Monday, June 19, 2023

BEQ untimed(Matthew) 


LAT 2:07 (Stella) 


NYT 3:27 (Sophia) 


The New Yorker 9:50ish (Jenni) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today tk (tk) 


Note: No WSJ puzzle due to the federal holiday.

David Liben-Nowell’s New York Times crossword — Sophia’s write-up

New York Times, 06 18 2023, By David Liben-Nowell

Happy Monday everyone! DLN was actually my advisor at Carleton College when I attended, so I’m thrilled to get to write up his puzzle (and promise to only be a little biased).

Today’s puzzle is a sandwich theme: stacked from top to bottom we have:


I actually don’t much like either peanut butter or jelly (or JAM, I guess?), so I won’t comment on the minutia of the sandwich structure :) I will say that I love how the non-square grid gives immediate impact – the solver is excited to see what’s going on here, which is great to draw in newer solvers on Monday. The repeated SLICE OF BREAD is both sandwich-ly correct and gives a fun moment of thematic repetition that early-week puzzles don’t always have. I do think would have been great to get “pbj” somewhere in the puzzle to tie it all together, but that’s a minor comment.

Given the wacky shape of the grid, I’m impressed by the high number of long non-theme answers that appear. STRIKEOUT, TOP NOTCH, AERIALIST are all great. Love seeing BEEHIVE clued via Amy Winehouse, and as a former theater kid EPONINE was a gimme for me (although the E could *hypothetically* be a hard cross for those not up on their French). The awkwardly plural EEGS and HEYS are the only issues I had with the rest of the grid – actually, it might have been cool to clue HEYS as a homophone of HAZE, which sits below it in the grid.

Congrats to DLN for hitting for the cycle (publishing a NYT puzzle on every day of the week)!

Susan Gelfand’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 6/19/23 by Susan Gelfand

Los Angeles Times 6/19/23 by Susan Gelfand

It’s all good in this puzzle, whose theme is old-school in that there’s no revealer, but the clues are written such that the puzzle doesn’t need one, IMO. Each theme answer is an in-the-language phrase that starts with an adjective that means “very good” or “the best” in some way, and clued in a punny way that brings that out:

  • 18A [Exceptional lithograph?] is a FINE PRINT.
  • 27A [Exceptional place to play tennis?] is a SUPREME COURT.
  • 44A [Exceptional job vacancy?] is a GRAND OPENING.
  • 55A [Exceptional plantain?] is a TOP BANANA.

Cute, and a nice change from the typical Monday revealer with a paragraph-long clue. A note on the clue for 56A [Commandment word], NOT, which refers to all the “thou shalt nots” in the Ten Commandments: I recently learned while researching some trivia questions of the 1631 “Wicked Bible” (also known as the “Sinners’ Bible” or the “Adulterer’s Bible”), a KJV that made the very important typo of leaving out NOT in one of the commandments. So, according to this Bible, thou shalt commit adultery!

George Jasper’s Universal crossword, “In the Blender” — pannonica’s précis

Universal • 6/19/23 • Mon • Jasper • “In the Blender” • solution • 20230619

Anagramming today.

  • 53aR [Healthy drink, and a hint to the word scrambled within each starred clue’s answer] PROTEIN SHAKE.
  • 20a. [*Act of civil disobedience] SIT-IN PROTEST.
  • 32a. [*Space to entertain guests] RECEPTION ROOM.
  • 39a. [*Something worth seeking on a critical issue] EXPERT OPINION.

These theme phrases are strong.

Solid crossword (ironically!).

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword — Matthew’s write-up

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword solution, 6/19/2023

This played tougher for me than it looks in retrospect. New to me: EMBER DAYS, shoe brand Hoka (in the clue for FILA), this celestial use of LIMB

Highly recommended: the musical “Six,” referenced in the clue for LUCY

Brooke Husic’s New Yorker crossword—Jenni’s writeup

Our esteemed blogmistress is laid up and I certainly owe a lot of people of a lot of favors, so here’s today’s New Yorker and few quick highlights.

New Yorker, June 19, 2023, Brooke Husic, solution grid

  • I loved [Catch on the bounce?] for ECHOLOCATE.
  • I had the BREAK at the beginning of [Message that might end with “over”] and figured it had something to do with CB radio. Nope. It’s BREAKUP TEXT.
  • I’m on record as loving conversational clues, so I enjoyed [“Sure!”] for WORKS FOR ME.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that PEET‘s coffee is named after Alfred.

