Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Jonesin' 3:55 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jim Q) 


NYT 3:35 + :30 to find typo (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal tk (Jim Q) 


USA Today 9:59 (Emily) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Study Time’s Over” – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 5/31/22

Jonesin’ solution 5/31/22

Hello! This week we’re removing the suffix -ology from some phrases and allowing hilarity to ensue:

  • 17a. [Offices of a N.Y. conglomerate (as opposed to their online services?)] PHYSICAL GE (physical geology). GE here is General Electric. Physical geology is the study of the solid Earth as it is now, which historical geology studies the past and environmental geology examines the interactions between humans and the planet.
  • 32a. [Bad thing to say at a driving test when asked to put it in neutral?] REVERSE PSYCH (reverse psychology). “Psych” or “sike” was used mostly in the 80s and 90s after saying something false to fool someone. I guess the person is doing their driving test and the instructor asks them to put the car in neutral and the person replies “Reverse…psych!” and puts it in neutral as asked?
  • 41a. [Underwater version of a Britney Spears hit?] AQUATIC TOXIC (aquatic toxicology). Aquatic toxicology is the study of the effects of harmful substances on aquatic wildlife. It is not the study of venomous sea creatures like the blue-ringed octopus, the marbled cone snail, or the stonefish.
  • 59a. [Option to take during “Choose Your Own Oration?”] SPEECH PATH (speech pathology). This entry hits on two things that I like: Choose Your Own Adventure books, and speech-language pathologists. This is my favorite of the bunch.
  • Also related to the theme is 52a. [It’s full of -ologies] SCIENCE.

Other things:

  • 1a. [Oscar follower?] PAPA. This almost seems to go along with a Sesame Street motif as seen in 22a. and made me think of Oscar the Grouch, but it’s actually O from the NATO phonetic alphabet, so the next in line is PAPA for P.
  • 22a. [He’s (spoiler alert) “The Monster at the End of This Book”] GROVER. Not sure if we need a spoiler alert for a 50-year-old book at this point, but it’s still such a fun read.
  • 37d. [Part of a 2022 U.S. women’s soccer negotiation] EQUAL PAY. It’s about damn time.
  • 1d. [Sneeze inducer] PEPPER. It’s not just small particles hitting your nostrils. The other culprit is piperine. The chemical which gives pepper it’s kick irritates nerve endings inside the nose, leading to your body’s efforts to get rid of the offending compound.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 574), “The WORD is Out!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 574: “The WORD is Out!”

Good day, everybody! I hope you all are well. I am sure that a number of you reading this space either has been a member of the armed forces or know someone in your family who was/is an active duty member, and I absolutely want to express my gratitude to those who have served and to those who served who are no longer with us. Thank you.

Today’s edition may not leave you speechless, but there definitely are places in the grid where you are left without finding the right words…as in, the first letter in each of the four themes are removed from its originating phrase, though the newly-formed puns still make sense with their clues. When those four omitted letters are combined, they form the word… WORD.

    • ALT DISNEY WORLD (16A: [Nontraditional resort venue in Orlando?]) 
    • SCAR DE LA RENTA (28A: [Nickname of a fashion designer who voiced Simba’s uncle in “The Lion King”?])
    • EARVIEW MIRROR (45A: [Windshield item that provides close-ups of a cornfield?])
    • UKE OF EDINBURGH (60A: [Hawaiian strings made for a British royal?])

We see a few more long, non-themed entries in this week’s puzzle compared to last week, and seeing CALZONES makes me wonder aloud how I have yet to have one despite having almost everything else that any legitimate pizza shop can offer (11D: [Cheesy turnovers made with pizza dough])? Today’s solve was a case when reading a clue for one answer totally threw me off for another, as after putting in SCENE V (24D: [Part of Act I in “Macbeth”]) made me think exclusively of Shakespeare when I saw the clue for TOWN (53A: [Hamlet relative]). “Wait a minute! Claudius doesn’t fit in this space!” 

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: OH MY (59D: [“Heavens!”]) – One of the all-time great sports broadcasters of all time was the incomparable Dick Enberg, who’s remembered mostly for bis work doing play-by-play for NBC Sports from 1975-1999, as well as being the voice of UCLA’s men’s basketball team from 1966-1977, during which time UCLA won eight of its 10 national championships under legendary coach John Wooden. The reason I mention him in this space is because of his trademark phrase that he would use when calling outstanding plays and moments during sports games: “Oh, My!”

Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!

Take care!


