Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Jonesin' 8:37 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni) 


NYT 4:22 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal untimed (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “The Best of 2022” – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution, 1/3/23
Hello and Happy New Year, lovelies! Matt graces us with some of the bests of 2022 in his first grid of the year. Let’s see what made the list:

  • 17a. [Guillermo del Toro remake of 2022 that got a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes] PINOCCHIO
  • 24a. [Revelation from seven-year-old Tariq in a meme-worthy 2022 interview (and earworm song)] I REALLY LIKE CORN. Please watch the interview and the song if you haven’t yet. Tariq’s Recess Therapy interview is wholesome and joyful and there’s a bonus corn pun!

  • 37a. [Jeremy Allen White show that’s very Chicago-centric (and topped many 2022 Best of TV lists)] THE BEAR
  • 51a. [Jennette McCurdy memoir that was a 2022 #1 New York Times Bestseller] I’M GLAD MY MOM DIED. The iCarly star recounts growing up as a child actor and the battles she fought with herself at the hands of her mother.
  • 59a. [Game of the Year winner at The Game Awards 2022] ELDEN RING. I dropped in ELDER immediately and spent several minutes looking for my error after the grid was completed.
  • 28d. [Social media personality whose recent charity single broke the Beatles’ record for most consecutive U.K. Christmas #1s] LADBABY. Actually, this was the other error that held me up, as I happily entered THE YEAR for 37a. and spent a couple minutes thinking, “Lady Who?!” The song is a cover of Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and includes celebrity lookalikes and money-saving expert Martin Lewis.

I’ll leave it at that, because it’s time to get my not-sick kid ready for returning to school and to give my sick kid more cuddles. Hope the new year brings peace and good health to you all.

Margaret Seikel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 1 3 23, no. 0103

I honestly did not see what the theme was while solving. There were circuitous cross-references! [See 17-Across … or a hint to 23-, 34- and 48-Across] just makes me want to lean on the crossings to solve. Let’s see: Ah, yes, there were circled letters, too. The two-part revealer is 17a. [With 55-Across, modern principle of start-ups], MOVE FAST AND / BREAK THINGS. I read that as “sit-ups,” so…. Anyway, the circled letters spell out THING and these THINGs are “broken” in that the letters are scattered throughout longer phrases:

  • 23a. [Host’s farewell phrase], THANKS FOR COMING. Would’ve been simple to clue NOV without mention of Thanksgiving.
  • 34a. [TV political drama known for its “walk and talks”], THE WEST WING.
  • 48a. [“Never would have guessed it!”], THAT’S SURPRISING.

The MOVE FAST bit feels extraneous to the theme, though the West Wing “walk and talks” were indeed fast-paced.

Fave fill: SNARF, MEG CABOT (dredged her name up without having read the book; her character MIA gets a cross-referenced clue here), LUTHOR (because it’s not LEX in the grid for once!), GENIUSES, and “WANNA GO?” Less keen on I WAS HAD and ATONER.

Have not read: 61a. [“Normal People” author Sally] ROONEY. She’s Irish and her books sell like hotcakes here, if I recall correctly. What I did not know till just now is that the author is just 31!

3.75 stars from me.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 605), “Great and Goal-Oriented”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 605: “Great and Goal-Oriented”

Good day, everyone! Happy New Year! Here is hoping that you all have had a good start to the New Year, even just. few hours into it.

Before the calendar turned to 2023, one of the great world icons, regardless of genre, passed away. PELÉ, the Brazilian soccer legend whose feats on the soccer pitch in Brazil and, later, in the United States, turned him into one of the most recognizable and adored people on the planet, passed away due to complications of colon cancer (60D: [Soccer great who died on 12/29/2022 (his name bookends the five starred answers!)]). Here is a tribute puzzle to the man who scored 655 career goals, 77 goals in 92 games while playing for Brazil, and helped to popularize the sport of soccer in the United States with his arrival to play professionally for the New York Cosmos, as his arrival led to other European soccer legends deciding to play in the United States despite the country’s lack of passion for the game of soccer up to that point.

