Friday, September 30, 2022

LAT untimed (pannonica) 


The New Yorker 2:53 (Matt) 


NYT 5:19 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim P) 


USA Today untimed (Darby) 


David Karp’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 9 30 22, no. 0930

Last day of September! Wasn’t it just 2021 a couple days ago?

Fave fill: SEXIEST MAN ALIVE (do you agree that it’s an “honor” that’s negotiated with a star’s publicist and possibly is bestowed on the guy who promises to give the most media time to it?), SCOFF, HIGH-STAKES POKER, NO BARS, NAPTIMES (I wish I could take naps!), MORAL OF THE STORY, SLAM DUNK CONTEST, BAHA’IS, COLLECTORS’ ITEMS. Kinda fun to see AVS, knickname of the Colorado Avalanche hockey team; that’s legit.

Quibble: 30d. [Hold the ___], FORT. Isn’t the phrase “hold down the fort”?

3.9 stars from me with a slight ding for the not-in-the-language-for-me ACE TEN.

Jeffrey Wechsler’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 9/30/22 • Fri • Wechsler • solution • 20220930

Inserting some letters today.

  • 65aR [Extra, and a two-word hint to the answers in the starred clues] ADDED, or add ed.
  • 17a. [*Teachers who demand perfect asanas?] YOGA PEDANTS (yoga pants).
  • 24a. [*Blogs and newsletters about raising a family?] MAMMA MEDIA (mamma mia).
  • 49a. [*Lion or tiger in the National Zoo?] FEDERAL CATS (feral cats).
  • 58a. [*Ocean predator taking whatever comes its way?] MAKE-DO SHARK (mako shark).

Those are fun.

  • 1d [Young chickens] FRYERS. Depressing.
  • 4d [Many a “We’ve suspended your account” text] SCAM. 45a [Inbox clogger] SPAM.
  • 7d [Oppressive atmospheres] MIASMAS. Literally, ‘bad air’.
  • 13d [Treatments that many are prone to enjoy?] MASSAGES. Clever and cute.
  • 26d [Shot not allowed in some pool halls] MASSÉ. Because inexperienced players might rip the felt surface of the table.
  • 35d [Entrance] APPEAL TO. Homonyms are a staple of crossword cluing.
  • 39d [23andMe’s stock in trade] DNA DATA. Seems a sort of arbitrary phrase, though I expect it googles/ngrams well.
  • 1a [Blood relative?] FLESH. As in the phrase ‘flesh and blood’.
  • 6a [Like a WiFi-enabled toaster] SMART. “Smart”. I have no desire to welcome spying electronic devices into my home.
  • 16a [AQI monitor] EPA. That’s the Air Quality Index.
  • 31a [Fancy-free adventures] LARKS. For intangible reasons this is my favorite clue/answer combo.
  • 53a [Hägar creator Browne] DIK. I briefly conflated him with old Hollywood director Tod Browning.
  • 54a [Area that’s far from the strike zone] GUTTER. Bowling, not baseball.
  • 62a [Nightingale, notably] NURSE. Seeing it under SHARK triggered some neurons. “The nurse shark genus Ginglymostoma is derived from Greek language meaning hinged mouth, whereas the species cirratum is derived from Latin meaning having curled ringlets.” (Wikipedia)

An engaging and entertaining offering.

“Arpeggiata Addio” (Giovanni Kapsberger, performed by Rolf Lislevand, Arianna Savall, et al.)

Jared Goudsmit’s Universal crossword, “Don’t Start With Me!”—Jim P’s review

The title is actually an instruction. Each theme answer’s clue starts with the letters “ME.” Remove those letters and read the clue again to get the actual clue for the entry.

Universal crossword solution · “Don’t Start With Me!” · Jared Goudsmit · Fri., 9.30.22

  • 17a. [Merest?] TAKE A BREAK. Rest.
  • 31a. [Meshed?] STORAGE UNIT. Shed.
  • 40a. [Meowed?] WAS IN THE RED. Owed.
  • 60a. [Mead?] COMMERCIAL. Ad.

Effective theme. It had me guessing for about half the solve then the penny just dropped and I could proceed apace. Not so keen on the ungainly phrase WAS IN THE RED as a theme answer, but I had grokked the theme by then, and with a few crossings, it fell quickly.

I love the long fill today with MAKE WAVES, GROUP HUG, NINTENDO, and “NO WORRIES.” Having only four theme answers allows the grid to breathe and thus we get lovely stuff like this.

