Monday, August 8, 2022

BEQ 3:58 (Matthew) 


LAT 1:49 (Stella) 


NYT 3:53 (Sophia) 


The New Yorker 4:18 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today untimed (malaika) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Kathy Lowden’s New York Times puzzle– Sophia’s write-up

Theme: Each answer starts with a type of makeup.

New York Times, 08 08 2022, By Kathy Lowden

  • 17a [Pale pink vineyard offerings] – BLUSH WINES
  • 25a [Practice punches with an imaginary opponent] – SHADOW BOX
  • 52a [Barrel of explosive stuff, or a situation that’s ready to blow] – POWDER KEG
  • 61a [Writings on an album sleeve or jewel case insert] – LINER NOTES
  • 50d [Reconcile after a quarrel … or a hint to the starts of 17-, 25-, 52- and 61-Across] – MAKEUP

Well, I didn’t get the theme until after I had solved the puzzle and actually took the time to fully understand the revealer. It’s a cute idea! These are all very common types of makeup so even folks who aren’t too familiar with it should still get the concept. My one qualm with the theme is the vagueness of LINER NOTES – there are so many different types of makeup liners that not specifying “eye” or “lip”, etc., made it feel a little unsatisfying. I kind of had the same problem with SHADOW BOX. That being said, I liked both of those answers themselves a lot (despite dropping in “track lists” for 61a without a second thought).

There’s a lot of long fill in the puzzle, so I was surprised when I saw that the puzzle was a full 78 words. There are a lot of three letter answers but they’re pretty spread out (well, besides the NE and SW corners), so it didn’t feel like big chunks of the puzzle were swaths of boring fill. SAILBOAT and SNOWSUIT were my two favorite non-theme answers. The downside is that there are a lot of less great answers, particularly in the A SEC/ART I area.

Other thoughts:

  • Heyyyy NYT, when Wikipedia (among many other sources) calls LAPP “a dated and controversial term for the Sámi people”, maybe don’t use it?? Change the cross to “larp/rho” or rework the corner? It seems… very easy to not use this word.
  • I think of [“___ It Romantic?” (Rodgers and Hart classic)] for ISN’T as that movie starring Rebel Wilson from a few years ago where her life becomes a rom-com. It was pretty great, I recommend!
  • If we have to have OPIE in a puzzle, I enjoy the RON Howard cross-reference.
  • I still have no idea what 61d [Biblical fellow with a salty wife?] for LOT is referring to. Enlighten me?

Stella Zawistowski & Joanne Sullivan’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Strike a Pose”—Jim P’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases whose final words are also yoga poses. Entries are clued wackily based on the first word in the phrase.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Strike a Pose” · Stella Zawistowski & Joanne Sullivan · Mon., 8.8.22

  • 17a. [Yoga pose practiced by royals?] KING COBRA.
  • 28a. [Yoga pose practiced on Saturdays and Sundays?] WEEKEND WARRIOR.
  • 46a. [Yoga pose practiced in New York’s most populous borough?] BROOKLYN BRIDGE.
  • 61a. [Yoga pose practiced on FaceTime?] PHONE TREE.

Fun theme even for someone who has only done a minimal amount of yoga. I like the consistency, the lively phrases, and the use of simply-named, common poses that many people would know.

Elsewhere, ROTUNDA and STAGNANT are fun words, and I like seeing DIWALI, not least of all because it’s fun to say.

Clues of note:

  • 13d. [Lugers ride them]. SLEDS. “Lugers” as in those who ride luges, not the European pistols.
  • 60d. [“Stand” band]. REM. Notable only because I need a second bullet for my list and just to add a musical interlude here, not that I’m particularly enamored of the song or video.

Enjoyable theme and a clean grid to start your week. 3.75 stars.