Amy Goldstein & Lorraine Goodman’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Men of the Cloth”—Jim P’s review

I enjoyed the humorous title. It’s not referring to religious guys, but famous (men’s) last names paired with a rhyming type of cloth.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Men of the Cloth” · Amy Goldstein & Lorraine Goodman · Tue., 5.31.22

  • 18a. [Baseball player Pee Wee’s favorite fabric?] REESE FLEECE.
  • 28a. [Composer Scott’s favorite fabric?] JOPLIN POPLIN.
  • 49a. [Theater director Hal’s favorite fabric?] PRINCE CHINTZ.
  • 64a. [General George’s favorite fabric?] PATTON SATIN.

To be honest, I wasn’t too sure about this theme as I was solving. But once I finished and glanced at the title, the penny dropped and I smiled. Cute. My only NIT would be how all these men are from decades long past. Hal Prince only died in 2019 but his major works span from the ’60s to the ’80s. Everyone else is older than that.

In the fill I liked SINGAPORE, FIRE PIT, NESSIE, and ARMOIRE most of all, with BANNER ADS and TRIPODS up there as well. I’m on the fence with MILKS IT; it’s an interesting phrase, but it looks odd in the grid without context.

Clue of note: 65d. [Some like it hot]. TEA. I figured this clue could go with a lot of things, but the answer definitely makes sense.

Pleasant Tuesday outing. 3.5 stars.

Brooke Husic’s USA Today Crossword, “WAP“ — Emily’s write-up

Turn up the tunes today! A delightful puzzle filled with entries, clues, and a theme that sings. Lots of fun!

Completed USA Today crossword for Tuesday May 31, 2022

USA Today, May 31 2022, “WAP“ by Brooke Husic

Theme: Each themer is a three-word phrase with each word, respectively, starting with W…A…P…


  • 19a. [Tolstoy work that inspired “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812”], WARANDPEACE
  • 35a. [“Gosh, that’s too bad!”], WHATAPITY
  • 52a. [Dessert often served a la mode], WARMAPPLEPIE

A classic novel, WARANDPEACE remains on my to-be-read list though I better get to it sooner than later before watching the clued the electropop opera that it inspired. WHATAPITY is a fun phrase for this themer set. WARMAPPLEPIE was also always served with a slice of extra sharp cheddar cheese in my family, though it also makes me think of American Pie.

Another layer to the theme today is the reference to CARDI B’s song “WAP” (the title track on her 2020 album), featuring Meghan THEE Stallion, both of whom appear as entries. A controversial song with lots of commentary about it, one particular article argues why it is feminist and contextualizes its importance within the music scene.


Stumpers: LAV (needed crossings but now know him and will be adding his films to my watchlist), BALL (took me crossings today, despite the solid cluing), and NOONE (kept thinking “none” until crossings made it clear)

Great bonus fill and even some related entries, including the rappers and a couple of hairstyles. I also really enjoyed the asymmetrical grid, which opened up so many possibilities and additional entries. This puzzle certainly makes me WANNA dance—and blast tunes—a perfect start to the day!

4.5 stars


Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 5/31/22 • Tue • Shechtman • solution • 20220531

‘Moderately challenging’ is the rating here, and I feel it’s accurate. I enjoyed the experience.

Since there were those long acrosses to start of the grid in the northwest, I shifted to the shorter ones in the northeast and was able to start right away with 12a [Device that might calculate an E.T.A.] GPS and 18a [N.Y.C. agency whose logo is designed to look like a train rushing by] MTA. I do have a fondness for its two-toned predecessor as well. Wouldn’t have needed those crosses for 13d [“M” star] PETER LORRE, and from there it was pretty much off to the races.

  • 21d [Lead role on “Insecure”] ISSA. I knew it was ISSA Rae’s show, but didn’t know the character was also named ISSA (Dee).
  • The longest answers are all stacked. Tripled elevens for the acrosses and tripled tens down the sides. CREATIONIST/YELLOW LINES/SELFIE STICK, TELETHERAPY/I SEE HOW IT IS/CLOSET SPACE (described as a room in the clue); GYM TEACHER/PETER LORRE/SPARSENESS, GENTLY USED/REORIENTED/ALMA MATERS (slightly odd plural).
  • 15a [They may prohibit passing][ YELLOW LINES. Was actually envisioning yellow tape such as at crime or accident scenes but now I see that it’s about roads.
  • Half-forgotten: 21a [Ancient Roman road] ITER.
  • 25a [People reading manuals, usually] USERS. Ha, ha, ha.
  • 29a [Post spring-cleaning event for a brownstone resident] STOOP SALE. Very New York entry.
  • 42 [Ending for party or movie] GOERS. Thinking of Henry Green and Walker Percy.
  • 3d [Scallion’s center?] ELLS. Wonder if it’s New Yorker house style to use ‘ell’ rather than ‘el’ for the letter.
  • 27d [Changed course] REORIENTED. Not sure I agree with the clue here.
  • 30d [Slope of the line y = x – 17,602] ONE. I will take the author’s word on this.
  • 41d [Collection of Blaise Pascal’s writings, whose title translates to “Thoughts”] was easy enough to guess/know: PENSÉES. Unlike the following entry, for which I needed the crossings: 43d [Confit d’___ (goose dish)] OIE.

