Thursday, June 2, 2022

BEQ untimed(Darby) 


LAT 5:28 (Gareth) 


NYT 16:54 (malaika) 


Universal 2:54 (Jim Q) 


USA Today 3:55 (Sophia) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


The New Yorker tk (malaika) 


Fireball 6:26 (Amy) 


Alex Eaton-Salners’s Fireball crossword, “Heads Back”—Amy’s write-up

Fireball crossword solution, 6 2 22, “Heads Back”

As the title suggests, the heads of each word in the base phrases move to the back, forming new words. The resulting phrases are clued accordingly:

  • 15a. [Some snorts?], NOSE LAUGHTER. Enos Slaughter of baseball’s yore.
  • 20a. [Squads’ squalid shacks?], TEAMS’ HOVELS. Steam shovel.
  • 32a. [What coral feel toward destructive snorkelers?], REEF ANGER. Free range.
  • 48a. [Spellbound owls?], RAPT HOOTERS. Trap shooter.
  • 56a. [Ocean water, continental landmasses, etc.?], EARTH TOPPINGS. Heart-stopping.


Favorite clue: 47d. [Place where you’re free to do puzzles all day, to some], UTOPIA. We would also have accepted HEAVEN.

Three more things:

  • 4a. [Forest part], IDI. As in Forest Whitaker playing the part of IDI Amin.
  • 41d. [Mosque leader’s office], IMAMATE. Not sure I’ve seen this term before, but it was inferrable.
  • 9d. [Calf producer], ICEBERG. Oh, that kind of calf! Took me a while and some crossings to find my way here.
  • 23d. [Bin-laden worker’s org.], TSA. TSA agents may be laden with plastic bins.
  • 24d. [Pen pal, perhaps], HOG. Your buddy in the pigpen is a HOG. Or maybe you have an epistolary relationship with a biker.

Four stars from me.

Jeff Chen’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “The Game Is Afoot!”—Jim P’s review

We’re looking for fictional detectives today as hinted at by the Holmesian title. Theme answers are familiar(ish) words and phrases that feature a single circled letter. Change that letter according to the revealer’s hint, and you’ll find the surname of a detective created by the author identified parenthetically. Said revealer is in two parts: CLUE / ME IN (66a, [With 67-Across, “I need a hint” and a hint to uncovering four famous detectives].

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “The Game Is Afoot!” · Jeff Chen · Thu., 6.2.22

  • 18a. [Words with two opposite meanings, like “cleave” and “oversight” (Chester Gould)] CONTRANYMS. Change the circled N to a C to find TRACY. I don’t recognize the name Chester Gould, but I’m going to assume we’re talking about Dick Tracy here. (Yup, just verified it with an Internet search.)
  • 26a. [Missouri (Arthur Conan Doyle)] THE SHOW-ME STATE. The circled W becomes an L to give us HOLMES. This was the first one I sorted out, and it was crucial to understanding the theme.
  • 46a. [Diagnoses after diagnoses (Edgar Allan Poe)] SECOND OPINIONS. The circled O becomes a U to give us DUPIN(?) I’m guessing here because I simply don’t know the detective created by Poe. (Shame on me for not knowing this, but “Dupin” is C. Auguste Dupin, who first appeared in The Murders in the Rue Morgue which is also considered the very first detective story. He reappears in The Mystery of Marie Roget and The Purloined Letter.)
  • 57a. [Desert condition (Carolyn Keene)] DRY WEATHER. The circled Y becomes an E to give us Nancy DREW. Nice to have this one included even though DRY WEATHER sounds a bit green paintish and “Carolyn Keane” was a pseudonym for a number of writers who wrote Drew stories (though the initial and primary writer was a woman by the name of Mildred Wirt Benson).

This was fun to unpack and sort out. It didn’t help not knowing some of the names, but I view that as more of a gap in my knowledge base than a fault with the puzzle.

But don’t you think it’s a bit weird that we need a CLUE to find the detectives? Shouldn’t we use clues to find the criminals?

