Wednesday, May 17, 2023

LAT untimed (GRAB) 


The New Yorker 4:44 (Amy) 


NYT 5:32 (Amy) 


WSJ 5:10 (Jim) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today tk (Emily) 


AVCX tk (Amy) 


Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Tee Off”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are made-up two-word phrases where the first word starts with T and the second word rhymes with the first word but without the T sound. It may be worth noting that the rhyming parts of each pair have different spellings.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Tee Off” · Mike Shenk · Wed., 5.17.23

  • 17a. [Time between Big Ben’s chimes?] TOWER HOUR.
  • 24a. [Meadows, in her cheap, showy Alice Kramden wardrobe?] TAWDRY AUDREY.
  • 41a. [Site of those “Wizard of Oz” trees that pelt the Scarecrow with apples?] TORTURED ORCHARD.
  • 52a. [Item to keep a crude carrier from drifting?] TANKER ANCHOR.
  • 64a. [Section of a flooring store?] TILE AISLE.

This seems like a rather light theme and that there are probably a great many potential theme answers, but I’m having trouble coming up with alternatives, especially if you add the constraint that the spelling must be different (i.e. something like TEARFUL EARFUL would not be allowed). So while it seems breezy, I do find it interesting. I especially like the middle entry.

Elsewhere LOVER’S LANE tops the fill, plus there’s TALMUDIC, RUNDOWN, and MERCANTILE. Nothing too off-the-wall, so the solve proceeded apace.

Clues of note:

  • 1a. [Hunky-dory]. JAKE. How old is this slang? I’m guessing this is brand new to younger solvers.
  • 49a. [One might be well-made]. WISH. I’m thinking this probably should have had a question mark. It ain’t Thursday yet.
  • 11d. [Sexual drive?]. LOVER’S LANE. Cute clue, although maybe a bit presumptuous.

3.5 stars.

Parker Higgins’s New York Times crossword solution–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 5 17 23, no. 0517

Today’s theme revealer is [Performs a gymnastics move requiring flexibility … or enters answers into this puzzle’s four shaded parts], DOES THE SPLITS. The shaded letters in each of four rows are split by a black square, and these shaded words can be followed to “split.” MAKES EVEN and TENOR hide a SEVEN-TEN split at the bowling alley. CUBAN / ANACONDAS serves dessert, a BANANA split. ASPIRES TO / CK ONE (a Calvin Klein fragrance) give shareholders a STOCK split. And SLICK / ETYMOLOGY runs away LICKETY split. Nice set of “___ split” phrases used here.

Toughest clue for me: 31D. [New York lake that’s the source of the Susquehanna River], OTSEGO. Tried ONEIDA and ONARGA first. You know what they don’t teach Midwestern kids? Upstate New York geography.

Favorite clue: 56A. [Old English, for better or worse?], ETYMOLOGY. Merriam-Webster confirms that yes, the roots of the words “better” and “worse” do go back to Old English.

3.9 stars from me.

Jeffrey Martinovic and Jeff Chen’s Universal crossword, “Round Numbers” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 5/17/23 • Wed • Martinovic, Chen • solution • 20230517

So there are four entries that are phrases ending in a four-letter number, and those numbers describe a ‘circle’ about a black square. They kind of resemble inverted eyebolts.

  • 4d. [*March Madness quartet (Hint: At the end of each starred clue’s answer, read clockwise)] THE FINAL {FOUR}.
  • 5d. [*Goes on a short break] TAKES {FIVE}.
  • 9d. [*State of euphoria] CLOUD {NINE}.
  • 10d. [*Theoretical coldest point] ABSOLUTE {ZERO}.

To facilitate the theme, the crossword employs left-right mirror symmetry. To me, the theme feels a somewhat aimless curiosity. On the other hand, it does the modest job of challenging and entertaining for a few minutes.

  • 18a [Martial art with swords] KENDO. I thought they used wooden staffs? Wikipedia tells me that they are bamboo swords, which seems a sort of intermediate hybrid. 64a [Exercise that stretches the hamstrings] LUNGE.
  • 20a [Pillowy seats: Var.] POUFFES. Not a word you see every day.
  • 22a [Night lights?] AURORAS, but 32a [Astronomical explosions] NOVAE opts for a traditional Latinate pluralization. 
  • Does 49a [Hard-to-define glow] AURA seem a duplication of AURORAS?
  • 23d [Painter Guido whose surname appears in “serenity”] RENI. Good job helping the solver with a rather obscure answer.
  • 57d [Philosopher Descartes] RENÉ. 66a [Cogito, __ sum] ERGO.
  • 58d [Black and Red] SEAS. I feel the clue needs a “, for two”-type qualifier.

Will Nediger’s New Yorker crossword–Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 5/17/23 – Nediger

New to me: 19a. [Friends who are in close contact?], CUDDLE BUDDIES.


Tricky clue: 3d. [Firm counter offer?], HARD SALAMI. Thought this was business lingo for a minute! Nope, HARD SALAMI is a particularly “firm” sausage that might be “offer”ed at a deli “counter.”

Gotta run–3.75 stars from me, and within range of the difficulty level I expected.

