Friday, May 12, 2023

Inkubator untimed (Jenni) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


The New Yorker tk (Matt) 


NYT 6:08 (Amy) 


Universal 4:04 (Jim) 


USA Today 3:36(Darby) 


Rachel Simon’s Inkubator crossword, “We All Scream For…”—Jenni’s write-up

This is a Good Humor truck of a puzzle on a sunny day – fun and light and sweet. Each theme answer is an ice cream pun. Wordplay! Ice cream! What’s not to like?

Inkubatory, May 11, 2023, Rachel Simon, “We All Scream For…” solution grid

  • 19a [At the ice cream shop, the truck driver says, “It’s really backed up on the interstate. Could I get a ___?”] is TRAFFIC CONE.
  • 29a […the lawyer says, “I argued my case well, and justice was served. I’d like a ___ “] is FAIR SHAKE.
  • 42a […the reporter says, “My bombshell story just dropped. Can I get a ___? “] is NEWS SCOOP. That one doesn’t quite work for me. A hot news story is just a SCOOP, at least in my mind.
  • 50a […the majorette says, “I crushed my routine today! I’ll have a ___ “] is PARADE FLOAT.

Now I want ice cream. Aside from 42a, all the answers are solid and the puns are funny. Nice!

A few other things:

  • If ice cream isn’t your jam (sorry) you can have some GUAC.
  • I like the word MOSEY. I just do.
  • 32a [Yankee’s implement] is a BAT. Doesn’t look like that tonight. Aargh.
  • I’m ashamed to say that 42d [Refusal to a ship’s captain] stumped me for a bit. It’s NO MAAM and I expected to have a SIR in there somewhere. The patriarchy, we’re soaking in it.
  • YEESH is a fun word.

What I didn’t know I did this puzzle: that there’s a COFFEEHOUSE in the Buffyverse called the Espresso Pump. I also did not know that Viola Davis went to high school and college in RHODE ISLAND.

Enrique Henestroza Anguiano’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 5 12 23, no. 0512

First up, my favorite clues here:

  • 30A. [Neckwear that’s not constricting, one hopes], BOA. I boringly tried TIE first, and was so glad to discover that was wrong. Don’t see a lot of BOA clues that combine the “fluffy scarf” and “snake that can kill ya” meanings.
  • 61A. [They “hatch” late in life], NEST EGGS. Feels like a super-fresh clue.

New to me:

  • The BEERAMID, 55A. [Portmanteau structure built from discarded cans]. College party vibe?
  • 34A. [Computer flow like [Insert → Picture → From File], CASCADING MENU. Didn’t know this term, but yes, I know that thing! Calling it CASCADING makes it sound pretty, but hey, the steps do cascade out.

Fave fill: ALL-TIME GREATS, ISABEL ALLENDE, the 1990s TV show NEWSRADIO (how is this “cult”? it was on a network for years!), ANTIGONE, ART PENCILS (my husband just ordered a bunch of leads of assorted sizes and hardnesses from Jet Pens, refills for mechanical pencils—if you haven’t checked out the Jet Pens site but you like drawing, doing crosswords with mechanical pencils or cool pens, head on over because it’s delightful), a BIG LEAD you better not blow, and ON RETAINER. NASCAR is a “no” because Chicago’s exiting mayor signed a 3-year contract for NASCAR road racing to take place in Chicago, and it will block people from accessing Grant Park for about a month this summer (and in the next two years), without consulting residents or the City Council. The nerve!

Four stars from me.

Jared Goudsmit’s Universal crossword, “Superfoods”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are idiomatic phrases where the first word is roughly synonymous with “super” and the second word is a food item. Clues are conversational as if it was all a discussion of a wonderful meal.

Universal crossword solution · “Superfoods” · Jared Goudsmit · Fri., 5.12.23

  • 16a. [“The biscuits were so-so, but that was some seriously ___.”] “GOOD GRAVY!”
  • 25a. [“And that pie! A delicious crust, and ___!”] “GREAT PUMPKIN!”
  • 42a. [“I loved the pasta. So much flavor in that ___.”] “AWESOME SAUCE!”
  • 55a. [“But the fruit platter was the best of all. Choice grapes and a ___.”] “TOP BANANA!”

