Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Jonesin' 4:26 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni)  


NYT 3:44 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal untimed (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


WSJ 4:36 (Jim) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Make Me One With Everything” — it’s a lot to include. – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 7/18/23

Jonesin’ solution 7/18/23

Hello lovelies! This week’s Jonesin’ puzzle requires us to give it our ALL by adding those three letters to the theme entries.

  • 20a. [More petty golf assistant?] SHALLOWER CADDY (SHOWER CADDY + ALL)
  • 39a. [Devices to watch movies like “Rambo” and “Rocky”?] STALLONE TABLETS (STONE TABLETS + ALL)
  • 53a. [Equipment in an unruly hybrid of “Dancing with the Stars” and “Hockey Night in Canada”?] BALLROOM STICKS (BROOMSTICKS + ALL)

Other things:

  • 48a. [___ Ring (2002 George R.R. Martin-involved RPG)] ELDEN. I confidently confused this with the Elder Scrolls game series and plopped in ELDER right away.
  • 28d. [Jack Black/Kyle Gass duo] TENACIOUS D. They’ve been a band since 1994, and if you’d like to view their most recent video (for their song “Video Games”), you can click here. (NSFW)

Until next week!

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 633), “Si Señor!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 633: “Si, Señor!”

Hello there, everyone! Hope all of you are doing well and staying cool!

Love the theme of today’s grid. If in the event you did not read the title upon starting to solve the puzzle, like I didn’t, it was not apparent what each of the four men had in common, outside of being well-known in their fields. As it turns out (and obvious after reading the puzzle title), each of the theme answers are famous men whose last name ends with the syllable that also sounds like the word for “yes” in Spanish, sí. (Of course, without the accent mark, “si” means “if” in Spanish.)

        • JACK DEMPSEY (17A: [Boxing legend known as the “Manassa Mauler”])
        • HAILE SELASSIE (27A: [Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974])
        • EMERIL LAGASSE (47A: [Celebrity chef with a signature “Bam!”])
        • LIONEL MESSI (63A: [Soccer megastar from Argentina]) – Who will now be the soccer megastar who plays professionally in the United States, as his debut with Major League Soccer club Inter Miami is imminent

Man, what I wouldn’t do to turn back the clock a few years (well, more than a few years) to be back on campus and hanging out/walking around/relaxing in the QUAD (53A: [Campus gathering place]). No knock on commuter schools at all, but experiencing campus life is something that I end up cherishing more and more now that I’m further and further removed from it. The crossing of ORAN (2D: [Port of Algeria]) and ERNANI (14A: [1844 Verdi opera]) could have caused some issues for newer solvers, along with figuring out that something called AARE exists (55D: [Swiss river to the Rhine]). Ernani is just one letter off from Errani, the last name of a former top-10 women’s tennis player (Sara Errani), and there were a few entries here that could have had a tennis angle, from 2002 French Open men’s singles champion Albert COSTA (36A: [___ Rica]) to 1999 French Open men’s singles runner-up ANDREI Medvedev (5D: [Nobelist Sakharov]). So why not keep up the tennis theme going forward?

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ONS (11A: [Tunisian tennis star Ons]) – This would have been the ultimate example of perfect timing if Ons Jabeur won the Wimbledon ladies’ singles final on Saturday, a match in which she lost, 4-6, 4-6, to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic. Instead, many of us had to try our best not to cry as Jabeur broke down in tears during her runner-up acceptance speech. Despite that, Jabeur has been such an ambassador and pioneer to athletes in the Arab world, it’s only a matter of time before she wins her first major. Maybe it will come in two months in New York at the U.S. Open!

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

Take care!


Harry Doernberg’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Musical Codas”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases whose final words can also be genres of music, clued wackily of course.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Musical Codas” · Harry Doernberg · Tue., 7.18.23

  • 20a. [Music for a barn raising?] AMISH COUNTRY.
  • 30a. [Music for a fairway?] GOLF SWING.
  • 41a. [Music for a maternity ward?] BABY BLUES.
  • 47a. [Music for the Pilgrims?] PLYMOUTH ROCK.

Fun theme with a pleasant aha moment cemented in with the second entry. Nothing groundbreaking here—in fact, I would not be surprised to find this theme’s been done before—but this is clean, breezy, and enjoyable. And what’s not to like about the thought of the Pilgrims rockin’ out? (By the way, a cursory look through cruciverb.com did not find another version of this theme, so even better.)

The longest fill is just as fun: OOPSY DAISY and WHEN IN ROME. Plus there’s a TOFU DOG and LEGO SET.

