m delighted for AHAB, too, but others are extra special). The story of the real-life Essex has inspired a number of retellings, including the 2015 movie In The Heart of the Sea.

Wendy L. Brandes’s USA Today crossword, “Quarter to Five”—Darby’s write-up

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme: Each of the five women featured in this puzzle will appear on a quarter in 2022.

Theme Answers

Wendy L. Brandes's USA Today crossword, "Quarter to Five" solution for 5/27/2022

Wendy L. Brandes’s USA Today crossword, “Quarter to Five” solution for 5/27/2022

  • 21a [“*Maya ___, ‘Still I Rise’ poet”] ANGELOU
  • 37a [“*Wilma ___, first woman elected as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation”] MANKILLER
  • 57a [“*Nina ___, suffragist who advocated for bilingual education”] OTERO WARREN
  • 70a [“*Anna May ___, first Chinese American Hollywood movie star”] WONG
  • 72a [“*Sally ___, first American woman in space”] RIDE

I love this theme and theme set. It’s awesome to learn from Sally’s Blog (and Wendy’s commentary there) that these women will be on quarters beginning this year. Some of these women I could have gotten without as much information as was given in this puzzle, but others, like Wilma MANKILLER and Nina OTERO-WARREN, I definitely did not know as much about. As always, I love the educational aspect of this puzzle, and I think that this puzzle really exemplifies this.

Grid-wise, I loved the top open corners and the fact that it’s a horizontally symmetric puzzle, which is super fun and often allows for this much smoother upper half. It also allowed for both 31d [“Dairy aisle storage bins”] MILK CRATES and 30d [“Gets out of the rain”] TAKES COVER, which are two great tens. It’s also interesting to see the ways in which the women in this puzzle are highlighted and where. Anna May WONG and Sally RIDE anchor the bottom of the grid whereas Maya ANGELOU, Wilma MANKILLER, and Nina OTERO-WARREN fill through the center, making the theme really salient throughout the fill.

That’s all from me!

This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Friday, May 27, 2022

  1. BryanF says:

    NYT: Might just be having a Friday brain fart, but how do we get RADIODIAL from “Where to find 55 and over?” I figured it out in the puzzle because they were the only words that worked, but haven’t reasoned a relation.

    • Ed B says:

      Analog AM radio dials in cars were often labeled from 55 to 160. Kind of a retro clue.

      • Gary R says:

        That was the only explanation I could come up with, and I didn’t like it. I’m old enough to remember analog radio dials and, while I’m sure there were exceptions, I think most of the AM dials started at 54 (or 540).

        • Ed B says:

          I agree. Doing a Google image search, you can find 53, 54, and 55 (as well as 530 and 540) but 55 is the least common.

          • David L says:

            I’m certainly old enough to remember radio dials, but it must be decades since I’ve seen one in the wild. That clue went completely over my head. A very odd piece of ancient obscurity.

        • sanfranman59 says:

          I’ll pile on here. I really enjoyed this puzzle, but ALL THE FEELS and RADIO DIAL took some of the shine off the apple. AM ranges from 535 kHz to 1605 kHz. Even if you convert it to mHz, it’s 53.5 to 160.5. Hmm. Close enough for jazz, hand grenades, nuclear weapons and crossword puzzles, apparently?

        • BryanF says:

          NYT: Yeah, I was trying to think of the old AM/FM dials (I’m old enough to remember them too :P) and I just couldn’t make sense of it. FM starts at 88, I believe, and AM was always in the kHZ terms as others mentioned, so I was thinking 500s.
          Very odd cluing.

          I didn’t mind “ALL THE FEELS”. I like the phrase and use it fairly often (especially with Disney movies), though as mentioned below also, the clue wasn’t really correct.

  2. Billy Boy says:

    Pretty dismal theme at NYer, inconsistent, will wait for opinion of designated solver, plethora of names – so be it.

    DUNE would hardly be my definition of EPIC, a snooze maybe …

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Feels consistent to me, a series of 1 to 4:

      two-TIMING (TIMING)
      three-PEAT (PEAT PEAT)
      four-DOOR (DOOR DOOR DOOR)

      My husband was so looking forward to “Dune.” He’s consumed part of it in three or more sittings, and I don’t think he’s anywhere near done. It’s visually sort of dark and blurry, and everyone seems to murmur softly. Great bedtime viewing!

    • sanfranman59 says:

      I liked the theme, but there were lots of learning opportunities for me here (time will tell how many of them sink in). I made a list of thirteen clue/answer combos that weren’t familiar to me, mostly names and other proper nouns. I finished in more than a minute above my 6-month TNY Wednesday median.

  3. Bryan says:

    NYT: Loved this one! My favorite fill was all the same stuff Amy pointed out. And I would encourage you to head over to XWord Info to see David Distenfeld’s very funny constructor notes.

  4. JohnH says:

    TNY print solvers are in big trouble again today. It’s happened once before.