Aside from that, this was fun and definitely different than the usual rehashed fare.

Looking at the long fill, we have “DON’T BE RUDE,” RUNS FOR IT, BOSSA NOVA, and TEAPOT DOME. A very nice collection. I didn’t know the rapper FAT JOE [“The Elephant in the Room” rapper] and with it crossing another proper name LENA [“A Raisin in the Sun” matriarch] at the A, that might give people pause. An I seemed like a possibility in that square, but the A definitely seemed more likely. I wanted ICE DAM for the clue [Winter river flow blocker], but the crossing of JOAD made it clear it should be ICE JAM. If you never read The Grapes of Wrath, that was probably another tough crossing.

Clues of note:

  • 38a. [Self-correcting mechanical device]. SERVO. We also would have accepted [Tom of Mystery Science Theater 3000]. I know Jeff has a geeky streak in him, I wonder if that was his original clue.
  • 41a. [Versace logo figure]. MEDUSA. Did not know this. I wonder if there’s a story behind it.

Nice, meaty puzzle all around. Four stars.

Michael Lieberman’s New York Times puzzle– malaika’s write-up

Hey folks! In this puzzle we’ve got four “cross-reference-y” dupe-y answers:

  • With 1 Across, warning at sea is SHOT (across) THE BOW— so we aren’t referring to the word at 1-across (which is BACK), we are referring to the literal word “across”
  • With 1 Down, like a free-for-all fight is KNOCK DRAG OUT. Here, we are not referring to the entry at 1-down (which is BEST), we are using the word “down” to create the full entry KNOCK (down) DRAG OUT.
  • With 1 Across, charity event involving a coast-to-coast human chain is HANDS (across) AMERICA
  • With 1 Down, dessert sometimes made with pineapple is UPSIDE (down) CAKE

NYT, June 2

I like the vibe of this theme for sure! I looove when constructors sassily break crossword rules, especially on a Thursday. It got a “nice!!!” out of me, which is basically all I want from a puzzle. This didn’t quite stick the landing for me for three reasons:

  1. The crossword grammar is slightly wrong, no? The way the clues are phrased (“With across, xyz”) I believe the final answer should be ACROSS SHOT THE BOW rather than SHOT ACROSS THE BOW. (Correct me if I’ve missed something here, kind commenters, I might be missing the role of “1” in the clue!)
  2. Two of the terms were foreign to me, which meant parsing them took ages. SHOT (across) THE BOW is totally new to me, so I was trying to use BACK somehow (read it backwards maybe?). I also misremembered the second phrase as KNOCK (back) DRAG OUT, which significantly confused me. I expect if all four of these were in your brain, you had a much easier time with this.
  3. I do wish the entries at the 1-across and 1-down had come back to play somehow!! Like, I was thinking about them for the whole puzzle and they ended up not meaning anything! I’m not sure how this could have happened… maybe in a title, if NYT allowed that? Any ideas?

But I acknowledge that (2) is totally out of Michael’s control, and (1) and (3) are nitpicks :)

Another thing that made this puzzle tough was the huge quantity of proper nouns, or things clued in a trivia-y way. For example, I know that MILAN is a city in Italy, but I didn’t know that it was the setting of “Farewell to Arms,” so that ended up being tough for me. I think there were ~16ish which is a LOT!! And many of them new to me, including (but not limited to) “The IDIOT,” KAT Chow, Cicely TYSON, BESS Myerson, and MAHALO.

Should we talk about the NRA? We can talk about it. Here’s my take: I don’t mind it in a puzzle, but I know other people really really really don’t like it. So I try not to put it in puzzles because I want my solvers to have a good time. I’d rather see a clue like [Target of “March for Our Lives” protests] than what we got here (1930’s Depression-fighting org.) which is like, trying to pretend we don’t all think “that gun organization” when we read NRA.

