Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Jonesin' 5:34 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni) 


NYT 4:30 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal untimed (Jim Q) 


USA Today 8:14 (Emily) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Trade Offs” – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 8/9/22

Jonesin’ solution 8/9/22

Hello everyone! This week’s theme involves replacing the word TRADE with various synonyms.

  • 16a. [Scratches left on the chalkboard by a temporary teacher?] SUBSTITUTE MARKS. The original word is TRADEMARKS, and SUBSTITUTE is a synonym of TRADE.
  • 22a. [Riding transit without having to buy a ticket?] FREE COMMUTE, from FREE TRADE.
  • 38a. [Java that words even better in all caps?] FAIR SHIFT COFFEE, from FAIR TRADE COFFEE.
  • 50a. [Difference between Nasdaq and Euronext?] EXCHANGE GAP (TRADE GAP).
  • 59a. [“Don’t haggle too much at the flea market” and others?] TRICKS OF THE SWAP, from TRICKS OF THE TRADE.

Other things:

  • 13a. [Hammer on the screen] ARMIE. I don’t think I would have put him in a grid. After last year’s sexual misconduct allegations, he left the acting business and more recently has been rumored to be selling timeshares in the Cayman Islands.
  • 29a. [Japanese eel and rice dish] UNADON. Short for unagi donburi, or eel in a big bowl of rice.
  • 67a. [Lead-in to “margarine] OLEO. TIL that OLEO was short for OLEOMARGARINE and not just a separate word for margarine. A biochemist mistakenly thought that animal fat, like the beef fat used to make OLEO, was made of oleic and margaric acids.

Until next week!

Bruce Haight’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 8 9 22, no. 0809

The black squares in the center of the grid resemble a slingshot, which is the weapon in the biblical story of DAVID (56a. [Classic underdog]) and GOLIATH (17a. [One known for living large and getting stoned?]). I sure couldn’t have told you that 20d. [Biblical site for the battle depicted in this puzzle] was the VALLEY OF ELAH, nor that it was in the BOOK OF SAMUEL, which is actually two books (22d. [Hebrew Bible text with the story depicted in this puzzle]). Given my unfamiliarity with those details of this Bible story, I didn’t much enjoy the theme.


The bright spots in the fill were outweighed for me by the oddities and crosswordese. The Bible’s ESAU is a distraction since he’s not part of the David and Goliath story. Tony TRABERT, La JOLLA, ONE-L’S, LOW SNAP, URAL, EGO MASSAGES clued as if this is a verb, T-NOTE, the USED TO/OF USE repeat, IS SO, ADZE, ALIT, and the wildly unfamiliar (to me) 30d. [Ramp taken by a skier], INRUN. My sports-fan husband didn’t know INRUN, either—and that LOW SNAP crossing might be trouble for solvers who don’t follow sports.

I wonder if the fill would have been smoother with THE added to BOOK OF SAMUEL to make a 15, plus DAVID, GOLIATH, and the slingshot grid art. Maybe those of you who grew up taking religious classes or reading the Bible/Torah knew the VALLEY OF ELAH was involved, but I sure didn’t and I had to work a lot of crossings there.

2.75 stars from me.

Joe Hansen’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Lowdown Shame”—Jim P’s review

The revealer is DEEP FAKES (35d, [Some deceptive videos, and what the circles hold]). Theme answers are well-known words and phrases whose final letters spell out synonyms of “fake.” Entries are in the vertical direction, therefore the synonyms are “deep.”

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Lowdown Shame” · Joe Hansen · Tue., 8.9.22

  • 3d. [Dissonant din] CACOPHONY.
  • 7d. [One might catch a buss at an arena] KISSCAM.
  • 9d. [Holiday entree] CHRISTMAS HAM.
  • 21d. [Herding dog] BORDER COLLIE.
  • 44d. [Run into the ground] OVERUSE.

Nothing groundbreaking here, but a solid theme suitable for early in the week. It would have been preferable if all the hidden words spanned multiple words, but that seems an impossibility with the likes of PHONY and LIE. And CACOPHONY is such a fun word anyway.

The grid is heavy with theme material, so the fun fill is on the lighter side. We have ROOM RATE, TROUBLES, LINSEED, ARRIBA, and Billie EILISH as our most interesting long entries.

