Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Jonesin' 5:50 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni) 


NYT 3:29 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal 5:59 (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Pay Cut” – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 1/17/23

Jonesin’ solution 1/17/23

Hello lovelies! This week Matt is trying to slash some cash. Let’s see what is going on here:

  • 19a. [Used a burner, perhaps] MADE COPIES OF CDS. Ah, brings me back to making “mixed tapes” in college. Anyway, the circled letters spell PESO.
  • 25a. [Common photo portrait dimensions] EIGHT BY TEN. There’s a YEN hiding in here.
  • 49a. [Eroded, like round river rocks] WORN SMOOTH, which contains the letters in WON.
  • 56a. [Recreational soccer, in the U.K.] AMATEUR FOOTBALL. Here we find the EURO.
  • 6d. [What this answer does to the words in the circles?] SPLITS THE PROFITS. This is a nice revealer, separating the letters of the hidden currencies.

Other things:

  • 6a. [“The X-Files” gp.] SETI. Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. In the 1994 episode “Little Green Men,” Mulder and Scully travel to the Arecibo observatory after Mulder hears reports of alien life responding to the equipment there
  • 2d. [Mosquito-borne illness] MALARIA. Scientists continue to make progress on malaria vaccines, with a three-dose live attenuated vaccine showing recent promise.
  • 45d. [Earache-related] OTALGIC. I’m curious if non-medical people knew this or got it from crosses.
  • 41d. [Figurine that gets watered] CHIA PET. I knew they were still making these, but I had no clue that there were so many! Take a look here for some of them.

Until next week!

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 607), “Totally Ri-diculous!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 607: “Totally Ri-diculous!”

Hello everybody! Here is hoping that you’re doing well to begin another week!

In a way, this is a pretty timely because, in less than three weeks, Rihanna will be performing at halftime of Super Bowl LVII in Arizona. Given that, Ri Ri can be seen in today’s puzzle, as in each of the theme entries are turned into puns when adding the letters “RI” inside them. 

      • CURIE CARDS (17A: [Lab-tested Hallmark line invented by chemist Marie?]) – Cue cards
      • THINKING CAPRIS (23A: [Calf-length pants designed for brainstorming sessions?]) – Thinking caps
      • ARI TEAM (37A: [Starting squad that includes Onassis, Gold and Shapiro?]) – A-team
      • JURIST DESSERTS (49A: [“Top Chef” spinoff show featuring confections created by the Supreme Court?]) – Just desserts 
      • ALOE RIVERA (59A: [Succulent variety developed by baseball Hall-of-Famer Mariano?]) – Aloe vera

Best part of the grid, for me, would be the four nine-letter downs, and all of them pack a punch and would leave no one UNDECIDED as to whether these entries are awesome or not (8D: [On the fence, voting-wise]). There’s some serious rumbling going on the trades and transactions front in the WNBA at the moment, with 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones being traded from the Connecticut Sun to the New York Liberty today, with rumors — and a cryptic tweet — possibly pointing at another one-time MVP of the league, Breanna Stewart, also being on the move soon (32A: [Chicago Sky’s org.]). The only entry that was completely new to me was DACE, in large part because I’ve only gone fishing once in my entire life and I’m far from well-versed in my knowledge of lesser-known types of scaly swimmers (10A: [Small, freshwater fish]). Maybe before the year is over, I’ll link up with friends and go on a fishing trip. If any of you have plans on that coming up and need an extra pair of hands for any reason, I volunteer to join!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: YALE (19A: [Harvard rival]) – Would you believe that one of the standout performers still going on in the National Football League postseason right now is a Yalie? Jacksonville Jaguars middle linebacker Foyesade Oluokun, along with being a fellow Nigerian, has led the NFL in combined tackles in each of the last two seasons, including a RI-diculous 192 tackles last season. (Oluokun finished with 184 combined tackles this season.) Oluokun spent his first four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. If you want to look for him when the Jaguars play the Kansas City Chiefs this Saturday in the divisional round, Foye is #23 on defense.

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

Take care!


