Wednesday, October 26, 2022

LAT 3:41 (Gareth) 


The New Yorker tk (Amy) 


NYT 4:49 meander (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today 8:53 (Emily) 


AVCX untimed (Rebecca) 


August Miller’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Career Moves”—Jim P’s review

The letters in JOB are found scrambled in various phrases. The revealer is ODD JOB (44d, [Miscellaneous household task, and what’s found in each set of circles]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Career Moves” · August Miller · Wed., 10.26.22

  • 16a. [Where people mix at parties?] DJ BOOTHS.
  • 24a. [Politician for whom a New York City convention center is named] JACOB JAVITS.
  • 34a. [It traditionally begins “How many…”] LIGHT BULB JOKE.
  • 46a. [It’s named for RFK] DOJ BUILDING.
  • 58a. [Hard-to-miss flier] JUMBO JET.

Granted, trying to find familiar phrases that anagram the letters JOB is never going to be easy, but as a solver, I still wanted the phrases to be more in-the-language than what we got. Only the last feels familiar and natural. The rest seem forced or on the obscure side.

Also, I’m not convinced that “odd” translates into “anagram.” If the revealer was CHANGE JOBS, that would make more sense to me.

Lastly, I’m okay with the revealer’s clue, but it seems odd (haha) in the singular. Don’t people normally talk about odd jobs in the plural? I’d have been perfectly content with a clue referring to the iconic Bond villain.

SPECIAL K, OREO CONE, and IN A JIFFY top the fill, along with LIBIDO and YAHTZEE. I did get a sense that there was a higher than average amount of crosswordese: AZO, AAS, ADVS, DOAETS. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the result of the constraints of the theme.

Clues of note:

  • 64a. [You might have a shot at it]. BAR. No question mark? Still, a good clue.
  • 2d. [Words next to “JUST VISITING” on a Monopoly board]. IN JAIL. [Doing time] would have sufficed as a clue, but it wouldn’t have been as fun.
  • 36d. [Leaves when things get difficult]. BAILS. Whenever I see “leaves” at the start of a clue, I think the answer might be SALAD. But that doesn’t work here unless you consider a SALAD to be comfort food.

I recognize this was a tough theme to build from a constructor’s standpoint. In this case, that resulted in a less enjoyable solve. Three stars.

Simeon Seigel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

Side note: I’ve been doing shorter write-ups for over a month because sciatica mostly kept me from an easier solving/blogging setup at my desk, but I am hopeful that I’ll be back at my desk for a good, long while now (thank you to skilled doctors at a major hospital close to home, and the insurance to access them). Headachy all day, though, so a quicker recap tonight.

NY Times crossword solution, 10 26 22, no. 1026

Theme revealer in this 16×15 puzzle: 38a. [What you’re on when you’re crawling … or a hint to parsing 18-, 27-, 46- and 61-Across], ALL FOURS. Each of those thematic 16s is cobbled together as a series of four 4s:

  • 18a. Patsy + French “to be” + Singe + Pop queen = Sales wonk], MARK ETRE SEAR CHER = MARKET RESEARCHER.
  • 27a. [Boat pole + Old “once” + Pace + Essence = Chief planner], MASTER STRATEGIST. Crosswordese ERST is given a higher purpose than “glue for a grid” for a change.
  • 46a. [Fiber source + Auto make + Red planet + Boxing family = Noted jazz saxophonist], BRANFORD MARSALIS.
  • 61a. [Interpret + Hockey’s Kovalchuk + Colorado ski town + Fit = On hand], READILY AVAILABLE.

Fun quasi-rebus theme, with the original meaning of rebus rather than the “multiple letters in a crossword square” sense.

Fave fill: “THAT SUCKS,” Star Wars MOS EISLEY (when a pop culture reference is 45 years old, it would seem churlish to complain about it … though when I was doing crosswords as a teen in the 1980s, certainly 1940s pop culture references seemed hardly fair play for anyone but a much older solver!).

Please use 16a AMPLER in a natural-sounding sentence.

Fun clue: 9d. [Quaff of gruit and wort, in days of yore], ALE.

3.75 stars from me.

Greg Snitkin’s Universal crossword, “Junk Food” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 10/26/22 • Wed • Snitkin • “Junk Food” • solution • 20221026

This is a very tidy little theme. Menu items that can all be reparsed as being somehow removed, by virtue of their adjectives being synonyms for ‘junked’ or eliminated.