      • PERCENTILE (17A: [*Statistical term relating to how a score compares to other scores in the same set])
      • PETER O’TOOLE (29A: [*”Lawrence of Arabia” star])
      • PENTATONIC SCALE (38A: [*Musical sequence with five tones])
      • PERMISSIBLE (45A: [*Sanctioned])
      • PERIWINKLE (62A: [*Sea snail])

Along with the five theme entries, we also have adjoining nine-letter/10-letter entries going down the grid also, with ATOMIC AGE standing out from the group…even though I initially typed in “atomic era” (35D: [Period that followed the Manhattan Project]). Usually give a puzzle extra marks for Africa-related entries, but will do so for this grid because of a shout out to by birth stone with the clue for BLUISH (47D: [Like some sapphires]). As I’m sure a few of you have, I’ve come across a number of Latin phrases used in law in my head, even before becoming involved in crosswords and seeing them pop up here and there in grids, and therefore, the expression contained in the clue for IPSA was down my alley that I didn’t have to think twice about it (24D: [Res ___ loquitor]). What can I say, other than the matter speaks for itself? Time to head out, but am doing so on a serious note…

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: NONE  – Using this space today to wish for, and pray for, the recovery of Damar Hamlin, the 24-year-old player on the Buffalo Bills who collapsed on the field after making a tackle in the first quarter and was eventually taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after medical personnel performed CPR on the field. Hamlin, who went to the University of Pittsburgh, was listed in critical condition as of late Monday night. The horrifying situation is similar to what occurred in England last year during the European Championships, where Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during a soccer match and his fellow DANES formed a human wall while medical personnel performed life-saving procedures on him that, thankfully, helped a great deal to save his life (52D: [Copenhagen residents]). Here is hoping that sequence of events will be the same in the upcoming days regarding Hamlin.

Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!

Take care!


Zachary David Levy’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Rock Bands”—Jim P’s review

Theme: Gemstones are found backwards within familiar phrases. The revealer is NO STONE UNTURNED (38a, [Search aim, and a hint to this puzzle’s theme]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Rock Bands” · Zachary David Levy · Tue., 1.3.23

  • 17a. [iPhone competitor from 2011 to 2021] GALAXY NOTE. Onyx. Nice find.
  • 24a. [Three-time Best Actress nominee in the 1930s] GRETA GARBO. Agate.
  • 46a. [Madagascar export] VANILLA POD. Opal.
  • 60a. [Boisterous confusion] HURLY BURLY. Ruby.

Nice! I caught the gist of what was going on with the first entry, but the revealer provided the satisfying aha moment. Fun choices of theme answers and a solid basis for a theme. Okay, maybe it’s a little weird to leave off the “leave” from the beginning of the revealer phrase, but it’s not too much of a stretch. Maybe I would’ve liked it a bit better with a clue like [What you might leave during a search].

Solid fill as well with highlights EGO SURF,  ZILLOW, PORGY, and ZORRO. I’m not so sure about BUSMAN [Ralph Kramden, for one], though. I can’t imagine anyone saying anything other than “bus driver,” but numerous online dictionaries have the word listed. Also eyebrow-raising is AMUCK [Frenzied], the older variant of “amok.” But maybe I’m remembering my Looney Tunes which is why it didn’t bother me so much.

Clue of note: 64a. [Judge who’s rarely on the bench?]. AARON. Nice clue!

Good puzzle. 3.75 stars.