Clues of note:

  • 8a. [“Obliviate” from Hermione, e.g.]. SPELL. This is the mind-erasing hex. I do like Rowling’s names for spells. Other good ones include Avada Kedavra, Alohomora, and Riddikulus.
  • 31d. [“I don’t usually fall to peer pressure, but…”]. WHEN IN ROME. This really started out sounding like a “most interesting man in the world” commercial/MEME.
  • 39d. [The 9,036-piece Colosseum, e.g.]. LEGO SET. That runs for $549 on Lego.com, just so you know.

Nice puzzle. 3.75 stars.

Karen & Paul Steinberg’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 7 18 23, no. 0718

Not a tough Tuesday theme to wrestle with. The revealer is 36a. GRECO-ROMAN,
[Kind of wrestling … or a hint to four pairs of crossing answers in this puzzle]. Each quadrant has a pair of gods and goddesses, one of each duo bearing the Greek name and the other, Roman. So there’s NEPTUNE and POSEIDON of the sea, DIANA and ARTEMIS of the hunt (clued as [Apollo’s twin who rules over the hunt], and I had quite forgotten that Apollo had the same name in both mythologies), DEMETER and CERES of the harvest, and DIONYSUS and BACCHUS of partying. The gods aren’t in symmetrical spots in the grid because the overlapping letters don’t land in the right spot for that, but the goddess pairs do pair up nicely.

Note that the grid is 16 squares wide to accommodate central GRECO-ROMAN with its even letter count. So if the puzzle took you 6% longer than usual for a Tuesday, that’s why.

I slowed myself down by going with B-LISTER for 8a [Very minor celeb], with added time musing over why they’d opt for a B-LISTER clue when a regular BLISTER was there for the taking … and then trying to get a goddess of the hunt to start with BIA- was a problem. D-LISTER!

Not keen on the LARD clue, 9D. [Nonvegan fat in a pie crust]. Butter is a nonvegan fat. What LARD is is nonvegetarian. I don’t know any non-vegan vegetarian who blithely eats any and all piecrust without first checking the ingredient list.

Overall, the fill’s quite smooth. Four stars from me.

Emet Ozar and Rachel Fabi’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

Hello! The birds are chattering, the humidity is rising, and there’s smoke in the air. Must be summertime! This puzzle was right in my wheelhouse because cocktail hour is a serious institution in my house.

Two of the theme answers are also revealers. Would they have been clued as revealers later in the week?

Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2023, Emet Ozar & Rachel Fabi, solution grid

  • 20a [P!nk #1 single, and a hint to the ends of 28- and 47-Across] is RAISE YOUR GLASS.
  • 28a [Eggy, bready breakfast choice] is FRENCH TOAST.
  • 47a [Raspberries] are BRONX CHEERS. Which is all the Bronx baseball team deserves right now.
  • 54a [Exclamation after a rousing speech, and a hint to the ends of 28- and 47-Across] is ILL DRINK TO THAT.

Nice! Now I want a drink. It’s 9:52 AM. I’ll wait a while.

A few other things:

  • I like it when I get the first letter of [Pre-Lenin Russian rule] so I can fill in TSAR and move on rather than wait to figure it which transliteration we’re dealing with.
  • And I like it when I get the last letter of [Spanish “this”] up front so I know it’s ESTO.
  • FRAN is clued as [Writer Lebowitz]. They couldn’t have known that FRAN Drescher would be all over the news right now.
  • Love [“I’m so frustrated!!!”] for GAH. I first thought it was ACK and I have to admit that GAH fits the clue better. Why? I have no idea, but it does.
  • I like LUAU crossing KUAUI. Hope to visit that island on our next trip to Hawaii.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Angie THOMAS wrote “The Hate U Give.” I should have, and now I do.

54a always makes me think of this.

Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 7/18/23 • Tue • Shechtman • solution • 20230718

Definitely tough going in spots, but overall not too bad. In other words, slotted correctly as a ‘moderately challenging crossword’.

Two main observations:

  • First, 18-across sure seems like the seed entry: [“Intercourse” writer who envisioned a “road to freedom open to women, men, and that emerging majority, the rest of us”] ANDREA DWORKIN. (51a [Escaped] GOT FREE.)

  • Second, there were a couple of ‘green paint’ type entries, noticeable as they were right next to each other: 24d [“Boyhood” or “Girlhood”] MOVIE TITLE, 37d [Person who knows all the lore and attends all the cons, maybe] AVID FAN. And then, although it isn’t that type of entry, in the same area is the weak 56a THE NBA, leaning on its definite article like a crutch.