  • 16a. [BBQ meat taken off the menu?] PULLED PORK.
  • 26a. [Leafy starters taken off the menu?] TOSSED SALADS. Pluralized to achieve the proper entry length.
  • 43a. [Oniony meat dish taken off the menu?] CHOPPED LIVER.
  • 58a. [Kernel-covered side taken off the menu?] CANNED CORN. Not convinced that a restaurant would be advertising that their corn comes from a can, but there it is.

I liked it.

Not part of the theme and not what I sometimes call theme-adjacent: 47a [Baby back __] RIBS, which I found to be a minor infringement.

  • 2d [Place with bowling balls] ALLEY. 45d [Word after “bobby” or “bowling”] PIN.
  • 8d [1-Down and a half] YUKFEST. Can’t recall encountering this in a crossword before. 1-down is LAUGH.
  • 22d [Marilyn Monroe portrayer de Armas] ANA. I believe the recent film was roundly panned.
  • 37d [Spots to retire?] BEDS. In a more difficult puzzle the question mark would be dispensed with.
  • 39d [Fancy twist in a signature] CURLICUE. Fun word, and one that isn’t common in crosswords.
  • 42d [They put pilots on air] TV EXECS. Inattentive reading might have led a solver to see that as ‘pilots in the air’ but I was not fooled, fortunately.
  • 51d [Cargo measures] TONS. 37a [Cargo ship feature, or a body of water] BAY.
  • 42a [Estate lawyers’ documents] TRUSTS. Hadn’t realized that the word could be used for the document as well as the entity.
  • 52a [Shot made while being fouled, in NBA lingo] AND ONE. Did not know this, but it was gettable.
  • 61a [Where to order a sub] DELI. This feels sufficiently removed to avoid being theme-adjacent.

Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 10/26/22 – Berry

Was FaceTiming with my husband while solving, so it might actually be a good bit easier than the standard Fri NYT.

Fave fill (so much of it!): SCRATCH OUT, I’M AFRAID SO, TOP TEN LIST, INFO DUMPS, OMEGA MALE (alphas are boring, let’s face it), AUSSIE OPEN (though I’m not sure I’ve really heard it shortened thus–not a tennis obsessive), TAKE A PENNY, MESA VERDE (mainly because of Better Call Saul), HAULED OFF, WARMED OVER.

Didn’t know/recall: 35d. [The pauper in Mark Twain’s “The Prince and the Pauper”], TOM CANTY.

Least favorite fill: the gendered term IDEA MAN. Tell me when you’ve ever heard idea woman or idea person. Also never keen on ADMAN, and innately misogynist words like HAG and CRONE.

Four stars from me.

Baylee Devereaux’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Baylee Devereaux’s puzzle theme could be considered “job retraining”, with five two part jobs having their first part re-imagined to create a new, unrelated, meanings.


  • A [Receptionist at a high-rise hotel, one might say] is a STORYTELLER provided you misspell STOREY.
  • [Instagram influencer, one might say], SOCIALWORKER
  • [Bartender pouring a selection of craft beers for tasting, one might say], FLIGHTATTENDANT, with a niche, if trendy, meaning of flight.
  • [Pathological liar, one might say], MAKEUPARTIST
    [Audiophile with an extensive collection of club mixes, one might say], HOUSEKEEPER

It’s unusual to have wacky theme answers on a Wednesday, so that is perhaps why most of the other clues and answers were pretty straightforward. Maybe you haven’t encountered [Japanese cattle breed used for Kobe beef], WAGYU, which is ridiculously overpriced meat.


Quiara Vasquez’s AVCX, “Monster Mash” — Rebecca’s Review

AVCX 10/26 – “Monster Mash”

This week’s Halloween appropriate and well-titled AVCX Classic was a 3/5 difficulty from Quiara Vasquez.

Such a fun theme for Halloween, with monsters ‘mashed’ to give us entertaining anagrams that could make for some great costume inspirations, if you’re not yet prepared for Monday.

  • 16A: Irish spirit whose shrieking used to be way scarier? BANSHEE HAS BEEN
  • 31A: Mexican spirit who’s had like ten consecutive excellent Halloweens? LLORONA ON A ROLL
  • 42A: One given a taste for blood after a botched salon job? VAMPIRE VIA PERM
  • 59A: Er … let’s call them …devotees of an eldritch god? CTHULHU UHH CULT

The irregular size of the grid gave us the chance for some extra juicy long downs, with I NEED TO PEE, CHEF’S TABLE, OLIVIA MUNN, and ONE MAN SHOW giving a nice framework for the fill fo the puzzle.

And for my fellow millennials, a reminder of just how terrifying “ARE You Afraid of the Dark” was

Ada Nicolle’s USA Today Crossword, “o_o” — Emily’s write-up

Don’t let the title emoticon fool you, this puzzle is not confusing or perplexing.