Clues of note:

  • 24a. [Many loch visitors]. SCOTS. Did you see the recent Loch Ness monster “bombshell“?
  • 37d. [Modern check-deposit spot]. ATM. Serious question: Do people do this? Don’t most financial institutions have mobile deposits these days?

3.5 stars.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 584), “Made to Order”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 584: “Made to Order”

Hello there, everybody! I hope all is well and that you’re somehow handling all the stifling heat that continues to descend in many parts of the country. Please STAY COOL, everyone (41A: [Phone call signoff during a heat wave]).

There’s somer serious order in the court in today’s puzzle, as in that all of the theme entries are multiple-word answers in which the first word can also come before the word “order.”

    • MONEY IS NO OBJECT (17A: [“Price doesn’t matter”])
    • STANDING DESK (23A: [Ergonomic work station that keeps you on your feet?]) 
    • TALL IN THE SADDLE (37A: [Acting confident and successful])
    • SHORT STORIES (47A: [Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” and “The Storm,” e.g.)
    • PURCHASE, NEW YORK (57A: [Site of Westchester County’s Manhattanville College])

Nope, I don’t have any issues with the word “story” appearing in the clue for SHORT STORIES. I’m sure others would carp about it, but it did not take away from my enjoyment in solving. Also, after reading the title of the second story in the clue, I had forgotten that the first one mentioned had “story.” The grid, outside of the theme answers, was mostly dotted with short fill, but it didn’t stop me from learning a couple of new words/products: SKOR (56D: [Chocolate-coated toffee bar]) and ALKYD (63A: [Resin found in paint]). ICE-T crossing “stay cool” was a pretty nice touch, and definitely a reminder of making sure to drink a lot of fluids and listen to Body Count…who won a Grammy Award last year for Best Metal Performance (38D: [“Body Count” rapper]). One day you’re singing “Cop Killer” and getting conservatives in a rage, the next day you’re winning a Grammy Award. Go figure!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: HELIO (64A: [Word form for “sun”]) – One of the all-time great drivers in auto racing history, Brazilian Indy Car driver Helio Castroneves won the Indianapolis 500 a record-tying four times: 2001, 2002, 2009, 2021. His climbing of the safety fencing on the track after those wins earned him the nickname “Spider-Man.” For many others, Castroneves is well-known not for his racing but for his dancing; he won the fifth season of Dancing with the Stars with his partner, dancer-turned-actress Julianne Hough.

Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!

Take care!


Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 8/9/22 • Tue • Shechtman • solution • 20220809

Now that I have a number of these New Yorker Tuesday puzzles under my belt, I can say that the difficulty level has been consistent. So, good on the editors and constructors.

This week’s offering presents the solver with perhaps more cultural-historical material, but there is enough general knowledge and vocabulary in the framework to ensure that it’s all workable.

  • 1a [“Infinite Jest” author, to fans] DFW. Many other venues would probably opt for a Dallas-Fort Worth airport code angle rather than David Foster Wallace.
  • 4a [What a Pinterest board might provide, familiarly] INSPO. People who had something to say about the recent HYPOS, what say you here?
  • 27a [On] ABOARD partially duplicates board from 4-across clue. Stronger dupe with 32d [Like passengers without a printed boarding pass, perhaps] ETICKETED. Not really relatedly, reports of airplane riders exhibiting a lack of basic ETIQUETTE are still common.
  • 17a [Coop resident] HEN. I wonder if the New Yorker‘s style guide has co-op as coöp.
  • If there are marquee entries in this grid, they are 23a [Some widely shared routines] TIKTOK DANCES (is that shuffle one still a thing?) and 47a [Occupy Wall Street epicenter] ZUCCOTTI PARK.
  • 25a [Alternatives to spinners] DICE. Was mystified by the clue until getting all the crossings.
  • 46a [Stock character in a teen comedy] JOCK. With the K in place I put in GEEK, which I then changed to DORK and then finally to the correct answer.
  • 57a [Paul who shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics with Erwin Shrödinger] DIRAC. Didn’t know that I knew this, but filled it in rather swiftly.
  • 62a [One might prevent a leak, for short] NDA. On balance, I believe non-disclosure agreements—their prevalence and abuse—are more corrosive than beneficial.
  • 3d [Psychoanalyst Donald who developed the concept of the “good-enough mother”] WINNICOTT. Unknown to me, but I was reminded of the cruel and unethical experiments of Harry Harlow, he of the ‘wire mother’.
  • 10d [Movie lot?] DRIVE-IN. Is this the only question mark-punny clue in the whole puzzle?
  • 22d [“__, tres, cuatro …”] UNO DOS. The greatest count-off in all of music history remains Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ “Woolly Bully”.
  • 29d [Patrick who is the only woman to have won an IndyCar race] DANICA. 53d [Swimmer Torres with twelve Olympic medals] DARA.
  • 31d [Like many residents of Spanish Harlem] NUYORICAN. I feel as if this term might not be well-known outside of the NYC or Latinx communities. I had thought the heyday of the term was the 1990s, but Ngrams suggests otherwise.
  • 55d [“__ vs. NYC” (2014 essay collection about the value of creative-writing programs)] MFA. It includes an excerpt of a 1988 essay by DFW. The original essay that inspired the book was written by Chad Harbach and appeared in issue 10 of n+1 (2010).

