Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Jonesin' 8:37 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni)  


NYT 3:25 (Erin) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal 6:09 (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


David P. Williams’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Doing Loops”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases that hide synonyms for “run” that are identified by circled squares. The revealer is RUNS IN CIRCLES (56a, [Makes no progress, and a hint to this puzzle’s theme]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Doing Loops” · David P. Williams · Tue., 6.20.23

  • 20a. [Some Royal Navy attire] BERMUDA SHORTS.
  • 36a. [11 Super Bowls have been played on it] ASTROTURF.
  • 43a. [Feature of Lebanon’s flag] CEDAR TREE.

A pleasant, light theme. I didn’t time myself on this one, but I wish I did. I felt like I was cruising through it—maybe even with a sub-4-minute time. It felt like the Monday puzzle we would have gotten yesterday if it hadn’t been a holiday.

The long fill is fairly standard, but SAYONARA is a highlight, as well as TIE CLIP and a FIGMENT of one’s imagination. I always like seeing HORTON [Title character of Dr. Seuss books] as that is probably my favorite Seuss book. There’s something about a champion for the underprivileged that tugs at my heartstrings.

Clues of note:

  • 37d. [Sue at Chicago’s Field Museum, in brief]. T-REX. Good thing I went to college in northern Indiana which allowed me trips to Chicago to visit their museums (and other establishments). Here’s an interesting article about Sue’s history.
  • 56d. [Weapon for Professor Plum]. ROPE. Pretty sure this needs a “perhaps” since the weapon can change from game to game.

A nice, light puzzle and a quick solve. 3.75 stars.


Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 629), “Noodle Flapdoodle!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 629: “Noodle Flapdoodle”

Hello there, everyone. Hope all of you are doing very well to begin the week as summer is getting ready to officially begin! Get the beachwear ready!

But before heading to the beach, let’s get some Italian food in our bodies…or, at the very least, in our crossword diet! Today’s grid includes a riddle that’s a play on some Italian dishes, which, of course, has me a little bit hungry. (Fortunately, I have a hamburger parry defrosting in the microwave at this moment!)


Hey, a VIA SKYPE sighting, something that was much more prevalent before COVID and now, at the moment, I’m wondering when was the last time that I used Skype (3D: [How a video-chat might take place]). I’m trying my best to not break out an Agent 86/Maxwell Smart accent as I focus in on KAOS (23A: [“Get Smart” enemy org.]). Though it’s Alan LADD that’s being referenced in the grid, the first Ladd I think about when seeing that name is the “Big Cat,” Ernie Ladd, former American Football League All-Star and one of the all-time great villains in professional wrestling (6D: [“Shane” star]). Next time Ladd comes up in a grid, I’ll go more in-depth about one of the great Los Angeles Chargers and players in the history of the AFL.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ASHES (8D: [Campfire leftovers]) – Maybe foe the first time in this space, we’ll talk a little cricket! The Test cricket matchup between England and Australia is known as The Ashes, coined by a British newspaper back in 1882 after an Australian victory over England. The mock obituary stated that English cricket had died down, and “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.” An urn is awarded to the winner of the series, and after 72 series played between the countries, Australia has won 34 series to England’s 32. (Six have been draws, and the country that won the most previous edition of the Ashes gets to retain it.)

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

Take care!


Aimee Lucido’s New York Times crossword — Erin’s write-up

New York Times solution 6/20/23

New York Times solution 6/20/23

Hello lovelies! I’m filling in for Amy to review Aimee Lucido’s Tuesday NYT puzzle. Let’s go over her super-cute theme, spanning down the grid, in left to right order:

  • 24d. [Tiny computer with a dessert-inspired name] RASPBERRY PI. These single-board computers are a small, inexpensive way for young folks to learn computer science.
  •  18d. [Poppable packing material] BUBBLE WRAP. Not the most eco-friendly way to protect valuables, but so, so satisfying to pop.
  • 6d. [Political campaign made up of a series of short appearances] WHISTLE-STOP TOUR. These appearances originated with candidates making speeches from the platform of a train car when the train pulled into town.
  • 21d. [1948 musical based on “The Taming of the Shrew”] KISS ME, KATE. The show won the first Tony Award for Best Musical in 1949.
  • 10d. [Absolutely lose it … or a hint to 6-, 18-, 21-, and 24-Down] BLOW YOUR TOP. The first words of the other theme entries are all things one can blow: raspberries, bubbles, whistles, and kisses.

