Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Jonesin' 7:06 (Erin) 


LAT tk (Jenni) 


NYT 3:40 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal tk  


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Xword Nation tk (Ade) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Packet and Go” – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 10/18/22

Jonesin’ solution 10/18/22

Hello everyone! This week’s puzzle brings the spice with a Taco Bell sauce packet theme! Each theme entry contains a sauce, in increasing heat level.

  • 19a. [Historic Joan Crawford title role] MILDRED PIERCE, a 1945 film noir. Sauce is MILD.
  • 32a. [Actor’s hard-copy headshot, typically] EIGHT BY TEN PHOTO. HOT sauce this time.
  • 38a. [Risk taker’s worry about a big decision, maybe] WHAT IF I REGRET IT? We’re up to FIRE now.
  • 49a. [They may write independently about the press] MEDIA BLOGGERS. Taco Bell’s hottest sauce is DIABLO.

Other things:

  • 29a. [Gets on one’s hind legs, with “up”] RARES. This puzzle took me longer than usual because I confidently puts in REARS and then couldn’t figure out where I went wrong. From what I’ve read, they mean similar things. I use “rears up” but “raring to go” which have the same origin.
  • 56a. [Everywhere (or what Grover tried to teach by running a lot] NEAR AND FAR. I LOVED this as a kid. Let’s reminisce a bit, shall we?
  • 54d. [Bacteriologist Jonas] SALK.  He was a professor of bacteriology at the University of Pittsburgh, but the vast majority of his work involved viruses such as influenza, HIV, and most famously polio.
  • 40d. [___ Raymi (Inca-inspired festival in South America] INTI. The festival celebrates the Incan sun god Inti at the Winter Solstice annually.

Until next week!

Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Turning the Tables”—Jim P’s review

Common utensils are found backwards within familiar(ish) phrases. The revealer is SETTING BACK (62a, [Delaying, and a hint to the circled letters]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Turning the Tables” · Mike Shenk · Tue., 10.18.22

  • 17a. [Frontman of English folk-rock band Noah and the Whale] CHARLIE FINK. Knife. Didn’t know the band nor the frontman. But they did achieve some success, even in the U.S. so I’d say the name is crossword-worthy, though maybe more appropriate for later in the week.
  • 30a. [Brazenly investigates] SNOOPS INTO. Spoon. Meh. “Snoops” works just as well to satisfy the clue. And I’ve heard “snoops around” far more than SNOOPS INTO.
  • 47a. [Longtime “60 Minutes” correspondent] STEVE KROFT. Fork.

I like the title here. Presumably, if you’re turning the tables, you’re turning the table settings as well. But SETTING BACK makes for a rather bland revealer, and I wasn’t so keen on those first two entries.


Clues of note:

  • 1a. [Drug cooked up in a lab]. METH. I started taking METH last Friday (methocarbamol—for lower back pain), but it didn’t do me any good, so I stopped.
  • 4d. [Toast start]. HERE’S TO. Couldn’t fill in this entry without earworming the song by The Call (see below).
  • 10d. [Bill Clinton and Billy Bob Thornton, for two]. ARKANSANS. Here’s to my wife, also an Arkansan.

The theme didn’t do much for me, but I enjoyed the fill. 3.25 stars.

Dan Schoenholz’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

Four-letter abbreviations are sort of illustrated by 15-letter phrases that contain those four letters in order (circled/shaded):

  • 17a. [“Truthfully …”], “IF I’M BEING HONEST,” or IMHO (in my humble opinion).
  • 36a. [Secure a seat at the table, say], RESERVE ONE’S SPOT, or RSVP.
  • 54a. [“Hurry up!”], “AND MAKE IT SNAPPY!”, or ASAP.

Would’ve been cooler if all three were spoken phrases—a “ONE’S” phrase is markedly less zippy than the other two themers.

Goofy clue I liked: 1d. [Item on a bucket list?], PAIL.

Fave fill: GINGKO, BEAVIS (if you’re a Beavis and Butt-Head fan, you know there’s a revival series on Paramount+), LAID EYES ON, CONGRATS, HIPPY-DIPPY.

Are HOVERBIKES really [Futuristic modes of transport] that people think of? The BIKES portion made me work for it.

Not so Tuesday-friendly: OLEO, ELS, HONDO, MORT, TERP, ALEK.

3.3 stars from me.

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

New Yorker • 10/18/22 • Shechtman • Tue • solution • 20221018

This was noticeably tougher for me than recent Tuesday New Yorker offerings, but in truth I was never stymied for long. So let’s call it moderate pushback, but … 17a [Succumb to pressure] CRACK.

