Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Jonesin' 5:31 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni) 


NYT 4:02 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal untimed (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


WSJ 4-something (Jim) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Now in 3-D” — I think it’s solid reasoning – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 5/30/23

Jonesin’ solution 5/30/23

Hello lovelies! This week’s Jonesin’ grid involves adding three Ds to phrases and allowing hilarity to ensue:

  • 20a. [Like trash that’s tampered with?] RANK AND FIDDLED (RANK AND FILE)
  • 24a. [Got confused about the meaning of “horsepower” when fixing a car?] GARAGES ADDLED? GARAGE SADDLED(GARAGE SALE) I feel like the correct verb here is ADDLED, not SADDLED, but I don’t get why GARAGE would be plural here.
  • 42a. [European capital in a bewildered state?] MOSCOW MUDDLED (MOSCOW MULE)
  • 48a. [What happened at the coronation of Charles III?] OLD KING CODDLED (OLD KING COLE)

Other things:

  • 44d. [One of the Big Three credit rating agencies] MOODYS. The Big Three are Moody’s, S&P, and Global Ratings, and Fitch Group. I completely confused this with the Big Three consumer credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).
  • 24d. [“Doritos & Fritos” duo 100 ___} GECS. The American musical duo released their latest album, “10,000 gecs,” this year.
  • 32a. [National Coming ___ Day] OUT. Coming Out Day falls on October 11, but the clue is a nice reminder that Pride Month starts this week! A happy month to all those Los Jibbities who celebrate!

Until next week!

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 626), “Bridgerton!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 626: “Bridgerton!”

Hello there, everyone. Hope all of you had a good holiday weekend.

We have an interesting little theme in today’s grid, as, initially, the bubbled letters in the circles led me to believe that there was going to be some fun with anagrams. But as the title suggests, if broken up into two, the letters R-T-O-N appear consecutively in the theme answers and act as a bridge in connecting multiple words in those entries.

        • IN THE AIR TONIGHT (17A: [1981 hit single by Phil Collins])
        • HAIR TONIC (24A: [Coif-grooming formulation])
        • WATCH YOUR TONGUE (39A: [“Hey, stop the rude talk!”])
        • PORTO NOVO (51A: [Benin’s capital])
        • I ANSWER TO NOBODY (63A: [“You’re not the boss of me!”])

We have some lovely long, non- themed fill with the paralleling entries of ANTIPASTI (3D: [Italian appetizers]) and AGITATORS, and really like the clue with the latter since I thought there would be a mislead to an instrument that’s actually used to stir things (36D: [They’re bound to stir things up]). I’m sure that the clue/answer pairing for DAWG took some people back, as, as much as I know about a lot of old cartoons, this was one that I was not able to catch in syndication when growing up (5A: [TV toon Deputy ___]). Was just at a basketball game last night (Heat/Celtics Game 7), and as much as in-arena music has changed over the years, it’s nice to hear the classic sound of an ORGAN playing at a ball game (10D: [One might pull out all the stops to play it?]).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: HOWE (26D: [Hockey legend Gordie]) – What do you call the act of scoring a goal, recording an assist and getting into a fight in the same game? If it’s a hockey game, it’s long been called a “Gordie Howe hat trick.” Before Wayne Gretzky came along and shattered all of his records, it was Howe, aka Mr. Hockey, who was considered the best player the National Hockey League had ever seen, as he ended his career with 801 goals, 1,049 assists and 1,850 points.  .

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

Take care!


Chase Dittrich’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Picture Perfect”—Jim’s review

We get a basic lesson in photography with this puzzle. The first words of familiar phrases tell us how to take a picture. The revealer is SNAP DECISION (53a, [Thing made in haste, or perhaps after the first words of 20-, 34- and 40-Across]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Picture Perfect” · Chase Dittrich · Tue., 5.30.23

  • 20a. [Question of parliamentary rules] POINT OF ORDER.
  • 34a. [Conference setting, sometimes] ZOOM MEETING.
  • 40a. [Market research panels] FOCUS GROUPS.

Cute. I’ll admit to not having grokked the theme until after I finished the puzzle and after a few more moments of trying to parse the theme revealer’s clue. That may be due to our holiday activities (which means a margarita before dinner and wine with dinner). But eventually I got to the aha moment and I enjoyed it. I do wish those 9-letter Across entries (SHOE STORE and ROSA PARKS)—while very nice—weren’t distracting from the theme answers, though.

Top bit of fill has to be ANTONIO (my grandfather’s name), plus the aforementioned ROSA PARKS, FLORIDA, VLASIC, and SLOT CAR. The oddest bit of fill has to be plural AMMOS [Arrows, darts, bullets, etc.] which generally doesn’t need the S to be plural.