Completed USA Today crossword for Wednesday October 26, 2022

USA Today, October 26 2022, “o_o” by Ada Nicolle

Theme: each themer ends in the pattern O…O


  • 20a. [“Time is money,” in Spanish], ELTIEMPOESORO
  • 37a. [Type of vegetarian who eats dairy and eggs], LACTOOVO
  • 56a. [Children’s series about a teddy bear going undercover], SPECIALAGENTOSO

Fun cluing for ELTIEMPOESORO, which even though I’d not heard this phrase before in Spanish, it was easy enough to piece together and had fair crossings. I needed a few crossings to fill LACTOOVO, as it’s not one that I hear or use often but I am familiar with it. Once it was started, SPECIALAGENTOSO becomes apparently very quickly and was a Disney show with 60 episodes. Based on today’s title, I wasn’t sure what we were looking for with the themer but after the first one filled in, the “o”s popped and then the ending made sense and it was even more fun to complete the next two, knowing the pattern and given the cluing, it was clear that it’d be at the end. Great theme, set, and title hint! Love that it’s an emoticon too.


Stumpers: LAURALES (new to me so needed crossings), RIOT (cluing was a bit too vague for me), and ASK (cluing was also too vague for me)

Loved the grid design, the various lengths of the themers, and all of the delightful bonus fill!

4.5 stars


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34 Responses to Wednesday, October 26, 2022

  1. Art Shapiro says:

    NYT: The crossing of names 48D and 68A was absolutely unfathomable. Bah!

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      For you, maybe. Not for the uncounted millions (hundreds of millions?) who’ve watched Star Wars and X-Men movies!

      • Ethan says:

        Nah, 68A is ridiculous.

        1) The quote is way over the top.
        2) The Star Wars universe takes place in “a galaxy far, far away” so why does Obi-Wan know about an American R&B group?
        3) None of the Isley Brothers were even named Mose.

      • sanfranman59 says:

        I watched the original Star Wars movies when they first came out 40-45 years ago. In fact, I was somewhat of a Star Wars geek back then. I remember the MOS EISLEY scene very well (it was arguably the most famous scene from that movie), but have no memory whatsoever of that name.

        Just because hundreds of millions of people have seen a movie doesn’t make every piece of trivia from it fair game for a crossword puzzle. In this case, that’s particularly true since none of the letters in that answer can be inferred. When that’s the case, every single letter should be fairly crossed. For me and at least a few other crossword junkies, that wasn’t true here.

        I liked this puzzle, enjoyed solving it and submitted a correct solution, but that clue/answer combo seems nuts in a puzzle published in 2022.

    • janie says:

      knew james MCAVOY b/c i know some of the other film work of james MCAVOY — so i know his name. though i’ve seen several movies in the star wars canon, MOS EISLEY was completely new to me (i parsed him as MOSE ISLEY…). speaking to amy’s point about “fair play,” gonna take my chances and bet that there are some younger solvers who maybe are unfamiliar w/ the bond canon and DR. NO… [sacre blur!! (sic]


      • Eric H says:

        MOS EISLEY is a place, not a person. The cantina scene from the original “Star Wars,” where Luke Skywalker first meets Han Solo, takes place there.

    • Scott says:

      I agree with Art.

    • Gary R says:

      That cross was my last entry in the puzzle. I read X-men comics when I was a kid, but have had no interest in the movies. I saw Star Wars when it first came out, and remember the cantina scene, but MOS EISLEY means nothing to me.

      A “Y” seemed to make the most sense for the actor’s name, but 68-A seemed to be looking for a place, so I went with MOSE ISLEt first. (Shrug)

    • JohnH says:

      It was a DNF for me, too. I don’t know that it’s age. It’s just that there are lots of people who hang on every new episode of the Star Wars franchise and those who tuned it out long ago. (Like Gary, I was also a big Marvel fan when I was 10 and then lost interest.)

    • marciem says:


      I was thoroughly enjoying this puzzle, up in the 5 star zone, until that last SW area and themer with crossing of Star Wars, Marvel and add a Hockey player name in the mix. I did not remember the Eisley person/place/thing, didn’t know Mcavoy, and the only Marvel movie I’ve sat thru in its entirety is Black Panther, and Ilya could have been Igor or Ivan given the last name so I needed all the crossings…

      Fair/inferable crossings please!!

      I did luck out and finish with guesswork but was not as happy as I was after the first three themers.

    • Ed says:

      I’ve seen nastier ones. You get Macavo_ from the crossings so it’s not too hard to fill in that last letter.