Fun clues:

  • [“Aww”-inspiring one] for TOT
  • [It’s funky] for STENCH
  • [Places to find dishes of different cultures] for LABS
  • [Great place to visit near Michigan?] for LAKE HURON
  • [One behind The Times] for EDITOR
  • [Made a bank getaway?] for SWAM
  • [Stretch for the stars?] for LIMO
  • [Ursa minor?] for CUB

Ang D’Argenio & Olivia Mitra Framke’s USA Today Crossword, “Side of Fries” — Sophia’s recap

Editor: Amanda Rafkin
Theme: The first word of each theme answer is a type of french fry.

USA Today, 06 02 2022, “Side of Fries”

  • 16a [Dinnerware served with a sirloin] – STEAK KNIFE
  • 24a [Pairs of marks used by coders] – CURLY BRACKETS
  • 39a [Hybrids of athletic shoes and high heels] – WEDGE SNEAKERS
  • 53a [Breakfast-making appliance that inspired Nike Moon Shoes] – WAFFLE IRON

Cute theme! It’s a good thing I’m solving this at night after eating a bunch of takeout for dinner, since otherwise I’d be very hungry. I like all the theme answers a lot, although I will say that as a coder I always call them “curly braces” as opposed to CURLY BRACKETS. Also, WEDGE SNEAKERS have always confused me as a concept, and at first I thought the WAFFLE IRON clue was referring to these 90’s classic Moon Shoes, and I was very confused:

I had trouble in a couple spots of the puzzle today. I put in “kindly” instead of FONDLY for 5d[With affection], and I didn’t know ONI and I wasn’t sure if the file format was GIF or “pdf”. I also didn’t know 49d [“Lord of the Rings” village that sounds like a cheese] – is BREE a common LOTR thing to know? I know the major characters (and orc and ent of course) and then I’m out. I was surprised at this spelling because I would have guessed it would have been clued as a person’s name… but I guess this is just swapping out one proper noun for another. Oh, and I’ve never seen “Archer” so 11d [“That’s how we get ___!” (running joke on “Archer”)] for ANTS means nothing to me.

Fave fill: COMEDY GOLD, by a mile. I also love any REGINA George shout out.

Fave clues: [Fathers’ new partners, perhaps] for STEPDADS, 33a [Collecting 100 of these gives Mario an extra life] for COINS.

Susan Gelfand’s Universal Crossword, “Two for the Books” — Jim Q’s write-up

THEME: Authors last names make up common phrases

Universal crossword solution · “Two for the Books” · Susan Gelfand · Thursday. 06.02.22


  • [You may make a bed of it (E.B., Anne)] WHITE RICE. E.B. White, Anne Rice. 
  • [Sheet metal producer (Danielle, John Stuart)] STEEL MILL. Danielle Steel, John Stuart Mill.
  • [English version of the Bible (Stephen, P.D.)] KING JAMES. Stephen King, P.D. James.
  • (revealer) CO-AUTHORS.

Nice idea! Fun to suss out. I sorta wished I only had the authors first names as the clues… feels like the themers are doubly clued in a sense (with the authors being upstaged by the actual definitions). But that may be something I can easier say with hindsight.

John Stuart MILL seems like the odd one out in this group. Like, if these writers were at a party, I feel like John Stuart would be the lonely guy in the corner while the others were yukking it up.

Nice clue for UMPS [Four of diamonds, for short?] There are four UMPS out on that baseball diamond!

Very smooth solver for me, coming in at 2:54 (I don’t frequently time myself, but anything below 3:00 is rare).

Thanks for this one, Susan!

4 stars.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Crossword #1475, “Impacted Teeth”—Darby’s write-up

Theme: Each theme answer includes grey squares that together spell out a type of tooth, making them literally “impacted teeth” within the words.