Clue of note: 54a. [“That’s so relatable,” informally]. MOOD. New to this Gen-Xer, and I needed all the crossings. It’s often used as a caption to an image depicting the sender’s current feelings.

Nice puzzle. 3.75 stars.

Leslie Young’s New Yorker crossword–Matthew’s recap

Leslie Young’s New Yorker crossword solution, 9/30/2022

I’m not someone who seeks out the revealer in puzzles, but it would have helped me today with a tricky puzzle. Let’s get into it:

  • 17a [Exhaust fans] AFICIONADOS
  • 27a [Smoke screen] COMPUTER MONITOR
  • 44a [Gas tanks] CRASHES AND BURNS
  • 60a [Talk things out … or what to do to make sense of the clues for 17-, 27-, and 44-Across] CLEAR THE AIR

The revealer is key here. Removing “exhaust,” “smoke,” and “gas,” the clues and answers make sense. And of course the grid entries are common phrases, so that’s a plus. Relatively segmented grid, to account for 15s in rows 6 and 9, so let’s get to notes:

  • 6a [Like the taste of cilantro, to some] SOAPY. I am not in this group, and I’m glad for it.
  • 22a [Alternative to dragon fruit, in a smoothie bowl] ACAI. I have never seen dragonfruit as an option, only ACAI or pitaya
  • 12d [Alternative to Grana Padano] ASIAGO. Of the two, I prefer Grana Padano, which is a bit nuttier and less salty to my palate.
  • 30d [U.F.C. champion Rousey] RONDA. I recognize that Ronda Rousey is perhaps the biggest name from women’s MMA, but she hasn’t competed in the U.F.C. since 2016.

Neville Fogarty & Erik Agard’s USA Today Crossword, “Weather…or Not”—Darby’s Review

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme: Each theme answer includes RAIN—or a homophone for it, making each one “weather…or not.”

Theme Answers

Neville Fogarty & Erik Agard’s USA Today Crossword, “Weather…or Not” solution for 9/29/2022

Neville Fogarty & Erik Agard’s USA Today Crossword, “Weather…or Not” solution for 9/29/2022

  • 18a [“Carte blanche”] FREE REIN
  • 38a [“In good order”] RIGHT AS RAIN
  • 59a [“Actress in the 2022 rom-com ‘Anything’s Possible’”] EVA REIGN

The play on “whether or not” here is really fun. I didn’t expect to see RIGHT AS RAIN, but I suppose that’s the “weather” portion of the puzzle’s title. EVA REIGN is a fun name, and a good way to use REIGN. Together, with the other two answers, I think that these themes work really well.

This grid is asymmetric, and it all flowed together really well. I enjoyed the double 28a and 37a [“Rower’s need”] for BOAT and OAR. It was interesting that the latter of these was right under 34a [“Not a want but a___”] NEED (which, side note: always makes me think of High School Musical. I also really loved the inclusion of 58a [“TCUs: ___ colleges and universities”] TRIBAL. There are 37 TCUs in the United States. 10d [“Reality show won by Maryanne Oketch in 2022”] SURVIVOR and 38d [“Worth mentioning”] RELEVANT were great as well.

Short one from me today, but I thought this was a great Friday ACTIVITY!

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26 Responses to Friday, September 30, 2022

  1. NGram says:

    Isn’t the phrase hold down the fort?

    Let’s see.

    • Evad says:

      I’m in the majority on this one, “Hold the fort!” sounds very normal to my ear akin to “Stop the presses!”

      6:47 for me, not sure I’ve ever solved a Friday under 7 before.

      • Jim Peredo says:

        I think you might be thinking of “Hold the phone!” which essentially means “Stop the presses!”

        I’m in the “Hold down the fort” group, but Google’s ngram viewer says “Hold the fort” is more popular.

    • Margaret says:

      David Mitchell (comedian of Peep Show and That Mitchell and Web Look among other things) had a funny video on language including “hold the fort/hold down the fort” Disclaimer: includes some NSFW language!

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        Aha! So “hold the fort” is British and the Americanism is “hold down the fort.” Didn’t we have a revolution in 1776+ so that they would not be the boss of us anymore?

    • Gary R says:

      “Hold down the fort” is what I would typically say, though I know I’ve heard “hold the fort” before, and it didn’t seem odd. After thinking about it, and assuming the origin is military, I don’t really know why the “down” would be in there.