Great theme with a perfect title, wonderfully executed! In my book, it’s hard to go wrong when theme answers are all lively colloquial phrases, but on top of that, I enjoyed that conversational cluing tying everything together.

The only nit I’ll pick is that it would have been ideal if the entries were in meal order (i.e. starters, entree, dessert). But we get biscuits and gravy, then pie, then pasta, and lastly a fruit platter. With these entries, it doesn’t look like it’s possible to re-arrange them in meal order, so I’ll just have to be content with the overall fun and excellent theme.

The icing on the cake, as it were, was the smooth fill and lively long non-theme entries such as “I THINK NOT,” “TIME FLIES,” SURE BET, GO COLD, and TED TALK. Is there even a bit of crosswordese in this thing? Maybe the partial I SAW, but that’s really it. Lovely fill all around, even finishing with a “WHEE!”

Clues of note:

  • 18a. [Omar in the House]. ILHAN. Simple but very effective clue making me ask the question, “Was Omar Epps on the TV show House?” (He was.)
  • 32a. [Apt name for a florist?]. ROSE. Not sure about this clue. There are plenty of names for women based on flowers. Usually “apt” clues are surprising in some way (like “Stu” being a good name for a cook), but this one isn’t.
  • 53a. [Type of theater company, for short]. REP. Don’t see this cluing angle very often for this common entry. I like it.
  • 54a. [Halle Bailey’s 2023 princess role]. ARIEL. Didn’t see the film, but my question is why is a 56-year-old Halle Berry playing a teenage mermaid. The answer is that the actress in question is Halle Bailey, not Berry. Reminder to put on your reading glasses, folks!

Not a complicated theme, but simple, elegant, and wonderfully executed. Enjoyable puzzle all around. 4.25 stars.

Brooke Husic’s USA Today crossword, “In the Running”—Darby’s write-up

Editor: Anna Gundlach

Theme: Letters spelling out TROT bookend each of the theme answers, placing everything else IN THE RUNNING.

Theme Answers

Brooke Husic's USA Today crossword, "In the Running" solution for 5/12/2023

Brooke Husic’s USA Today crossword, “In the Running” solution for 5/12/2023

  • 16a [“Blog founded by activist Monica Roberts”] TRANSGRIOT
  • 34a [“Behind-the-back pool feat, for example”] TRICK SHOT
  • 53a [“Place where locomotives are stored”] TRAIN DEPOT

The aesthetics of this grid are really pleasing, working well with two ten- and one nine-letter theme set. 45a [“Tugboat’s sound”] TOOT also feels a little like a bonus, given its proximity to TRAIN DEPOT, since trains can TOOT too (even if they are more commonly choo-chooing). I really appreciated learning about TRANSGRIOT, which won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Blog. TRICK SHOT  was also pretty fun, especially as I’ve had to restrain myself from the distraction of watching a million TRICK SHOT videos on YouTube.

I really loved 24d [“Workplace protest”] WALKOUT at the center of this grid, especially given the writers’ strike currently happening in Hollywood. I also really liked both 4d [“Form of urban rapid transit”] LIGHT RAIL and 38d [“Artist’s core supporters”] ACE SPEC in particular, though there was a lot of fill I really enjoyed (like WONTON and FANBASE). Plus! 1d [“Weed”] POT and 23d [“Pizza order”] PIE felt like POT PIE when glancing at the grid, given that they’re only separated by one black square.

Ultimately, this was a quick fill for me and one that I really enjoyed!

Taylor Johnson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 5/12/23 • Fri • Johnson • solution • 20230512

Fun with possessive syntax.