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28 Responses to Monday, June 19, 2023

  1. huda says:

    NYT: Loved it.
    The cutest.

    • JohnH says:

      Yes, really nice for a Monday. I liked especially that it turns an obvious violation, repeating a fill, into a plus.

  2. Ethan says:

    Loved seeing something unusual and eye catching on Monday.

    Constructors, take note! You can make easy puzzles inventive too!

  3. dividable says:

    NYT: I wonder if it’s a coincidence that they published this 19 row puzzle on Juneteenth!

  4. IAAL says:

    I’m a newer crossworder, so I really appreciated the NYT one on this holiday Monday!

  5. Artthur Shapiro says:

    NYT: At first I was feeling sh0rtchanged, in that we weren’t getting the usual 15×15=225 squares that we pay for. But when I realized this actually had 228 squares all that resentment went away!

    (In all seriousness: unusual and interesting puzzle.)

  6. PJ says:

    UC 20A – PROTEST struck me as redundant and not what I’m used to hearing.

  7. Shanda says:

    NYT – In honor of this puzzle, I bought raspberry jam and made myself a PBJ.

  8. Milo says:

    TNY: A welcome if not overly exciting challenge, noticeably short on the dreaded esoterica that tends to ruffle feathers here. That’s not to say there wasn’t some chewy cluing, like the Stumper-esque [Data groupings for histograms] for BINS. Anyone else drop in BIOS? But it was all gettable in the end, so while some will undoubtedly cry I HATED IT, I’m happy to report that it WORKS FOR ME.

    • janie says:

      ditto! but for me, it was BITS before BINS…

      a welcome and *worthy* challenge!


    • Eric H says:

      I don’t even remember what a “histogram” is (but I will find look it up).

      I got through most of it without too much difficulty, though having “bra’ instead of WIG slowed me down in the SW corner. I’d never heard of a WIG having a “lace front,” but I see now that’s an option.

      The NW corner was the hardest. I have never been interested in video games, so I had no idea on the “Street Fighter icon.” And I was just not thinking of Greek letters when I read the clue “PPP.”

      I did like the clues for ECHOLOCATE, UNHEARD OF and RIPCORD. I was a surprised that the “pan” clue ended up being I HATED IT. (I would have expected “pan” to be a kitchen utensil, on the theory that most people would have read it to mean “a negative review.”)

      I’m still confused as to how “Craft of the ancient world” gets you ARS. I originally had ARk, but SESAME became obvious at some point.

      I didn’t hate it, but I also didn’t love it. And I usually enjoy Brooke Husic’s puzzles.

    • JohnH says:

      The ratings, while overall pretty negative, are more divided this week. I bet that’s because, while the clues were much more quiz-like than you were thinking, it’s more to do with up-to-date phrasing than names, although they turn up, too. So I’m guessing that the positives either don’t count that as knowledge or just happen to know it.

      I found the puzzle difficult and not as fun as I’d like. I circled about the usual number of Monday clues as things I just didn’t know.

      Oh, I did know that a histogram was a bar chart and indeed entered BARS, not knowing that these are formally called BINS. And ARS is Latin (hence “ancient”). It tricked me into entering ARK as a different kind of “craft.”

      • Eric H says:

        ARS as in “ARS longa, vita brevis” then? Thanks for clearing that up.

        Not my day for languages other than English. In addition to missing this one and the RHO clue, I only got RIO from the crosses (and I know what the Rio Grande is called in Mexico).

    • PJ says:

      I taught quantitative methods to business students so it was a gimme for me. I more often called them classes rather than bins. That probably dates me to when I learned about them.

    • David R says:

      Husic is known for being the queen of trivia, memes and ephemeral so this puzzle while difficult felt much more fair and I only got stuck in the SE corner. Maybe this is a turning point or maybe just a blip on the screen that we’ll forget about in a month or so, exciting times.

    • Gary R says:

      I thought it was all pretty smooth until I got stuck in the SW. Did not know the Black hockey player, WOOWOO was new to me (tried Voodoo for a while), and not knowing much about Astrology, I was convinced that 35-D had to be BIrTH R**. Oh, well!

      • Mark says:

        Trust me. Almost no one knew the black hockey player. But it’s definitely not esoteric.

      • JohnH says:

        I faced all that. Frustrating.

      • stmv says:

        As a good hockey fan I did know Willie O’Ree. He is well-known among (many?) hockey fans as being the hockey equivalent of baseball’s Jackie Robinson. As the first black player in the NHL he is well worth knowing.

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