Wednesday, June 7, 2023

LAT 4:29 (GRAB) 


The New Yorker 4:45 (Amy) 


NYT 5:02 (Amy) 


WSJ 5:37 (Jim) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today 7:42 (Emily) 


AVCX 6:52 (Amy) 


Karen Steinberg & Paul Steinberg’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Water, Water Everywhere”—Jim’s review

Our revealer is RISING SEA LEVELS (7d, [One effect of global warming, and a hint to the five longest Down answers]). The other theme answers are familiar phrases that feature the letters SEA somewhere within. Those letters appear to “rise” as the solver goes from left to right across the grid.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Water, Water Everywhere” · Karen Steinberg & Paul Steinberg · Wed., 6.7.23

  • 23d. [First of a group of 12 in the Bible] BOOK OF HOSEA.
  • 17d. [In very deep] UP TO ONES EARS.
  • 15d. [“Piece of cake!”] IT’S EASY AS ABC.
  • 10d. [He played King Richard the Lionheart in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”] SEAN CONNERY.

Nice. Based on the title, I was expected the grid to feature Hs and Os. Then, based on the revealer, I was expecting something to be happening with Cs in the theme answers. So I was surprised that those theme answers were clued straight and featured no wonkiness. It wasn’t until after the solve that realized what the actual theme was. Given those other interpretations of the hints given, I might be inclined to think circles would be in order for this theme. But I didn’t mind sorting it out, and the theme answers are nice for the most part. (I think most people say “It’s as easy as ABC” though.)

TURQUOISE makes for a beautiful piece of fill, eh? I also liked PHOBOS and GELATO. I can’t hear PHOBOS without thinking of the old interactive fiction game, “The Leather Goddesses of PHOBOS.” I never played it—I was just a kid and heavily into Zork and the like at the time—but the name kinda just stuck. Hey, you can play it online here.

Some less-common crosswordese made its presence felt, such as VCS, T-TEST, EMS.

Clues of note:

  • 1a. [Wonder unit]. LOAF. Wonder bread, that is.
  • 3d. [When it’s hot, it’s empty]. AIR. I suppose this is speaking figuratively of human speech.

3.5 stars.

Jennifer Lee & Victor Galson’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 6 7 23, no. 0607

I did some time-traveling tonight. I started this puzzle assuming it was the Friday puzzle rather than the Wednesday. Thought the grid looked a little choppy to be a themeless! The theme is a of a newsy bent with a ship angle (The Shipping News, anyone?):

  • 20A. BREAKING STORY: “___: Large, crashing waves threaten cruise ship”
  • 26A. LEAKED FOOTAGE [“___ appears to show that the ship has been damaged”
  • 43A. [“Water is pouring into the ship! You can see it here ___” STREAMING LIVE
  • 51A.[“Changes in ocean conditions allowed the ship to return safely to port. Stay tuned for more ___”] CURRENT EVENTS

I always did enjoy Merl Reagle’s Sunday puzzles that delivered a story via the theme clues and entries, and this is a cute mini version of that.

Fave fill: “CIAO, BELLA!”, BONOBOS (a terrific ape cousin of ours), BIRD EGGS (hey possums, stop eating the birds’ eggs!), Ralph ELLISON, an IRIS SCAN.

I knew Artpop is the name of Lady Gaga album, but not that ART POP is a thing (44D. [Music genre related to glam rock]). Wikipedia’s list of ART POP artists is wildly broad.

Four stars from me. Have a short visit with the bonobos before you move on with your day!

Rebecca Goldstein’s Universal crossword, “Give It a Whirl” — pannonica’s précis

Universal • 6/7/23 • Wed • Goldstein • “Give It a Whirl” • solution • 20230607

Once again it’s Wednesday, and once again I am pressed for time in the morning.

  • 50aR [Twirling fad toy, and a hint to the word scrambled within 19-, 25- and 43-Across] FIDGET SPINNER.
  • 19a. [Small screen release?] LOW-BUDGET FILM.
  • 25a. [Homer Simpson Backs into Bushes and others] ANIMATED GIFS.
  • 43a. [Went from first to second, in a way] SHIFTED GEARS.