Clues of note:

  • 8a. [One of twelve in a box]. JUROR. Haha! Not DONUT.
  • 22a. [Result from a day at the beach]. TAN. It’s summer!! Make sure to wear that sunscreen, though!

Nice puzzle. 3.75 stars.

Jeffrey K. Martinovic’s Universal Crossword – “Throw One Back” – Matt F’s write up

Universal Solution 05.30.23

Theme Synopsis:

I had to sit with this for a minute after solving to figure out the theme. The title tells us what’s going on but it’s a little cryptic. Looking at the theme set, I realized that the end of each theme answer, or, the “back,” is something that can be “thrown.” Let’s take a look:

  • 17A – [Spoke convincingly yet insincerely] = TALKED A GOOD GAME
  • 32A – [Bowlful at a school dance] = FRUIT PUNCH
  • 44A – [Match made in heaven] = PERFECT FIT
  • 63A – [Donkey group] = DEMOCATIC PARTY

Nice set!

Overall Impressions:

Some of these sections played tougher than what I’m used to from Universal. I think this is mostly due to the proper nouns that were out of my wheelhouse: River TRENT, playwright Henrik IBSEN, English director David YATES, and Maple Leafs GM KYLE Dubas. In the end all the crossings were fair and I was able to finish just a tad slower than average, so it wasn’t that difficult, but I did have to pause more than usual in a few areas. The long and mid-length fill was fun, especially PAL AROUND, IT FIGURES, BIOTECH, and SIGN AWAY.

Fun Fact:

JAPAN’s current capital is Tokyo, which is an anagram of its former capital, Kyoto. This was a fun angle for the clue, and something I had not considered before. Kyoto was the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years, from 794-1868.

Thanks for the puzzle, Jeffrey!

Kathryn Ladner’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 5 30 23, no. 0530

I like bird themes but I hadn’t seen the theme at all till after I finished solving. The two-part revealer’s second half was the last answer in my grid, filled in via crossings. The 4d/50d revealer cites the EIGHT / BIRDS that appear within the mostly shortish theme answers: robin in PROBING, eagle in BEAGLES, tern in FRATERNITY, lark in MALARKEY, wren in LAWRENCE, loon in BALLOONIST, egret in REGRETS, and owl in SCOWLED. As the revealer clue notes, each of these birds is centered within the longer entry, which adds a note of elegance to the theme.

It’s 11:17 pm on Monday and I haven’t yet gotten around to the Monday New Yorker, so I’ll sign off here with a rating of 4 stars. No MALARKEY!

Amie Walker’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

I saw the connection among the theme answers. The revealer took me by surprise and will be the “what I didn’t know before I did this puzzle” for today.

Theme answers:

  • 18a [One in a snuggly pair] is LITTLE SPOON.
  • 23a [Office fund for odds and ends] is PETTY CASH.
  • 53a [Insignificant weakness] is a MINOR FLAW.
  • 59a [Without much warning, with “on”] is SHORT NOTICE.

The revealer is in the middle, and for some reason I solved this puzzle in a spiral and came to it last. 34d [With 36-Down and 38-Across, Blink-182 hit song, and a description of four long answers in this puzzle] is ALL THE SMALL THINGS. Never heard of the song. It does indeed describe all the theme answers. I like the fact that they all have synonyms for “small” and they’re all solid. It’s not the constructors fault that I’m too old for this puzzle.

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

New Yorker • 5/30/23 • Tue • Husic • solution • 20230530

Sort of stumbled my way into completion of this grid, which had a fair amount of material I did not know.

I haven’t yet done yesterday’s crossword in the New Yorker, so I can’t compare this one to it, but it feels as if it’s more difficult than a typical Monday there.

A satisfying workout.