Bonnie Eisenman’s USA Today Crossword, “Jump Starts” — Sophia’s recap

Editor: Erik Agard
Theme: The first word of each theme answer is a synonym (more or less) for “jump”

USA Today, 01 03 2023, “Jump Starts”

  • 17a [Recover quickly] – BOUNCE BACK
  • 33a [Coordinated Universal Time adjustment] – LEAP SECOND
  • 42a [Crispy dim sum item] – SPRING ROLL
  • 63a [Do what Slovenians call metanje zabic (“throwing frogs”)] – SKIP STONES

Cute theme, if a little hard to categorize – are BOUNCE, LEAP, SPRING, and SKIP all synonyms? SKIP seems like the odd one out to me since skipping seems like a very different action than jumping. But I guess if you’re skipping over something it would work? Maybe I’m overthinking this. That being said, I liked learning the fun fact in the SKIP STONES clue. Another fun fact – in 2035, LEAP SECONDs will cease being a thing!

Other notes on the puzzle:

  • As a soccer fan and a game nerd, I can’t think of two better long answers than PENALTY KICK and ESCAPE ROOMS.
  • Fewer “new to me” things than there are normally in USA today – NORA Roberts and [Tufuga ta tatau’s country] for SAMOA were the only ones.
  • I also did not know that dogs SWEAT through their paws. Dog owners, is this common knowledge?
  • If the clue is [“Yum! ___ stars out of five”], why are we only awarding FOUR stars?? What was the problem that caused the loss of the star?? What is the feedback??

Dennis Nullet’s Universal Crossword – “Tech Museum” – Matt F’s write up

Universal Solution – 01.03.2023 – “Tech Museum” by Dennis Nullet

Today we have a playful theme that reimagines ancient artifacts as techy modernizations, and we’re on a museum tour to learn all about them! Let’s take a look:

  • 17A [Exhibit 1: Program lines for a Babylonian legal app. Written in cuneiform text.] = CODE OF HAMMURABI. (Does the 2nd sentence add any value to this theme answer? It did nothing for me.)

Hammurabi, a Babylonian king who reigned from 1792 to 1750 B.C., wrote this code of laws, a collection of 282 rules, that established standards for commercial interactions and set fines and punishments to meet the requirements of justice. The code was carved onto a massive finger-shaped black stone pillar that was looted by invaders and finally rediscovered in 1901.

  • 27A [Exhibit 2: Cumbersome mobile devices used by Moses to record important messages.] = TABLETS OF STONE. (Tablet = “tablet” ha ha ha!)

According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tablets of the Law (also called Tablets of Stone) were the two stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments when Moses ascended Mount Sinai as written in the Book of Exodus.

  • 49A [Exhibit 3: Early doomsurfing shown in video recreations. An epic flood was trending.] = DEAD SEA SCROLLS (This one sticks out like a sore thumb. It doesn’t follow the convention of the others and the clue feels especially forced.)

Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is among the more important finds in the history of modern archaeology. Study of the scrolls has enabled scholars to push back the date of a stabilized Hebrew Bible to no later than 70 CE, to help reconstruct the history of Palestine from the 4th century BCE to 135 CE, and to cast new light on the emergence of Christianity and of rabbinic Judaism and on the relationship between early Christian and Jewish religious traditions.

  • 65A [Exhibit 4: Monument to a structure that tried to connect to the cloud] = THE TOWER OF BABEL (So “tower” is a loose synonym for “server” which is a thing that connects to “the cloud” – it’s funny because the Tower of Babel was supposed to literally reach the clouds!)

In biblical literature, the Tower of Babel was a structure built in the land of Shinar (Babylonia) some time after the Deluge. The story of its construction appears to be an attempt to explain the existence of diverse human languages. According to Genesis, the Babylonians wanted to make a name for themselves by building a mighty city and a tower “with its top in the heavens.” God disrupted the work by so confusing the language of the workers that they could no longer understand one another. The city was never completed, and people were dispersed over the face of the earth.

I did the research so you don’t have to! I had to dig a little deeper after this solve to really connect the dots of today’s theme. I felt the theme clues were trying a bit too hard to be cute, and I didn’t get a big payoff from “the joke” even after digging up the historical context. YMMV, especially if you are well-versed in Babylonian history!

The bonus entries are great: AIR DROP, HANG TEN, EYEFUL, and ONE-ARM bring some fun energy to this grid. I might have a good reason to up the score of ODS in my wordlist again – I did not know that a doctor of optometry degree was known as an OD!