Beth Rubin’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 8/8/22 by Beth Rubin

Los Angeles Times 8/8/22 by Beth Rubin

So much for CARPE DIEM–this puzzle is about the more modern expression of that idea, YOLO. YOLO is the revealer at 73A, clued as [“Carpe diem” acronym spelled out by the starts of the answers to the starred clues], since the first word of each theme answer is a word in the initialism:

  • 20A: We get the YOU from [“I can’t capture how amazing that was!”], or YOU HAD TO BE THERE.
  • 35A: We get the ONLY from [Fallible in very ordinary ways], or ONLY HUMAN. I dearly wish that The Human League had titled one of the greatest ’80s songs “Only Human” instead of “Human,” so the phrase could’ve been clued with that reference.
  • 46A: The LIVE comes from [Spend extravagantly], or LIVE LARGE.
  • 57A: ONCE comes from [Very rarely], or ONCE IN A BLUE MOON.

Cute theme, though it requires me to set aside my distaste for the underlying phrase. It’s been said that the free-spirited grammarian’s version is YLOO, or “you live only once,” since “only” should come directly before the word it modifies. YUP!

Jon Pennington’s Universal crossword, “Five-TimeRs Club” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 8/8/22 • Mon • Pennington • “Five TimeRs Club” • solution • 20220808

Title’s a bit strained, but the theme idea is solid enough. Each of the longest across answers contains five instances of the letter R distributed across two-word phrases.

  • 17a. [Type of naval ship in “Top Gun”] AIRCRAFT CARRIER.
  • 26a. [What a paper jam may cause] PRINTER ERROR.
  • 46a. [Bram Stoker or Stephen King, e.g.] HORROR WRITER.
  • 60a. [Railroad container for perishables] REFRIGERATOR CAR.

Three of these have *RR*R words with the other word possessing two additional Rs. The fourth is exceptional, having four Rs—none of them doubled—in one word and just a single R in the complementary word.

Another thing I would have liked to have seen would be the absence of Rs elsewhere in the grid, but there are plenty. No doubt it would have entailed too many compromises in the fill for an easy-pitch crossword.

  • 5d [Red wine that lost market share after “Sideways”] MERLOT. Haha, good times.
  • 10d [Surname of studio co-founders Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack] WARNER. Never knew those names.
  • 35d [Bulbous-bottomed fruit] PEAR. You’d think there’d be a technical or Latin- or Greek-derived word to describe this shape, but I can’t seem to find one. I did, however, learn that a secondary sense of pear-shaped is “[of a vocal tone] free from harshness, thinness, or nasality”, so that’s interesting. (m-w)
  • 55d [Snakebite __ (hiker’s safety set)] KIT. I enjoy seeing clues that seem to reflect the constructor’s personality or experience.
  • 22a [Quarterback’s shout before a long pass] GO DEEP. 52d [Succeed at a high level] GO FAR.
  • 68a [Vehicle with treads] TANK. Also called continuous track or caterpillar track. And I learned several weeks ago that the etymology for caterpillar is “Middle English catyrpel, from Anglo-French catepelose, literally, hairy cat” (m-w, again)

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday puzzle– Matthew’s write-up

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword solution, 8/8/2022

Nice challenge from BEQ today; even when I was moving quickly, I felt I was getting lucky — SUNNY SIDE UP today after appearing in the New Yorker Friday, for example, and I’ve no clue where Mal de SIECLE was living in my brain.

I’m going right to notes, because it’s what I want to do today:

  • 16a [Chile’s longest river] LOA. I can’t keep Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea straight, so I don’t mind finding another angle, but this seems a bit of a deep cut for me. Ben Stiller’s TOWER HEIST is potentially a helpful crossing for some solvers, but not for my film-starved brain.
  • 26a [405, in some dates] CDV. I’m not much a fan of Roman numerals in puzzles, but I’m told they allow for the mind to travel into a deeper thought of calculation. And while BEQ doesn’t do it here, some folks even enjoy that they allow calculations to be inserted into clues.
  • 29a [24/7] DAY AND NIGHT. Yes, that’s a much better answer than “day in and out,” which I blithely tried, ignoring that I was going for “day in and day out.”
  • 35a [1847 novel that starts on the island of Nuku Hiva] OMOO. I am always here for Melville content, as perhaps you know by now.
  • 36a [Purple poodle friend of Clifford the Big Red Dog] CLEO. I do not remember this character in the books–is it possible she first appeared in the TV series? My childhood dog (not a poodle) was named CLEO, so this was nice. I’m also grateful that BEQ’s daughter Tabitha does not appear to watch Caillou enough for that children’s show to make it into his grids!
  • 40a [Like writers of hard puzzles] EVIL. Hard disagree.
  • 41a [State whose official rock song is “Hang on Sloopy”] OHIO. The McCoys, who first played the song, were from Ohio, but as is true of most things in Columbus, this has an Ohio State connection, as the Ohio State Marching Band added it to their repertoire, and the rest is history.
  • 1d [Retired fleet] SSTS. I’m a simple man; I see “retired fleet,” I bash my hand against the S and T keys for a moment, and move on.
  • 7d [Vegetarian diet preferred by Rastafarians] ITAL. This is new to me! I much prefer it to an abbreviation of “italics.”
  • 27d [“Your order’s at the next window”] DRIVE AHEAD. I like this entry a whole bunch.
  • 45d [She beat Margaret once, and Billie Jean and Chris twice each, for her five Wimbledon championships] EVONNE. This is the great tennis star EVONNE Goolagong Cawley, an indigenous Australian who won 14 Grand Slams: 7 in singles, 6 in doubles, and 1 in mixed doubles, and won 81% of her career singles matches. The other women referenced in the clue are similarly tennis superstars: Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, and the odious and hateful Margaret Court.
  • 60d [L for the Angels?] LOS. This is in reference to the Los Angeles Angels baseball team, abbreviated “LAA”

Wyna Liu’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s write-up

New Yorker crossword solution, 8/8/22 – Wyna Liu

The Monday New Yorker puzzles usually land in the 6- to 8-minute range for me, suitably tough and akin to a tough Saturday NYT. A 4:18 finish here places this at the easier end of the Friday NYT spectrum, so not as hard as I expected. Could be a wheelhouse thing. Was it easier than usual for you?

Fave fill: INNER CIRCLE, PINTEREST (which mystifies me, not up my alley), “LAH-DI-DAH,” GIFT SETS, LIFETIME channel, IKEA CATALOG, CARPOOL LANE, HEAVY FLOW (great clue: [Periodic intensity?], and yes, this is about menstruation), KURDISH, THEME PARTY, KOALA.

New to me:

  • 14a. [Wasted part of a weekend, maybe?], BOOZY BRUNCH. I know the concept, not necessarily the phrase. There was a time when people were trying to make drunch happen.
  • 24d. [Longtime adult-fiction site with a portmanteau name], LITEROTICA. Good stuff?
  • 11d. [Challenge for a pickup artist?], CRANE GAME. This is the thing the little aliens were in, shrieking “The claw!!,” in Toy Story. I know the thing, didn’t know the generic name is crane game. Makes sense, though.

Three more things:

  • 35a. [Instrument that shares its name with a figure from Zulu folklore], MARIMBA. Not that I’m familiar with the folklore figure. Please do click through to read about Queen Marimba if you’re also unfamiliar.
  • 5d. [Flat in London, perhaps?], TYRE. As in a flat tire. I like the clue. I would have said “Cute clue!” but some people loathe that usage.
  • 32d. [Hashtag for weekly reminiscences], TBT. That’s Throwback Thursday.

Four stars from me.

Neville Fogarty’s USA Today puzzle, “In the Loop”– malaika’s write-up

Good morning, folks! This is a puzzle where I say a lot of things that I frequently say: It is so hard to make a symmetrical USA Today puzzle because the standard for fill is so high, so that’s impressive. (This is *almost* up-down symmetry, just off by one block.) And same with using four themies– I always do just three to make my life easier. Neville had FIVE today!!

These were lovely answers, by the way, all of which are bookkended by LO and OP, such that the rest of the answer is “in the loop,” as our title tells us. LOVE ON TOP, LOLLIPOP, and LOFI HIPHOP would all be welcome additions to a themeless grid. LOIN CHOP as one term is new to me, though I know the two words. And LOCAL STOP speaks to my little train-loving heart. I rode the train four times today! Standard stuff for my lifestyle. (I live on an express stop though.)

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26 Responses to Monday, August 8, 2022

  1. Art Shapiro says:

    NYT: (delete if there are a bunch of similar entries)

    I think in biblical mythology, Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt because she looked back at something that she was warned not to look at. (sorry for ending with a preposition.)

