Wednesday, November 2, 2022

LAT 3:50 (Gareth) 


The New Yorker 3:29 (Amy) 


NYT 5:00 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today 8:57 (Emily) 


AVCX untimed (Rebecca) 


Geoff Brown’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “There’s Nothing Left”—Jim P’s review

Theme: Homophones of “right” replace that word in familiar phrases. The revealer is SOUNDS RIGHT (59a, [“Seems correct,” and a hint to 17-, 27- and 44-Across]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “There’s Nothing Left” · Geoff Brown · Wed., 11.2.22

  • 17a. [Advice to see Fallingwater as part of an architectural tour?] FIT WRIGHT IN.
  • 27a. [Advice from an accountant to a baseball memorabilia collector?] WRITE OFF THE BAT.
  • 44a. [Advice to have a formal church wedding ceremony?] DO THE RITE THING.

Not a bad set. I didn’t know the name Fallingwater, but once I got enough crosses, it all made sense. And looking it up post-solve I recognize the house from having seen photos of it in the past.

My only little nit with the theme is that I hear “Sounds about right” (slangily) or “That sounds right” (more formally) more often than just SOUNDS RIGHT.

Wright’s Fallingwater

The fill on the other hand was less than smooth with crosswordese throughout the grid: RUHR crossing OUTRE, a French ONCLE, IST, partial I THE, URI, ANON, STOA, and ILO. With only four theme entries, I would hope there would be fewer of these sorts of entries.

There are definite highlights, though: RACETRACKS, ON THE BRAIN, HAWAII, MENSCH, SCARAB, and RUB OUT. Those are great, but the shorter, clunkier entries stole their thunder.

Clues OF NOTE:

  • 4d. [State whose flag includes the Union Jack]. HAWAII. The only state flag to include a foreign country’s national flag. Blame those kooky imperialists Captains Vancouver and Cook.
  • 6d. [Marked by speculative investing]. GO-GO. Brand new to me. Apparently the term refers to “a portfolio of high-risk securities that attempts to provide investors with above average returns.”

3.25 stars. A fine theme, but too much distracting clunky fill.

Ethan Zou & Tomas Spiers’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 11 2 22, no. 1102

Hoo boy, I must be rusty on rebus puzzles! Wasn’t expecting a Wednesday puzzle to take almost as long as Kelsey Dixon’s fun puzzle Monday night in the Boswords Fall Themeless League.

The playful rebus revealer is 39a. [One serving punch? … or, parsed differently, a hint to 12 squares in this puzzle], BOXER, or BOX “ER.” Lots of {ER} rebus squares in the mix, with four long themers each having three {ER}s: FERRERO ROCHER hazelnut chocolates crossing IBERIA, AVER, SEER; BORDER TERRIER crossing AMBER, ERMA, ZEROS; ROGER FEDERER crossing BEER ME, FERRY, FIERCE; and “WE’RE OVER HERE” crossing ALERT, AVERSE, FRERE. Fair enough.

I haaaate HEHE ([Giggle]). Find me a reputable dictionary that attests to this as anything other than “people don’t feel like typing 6 letters for HEE HEE or HEH HEH.” Constructors who use wordlists, please consider deleting or severely downgrading this entry!


Two clues I enjoyed:

  • 10d. [Intimate apparel in many lawyer puns], BRIEFS.
  • 43d.[ Parties that become naps when their first letter is changed to an “s”], FIESTAS.

3.75 stars from me. Would’ve been 4, but there’s a HEHE deduction.

Dylan Schiff’s Universal crossword, “Food Bank” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 11/3/22 • Wed • Schiff • “Food Bank” • solution • 20221102

Along with baseballiania, I consider slang terms for money among crosswording’s ur-fill. For this puzzle’s theme, such terms are paired with foodstuffs; the resultant phrases are modified foodstuffs.

  • 18a. [Money spent on a fruit?] BANANA BREAD.
  • 28a. [Money spent on a spread?] BUTTER LETTUCE.
  • 48a. [Money spent on a piece of poultry?] CHICKEN TENDER. Chicken is also a slang term for money.
  • 62a. [Money spent on a dessert?] COOKIE DOUGH.

Seems as if this would have to have been done before, but I can’t recall such a theme. My memory’s not great for that sort of thing, though.