  • 59aR [Makes room, and when parsed differently, an instruction for four answers in this puzzle] MOVES OVER, or ‘move S over’. (But ironically, note move’s over.)
  • 17a. [Leg muscle of a mathlete?] GEEK’S QUAD (Geek Squad).
  • 31a. [Fruity pastry made by a movie boxer?] ROCKY’S TART (rocky start). {46d [Bumpy] UNEVEN.}
  • 35a. [Pub pour for an enlisted soldier?] PRIVATE’S ALE (private sale).
  • 42a. [Vacation for a stand-up performer?] COMIC’S TRIP (comic strip).

Yup, works.

  • 9d [Indie rockers Death __ for Cutie] CAB. Named after a song by Neil Innes’ Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.
  • 11d [Classic bit of slapstick] SPITTAKE, which looks like a Dutch nautical term, or possibly a dog breed. Maybe a Japanese mushroom?
  • 25d [British dude] BRUV, short for brother. 20a [“Don’t you agree?,” informally] INNIT, which also seems like a Briticism.
  • 32d [Cover the spread?] CATER. Great clue.
  • 16a [Enough] AMPLE. But I somehow decided that the middle letter was I, for A MILE. As in, “we made it by a mile“, which is surely enough.
  • 24a [Game requiring plug-ins?] MAD LIBS. Latter-day misdirection.
  • 66a [Event of passing interest?] RELAY. Another great clue.

Puzzle’s over.

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19 Responses to Friday, May 12, 2023

  1. Mutman says:

    NYT: Naticked at MATCHA/CSA crossing. Otherwise a fine Friday puzzle.

    Never heard of HAIM either, but gettable from the crosses.

  2. David L says:

    Friday NYTs seem to YOYO in difficulty of late. Today’s was straightforward, with nothing that really slowed me down. I guess it’s hard for constructors and editors to judge exactly how a particular puzzle will land.

    • Eric H says:

      Today’s took me less than half the 30+ minutes last Friday’s took. I went partway back through the Friday puzzles from April, and all of my times were under 15 minutes.

      Fun puzzle despite being on the easy side.

  3. steve says:

    giving an orca nom for the cluing in today’s new yorker
    full of standouts, made for a fun solve

    • Milo says:

      TNY: Yes, I liked this one a lot once I figured out what was going on. New Yorker Fridays have been more hit than miss lately! Kind of a shame they’ve gone unreviewed here since March. (And before you fire up the flamethrower, yes, I know this is an ad-free, volunteer-run site. Just sayin.’)

    • Mr. [moderately] Grumpy says:

      I largely agree, but I do not pronounce the clue for 51A that way. Maybe that’s how they say it in Boston? Phonetic/pronunciation puzzles are always risky, and that one annoyed me. And 61A was an outlier as well, with the gimmick at the end. All that said, it was a baffling puzzle and a treat to finally figure out what was going on.

    • Eric H says:

      I solved it like a themeless puzzle, and then I had to go back and read through the clues for the theme answers a few times before I understood what was going on.

      Maybe that means I’m dense. Maybe that means the theme needs a bit of work. 16A, 24A and 36A work reasonably well. The last two, not so much.

    • RichardZ says:

      Clever puzzle, but I’m not seeing 51A (CHOWDERHEAD). I see that the first two syllables of the clue (Amazing?) are referring to MA(ssachusetts), and chowder is associated with Boston, but I’m not sure how to pronounce or parse the clue in a way that leads to the answer.

  4. billy boy says:

    SW took me 4x the time for the rest of the puzzle, lol

  5. Andy G says:

    I guess I’m dense as I still don’t understand the theme of the New Yorker puzzle.

    • Eric H says:

      Figure out what state each theme answer refers to. Sound out the clue for each theme answer. Each is super to sound like the post office abbreviation for that state.

      E.g. 16A CORNHUSKER gets you Nebraska, which gets you to “NE one”?

      I hope that helps. (I only got it after I had filled in the grid.)

    • steve says:

      ne, me, mt, ma, nv

      title: state your name

  6. Andy G says:

    Thanks. I’m glad I was able to complete the puzzle in a reasonable amount of time without having any understanding of this rather convoluted theme.

Comments are closed.