Friday, June 10, 2022

Inkubator untimed (Rebecca) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


The New Yorker tk (Matthew) 


NYT 6:36 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim P) 


USA Today untimed (Darby) 


Maintenance alert: The site will be down for a tech update Friday morning, in the vicinity of 5-7 a.m. Central time. We’ll be back soon!

Blake Slonecker’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 6 10 22, no. 0610

This puzzle played like a Saturday puzzle. I was kinda watching TV at the same time, but I had a couple wrong turns that slowed me down. For example, I had LINKS instead of SITES for 22a. [Blogroll assortment], and HORNING IN ON rather than BARGING IN ON for 14d. [Rudely interrupting]. And I don’t love 1a. [Puzzling start?], ACROSS—because that only really applies to print crosswords (where “Across” appears above the set of Across clues), and that’s a teeny portion of the puzzles I do.

Fill to ENTHUSE about: CHEM LAB, DROPCLOTHS, BORN TOO LATE, GARAGE DOORS, SUREFIRE HIT, SLEEPS IN (aspirational fill!), OAKLAND (53a. [Birthplace of the Black Panther Party]—and if you haven’t seen the Chicago-set Fred Hampton biopic, be sure to watch Judas and the Black Messiah sometime, it’s gripping), OMELET BARS, GUESS WHO, PICO DE GALLO, and CHATBOTS.

Five more things:

  • 16a. [Root vegetable with stringy stalks], CELERIAC. I am pretty certain I’ve never tasted this! Do you recommend it? “Stringy stalks” sure don’t sound appetizing.
  • 45a. [With sauce], INSOLENTLY. I’ve never used “sauce” that way. Au jus?
  • 6d. [Hypothesized], SAID. This clue seems way too specific for such a plain answer.
  • 9d. [“I, ___,” Shakespeare-inspired novel written from the villain’s perspective], IAGO. I don’t think I’ve heard of this. Here’s a book review from 2012. I suppose I should read Othello sometime, eh?
  • 34d. [Try to persuade through lies], SHINE ON. I don’t know this usage. Wonder if it’s a regional or generational thing?

Four stars from me, as I don’t hold an extra challenge against a crossword!

Billy Bratton’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 6/10/22 • Fri • Bratton • solution • 20220610

This puzzle offers a little extra, with a 16×15 grid, primarily to accommodate the central theme entry.

  • 60aR [Social climbers, and what the answers to the starred clues literally have] UPSTARTS. That is, they’ve all had UP prefixed to them.
  • 18a. [*Occasion to pin back one’s coif?] UPDO TIME (do time).
  • 26a. [*Catchy part of a vrituous song] UPRIGHT HOOK (right hook).
  • 38a. [*People born during the Era of Good Feelings?] UPBEAT GENERATION (Beat Generation). Looks like the seed entry to me.
  • 47a. [*Evening spent downloading the latest OS?] UPDATE NIGHT (date night).

It’s a fine, upstanding theme.

One thing I think I’m noticing about Patti Varol’s editing are more terse homonym clues.  You know the kind. In this crossword, examples include: 7d [Direct] STEER, 9d [Yak] JAW, 27d [Left] GONE, 28d [Locks] HAIR, 41d [Draw ] TIE. Even more if I add slightly longer clues such as 44a [Biblical mount] SINAI and 39d [Large volume] TOME.

  • 1a [Kilauea flow] LAVA, 68a [Mauna __ ] LOA, 17d [Hana airport greeting] ALOHA.
  • 15d [The Colorado fourteeners, e.g.: Abbr.] MTS. All above 14,000 feet, of which there are 53.
  • 45d [Two socks, hopefully] MATES. My only mis-fill, as I tried MATCH first.
  • 46d [Mississippi source] Lake ITASCA, which has been drilled into my memory over the years.
  • 48d [Violinist/singer Haden] PETRA. Daughter of bassist Charlie Haden. Here she covers a Tom Waits song, an ironic one since the obvious pun is Tom Waits/time waits (for no one).