Ed Beckert’s Larson’s LA Times Crossword, — Jim Q’s write-up

Wow. It’s been a minute since I solved the LA Times. I think I’ll jump on board more often. Let’s just say things are notably different.

THEME: Euphemisms!

Los Angeles Times 5/31/22 by Ed Beckert


  • [Shabby and dated] RETRO CHIC. 
  • [Tunes for fogies] CLASSIC ROCK. 
  • [Blubber] LOVE HANDLES. 
  • [Hopelessly out of touch] OLD SCHOOL. 
  • (revealer) SUGAR COAT. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this. So simple. So clean. A little ageist perhaps! I’m starting to feel OLD SCHOOL myself, and I rather enjoy some CLASSIC ROCK now and again. AGING even makes an appearance in the fill. Thanks for that!

It felt so smooth along the way to boot. New to me were SIROCCO (who else entered MOROCCO?) and the  CIC initialism (commander in chief). Also the manga series LONE Wolf and Cub. But I don’t think I know any manga series.

Great clue for EDITORS [Cosmopolitan group?] 

4 stars from me.

Sam Buchbinder & Brad Wilber’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 5 31 22, no. 0531

Oops. Spent Memorial Day bingeing shows about time travel (Dark on Netflix, Undone on Amazon Prime Video), so is it any wonder that I didn’t realize that Monday evening means blogging the Tuesday puzzle?

The theme is held together with the revealer, 38a. [Suggestion to defer discussion … and what might be said of 17-, 25-, 46- and 60-Across], LET’S PUT A PIN IN IT. (I’ve heard the phrase but it’s not one I use.) The four themers are things you stick pins in: VOODOO DOLL (straight pin), CLOTH DIAPER (with a diaper-specific safety pin, not a straight pin!), BOWLING LANE (bowling pins), and ATM MACHINE (PIN number—and please, no bitter complaints about ATM machine and PIN number being redundant, since both are well within the language now). Nice that all four of the pins involved are different from one another.

Nice grid (though I’m not a fan of NO OIL as an entry), nice clues. Overall vibe, four stars.


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28 Responses to Tuesday, May 31, 2022

  1. Jim S. says:

    Pet peeve of mine – I absolutely can’t stand ATM MACHINE. The “M” stands for machine.

  2. dh says:

    Ordinarily, I prefer to stay focused on the word-play of puzzles without reading too much into the content or words themselves. I’m not triggered by the inclusion of names like “Dustin Hoffman” (although I do wonder why Che Guevara, Mao and others get a pass within this context). However, I have to say that I found the LAT to be offensive on the whole. As one who was born in 1955, I am considered a senior citizen. I can laugh at myself for brain fog and tastes and methods that tend to be “Old School”, and I can even call myself an “old fogey”, but the theme of this puzzle implies that things that are old-school are inherently bad, and must be “sugar coated” in order to make them seem more positive or pleasant than they really are. “Classic Rock” as “Music for Fogeys”? Really? My kids, in their 30’s, are avid fans. My son, in fact, teaches music theory and composition and frequently references Beatles music in his lessons.

    There is no definition for “fogey” that is not negative or disparaging. Can anyone think of another situation where a disparaging term for a group is equally acceptable? What would be an equivalent clue for rap music?

    I teach in a major technical university, and many of my methodologies are “old school”. Some of my students respect that and are able to gain background and the underlying context for new ideas, but others just dismiss what I say, muttering “OK, Boomer” under their breath. (One student actually called me “Another old white guy” in an official evaluation – and my written response to this was ignored.

    I learned a tremendous amount about woodworking and building from my grandfather, and when studying furniture design in school myself I was not allowed to touch a power tool until I could carve rosettes with a v-gouge or rip a six-foot piece of maple with a hand saw. All “Old School”, but certainly not “hopelessly out of touch”

    My point is that we pretend to live in world where we insist on inclusivity and acceptance of all types – but older, male, and Caucasian are a trifecta of acceptable bigotry. Add “Conservative” to that mix and it’s open season. And it’s not just a word or clue that highlights this – it is the entire theme of the puzzle. To “sugar coat” is to to “make something seem more positive or pleasant than it really is”, but all of all these theme clues are ageist (with the possible exception of “Blubber” – but now we can add “body shaming” to the mix). After completing this puzzle, I realize that I’m just an old fogey with blubber around my hips who is hopelessly out of touch, and my collection of vinyl LP’s of the Beatles, Stones, Clapton, the Eagles and others that I play on my Dual turntable are “shabby and outdated”.