Micah Sommersmith’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

Now that’s a Tuesday puzzle. I love wordplay themes and this one was fresh (so to speak) and funny. If I had a friend who was dipping her toe into crosswords, I’d send her this one because it’s accessible, well-constructed, and a whole lotta fun. We didn’t have a tag for Micah so this appears to be a debut. I look forward to more!

Each theme answer is a baking-related pun.

Los Angeles Times, August 9, 2022, Micah Sommersmith, solution grid

  • 20a [*Saint Bernard statue made entirely from sourdough?] is a PUREBREAD DOG. Purebred.
  • 36a [*Special occasions that call for braided loaves?] are CHALLAH DAYS. Holidays.
  • 42a [*Improvements to a cake recipe?] is TORTE REFORM. Tort.
  • 56a [Any of the answers to this puzzle’s starred clues?] would be a PUN IN THE OVEN.

Every theme entry made me chuckle and the revealer made me laugh out loud. This is my favorite kind of puzzle.

A couple of other things:

  • There are three media-related proper names in the NE corner: ALAN Arkin, ANA de Armas, and NED from The Simpsons. I knew the first two and inferred the third so I had no issue with this section but I wonder if it’s a little much for an early-week puzzle.
  • I loved [“I need details!”] for SPILL.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Angela Bassett went to YALE  and that TPAIN uses? used? Autotune.

Matthew Stock’s USA Today Crossword, “Premier Hockey Federation” — Emily’s write-up

Fun theme and themer set, even if you aren’t a sports fan.

Completed USA Today crossword for Tuesday August 09, 2022

USA Today, August 09 2022, “Premier Hockey Federation” by Matthew Stock

Theme: the first half of each themer is a team name in the Premier Hockey Federation (PHL)


  • 20a. [Activity where an orca might be seen], WHALEWATCHING
  • 33a. [Muscles often compared to a washboard], SIXPACKABS
  • 55a. [Annual LGBTQ+ celebration], PRIDEMONTH

For me, the cluing was spot on and all of the themers were easy gets. Like an orca, WHALEWATCHING practically leapt from my finger tips into the grid. If only acquiring SIXPACKABS were as quick as typing the phrase. For a moment, PRIDEMONTH had me thinking “parade” instead but not for long. What took me a while today was putting together the theme and, given the multitude of bonus fill, deciding which were the themers. Hockey is one of the sports that I know least about so I looked up the PHL to learn that it’s women’s professional hockey that is currently expanding this year with a team from Montreal! Three teams are represented in the theme today: Connecticut WHALE, Toronto SIX, and Boston PRIDE. The PHL just might get me into hockey.


Stumpers: VOLE (had “mole” at first), and AARI (new to me)

Shout out to the unique grid design and great bonus fill today! The layout really opened up the grid for lots of longer entires, which I always enjoy, especially the phrases. So good! Matthew is quickly becoming one of my favorite constructors and I look forward to more puzzles by him.

4.5 stars


Christina Iverson’s Universal Crossword, “What a Novel Idea!” — Jim Q’s write-up

THEME: Common phrases that begin with genres of fiction clued wackily as if they had something to do with literature from that genre.

Universal crossword solution · Christina Iverson · What a Novel Idea! · Tuesday. 08.09.22


  • 17A [Flowery words in a Danielle Steele book?] ROMANCE LANGUAGE. 
  • 29A [Characters in a Michael Crichton book] ACTION FIGURES.
  • 48A [Quidditch and others?] FANTASY SPORTS.
  • 60A [Mixing up the Brontë sisters and others?] CLASSIC MISTAKES. 