Rebecca Goldstein’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

I feel like I’m seeing more women’s bylines since Patti Varol took over the LAT editing chores. I don’t have the patience to count or even look up the stats that other people keep track of, so this is purely my observation and not at all systematic. I’m also finding fewer annoyances in the fill (which probably guarantees that next week I’ll be really peeved). Anyway. I appreciate Patti and I always enjoy Rebecca Goldstein’s puzzles. Today we have a particularly nice construction. Heh.

There’s no revealer. We’re left to sort out the theme for ourselves.

Los Angeles Times, January 3, 2023, Rebecca Goldstein, solution grid

  • 20a [Smile broadly because of one’s own achievement, say] is BEAM WITH PRIDE.
  • 33a [New York City district that’s home to the Fearless Girl statue] is WALL STREET.
  • 41a [Desirable feature of kid’s clothing] is ROOM TO GROW.
  • 51a [Amino acid, vis-à-vis protein] is a BUILDING BLOCK.

See? Construction! BEAMWALLROOMBUILDING. Nice Tuesday!

A few other things:

  • Not all country music has a TWANG. I guess Dolly Parton does. I really like this anyway.

  • Nice to see LOBO clued as [Basketball commentator Rebecca] rather than that wolf.
  • I would not choose a PEKE for a lap dog. Then again, I wouldn’t choose a lap dog for a dog, and I suppose not all of them are as bad as the ones who lived next door to us a long time ago.
  • I like the juxtaposition of FORK OVER and PETIT FOURS.
  • I guess E COLI is a [Common lab culture]. That’s not my first association with that particular bug.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Captain AHAB is described as a “grand, ungodly, god-like man.” I’ll let you in on a secret: despite graduating college with a degree in English and a concentration in American Studies, I’ve never read “Moby Dick.” Now you know.

Brooke Husic’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 1/3/23 • Tue • Husic • solution • 20230103

This was actually a DNF for me because I needed to look something up to get the final crossing square in the right flank: 43a [Device whose use is part of CPR certification] AED, which  I’m now thinking is {something} electric/electro- defibrillator (that’s close); 44d [Some TikTokers with anime-inspired aesthetics] E-GIRLS, for which I have no idea on the E (okay, it’s for electronic).

Just now noticing the partial duplication in that latter clue with 37d [Spark behind an idea, for short] INSPO.

Second-toughest crossing was 25a [Ariana who won an Oscar for “West Side Story”] DEBOSE and 12d [Acted as a sober support person for someone else’s psychedelic experience] TRIP SAT. I see now that I had been consistently misreading the clue, eliding the “Acted as a” part, so was instead considering names for the role, such as the weird TRIP HAT.

  • 5a [Body part that can be whined] WAIST. This is apparently twerklike.
  • 19a [“The Princess and the Frog” priestess Mama __ ] ODIE. That’s a change from Garfield’s canine cartoon acquaintance.
  • 24a [Emperor with a namesake cipher] CAESAR. This is the common alphabetical letter-shifting code, of which the most popular variant is ROT-13, which ‘rotates’ the letters 13 places, 180° if the alphabet were to be transcribed around a circle. I kind of made it sound more complicated than it is, eh?
  • 36a [Events that might be B.Y.O.T. (bring your own toys)] PLAY PARTIES. Makes sense.
  • 40a [ __ dance (percussive Chickasaw performance)] STOMP.
  • 51a [Mariah Carey shaking her head while saying “I don’t know her,” e.g.] REACTION GIF. You’ve certainly seen it, right?
  • 1d [Garments such as kurtis] TUNICS. “In modern usage, a short kurta is referred to as the kurti, which is the attire of [women]. However, traditionally, the term kurti refers to waist coats, jackets and blouses which sit above the waist without side slits, and are believed to have descended from the tunic of the Shunga period (2nd century B.C.). The kurti is distinguished from the choli by the latter leaving the midriff exposed.” –Wikipedia (italics mine)
  • 6d [ __ bandele (“The Prisoner’s Wife” memoirist] ASHA. Not a typographical error; she stylizes her name with lower case letters.
  • 29d [Two cents] INPUT. 1a [Opinion] TAKE.
  • 40a [Major repository of pirated research articles] SCI-HUB. I believe scientific and scholarly articles should be more freely accessible, though I don’t know enough to say whether I endorse sites such as Sci-Hub.
  • 45d [Beat at Wingspan, say] DEFEAT. Such a gratuitous mention of a particular game makes me think that this is an especially personal clue for the constructor.

