Monday, June 5, 2023

BEQ 3:51 (Matthew) 


LAT tk (Stella) 


NYT 4:08 (Sophia) 


The New Yorker 8:00 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today tk (tk) 


WSJ 3:45 (Jim) 


Eric Rollfing’s New York Times crossword — Sophia’s write-up

Theme: Each theme answer contains the letter sequence UITS, thus literally putting “IT” between “US”.

New York Times, 06 05 2023, By Eric Rollfing

  • 16a [Eating utensil with a serrated edge] – GRAPEFRUIT SPOON
  • 32a [Catholic academy like Gonzaga or Xavier] – JESUIT SCHOOL
  • 40a [“Stop dragging your feet!”] – QUIT STALLING
  • 56a [“Let this be our little secret” … or a hint to letter sequences hidden in 16-, 32- and 40-Across] – KEEP IT BETWEEN US

This is a solid “shared letter” theme, with a (grid-spanning!) revealer that ties it together perfectly. There are a fair amount of words with this letter pattern (think “fruits”, “suits”, etc.) but not too many phrases where the “uits” is split across two words as it is here. QUIT STALLING was my favorite phrase here, but maybe that’s just because I don’t eat GRAPEFRUIT, with a SPOON or otherwise.


Clue highlights: [___ Tap (mockumentary rock band)] for SPINAL, [Prepare for use, as a Slip ‘N Slide] for UNROLL, [Declaration delivered (or not) in a “Love Is Blind” finale] – I DO (honestly this clue was the highlight of the puzzle for me)

New to me: Apparently, the correct spelling of Georgia O’KEEFFE‘s name – I spelled it with an I and had to hunt down my error after completing the puzzle.

Happy Monday all!

Lisa Senzel & Jeff Chen’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Feeling’ Groovy”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases whose first words are also slangy synonyms for “cool.” The revealer is “THAT WAS COOL” (60a, [“Neato!” (and a hint to the starts of 17-, 25-, 35- and 51-Across)]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Feeling’ Groovy” · Lisa Senzel & Jeff Chen · Mon., 6.5.23

  • 17a. [Square root symbol] RADICAL SIGN.
  • 25a. [Film character with an army of winged monkeys] WICKED WITCH.
  • 35a. [Battle at the end of a level, often] BOSS FIGHT.
  • 51a. [Black-and-white cruiser?] KILLER WHALE.

That’s a really fun set of entries. I had forgotten the name for the RADICAL SIGN, but it came right back to me with a few crossings. I wonder how it got that name. Was the person who came up with it that much of a rebel? And as someone currently in the throes of Tears of the Kingdom, I enjoyed seeing BOSS FIGHT.

The 9-letter central entry results in larger-than-usual corners in this grid, filled quite nicely for the most part. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a MID-SOLE, but I liked EPAULET, SLOSHED, BAKLAVA, OIL RIGS, TOP SOIL, and “NICE ONE!” I feel like I’ve seen WHAM-O a lot recently, but that’s always a fun entry, as is CAP’N. LORES is a bit weird in the plural, though.

Clue of note: 57a. [Deer or rear]. HIND. Specifically, a female red deer is called a HIND.

Smooth, pleasant, clean puzzle. A nice start to the week. Four stars.

Desiree Penner and Jeff Sinnock’s Universal crossword, “P-U!” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 6/5/23 • Mon • “P-U!” • Penner, Sinnock • solution • 20230605

Simply two-word phrases with the initials P-U.

  • 18a. [Full of anticipation] PSYCHED UP.
  • 26a. [Very computer-savvy people] POWER USERS.
  • 46a. [Instinctual impulse] PRIMAL URGE.
  • 58a. [Home of Brigham Young University] PROVO, UTAH.

Only four theme entries, allowing the rest of the grid to breathe. And it flows well.

