Friday, June 17, 2022

Inkubator untimed (Rebecca) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


The New Yorker tk (Matthew) 


NYT 4:19 (Amy) 


Universal 4:17 (Jim P) 


USA Today 5:18 (Darby) 


Pao Roy’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 6 17 22, no. 0617

A fun and fresh Friday puzzle, pitched right over the Friday-level plate! My favorite clue is the one for Richard PRYOR because it made me laugh: 53a. [Comic who said “I’m not addicted to cocaine. I just like the way it smells”]. I hadn’t heard that one before.

Fave fill—and there’s a lot of it: PLOT TWIST, POOL NOODLE, INFLUENCER, “ON A SIDE NOTE,” SPILL THE TEA, PIPE DOWN, IN RARE FORM, EASTER EGGS, STEAL AWAY, E.R. NURSE, and DRAMA COACH. So much good stuff, I can forgive bits like EENY, CANST, SOU, and HOU.

Three more things:

  • Did not know: 60a. [1987 Lionel Richie hit], SE LA. I wasn’t listening to much Top 40 radio that year, and it peaked at #20 on the charts, so not a big hit. Lionel’s an R&B legend with a side of country, though, so I won’t throw any shade there.
  • Also didn’t know: 44a. [___ sum (leafy vegetable in Chinese cuisine)], CHOY. I guessed CHOY because bok choy is a leafy cabbage. Choy sum is indeed in the Brassica/cabbage family.
  • 63a. [Sneak off somewhere], STEAL AWAY. Now, I was listening to Top 40 radio in 1980, so I definitely remember the Robbie Dupree song called “Steal Away.” I was going to serve up a video of that song, but it’s actually pretty terrible. Instead, you get Lionel’s “Se La” because it’s got such a catchy Caribbean beat.

4.25 stars from me.

Amie Walker’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 6/17/22 • Fri • Walker • solution • 20220617

Modest theme here, simply affixing a G to the beginnings of various words/phrases to wackify them,

  • 18a. [Protection from bright flashes of light?] GLINT SCREEN (lint screen).
  • 26a. [Sparkly insects?] GLITTERBUGS (litterbugs).
  • 44a. [Sign on a sauna door?] GLISTEN HERE (listen here). I frequently listen to Clay Pigeon’s weekday morning radio show on WFMU, where he consistently refers to the audience as ‘glisteners’. It’s a precious tic that one learns to accept.
  • 57a. [Entry on a dating site for fireflies?] GLOW PROFILE (low profile).

These are okay but not particularly exciting. Perhaps the theme would have felt stronger if the only Gs in the grid were the ones prefixing the theme answers?

  • 1d [Pixar short about a ball of yarn] PURL. Haven’t heard of it, but it’s a good title.
  • 7d [“Enough” number of women justices on the Supreme Court, per Ruth Bader Ginsburg] NINE. Presuming the court is not expanded, which at this point should definitely happen.
  • 24d [Critter that eats while floating on its back] OTTER. Specifically, the sea otter, Enhydra lutris. I found a musical track called ‘Sea Otter’ that’s not half-bad. Can’t see what the hell the music has to do with the title, though.
  • 26d [Take for a ride] GRIFT, 38a [Takes for a ride] SCAMS. Plenty of that going around, perhaps moreso than ever in the age of social media.
  • 46d [Bent in the wind] BOWED. “Bend but don’t break.”
  • 49d [Montreal-based shoe brand] ALDO. Unknown to me.
  • 56d [Four-award acronym] EGOT. After this year’s Tonys there is a new member of the exclusive club: Jennifer Hudson.
  • 4a [“Let’s take it down a notch”] NOW NOW.
  • 10a [Dropbox files, informally] DOCS. Perplexed by this clue, as Dropbox can be a repository for any type of file.
  • Favorite clue: 60a [Just chilling] IDLE. Not EERIE or anything like that.
  • 65a [Take home] NET.

Claire Rimkus’s USA Today crossword, “Get Down to Work”—Darby’s write-up

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme: The last word of each theme answer can go before WORK.

Theme Answers

Claire Rimkus's USA Today crossword, "Get Down to Work" solution for 6/17/2022

Claire Rimkus’s USA Today crossword, “Get Down to Work” solution for 6/17/2022

  • 3d [“Orlando Pride, e.g.”] SOCCER TEAM / TEAMWORK
  • 8d [“Algebra notebook sheets”] GRAPH PAPER / PAPERWORK
  • 29d [“Christmas tree dropping”] PINE NEEDLE / NEEDLEWORK
  • 32d [“Device with a snooze button”] ALARM CLOCK / CLOCK WORK

Four great themers, no problem! And all down answers, which is always fun, in my opinion. I appreciated the way that these were staggered throughout the puzzle, and they were also relatively easy to figure out. A nice, clean and simple theme.