Theme Answers

Brendan Emmett Quigley's Crossword #1475, "Impacted Teeth" solution for 6/2/2022

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Crossword #1475, “Impacted Teeth” solution for 6/2/2022

  • 17a [“Sarcastic comment to a boring monologue, say”] INCREDIBLE STORY / INCISOR
  • 26a [“Impresario behind the Sex Pistols”] MALCOLM MCCLAREN / MOLAR
  • 43a [“Coerced”] TWISTED ONE’S ARM / WISDOM
  • 56a [“Food made with Gualwei and Yuxiang sauces”] SZECHUAN CUISINE / CANINE

I thought that this was a relatively simple while still really clever theme. There was less wordplay in the clues themselves than one usually sees in BEQ themed grids, and it took only filling in INCREDIBLE STORY for me to figure out the theme, which certainly added in my solve as I worked through MALCOLM MCLAREN and TWISTED ONE’S ARM. Filling in CANINE also made SZECHUAN cuisine apparent, especially once I got 48d [“Hebrew prophet”] EZRA. Also, between the four themers, there were 58 squares of theme in this puzzle, and it didn’t seem to affect the rest of the fill too much.

I didn’t love the choice to clue OCHO as 52d [“Beto’s eight”] as I think that clues like that have long been stereotyping Spanish language speakers. However, I did really enjoy the inclusion of 14a [“Computer whose first code was written by six women mathematicians”] ENIAC and kicking off the grid with 1a [“Bat mitzvah officiant”] RABBI rather than “bar mitzvah.”

Solid puzzle with a simple but fun theme. That’s all from me for today!

Emma Lawson’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

I didn’t see Emma Lawson’s theme until after solving. It possibly didn’t help that I desperately wanted the first theme entry to be FARMTOFORK, and when that was too short, FARMTOPLATE, although FA/ATE seemed to go nowhere. After that I forgot about looking at the theme. Once solved, it’s easy to see the classic trope of circles spelling out words, today as bookends. The revealer, BREAKASTORY, means all four are synonyms: FABLE, MYTH, TALE and SPIEL. The last stretches things a little, I feel, but is defensible.

Theme entries:

  • [*Locavore movement], FARMTOTABLE. Like I said, wanted one of the other variants for a considerable time.
  • [*Insulating layer around a nerve], MYELINSHEATH.
  • [*Accept a difficult role], TAKEUPTHEMANTLE
  • [*Use a randomizer to decide, say], SPINTHEWHEEL. I know a randomizer as a procedure that generates a pseudo-random number in coding, but I don’t think it’s referring to that here?
  • [What an investigative journalist might do, and what the answers to the starred clues literally do], BREAK A STORY

A few seriously difficult intersections today:

[Former Disney president Michael], OVITZ and [Citrus hybrid used in Japanese cuisine], YUZU. My last square, after dimly recalling that surname, although runner Steve Ovett was clouding my recall. Also [Florence’s role in “Black Widow” and “Hawkeye”], YELENA crossing the [Harp constellation], LYRA. I had to change the A to an E when I realised YELENE wasn’t a typical name. Another entry that broke my stride was [Private discussions], TETEATETES since I hyper-corrected to TETESATETE.



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29 Responses to Thursday, June 2, 2022

  1. huda says:

    NYT: it took a bit of time for the penny to drop– and I love that on a Thursday! Made me chuckle… Very cool.
    # Malaika– I took the directions– “With 1 Across” and “With 1 Down” to literally mean: Add ONE (not two or three) Across or ONE Down to complete the phrase.

    • JohnH says:

      For me, hardest themed NYT puzzle ever hands down, and I never did make sense of what was special about 1A and 1D. Oh, well. I appreciate the explanation.

      Mostly, though, on tap of that the fill was a killer. I was stuck in the top quarter forever with KAT, NEW GIRL, CRAIG, John Malcovich, Hawaiian, a broad choice of Native Americans, etc. I still don’t get CSA in relation to farms.

      Oh, while I am not dead sure what Amy is asking, a shot across the bow as a warning, long as it took for me to get it, is totally idiomatic.

      • Eric H says:

        CSA is “community-supported agriculture.”

        “Shot across the bow” may be idiomatic now, but it was a real thing when naval warfare was more commonly.

  2. Jenni says:

    I really like the theme and I also think the puzzle was unfair. In particular, I think a lot more people besides me are more like to know ATHOS from “The Three Musketeers” than from the movie, and that combined with KAT Chow (really?) made the corner impossible for me.

