Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Jonesin' 8:51 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni) 


NYT 3:38 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal untimed (Matt F) 


USA Today 2:38 (Sophia) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “In the Wurst Way” – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 2/7/23

Jonesin’ solution 2/7/23

Did you know that NFL players are some of the most avid crossword puzzle fans? NFL players love crosswords and gambling. Players often spend their free time during the off season solving puzzles or playing games of chance, when it comes to gambling games for nfl players. Crosswords have become a mainstay in NFL locker rooms, with some players estimating that they spend upwards of an hour a day completing the puzzles. Gambling is also a popular pastime for NFL players, with many turning to Las Vegas to indulge in their passion. Some teams even have dedicated gambling staff members who help players put together winning wagers. The popularity of these activities provided them with opportunities to connect with one another outside of football and build lasting friendships.

They are some of the most avid crossword and poker players in the world. The reason for this is simple: puzzles and gambling have a lot in common. In both cases, there is a puzzle to be solved, and the player must use their brainpower to figure it out. Additionally, both games give people a chance to make some money while they are relaxing.

Hello lovelies! This will be a quick one as I’m covering at work for a sick coworker. This week’s theme is…German sausages! Each theme entry ends in a word that can precede WURST to make a delicious meat product:

  • 16a. [Flagship brew of what’s now Spoetzl Brewery, named for the town in Texas] SHINER BOCK. Bockwurst is made from pork and veal, usually with more veal.
  • 57a. [1977 four-wheel drive coupé that sorta resembled a pickup] SUBARU BRAT. BRAT stood for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter, which was made from metal and rubber and various other materials. Bratwurst, on the other hand, is generally made from pork (and often some beef or veal).
  • 10d. [Former Sleater-Kinney drummer who also worked with Stephen Malkmus and the Shins] JANET WEISS. You’d better wise up if you didn’t know that Weisswurst are made with veal and pork back bacon and are not smoked (unlike, say, a frankfurter…) or preserved in any way, so they must be eaten soon after preparation.
  • 27d. [Superstar who holds records for most three-pointers in a career, season, and NBA finals] STEPH CURRY. (I hope Mr. Curry heals as quickly and completely as possible from his recent lower extremity injury.) Currywurst differs from the other entries in that it is not a particular sausage, but a meal consisting of cut-up fried bratwurst covered in curry ketchup.

Let me know if you had any favorite entries or clues, or any sausage stories! Until next week!

Kristian House’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Bringing Home the Bacon”—Jim P’s review

Theme revealer: MONEY MARKET (62a, [Mutual fund variety, or a punny place to buy 17-, 24-, 38- and 50-Across]). The other theme answers are familiar(ish) phrases whose final words are both food items and slangy synonyms of “money.”

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Bringing Home the Bacon” · Kristian House · Tue., 2.7.23

  • 17a. [Leafy green common in Asian cuisine] NAPA CABBAGE. TIL that NAPA has nothing to do with the California wine region but it comes from the Japanese nappa which refers to the leaves of any vegetable. Also, Australians call this stuff “wombok” which is a way better word, IMO.
  • 24a. [Cheese typically aged less than six months] MILD CHEDDAR.
  • 38a. [They’re often eaten on the half shell] LITTLENECK CLAMS.
  • 50a. [Side with a spaghetti dinner] GARLIC BREAD.

I wasn’t sure what the revealer was getting at to begin with. Is the MONEY MARKET a punny place to buy money? After a while I concluded that was wrong but instead it’s a place to buy items that are also slang for money. They must have a pretty limited selection of goods, but presumably you can get dough, bones, and bucks there.

CHILD STAR and “IT’S TRICKY” shine in the fill. I don’t think I knew that the Run-DMC song sampled “My Sharona”. Looks like we’ll have to check it out (below). (The video is fun and features Penn & Teller.) Also good: BAG CHECK, EPIC POEM, RED-EYE, and KICK ME.

Clue of note: 42a. [“Wipeout” network]. TBS. That show is still on? Oh, apparently not. The original one ended in 2014. The TBS version is a reboot that started up in 2021.

