Wednesday, August 17, 2022

LAT 3:51 (Gareth) 


The New Yorker 4:28 (Amy) 


NYT 3:33 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today 4:16 (Sophia) 


AVCX 9:22 (Ben) 


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

Theme: Familiar phrases are given an added UP at the beginning. The second words also change meaning to wacky effect.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Upstarts” · Mike Shenk · Wed., 8.17.22

  • 17a. [Farm worker who’s strictly honorable?] UPRIGHT HAND.
  • 26a. [Fighters who are cheerfully confident?] UPBEAT BOXERS.
  • 42a. [Fashion worker who wears only the poshest outfits?] UPSCALE MODEL.
  • 56a. [Camera crew member who’s a bit too high-strung?] UPTIGHT GRIP.

Pretty straightforward, especially given the title. But it works consistently and smoothly. No complaints here.

My solve started off slowly. It felt like there was a big leap up in clue difficulty from yesterday to today. At least at the start. I had to almost completely skip the NW section and return to finish it off at the end. Thankfully, once I got into the groove, things proceeded more efficiently. Having a repetitive theme definitely sped things up.

Top fill: BROKE EVEN, DROP SHOTS, SALINGER, ONE-SEATER. I can never remember ARNE [“Rule, Britannia” composer]; maybe he doesn’t show up in crosswords as much lately? Interestingly, ARNE has only 287 appearances in the Cruciverb database (going back to 1993), while ARNO has 444 despite having an O where the E was.

Ghostly Mt. SHASTA from two weeks ago

Clues of note:

  • 1a. [Kensington Gardens conveyance]. PRAM. Anyone else start off with TUBE here? Of course, PRAM works, especially for those going to/from the Diana Memorial Playground.
  • 5a. [Mount of northern California]. SHASTA. I pass Mt. SHASTA when I road-trip down to the Bay Area to visit my parents. A couple weeks ago, the mountain was barely visible due to area fires.
  • 2d. [Ring borders]. ROPES. Took me a long time to think boxing.
  • 24d. [Crash investigator]. TECHIE. Computer crash, not a vehicular crash.

3.75 stars.

In an effort to cement ARNE in my brain, let’s go out with a little “Rule Britannia.”

Michael Paleos’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 8 17 22, no. 0817

A fun theme, featuring quirky spellings in various names:

  • 17a. {Breakfast cereal with a toucan mascot [69-Across!]}, FROOT LOOPS. Not fruit.
  • 23a. {Team that broke the “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004 [69-Across!]}, BOSTON RED SOX. Not socks.
  • 39a. {Triple Crown winner of 2015 [69-Across!]}, AMERICAN PHAROAH. Not pharaoh.
  • 48a. {Video game franchise featuring Sub-Zero and Sonya Blade [69-Across!]}, MORTAL KOMBAT. Not combat.
  • 61a. {“Pour Some Sugar on Me” rockers [69-Across!]}, DEF LEPPARD. Not deaf, not leopard.

The revealer is 69a. {[not my typo]}, SIC. Not really necessary for grasping the theme, but a cute addition.

24d. [A sight for sore eyes?] feels a hair off-base for OPTICIAN, since you might have a little eyestrain with an outdated glasses prescription, but “sore eyes” are a different thing, if you ask me.

3.75 stars from me. Bits like ODIC and ALDO aren’t so welcome, but overall a solid Wednesday offering.

Adrian Johnson’s AVCX, “Eyes on the Prize” — Ben’s Review

AVCX 8/17 – “Eyes on the Prize”

Today’s grid from Adrian Johnson had some circled squares that didn’t show up in my .PUZ file, but which make so much sense in light of the theme.  This is one of those cases where the across and down are expecting different letters out of the same squares:

  • 19A: 1991 John Singleton coming-of-age drama — BOYZ N THE HOOD
  • 9D: Names, as a suspect in Clue — ACCUSES
  • 21A: Engineering partner of Jobs and Wayne — WOZNIAK
  • 3D: Freeze frames? — ICE CUBE TRAYS
  • 77D: Sandwich chain with an old series of “spongmonkey” commercials — QUIZNOS
  • 39D: It’s measured using a Snellen chart — VISUAL ACUITY
  • 80A: Seasonal holiday greeting — FELIZ NAVIDAD
  • 59D: Father of Scout and Jem Finch — ATTICUS

If you’re a chemistry-minded person, you know that Zn is zinc, Cu is copper, and together they can make BRASS, so each of the spots where these entries meet in a circled square is a BRASS RING (48A, “Metaphorical prize found literally in this puzzle’s special squares”)

The spongmonkeys, which were an early flash animation success, internet-wise, before we really even had Youtube, becoming a Quizno’s ad/spokesperson, was a truly wild moment of watching something I knew from the internet become part of actual culture.