    • DH says:

      I agree – and I can (again) hear my father-in-law gripe in his thick Boston accent, “Margaret Farrar would never cross a theme answer with two pop culture trivia clues!” it was a “You know it or you don’t” corner. Grab an oar, Jenni

  3. dh says:

    Re: NRA – I understand your not wanting to trigger (npi) people who are opposed to the National Rifle Association, but to leave out a historical reference to something entirely different just because it sounds the same goes to far, IMHO. I would refer to the David Howard incident of 1999, along with other controversies surrounding that word.

    An auditorium at the Pinecrest High School in North Carolina was named in honor of a 25-year Moore County school superintendent, who, among other notable achievements was a champion of racial integration during the 1960’s. However, some students were triggered by this because his name was Robert E. Lee.

    This, to me, is a “teaching moment”, and the school’s film club produced a documentary called “Not That One”, that honored Lee and taught the students to at least take a second look and know what they are talking about before they protest. Unfortunately, the impact of the film was short-lived and the name of the auditorium was changed to “R.E. Lee”, the large sign was taken down in favor of a smaller, lower one that reflects the name change. Imagine if we lived in a world where the name of a confederate general might fade into obscurity in favor of a truly accomplished man of the 20th century, instead of the other way around.

    And so it is with NRA. “Not That One”. I would imagine that those who are offended or upset by this might have no idea about the National Recovery Administration, and would do well to look it up – especially today, when the economic lessons of the past can give some insight into the disastrous economy of 2022, and stimulate the right kind of debate.

    • JohnH says:

      I took it to be a reminder that the NRA leads the unconscionable opposition to decency, and I welcomed it. If someone thinks that not mentioning a name makes it go away, think again. All will most certainly not be better that way, just as now.

      In fact, I’m getting tired of all the articles focused on how incompetent the police were in Texas, true or not. Seems way to close to a right-wing talking point that the media ate up, looking for nonpartisan excuses. (Better police, MORE guns, . . . .) How about who is making such choices deadly in the first place?

    • Joe Pancake says:

      Dude couldn’t go by Bob Lee?

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        Seriously! Most people don’t use their middle initials too ostentatiously. If you don’t want to evoke a Confederate racist, then you just don’t go by “Robert E. Lee.”

  4. Gary R says:

    NYT: I had a couple of errors that slowed me down early – Italy instead of MILAN and BEaT instead of BEST. And I was trying to come up with some spoken warning for 16-A.

    Figured out the theme when I knew what the phrase needed to be for 26-A, and it was clear that I couldn’t put O-W-N below the “D” in DRAG. So once it was clear that there was an “ACROSS” missing from 16-A, I got things straightened out up top and the other two themers dropped right in.

    All of the names came fairly easily for me, except KAT. I guess I got lucky on 2-D – I haven’t seen the movie, but remembered it was based on one of Dumas’s sequels to The Three Musketeers.

    I thought the four long downs in the NE and SW were all nice entries.

    Overall, a fun solve.

  5. Jim says:

    “With 1 Across” and “With 1 Down”, once I figured out the gimmick, were clearly meant to mean “with 1 occurrence of the word ACROSS/DOWN”. A “shot across the bow” is a very common expression for “warning” though more often seen in a non-nautical sense. It’s figuratively firing close enough to the target to display that you could have hit it if you’d wanted to cause actual harm. For example, China’s missile launches into open sea are considered “a shot across the bow” to warn the US to stay uninvolved in Taiwan.

  6. Dan says:

    “The way the clues are phrased (“With across, xyz”) I believe the final answer should be …”

    But that isn’t how the clues are phrased.

  7. sanfranman59 says:

    USAT: This was one of those puzzles where I felt like I should be in a comedy sketch entitled “Boomer solves the “USA Today” crossword puzzle (Part 772)”. I feel somewhat vindicated that at least a few of my foibles also gave Sophia trouble.