I filled this puzzle straight through, which was a delight for me. It has really nice symmetry and doesn’t feel too closed off, even if it gets to be a bit tight toward the middle with the PARSNIP PISA NAP EWES READMIT diagonal move, but the connections through the themers keep the puzzle feeling connected throughout.

Some other Friday faves:

  • 27a [“Carrot relative”]PARSNIPs are similar to carrots. Interestingly, they have been used since ancient times, sometimes as a sweetener. Upon googling the two root vegetables together, I have discovered many recipes for carrot PARSNIP soup. I’d definitely recommend perusing a few (and making one!).
  • 48a [“Rainforest home to the Goliath birdeater spider”] – I did not google this spider because I’m terrified of them, but I was excited to see a reference to the AMAZON Rainforest rather than the company.
  • 56a [“Lizard with prominent eyes”] – My first thought here was CHAMELEON, but I was skeptical because when I first think of these lizards, I usually think about their color changing ability. I almost skipped it, but seeing that 56d [“Applaud”] was CLAP, I knew that my instinct was right on.

That’s all from me today! What a delightful way to start my day!

Adam H. Mack and Amanda Rafkin’s Universal crossword, “What the Dickens?”—Jim P’s review

Theme: OLIVER TWIST (62a, [Dickens boy who asked for more, and what’s found within 17-, 31- and 46-Across]). The other theme answers are familiar phrases with the letters from the name OLIVER “twisted” (i.e. scrambled) within.

Universal crossword solution · “What the Dickens?” · Adam H. Mack and Amanda Rafkin · Fri., 6.17.22

  • 17a. [Transferred nest egg] ROLLOVER IRA.
  • 31a. [High-ranking] SENIORLEVEL.
  • 46a. [Portable wrinkle removers] TRAVEL IRONS.

I arrived at—and filled in—the revealer  before grokking the theme, so I got to enjoy my aha moment post-solve. It feels somewhat surprising to find suitable re-arrangements of those six letters within familiar(ish) phrases, but maybe that’s just perception since only the V is less common. Still, I enjoyed discovering the theme and finding the “twisted” letters within each theme answer.

I liked seeing PAVLOV’S DOG, “SCREW IT!,” and GROOVIN‘ in the grid. I don’t think I’ve heard the phrase DRAMA LLAMA [Rhyming term for a person prone to theatrics] before, but it’s fun, and the clue made it clear DRAMA QUEEN was incorrect.

Clues of note:

  • 1d. [Actress Russell]. KERI. I misread this as [Actor Russell] and immediately plunked in KURT based off of the K. Anyone else?
  • 12d. [Gateway for Rick and Morty, often]. PORTAL. I’ve never watched the show and don’t know the premise behind it, but I’ve seen enough forms of merch (t-shirts and the like) to know it has a sci-fi bent. I like the modern cluing angle. We also would have accepted [Popular physics-based puzzle game coming to Nintendo Switch later this year].

Nice puzzle all around. 3.5 stars. Oh, and this is a debut for Adam Mack. Congrats!

Rose Sloan’s Inkubator crossword, “Themeless #32″—Rebecca’s review

Fantastic themeless today that was totally on my wave length.

Inkubator, June 16, 2022, Rose Sloan, “Themeless #32” solution grid

I really enjoyed solving this from start to finish. Great mix of entries throughout and a nice flow to the solve.

Favorite clues and answers:

60-Across [Top gear?] for STRAP ON

12-Down [Phenomenon discussed by Robyn Ochs, one of the first Americans to have a same-sex wedding] for BI-ERASURE

37-Across [It won’t give you cookies] for INCOGNITO MODE

35-Down [Amy Dunne of “Gone Girl,” e.g.] for ANTIHERO

31-Across [Clip-___ (some “Pretty Pretty Princess” game pieces)] for ONS

8-Down [Useful tool for working on the couch] for LAP DESK

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27 Responses to Friday, June 17, 2022

  1. huda says:

    NYT: Yes, agree with you Amy. A lovely Friday puzzle, stuffed with goodies, and some great clues. I wandered around for a while at the start, feeling lost. Took some wild guesses and at one point wondered if everything I had entered might be wrong. And then confirmation would come here and there and reassure me. Finished in the end in better time than usual for me, likely owing to the fact that it was light on names and filled with real expressions.
    I too thought that PRYOR clue was memorable. I happen to be writing a grant proposal on cocaine addiction at the moment, so it definitely resonated.