I appreciated how this crossword had a broad range of clues, with plenty for younger-generation solvers as well as old-timers.

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29 Responses to Tuesday, January 3, 2023

  1. Anne says:

    these THINGs are “broken” in that the letters are scattered throughout longer phrases

    Actually each phrase starts with TH and ends with ING. I’d call that a break.

    • JohnH says:


      For Wolf (down), I started with “scarf” rather than SNARF, which is new to me. RHUD agrees in having only the first, but I see that MW11C not only has both, but also defines them only by cross-referencing both to “scoff,” new to me in that sense rather than (with “at”) to scorn or dismiss. (Online it spells out the meaning.)

      MOVE FAST AND BREAK THINGS is often attributed to Mark Zuckerberg. Looks like he’s succeeded in breaking Facebook.

  2. huda says:

    NYT: The theme is original in terms of using that start-up phrase “Move fast and break things”. I thought it was well executed. And I like that the expression itself was broken in two elements.
    But I have always disliked that motto- the idea of being disruptive at all cost seemed full of hubris while being irresponsible. This is not because I believe in the status quo- I like creative ideas and new concepts that reframe our thinking. But this motto just screamed: “look how clever and cool I am”… and did I say irresponsible?
    Sorry… rant over. I’m thinking that creating a puzzle around this “principle” may carry a bit of sarcasm? I’m good with that.

    • pannonica says:

      Completely agree.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Still mad that Uber “disrupted” the taxi business. A zillion cabdrivers and cab companies paid a fortune for a taxi medallion (license to operate, basically), and … poof into thin air. In Chicago, at least, it is much harder to go to the corner and flag down a cab–instead, there are a bunch of distracted rideshare drivers who never have the sense to pull out of the traffic lane to pick someone up. The term “disruptor” is so irksome.

      • sanfranman59 says:

        Completely agree … ditto San Francisco … I felt so bad for cabbies there when Uber, then Lyft completely screwed them. And a particular “amen” to your point about distracted rideshare drivers.

    • Gary R says:

      Guess I’m the outlier here. Yes, “Move fast and break things” carries a whiff of irresponsibility – especially with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. But it’s not a lot different from “Think outside the box,” which is often what we need to solve problems.

      A lot of fast-moving tech has been disruptive (and in some cases, destructive). And I feel, too, for the cabbies and cab companies that invested millions in medallions and then had the rug pulled out from under them. But it’s hard to ignore the benefits of some of these technologies. Even facebook, which I haven’t touched in 15 years, once was a really nice tool for sharing photos and staying in touch with friends and family.

      Email, cell phones (and then “smart” phones), texting, “smart” appliances, doorbell cams, all sorts of social media apps – great conveniences. But they can also become pains-in-the-ass, if not downright destructive, depending on how they’re used.

      Arguably, the Trump administration (I am not a fan), the FDA and Big Pharma moved fast and broke “rules” to get us safe (we’re pretty sure, but not as sure as we would be if they had gone through the regular clinical trial regimen) and effective Covid-19 vaccines in record time. Glad they did.

      • Rebecca Goldstein says:

        Can you provide a source that Covid vaccines didn’t go through “the regular clinical trial regimen”?

        My understanding is that the trials moved quickly because a) there were so many patients available and b) meetings that used to happen in person and took months to schedule, could happen within days of datasets being completed. No steps were skipped, no shortcuts taken.

