Thursday, August 4, 2022

BEQ untimed (Darby) 


LAT 5:24 (Gareth) 


NYT 10:16 (Ben) 


The New Yorker tk (malaika) 


Universal tk (Jim Q) 


USA Today 3:33 (Sophia) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Note: Fireball is on holiday until September.

Joah Macosko’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Think Inside the Box”—Jim P’s review

Given the title and the grid design, I knew something would be going on with that large, central square. So when I uncovered 20d ICE(box), I immediately filled in the other four entries touching the sides of the square. What I didn’t expect was that all of the entries touching the box are “box” entries. Thus we have…

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Think Inside the Box” · Joah Macosko · Thu., 8.4.22


  • 6d. [Ready for a fight] SHADOW◼️
  • 20d. [Refrigerator, old-style] ICE◼️
  • 7d. [It might have a game on the back] CEREAL ◼️


  • 29a. [You shouldn’t stuff it] BALLOT ◼️
  • 35a. [Possible locale for eating green eggs and ham] IN A ◼️
  • 37a. [Burmese relief spot?] LITTER ◼️


  • 32a. [Film take, so to speak] ◼️ OFFICE
  • 36a. [Amount of chocolate given to a Valentine, often] ◼️FUL
  • 40a. [Their backs often open like garage doors] ◼️ TRUCKS


  • 46d. [Christmas follower] ◼️ING DAY
  • 47d. [Proof of purchase, often] ◼️ TOP
  • 48d. [Hairstyle popularized by Janet Jackson] ◼️ BRAIDS

Impressive execution. I was not expecting to have that much theme material concentrated in the center of the grid, and it’s handled (mostly) well. Yes, with that many constraints in one area, you get an entry like OCA, but the crossings were fair enough. New to me are the terms “box trucks” and “box braids,” but again, these weren’t hard to infer.

Due to the nature of the grid design, there aren’t any long fill entries, but there are still some 7s to enjoy like TSUNAMI, SOMALIA, REAR END, “ANY IDEA?”, and ORIGAMI. I had to give BEAMISH [Radiantly happy] the side-eye, since I wanted it to be “beaming.” But apparently that’s a real word.

Clues of note:

  • 64a [Beyond blue]. FIILTHY. Where “blue” is a synonym of “profane.”
  • 2d [Like an Indianapolis race]. MAYORAL. Nice misdirection there. Same with 11d [Crane-construction technique] for ORIGAMI. And again with 13d [It’s used for tracking shots] for BAR TAB.

It’s nice to have something different once in a while, and this fit the bill, especially with its strong execution. Solid fill and good clues round it out. Four stars.

Ella Dershowitz’s New York Times crossword—Ben’s review

NYT #0804 – 08/04/2022

Today’s puzzle from Ella Dershowitz is probably best explained by starting with its revealer:

  • 60A: Temporary spot to do business … or a hint to answering 17-, 35- and 41-Across — POP-UP SHOP

And indeed, in each of these entries the letters in SHOP pop “up” into the grid entry above it, making a bit of a bump:

  • 17A: World’s oldest golf tournament, familiarly — BRITI[SH OP]EN
  • 35A: “Fingers crossed” — HERE'[S HOP]ING
  • 41A: After-dinner drink made with crème de menthe — GRAS[SHOP]PER

I spent a fair amount of time trying to do something with rebus squares here, but neither SHO or HOP was really doing anything.  Then I realized each SHOP forms a little square that pops into the entry above it, and that was that.

51D: Home of Nijo Castle, built by the Tokugawa shogunate — KYOTO

Happy Thursday

Brooke Husic’s USA Today Crossword, “Wraparound Pass” — Sophia’s recap

Editor:  Amanda Rafkin
Theme: Each of the theme answers is “wrapped” by the word “pass” on its edges.

USA Today, 08 04 2022, “Wraparound Pass”

  • 20a [American Chinese restaurant chain with a black, white and red logo] – PANDA EXPRESS
  • 36a [Formal garment] –PARTY DRESS
  • 53a [Office game involving a wastebasket] – PAPER TOSS

This puzzle’s title is a reference to a basketball pass, and despite playing basketball for years I still had to go to Google to confirm that’s what it was. So, it’s a bit niche, but it explains the concept well. I like all three of the theme answers – the phrase PARTY DRESS always reminds me specifically of Taylor Swift, who uses the term in her songs more than anyone else I know uses it ever.

Favorite fill: The grid spanning KEEP YOUR SECRETS, YEAH SURE, FLOP ERA

Favorite clues: 6d [Essay arguing for reparations, perhaps] for OP-ED, [Gay icon Marilyn] for MONROE, the repetition of 45a [“Wise” bird] for OWL and 46a [Wise person] for SAGE.