  • 9a [Star cluster?] A-LIST. Pretty nice spin.
  • 14a [Artistic essence, in Indian aesthetics] RASA. New to me.
  • 18a [Phase in which one subverts the expectation to be nice] VILLAIN ERA. 30d [Modern aesthetic that embraces a folkloric ferality] GOBLINCORE. We’ve seen goblin mode at least twice in crosswords previously—Natan Last’s New Yorker on 3 April of this year, and BEQ’s “Modern-Day Monsters” from 1 December 2022)—but combining it with the trendy -core suffix is a new formation to me.
  • 20a [Story with a point?] looks like a misdirection toward FABLE, but it’s ATTIC.
  • 26a [C6H2(NO2)3CH3] looked vaguely familiar, but I needed a letter to see that it was TNT, trinitrotoluene.
  • 27a [Dialect spoken in some Black communities] AAVE, African-American Vernacular English, which is so much better than ‘ebonics’—remember that?
  • 33a [Imperative that opens Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”] LET’S GO GIRLS.
  • 36a [They’re bound for a good time] ROPE BUNNIES. I have no idea what this is, and my final letters to fill in included this entry’s I. Okay, it’s related to what I thought it kind of might be (I see now that when I said “no idea” that was rhetorically hyperbolic): it’s a slang term in BDSM for someone who enjoys being tied up.
  • 40a [Went 👋] WAVED HI, but if you had told me that wavedhi was the answer to 14-across, I would’ve thought it seemed plausible.
  • Factette! 60a [Component in the mortar of the Great Wall of China] RICE.
  • 64a [Name hidden in “mistaken identity’ ENID. This may have been the first answer I filled in. Was a relief to have a can’t-miss one.
  • 5d [Trio in a miniseries subtitled “The Queens of R&B”] SWV, Sisters With Voices.
  • 6d [Dragon’s hideout] LAIR, 57d [Winter digs] DEN.
  • 7d [Baby bird that might have a heart-shaped face] OWLET. Probably a barn owl, then. Are we thankful or disappointed that the clue didn’t use the word cordiform?
  • 12d [“To __, to seek, to find, and not to yield”] STRIVE. This from Tennyson’s “Ulysses“.
  • 19d [Trade off] ALTERNATE. Note the absence of a hyphen in the clue, signalling that it isn’t a noun.
  • 25d [Ironic choice of pasta to serve fra diavolo] ANGEL HAIR. Cute … and yep, I’m indeed finding several results online for cappellini fra diavolo.
  • 48d [Ancient celebrant of Lughnasadh] DRUID. It’s a holiday marking the beginning of the harvest season.

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28 Responses to Tuesday, May 30, 2023

  1. IAAL says:

    I’m new to crosswords, so I like to come here after I finish the NYT to see how my feelings line up with you more experienced folk. I didn’t see the bird theme until you pointed out where it was… I filled that one in on a guess.

    • marciem says:

      Welcome, Cruciverbalist IAAL! (that’s your new job :D ).

      The hint about the birds was given pretty obscurely in the puzzle, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen it either…. (and I’ve been doing xwords for a loooong time, theme or no theme).
      In today’s case, 4d(own) and 50d tell you what you’re looking for. Usually it isn’t quite that obscure. The theme here didn’t help with the solve, it was more of a constructors feat than a solvers amusement.

      Normally the NYT on Mon, Tue, Wed, maybe Thurs. will have a theme somewhere. Sometimes the theme will help with the solve, sometimes not.

  2. DougC says:

    NYT: It’s two puzzles in one! First the crossword, then find-the-hidden-words. Or find-the-hidden-birds. Easier than Monday for me. On days like this, I wonder if the Monday and Tuesday puzzles were accidentally switched. ;-)

  3. Mike H says:

    No mention of the New Yorker’s 1D answer? A word that has never appeared in a New York Times puzzle (not a total surprise), and that clue! Thought I was doing a BEQ puzzle. :-)

    • Christopher Smith says:

      It’s funny that NYT is comfortable with “eargasm” but not the word it’s derived from

    • Tcbphd says:

      Didn’t like it. Disliked ROPEBUNNIES as well (I had RAPEBUNNIES at first too). Just seems off. Guess I’m getting old. As to ORGASM, I’d prefer “sexual
      high point” or something less slang as a clue. Somehow that seems better.

    • Eric H says:

      I’m embarrassed how long it took me to come up with a six-letter word ending in -SM that means “come.”

  4. Mary V. says:

    Really tired of the TNY’s efforts to be hip. If you are under 30, these puzzles are pretty much unsolvable. Not surprising that this one got 12 ratings of 1.

    • JohnH says:

      I have more white space than ever in the past. I can barely get a foothold (and I did get the diavolo joke), and even that leads nowhere. Frustrating.

    • Seattle DB says:

      I’ve learned to accept that some puzzle sources are aiming for specific markets. I’m a retired senior, so I don’t do USAT or TNY. I like puzzles that are all-inclusive, which is why Evan Birhholz’s WAPO is my favorite of the week.

      • Tcbphd says:

        I like puzzles I learn from and TNY is fresh. Admittedly, a little too fresh today!

        • JohnH says:

          I don’t think that’s fair. I’m a lifelong learner. But how can I learn if all the squares stay blank and the crossings are just more of the same?

          I think these puzzles reinforce the idea that there are different worlds with different ages, and that’s really a shame. Who wants to learn then? Amy herself gives fave clues that reference her favorite things. So it’s only natural to assume that critics just want their old favorite sports references and lots of Beatles songs, no matter how often we try to object that all we want is less of a slog and fair crossings.

          It reinforces the view, too, that all our interests are about our own early adulthood. What happened to the idea that literate people should care about things they couldn’t possibly be old enough to remember and about things that unfold now? I spent my life after college not just listening to great new music, and I don’t mean hits, but also learning about classical music, jazz, arts, literature, and more science than I’d studied as a physics major. If that’s all oldies, the worse for all of us. And yet I don’t insist on them in a crossword.

