Wednesday, June 29, 2022

LAT 5:06 (Gareth) 


The New Yorker 3:27 (Amy) 


NYT 4:41* (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Universal tk (pannonica) 


USA Today 3:44 (Sophia) 


AVCX 17:09 (Ben) 


Jared Goudsmit’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 6 29 22, no. 0629

Today’s constructor has a name that’s supervocalic, meaning it contains each vowel exactly once. If the idea of looking for such phrases as you traverse the world appeals to you, check out the Supervocalics Facebook group.

The asterisk in my solving time is because I was beset by hiccups as soon as I started solving. No fair!

This rebus puzzle’s theme revealer is 61a. [Core exercises … or a hint to eight squares in this puzzle], AB CRUNCHES, and {AB} is crunched into a single square twice in each themer:

  • 17a. [Ate and ran, say], GR{AB}BED {A B}ITE. Crossing AR{AB}S and IN {A B}IT.
  • 21a. [Fit to live in], INH{AB}IT{AB}LE. Crossing TIE {A B}OW andHIJ{AB}
  • 37a. [Legendary Himalayan humanoid], {AB}OMIN{AB}LE SNOWMAN, with S{AB}RA and REH{AB}. I am old enough to remember when SABRA was clued as the term for a native Israeli, before hummus was something in every grocery store.
  • 52a. [The magic word?], {AB}RACAD{AB}RA, with {AB}HOR and {AB}BEY.

The fill is quite smooth overall, pitched well for a Wednesday puzzle. Nobody much is clamoring for the Hawaiian NENE to pop up in the puzzle, right? I just went to YouTube to see if they honk like other geese and wow, this is a gorgeous bird!

Three more things:

  • 60a. [Jabba the ___ (“Star Wars” meanie)], HUTT. “Meanie”? Come on! The blob enslaved women and females of all species, and dressed them sexy. This is really gross.
  • 50a. [Catherine of “Beetlejuice”], O’HARA. You know what I miss? Schitt’s Creek. If only I didn’t have an entire spreadsheet of other shows to catch up on, I’d rewatch it.
  • 39d. [Spiral-horned antelope], NYALA. I suspect Team Fiend’s Gareth has seen many a NYALA in his time visiting South African game sanctuaries. So to him, this is far from a crosswordese animal!

Four stars from me.

Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Talking Shop”—Jim P’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases except the end of each phrase has been turned into a tool which is a homophone of the original word. Each entry is then clued aptly with someone who might use that particular made-up tool.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Talking Shop” · Mike Shenk · Wed., 6.29.22

  • 17a. [Tool for Noah?] FLOOD PLANE. Flood plain.
  • 24a. [Tool for Taylor Swift?] POP SICKLE. Popsicle.
  • 38a. [Tool for Jonas Salk?] CURE AWL. Cure-all.
  • 49a. [Tool for Betsy Ross?] BANNER ADZ. Banner ads.
  • 60a. [Tool for Moby?] TECHNO FILE. Technophile.

Works for me. Decent wordplay with a little bit of wackiness. Nothing LOL-funny, but a solid—if a little goofy—theme.

BLANK TAPE, PARTNER UP (reminds me of my school days), and  TOODLES top the fill. Everything else should be familiar enough to longtime solvers.

Clues of note:

  • 10a [Cor anglais’s cousin] and 14a [Cor anglais’s range]. OBOE and ALTO. Ha. Couldn’t fool me. I learned the cor anglais is the English Horn from crosswords.

3.5 stars.

Will Nediger and Ross Trudeau’s AVCX, “Fly the Coop” — Ben’s Review

AVCX 6/29 – “Fly the Coop”

It’s a jumbo 21×21 grid from Will Nediger and Ross Trudeau from the AVCX Classic today.  My PUZ file was missing the shading of the printed version, but 12D clues “Lynyrd Skynyrd classic … or what’s depicted in the lower right of this puzzle”, or a FREE BIRD, in that quadrant, and 107A clues that the “Animal enclosure represented five times in this puzzle’s grid” is a BIRDCAGE, which pointed to something bird-y going on  throughout the grid.  Each “birdcage” square (whether closed off from the rest of the grid, or open, as in the bottom right) contains the name of a bird that affects both the across and down clues that run through it:

  • 28/29A: Site where Muhammad’s steed Buraq is said to have been tethered — WES [TERN] WALL
  • 3D/39D: Like Alaska’s Pochnoi Point among places in the U.S., counterintuitively — EAS [TERN] MOST
  • 30/31A: Like the World Series of Poker — MUL [TIT] ABLE
  • 10/42D: Doubled over with laughter — IN S [TIT] CHES
  • 62/63A: Like classrooms with more students than desks — OVER [CROW] DED
  • 35/74D: Having a yellow-topped head, to an ornithologist — GOLD [CROW] NED
  • 90/91A: Canadian singer of “Can I Have This Dance?” — ANN [E MU] RRAY
  • 66/103D: Overworked calf, perhaps — SOR [E MU] SCLE

and finally, the open cage:

  • 93/94A: Make one’s way (toward) — HEAD OVER
  • 69/94D: Rustic cooker in many a pizzeria — WOOD OVEN

The cluing throughout this one was tricky, so it took a while to fully parse what all was going on here.  This was a delightful puzzle to chew on – thanks, Will and Ross!

18A: “Orange Crush” band — REM

Happy Wednesday!

Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 6 29 22 – Berry

Really a nice puzzle here, with lots of crisp fill: CLASSIC CAR, SEA LEGS, DAHLIAS, SPY NOVEL, ELMER’S GLUE, SOCK DRAWER, REAL GENIUS (could’ve done without the word “real” in the 15a clue for BEEN, which crosses at the REAL), LOCAL COLOR, “I BELIEVE SO,” and NONPAREILS.

