Wednesday, October 19, 2022

LAT 4:12 (Gareth) 


The New Yorker 3:31 (Amy) 


NYT 4:08 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today 10:36 (Emily) 


AVCX untimed (Rebecca) 


Jill Singer’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Inside Information”—Jim P’s review

Today’s long theme answers consist of words that have a related word hidden within and identified by circles. The clues all feature sets of question marks which should be replaced with the circled words.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Inside Information” · Jill Singer · Wed., 10.19.22

  • 20a. [It might be ????] PRECIPITATION. Rain.
  • 36a. [Get rid of a ???, say] EXTERMINATE. Rat.
  • 42a. [Result of a bad ????] INDIGESTION. Diet.
  • 57a. [Like a ???? scream] BLOOD-CURDLING. Loud.

Pretty nifty theme. I don’t know how one goes about trying to find words that fit this theme, other than poring through lists of potential candidates, so kudos to our constructor for putting together a nice set. I wonder what other entries were left on the cutting room floor. Can you think of other examples?

Nice long fill with Richard the LIONHEART and ENDTABLES topping things. New-to-me are RIMA [Terza ___ (verse form)] and PENTE [Board game akin to go], but the crossings were all fair (assuming the solver knows Marisa TOMEI).

Clues of note:

  • 48a. [Ford and Friedan]. BETTYS. Betty Friedan was a writer whose 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, “is often credited with sparking the second wave of American feminism in the 20th century.” (Wikipedia)
  • 54a. [Gimpel of “God Friended Me”]. ERICA. Never heard of the CBS show which was canceled during the height of the pandemic.

Clever theme, solid fill. 3.5 stars.

Ryan Patrick Smith’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 10 19 22, no. 1019

Cute theme, with Tom Swifties that are all fresh to me:

  • 17A. [“You cooked this? It’s *disgusting*!” said Tom ___] IN VERY POOR TASTE.
  • 26A. [“What do you mean there are no PlayStations left in stock?” asked Tom ___] INCONSOLABLY. As in video game consoles.
  • 48A. [“I’m worried I may have anemia,” said Tom ___] UNIRONICALLY, on account of his low iron levels.
  • 63A. [“You guys are supposed to be ‘Wise Men’ and *these* are the gifts you bring a newborn?!” asked Tom, ___] FRANKLY INCENSED. Frankincense!

Funnier than many prior Tom Swifty themes, if you ask me.

Fave fill: ALANON, CHEW TOY.

Not crazy about the entry, but it makes me nostalgic: 51D. [Visiting the Natl. Museum of African American History and Culture, say], IN D.C.

Please, no, this is terrible: TWO-D. I like to pronounce it twod, rhymes with clod.

3.9 stars from me.

Dan Schwartz and Shannon Rapp’s Universal crossword, “Pizza Making 101” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 10/19/22 • Wed • “Pizza Making 101” • Schwartz, Rapp • solution • 20221019

I solved without referring to the title, so I could see that they all contained foods, but not what they specifically had in common. Sandwich ingredients, perhaps? But the title cleared things up immediately.

  • 17a. [2022 sequel to “Knives Out”] GLASS ONION. Practically up-to-the-moment.
  • 19a. [English contributor to the scientific method] FRANCIS BACON.
  • 39a. [Words that make you smile?] SAY CHEESE.
  • 61a. [“This rocks!”] AWESOME SAUCE.
  • 65a. [High society] UPPER CRUST.

BACON seems less traditional than the other ones, CRUST isn’t a topping but is certainly a main component of pizza. Minor points.

  • 24d [Poet Laureate Limon] ADA. I feel as if I should have known this.
  • 35d [Sunshine Protection Act’s subj.] DST. What a name.
  • 38d [Fur baby, maybe] PET. Not a term I care for.
  • 65d [Colo.’s country] USA. Weird clue, to my mind.

That’s all I’ve got.

Zhouqin Burnikel’s USA Today Crossword, “No-Win Situations” — Emily’s write-up

You literally can’t lose (or technically win) today with this puzzle! We’re just playing to have fun!

Completed USA Today crossword for Wednesday October 19, 2022

USA Today, October 19 2022, “No-Win Situations” by Zhouqin Burnikel

Theme: each themer ends with a synonym for “No-Win” outcomes


  • 17a. [Perk for a driver], FREECARWASH
  • 34a. [Chance-based game with prizes], LUCKYDRAW
  • 64a. [Fashionable piece of neckwear], DESIGNERTIE

FREECARWASH took me a bit of time to complete, as I had the first word right away but kept thinking “rides” or “cab fare” for some reason but from it, we get WASH. I needed all the crossings for LUCKYDRAW which instead of a win I do get a DRAW. For DESIGNERTIE I had the last word of TIE right away but it took a few crossings to fill in the rest. All in all, a fun set with a great title hint.


Stumpers: SLENDER (misread clue as “merger” so needed crossings), REDEEMS (first thought “cashes in”), and HERE (cluing is great but just didn’t click today)

Even though I didn’t get truly stuck anywhere, my time was still a bit higher as I had to pick my way through the grid while making steady progress. Feels very apt for today’s theme!

4.25 stars


Liz Gorski’s New Yorker crossword–Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 10/19/22 – Gorski

Quick ‘n easy, but tomorrow’s will be even easier. I like how the New Yorker does indeed calibrate the easier and easiest themelesses’ clues to the promised difficulty level. I mean, I prefer a tough themeless myself, but themelesses are my fave and I want all solvers to embrace them, even if the Fri/Sat NYT puzzles are too daunting. Wed/Thurs TNY are typically a good bit easier than the Fri NYT!