    And the icing on the cake is in the review of the WSJ puzzle, which seemed to have a problem with the age of all the “men of the cloth” who had conveniently rhyming names.

    • R says:

      It’s a sign of never having experienced bigotry if you think people occasionally making rude off-hand remarks as “acceptable bigotry.” What’s happening is that you’re now experiencing 3% of what everyone else in our society has been experiencing for centuries. I understand that it’s a shock to go from 0% to 3%, and it feels bad, and you should push back against it, but equating it with bigotry is a bad sign for your awareness of reality.

      • sanfranman59 says:

        @R … I understand your point and to a certain extent agree with it. As a middle-aged, middle class, white male, I fully realize that I’ve not directly experienced the type or level of bigotry of many individuals in other demographic groups. I know that my life has been easier (in many regards) as a result and I feel very fortunate (so far, for the most part).

        However, ageism is by no means some new form of bigotry in our world that should be looked upon as acceptable and deserved. I believe it’s wrong to imply that folks like dh and myself should simply shut up because we’re finally getting our comeuppance and have (somehow) earned it. Our society has an awful history of writing off people when they get to a certain age and I find that every bit as deplorable as racism, sexism, classism, culturism, politicism, and every other form of -ism that leads to unfair treatment. If you’ve been unfortunate enough to live a life where scorn is heaped on you simply because of your gender, the color of your skin, your religion, your culture or your (so-called) social standing, et cetera, I am truly sorry. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. But why should it be okay to throw the same type of bigoted garbage at other groups of people who haven’t been so unfortunate simply because such BS hasn’t been targeted at them before? Every human being should be treated equally and with respect.

      • dh says:

        I’ve said my piece and will leave it at that – except to say that throughout my life I have been told that I cannot comment on others’ experience if I don’t have direct knowledge of that experience. I would ask the same respect from you.

        • pannonica says:

          … but the gist is that the default—what society is pitched to—is white, older, and male; thus most people have a sense of what that’s all about.

    • Sue Syo says:

      Totally agree – Just added a comment on that, but you said it better than I did.

    • Gary R says:

      I’m almost 66 years old, not particularly a fan of CLASSIC ROCK, but it’s okay. I could certainly be accused of being OLD SCHOOL, at least in some dimensions of my life. And unfortunately, I have LOVE HANDLES that I can’t quite seem to get rid of.

      But I didn’t find anything “ageist” or offensive about the theme. My complaint is, I just don’t think the theme works very well. First, two of the answers – LOVE HANDLES and OLD SCHOOL are actually common euphemisms. RETRO CHIC and CLASSIC ROCK on the other hand really aren’t – so there’s some inconsistency there.

      The only themer I thought worked well was RETRO CHIC – I can envision someone saying ironically about someone else’s dumpy apartment (or maybe their own) – “It’s RETRO CHIC.” It’s a real thing, repurposed here as a euphemism. Kind of funny.

      The CLASSIC ROCK entry? Okay, but why not Big Band, or Swing? Gosh, Punkers are getting to be fogies by now, aren’t they? It just doesn’t translate very clearly.

      LOVE HANDLES is clued pretty directly. “Blubber” is perhaps a bit harsh, but LOVE HANDLES are fat deposits we typically don’t want – there’s no humor or wordplay here.

      I have heard OLD SCHOOL used as clued here – as SUGAR COATing – no particular humor or wordplay in that. But I’ve also heard OLD SCHOOL used in a complimentary way – “S/he’s OLD SCHOOL. S/he wants things done right, and s/he holds people responsible.”

    • AmyL says:

      Hi, dh: I love your woodworking example for “old school.” I too think the term is complimentary and doesn’t mean out of touch at all.

      I’m another old fogey here and I think we do pretty well since we have to keep up with the names of all the latest rappers and flash-in-the-pan actors, otherwise we’d end up with half-filled grids.

      But you can’t expect young people to understand such nuance.

  3. stmv says:

    How are people getting the LAT puzzles? Since Sunday 29 May it has been missing from the Cruciverb LAT page, and I don’t seem to be able to get it directly via the LAT puzzles page?

    • marciem says:

      I’ve gotten it via the LAT page here: https://www.latimes.com/games/daily-crossword

      After the ad plays, the puzzle comes up and you can do it there, or use Scraper to get the AL version.