    There were lots of learning opportunities and head-scratching moments for me here (not a bad thing, mind you):

    UMPS {1A: Tennis officials} & PREP {3D: Get ready} … My first two grid entries, but neither clue hinted at the abbreviations, which had me worried.
    ANTS {11D: “That’s how we get ___!” (running joke on “Archer”)} … huh?
    RICE {21D: Grain in bhelpuri} … easy enough to guess with a couple of crosses
    CURLY BRACKETS {24A: Pairs of marks used by coders} … no idea, in spite of being a programmer for my entire 40 year career (albeit with a fourth-generation specialty language that was based on Fortran)
    COINS {33A: Collecting 100 of these gives Mario an extra life} … I know that Super Mario is an immensely popular video game (at least it sure seems so based on its omnipresence in crossword puzzles these days), but I have virtually zero knowledge of the video gaming world. Here again, it was pretty easy for me to guess this answer from crosses, but I’m glad I didn’t need it as a critical cross for other answers.
    REGINA {45A: “Mean Girls” queen bee}
    BREE {49D: “Lord of the Rings” village that sounds like a cheese} … Another one that wasn’t too tough to get from the crosses. I’ve read the books twice and seen the movies multiple times, but it’s been a while and I don’t remember this detail.
    WEDGE SNEAKERS {39A: Hybrids of athletic shoes and high heels} … fashion (sigh) … I never picked up on the theme during the solve, but I’m not sure it would have helped much with this answer anyway. I know what potato WEDGEs are, but don’t recall ever seeing them referred to as “WEDGE fries” (as dictated by the puzzle’s theme).
    ALDO {57A: Canadian shoe brand} … fashion (sigh again)
    CAST AWAY {33D: Movie with a volleyball named Wilson} … My reaction after reading the clue: “Well, I have no chance on this one. Is this a reference to that Tom Hanks movie from ages ago?” … yup … I never saw it and didn’t know that it involved a volleyball with a name (I do know of the sporting goods company, so I get the “joke”). OTOH, it’s a 22 year old movie that I think is very unlikely to compete with the likes of “Casablanca” or “Citizen Kane” (or even “Forrest Gump” or “Apollo 13”, for that matter) as a Hollywood classic. Ouch!
    • ‘kiNDLY’ instead of FONDLY {5D: With affection} and ‘pdF’ instead of GIF {7D: File format for some memes} really gummed up the little due-north section of the grid, particularly since I didn’t know either ON IT {14A: “Jump ___” (The Sugarhill Gang hit)} or ONI {6D: Demonic creature in Japanese folklore}

    Result: 5:19 solve time vs my 4-week median solve of 4:43. I call it a Medium-Challenging USA Today solve. That’s not bad, considering all my difficulties.

    • Gareth says:

      I think I learnt of them as curly brackets only when I did English from an American Textbook during my period of being homeschooled. Braces are used in C++ and Java (and lots more) to indicate blocks of code. I feel like that clue may be rather vague, because unless you’re coder who codes in a language that uses that syntax, you don’t use those marks…

    • Eric H says:

      I several of the same problem spots as you did, though BREE and CAST AWAY were both gimmes.

      But I think you finished more quickly than I did.

      Once again, I’m struck by the split personality of the USA Today puzzles. 75 or 80% of the answers have such softball clues that I wonder why I’m bothering. Then there will be a bunch of pop culture references that even when I have filled in the answer, I still have no idea what they’re talking about.

      Just curious: Is the “59” in your user name related to your year of birth?

      • sanfranman59 says:

        Bingo … I’ll be 63 in late-August.

        I too have noted the USA Today puzzle’s split personality. Some days I find it really annoying, kind of like I do with Maleska-era NYT puzzles where everything flows very smoothly except one answer, or worse yet from a solver’s perspective, one cross. For example, I did a Maleska-era Monday puzzle last night that had ADULA in it, clued as “Group of Alps in Graubünden”. But I reintegrated both the Universal and the USA Today puzzles back into my solving routine when David Steinberg and Erik Agard took over the editorships a few years ago because I wanted to be challenged by more up-to-date cultural and language references. Yes, it gets pretty frustrating at times, but it seems important to keep up with parts of our world that I wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. I’ve never had kids or hung around with folks from younger generations much, so I tend to be pretty out of touch otherwise.