  • Non-theme foodstuffs: 1d [What’s made backward?] EDAM, 9d [Pitmaster’s cooking style] BARBECUE, 27d [Pitmaster’s coating] RUB, 59d [ __ melt] TUNA, 61d [Muesli ingredients] OATS, 4a [Easter __ (hidden feature in a video game] EGG, 17a [Lager alternative] ALE.
  • One step removed: 7d [Matching cups, saucers, pot, etc.] TEA SET, 19d [“Eye of __ and toe of frog” (witches’ ingredients in “Macbeth”] NEWT, 49d [Corny] CHEESY, 14a [Make, like coffee] BREW, 43a [Salty spots on margarita glasses] RIMS.
  • Two steps removed: 11d [It has teeth but doesn’t bite] GEAR, 30d [Eat away at] ERODE.
  • Okay, that’s enough of that nonsense.
  • 42d [Procedure with chest compressions: Abbr.] CPR. 1a [Ambulance pro] EMT.
  • 46d [Linda Rendle, for Clorox] CEO. Why this person? Why this company?
  • 54d [Effect when shouting into a canyon-anyon-anyon] ECHO. Cute clue, even if the literal effect is unnecessary.
  • 26a [“__ all very proud of you”] WE’RE. Shed of any context, this seems condescending, no? Not toward the solver or anything META (20a) like that, just in general.
  • 60a [ __! Cherry-O (board game] HI-HO. Never heard of it, but that isn’t surprising. UH-OH seemed plausible to me.

Solid crossword, very apt title.

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

New Yorker crossword solution, 11/2/22 – Berry

Difficulty level as expected—easy to medium, but not overly quick.

Fave clues:

  • 35a. [Cabinet member?], SPICE. I was perplexed till I had enough crossings.
  • 40a. [Say what you want], ORDER, as at a restaurant.

Fave fill: I DON’T MIND, TREE HUGGER, DRIVE SAFE (who says “drive safely” to someone leaving? I don’t), SHORE LEAVE, SCRUNCHES, KNEE-JERK, ETCH-A-SKETCH (neat trivia clue, [Toy originally named L’Écran Magique (The Magic Screen) by its French inventor]), PINGED, BUDDHIST, LESSON PLANS. Didn’t quite realize about-face was also a verb, so ABOUT-FACED surprised. AGUE and EWER are crosswordese I wasn’t expecting to see.

3.75 stars from me.

C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

It didn’t take too long to see that the circles in C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times puzzle were hiding backwards plays. At this point, given the vertical nature of such circles, I was guessing the revealer was PLAYSUP, but it was SHOWSUP! Close! [Au pair], LIVINNANNY is the cleverest of the entries. We also have [Academy Award category]; BESTACTRESS, [“Great to find that out”], GLADIASKED and crossword cliche [Eclectic online digest], UTNEREADER.

Like many of C.C.’s puzzles we get a few choice longer entries: [“Your work is awesome!”], IMAHUGEFAN; [Gala celebrating the Academy Awards], OSCARPARTY (which sounds like a Bond villain); and [Text from a glum chum], SADFACE for which I had braced myself to expect something more generic like SADNOTE.


Zhouqin Burnikel’s USA Today Crossword, “Rush Ahead” — Emily’s write-up

A fun theme and themer set with some excellent bonus fill!

Completed USA Today crossword for Wednesday November 02, 2022

USA Today, November 02 2022, “Rush Ahead” by Zhouqin Burnikel

Theme: the word “rush” can be added after the first word of each themer to make a common phrase


  • 18a. [Something lawyers have to do to get licensed], PASSTHEBAR
  • 29a. [It has yellow flesh and black seeds], GOLDKIWIFRUIT
  • 64a. [It represents a departed loved one on an ofrenda], SUGARSKULL

PASSTHEBAR is a great opening themer and easy to fill for me based on cluing. However, GOLDKIWIFRUIT took me a while, as I had the first part but I wanted to add “-en” and kept thinking of other fruit that fit the cluing such as “durian” and “jackfruit” though as a few more crossings filled it, it was an easier process of elimination for what fit. SUGARSKULL still took me a few crossings, since it seemed like there were a few possibilities but this is a fantastic themer and a fun wrap up to this set. I’ve not had one but they are sure recognizable and also one form of a “calavera” for Day of the Dead celebration altars. With today’s theme, we get PASS RUSH, GOLD RUSH, and SUGAR RUSH.


Stumpers: SNORT (“grunt” came to mind first), SANKIN (new to me, needed crossings), and LION (also new to me, needed crossings)

This grid had a great flow and awesome lengthy bonus fill that I particularly enjoyed. The middle themer stumped me for a bit since I usually only see green kiwi in the stores. How about all of you?

4.0 stars


Will Eisenberg’s AVCX, “Call the Fire Department” — Rebecca’s Review

AVCX 11/2 – “Call the Fire Department!”

This week’s AVCX Classic was a tricky 3/5 difficulty from Will Eisenberg.

Three entries in the puzzle have the word CAT dropped down into the puzzle. The revealer  makes sense of the entries by explaining why the CATs are dropped. I definitely  needed the revealer in order to really get this puzzle. I basically had the other themed entries only crosses and  didn’t figure them out at all until I  got to the end of the puzzle and had the fun ‘aha’ moment. Such a clever surprise and really original puzzle overall.