Other things:

  • 9a. [“Sesame Street” Muppet whose last name rhymes with her first] ABBY Cadabby. She’s a fairy-in-training, and her name is a play on the magic word “Abracadabra.”
  • 20a. [Person who can’t be the victim of a pickpocket] NUDIST. Technically, she’s not wrong…
  • 44a. [Starchy, deep-fried bite] TATER TOT. A very underrated fried potato. Often better than French fries. There, I said it.
  • 50d. [Speedy Amtrak service] ACELA. Amtrak reports its high-speed rail will increase top speed from 150 miles per hour to 160 with its next generation of trains. The fastest non-magnetic levitation train in the world, China’s CR400 Fuxing, reaches maximum speeds of 217 miles per hour during regular use.

Until next week!

Natan Last’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 6/20/23 • Tue • Last • solution • 20230620

I think the micro-theme of this crossword might be plurals. There’s a cluster of not-exactly problematic entries in the upper left section. Let’s just call them tricky.

The clue for 3-down [Doctrinal dicta] tips it off  (DOGMATA) with dicta rather than dictums, but then we have 19a [Ancient Mediterranean jars] is AMPHORAS rather than (the more common) AMPHORAE. And then—although they don’t involve plurals—5d/21a are shaped like it: 5d [Buena Vista Social Club guitarist Eliades] OCHOA, 21a [The “G” in e.g.] GRATIA. I can easily imagine solvers entering an S rather than an A, as I nearly did.

  • 15a [Big League __ (brand whose inventor credited his inspiration to future “Tár” director Todd Field)] CHEW. What a stunningly uninteresting bit of trivia.
  • 16a [Big believers’ place] MEGACHURCH. ‘Big’ is modifying ‘place’ here, primarily.
  • 25a [Main entrances?] MANHOLES. I was thinking of the ocean rather than sewers. 29a [Far from terra firma] ASEA.
  • Liked the stacked pair of 37a [Whispered question when a mystery woman enters the room, perhaps] WHO IS SHE and 41a [Words from someone regaining consciousness] WHERE AM I.
  • 47a [Slinky, e.g.] COIL SPRING. >moue<
  • 1d [“Point” in Chinese] DIM. So now I am duly looking up the literal translation of dim sum… annnd that’s inconclusive. Looks to be unrelated? So I’m wondering what the clue is implying to us.
  • 7d [Author of “The Tale of Genji,” often called the world’s first novel] MURASAKI SHIKIBU. Sure, the author is somewhat unknown to Westerners, but the story is, as indicated by the clue, very famous.
  • 17d [Tall chest of drawers] CHIFFONIER. “The … name, which comes from the French for a rag-picker, suggests that it was originally intended as a receptacle for odds and ends which had no place elsewhere.” (Oxford Dictionaries, via Wikipedia).
  • 32d [1977 film with many scuba-diving scenes] THE DEEP. Based on Peter Benchley’s follow-up novel to the very successful Jaws. It inspired in my an early fear of moray eels and a romantic desire to live in a lighthouse. “The U.S. is Giving Away Lighthouses for Free
  • 34d [Until the end] FOR LIFE. And I’m reminded of a cheesy James Bond movie with a great line: the powerful villain/drug lord played by Robert Davi threatens a Latin American puppet-dictator by reminding him that he is “only president… for life”.
  • 36d [Caldo de __ (beef soup, on Spanish-language menus] RES. We’re definitely reaching for a new spin on tired fill, and the clue preëmpts cries of foul by supplying ample support.
  • 37d [Bertie Wooster expression thought to be derived from Beowulf’s “hwæt”] WHAT HO. That’s kind of interesting, no?
  • 45d [More than willing] GLAD. It works as an intensifier, say, in a phrase such as “I’m __ to help you.”