    I would have thought this would have rendered her highly radioactive, but what do I know?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Did you know that it’s actually entirely natural and proper use of English to end with a preposition? That old shibboleth needs to die off.

      • Art Shapiro says:

        Amy, I realize that language and language standards are always evolving. Still, this is one traditional recommendation I’d prefer to observe if not extremely awkward or even impossible to “correct”.

        Some of the changes, however, gross me out. (There, I did it again!) For example, the singular use of “they” – which I suspect you would STRONGLY champion.

        • Lois says:

          I would suggest, Art, that “out” in that case is an adverb, and “gross out” is what was described in my grammar class in college as a separable verb. That description was a fashionable innovation at the time and I don’t know if it’s used today. So you did avoid what you dislike in that case.

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          How the hell can you use a pronoun for someone who is nonbinary and rejects both “he” and she” pronouns, Art? If you eschew “they,” it’s a big “eff you” dismissal of that person.

          And general singular “they,” when not referring to a specific person, is a hundred times better than saying that “he” is the “gender-neutral” option. “Whoever left their headlights on overnight is going to be sorry in the morning.” Why would you insist on just “his” or a clunky “his or her” when “their” is entirely understood and natural? That sort of singular “they” has been around for centuries, and used by good writers such as Jane Austen. You think you’re better than her?

          • Gary R says:

            The usage in your headlight example certainly doesn’t bother my ear. On the other hand, a statement like “They is my friend” does. My solution is to go with “They are my friend,” and assume my non-binary friend won’t be offended by being pluralized (no complaints so far).

            • pannonica says:

              The correct syntax would be “they are my friend” just as “you are my friend” would be grammatically correct. These are easily understood as singular constructions vs “they are my friends” and “you are my friends”.

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          @Art Shapiro:

          Longtime copyeditor John McIntyre argues in favor of using prepositions naturally rather than torture it English sentences to follow Latin grammar:


    In the times print edition the clue for 25 across is “practice boxing”. I thought since the answer was shadowBOXing, that that clue would not be allowed. I notice the clue for the online edition had been changed as above.

  3. sanfranman59 says:

    Uni: @pannonica … Is pyriform the word you’re looking for for “pear-shaped”? According to, pyri- comes from the Medieval Latin for pear (pyrum).

  4. sanfranman59 says:

    NYT: @Sophie … What’s a “larp”? … Even if it may be outdated, at least I know what LAPP is. LAPPs and Lapland are what I learned when I was a school-aged boy and it’s hard to unlearn stuff like that as an old-timer with a rarely encountered subject.

    • xtalk says:

      This isn’t a particularly compelling argument. There are all sorts of slurs that we can learn not to use (as a gay kid in the 90s, I heard many almost every day growing up that thankfully aren’t in broad usage anymore). The language rights of the Sami people (and self-determination) is a hugely contentious issue and many Sami will point out that continued use of Lapp is derogatory. Even if the use is still widely accepted for a place name does not mean it is acceptable for referring to a population (the same way orient/oriental may have some uses that are acceptable and others that are derogatory).

      Also the origin of Lapp in both Finnish and Swedish Lapland is likely from the Finnish language, and Finland isn’t technically in Scandinavia, so the clue is both wrong and inaccurate.

      • David L says:

        Lapp is from Swedish, I believe. Saami is not that different from Suomi, the Finnish word for Finland, because both the people and the languages are related.

      • sanfranman59 says:

        Huh … You obviously know a whole lot more about this than I do and I apologize if you found my comment offensive. I didn’t realize that I was “making an argument”, let alone trying to make a “compelling” one. I thought that I was simply commenting about my experience with one answer in a crossword puzzle and the reviewer’s comment about that answer. I most certainly would have found the suggested alternative crossing almost impossible to get, whereas I had no trouble at all getting the answers in the grid.

        BTW, I too have learned over the years not to use some words and idioms that were once common but are now considered to be pejorative and derogatory. In fact, I work hard at it because I don’t want to offend anyone. But I plead ignorance about the Sami/LAPP controversy, though I’ve been happy learn something about it today. However, given that I only very rarely encounter either of these words or the subject matter, I’m not all that confident that I’ll remember the next time that LAPP is considered to be offensive. (Now, I guess I’m making an argument or at least an excuse.)