          • Gary R says:

            Once again, I find myself wondering about the criticism of The New Yorker puzzle. No – it’s not the NYT – it’s not supposed to be.

            I’m 66 years old. The brand new stuff for me today was VILLAIN ERA, GOBLIN CORE, RASA (don’t think that’s generational), SWV (don’t think that’s generational either). I understood the reference for ROPE BUNNIES, but spent a little too long with ROPE BUddIES.

            But these entries were all manageable with crosses. Just don’t understand the whining.

            • Mark says:

              I wish people didn’t refer to contrary opinions as “whining”.
              It’s ok to not like something. It’s ok to express those opinions. That doesn’t necessarily mean someone is whining. Those kinds of statements only serve to shut down any real, honest conversation.

            • Gary R says:

              I don’t consider “contrary opinions” as whining. But when the same commenters complain about the same issues (“This is too pop culture/contemporary for me.”) week after week with the Monday/Tuesday TNY puzzles, when it’s pretty well established that that’s what the Monday/Tuesday TNY puzzles are about – yeah, that’s “whining.”

    • Eric H says:

      I’m having trouble reconciling your first two sentences.

      Did you mean if you are *over* 30, the New Yorker puzzles are unsolvable?

      If so, I disagree. I’m in my 60’s and while I sometimes struggle with those puzzles, I eventually manage to solve them.

      • JohnH says:

        “Did you mean if you are *over* 30, the New Yorker puzzles are unsolvable?” Yes (although it depends on the constructor).

    • Mary V. says:

      meant to say over of course. sorry for the inconvenience.

  5. PJ says:

    TNY – I enjoyed the puzzle and solved it in a workmanlike like way. I did not know any of the five long acrosses. I dropped in ANGELHAIR but no other of the long downs. Each section had two or three toeholds that allowed me to complete the section and eventually suss the long entries. I finished in Natick at 51a/41d.

    I enjoyed the puzzle. Two things didn’t quite sit well – TOATEE as an entry and the clue for VECTOR. I have “magnitude AND direction ” burned in my brain from a physics class long ago.

  6. sanfranman59 says:

    TNY … sigh … In what language are the clues and answers in this puzzle? … I count 18 answers that I had absolutely no chance of getting, even with a bunch of crosses in place in most cases. ROPE BUNNIES? RASA? VILLIAN ERA? GOBLIN CORE? SWV?

    Oh well. It’s another TNY Monday/Tuesday learning opportunity. I wonder how many of those 18 WTF clue/answer combos will stick with me? I’m guessing not many.

    I’ll probably get flack for saying so here, but it sometimes seems as if there’s a certain cadre of TNY Monday and Tuesday constructors whose primary goal is to one-up the others with how many modern, esoteric clue/answer combinations they can cram into a single 15x puzzle.

    • Herr Heimlich says:

      I’m with you in wondering what their goal is, sanfranman59. Do they think learning these phrases/words/abbreviations will help encourage people to be more accepting?

      • Me says:

        I don’t think it’s so much that they are thinking about either increasing acceptance or one-upping people, but I think that there’s a segment of constructors who have a completely legitimate goal of having “fresh” answers. I think a lot of these fresh answers will be forgotten in a few years, and I personally wouldn’t be so interested in immortalizing these very evanescent terms, but clearly TNY editors and constructors feel differently (which is a completely reasonable approach).

    • GlennG says:

      I pretty much can keep echoing my previous comments on the matter (grids stuffed to the gills with absolute obscurity, lots of guessing in attempts to solve, Naticks galore), not only with the New Yorker but with about anything these days. Google absolutely required to solve about every puzzle anymore with hard Naticks being ubiquitous (Wednesday’s NYT and LAT being great examples).

      I don’t mind a challenge as long as it’s a fair one. I’m sure there’s some that appreciate that every crossword venue is pitching at an experts-only level these days, but I’d find it very difficult to suggest anything to a new solver these days. I know if I came into this environment as a new solver, I probably wouldn’t be solving crosswords after seeing a few of these things.

  7. Eric H says:

    New Yorker: It felt more challenging than yesterday’s, and it took me about a third longer than yesterday’s.

    I’ve never heard of ROPE BUDDIES or GOBLIN CORE before, so I originally had the equally plausible ROPE BUnnIES and the doesn’t-quite-fit GremLIN CORE. I knew EEYORE was right, so I should have been able to figure out YONCE (a nickname new to me) quicker than I did.

  8. Brenda Rose says:

    Brooke Husic is a perfect example of a setter who is not mainstream nor of my generation. Even though I am closer to 8o than 70 I follow Husic on her Laydee site. I like her sass & the culture she embraces. I started umpteen years ago with Merl & then graduated by connecting to the next generation of xwords. “If you know it you know it” is the anthem of xwords today. The general public does not get to have a say. I crossed that stream so I can continue to enjoy solving in the future that is here.

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