        • Gary R says:

          I’ll offer this, from Johns Hopkins: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/vaccines/timeline

          I don’t know if steps were “skipped,” but the timeline was compressed and, if I understand it correctly, some phases of clinical testing were overlapped (they’re usually sequential). Whether “shortcuts” were taken depends on your definition of that term.

          But the administration, the FDA and Big Pharma did, in about 18 months or so, what Johns Hopkins says normally takes 5-10 years. mRNA technology certainly contributed to that, but the urgency of the situation seems to have changed the rules of the game.

  3. Jamie says:

    “Move fast and break things” may not be the dumbest thing Zuck ever said, but it’s certainly sealed a dishonorable mention. I wish it would stop being parroted as some genius tech bro mantra. I’m disappointed to see that wisdumb in a NYT crossword, if only because it might impress upon one budding engineer/designer/creator the exact wrong way to make useful, delightful, respectful products. Facebook is not among them.

  4. PJ says:

    TNY – Pretty much as advertised. Got my start in the NE and headed south from there. The north central took longer than it should’ve since I tried to make 5d computer related and I hesitated on 15a. Only missteps were Os in 17a and 57a. Crossings soon (ok, eventually) identified those. I couldn’t complete the crossing of 43a and 44d. I know about 43a but have never used the initialism. I would only get 44d by running the alphabet and waiting for the Happy Pencil.

    • JohnH says:

      I’m stuck on the crossing you couldn’t complete, too. I’d say the puzzle wasn’t at all as advertised, but rather much harder than yesterday’s, itself beyond belief. I count 37 things I didn’t know, a personal record, making every area dense with wild guesses, working from crossings, or simply unavailable crossings. Whoever rated the puzzle a 5 must be really into this constructor’s milieu.

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        I didn’t know SLIME, EGIRLS, or ASHA. TRIP-SAT was new to me but inferrable. Everything else felt fair to me! And I love the Mariah “I don’t know her” trash-talking REACTION GIF, it’s a classic of the genre.

        I think you’ll see AED in capital letters on every red box mounted on the wall with a defibrillator inside. I have a young cousin with a heart condition who will *always* need to know where the closest AED is; our family may be more attuned to noting the devices.

        This entry is also, unfortunately, quite timely. Last night, an NFL player apparently experienced commotio cordis, his heart stopping after a poorly timed hit. He likely is alive today (though in critical condition) solely because there was an AED nearby. Few people survive to hospital after CPR alone.

    • sanfranman59 says:

      This was one of the most bizarre solving experiences I can recall. There were so many things that I didn’t think I knew in this puzzle but that managed to somehow reveal themselves to me as I solved. I felt as though I was just guessing a lot of the time, but I just knew that the answers were correct when they came. Very weird. Unfortunately, I submitted with one error: ANoMAL/NoNE instead of ANIMAL/NINE (don’t ask me what the hell I thought ANoMAL was!). I also Google-verified DEBOSE before I submitted my solution because I wasn’t sure of either BONES (clued as “Rigid corset parts”) or TRIP SAT. So, strictly speaking, it was a second straight TNY DNF for me.

      In addition to the above clue/answer combinations, I noted 19(!) others that were unfamiliar to me in my post-solve notes. It’s amazing that I came as close as I did to successfully solving this puzzle. I don’t know that I found it much easier than I did yesterday’s, but I filled in the entire grid this time and only had one error.

      • JohnH says:

        I too started with “none” for NINE (and needed ANIMAL to correct me). I felt I should have known DEBOSE, since I watched West Side Story just 10 days ago, but I didn’t. And while I’d never heard of TRIP SAT, it looked plausible enough to solve that crossing.

        I’m still not saying I enjoyed this. Surely there are only so many times you can say to yourself, I’ve no idea but maybe that’s it, before it no longer feels like solving a crossword.