In each instance the anagrammed letters F-I-D-G-E-T span both words of the phrase.

  • 62a. [Chopping tool: Var.] AXE.

Aimee Lucido’s New Yorker crossword–Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 6/7/23 – Lucido

Not sure if this was a good bit harder than the usual “lightly challenging” Wednesday, or if that’s my headache talking.

Fave fill: FART AROUND and STINKY FEET (you know who you are), DECOLONIZE, PIANO BAR, the lovely word OUTSHINES, ADOBO SAUCE (Mexican adobo sauce is quite different from Filipino adobo, though both feature vinegar), ROLLER RINK, AND THEN SOME, BIALY, SANTA CRUZ (their UC campus’s team name, of course, is the Banana Slugs). Less keen on BAAL, DEIS, EMER, SSR, DO IN, MOUES.

3.75 stars from me.

Juliana Tringali Golden’s AV Club Classic crossword, “The Stars Align”–Amy’s recap

AV Club crossword solution, 6 7 23, “The Stars Align”

The theme is anagrams of celebrities’ names, with the clues containing one of those words that signals “there’s a anagram here” in cryptic crosswords. [Granny loved disruption] clues DANNY GLOVER because you “disrupt” the letters in “granny loved.” CATE BLANCHETT is [Cancel that bet, silly], with “silly” cuing the anagram. [Randomly pans to hot mess] “randomly” sorts those letters into TESSA THOMPSON. And KEANU REEVES is [Eureka! Seven bananas] with that exclamation point making it a little harder to combine “eureka” and “seven” in your head. Fun theme–I like anagrams and cryptic crosswords, and I like pop culture. I also appreciate that the theme quartet includes three POC, as many women as men, and (here we are in Pride Month) at least one LGBTQIA star. The puzzle’s title is perfectly apt.


Typo alert: The clue for ERA is [“I’m entrering my chaotic ___: Mistress Isabelle Brooks]. That’s a gimme for RuPaul’s Drag Race fans who watched season 15 this year. I’d love for her usage (she announced she was in any number of other “eras” throughout the competition) to take hold in the mainstream, primarily to allow crossword editors and authors a fresh clue angle for ERA.

Four stars from me.

P.S. Juliana Tringali Golden is one letter longer than Brendan Emmett Quigley.

Jared Goudsmit’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary


Today, Jared Goudsmit gives us a fairly basic example of the hidden words theme. That said, the revealing answer and hidden words collectively have a lot more punch than some examples. Said revealing answer is BALONEYSANDWICH; I believe your baloney is similar to our polony? In any case, it can also mean nonsense, and the circles on the edges of three other long answers spell out ROT, GUFF and BULL(shit).

It felt like this puzzle was going out of its way to use high Scrabble value letters, with mixed results. I still maintain that the abbreviation for ounces is almost always OZ not OZS. You write, say, 4 oz in recipes, for example.

Today in names I didn’t know, we have: the specific BETSY in [Brandt of “Breaking Bad”]; Mime played by Bill Irwin on “Elmo’s World”, MRNOODLE, since I don’t think we had this show in South Africa?; [Media giant that owns USA Today], GANNETT – shilling for a rival crossword?


Completed USA Today crossword for Wednesday June 07, 2023

USA Today, June 07, 2023, “Left Brain” by Sara Cantor

Sara Cantor’s USA Today Crossword, “Left Brain” — Emily’s write-up

Enjoy some ice cream with this puzzle, though not too quickly!

alt=”Completed USA Today crossword for Wednesday June 07, 2023”
USA Today, June 07, 2023, “Left Brain” by Sara Cantor[/caption]

Theme: the word “brain” can be added to the start of each themer (or to the left) to make a new phrase


  • 18a. [Future chemists, biologists, etc.], STEMMAJORS
  • 27a. [Mathematical curve used to describe quantum particles], WAVEFUNCTION
  • 46a. [Short advertisement for a movie], TEASERTRAILER
  • 58a. [Film technique for a narrator explaining how to they got into a sticky situation], FREEZEFRAME

This fun theme employs a delightful set of themers, with a pair for the physical aspects of the brain and its workings with STEMMAJORS and WAVEFUNCTION, along with the more playful phrase for a puzzle with TEASERTRAILER and painful occurrence that typically happens when sometime cold is gobbled down too quickly with FREEZEFRAME. With the theme, the themers becomes: BRAIN STEM, BRAIN WAVE, BRAIN TEASER, and BRAIN FREEZE.