David Bloom’s Universal crossword, “Alternate Endings”—Jim P’s review

The revealer is DOWN AND OUT (62a, [In need, or two words that can follow both parts of each starred clue’s answer]). I’ve seen many a puzzle with two-word theme answers where each word can be followed by one keyword to make a familiar phrase, but I’ve never seen a puzzle theme purport to do this before. Each word in each two-word theme answer can precede both keywords in the revealer. Zoinks!

Universal crossword solution · “Alternate Endings” · David Bloom · Fri., 6.10.22

  • 18a. [*Retaliate] STRIKE BACK. Strike down, strike out. Back down, back out. Yup. That works.
  • 25a. [*Play cooperatively] TAKE TURNS. Take down, take out. Turns down, turns out.
  • 31a. [*What your patience may gradually do] WEAR THIN. Wear down, wear out. Thin down, thin out.
  • 45a. [*Event for Trixie Mattel or RuPaul] DRAG SHOW. Drag down, drag out. Showdown, show out. I wasn’t sure what was meant by “show out” but now I realize it’s synonymous with “escort out” or “show the door.”
  • 52a. [*Heels-over-head stunt] HAND STAND. Hand down, handout. Stand down, standout.

Impressive! Five legit theme answers means 10 pairs of phrases for a total of 20 phrases. And they all work. Nicely done!

In addition to all that wordplay, six long theme answers in the Across direction take up a lot of real estate and normally constrain the fill. But we’re still treated to some goodies here like DEAR SIR (I’m picturing Marcie from Peanuts with that entry), ILHAN OMAR, BARISTA, ICELAND, AUTOCRACY, EXPOSÉ and TARDIS. Not shabby at all!

Clues of note:

  • 10a. [Palindromic alternative to a Game Boy]. PSP. The PlayStation Portable (2004-2014). It was more of a competitor to the Nintendo DS than the Game Boy.
  • 20a. [Rushes, like a castle]. STORMS. As in The Princess Bride.
  • 36d. [Obscene]. LEWD. Did you know there’s a Wordle variant with naughty words? Yup, it’s called Lewdle. It’s not really a game for me, though—not because I’m prudish, but because I’m not up on all the latest slang.

An impressive theme and grid. 4.25 stars.

Kate Chin Park’s USA Today crossword, “All-Star Lineup”—Darby’s write-up

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme: The first word of each theme answer can precede the word “STAR.”

Theme Answers

Kate Chin Park's USA Today crossword, "All-Star Lineup" solution for 6/10/2022

Kate Chin Park’s USA Today crossword, “All-Star Lineup” solution for 6/10/2022

  • 17a [“MLB fielding awards”] GOLD GLOVES / GOLD STAR
  • 26a [“Succumbing to adoration”] FALLING IN LOVE / FALLING STAR
  • 48a [“Early bird”] MORNING PERSON
  • 63a [“Flowing and freezing dance”] POP AND LOCK

Four themers in a cute puzzle this Friday! This was a great and diverse set, which I really enjoyed filling in. My first thought theme-wise had been that it was going to have to do with medals since the first one up was GOLD GLOVES (appropriately located not too terribly from 5a [“Catchers and bakers wear them”] MITTS. It quickly became apparent that this was not the case, especially as I filled in FALLING IN LOVE and MORNING PERSON. Once I filled in POP AND LOCK, it all clicked into place.

The upper left corner was very food-filled, and so, naturally, my stomach is growling. Between 1a [“Ewe’s baby”] LAMB, 14a [“___ gobi”] ALOO, 20a [“Passover feast”] SEDER, and 18d [Cook at a cookout”] GRILL, I’m ready for a buffet line of my own. I also really loved the symmetric combo of 10d [“Short fiction books such as ‘Binti’”] NOVELLAS and 37d [“Absurd statements”] NONSENSE, as well as 21a [“‘Yes, I see that’”] SO IT SEEMS and 53a [“City home to Europe’s oldest Chinese community”] LIVERPOOL. The latter of which also provides a really interesting and new way to clue LIVERPOOL. 

Some Friday faves:

  • 4d [“@___catsofinstagram (account with pics from NYC delis)”] – I feel so blessed that the existence of @BODEGAcatsofinstagram has come into my life. I definitely would recommend a scroll.
  • 43d [“Broke like a kit kat”] – Gimme a break! There’s such a feeling of satisfaction to be had after having successfully SNAPPED a Kit Kat bar.
  • 44a [“Ropa vieja is considered its national dish”] – Well, this also looks delicious, and it only adds to my craving this morning. It is a CUBAn meal, and it’s traditionally made with shredded steak, which led to its name “old clothes.” You can find a recipe here.