This crossword played no tougher than a Tuesday NYT for me. Will the Thursday New Yorker manage to be even easier than that?

Three more things:

  • 19a. [Fight to get a seat?], ELECTION. Timely for me, with Illinois’s primary being one of yesterday’s elections. The clue makes me envision political candidates playing Musical Chairs to see who gets the nomination.
  • 11d. [Pan handler?], CHEF. Just started watching The Bear on Hulu, a show set in a Chicago Italian beef stand. Fellow Chicagoans, tell me this: Have you ever seen a sanitation grade from the health department posted in a restaurant window in Chicago? That plays into The Bear, but I’ve only seen those grades posted in NYC. This bit of supposed LOCAL COLOR feels wrong to me.
  • 16a. [Seventies talk-show host who founded an L.P.G.A. tournament], DINAH SHORE. I suspect I’m in the youngest generation to remember who she is, and I am no longer young.

Four stars from me.

Zhouqin Burnikel’s USA Today Crossword, “High Chairs” — Sophia’s recap

Editor:  Erik Agard
Theme: Each theme answer ends with a position for a seat on an airplane.

USA Today, 06 29 2022, “High Chairs”

  • 2d [Web browsing annoyance] – POP UP WINDOW
  • 5d [Reach a compromise] – MEET IN THE MIDDLE
  • 17d [Cooperate with an opposing party, in politics] – CROSS THE AISLE

It took me a while to see today’s theme, because the title of the puzzle plus the fact that the theme answers were oriented vertically made me think that the first words (literally, the “highest” in the puzzle) had something to do with chairs! But no, it’s just about airplanes. I like that the MIDDLE answer is literally in the middle of the puzzle; there’s something very satisfying about that.

Notes on the puzzle:

  • My first answer at 24a [Ssam, for example]? “typo” (I thought it was “Sam” misspelled). But no, ssam are Korean lettuce WRAPs and the photos of them I just saw on Google look amazing.
  • My other mistake was for 19d [Body parts that might be lined] – the answer is LIPS, I had “lids”. Close enough that it took me a bit to see the mistake!
  • Lots of great across fill today too – KEEPS CALM, CHIN STRAP, CALL IT A DAY. I’m also partial to PHOOEY, it’s such a fun word.

Tracy Gray’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Today’s puzzle by Tracy Gray features a “members of set X” theme; that’s not always the most interesting, but today’s set are SPA treatments, which feels a novel set, at least to me! Also, the choice of entries is unusually splashy, with central [*Indulgent request made by Mae West in “I’m No Angel”], PEELMEAGRAPE and a [*Cast celebration], WRAPPARTY the highlights. These have a PEEL and a WRAP in respectively. The rest of the set are [*Operating room assistants], SCRUBNURSES; [*Employ flowery language], WAXPOETIC; and [*Retail event with deep discounts], BLOWOUTSALES. The treatments are a wax, a scrub and a err… blow? Not sure of that one!

Other entries of note:

  • [Early ’90s pres., familiarly], BUSHSR. Was he called that in the early 90’s, or only retro-actively?
  • [Jackson Hole backdrop], TETONS. I have a tendency to conflate Jackson Hole and Woods Hole.
  • [Garmin device], GPSUNIT. Never heard it called a unit before. Also, why are people still using these?
  • [Nocturnal nestlings], OWLETS. Confusingly, this is also used for the adults of some smaller species, like the African Barred Owlet.


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12 Responses to Wednesday, June 29, 2022

  1. Eric H says:

    NYT: Fun rebus with a great revealer. And a mostly junk-free grid, especially for a debut puzzle.

    But it was a little bit mean to put INH[AB]IT[AB]LE in a space where HABITABLE fits.

    • Gary R says:

      Hand up for HABITABLE, before I caught on to the rebus.

      A nit to pick with the revealer – I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone call them “AB” CRUNCHES, just CRUNCHES.

      • Eric H says:

        You could be right on CRUNCHES vs. AB CRUNCHES. But since I’m under doctor’s orders not to do such exercises, it’s moot to me.

  2. DH says:

    NYT: “Relative of a cor anglais” … WSJ: “Cor anglais’s cousin” both cluing “OBOE”. Baader Meinhof phenomenon?

  3. Papa+John says:

    When I first began dating my wife, I was working at a taxidermy in Hayward, CA. I secretly wedged a NYALA bone in the door handle on her car. I didn’t expect her to freak out like she did. She thought someone was putting a Voo Doo hex on her. I haven’t made her life any easier in the following forty-five years.

  4. Art Shapiro says:

    LAT: What’s wrong with using a GPS??? I’ve heard that there are phone apps, but phones don’t have the pleasantly-large screen of a GPS.

  5. Eric H says:

    LAT: George Bush, the 41st president, wasn’t BUSH SR until his son became president. (Hardly anybody outside of Texas knew who Junior was in the 1990’s.)

    I don’t know if anyone still uses a GPS UNIT that’s not a smartphone function, but the same answer was in Monday’s NYT puzzle.

    I got the first few theme answers and thought it was about car wash services, which made it harder to come up with the Mae West line (not that I really associate that line with her anyway). And I think the last theme answer is BLOWOUT, which appears to be a hair-straightening technique.

  6. CSC says:

    Re: WSJ:

    One of theme clues focuses on techno music and you go with Moby? Feel like the news about his creepiness and toxic masculinity involving a teenage Natalie Portman didn’t stick with a lot of folks. Disappointing.

Comments are closed.