David Tuffs’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Today’s puzzle by David Tuffs is one of the more intricate LA Times themes we’ve seen in recent times, but also one that I can see being missed by a lot of people. The revealer is DOUBLEORNOTHING, and there are six pairs of circled double letters. The magic happens in the clues. The clue of [Part of the stock market cycle], BO{TT}OM works with or without its “TT”. So too [What lovers have], F{EE}LINGS, which I can’t hearing sang like Morris Albert; [Artifacts in ancient tombs], CO{FF}INS, which is quite a creative example; [Come into flower], BLO{SS}OM; [Gave a dirty look], PO{LL}UTED is one the I don’t wholly get, pouted sure, but I can’t see how you can make polluted fit this clue; and lastly [Went out, as a bulb], DI{MM}ED.

There were surprisingly many interesting longer answers out of the theme today. My five faves were: LOCKSTEP, EPHEMERA, AIRGUITAR, DIORAMA and, oh, what the heck, ADAMSALE for its quaintness.

Odd abbrs. were a mini-theme today. I have never had cause to abbreviate emperor as [Old Rom. ruler], EMP. [Court stat], REB had me puzzled, but I assume it’s “rebounds”.


Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Crossword #1493, “Why I Oughta”—Darby’s review

Theme: Each theme answer turns a Y of a common phrase into an I.

Theme Answers8/4/202

Brendan Emmett Quigley's Crossword #1493, “Why I Oughta” solution for 8/4/2022

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Crossword #1493, “Why I Oughta” solution for 8/4/2022

  • 17a [“Carrier to a Mongolian desert”] GOBI PLANE
  • 22a [“Reasonable journalist Orlana”] LOGICAL FALLACI 
  • 33a [“Breakup from soccer star Lionel”] MESSI DIVORCE 
  • 46a [“Reminiscent of an amazing fingernail treatment”] MANI-SPLENDORED 
  • 53a [“First section of a story about pianist Amos”] TORI PART I 

I appreciated the puns of these answers, especially MESSI DIVORCE and MANI-SPLENDORED. It’s definitely a very creative theme overall. I struggled most with GOBI PLANE and LOGICAL FALLACI. As it is supposed to, my brain really wanted to fill in TORY PARTY, which is a clever misdirect (intentional or otherwise) since you could keep the Ys on both ends of this answer.

I thought that 16a [“Sixth Greek letter”] was kind of fun with ZETA since, if you don’t know the Greek alphabet, it’s unexpected to find Z so early. I also enjoyed the very modern use of 45a [“Did an online meeting”] ZOOMED. Colloquially, I was also less excited about 10a [“Knocking ‘em back and then some”] ON A JAG. I’ve never heard that phrase before. Have y’all? Maybe it’s just me.

Additionally, I think that we need to retire this spelling of 39a [“Siouan tribe”] OTO since, while the Encyclopedia Britannica uses it, the Otoe-Missouria tribe itself does not.

Overall, a clever theme with some fun wordplay.

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15 Responses to Thursday, August 4, 2022

  1. JML says:

    NYT: What a fun idea! Impressed with the execution and fill. UBEND feels like a bonus tie-in to the theme.

  2. R Cook says:

    NYT: I hope I’m not the only one who was held up by entering GROWINGPAIN instead of GROWTHSPURT.

  3. Mutman says:

    NYT: I just thought it was a one-way rebus with HOP. Makes sense now …

  4. Gary R says:

    NYT: Nice puzzle. I “sorta” had the theme before I saw the revealer, but I thought there was just a HOP in each of the theme answers. I guess I got stuck on that because the first themer I got was GRASSHOPPER, and HOP seemed to be the key. With that, I was able to get HERE’S HOPING, and didn’t notice that the HOP started at an “S.” Took a while to get the first themer, as I had settled on St. Andrews at 17-A in my first pass.

    I’m curious – has anyone here ever heard 35-D HYPOS used as clued? Totally unfamiliar to me.

    • Alex says:

      Re. 35D, certainly never heard of this as clued; a clue for “types of needles” would have been better.

    • Ed+B says:

      I’m guessing it’s slang for hypotheticals, but I’ve never heard it.

    • sanfranman59 says:

      The clue for HYPOS is a new one on me. I haven’t even come across it in working my way through Maleska-era puzzles and he allowed some pretty random and wacko abbreviations in the puzzles he edited.

  5. marciem says:

    I agree with Alex, better clued as syringes or needles. I’ve never heard “hypos” used for hypotheticals. Must be newer shortcut language.

    But it was gettable and the puzzle was very enjoyable for me. I too thought at first it might be a “hop” rebus.

    WSJ: I finally figured out why I consistently enter WPM where GPA belongs. I always seem to read “transcript stat” as ‘transcription stat” , I’m sure because in another life and time I worked in medical transcription where WPM’s were a thing.

    eta: this was intended as a reply to Gary R

  6. Tom Cassutt says:

    LAT: if you leave a site POLLUTED, you have given it a dirty look.

Comments are closed.