Thursday, November 24, 2022

BEQ untimed (Darby) 


LAT 4:34 (Gareth) 


NYT  8:03 (ZDL) 


The New Yorker tk (malaika) 


Universal tk (Sophia) 


USA Today 13:10 (Emily) 


Fireball tk (Jenni) 


Note: No WSJ puzzle due to the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Pao Roy’s New York Times crossword–Zachary David Levy’s write-up

Difficulty: Easy (8m3s)

Pao Roy’s New York Times Crossword 11/23/23 1123

Today’s theme: DOT THE IS (Pay attention to details… and a hint to filling in seven of this puzzle’s squares)

  • (DOT) (DOT) (DOT) 

The rebus phrase DOT runs horizontally, while the literal DOT sits atop the I on the vertical entry.  Once again, I picked up the rebus immediately, as PALE BLUE DOT is not only (arguably?) the most iconic photograph in human history, but Carl Sagan’s 1994 book of the same name was a real eye opener for me.  His oft-quoted caption of the photo bears repeating once more:

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

Obviously, the puzzle won me over both because of how quickly I breezed through it, and because it gave me another opportunity to remember one of the great ambassadors of science.

CrackingWEIRD AL — I haven’t seen the tongue-in-cheek biopic yet, but seeing Daniel Radcliffe in that mustache is almost worth the price of admission.

Slacking: UTA— the abbreviation saves you one whole letter, which makes it look more like a typo than anything else.  Honorable mention to HORNY, which does not pass the breakfast table test.  Additional honorable mention to SYMBOLS, because the proper name for a pseudo-minced oath like that (&#$!@) is a GRAWLIX (which is an infinitely more satisfying word.)

Sidetracking: PAEAN — in recognition of the fact that we are on the precipice of the most wonderful day of the year, enjoy this 90s-era tribute to Thanksgiving courtesy of Garfield and Friends.

Zhouqin Burnikel’s USA Today Crossword, “Half-Hearted” — Emily’s write-up

Happy Thanksgiving! Better solve this puzzle before the food coma sets in after a heavy meal today!

Completed USA Today crossword for Thursday November 24, 2022

USA Today, November 24 2022, “Half-Hearted” by Zhouqin Burnikel

Theme: each themer contains -SEMI-


  • 17a. [Not receptive to new ideas], CLOSEMINDED
  • 48a. [Childbirth specialist], NURSEMIDWIFE
  • 63a. [Prey of pet cats], HOUSEMICE

A stubborn or rigid person can be CLOSEMINDED, which can be particularly difficult to handle at a get-together. NURSEMIDWIFE is a new role to me, though I had the second part fairly easily, once I realized “doula” was not an option. HOUSEMICE are not something anyone wants to see, especially during the holidays with guests and parties. While “semi” is another word for “half”, I was looking for a bit more to the theme today but maybe it is that simple. Given the title, I wondered about something to do with “heart”. If you noticed something more or another layer, let me know below! Perhaps it hints at the placement, which is in the middle of each themer?

Favorite fill: TOFU, ORIOLE, SKEW, and ROE

Stumpers: LEGREST (cluing didn’t quite do it for me today, we have a few strollers but I wouldn’t consider this a “feature” per se), ASONE (I kept thinking “together” or “synced”), and ENSUED (typically I think of “commenced” or “occurred” more so for this entry)

I loved seeing REPS and UNIT, with their misdirection in cluing—seemingly looking for a specific number or type when it really is asking for a generalized item. Zhouqin is excellent at these types of pairings and it’s always fun for me, even when they trip me up a bit.

Enjoy some good food and fun times today and as we kick off this holiday season with your friends and loved ones!

4 stars


Samantha Podos Nowak’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Samantha Podos Nowak’s 3 entry + 1 revealer theme has two layers. Each of the entries begins with a superhero; two Marvel, one DC. Then, as the revealer – [Idolized athletes, and an apt title for this puzzle?], SPORTSHEROES – implies, each entry is reimagined to be noun / verb combination about an American sport – two baseball, one gridiron. So:

  • [When one of the X-Men needs to communicate with the pitcher, __], STORMSIGNALS
  • [When a member of the Justice League has possession of the football, __], FLASHDRIVES
  • [When one of Marvel’s Avengers needs to create a lineup card, __], VISIONPLANS. Not at all with familiar with VISION, but suspect those of us who have paid attention to the plethor of Avengers films would know who it is.