Cute theme. Strong fill. 3.75 stars.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 610), “Der Crossword”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 610: “Der Crossword”

Good day, everybody! Here is hoping all of you have been taking care of yourselves and staying warm, especially through last weekend’s polar vortex event that put the Northeast in a deep freeze for a couple of days.

Today’s puzzle is the puzzle to do…at least if you know your German! Each of the theme entries is a pun in which the letters “der,” the German word for “the,” are added somewhere in an original phrase to create the pun.

      • THE KARATE KIDDER (17A: [Feel-good film about a comedian who studies the martial arts?]) = The Karate Kid
      • WILD BOARDER (23A: [Reckless member of the inn crowd?]) = Wild boar
      • ELDER NINO (35A: [“The Godfather” composer Rota who serves as a church official?]) = El Niño
      • SANDER DIEGO (49A: [Nickname of artist Rivera, during his Wood-Smoothing period?) = San Diego
      • EVANDER ALMIGHTY (58A: [Steve Carell comedy with boxer Holyfield in the powerful title role?]) = Evan Almighty

Biggest highlight outside of the theme entries were the adjoining sevens in the corners, and seeing BAD IDEA made me think about going out in the middle of the polar vortex late at night for a midnight snack on Friday night/Saturday morning was definitely a bad idea (11D: [Response to “I’m taking my hoverboard for a spin on the freeway”]). By the way, the hoverboard is going down in popularity, right? There was a time, probably right before COVID, where I couldn’t walk 50 feet without seeing one of those. Now, I can’t walk 75 feet without seeing an electric scooter. Currently in Washington D.C. at the moment, so very fitting that NATS was in the puzzle (34A: [D.C. team, for short]). Alright, time to head out, but at least the weather is a little warmer now, so no need for an INHALER (2D: [It may help one breathe easier]) and SCARVES (39D: [Hermès accessories]). Thank goodness!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: PADRE (48A: [Army chaplain]) – First off, to have this entry lying on top of the theme entry that references San Diego is amazing! Second, remember the day April 9, 2021, because that’s the day the sports world stood still. Actually, that’s the day that the first no-hitter by a San Diego Padre pitcher was ever thrown, as Joe Musgrove, in the 8,205th regular season game in San Diego Padres history, threw the first no-hitter in the history of the franchise during a 3-0 win in Arlington against the Texas Rangers.

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

Take care!


Ellen Leuschner’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 2 7 23, no. 0207

Neat theme. Four phrases that end with words that can mean queue are clued with a queue of the things that fit the category the phrases start with:

  • 18a. [Buchanan-Duck-Duke], DAISY CHAIN. Daisy Buchanan from Gatsby, Disney’s Daisy Duck, Daisy Duke from 1970s show The Dukes of Hazzard.
  • 29a. [Paris Métro-BART-London Underground], SUBWAY SERIES. A series of subways from Paris, the Bay Area, and London.
  • 49a. [Fender-Gibson-Yamaha], GUITAR STRING. Three guitar brands. This one’s my favorite as I live with a guitar guy.
  • 63a. [Silverado-Ram-Tundra], PICKUP LINE. Pickup trucks. Note to crossword constructors/editors: The Ram trucks are in the Ram division of Chrysler, and are no longer Dodge vehicles.

Fave fill: MAGIC BEANs from “Jack and the Beanstalk,” STAND TALL, REBUFF.

Surprised to see 11d. [Famed firefighter Red] ADAIR in a Tuesday puzzle. I sure would not expect a newer crossword solver to have any familiarity with the name. He was known for handling oil-well fires. The crossings are all fair, though, so I wouldn’t think people really got stuck here. Artist Max ERNST is in the same corner, probably not a whole lot better known.

There are two cross-referenced clues linked to other answers in the puzzle. I could’ve sworn there were three or four, because it felt like I kept hitting x-refs!

3.5 stars from me.