Happy Wednesday!

Susan Gelfand’s Universal crossword, “Business Expenses” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 8/17/22 • Wed • Gelfand • “Business Expenses” • solution • 20220817

I can’t do better in describing the theme than simply citing the title. See above.

  • 20a. [Obstetrician’s quote for assisting in childbirth?] DELIVERY COST.
  • 33a. [Orthodontist’s quote for making an appliance?] RETAINER FEE.
  • 41a. [Bookbinder’s quote for attaching the exterior?] COVER CHARGE.
  • 51a. [Electrician’s quote for getting electricity flowing?] CURRENT PRICE.

So that works.

  • 4d [Frame job figure?] OPTICIAN. Kind of steps on the toes of the theme, in my opinion. Curious that it’s also an entry in today’s NYT crossword.
  • 10d [Caribbean country where Vodou is a recognized religion] HAITI.
  • 25d [Gobi or Sahara] DESERT. They also mean desert, in Mongolian and Arabic, respectively. »taps earpiece« I’m being told that Gobi in fact means ‘waterless place’.
  • 26d [Come into sight] EMERGE, 27d [Dropped out of sight, say] DUCKED.
  • I had trouble with these two down clues: 50d [It goes down the drain] SNAKE; 66a [It goes down in winter] SLED.
  • 58d [Lumberjack’s chopper: Var.] AXE. There it is again, must be the Universal.
  • 5a [What comforters cover] BEDS. (41a COVER CHARGE.)
  • 48a [Appetizer whose name is French for “sofa”] CANAPÉ. New INFO (1a) for me.
  • 62a [Lime or rust] OXIDE.

Zhouqin Burnikel’s USA Today Crossword, “Triple OT” — Sophia’s recap

Editor:  Erik Agard
Theme: Each of the vertical theme answers contains the letters OT three times.

USA Today, 08 17 2022, “Triple OT”

  • 17a [Unable to move] – ROOTED TO THE SPOT
  • 40a [Ellipsis] – DOT DOT DOT
  • 61a [Crispy, cylindrical side dish] – SWEET POTATO TOTS

Solid USA Today theme that’s elevated by three high quality theme answers! I love both the grid spanners especially. DOT DOT DOT is good too, but it’s a bit less interesting since the OTs are used in the same way in each word, and I wish the clue had been more fun since it’s a phrase with so much potential.

This puzzle took me a long time to get a foothold on – my first pass through the top half across clues gave me about two answers I was sure of. There were lots of specific clues I didn’t know – [Religious title held by Amy Perlin] for RABBI, [Wild dog in the Dreamtime] for DINGO – and lots of things I just guessed wrong on – “acers” for DELLS, “irk” for NAG. I ended up with a just slightly higher than average time, but this was definitely the trickiest USA Today I’d done in a while. Despite this, I liked the specificity of the clues because it gave the puzzle much more flavor than if the clues had been boring for the sake of being easy.


Favorite clues: 5d [“The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of ___ Self-Love”] for RADICAL, 1d [Kelly who sang in “Sing”] for TORI, and of course [“Sally’s Take on the USA Today Crossword” is one] for BLOG!

Favorite mistake: 43a [Birds that love golf courses]… I really thought this was gonna be a joke about eagles (or birdies, y’know). But no, it was just GEESE.

Paolo Pasco’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s recap

The New Yorker crossword solution, 8/17/22 – Pasco


Faves: ASK A FAVOR, CLEANED HOUSE, ODES clued [Sharon Olds collection with poems dedicated to the hymen and a hip replacement, among other subjects] (I bought that book!), STUDIO GHIBLI, “I’M ALL EARS,” new-to-me THE DONUT KING (Vietnamese donut joints are a West Coast phenomenon, I think), FORSOOTH, SKYBRIDGE.

Not sure I’ve seen [Tongue-in-cheek name for Twitter, from the creature in its icon], BIRD APP, but the BIRD part was a gimme.

Friday NYT difficulty level, maybe a bit harder than I expected for a Wednesday New Yorker. Four stars from me.