Margaret Hurley & Barbara Lin’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

If I’m getting Margaret Hurley & Barbara Lin’s theme correctly, it’s a synonym theme with a clever, but subtle twist. The central answer is THATWASCOOL, with the word WAS doing a lot of lifting. There are four colourful old-timey phrases meaning COOL: THECATSMEOW (I prefer pyjamas), OUTOFSIGHT, PEACHYKEEN & CRACKERJACK.

    • Others:
      [1953 Alan Ladd Western], SHANE. My oldest brother shares that name, and even being born in 1964, he still had teasing from that film (and the series?)
    • [North Carolina college town], ELON. Never thought I’d say it, but glad to see it’s back!
    • [No-bake dessert with a cookie crust], OREO PIE. Never used OREOs, but have often used tennis biscuits or marie biscuits in a similar role. Those are plainer than oreos though, can’t imagine oreos work too well with the creme?
    • [Online marketplace with holiday homes], VRBO. News to me. Is it like (ugh) airbnb?


This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Wednesday, May 17, 2023

  1. John says:

    NYT: having both AAH and AHAS is a bummer, but I understand why they went that way, especially for a Wednesday. Great puzzle though!

    • dh says:

      I always cringe when I see “AAH” or “AHH” in a grid. I don’t see these two spellings as interchangeable at all. “AAH” is an expression of surprise or fright, and “AHH” is what you’d say while sinking into a hot-tub, for example. I know there are differences of opinion on this, but this is mine.

  2. JohnH says:

    JAKE in the WSJ too puzzling to younger solvers? It was new to this older solver, but no matter. It was easy enough to get.

  3. Mutman says:

    NYT : “ You know what they don’t teach Midwestern kids? Upstate New York geography.”

    They don’t teach that to Pennsylvania kids either, and we border the state!

    • JohnH says:

      Nor to me in NYC. I tried OSWEGO, which felt familiar. The actual answer looked just weird to me. But then so did CKONE, which had me balking at KILL IT longer than it should, and YAS Queen. But a puzzle consumed with sci-fi, bowling, and gymnastics seems already an awful specialized interest. Not for me. (Oh, and while umbrella stands may not be everyone’s property, who has an urn lying around just in case?)

      • JohnH says:

        Oh, OTSEGO is in neither MW11C nor RHUD, so I doubt it would be covered in a geography class for anyone, should such a class existed. Not great for geography in a crossword clue. It is, though, in MW online, perhaps from the third unabridged, which says that abuts Cooperstown and appears in James Fennimore Cooper, interesting factoids, not that I’d ever read a word of him.

        • Me says:

          I had OSWEGO instead of OTSEGO, which I had never heard of, for a very long time. I was debating whether there was such a thing as “DOES SHE SPLITS,” which seemed just as likely as OSTEGO.

          Also, cluing CUBAN as “grilled ham and cheese” seems off. Doesn’t a CUBAN sandwich have to have roast pork in it in addition to ham to qualify?

  4. David L says:

    It took me a while to understand the NYT theme because, as person innocent of bowling terminology, I had no clue about ‘seven ten split.’ Google explained it nicely, though.

    OTSEGO and CKONE were also new to me, but the crossings were fair.

  5. billy boy says:

    NYT south half played surprisingly hard for me, I’m guessing wavelength as once I saw SEVEN TEN I wrote in the revealer and had a heads up to the shaded squares. Lots of messy little fill may have been part of the slow coming to me bit.

  6. dh says:

    I knew “JAKE” from watching old movies.

    ” You know what they don’t teach Midwestern kids? Upstate New York geography” I wonder how many New York kids are taught midwestern geography. In fact, I wonder how much geography is taught in schools at all. These days there seem to be more important curricular priorities.

  7. Eric H. says:

    If anyone wants to explain the meta from last week’s AVXC (“Fingers Crossed!”) to me, I’d appreciate it. I got absolutely nowhere with it

    • Eric H. says:

      Never mind. I just got a reply to my email to the AVXC folks. I had the answer, but it was so obvious that I didn’t realize that it was the answer.

  8. anon says:

    AVCX: giving the side-eye to this theme – not really digging the vibe…

  9. Margaret says:

    Am I missing something in the LAT? I’m not clear why the central answer is clued as a revealer instead of just another version of super.

    • Seattle DB says:

      I think that according to Gareth’s review, the central answer uses the word “Was”, which is meant to indicate that the other theme answers were from the past.

      • Margaret says:

        Thanks, I posted my comment before Gareth’s review went up. I definitely needed the explanation though!

  10. JohnH says:

    I can’t print tomorrow’s WSJ. When I click on download pdf, it doesn’t ask to open a pdf app as usual. Instead it takes me to a print page, for of all things three print pages, but the print preview shows only a blank, and so does printing. What the heck?

    • Jim Peredo says:

      People in the comments section for the puzzle (on the WSJ site) are reporting the same thing but that the Print button below the puzzle seems to work.

  11. Thomas says:

    My complaint with the WSJ is that the sound-alike of TAWDRY AUDREY is no coincidence. Pilgrims of Saint Audrey would wear lace necklaces, and eventually this “tawdry lace” fell out of fashion. The descriptor was extended to cheap things in general.

Comments are closed.