    • GlennG says:

      I have to echo a lot of what’s been said about these. It definitely seems the trend with a large number of crossword puzzles is just to find the most obscure arcana and just see how much of it can be shoved into one puzzle. For me that always results in a large number of WAGs and a large number of resulting errored crossings (11 in this one, which seems to be normal since about October). Unfortunately, a lot of these things are just turning into “you really just know it or you don’t” kind of affairs, replacing a lot of the “arcane words” people used to gripe about to “arcane pop culture” with the same net result.

      To wit, the new year, coupled with a sickness I’m getting over has definitely caused me to re-evaluate a lot of the crosswords I’m choosing to do. Sadly, I’m finding this to be the trend with every outlet on about every day, to the point that a lot of quality of solving these things and the interest I’ve had in them has done severely downhill over the last couple of years for a few reasons, including this one.

      But regardless, it does appear to me that using Google is becoming an absolute requirement to “solving” these things successfully, which is a definite negative that defeats the whole point of the exercise. Frankly though, one of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to not be so wound up about “completing” these things, which has already led to a number of rather unfilled grids. But it is what it is if constructors want to play the “complete obscurity” game.

  5. Barbara Hampsey Calhoun says:

    why do I get a “Page not found” error when I click on some of the reviews?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      On today’s post or yesterday’s? The “jump” codes look correct to me on this post. Yesterday we started out with some messed-up codes, so you might have had issues jumping to a specific review.

      • Barbara Hampsey Calhoun says:

        Thank you Amy. Just now I tried to click on your review of yesterday’s New Yorker puzzle and I get that error message..

  6. sanfranman59 says:

    Uni … I’m with the reviewer. Either I don’t understand the theme or I at least don’t get how DEAD SEA SCROLLS fits in. The connection of TOWER to “tech” also seems pretty weak, for that matter and makes me question if I’m getting the theme at all. And that clue for DEAD SEA SCROLLS … “Early doomsurfing shown in video recreations. An epic flood was trending.” … oof. “Video recreations”? Was there an “epic flood” of the Dead Sea that I’m not aware of? I think maybe I just wasn’t on this theme’s wavelength.

    • Mr. [Not Always] Grumpy says:

      The cluing was clunky, but I appreciated the attempt and all four of the themers made me smile. And maybe the Dead Sea scrolls referenced the flood & Noah’s ark?

      • sanfranman59 says:

        Ah … I guess I don’t know much about the content of the Dead Sea Scrolls (and I need to fix that). A little preliminary Googling informs me that the scrolls have something to say about Noah’s ark, though I don’t quite understand why they’d be considered to be authoritative since they only date back to 3 BCE. Anyway … I need to do some reading to better educate myself.

        • Gary R says:

          I’ll toss this in – I believe there is (or was) a video game called “Dead Sea,” which might explain the “video recreations” part of the clue.

          Still a pretty “way out there” clue.

  7. dh says:

    “Move fast and break things” is very familiar to anyone who has beta-tested apps, games, networks, security – developers want them to break things to suss out weaknesses; better to have QC break things than end users.

    Why the comment about cluing NOV without mentioning Thanksgiving?

  8. Jim says:

    NYT 5D “Thanksgiving mo.” would be misleading for those north of the border, who celebrate in October.

    • dh says:

      In fact, I had “Scarf” instead of “Snarf” for 5D, and a quick (but erroneous) first glance made me think of October for Thanksgiving month for precisely that reason. I even Googled Margaret Seikel before I realized my mistake, to see if she was from Canada.

      I think crossword clues are more interesting when they are misleading, and in this case, I fully expected the answer to be “OCT” for that reason. There are often clues like “1940’s President” that turn out to be “Peron” (I made that specific example up, of course).

  9. Eric H says:

    New Yorker — Counting clues and answers, there was lots of stuff I had never heard of, which is not unusual for me doing a Brooke Husic puzzle in any venue other than the NYT. Yet I finished it quickly for me, without any checking. By contrast, yesterday’s New Yorker took me about three times as long, and I needed to check a few answers before I could finish it.

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