      • JohnH says:

        Not so hard? I failed, and seems from the thread like others did, too. Coming down maybe R or T or N or Y. Gave up.

      • sanfranman59 says:

        “It’s not too hard to fill in that last letter”? Really? Sure, it’s easy to put a letter in an empty box in a crossword puzzle grid, but perhaps not as easy as you suggest to put in the correct letter in this case. If you don’t know the actor, MCAVO_ could be lots of things. After all, names often have weird spellings. Like Gary R, I came pretty close to submitting my solution with a T there, thinking that the place Obi-Wan was referring to might be MOSE ISLET. That’s a perfectly reasonable guess if you have no idea at all what the answer is supposed to be. Luckily, I finally got to the end of the alphabet and the name James MCAVOY rang a faint bell. Running the alphabet and (more or less) taking a stab in the dark to fill in one square was a pretty unsatisfying way to end a puzzle that I otherwise enjoyed solving.

  2. janie says:

    hmmm. today’s (well-made) nyt seemed like the first cousin to sunday’s “to be continued,” no? (or maybe “continuing in that vein” was the whole idea…)


  3. huda says:

    NYT: I confidently entered iRobot in lieu of ROOMBA in 1A. And the O worked for OPRY, so I was scratching my head for a while there… I definitely like that top line: ROOMBA THAT SUCKS. We upgraded our Roomba situation early in the pandemic, and I now have a version that mops… it’s like having a weird pet with a touch of OCD. Kinda entertaining.
    Amy, glad you you were able to take care of that sciatica. It sounds like your desk will provide ampler space for your blogging…
    (Does that work? I think I know what you’re getting at with AMPLER, though… “Ample” is already more than enough, so Ampler seems redundant).

  4. Liz says:

    Ok but why was 38D (AMFM) highlighted as part of the clue for the “All Fours” answers?

    • Eric H says:

      It’s a glitch in the app that’s been going on for weeks.

      If you make 38A the active answer, you’ll probably see that 27D is also incorrectly highlighted.

      I sometimes have the problem of answering the wrong clue for the slot I’m typing in. The extra highlighting doesn’t help.

    • Eric H says:

      The latest iPad app (Version 4.39) was just released today, and it fixes that glitch.

  5. gyrovague says:

    NYT: I for one found it to be a fun little romp of a puzzle, about right for a Wednesday, MOS EISLEY notwithstanding. For me though it was tagged, keyed, or chipped, what have you, by that bizarre “Bend it, like Beckham” clue for KNEE at 14-D. Yes, all soccer players have knees, and sometimes they knee one another, but other than that I’m mystified by the connection.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      There was a charming movie, back when Keira Knightley was a new face on the scene, called “Bend It Like Beckham.” She and Parminder Nagra played two British girls on a soccer team, one of whom had parents staunchly opposed to her participating at all. I think the title has to do with kicking a ball in a certain way so that its path bends, a la Beckham?

      • gyrovague says:

        Thanks, Amy. I’m familiar with the movie and agree it’s a charmer. Don’t see how you get KNEE from that clue, though. If anything, it brings to mind taking a knee in protest — not something one associates with David B. Maybe it’s referencing American football player Odell Beckham Jr.?

        • David L says:

          I was puzzled by that clue and I like your suggestion. Making a soccer ball curve has more to do with the way you hit it with your foot than any funny business with the knee.

        • Eric H says:

          I like your theory. But when I looked for a picture of Odell Beckham kneeling in protest, all I found was one in which he lifted his other leg to the side, like a dog urinating.

      • PJ says:

        I must have watched too much GOT. Bending the knee to me is an act of fealty or submission.

        • gyrovague says:

          From Rachel over at Wordplay:

          14D. In the clue “Bend it, like Beckham?” the word “it” is identifying the entry. Something you might bend, if kicking a soccer ball, is a KNEE.

          [Me again] Glad to see it makes sense to someone!

  6. Mr. [Very Very] Grumpy says:

    NYT: Inexcusable cross at the much-discussed Y. Shortz and the constructor should be ashamed of themselves. I gave it a 1 solely because of that — and I’ll stand by my judgment.

  7. marciem says:

    LAT: Late, I know…. but

    can anybody explain how a bartender is somehow a flight attendant, or the audiophile a housekeeper?

    Sorry to say, I wasn’t much amused by the other themers but at least I understood them.

    • pannonica says:

      A sampler of various liquors or beers for comparison is often called a flight. Not sure about audiophile/housekeeper unless it’s a reference to a genre known as house music.

      • marciem says:

        Thanks…. I’d never heard about “flights” relating to alcohol (my thought was maybe ‘getting high’ LOL!). Your explanation of house music sounds reasonable.

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