Favorite fill: EYELEVEL, TEVA, SPRIG, and PELE

Stumpers: SOIREE (usually see “gala” in puzzles so needed crossings), PASTED (didn’t come to mind so needed crossings), and AANG (new to me)

Loved the grid and all the entries flowed smoothly with great cluing as well. Excellent puzzle!

4.75 stars


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22 Responses to Wednesday, June 7, 2023

  1. Philip says:

    I look forward to the AVCX review, since I have only the vaguest idea what’s going on.

    • Sheik Yerbouti says:

      It’s just celebrity anagrams. The words like disruption or silly or bananas are cryptic hints to anagram.

      • Eric H says:

        It’s a bit tighter than “celebrity anagrams.” All the celebrities are movie stars.

        These all amused me, though I never try to work out anagrams that are 11 or 13 letters long until I have some letters in place.

        I had an idea for a similar theme with rock stars and found two that I thought were pretty funny. But I have never been able to come up with a complete theme set.

  2. huda says:

    NYT: I too enjoyed the story told by the clues and the coherence of the news theme.
    Favorite non-theme entry: ET VOILA!
    And thanks, Amy, for the BONOBO video. I love how the mom tears down the tree while carrying a baby on her back! Primate behavior has been fascinating to me since I was a little kid. It shows us the possibilities.

  3. pannonica says:

    NYT: CIAO BELLA crossing 18d [Belle’s counterpart] BÊTE??

    • Mutman says:

      I really liked the theme today.

      But CIAO BELLA seems like Italian Green Paint to me. Or is it just me?!?

      • Gary R says:

        I’m thinking it’s idiomatic, though I can’t tell you why. I don’t know any Italian, other than tourist-speak, but I filled in CIAO BELLA without any crosses.

      • Milo says:

        No problem with CIAO BELLA crossing BÊTE — who doesn’t like French/Italian fusion? — but the clue for the former seemed off to me. Yes, ciao is both a greeting and parting word, but for this Casanova it’s more likely to be deployed along the lines of “Hey, good-lookin!” I’d probably have gone with something like [Lothario’s greeting]. Miao!

        • JohnH says:

          I’m guessing she’s pointing out BELLA crossing a clue containing “Belle,” although not quite a giveaway. I don’t follow the other complain, though. What’s Italian green paint (or, for that matter, if it existed, what’d be wrong with it)? I was fine with it myself.

  4. Zach says:

    WSJ: First off, kudos to the right-leaning Wall Street Journal for admitting that global warming exists, though I’m a little surprised the clue didn’t use the more universally accepted “climate change” instead.

    On the topic of weather terms, I had never heard of the term “snow” meaning “deceive.” I looked it up, and I guess it originated in the army during WWII. Thought that was interesting.

    • Gary R says:

      Maybe you’ve heard of a “snow job?” Seems like that used to be fairly common, but I don’t know that I’ve heard it much recently.

  5. Mark says:

    NYer – loved it!
    16A and 54A were wonderful.

    • Mr. [a little bit] Grumpy says:

      Maybe at your breakfast table. Not mine. Those were my least favorite parts of an otherwise nice puzzle.

    • Eric H says:

      FART AROUND didn’t bother me — I use that phrase all the time. I’m less amused by STINKY FEET.

      I’ve never heard anyone say FOR REASONS, but it’s easy to imagine someone saying it.

  6. Dan says:

    LAT: I thought the revealer (“baloney sandwich”) had it exactly reversed.

    An “X sandwich” is a sandwich where X is in the *middle*, not on the outside.

  7. CrotchetyDoug says:

    AVCX – Caught on around half way-through. Totally amazed at finding all these perfect anagrams – loved it!

    My question – What resource do constructors use to find anagrams such as these?

Comments are closed.