Matthew Stock’s USA Today Crossword, “Side Salad” — Sophia’s recap

Editor: Anna Gundlach
Theme: Each theme answer ends with a type of salad.

USA Today, 02 07 2023, “Side Salad”

  • 17a [Citrus slice often served with fish] – LEMON WEDGE
  • 38a [Calming outdoor green space]  – ZEN GARDEN
  • 61a [Property on the water] – BEACH HOUSE

Cute theme, but it bothered me that the salads weren’t on the sides of the grid! They also weren’t really on the sides of the theme answers, just one side… too bad “end salad” isn’t a phrase. I’m not trying to be pedantic, but in my opinion the title is a critical part of the USA Today experience, and this one wasn’t as apt as they sometimes are.

I did, however, love all the theme answers Matthew chose! I also loved that there’s a little mini salad going on in the center of the puzzle with COCONUT, MANGOS, and GUAVA. Heck, even STREGA Nona could make some pasta salad in there.

Favorite answers: ALWAYS ON, Yahya Abdul – MATEEN II, LEAP DAY, SZA (so glad we have a new album to reference now!!).

Favorite clue: 39d [Performance with kings and queens] for DRAG SHOW. Great simple misdirect!

Darryl Gonzalez’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

I (mostly) enjoyed this puzzle! I didn’t figure out the theme on my own. It’s an accessible and Tuesday-appropriate theme  (mostly) and must have been challenging to construct. Did you realize what the pattern was without the revealer?

Los Angeles Times, February 7, 2023, Darryl Gonzalez, solution grid

  • 17a [*Focaccia with kalamatas, e.g.] is OLIVE BREAD. I made focaccia last weekend for the first time. So easy. So good. No olives – at least not this time.
  • 24a [*Exclusive Hollywood clubhouse that has a Parlour of Prestidigitation] is the MAGIC CASTLE.
  • 47a [*Virtual locale for exchanging ideas] is a MARKETSPACE. Had to look this one up in Wikipedia.
  • 56a [*Holiday candle scent] is FOREST PINE.

And the revealer: 35a [Clear-cut, and what each part of the answers to the starred clues can follow, respectively] is BLACK AND WHITE. BLACK OLIVE, WHITE BREAD; BLACK MAGIC, WHITE CASTLE; BLACK MARKET, WHITE SPACE; BLACK FOREST, WHITE PINE. Four examples that meet the brief and fit the symmetry – this is why I think it must have been a challenge to construct. 47a seems obscure to me and that’s my only quibble, which could be my limitation.

A few other things:

  • Does PANASONIC still make camcorders? Does anyone?
  • 26d [Prize grabber in an arcade game] is the CLAW, which I can only hear like this

  • There’s a NEATNIK/beatnik poem just waiting to be written.
  • I’d be perfectly happy if I never saw EWER in a puzzle again.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: see above re: MARKETSPACE. I’d also never heard of ANNA Nordqvist.

Natan Last’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 2/7/23 • Tue • Last • solution • 20230207

Tuesday New Yorker crosswords are billed as moderately challenging, but this one went quite quickly for me, despite not knowing—or not fully knowing—some of the names dropped in throughout.

The solve began auspiciously, with 1-across a gimme and much of the entire top sector similarly amenable. I didn’t know 15a [Author of the 2019 short-story collection “Lot” and the 2020 novel “Memorial”] BRYAN WASHINGTON, but crossings set me up with the first two-thirds and the rest was predictable.

I basically oozed my way down the grid—anything that I didn’t know outright was swept up along the way by facile crossings. Picture fast-moving lava on a slope.