That’s all from me today! Great puzzle that make’s me want to 49d [“‘Let’s ___ (Earth, Wind & Fire hit)”] GROOVE.

Ross Trudeau’s New Yorker crossword—Matthew’s write-up

Ross Trudeau’s New Yorker crossword solution, 6/10/2022

Rebus alert! The central revealer [34a Craft beer … and a hint to the contents of four squares in this puzzle] MICROBREW points us to IPA crammed into a few crossings:

  • 16a [Minor legal matter?] EMANC(IPA)TION // 5d [Evaporate, as a seemingly comfortable lead] SL(IP A)WAY
  • 24a [Where you can take an Impala to see impalas] SAFAR(I PA)RK // 10d [Dematerialize] DISS(IPA)TE
  • 48a [Mountain-rescue groups] SK(I PA)TROLS // 39d [Let fat decide between two option] FL(IP A) COIN
  • 57a [Contradiction, named for an Italian American physicist, between the lack of evidence of aliens and the supposedly high probability of their existence] FERM(I PA)RADOX // 47d [Battleground for an edit war] WIK(I PA)GE

I am a fan of Ross’ puzzles (find more at, as many people are, think that his work has really stepped up a notch from an already high bar in the last 8-10 months, and still love this puzzle to bits/think it may be my favorite of his. Even before I move past the theme clues you can see a diversity of knowledge bases, of cluing types, of colorful entries. This is a clean, clean grid considering each corner and the center is constrained by a theme entry. It’s a delight, and I don’t think I need to spell out more examples from the fill to get the point across.

A few notes:

  • 47a [U.S. soccer star McKennie] WESTON. The Men’s National team is on an upswing, with gobs of young talent seemingly all set to peak together for the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted here in North America, in a joint bid between Canada, the US, and Mexico. When WESTON McKennie, who currently plays for historic Italian club Juventus, is on, it’s difficult to take your eyes off him – a hyperkinetic player always seemingly on the verge of bursting out of his skin, like a child hepped up on Pixie Sticks and Mountain Dew.
  • 26d [Teatime, perhaps] FOUR. If only I limited myself to tea in the afternoon — I am rarely without a cup during the workday.
  • 13a [Frustum-shaped chocolate] ROLO. Underrated crosswordese entry, there, in “frustum”. Don’t think I’ve ever seen it anywhere BUT in a clue for ROLOs.
  • 37a [2022 French Open champ, to fans] RAFA. As in Spaniard RAFA Nadal, the so-called “King of Clay,” in reference to the playing surface at the French Open, which the 36-year-old Nadal has won a record 14 times. I do not like Nadal very much, so I’m here to tell you that the biggest story in tennis right now is on the women’s side, where Iga Swiatek has won approximately 1 billion matches in a row including each of the year’s first two Slams.

Christina Iverson and Shirley Wong’s Inkubator crossword, “Class Period”—Rebecca’s review

Fantastic menstruation-themed puzzle today, with support for the great work of

Inkubator, June 9, 2022, Christina Iverson and Shirley Wong, “Class Period” solution grid

18-Across [Lesson 1: The basics] THERE WILL BE BLOOD

30-Across [Lesson 2: On problematic products] SKETCH PADS

51-Across [Lesson 3: Tools for monitoring and tracking] FLOW CHARTS

65-Across [Lesson 4: Coping with aches and pains] DON’T CRAMP MY STYLE

I really loved the reimagining of the themed entries as period-related and reflects the importance of having an outlet like the Inkubator.

The grid was really smooth with lots of great bonus fill throughout which kept the puzzle entertaining beyond the theme.

I’ll leave you with my favorite period song:

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18 Responses to Friday, June 10, 2022

  1. Lise says:

    NYT: I haven’t eaten celeriac in ages, but I remember the root being tasty, and the stalks are stringy like celery. Now I have to find some and try it again.