  • 3d [Conversation in which people are often lying?] PILLOW TALK. 19d [Make a bed?] HOE.
  • 6a [Country mentioned in “Come Fly With Me”] PERU. Beginning with P and ending with U. Just observing.
  • 17a [“Roger” follower, on a radio] WILCO. “Will comply”.

Pressed for time this ayem, so that’s all I’ll write. 

Natan Last’s New Yorker crossword–Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 6/5/23 – Natan Last

Yay, a Natan Monday! *FIST BUMPS*

Fave fill: “YOU DO YOU,” FREE REIN (which many misspell as reign), SAFETY NET clued as an [Asset for a risktaker] (sure is easier to start a business if you have plenty of other support to fall back on if it hasn’t MADE MONEY and isn’t a CASH COW), BANH MI, comedian Nikki GLASER (her routine is not for kids), MONA LISA, SUNRISE MOVEMENT, CASH COW, plus lots of solid longish fill that’s a little less sparkly. Boo to FUELERS.

No idea what this means: 33a. [When employees might stop working: Abbr.], COB. Change of …, conclusion of …–ah! Close of business sounds right. Never seen that abbreviated before.

Four stars from me.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Washington Post crossword — Matthew’s write-up

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword solution, 6/5/2023

YMMV, but this is my kind of themeless grid. Lots of sixes and sevens giveth (TREKKIE, DR TEETH, PANTSED, NEATNIK, NOT A FAN) and taketh away (RUSSULA, CABALAS), and somewhere in the middle (TOE BONE, RESEVERS). The clues in particular are a highlight here, whether color, misdirection, or plain difficulty. I’m looking particularly at [“Hard pass”] for NOT A FAN, [DJ with the catchphrase “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars”] for Casey KASEM, and [Keep home] for CASTLE — “keep” as an architectural feature.

Limited in time for notes: While he’s well into his own career, this may be the first time I’ve seen Luke RUSSERT grouped with his father Tim, who is something of a hometown son for those of us from Buffalo, and whose memoir “Big Russ and Me” was an unavoidable Fathers’ Day gift in Western New York in the years following its publication.

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30 Responses to Monday, June 5, 2023

  1. Mutman says:

    NYT: great Monday puzzle! One nit: the (fabulous) movie is actually titled “This is Spinal Tap”. (Though everyone calls it “Spinal Tap”)

    • Gary R says:

      I think it’s okay – the clue references the name of the band, rather than the title of the movie.

    • Eric H says:

      One could argue the actual title is “This Is Spın̈al Tap: A Rockumentary by Martin Di Bergi.” (I’d say the metal umlaut is required, even if the reference to Martin Di Bergi isn’t.)

      But whatever. It’s one of my favorite movies.

  2. JohnH says:

    I didn’t care for the WSJ; too much crossword speak (yawn). But to the question of why a square root is a radical, that’s easy. The word comes from a word for root. So how did radical come to mean political extremist or revolutionary? The idea there is that a root in nature could suggest fundamental, and the next step was then from a believer in something fundamental to someone holding out for the cause.

    Actually the clue surprised me, as I didn’t even know that it’s called a radical sign rather than a radical, but so it is. I also didn’t get BOO right away. I tried BAE first.

    • David Roll says:

      BOO for Sweetie is news to me.

    • DougC says:

      I would put the WSJ in the category of easy-breezy and Monday-appropriate. That P.O.C. at LORES was ugly, but otherwise it’s a pretty clean and reasonably entertaining grid.

  3. David L says:

    NYer: Challenging but doable. Nothing that made me go whaaa?

    It helped that I’d seen the name at 48A in a recent puzzle. Despite considerable experience with the publishing world, I don’t know what 11D signifies, but it was gettable from crosses. Similarly with 42D — don’t know the person but crosses were fair and it’s a reasonably familiar name.

    • Mr. [annoyed and] Grumpy says:

      RAMIFY and GLASER are fair crosses? I beg to differ, good sir. Typical Natan puzzle.

      • David L says:

        Well, as I said, I came across GLASER recently. And RAMIFY is, like, a word, man. (At first I thought it was going to start RAD… but 32D sorted that out).