Dylan Schiff’s Universal Crossword – “Sides of Sprouts” – Matt F’s write up

Universal Solution 06.20.2023

Theme Synopsis:

Thought we’d be heading in a garden direction based on the title, but “sprouts” here refers to little humans! Our reveal at 56A tells us what’s going on – [Tease, or a hint to the indicated letters in 18-, 23-, 37- and 46-Across] = KID AROUND. It’s a bookend theme with synonyms for “kid” on each end of the theme answer. Here’s the full set:

  • 18A – [Took it easy, informally] = CHILLAXED (child)
  • 23A – [“How telling”] = THAT SAYS A LOT (tot)
  • 37A – [Kerri Walsh Jennings’ volleyball teammate] = MISTY MAY-TREANER (minor)
  • 46A – [“That makes two of us!”] = YOU AND ME BOTH (youth)

Fun theme set! I think this reveal might have played better if the “kids” were wrapping the theme answers, starting at the end of the word and finishing at the beginning. As-is, it works ok to hint at the bookend theme, but actually the title does more of the heavy lifting for the “aha” today (maybe that’s an unfair critique… curious how other solvers feel about it).

Overall Impressions:

I enjoyed working through this puzzle today, despite being one of those themes that’s easier to appreciate post-solve (the theme clues did not help me actually solve the puzzle). The NW/SE corners are wide open with fun 10+9 bonus slots. It’s also no small feat to anchor a proper name across the middle and keep all the crosses fair. Great work all-around here.

Fun Fact:

Misty May-Treanor made up half of the most successful beach volleyball duo in history. She and partner Kerri Walsh Jennings were 3-peat Olympic gold medalists in 2004, 2008, and 2012. May-Treanor was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Thanks for the puzzle, Dylan!

Kathy Lowden’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

I do enjoy a puzzle that makes me giggle, and this one did. Each theme answer is a wacky three-word rhyme.

Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2023, Kathy Lowden, solution grid

  • 20a [Rhyming term for a dead letter?] is a SNAIL MAIL FAIL.
  • 27a [Rhyming description of “Moby-Dick”?] is PALE WHALE TALE.
  • 45a [Rhyming discount for week-old leafy greens?] is STALE KALE SALE.
  • 54a [Rhyming hazard for cyclists on shared-use track?] is RAIL TRAIL NAIL.

Fun! They all rhyme, which is pretty much all the theme needs to be solid.

A few other things:

  • I’m not sure why YURTs have become synonymous with glamping. I’ve stayed in a yurt at a campsite and it was not particularly glamorous.
  • I’m glad IMELDA Staunton has a career so we don’t have to hear so much about Mrs. Marcos anymore.
  • OTOH, we do have SAMMY Davis, Jr – not exactly a current reference.
  • I raised an eyebrow at [Large deer] as a clue for ELK. I think my eyebrow was partially correct – deer and elk are closely related members of the Cervidae family, commonly known as the Deer family, so that’s confusing. According to the National Park Service, they are not the same in common usage.
  • Sports will make you smarter: the Bucks and Bulls are part of the NBA DRAFT and we also have the football LIONs.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that there was a character named ARTIE Bucco in “The Sopranos.”

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “True Grid” — a freeform themeless puzzle. – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 6/20/23

Jonesin’ solution 6/20/23

Hello! Erin again with a belated Jonesin’ review thanks to email issues. The first thing that jumped out at me was the wide open top and bottom with short fill in the center. Second, the long entries aren’t ones I recall seeing in other grids. I particularly enjoyed WASTE MANAGEMENT and DIALECT COACHES.

Other things:

  • 24a. [Bone doctor’s prefix] OSTEO. I had ORTHO there for a while until I couldn’t think of anything but SNEER for [Billy Idol expression] at 14d.
  • 44a. [Cod-like fish] LING. The common ling can grow up to 200 cm (almost 79 in) in length.
  • 27a. [“If I Ever Fall in Love” R&B group] SHAI. The a cappella version of this is still *chef’s kiss” over 30 years later.

Until next week! (for real this time)

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

16 Responses to Tuesday, June 20, 2023

  1. Eric H says:

    “TATER TOT. A very underrated fried potato. Often better than French fries. There, I said it.”

    You’re welcome to them. I never did care for them, though I do respect the environmentalism of not wanting potato scraps to go to waste.

    I stared at the grid for a few minutes after finishing and still never made sense of the theme (though I understand it now).