    Crosswords are so useful, aren’t they?

    I had a tough time starting this one, but once I got purchase, I flowed around the grid – one of my favorite kinds of puzzles, and an excellent Friday workout.

    • huda says:

      I too had trouble getting going and then once I got a foothold, it flowed. It does make it feel like more of an accomplishment!

    • Eric H says:

      I too like a puzzle where the hard work is at the beginning. It’s so much more fun than zipping through a grid only to get bogged down by some “trivia” I don’t know or a typo I can’t find.

      I finished this about 10 seconds quicker than my Friday NYT average, so it didn’t feel particularly challenging. Lots of fun, though.

  2. Evad says:

    SHINE ON new to me as well. All I can think of are the lyrics to Harvest Moon (which certainly dates me and might explain my lack of familiarity with this usage.)

    • R Cook says:

      I’m more apt to think of Pink Floyd for that one.

    • DH says:

      Years ago I had a friend in NJ who used that expression – “Is that true, or is he just shining me on?” The first time I heard it I had no idea what he was talking about. Since then, he’s still the only person I’ve ever known to use the expression.

    • JohnH says:

      SHINE ON threw me, too, I must admit, and I share the consensus that this was tough going until it got going, after which the challenges, while real for a Friday, were fair.

  3. Jim Peredo says:

    NYT: Same experience as others. A tough start (that NW corner was the last to fall) but the rest of it flowed. Enjoyable puzzle. Lovely grid design.

    But GUESS WHO is not a [Question asked by a surprise caller]. It’s a command, not a question.

    • Evad says:

      I hear it as a question, Jim. “Guess who-oo?” the caller asks, with the response, “Is that you, Grandma?” etc.

      • Jim Peredo says:

        Lol. I’m not hearing it. It’s still an imperative, even in sing-song form. It’s basically a shortened version of, “Take a guess at who I am.”

  4. David+L says:

    Funny the way ACROSS was clued as ‘puzzling start’ — it was the very last word I completed.

    I found this one a little easier than the average Friday — I got BROCA and DROPCLOTHS and IAGO and PEELE quickly, then had COUNTERsomething which gave me celeriac — and off to the races.

    I am also perplexed by SHINEON, which as R Cook says above makes me think of Pink Floyd and not much else.

  5. cyberdiva says:

    NYT: Wow, I’m surprised to see that many people who are much better solvers than I am had a problem with 1A. I immediately thought of ACROSS for 1A, which gave me ACCOST for 1D. And then I was off to the races. To my amazement, the rest of the puzzle also came fairly quickly, thanks to putting in PARTICIPLE and BORNTOOLATE with almost nothing to go on but the clue. I do the puzzles on paper and don’t time myself, but my guess is that this is the fastest I’ve ever done a Friday. Please understand, I am not boasting, just expressing unexpected and unusual delight.

    • Eric H says:

      If I can’t get an answer quickly, I’ll typically skip on to the next one. I know I needed a few crosses to get ACROSS, and despite its crossword puzzle ubiquity, it took me a bit to get SLR.

      Congratulations on solving a Friday puzzle quickly. It’s a nice feeling.

  6. Eric H says:

    TNY: I’m not a fan of hoppy beers and regret that they’ve taken over the craft brewing world for now. (Gimme a nicely-balanced brown ale, please). But the puzzle was fun.

    • Matt Gritzmacher says:

      I’m seeing milkshake beers really take off, too, not that I’m thrilled about that. I’m happy with IPAs, but I do think that there are too many right now – many craft breweries here in the Carolinas are pretty much making the same IPA as each other IMO.

      • any none mouse says:

        lol, I’m barely a fan of Japanese dry beer, the only thing in beer land approaching any sophistication in taste.

        To a committed wine and Champagne drinker – IPA is for the juvenile palate (We have them in wine-dom as well) that needs further dulling AND it generates thirst, thus I see no reason for it to exist. Unpleasant and hydrophilic – there are much better alcohol delivery systems.

  7. Ch says:

    Pretty well acquainted with the term SHINE ON – I think it’s from living in the NE, but having lived on the West coast as well, I could have heard it CA & OR quite a bit, too. Either way, sort of surprised at how many here are not familiar with it.

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