  • 17a [Creatures portrayed in some Lunar New Year dances] LIONS. I’m reminded of the very fun 1981 Hong Kong film Martial Club (武館) and especially its opening credits scene. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a quality version to share here. 10a Nickelodeon series subtitle “The Adventures of Manny Rivera”] EL TIGRE. 36d [Feline in some early memes] LOLCAT.
  • 27a [M.M.O.R.P.G. set in the fantasy world of Gielinor] RUNESCAPE. Before referring to the clue I had just the right four letters to make me think the answer would be GUISSEPPE (which is correctly spelled Giuseppe). MMORPG stands for Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.
  • 39a [Take Ecstasy, colloquially] ROLL. I am very unhip.
  • 49a [Pan-Africanist who served as the first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo] PATRICE LUMUMBA. It was historic but short-lived: 24 June to 5 September 1960.
  • 12d [Clay character on S.N.L. with a girlfriend named Miss Sally] MR BILL. Is this an old reference or has he been revived?
  • 21d [“Napoleon Leading the Army Over the __” (Kehinde Wiley work based on a portrait by Jacques-Louis David)] ALPS. Wiley is probably best known for painting the official portrait of Barack Obama.
  • 27d [Left on __ (like someone whose texts have been seen but not answered)] READ. Yep, unhip me. 51a [“Hmmm …”] LET’S SEE.
  • 28d [All __ ] CAPS. I would have liked this better had the clue been [ALL __ ].
  • 32d [“Arrested Development” character who said “I mean, it’s one banana, Michael. What could it cost, ten dollars?”] LUCILLE. I have seen this meme countless times without knowing where it came from.
  • 34d [Icy moon of Jupiter] EUROPA. Also the title of a 1991 Lars von Trier film I’ve been meaning to see.
  • 43d [Begin one’s turn, in some board games] SPIN. I wisely held off on ROLL here (this was before seeing 39-across’ clue).

Wayne Harris’s Universal Crossword – “All the Right Angles” – Matt F’s write up

Universal Solution 02.07.2023 – “All the Right Angles” by Wayne Harris

(Apologies for the late post! I’ve been wrapped up in my own projects lately and spaced my assignment, but I’m here now!)

An astute eye might connect the title and grid design right away — yes, now you see it! — every group of black squares contains one or more 90-degree zags. I personally like the little squiggly ones in the middle. In addition, we have some theme content to tie it all together with the reveal at 49A – [Temperature on a hot day, or a hint to the starred clues’ answers and each black square arrangement in the grid] = NINETY DEGREES. Let’s check out the theme entries:

  • 19A – [Urban intersection boundaries] = STREET CORNERS
  • 32A – [+++] = PLUS SIGNS 
  • 38A – [First letters of Lima and Lisbon, aptly] = CAPITAL L’S

I saw this one coming a mile away but I still enjoyed uncovering the “right-angled-things” Wayne used for the theme. The fill is clean though not too sparkly, which is all well and good in service of the theme. I give it a solid L+ all around.

Thanks Wayne!

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18 Responses to Tuesday, February 7, 2023

  1. Dallas says:

    NYT: Fast Tuesday. The theme was nice, and the clueing reminded me of the Sunday LA times (“Three’s Company”) though, there, the answers were puns instead.

  2. Jenni Levy says:

    I really liked the NYT today! Fun theme.

  3. huda says:

    NYT: That was fun and well done. DAISY CHAIN was my favorite.
    Not crazy about cross references but these did not occupy a lot of territory and worked out well.
    Are cross references meant to make things easier or more difficult for the solver? I guess the focus might be on making the puzzle feel more interconnected— if ZEUS and HERA are in the same puzzle, you can’t act like they’re not related? Just curious about the motivation for them in general.

    • Me says:

      I really like this one, too. Clever theme and a very smooth solve. Great job, Ellen Leuschner!

      I think linking ZEUS and HERA makes sense. Not linking them might lead to a solver wondering whether there was a theme-related reason why they were both in the puzzle.

      I thought I read someplace that linking is less common nowadays because solvers are sometimes on their phone or other devices where you can’t see all the clues at once, in which case linking is mildly annoying. However, I’ve noticed an occasional NYT link where you can’t figure out either answer until you figure out one of them (eg, both clues are along the line of “man’s name that’s an anagram of 10D” or “city along the river in 10D”). I find those to be extremely annoying, both because I find that a bit lazy in terms of cluing, and also because that requires even more scrolling.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Sometimes the x-ref clues are forced when the best way to clue word 1 would mean using word 2 in the clue (not that Shortz et al are bothered by having answer words show up in clues for different answers). Sometimes it’s just the cluer’s whim, entirely avoidable. So many solvers dislike x-refs, though, that it’s not always great to indulge that whim.