    Most days, the clues print in normal size type, and the grid fits on the page, but the grid is way larger than in other print puzzles, the grid numbers are smaller, and the last (say) half dozen down clues end up on a second page, which is annoying enough. Today, with the default of print with fit to page width, everything fits easily on the page, but in downright unreadable small type and plenty of white space below. If you change the default sizing to none, then it prints only the left half of the grid and clues after 29D are cut off midway or altogether. And the second page has just two clues (not the remainder and not even the last) and nothing else.

    Why they can’t work with a system like every single other organ, with the setter’s program outputting to pdf with the size of diagram you see everywhere else and all the clues in place is beyond me. I guess, again, they need an editor.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      You’re forgetting that the New Yorker is a print magazine (one print crossword per issue) with a sturdy web presence. There’s no rule that says they have to provide crisply printable versions of the online puzzles, is there? Personally, I really like their online solving interface (though I recognize that not everyone’s eyes and screens make that an appealing option).

      Please don’t be so rude with “they need an editor.” They have at least two editors, and the clues feel cohesively New Yorkerish in style, and there’s rarely a typo or error. “Make me a crisp PDF” isn’t generally what crossword editors focus on.

      • JohnH says:

        Ear in mind that I’m not at all asking for a favor. We’re not talking about a print version of an online version of what’s in the magazine, and im not a freeloader. I have subscribed for many many years. But who knows which of five a week online will appear in print. Besides, they have it set up with a print option, one that is surely as time consuming for them compared to outputting and uploading as it is for me, and if they’re going to offer it, then it should work.

        • PJ says:

          Is crossword scraper and then printing the .puz file a viable option?

          • JohnH says:

            Thanks much. I’ll have to look into that.

          • JohnH says:

            Oh, I’m sure I’m being dense, but may I ask for help, maybe just a hint? I added it as an add-on to Firefox, one of the options. I went to add-ons and looked at the settings there, and all seemed worth keeping. Now I have to figure out how to use it. It lists the WSJ as one supported format, so as a test I opened tomorrow’s WSJ puzzle (available after 5 pm, as ever). What do I do next?

            • Judith Speer says:

              I’m not sure if this will answer your question but I’ll try. I use Chrome (not Firefox, but similar) and also subscribe to the NewYorker. I open the puzzle on the NYer or Crosswordfiend site. Then click on the arrow for scraper from the tool bar which shows me its options and I choose PUZ format . This gives me a window to click on and I download the PUZ . I use BlackInk to sove because my browser no longer supports AcrossLite.

            • marciem says:

              To add to Judith’s excellent direction, sometimes you have to wait a minute for the puzzle to load on the page, before Scraper will work. At least I usually do. But then two clicks and you have the AL version.

            • JohnH says:

              That sounds very clear. Thank you! How foolish that I didn’t notice the arrow added to the bar at top right.

            • marciem says:

              Also, if you are more of a .pdf fan, Scraper offers that option, and today’s TNY looks to be nicely fit on one page with readable clues.

            • JohH says:

              Marcie, thanks for those tips as well. We’re so spoiled by being able to do things instantaneously that I was wondering why I wasn’t seeing the options. But puzzle formats with all this data between screens and an image of a grid take time to assimilate.

              It event successfully incorporated the grid and put it in a corner, whereas TNY updated its site so that the tiny print was larger, but then cutting the grid in half.

      • Billy Boy says:

        Heck, I subscribed again to TNY to solve on their page, it works perfectly but I be slow (10:00 -30:00 for their puzzles) and I’m at my Mac a couple of hours a day, what the hell …

        I almost never solve on paper any longer

  5. Tina says:

    NYT: can anyone explain the answer to 18 across?

    Clue. World record holder?

    Answer atlas

    Atlas holds up the world but don’t understand how the word record fits in.

    • pannonica says:

      Atlas as the namesake book of maps, which in a sense is a record of the world.

      • Tina says:

        You are right.

        I just don’t look at a set of maps as “records of the world”. A better word might be something like representation of the world but then you would miss the play on words of “record of the world.” still don’t like the way this was clued.

        • marciem says:

          The NYT Crossword description by the constructor looks like he has in mind that the god Atlas was the “world holder” of record.

          …”it might be someone who has the record for holding up the world. That would be the Greek god ATLAS.”

          I think he was going for the double meaning, maybe.

  6. person says:

    NYT: The people I play Catan with will make fun of you endlessly if you refer to the resource GRAIN as WHEAT. Granted, they are my teenage children and they love to make fun of me. Try calling ore as rock or wool as sheep and see what happens.

  7. JB says:

    No objections to “ALL THE FEELS” as a grid entry, but does it really mean “mixed emotions?” I always took it to mean something more like “intense emotion.”

  8. Bryan says:

    USA Today: Very nice puzzle commemorating the five women who will be honored on U.S. quarters this year!

    • sanfranman59 says:

      Thank you. I was wondering what the connection was. Now I understand the title, but isn’t it kinda weird to include clues with asterisks when you never explain why with a revealer (or did I miss something)? Maybe it was the constructor’s and/or editor’s way of saying “Google it”?

      • R says:

        I spent a few minutes trying to find a pattern in the names before I gave up and came here. Seems like a revealer on one of the later clues would have been a simple solution. Not everybody is glued to news coming out of the US Mint.

Comments are closed.