        • Eric H says:

          I thought so on the “59” thing. (I hit 63 a couple of weeks ago.)

          I also don’t have any kids. I’ve got five nieces and nephews who I don’t see often enough, but even the youngest of them is pushing 40. Before I retired, I was around some younger folks, but not so much any more.

          I do the Universal puzzle more often than I do USA Today. It seems to have fewer cultural references that are a complete mystery to me.

          I haven’t done a lot of Maleska-era puzzles. The mid-1990’s Shortz-edited puzzles have enough obscure answers for me.

          • sanfranman59 says:

            I’ve got two nieces (30 and 27), one nephew (23) and three grandnieces/nephew (8 and under). They’re the only reason I know anything at all about toys, games and Disney/Pixar movies after my own childhood 45+ years ago. I’ve been retired for two years now and almost never interact with anyone other than the above family members who’s under about 40 years old.

            I’ve been working my way through pre-Shortz NYT puzzles for the last few months. They’re … um … I’ll go with “interesting”. About half the time, I really enjoy them and about half the time, I want to toss my laptop across the room (exaggerating, of course … sort of). Even aside from the predictably difficult names and pop culture references from 30+ years ago, there’s an awful lot more obscurity than I’m accustomed to with puzzles from the Shortz era (I’ve at least attempted all of them and have been doing them near the publication date since June 2009).

            To date, I’ve made it through 40 weeks of pre-Shortz puzzles (I’m working backwards) and I’ve submitted a correct, unaided solution for only 6 Sundays, 9 Saturdays, 15 Fridays, 24 Thursdays, 27 Wednesdays, 27 Tuesdays and 28 Mondays. In contrast, I almost never fail to at least submit a full grid with current NYT puzzles and I rarely have an error (though I cut myself slack with typos).

  8. sanfranman59 says:

    Weirdly, when I attempted to post my previous message about the USA Today puzzle, I got a pop-up that said that it’s been flagged as spam. It was simply a review of my solving experience with today’s puzzle. Perhaps it was too long? I’m just wondering if anyone (besides me) sees it? If not, I guess I just wasted about a half-hour or so of my life. My apologies for its length. I didn’t realize it was this long until I was done with it!

    Hmm … now, even I don’t see my previous message. Oh well. That’s about 30 minutes I’ll never get back.

  9. Eric H says:

    LAT: Re: 39 DOWN •__ pop: Belle and Sebastian genre — They’re one of my favorite bands of the last 25 years, but while their music (especially early on) had some “pretty” flourishes, I’ve never thought “twee pop” accurately describes them.

    Re: 25 DOWN •Citrus hybrid used in Japanese cuisine — I got stymied by YUZU in a USA Today puzzle earlier this week. It would have been been a gimme today had I remembered more than “It’s got a U in it.”

    • Gareth says:

      I feel like if any band’s entire oeuvre can be summarized by a genre title, they must be rather dull?

      • Eric H says:

        It depends on what you consider to be a “genre.” For whatever reason, I’ve been reclassifying a lot of the music in my digital music library. Probably 80% of it gets reclassified as “Pop/Rock.” What does “Alternative” in this context even mean?

  10. Tom Plotz says:

    Interesting that 34A is clued differently in the online and print versions. In the former, it’s “1030s Depression-fighting org.”, while in the latter, it’s “Org. opposed by Moms Demand Action”.

    • Eric H says:


      I’d rather not see NRA in my puzzle at all, but if it has to be there, just clue it as the gun lobby. For better or worse, they own that initialism now.

  11. John F. Ervin says:

    re WSJ Yes there is a story behind the Versace logo. I was interested and looked it up this morning but alas now it is e’en and I have forgotten what I had read, Mea Culpa. So I encourage those interested to Wikipedia it!

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