Ella Dershowitz’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Speed Reading”—Jim P’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases whose first words are homophones of the letters in QUICK. The revealer is “IT’LL BE QUICK” (60a, [*”I only need a minute,” or a guarantee about this puzzle’s theme]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Speed Reading” · Ella Dershowitz · Tue., 1.17.23

  • 17a. [*”Get ready to feel a lot of feels”] CUE THE TEARS.
  • 23a. [*”Actually…”] “YOU KNOW WHAT…”
  • 30a. [*Mascara and liquid liner] EYE MAKE-UP.
  • 42a. [*1970s aquarium pet] SEA MONKEY.
  • 48a. [*Doris Day signature song] QUE SERA SERA.

Fun theme answers. But I’d really like the theme better if the revealer had some indicator that spelling was involved. Say, for example, if your revealer was SPELL CHECK and then the first words were homophones of the letters in CHECK. (Good luck with that H, though.) You see what I’m saying? IT’LL BE QUICK doesn’t indicate anything about spelling which is a key feature of the theme. (It wouldn’t be a bad revealer, however, for a theme with words that were synonyms of “quick.”)

TRASH TALKS is a fun bit of long fill and REINVENTED ain’t half bad, either. I’m not so sure about PRE-WORK [Reading before the semester starts], though. Isn’t that still just “work”? ODA [___ Mae (Whoopi’s “Ghost” role)] is an entry that needs to be excised from constructors’ word lists as well.

Clues of note:

  • 15a. [“Dead Poets Society” director Peter]. WEIR. What does author Andy WEIR have to do to get some crossword love? He wrote the novel The Martian which became a huge film starring Matt Damon. His most recent hit novel, Project Hail Mary, is also being made into a film, this time with Ryan Gosling. Oh hey, and there’s ANDY at 20a.
  • 54a. [Set on a course?]. CLUBS. Good misdirection with this clue.
  • 52d. [Leave the beach?]. EBB. Hmm. Doesn’t seem quite right, does it? Because when the tide ebbs, guess what. There’s more beach uncovered.

3.25 stars.

Erika Ettin’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 1 17 23, no. 0117

We’ve got a multilingual theme, though you could well solve the entire puzzle without knowing any of the foreign words that are shaded/circled within the long entries. Revealer is 47a. [“I think we’re done here” … or a hint to translating each of the four shaded words in this puzzle], “LET’S CALL IT A DAY.” DIAMOND WEDDING‘s clue has a bracketed Spanish in it, as shaded DIA is Spanish for “day.” DAGNABBIT double-dips with Dutch and Swedish sharing DAG. The Czechs get DEN in DENTIST. And the Germans have TAG in TAGS ALONG. Interesting theme idea, and even a bit educational. I like that it’s all 3-letter D words, nothing like JOURNALISM hiding French jour.

TESLA COIL is terrific fill! AGAR, not wildly idiomatic I LOSE, ETON, A MOI, and T-SLOT all feel on the hard side for Tuesday newbies.

27a. [Singer/activist Billy], BRAGG. He’s markedly better known in Britain than in the US. You may ask yourself, why not Fort BRAGG here? Well, that Bragg was a Confederate general, and I think the military base is to be renamed Fort Liberty. Liberty is not a traitor, so there you have it.

3.5 stars from me.

Taylor Johnson’s Universal Crossword – “There’s a Twist!” – Matt F’s write up

Universal Solution 01.17.2023 – “There’s a Twist!” by Taylor Johnson

{Excuse me while I rewrite this after fully grokking the theme! My apologies to the constructor!} Today’s puzzle features three items that can each be considered a PLOT DEVICE, per the reveal at 63A [Red herring or love triangle … or 16-, 30- or 46-Across?]. Let’s take a closer look:

  • 16A [Landscaper’s digging tool] = HAND SHOVEL, a “device” used in a garden “plot.”
  • 30A [Spy’s recording tool] = HIDDEN WIRE, a “device” used in a heist “plot.”
  • 46A [Architect’s drafting tool] = PROTRACTOR, a “device” used to “plot” points on a map.