Jarring to see GUT HEALTH parked at 1a, but honestly, who can complain? GUT HEALTH is a good thing if you’re able to have it.

Fave fill: PROUD MARY, STYROFOAM (don’t bother recycling it, it’s generally trash), ARCHENEMY (who’s your cruciverbal archenemy or nemesis?), YAMMERED, FAMILY NAME.

Never heard of 28d. [Début novel for which Julia Glass won the 2002 National Book Award], THREE JUNES. If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? And isn’t it quaint that the New Yorker insists on that accent in debut?

Blurgh: NET WT. Slightly better than NTWT, but meh.

3.6 stars from me.

Doug Peterson & Christina Iverson’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times 221019

Doug Peterson & Christina Iverson’s give us a list theme of things that “pop-up” with the twist of envisaging them as items in a “pop-up store”. I suppose you can buy CHAMPAGNECORKS sans bottles, and the rest of the set are TOASTERWAFFLES, FOLDINGCAMPERS and JACKINTHEBOXES (jacks-in-the-box?).

Trickier and/or fresher entries:

  • Vocab time: a [Smartphone border] is a BEZEL.
  • A [Sleeping spot for some dogs] is a PETCRATE. For ours it’s bed or nothing…
  • [TD caller] is a NFLREF. A tad strained, but a creatively consonsant heavily answer.
  • A [Projecting window] is an ORIEL, not to be confused with the bird or the angel…
  • [Malicious trackers] online are SPYBOTS.


Karen Lurie’s AVCX, “Totally Down” — Rebecca’s Review

AVCX 10/19 – “Totally Down”

I am LOW KEY OBSESSED with this week’s AVCX Classic 3.5/5 difficulty from Karen Lurie

This is my absolute favorite type of theme. The type where as I’m solving I have no idea what the relationship between the themed answers is, only to find the most perfect revealer at the end of the puzzle.

  • 27A: Sweet, gooey breakfast CINNAMON BUN
  • 48A: 1980s boxing champ immortalized in a Warren Zevon song BOOM BOOM MANCINI
  • 67A: “Train to Busan,” e.g.  ZOMBIE MOVIE
  • 86A: With 87-Across, preoccupied, or what the constructor was when she typed the consonants in 27-Across, 48-Across, and 67-Across LOW KEY OBSESSED

And here’s the Warren Zevon song about BOOM BOOM MANCINI

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21 Responses to Wednesday, October 19, 2022

  1. Eric H says:

    NYT: I found the theme answers mildly amusing. I struggled the most with FRANKLY INCENSED; I knew it was going to be a play on “frankincense” but I expected something a bit more torturous. I did like some of the clues, such as 11D MASON and 13D GLENN.

    I’m curious why AL ANON is fave fill. I know they have helped many people, and I appreciate that it was clued in a straightforward way. But the NYT puzzles, especially those from the 20th century, too often treat substance abuse in an inappropriately joking manner.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      The Hulu series “The Bear” included an Alanon-type org in the storyline, for a character who lost his brother to drug addiction. I’m not generally a fan of 12 Steps programs given that most of them include a theist angle, but they do help people. I do not enjoy fill like SOT, WINO, and TOPE.

      Also liked that MASON clue! I’m descended from generations of bricklayers and my grandpa built the house my mom grew up in and I visited for the first 35+ years of my life.

  2. marciem says:

    LAT: I didn’t look at the title at all, and was positive that the theme was going to be McDonalds or somebody’s bacon cheeseburgers… until it wasn’t. No crusts at MickeyD’s :D . Pizza became obvious except for that bacon??? . There’s no Lady Pepperoni out there to lure us? :D. Even Olive Oyl would have been more pizza-ish….but that was a different puzzle.

    NYT: I love love love Tom Swifties, and these were all fresh and amusing to me. Especially that Frankincense!

  3. PJ says:

    I’m not usually a fan of Swifties but in this case I’ll make an exception. INCONSOLABLY is my favorite.

  4. Eric H says:

    Thanks for the Christine Lavin link, Pannonica! 30 years ago (more or less), I used to hear that song a lot on my NPR station.

  5. David L says:

    Uni: I’m thinking the themers represent the construction of a pizza. ONION on top of BACON on top of CHEESE on top of SAUCE on top of the CRUST.

  6. David Roll says:

    WSJ–The tiniest of nits, but for the 30D clue, shouldn’t the go be Go?

  7. Twangster says:

    Can someone please explain the AVXC theme? What do the theme answers have to do with being low key obsessed?

    • Mr. [Not Always] Grumpy says:

      All the consonants are in the bottom row of a QWERTY keyboard. Why the constructor is obsessed with them I have no idea.

    • Eric H says:

      Any puzzle with Warren Zevon can’t be all bad.

      Just guessing: The constructor came up with the revealer and found theme answers that fit OR she noticed that little oddity about one of the theme answers and then collected some more.

      In any case, it’s got a lot of fresh answers.

  8. scrivener says:

    NYT: INDC crossing TWOD on a Wednesday was cruel. My first Wednesday DNF in ages.

  9. F Grant Whittle says:

    NYT: Strictly 1st Edition D&D guy, but I thought magic was a fairly minor aspect of paladinism.

Comments are closed.