    • MarkAbe says:

      LAT puzzle page has been working for me. However, can anybody explain the theme of their May 31 puzzle? I filled it all in and still don’t get what is “sugar coated”

      • marciem says:

        “Retro Chic”, for instance, sugar-coats *shabby and dated*. “Love Handles” is a sugary coating on *blubber.

        The constructor had some pretty definitively negative terms that get sugar-coated in the grid.

    • dh says:

      The LA Times is the same as the Washington Post, which I get here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/crossword-puzzles/daily/

      The process is the same as marciem says – after the ad, the puzzle appears and you can do it online or use crossword scraper (thanks to all for that link!)

      The only difference between this site and the other links to the LA Times is the color – WaPo’s version is trimmed in blue, while the LAT is yellow. I use Crossword Scraper and Across lite.,

  4. sanfranman59 says:

    USAT (Boomer solver warning! Please don’t attack me. I don’t intend to be critical and I don’t hate the USA Today puzzle, Brooke Husic or Erik Agard. I’m just sharing my solving experience.): This type of solving experience is probably the most frustrating for me. Unlike most of BH’s puzzles, I sailed right through this one like a NYT Monday with just a couple of bumps in the road. The SE corner slowed my mojo considerably. Then, I met my Waterloo in the due-south section and ended up with my second ever USA Today DNF during the Erik Agard editorship era (770 puzzles).

    In the SE corner, I managed to wrangle my way through LAV {45D: Golden Lion winner Diaz}, TIPI {51A: Ceremonial tent} and HATER {66A: Constant critic} crossing LASH {55D: Falsie bit} and LIP KIT {45D: Pout-perfecting set}. But RYAN {53D: Actress Destiny} and AFRO PUFF {36D: Updo that might be secured with a shoelace} crossing YUZU {59A: Yellow or green citrus fruit} proved too much for me today.

    • Eric H says:

      If it makes you feel any better, I (Generation Jones) had a DNF in the same section of the grid. AFROPOuF makes as much sense as AFROPUFF, YUZU is new to me, and I simply failed to think of MUSE. Two hairstyles (HIGHPONY and AFROPUFF) I’ve never heard of is two too many.

      Yes, the rest of the puzzle was Monday-lite. Some of the clues are insultingly easy (ERIE and SAW).

      I generally enjoy Brooke Husic’s NYT puzzles, but the ones on her website are loaded with pop culture that I have never heard of. This one tended towards the latter.

      It wasn’t until I read the review that I saw the W_A_P phrases. WARANDPEACE was easy to get, but I tried a few other things before landing on WHATAPITY. I had thought the title was expressed only in the references to Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion.

      • Eric H says:

        AFRO PUFF is a style that’s been around for 25 years or more. I feel like I should’ve encountered the name before. I have seen people wearing that style.

  5. Sue Syo says:

    Well I’d say the LA Times Tues May 31 puzzle – Ed Beckert and Patti Varol is just plain mean! Who do you think does these puzzles? Classic Rock is Classic Rock – geez. So it is not to your taste? I don’t think that is a universal perspective/in need of a euphemism. Blubber = Love Handles – wth? Retrochic=Shabby/Dated? Again I think the booming business for Gen-xyzabc…. of all things retro indicates you are “Off” there too. And again Old School does not connote anything negative or that needs to be sugar-coated either. Overall this is just mean and not funny. Try harder. (Interesting you’ve got your Erik Agard that takes great effort to be inclusive- and he has more talent in his little finger…. Take a lesson and don’t dump in an ageist fashion. Would you dare to dump on other populations around say gender matters, race, ability? I think not.)

  6. Amy Reynaldo says:

    The classic rock that was new or 10 years old when I was a child is now more like 45 to 55 years old. The music that was 45 to 55 years old when I was a kid was from the 1920-1930s. I know it’s hard to believe that CLASSIC ROCK is primarily beloved by older people (in their 50s, 60s, and 70s), but it’s true! If you were offended by the [Music for fogies] clue, ask yourself just how much respect you had for the music from before WWII. I’ll bet you considered your parents and grandparents who liked that music to be old fogies!

    • Sue Syo says:

      Actually no Amy – have plenty of respect for plenty of music from ALL eras. It is so shallow to dismiss music this way, by year of creation. You are really missing a lot. And just imagine if any other genre, especially one demographically-associated, of current music was dismissed off-hand like that. I also don’t think of anyone as a “fogey”, and I never have, and won’t. And I venture most people don’t stoop to generalizations which dismiss groups. I think you live in generalization land, and perhaps are only into whatever is “trendy” in your “moment”. Enjoy that.

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