  2. Martin says:

    “Choy” is the Cantonese pronunciation of the Chinese word for vegetable (菜). It’s “tsai” or “cai” in Mandarin. It’s pronounced “yasai” in Japanese.

    • huda says:

      Very interesting. I have a colleague whose last name is Cai. I was giving a talk in Taiwan and cited him, and somebody told me I should pronounce his name Choy. I had no idea why. I wonder if the pronunciation is a sound in between how westerners say it???

      • Martin says:

        The name is probably this character: 蔡. (It derives from a location.)

        It has a different inflection but can also be anglicized as Tsai as well as Cai. (In Mandarin, the initial consonant of both the name and the vegetable is closer to a soft-C, which is why “cai” is now the preferred English spelling rather than “tsai.”

        The vowel sound of both is “oy” (or is to an English-speaker) in Cantonese. While Mandarin is the official language in Taiwan, your commenter might have been a Cantonese-speaker.

  3. JohnH says:

    I kept looking at TNY wondering what I missed. Surely that can’t be all there is to the theme? But I guess it is. I get that feeling pretty much all their Fridays.

    Maybe they’re people who hate themes but feel obliged to indulge solvers with one anyway? I know that many find most punning themes insufferably like dad jokes (as often they are), and on-screen solvers may feel put upon by rebus squares. I myself dislike step quotes. Oh, well.

    • Mr. [Not Always] Grumpy says:

      Animals + slang for money. I thought it was cute, and there was none of the hip/modern culture fill that often puts me off one of the constructor’s puzzles.

    • marciem says:

      Myself, I enjoyed the theme and found it pretty tight and amusing.

      I also learned something … I never saw the word “steeve” before, and never knew why the guys loading boats at the docks were called stevedores, but now I know :) .

      I like those things in a puzzle. Some folks like themes (me), other’s don’t. Some like particular types of themes, others don’t. Takes all of us to make life and xwords interesting. :)

  4. Christina says:

    LAT- not quite so modest if you notice that all four phrases add a G to a word starting with L, and the new word has a meaning relating to shiny/sparkly things. Can hardly get tighter than that!

  5. sanfranman59 says:

    LAT … re pannonica’s comment about GRIFT and SCAMS (“Plenty of that going around, perhaps moreso than ever in the age of social media”) … amen to that … I moved in with my 83-year-old mother a couple of years ago to help her get along as she winds down her life. About an hour ago, she came to me with a text message notifying her that her $653.89 order from Amazon is stuck in the warehouse because of a problem with the payment and that she needs to immediately call a number to discuss her account. It seems like she comes to me about once a week related to a scam text, email or phone call she’s received that she doesn’t know what to do about. She wanted to know if I thought she should call the number today. No matter how many times I tell her to ignore this garbage, she doesn’t know how to tell what’s real and what’s a scam, plus she’s a worry wart and can’t help herself. I find myself wondering/fearing what she did before I was around every day and what kinds of scams are in store for me as my brain deteriorates into old age. There’s a special place in hell for scam artists who prey on the elderly and enfeebled. Be careful out there folks and talk to loved ones who might be prone to falling for crap like this.

    • marciem says:

      “There’s a special place in hell for scam artists who prey on the elderly. ”

      And that is word for word what I told one of these people when I actually called back once. Except I said “YOU and your ilk”. It felt good to say it but I never answer anymore.

      • Vega says:

        Truly despicable.

      • Papa John says:

        I usually let my answering machine monitor scam telemarketers but occasionally I’ll answer and let fly with the most vile scream of invectives in my vocabulary. Like Marcie, it feels good, even though I doubt anyone has given up their unwelcome profession because of it. At other times I answer and, after listening for a while, I’ll say there’s someone at my door and leave then hanging.

        I know, I know — too much time on my hands.

    • DH says:

      Ugh. I have a close friend whose mother is sending thousands of dollars in cash on a regular basis to a Facebook scammer. He was able to protect her via a power of attorney, but the scammer convinced her to sue him for control and she won. It’s truly awful. The hardest part is when the elderly turn on their own children and accuse them of trying to steal from them, on cues from the scammers.
      Re: LA Times – perhaps an appropriate title for this puzzle might be “Open GL” which is a computer graphics standard.

  6. Ch says:

    NYT: A small quibble, but the clue “Peace!” didn’t seem to mesh with the TATA answer, “Peace out” would be the more common usage. JMO

  7. Gerald G. Paul says:

    To the Editors: As long as you purport to recap The New Yorker puzzles, please assign them to people who will actually fulfill their obligations and do so in a timely manner.

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