  • 17A: “Obviously!” IS THE POPE CATHOLIC
  • 33A: Earth-shatteringly devastating CATACLYSMIC
  • 41A: Apps that aggregate “Ologies” and “Radiolab” episodes PODCATCHERS
  • 58A: Caption on a classic motivational poster depicted three times in this puzzle’s grid HANG IN THERE BABY

And here’s  Rainbow from KACEY Musgraves

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21 Responses to Wednesday, November 2, 2022

  1. Matthew S. says:

    Fwiw, I see people use “hehe” very often! Much more common to me than “heh heh” or “hee hee.”

  2. dh says:

    I sometimes grumble when there are clues from genres I am unfamiliar with – rap and pop culture to name two. Despite the grumbling, I can usually get the answers with the crossings, and begrudgingly admit that I may have learned something in the process.

    However, this disdain becomes more strident when two obscure (for me) clues in those genres cross each other, making the solution impossible. 23A crossing 24D is an example, which might have been a relatively easy guess except for 18D – which was frustrating for me but not for the same reason.

    • JohnH says:

      For me, that’s an important point of principle, and I’m still saddened at being thought so narrow minded when all I want is a fair shot from crossings. Still, it’s not as if I hadn’t heard of ICE T, so it was an easy fill after just a couple of crossings.

      That was, though, a hard area. If you don’t know your poets, it’s easy to be tempted to guess that the Alicia Keyes album might be ASIAN, say. Didn’t help that I’d only a vague recognition of the Italian treat, nothing close to most of its letters. (And yeah, ATOM felt way wrong, but I shrugged it off, figuring that those subatomic particles had to come from somewhere.)

      I needed the spoiler to pin down the theme early on. Starting in the NW, I saw an R between down entries that each needed an ER, so my first guess was that the theme would be one of those with entries turning 90 degrees. Of course, if I’d waited longer, a pattern would have emerged from elsewhere in the puzzle.

  3. David L says:

    NYT: Another inaccurate science clue at 12D. “Subject of study at CERN’s laboratory” — ATOM. No. The LHC (Large Hadron Collider) mainly does proton-proton collisions but also sometimes has heavy ion collisions, typically with lead nuclei, which are lead atoms stripped of all their electrons. And therefore not atoms.

    • Dallas says:

      Agreed. They are, in fact, generally referred to as subatomic particles… So there’s a better way to clue this that still using CERN if they wanted.

    • Martin says:

      It is not inaccurate to say the POINT of these proton-proton collisions is to increase our understanding of the nature of the atom. I would categorize this complaint as missing the forest for the trees.

  4. marciem says:

    NYT: Is the Box in the revealer just the box(es) that are the rebus squares? I was looking for something to represent the Box… i.e. a black square under the ER, which happens sometimes but not always, or some ERs boxing in a black square…

    Am I missing something?

  5. Gary R says:

    NYT: Nothing really wrong with the puzzle – but it just seemed “meh” to me. I recognized it was a rebus fairly early on, and then it became a process of watching out for what turned out to be a dozen somewhat randomly placed ERs throughout the puzzle. The revealer works fine, but didn’t provide much of an “aha!” I guess it was kind of cool that the rebus squares were all in sets of three in the four long themers .

    I thought the fill was solid. I’m not fond of HE-HE, but I’ve never had occasion to write it/type it (I don’t giggle in print), so I’m not sure. “Tee-hee” sounds more like a giggle to me. “Heh-heh” sounds somewhat sinister.

    • gyrovague says:

      What’s up with all the meh reactions? This is a terrific gateway rebus puzzle for anyone who might typically struggle with a Thursday. For the rest of us, it offers enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. Six 13-letter answers squeezed into 10-letter entries, each with three separate rebus squares, with such smooth surrounding fill? I’m not so jaded as to be unimpressed by such a feat. Nicely done, Ethan and Tomas!

      PS. There’s nothing wrong with he he. Think of it as a variation of ha ha.

      • Gary R says:

        In my case, the “meh” is purely subjective, based on my solving experience. This puzzle took me longer than the average Wednesday, and at the end, there was no “Aha!” I didn’t feel like I’d been particularly challenged (other than my manual dexterity in entering rebuses) and I didn’t feel like I’d had much fun solving it – meh!

        Maybe this was a constructing feat – I don’t know. But that only occasionally factors into what I think of a puzzle.

        If it’s any consolation, I don’t usually rate puzzles here, and I didn’t rate this one. If I had, it would be a 2.5 or 3.0.

      • Eric H says:

        I’m only “meh” about *some* of the fill (HE HE, VACAY, etc.) Overall, it’s an impressive grid. The four long answers with multiple rebuses are all quite nice.

  6. Jim says:

    NYT: A bit surprised there are comments on the triple ERs in the four long across entries, but no mention of the triples going down in ROGERFEDERER and WEREOVERHERE.

    • Gary R says:

      Don’t think anybody mentioned triple ERs in four long across entries. Just in four long themers – two across and two down.

      • gyrovague says:

        You’re right, I misstated the number above. There are six 10-letter entries but only four of them have rebuses. Still, an outstanding effort and surprisingly uncluttered considering there are 12 rebuses altogether.

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