The rest of the puzzle was fairly straightforward in terms of clues and answers. Some more eely clues included [Nasty hangover?], SMOG; [Follows a pattern, say], SEWS; [Future resident], INTERN

Most disturbing clue: [Cookie with a limited edition Pumpkin Spice flavor], OREO.


Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Crossword #1525–Darby’s write-up

Theme: Each theme answer is a play on words to hold two items you might find on a Thanksgiving table.

Theme Answers

Brendan Emmett Quigley's Crossword #1525, "On the Table" for 11/24/2022

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Crossword #1525, “On the Table” for 11/24/2022

  • 17a [“Making sure the bad comic has enough at dinner?”] STUFFING HAM
  • 27a [“Flatten TV junkies”] SQUASH POTATOES
  • 43a [“Putting junior in clothes?”] DRESSING SPROUT
  • 58a [“National team from Istanbul crushes everybody else in the tournament”] TURKEY ROLLS

Posting this late because my Turkey Day was full of festivities, but I think that this is a cute theme and I really enjoyed the commitment to including items from dinner. (Maybe I’m just food-motivated). I thought it was interesting to see the alternative name for STUFFING in DRESSING SPROUT (which is also just a really cute phrase that I will use). Plus, we got the bonus 3d [“Gravy thickener”] in ROUX.

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12 Responses to Thursday, November 24, 2022

  1. huda says:

    NYT: What a great write up! I too love that quote from Carl Sagan. People joked about him waxing rhapsodic but I’ve always thought that he communicated the wonder of the universe and the excitement of science better than most anyone else.
    It took me a while to tumble to what was going on exactly. Part of what threw me is that I wanted to spell it PANGEA (which is legit) and thought that multiple vowels were being duplicated. When I got further south, I realized it was all about I’s and their dots.
    It’s a very cool puzzle and was fun to solve…
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone. My very favorite holiday.

    • Dallas says:

      I too had a bit of trouble… WEIRD AL, crossed with SARI, was what clued me in… and even after I got “DOT THE I’s” it took me a bit. I had everything with the I’s in, and *then* had to replace them with periods… whew :-)

  2. Ed+B says:

    On the iOS app, I entered the dot symbol instead of the period. When checking against the answer here, that looked correct. When replacing the dot with the period, I finally got the happy pencil and then it made the periods look like the dot symbol again.

  3. huda says:

    In the NYT app, I had typed “DOT” like a rebus in each of the spots. At the end, it told me I was close but had some error. I replaced one of the DOTs with a period and then the App changed all the rebuses itself, turned them into big dots, and said Congratulations. That was unexpected.

  4. Mutman says:

    NYT: fun puzzle. The LOLA/OLE crossing got me though, since I never heard of either.

    Small nit: IRA would never be written with lower case i, as it is an acronym.

  5. Jim says:

    NYT: Yeah, I filled in GRAWLIX first. I mean, how often do you get a chance to use a cool word like that? Figured out the DOT rebuses across pretty quickly but remained dense about how the fit in down until almost finished. DOT in all the rebus entries worked fine for me in the app, too.

  6. JohnH says:

    In the NYT, I did find LOLA/OLE hard, although I should think I’d known Coltrane cold, but definitely gettable, passing the “what else can it be?” test. SARI was a gimme, both between general knowledge and its crossword frequency. I’d no idea how to spell PANGAEA, but the crossings were fair. I didn’t know the rapper either, but again gettable.

    I thought the theme was really nice, especially as I didn’t catch right off that it not only had all those dots but they were seriously on top of all the I’s. Doesn’t bother me that IRA is capped, since I fill in a crossword with all caps anyway. I’d rate it below a 5 only because of all that tough or maybe iffy fill, but again pretty nice!

    I’m also sure glad that the answer wasn’t GRAWLIX, and not just because I don’t know the word. (I enjoyed here learning it.) But also a word not in either MW11C or RHUD, those ever-present bases of style sheets and what’s common, is just begging for mass complaints. I guess I did have qualms about STYMBOLS for a character string taken together, but oh well.

  7. Josh M says:

    I’m I the only person bothered by the dots in the downs? What the hell is WE.IRDAL? Or POTP.IES? Even .IRA seems off. Are we just supposed to ignore them, or am I missing something mildly amusing?

  8. San O'Brien says:

    Looking for Universal puzzle:
    One, Four, __, Sixteen.
    Answer is Nine but don’t get why.

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