The grid is unusual that it has two 14-letter entries framing the center, and the central across entry is a small three-letter entry is flanked by black blocks of equal size. Anchoring the corners are triple nine-stacks and five-by-five squares.

  • 18a [Alternative to Wite-Out] INK ERASER. LIQUID PAPER wasn’t close to fitting.
  • 58d [Initials of the author of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock“] TSE; 21a [“Let ___ then, you and I,/When the evening is spread out against the sky”: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”] US GO. It continues, famously: “Like a patient etherized upon a table”
  • 30a [Unnatural color?] FAKE TAN. Was held up here because I carelessly filled in 28d [Lead-in to scope or plasm] as ECTO- rather than ENDO-.
  • 31a [Conversational double-down] I SAID WHAT I SAID.
  • 37a [They need be neither authentic nor married, paradoxically] REAL HOUSEWIVES. Good observation.
  • 45a [Affluent, in Acapulco] RICA. Again, I threw caution to the wind and filled in RICO here. This led to my thinking that 43d [Jab intended to elicit a response] VACCINE began with VOC- and that it was something to do with vocal. Great clue, by the way.
  • 51a [Legendary Chinese dynasty] HSIA. Needed all the crossings here.
  • 9d [Title for Simone Biles or Serena Williams] THE GOAT. I feel this needs a qualifier such as ‘unofficial’.
  • 10d [Experimental filmmaker Harun whose work was deemed “almost too interesting to be art,” in a Times review] FAROCKI. That’s quite the provocative statement.
  • 39d [It may be revealed during the national anthem] HAT HAIR. I waited to see if this was HAT HEAD.
  • 41d [Transition used in many Kurosawa films] WIPE. I was grateful for this personal gimme.
  • 52d [“There ___ Frigate like a Book” (Dickinson verse)] IS NO.
  • 56d [Online abbreviation to introduce a relatable experience] TFW, “that feeling when”.
  • 57d [Political entity dissolved in 1806: Abbr.] HRE. Had not realized it lasted until quite so recently.

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13 Responses to Tuesday, October 18, 2022

  1. Laura E-D says:

    Dupe in the NYT, 56-Down and 4-across! Surprising slip.

  2. pannonica says:

    NYT: 19d [1] ONE.


  3. David L says:

    I put in GINKGO at first, then changed to GINGKO when the crosses didn’t work.

    But I was right the first time. GINKGO is the correct spelling. GINGKO is wrong.

    (I suppose it’s possible that GINGKO is a mistake that’s gained some currency, but I don’t care about that.)

    • sanfranman59 says:

      I can’t believe that GINGKO made it into an NYT puzzle without at least a variant spelling indicator in the clue. That seems like an editor’s error to me.

        • sanfranman59 says:

          If you’re happy with it, that’s perfectly fine with me. And I’ll give the constructor and editorial staff the benefit of the doubt that they actually realized they were using a variant spelling of this word. But in my opinion, two previous appearances with this spelling in 80 years of puzzles doesn’t make it an acceptable answer. I might have given it a pass if they’d indicated the variant spelling in the clue (as was the case with this answer’s first appearance 55 years ago). As it is, we have an unclued variant spelling of a relatively uncommon word crossing the uncommon GIGGED, an uncommon taxonomic term, a crosswordese super model’s name and a foreign currency in a Tuesday puzzle. To me, that’s just bad puzzle-making.

          By the way, my comments aren’t just sour grapes. I had very little trouble with this puzzle, including that section of the grid. But I’ve come to expect better from the NYT puzzle.

          • David L says:

            I agree with you on all counts.

            (Spelling Bee does not allow GIGGED, if I remember correctly :))

          • Eric H says:

            My dictionary says the GINGKO spelling is as acceptable as “ginkgo.” I’d never seen the -GK spelling before, but maybe it didn’t bother me because I not only remembered Ms. Wek’s first name, I remembered that it doesn’t end in X. Maybe, especially for a Tuesday, the clue should have indicated that the answer is a variant.

            But as foreign currencies go, PESO is as basic as they come.

      • Linda W says:

        WSJ: 63Down. Pull gent!y = tug???

  4. Ethan says:

    NYT: I’ve been a passionate defender of ONES phrases before, but in this case I would agree RESERVE YOUR SPOT, clued as “event organizer’s come-on” or some such thing would have been zippier.

  5. R says:

    NYT: Crossing HONDO with ECHINODERM doesn’t feel particularly Tuesday appropriate.

Comments are closed.