    • Alex says:

      LARP is Live Action Role Play- a rather more immersive version of a game like Dungeons and Dragons, in which larger numbers of participants usually wear costumes and stay in character (sometimes for several days, often in an outdoor setting) and interact with one another.

      • sanfranman59 says:

        Thanks for the edification, Alex. I tried Googling it and still wasn’t sure what the reviewer was referring to.

        • JohnH says:

          It’s also not in the first places I consulted on reading the review and being utterly confused by it. (I’d wondered if it were a typo.) That is, it’s not in the dictionaries we usually consult (where I don’t mean urban dictionaries online, invaluable as they are). If Googling isn’t much more helpful, I’d sure be disappointed and confused to have seen it in a puzzle and don’t believe at the very least that it belongs on a Monday.

          I’m delighted and humbled to learn that LAPP is offensive and so agree it shouldn’t have been there, although I’d be generous and concede that might be something that the constructor and editor just didn’t know. Still, it’s invaid logic to use that to justify “larp,” as xtalk does. If that’s the best way out that one can think of, then the sector needs reworking.

          • Eric H says:

            I’d like to extend the NYT constructor and editors the benefit of the doubt on LAPP, but the word appeared in a November, 2021, puzzle, and drew a number of objections in the Wordplay comments. (I haven’t looked to see if the previous appearances also drew complaints.)

            The editors should have known better.

            LAMP/MHO could have been an easy fix. MHO isn’t very Monday-ish, but with the right clue, LAMP could be. LARP is kinda yucky for any day of the week.

      • pannonica says:

        ‘LARPers’ has also been applied, disparagingly, to people who have a military fetish, such as those who dress in fatigues and open-carry weapons. And those who believe that they are the ‘good guy with a gun’ who can take down an active shooter. You get the idea.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Even if it weren’t offensive, LAPP is a terrible entry to include in a Monday puzzle! It’s the sort of word that tells new solvers who don’t know it (because they’d have zero reason to be familiar with it) that they don’t have what it takes to do the Times crossword. If you’re looking to welcome new solvers, that sort of entry has no place in the “easiest” puzzle of the week.

  5. sanfranman59 says:

    TNY … @Amy … FWIW, this puzzle was decidedly not on my wavelength. I took me 37% more than my median TNY Monday solve time to get through this one and I was pretty proud of myself for getting everything without any help. I make notes about puzzles after I complete them (it’s just a tad anal and is sort of like a diary). It took me the better part of an hour to comment about all the things that gave me trouble in this grid and that’s even aside from the usual TNY Monday level of cluing difficulty.

    • sanfranman59 says:

      Just to be clear … I’m simply reporting my experience in solving this puzzle. I didn’t intend to offer an opinion about the quality of the puzzle or the constructor’s work. In my mind, stating that I struggled with a puzzle does not equate to “this puzzle sucks” or “I hated this puzzle”.

    • JohnH says:

      Not on mine either, and rather than finding it easy even for late in the week, I spent forever and felt lucky to finish. I’d guess that a third of the clues concerned things I don’t know. I never did find from Googling the reasoning behind the hashtag.

      TNY is an outlier in that its difficulty almost always depends on factual stuff, generally contemporary, not vocabulary building, literacy, deception, and ingenuity. Thus, someone who knows stuff will find it a pushover and others of us will find it impossible. That division is in fact what, to me and I bet to many other dislikers of pop culture in puzzles, diminishes a puzzle. “You know it or you don’t” works in some kinds of games, such as trivia night, but not, I think, in a puzzle.

      Just to be clear. I’m not hating a puzzle for making me learn new things. Indeed, I disagree with Amy’s decision to rank her favorite clues in many a puzzle based on what she knows. You could say that learning is much of why I do crosswords. I just want a fair shot at solving, based on density of such entries and crossings.

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        Hey, I don’t “rank {my} favorite clues in many a puzzle based on what {I} know.” I rarely rank my favorite clues at all! I single out fill I liked, sometimes fill I didn’t like, things I didn’t know—and the “Five more things” sort of section is NOT a ranking of my favorite clues, it’s just clues or answers that I wanted to comment on.

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