Clever one! Could’ve worked without wackifying the clues at all, but that extra touch made it feel more novel than the typical theme (pun intended). I do kinda like it better when all the clues use a parallel language, like the first two in this set: {Plural noun} in a {Name of author} book. I found it a little strange when it veered away from that for the third and fourth answers.

My second time seeing OREO clued as a wasabi flavor. The first time I saw it, I actually ordered the flavor online. I’m not gonna do that this time.

Everything else in the grid was smooth sailing for me! ARLO Parks and the idea that ETTA is a nickname for HenriETTA were new for me.

4.4 stars from me!

Enjoy your week :)

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24 Responses to Tuesday, August 9, 2022

  1. dh says:

    Coincidentally, I recently listened to a very interesting take on the story of David and Goliath recounted by Malcolm Gladwell. I highly recommend this 15-minute listen –


    As fun as the grid-art is, David did not use a slingshot against Goliath, he used a sling.


  2. Scott says:

    Unlike Amy, I did enjoy the theme. And I do thank her for pointing out the slingshot in the grid. And lastly, dh is right about the sling.

  3. Mutman says:

    NYT: I actually thought this was going to be the Battle of Rephidim against the Amalekites (I googled that, since I knew the idea but not the exact details) where Moses had to keep his arms raised for the Israelites to win the battle. That’s what I thought the grid picture was referencing.

    If Amy thought D v. G was arcane, this would have been even more so!

  4. JohnH says:

    Regarding the NYT, I may be wrong, but I believe that Samuel is just one book in the Hebrew Bible (what Christians would call the Old Testament).

    The payoff when I finally recognized the image and got the reason for L/R symmetry more than made up for its looking more like a slingshot than a sling. But no question INRUN, LOW SNAP, and TRABERT were hard and a little odd. My last to fall was the small NE segment containing the -ERT. I did like up there the soundalike of ADS and ADZE.

    • Gary R says:

      +1 on ADZE/ADS – thought that was innovative.

      I used to ski a fair bit, and INRUN was new to me. LOW SNAP was a gimme, and Tony TRABERT was a familiar name – but I think it’s from his broadcasting career more than his playing career. But yes, these might all be a stretch on a Monday.

    • JohnH says:

      I should have put that “as opposed to what Christians call the Old Testament,” but you got the idea.

    • Lois says:

      Found out today, 8/15/22, that TRABERT was a tribute clue, as he died in 2021.

  5. Thank you for the lovely write-up of my LAT puzzle – I’m so glad it was fun to solve! Yes, this is my debut crossword (outside of my Crosshare blog).

  6. Alex says:

    NYT: I too found the theme to be “meh” given all the obscure fill needed to support it. Given the position of LOWSNAP, I think I’ll just repurpose the supposed slingshot and ammunition as a football going through one of the uprights instead.

  7. huda says:

    NYT: I wonder whether constructors take any solace when some of us say that the puzzle is misplaced in terms of day of the week. Overall, my time was not very different from a typical Tuesday but I had to look up TRABERT which is exceedingly rare for me on a Tuesday, and a couple of other entries were a stretch. Had this run on a Wednesday, I think the ratings would likely be higher. The idea of illustrating a biblical story in a puzzle is original. I don’t believe I’ve seen a theme like it before.

  8. Mister [Very] Grumpy says:

    I resisted posting about the New Yorker, but no one else is saying anything [despite the many negative ratings], and I have to express my objections. “This week’s offering presents the solver with perhaps more cultural-historical material, but there is enough general knowledge and vocabulary in the framework to ensure that it’s all workable.” Workable? No. Cultural-historical material? You are far too kind. East coast elitist bias? Yes.

    Site of 2011 protest? A portmanteau for something that no one outside of NY would have any idea of? A psychologist [I assume] who is far from public knowledge? Internet slang crossing Italian whatever? And a completely incorrect clue for 39A. I could go on. This was one of the worst New Yorker puzzles ever.

    You may like DFW. I am not a fan of his inept novels, and I say WTF.

    • JohnH says:

      Actually, the site of OWS was one of the few things that enabled me to get anywhere with this puzzle. As you say, the references made the puzzle hard to work, and the review was far too kind. It’s true I’m a NYer, although I didn’t actually know before OWS that the plaza, which maybe I dimly knew existed, had a name! So I suspect it’s more my left leaning that helped.