Katherine Baicker & Scott Earl’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Katherine Baicker & Scott Earl’s puzzle today is revealed at [Something to chew on], FOODFORTHOUGHT. Each two part answer has a first part that is a past participle associated with food and a second part associated with imparted knowledge. The execution of the revealer is a little vague, but it kind of works? So:

  • [*Rehearsed reply], CANNEDRESPONSE
  • [*Spoke indirectly], MINCEDWORDS
  • [*Knowledge based on empirical evidence], GROUNDTRUTH. I didn’t know that phrase, but the definition is in the clue.

Immediately, I had UB40’s first smash hit going through my head post-solve.

Quite a few interesting longer regular entries today. We get chatty [“Done venting!”], ENDOFRANT, [“Do not push me right now”], IMINNOMOOD and [“Go figure!”], FANCYTHAT. Also [Museum curator’s concern], ARTFORGERY, [Successful sprint to the end zone, briefly], TDRUN and a PSA to [Patronize neighborhood shops, say], BUYLOCAL.


This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Wednesday, August 17, 2022

  1. Eric H says:

    NYT: Amy writes “61a. {“Pour Some Sugar on Me” rockers [69-Across!]}, DEF LEPPARD. Not deaf, not leopard.”

    Not leopards, sure. Not deaf? Who knows? That kind of volume is bad for one’s hearing.

    Fun puzzle.

  2. huda says:

    NYT: Extra point for originality of the theme… Took me a while to catch on, but it was fun when the penny dropped.

  3. m says:

    Great puzzle!!

  4. David L says:

    I wasn’t paying attention to the parenthetical bit after the theme clues but filled them in correctly except for MORTALCOMBAT crossing ALEC Wek, both of which seemed eminently reasonable. But that didn’t give me a correct solution, so I had to look more closely. I have to disagree with Amy’s opinion that SIC was not necessary for grasping the theme — I don’t think I would have figured out the puzzle without it. All the other crossings were fine but ALEK/KOMBAT was not, IMO.

    • Eric H says:

      I don’t think SIC is necessary to grasp the theme, but it does justify mixing the unintentional misspelling (AMERICAN PHAROAH) in with the intentional ones (all the other theme answers).

      • Mr. [Moderately] Grumpy says:

        “sic” was totally inapplicable, since these were not typos. They were intentional misspellings [not sure about the horse] or, in the case of the iconic baseball team, a spelling of long standing that reflects an acceptable, if informal, plural. Loved the puzzle; hated the purported revealer.

        • Eric H says:

          “Sic” can mean that the original quoted material contains an error or that the original uses an unconventional spelling.

          Is the SIC essential? No. Helpful? Maybe. Totally inapplicable? No. Just because no one ever writes “Boston Red Sox [sic]” doesn’t mean it would be incorrect to do so.

        • JohnH says:

          I have to agree with Eric that SIC (or the theme depending on it) is perfectly correct and consistent. Just look at the definition of SIC in MW11C. It says only that it’s an indication that the spelling appears intentionally, not by mistake, to reflect what has appeared in print. The dictionary by no means comments further on how and why the spelling appeared that way in print.

          I found the revealer enormously helpful, especially with the clue for SIC worded as it was. I can’t say whether I would have figured out the theme anyway in time to make the puzzle halfway entertaining. I’d forgotten about the horse and DEF LEPPARD, an active forgetting, but that didn’t detract too much. Nor did my ignorance of the game, about which I could care less. I got the crossing with the model from the theme’s ruling out a K and from ALEX for the model’s leaving a ridiculous name for the game. So what else could it be? Some loss in pleasure thus from the name emphasis in the theme, but it’ll do.

          I do agree that IDLEST wasn’t convincing, but I figured it’s the sort of thing crosswords do.

        • Gary R says:

          Absent the revealer, I would have been utterly lost regarding the theme. SOX and DEF LEPPARD are so familiar, they just didn’t really register as “misspellings.” I always have to look up the correct spelling of “pharaoh,” and I had finished with the error at the KOMBAT/ALEK crossing.

          I guess the theme is kind of clever, but it didn’t do much for me.

    • Ed says:

      I agree about the ALEK/KOMBAT intersection. Not really fair.

  5. gyrovague says:

    NYT: Cute idea, and nicely put together with the exception of the only-seen-in-crosswords IDLEST — too high a price to pay for SILICA and ADIDAS, I’d say. Oh, and non-theme SPANX at 13-Down seemed out of place as it’s a quirkily spelled product name along the same lines as 17- and 48-Across.

    All in all, a fun Wednesday that brought a smile or two. Spank you very much.

Comments are closed.