  4. Sophomoric Old Guy says:

    NYT. Liked it. Theme was clear and well executed. Agree with Amy on ADAIR. As an OG it’s a classic piece of crossword fill. But would be surprised if many of the new generation of solvers know the name.

  5. JohnH says:

    I liked the NYT but had a different experience from others here. For me, it was hard for a Tuesday, though not because of ADAIR. (I’ve actually no idea who he is apart from crossword filler, though it’d be easy enough to look online.)

    My first themer to fall was DAISY CHAIN, and I saw right off that this meant Daisy in Gatsby but then got stuck. Did Duke somehow supply the chain? Then I got PICK UP LINE but, as someone not at all in auto territory, took quite a while to think that these must be pick-up trucks. Finally got the other two, which made more sense to me, and I ended up just taking for granted that the first works. (FWIW, in my time the Duck family was a lot smaller.)

    Of course, TNY is Natan Last, so be back in hours and hours.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      A flat 4:30 finish for me on Natan’s TNY, which I enjoyed as usual. Played like any ol’ FriNYT.

      Daisy Duck has been around since 1940. I gather, then, that you’re in your 90s?

      • JohnH says:

        All right. I’d guess I’d just forgotten. It just wasn’t that important to me as a kid.

        I’ve had worse times with Natan Last, but with two very long proper names stacked and crossed by six others, it was hard to avoid guesses, including in my case wrong guesses.

  6. sanfranman59 says:

    LAT … This theme doesn’t really work, does it? Even though I wasn’t familiar with all of the combinations, I thought it was going to be that BLACK AND WHITE can precede both of the words in the themers, but apparently BLACK is only supposed to go with the first words and WHITE with the second words? Hmm. There’s definitely such a thing as BLACK BREAD, there are places called the BLACK CASTLE in various places in the world (I’m pretty sure that I visited one in either Ireland or Scotland) and Google informs me that there’s a relatively well-known 1952 Boris Karloff horror film with that title, a BLACK PINE is a legit tree species and both WHITE OLIVEs and WHITE MAGIC are things. The exceptions I’ve noted are arguably less familiar, but still …

    • Dallas says:

      Yeah, I struggled with this theme too…. I finished it, and was a bit perplexed.

    • Mr. [not this time] Grumpy says:

      WHITE BREAD is more of a “language thing” than black bread, methinks. WHITE CASTLE is a chain and more well known, methinks, than various black castles around the world. And so forth and so on. I thought the theme worked well enough for a Tuesday.

  7. Eric H says:

    New Yorker: Just over 10 minutes, which may be the fastest I’ve done a challenging/moderately challenging Natan Last puzzle. Very little I hadn’t encountered before — notably, BRYAN WASHINGTON and RUNESCAPE — plus a few odd clues like ROLL.

    Despite having watched all of “Arrested Development” within the last year, LUCILLE took a lot of crosses. I could picture the character, but blanked on her name.

    Nice to see The MAGNETIC FIELDS in a grid. We’re seeing them next month. I’d love to hear “100,000 Fireflies,” but I don’t really expect to.

    I remember the MR BILL segments (from SNL in the 1970s and ‘80s) as being pretty funny.

  8. Kent says:

    I was amused by the 11-Down clue. My French teacher asked me that question and we had some fun.

  9. Bill Harris says:

    My fave puzzle of the year. Great, clever clues. Theme was also zippy. Thank you!

  10. David L says:

    Here is a funny tweet for crossword enthusiasts.

    (Courtesy of Lynne Murphy’s blog, Separated by a Common Language).

  11. Sue Syo says:

    i kinda feel like you have to be kidding about tues new yorker solve (eady?). really no insights from here. the references were utterly obscure to me. and few crosses to help. maybe it’s my age? just saying.

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