      My other historical gimme was Winnicott. (While indeed Donald in Wikipedia, he was published and more often known as D. W Anyhow, a major thinker.) Without those two, I’d have never come close to solving.

      The trendy cluster of INSPO, DAHL, and TIK TOK DANCES made the north the killer for me. Ironically, I guessed ARI up there fairly quickly, another lucky avenue to completion, just because in her various names she’s become such a crossword regular. I’ve of course heard of Dahl as a children’s book author but didn’t recognize the book title in the clue. I wondered at first if it was supposed to read RBG (as in notorious) or was a bowdlerization of Big F’in Deal.

    • pannonica says:

      Regarding DFW, I haven’t read any of his novels, but have enjoyed several of his essay collections.

      Occupy Wall Street was rather a big deal.

      I would say that many people know Nonna as a hypocorism for Italian grandmothers, so the masculine counterpart is a short leap from there.

      Nuyorican garners close to a million Google hits, so it isn’t so obscure. There is also the venerable Nuyorican Poets Cafe and there was a well-received all-star record album celebrating the demographic.

      • Mike H says:

        In defense of Mister [Very] Grumpy
        I’ll give DFW a pass – perhaps it should be known.
        OWS was very big, but I can’t imagine people who didn’t already know there was such a place as ZUCCOTTI PARK could possibly come up with it. Really?
        Nonna/Nonno, maybe – but I didn’t know the double N’s. BTW -“Hypocorism” gets a solid 40,200 hits from Google, so you’re clearly in another world than I am.
        Nuyorican doesn’t show up in Google’s Ngram until 1970-ish, and then reaches a whopping 0.0000083262% usage in books and has NEVER appeared in a NYT crossword puzzle. That might lead one to consider it obscure, being a single word.

      • JohnH says:

        Definitely a big deal. I loved Infinite Jest but must not be a fan, as I entered DFW mechanically, as seemed obvious, while never having heard of it.

        I know NONNA now mostly because of the mother from a popular Italian restaurant near me. The pandemic took it down, but now she’s opened a super place with its own extensive menu, as Nonna Dora. I hate to mention it as it’s already crowded. So I guessed NONNO, and it worked.

    • Gary R says:

      My downfall was the NW. I’ve heard of David Foster Wallace, but am not really familiar with his works. Have never heard of WINNICOTT. I put in DAHL as a guess, but am not familiar with The BFG (have only read a couple of his books). If I’d spent the time, I probably could have come up with ARIana Grande – I know some of her work, but not this. I’ve run across NUYORICAN before, but didn’t recall the spelling, so had to rely on crosses.

      Not my favorite New Yorker. Oh, well!

      pannonica – I was one of the ones questioning HYPOS last week. I like INSPO no better. Slightly different experience than yours at 46-A. With the K in place, I went with “dork.” Then when AJAR gave me the J, I went with “jerk.”

      • marciem says:

        I too did everything but Jock for that one. Started with Nerd, when that didn’t work and the k in place, went for geek, then dork, then jerk. Don’t know why jock just didn’t come, it clearly fits the clue.

  9. gyrovague says:

    NYT: Okay, let’s talk about the other unremarked-upon elephant in the room: today’s Sunday school word search game parading as a NYT crossword. Man, what a biblical-scale clunker. This puzzle and other recent inanities from the Times truly have me wondering what’s going on with the Gray Lady.

    • pannonica says:

      I don’t disagree.

    • Long Time Solver says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Although Bruce is a long time constructor, IMO the editors are in general looking at publishing new constructors, collaborations and diversity and not necessarily the quality of the puzzles. That’s just this person’s opinion.

  10. gyrovague says:

    To clarify, by “unremarked-upon” I meant to call attention to the fact that no one had called out the puzzle for its sheer awfulness, despite the 2.2 score from a higher-than-average 60+ star raters. Nothing against the observations of the several commenters who have weighed in so far!

    • Lois says:

      NYT: gyrovague, I wonder why you say no one has called out the puzzle for awfulness. I loved the puzzle. Some hard answers had pretty good crossings, such as TRABERT. You have “called out” what you feel necessary. Amy seems not to have disliked it as much as you did, but she gave it a below average rating. What’s your problem with other people, as long as you can speak up?

  11. Philip says:

    TNY: Even as a non-New Yorker (and non-American) ZUCCOTTI PARK was very familiar. Always fascinated by what people do and don’t know. (Don’t ask me about the Big 10.)

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