On top of this light and fun theme, Taylor managed to work up a super clean grid with playful long entries: DEAD SILENT and SEA MONSTER, and a lot of refreshing mid-length stuff: OBVI, THANX, TIC TAC, PLINKO, ART POP, SEND IT. Plenty of fun clues in this one, too:

  • 1A/5A “avian symbol” duo (5D!) – wisdom = OWLS, peace = DOVE
  • You might have initially had fire at 27A, but [It’s lit!] = FUSE.
  • 50A [One-dimensional] = LINEAR (a line, geometrically, has only 1 dimension)
  • 9D [Bring your OWN bottle] (It works, but am I alone in thinking that “bring your own booze” is more common?)
  • 11D [Type of omelet that may have originated as a sandwich in the American West] = DENVER… not only is this a fun factoid, but now I’m hungry!
  • 31D [Gave a hand, in a way] = DEALT
  • 62D [Milk producer for Manchego cheese] = EWE… great clue to punch up this entry!

Thanks for the fun puzzle, Taylor! {And again, sorry for my prior misinterpretation of the theme!}

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

I was Natick’ed on a Tuesday puzzle and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’ll explain later. First the theme, which I very much enjoyed.

All the theme answers are in the Downs and they’re marked with stars.

Los Angeles Times, January 17, 2023, Rebecca Goldstein, solution grid.

  • 3d [Short stiletto] is a KITTEN HEEL.
  • 6d [Updo in a scrunchie, maybe] is a PONYTAIL.
  • 9d [Shirt with a snug collar] is a TURTLENECK and yes, I am wearing one. It was cold when I got dressed this morning.

These answers have something obvious in common and if that were the whole deal it would have been a perfectly fine Tuesday theme. The revealer is what makes it art. 51a [Option on In-N-Out Burger’s not-so-secret menu, or the fashion sense that includes the answers to the starred clues?] is ANIMAL STYLE. That made me laugh.

I was Natick’d on the intersection of 40d and 60a. [“President Barack Obama” portraitist ___ Wiley] is KEHINDE and [Spanish toast] is SALUD. I spelled them KEHINTE and SALUT. One the one hand, crossing a proper name with a non-English word on a Tuesday seems a little tough. On the other hand, Wiley’s portrait has been widely reproduced and discussed and I knew the name, and Spanish is commonly used in the US.  This feels more like a gap in my own knowledge and a reminder of the limitations of my White perspective than a fault in the puzzle itself, and it definitely didn’t ruin the solving experience for me.

A few other things:

  • 1a is [Some cast-iron cookware] and I thought “it could be either POTS or PANS.” Turned out to be WOKS. See above re: the limitations of my White perspective.
  • OTOH, I’ve done enough crosswords that I immediately knew [Kitchen counters?] was OVEN TIMERS.
  • We’ve got [“That hurt!”] twice, crossing OUCH and OOF. I think of OOF more as surprise than pain.
  • I filled in 29a from crossings, which is a good thing, because [Currency with loonies and toonies, briefly] would not have given me CAD. I know that loonies are Canadian. I didn’t know that CAD is the equivalent of USD.
  • 57a [“Yer ___ outta here!”] is OUTTA and I comment on it only to report that pitchers and catchers report in 28 days.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: see above.

Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 1/17/23 • Tue • Berry • solution • 20230117

Pretty gentle for a ‘mildly challenging’ puzzle.

It’s a well-integrated grid with some interesting entries and clues. Let’s get right to it. (52a [Begins to tackle] STARTS IN ON.