  2. Mutman says:

    NYT: I always thought Brutus was Popeye’s nemesis. Turns out Wikipedia says both are valid. But why?

    Fun puzzle.

    • Eric H says:

      From Wikipedia:

      “After the theatrical Popeye cartoon series ceased production in 1957, Bluto’s name was changed to Brutus because it was incorrectly believed that Paramount Pictures, distributors of the Fleischer Studios cartoons, owned the rights to the name ‘Bluto.’ King Features actually owned the name all along, as Bluto had been originally created for the comic strip. Due to a lack of thorough research, they failed to realize this and reinvented him as Brutus to avoid potential copyright problems.”

    • pannonica says:

      Name changed somewhere along the line.

  3. PJ says:

    Another TNY that delivered (to me) as promised. I finished in 15:05 after changing three squares in the solve. I had an E at the end of 19A, an S at the end of 21A (that’s on me), and an H at the intersection of 7D and 44A. All inferable after the crossings. 20D has remained in my brain for 50 years. The across entries from the center (27A) to the SW fell very easily. The toughest region was the SE where the answers were fair, but I needed some crosses to get 34, 35, 36 and 40 down.

    I saw 32D on the big screen in 1977. There were a lot of scuba diving scenes.

    • Eric H says:

      It was a pretty SMOOTH solve for me, too. I didn’t know MURASAKI SHIKIBU (or “The Tale of the Genji,” for that matter), but none of the crosses was particularly difficult. I always conflate DHAKA and Dakar, though I know the latter is in West Africa and the clue for DHAKA should have pointed me to South Asia.

      I’m guessing HAGRID is a Harry Potter character, as I seem to remember Robbie Coltrane being in those movies (not that I have seen more than a few minutes of one of them).

    • JohnH says:

      As usual, I had more trouble and less pleasure with a TNY than you and Eric, but I also liked it much more than the negative ratings. I’d mixed feelings about the puzzle, which given that it’s by Natan Last is high praise. I found it doable and also interesting, with some hard but legit fill, especially in the SE, which almost defeated me. You mentioned the ones needing crossings, but the crossings were hard to come by for me.

      My mixed feelings extend to the long central down entry. It has fair crossings, but must admit it feels tedious to get a name that long by crossing every single letter. I just told myself it was something I really should learn, although I could have come to that just by looking it up. So for me, a rewarding puzzle but with some nagging doubts.

      Oh, and I still don’t get CHARTS. I had “chants” at first, figuring that the wordy clue was punning in some way, so maybe with the final “number” as a song. Of course, charts can illustrate numerical data, but what’s going on?

      • Eric H says:

        I think I know what you mean. I’d have felt a lot better about getting MURASAKI SHIKIBU if I hadn’t needed something like 11 or 12 letters from the crosses.

        • JohnH says:

          And now, with my darn western biases, I’ll promptly forget how to spell it. But I’ve enjoyed the stimulus to run back over in my head the old question of the first English novel.

      • Hi. says:

        Billboard charts.

  4. DougC says:

    NYT: This is a really excellent early-week puzzle: a cute theme, plus interesting and entertaining fill that spans generations: ORA and BREL; BOGIE and BLUTO and ABBY Cadabby; MAPLE SYRUP, TATER TOTS and RASPBERRY PI. A few gimmes and a couple of mildly-challenging head-scratchers for everyone. This is how Tuesday should be done, IMO.

  5. Eric H says:

    Universal: Nice early-week theme. I noticed the KIDs fairly early on, and the theme helped me get MISTY MAY-TREANOR, a name new to me.

    CHILLAXED is one of those words I’d be happy not to see again. I don’t think I have ever heard it in real life.

  6. GlennG says:

    TNY: Pretty much the usual obscurity the last couple of days, but it’s been toned down somewhat and I haven’t had to guess as much. At least the most positive I can say is that the New York Times (0517) was far worse on the obscure must-be-Googled-to-be-solved front.

    Jones: Kind of on that note, I must say Jones’s themeless puzzles have been a lot better the last couple of outings on the complete obscurity front to the point I’ve actually been able to solve those without resorting to Dr. G. Today’s was a good enjoyable solve for most part, minus the nasty headache I had when I sat down and solved it. If the constructor of this one is reading now, please keep it up.

Comments are closed.