  2. Jose Madre says:

    People pickx thw Sexiest Man Alive based on one criteria… what will sell the most magazines (or nowadays generate the most web traffic).

    What’s the answer to every question?

  3. Mutman says:

    Nate: Well done on Wheel of Fortune last night! Way to represent!

    It also helps when the ‘loud woman’ next to you guesses ‘Y’ when the only letter left was to fill in the PA_E word in the “Home ____” category.

    • marciem says:

      LOL, yes that was a help :D … home PAYE? ok…

      Great job Nate!!! … even with that dastardly Bankrupt, you came out terrific!!

      I haven’t watch Wheel for a while… does the winner come back? :)

      • marciem says:

        and really no disrespect to that contestant, she was obviously so nervous from the get-go, even in her interview etc. I’d be completely tongue-tied myself in that situation :) .

        Nate, you carried yourself soooo well!!

  4. gyrovague says:

    NYT: It can’t be just me. I mean, this was bizarrely easy, right? As in no resistance whatsoever, anywhere in the grid. In the parlance of the GBBO — Bread Week! — I felt like Paul Hollywood encountering a rather undistinguished show stopper. “Hmm … it’s a bit simplistic, isn’t it?”

  5. Jim says:

    NYT: 38D-AON — Sixty years in Chicago gave me this one, but I dare say it’s obscure (at best) to most of the city’s residents and completely unfamiliar outside the region. Even the crosses don’t help much since the building’s namesake insurance company isn’t exactly a household name. Fill-in-the-crosses-and-hope-for-the-best for most, I think.

    (I suspect most Chicagoans — at least, long-timers — still refer to it as the “Amoco Building”, just as Willis Tower will never really be anything other than Sears Tower.)

    • marciem says:

      AON was the only slow-down/stopper for me in this pretty smooth and easy puzzle. With the AO in place, I of course went with AOL since that seemed logical. When that was wrong, it was ‘run the alphabet’ time.

    • JohnH says:

      That was obscure to me too I entered AOL as awfully plausible. And then it crosses NO BAR. Could someone explain that for me? Thanks.

      Oh I’ve always heard jus HOLD THE FORT. Maybe there’s a regional shift.

      • Jim says:

        When you are in an area of poor or no cellular coverage, you have NO BARs on your phone.

        • JohnH says:

          Ah that’s what they’re called. Thanks. I’m way used to waiting too long for the subway to pull into a station and those to darken

          • JohnH says:

            Of course, all that said, you can still see why AOL seemed plausible, not only in its own regard, but also in that LO for LOW is not uncommon, as in LO RES.

    • PJ says:

      (I suspect most Chicagoans — at least, long-timers — still refer to it as the “Amoco Building”, just as Willis Tower will never really be anything other than Sears Tower.)

      And the Signature Lounge is on the 96th floor of the Hancock Building, not 875 North Michigan Avenue. And yes, the view of the city from the women’s restroom is that good.

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        PJ, you mean the Standard Oil Building, of course. :-)

        The Sox still play in Comiskey Park, too.

        • Jim says:

          Yes, the Standard Oil Building, although Amoco Building did gain some decent traction in that Amoco was for the most part a rebranding of Standard Oil.

        • PJ says:

          The parenthetical remark came from Jim’s comment. My contribution was the Top of the Cock.

  6. gyrovague says:

    TNY: A pleasant, and yes, airy, segue from what’s been a sultry September to the (hopefully) cool, clear skies of October. Highlights for me were the cilantro clue — you SOAPY folks are just WEIRD! — and the shout-out for PIXAR shorts. (Check out Kitbull, Burrow and others from the recent SparkShorts series on Disney+ if you’re up for some whimsical escapism).

    Thanks Leslie, hope to see more from you soon.

  7. Jenni says:

    Amy, ACE TEN is in the language for me as a casual blackjack player. I thought it was fine.

  8. Seth says:

    Can we please as a crossword society stop cluing ESC or ESCAPE KEY as a key that closes a computer window, or like a panic exit button or something? Pressing the escape key never closes the window that you have open. It might change a window from full screen to not full screen, but the window doesn’t close. Go ahead, try it right now. Pressing escape doesn’t close the window you have open right now. Maybe it did that decades ago when computers were first becoming a thing, but come on.

    • Martin says:

      Lots of windows will close with ESC. If you use gmail, click Compose, then ESC. Font windows often close with ESC. Of course it’s context-dependent and the key doesn’t close ALL windows, but if the clue doesn’t imply that it does, I’m fine with it.

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