  • 10a [Certain cooler] FAN. Not quite a duplication with 16a [Breakthrough advertising mascot?] KOOL-AID MAN, which is the middle of a triple-ten-stack sandwich including 13a [Place to seek treatment for a minor infection] URGENT CARE and 18a [Images sent to tech support] SCREEN CAPS.
  • 21a [Wins over] DISARMS.
  • 28a [Motley crew?] FOOLS. I’ve never looked into the origin of the phrase motley fool … oh! It’s simply another name for a court jester. In latter-day terms, it’s the name of an investment advice firm (which I knew).
  • 31a [Baffin Bay sight] BERG. One can also witness AUKS there [Puffin cousins].
  • 39a [Tropical fruit grove] PINERY. Pineapples, presumably. New word to me.
  • 7d [Monastery figure] LAMA. I do however know the word lamasery.
  • 8d [Stage exits] TRAP DOORS. Clue is made more difficult by omitting a qualifier, such as ‘some’.
  • 10d [Chemically adjust to address tooth decay] FLUORIDATE. 28d [Long-disproven world model] FLAT EARTH. Both are topics of persistent (and incorrect) conspiracy theories.
  • 11d [Art on one’s sleeve] ALBUM COVERS. Nice, tricky clue.
  • 24d [Words with which to make an entrance?] OPEN SESAME. Cute.
  • 25d [Hunter on high] BIRD OF PREY. I bet many of you, like me, were wondering how to make ORION or some augmentation thereof fit.
  • 26d [Take them away from here!] ROADS. Another fine clue.
  • 33d [Animated film that nearly bankrupted Disney] FANTASIA. Did not know—or more likely had forgotten—this.

A bright spot this grey Tuesday morning.

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16 Responses to Tuesday, January 17, 2023

  1. Eric H says:

    NYT: “I like that [the theme] all 3-letter D words, nothing like JOURNALISM hiding French jour.”

    Except for that pesky German TAG.

    I don’t know anymore what’s “on the hard side for Tuesday newbies.” I was five seconds over my Tuesday average, so it felt just about right.

    Nice clue for TORAH.

    • Dallas says:

      I loved TORAH too. I almost got messed up after putting in VCRS, then wanting to put in GRATED, I changed it before realizing it had to be RATEDG. And even though I knew it was LETITBE, my fingers typed in LETITGO which I didn’t realize till I got further down… I guess that’s what being a parent is all about ;-)

      Two minutes under my average, so probably reasonable difficulty. And every time I see Billy Bragg, I think of the first album of his I heard:

  2. Dallas says:

    I liked the LAT too; I had the similar SALUT / SALUD issue; I figured it couldn’t be SALUT since that’s French, no?

    The grid art in the LAT is supposed to be an animal of some type, yes? Maybe a bear? It’s a little hard for me to tell.

    • PJ says:

      I also enjoyed it even though I’ve never been to an In-N-Out.

      A cast iron wok seems like it’d be pretty heavy.

      • Mister [Not At All] Grumpy says:

        I’ve never owned a wok that wasn’t cast iron. Not any heavier than a large cast iron frying pan. :)

        • PJ says:

          I’ve only owned one steel wok. I have a lot of cast iron. My 18″ fryer is quite heavy compared to the wok. But I get using cast iron for its heating properties.

      • Martin says:

        Traditional woks are usually made of thin carbon steel. There are various constuctions, like spun, hammered or stamped steel, but they are always thin. That said, light cast iron woks do exist in China but are never found in professional kitchens.

        Other materials, like non-stick, heavy cast iron and stainless steel, are usually flat-bottomed pseudo-woks made for Western stovetops rather than the traditional Chinese very-hot open flame pit.

    • MarkAbe says:

      I’m also a fan of this one. I grew up in SoCal, so, despite being white, I actually recognized SALUD, WOKS, and ANIMAL SYTLE! I agree it look vaguely animal-face-like, but couldn’t see any specific animal.

  3. PJ says:

    TNY – 25d [Hunter on high] BIRD OF PREY. I bet many of you, like me, were wondering how to make ORION or some augmentation thereof fit.

    I started with BETELGEUSE even though I felt it was incorrect even if it fit. Crossings soon ruled that out, starting from the bottom. This led me to OSPREY. Once I changed Father TIME (which I felt good about after TOBIAS) to Father TOBE the upper crossings pulled me out of an area that took far too long to complete.

  4. sanfranman59 says:

    Uni … I came away with a different interpretation of the theme. Each of the themers is related to a different connotation of PLOT. A HAND SHOVEL (which in my experience are generally called trowels) is used in a garden PLOT. A HIDDEN WIRE is used in the PLOT of a police procedural on television (this one seemed like a bit of a stretch, but no more than WIRE being something often found in a garden). A PROTRACTOR is used to PLOT angles in geometry class. I wonder which interpretation the constructor had in mind?

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