        There was some tricky cluing and it took me somewhere above typical Saturday NYT time, but less than typical Stumper time. I had to make some educated guesses along the way but nothing was a complete unknown.

      • JohnH says:

        Agreed with Grumpy. All I see is vocabulary (mostly ever so current) and people I’ve never, ever known. And all I can think is that, with the high ratings, for once solvers here speak his language. So great: they win the trivia quiz.

        • David L says:

          I don’t agree. I often dislike Last’s puzzles for the reasons you say. But not this one. I don’t see how it qualifies as a trivia quiz. There was very little I hadn’t heard of, and what there was inferable.

        • PJ says:

          I gotta say your continual demeaning of constructors and the people who enjoy their puzzles has gotten very old.

          Lighten up! Search out the entries you don’t know and read about them.

    • PJ says:

      Same experience here. My biggest missteps are RINGNECKS and SUEME. Crossings straightened those out.

      I loved learning RAMIFY. Checking on its etymology I see it was first used in falconry. I also liked seeing how ramification figures in to the discussion.

    • sanfranman59 says:

      Clean solves for me with Natan Last, Anna Shechtman and Kameron Austin Collins puzzles three out of the last four Mondays. Miracles really do happen!

  4. Mr. [very very very] Grumpy says:

    The clue for the revealer in the NYT was completely tone deaf and reflects a complete ignorance of criminal law, since that is a classic line for child molesters. Sorry if I ruin your Monday morning with a downer, but I worked on too many of these cases over the last 40 years to give that a pass. God, I just effing cringed when I saw that.

    • David L says:

      That’s unfortunate but I imagine most solvers won’t have that reaction. It’s an idiomatic phrase in other contexts too, e.g. mafia bosses planning a hit.

    • John says:

      I’d argue that taking a completely innocuous phrase which is occasionally used in nefarious circumstances as evidence that someone is ignorant of criminal law (?!) is perhaps a bit tone-deaf as well

      • Eric H says:

        I certainly sympathize with Mr. [very very very] Grumpy’s point, but calling the constructor and editors “completely tone deaf” is a bit harsh. It’s a perfectly normal phrase that has unfortunately been used in a twisted way by some sick people.

    • Dan says:

      Mr. [very very very] Grumpy:

      Child molesters and murderers also breathe air.

      But that’s not going to stop me from breathing.

  5. Dan says:

    I’m not usually a big fan of NYT Monday puzzles, because as a longtime solver they don’t present much of a challenge for me.

    But I especially enjoyed this one, because instead of cross-stitching to reveal the revealer, I stopped and stared at the three previous theme entries until what just had to be the revealer phrase suddenly hit me. That was fun!

  6. Eric H says:

    New Yorker: I sailed through half of it without much trouble, but holes in every corner but the NW slowed me down. PREEM— had me stymied for a long while until TUNER and BYNES (a name sort of familiar) got me FIST BUMP.

    I had never heard of PREEMPT in the publishing context and thought the clue referred to magazine publisher and an offer to a subscriber. But my few minutes of Googling suggests that it’s where a publisher offers to buy a manuscript early on, by making an offer that’s too good for the writer to refuse.

    I wonder how many people who aren’t writers or publishers know that term.

    One of these days, I will commit BÁNH MI to memory. I’ve only seen it in crossword puzzles. Remembering it would’ve made the SE corner much easier. And I would have gotten ESPAÑA quicker if I had stopped to try to figure out what “Golfo de Vizcaya” translates to.

    I liked seeing MADE MONEY so close to CASH COW. Ain’t America great?

  7. Where are all the LAT reviews??

  8. Seattle DB says:

    LAT: Shame on the editor for 46A. If you tell the mother of a dead “foot soldier” that there offspring was a “peon”, I hope you get slapped.

  9. pannonica says:

    Universal: It was several days later that I realized I could have spun a Pere Ubu song. And now it’s several days after that that I feel compelled to report this.

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