Those quibbles aside, this was a solid crossword.

  • 1a [“The Outsiders” role played by Rob Lowe] SODA POP. Different angle for a rather vanilla entry.
  • 15a [First name in synth music?] DEPECHE, that is, the English band that got their start in the 1980s, DEPECHE Mode, in turn named after the French fashion magazine Dépêche Mode. The clue’s question mark is doing a fair amount of work, covering for “first name”.
  • 17a [Astronomically bad?] ONE-STAR. Really nice clue.
  • 20a [Magazine whose first issue declared, “Business was originated to produce happiness, not to pile up millions”] FORBES. While the latter is obviously the reality, I question the premise of the former.
  • 26a [Fine-tune, as a skill] HONE. Is it my imagination or am I hearing ‘hone in on’ —which I consider erroneous—more often lately? See discussion here at m-w.com.
  • 29a [Quarter of a dollar?] ELS. But ‘dollar’ is six letters, so the two Ls would be one-third, no? One plausible explanation I can come up with is that we’re talking about A DOLLAR, including both the A and the space as characters. Another is that ‘quarter’ is being used in the sense of a division or district. Neither is satisfactory to me.
  • 30a [Eponymous author of the memoir-cum-portrait of Los Angeles “Eve’s Hollywood”] BABITZ.
  • 4d [Grading range] ABCDF. Nifty fill.
  • 10d [Seated position?] DESK JOB. Cute.
  • 22d [Yearn achingly (for)] PANT. C’mon, you all put PINE here too.
  • 30d [One of thousands used by the Ghanaian artist El Anatsui] BOTTLE CAP. Interesting introductory video here.
  • 42d [Majorly excellent] SO DOPE. Clue doesn’t explicitly direct us to slang, but the presence of ‘majorly’ is a strong hint in that direction.
  • 53d [Cherry or currant] RED. An explanation for the inclusion of the song below: on my copy of the album, the full title is “In the Red Currants (In die Ribisi)”.

Dylan Schiff’s Universal Crossword – “Chemical Bond” – Matt F’s write up

Universal Solution 07.18.2023

We have a science-themed puzzle today that might entice you to pull up an image of the periodic table while you solve (we all memorized that in Chem-101, right?). There’s a joke in the reveal that might have sparked a smile or light chuckle when you got to it. Let’s take a closer look:

Theme Synopsis:

4 elements are spelled out at the end of theme answers:

  • 17A – [Thoroughly enjoying] = TAKING DELIGHT IN
  • 26A – [Getting up there in age] = GROWING OLD
  • 33A – [Listing in the classifieds] = FOR-SALE AD
  • 44A – [Abut] = NEIGHBOR ON

And, the punchline in the reveal:

  • 54A – [1997 Bruce Willis sci-fi film … or what you’d expect to find at the end of this answer, given the last few letters of 17-, 26-, 33-, and 44-Across] = THE FIFTH ELEMENT

Overall Impressions:

If we play along, we’re supposed to have a set of 5 elements, but the 5th one is missing! Don’t take it too literally, because the fifth element on the periodic table is Boron and we actually do have that in 44A.

I think this is a nice gimmick with a fun payoff in the end, despite a pair of awkward-sounding phrases required to make it work (“taking delight in” and “neighbor on”).

The grid is also ambitious, with wide-open corners and plenty of fun mid-length answers to elevate the puzzle: CHOW LINE, PHASERS, POKEMON, OCTUPLE, WHIPS UP, BEWITCH, POLENTA, etc. Really great work on this grid overall.

Thanks for the puzzle, Dylan!

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7 Responses to Tuesday, July 18, 2023

  1. Noah says:

    As a vegetarian I’d argue that describing LARD as nonvegan is perfectly fine. It’s *also* nonvegetarian, which butter isn’t.

    • JohnH says:

      This issue comes up often in comments, but one can expect only that a clue is accurate, not that it is uniquely defining.

      Pleasant early-week theme, although I do wish there was less standard-issue fill. Some things are to the point of appearing daily — or more often still. And this puzzle had plenty of them. I am still not convinced that this makes a puzzle too daunting for newbies, only that it can seem formulaic.

    • Martin says:

      This discussion reminds me of my rabbi’s terminology. For historical reasons, “glatt kosher” came to mean “strictly kosher.” (Rabbis have argued over what’s kosher for millennia.) “Tref” means not kosher. He said a cheeseburger was tref but a bacon cheeseburger was glatt tref.

      Vegan is like glatt vegetarian.

  2. JohnH says:

    TNY: Seemed about right for a Tuesday, with some nicely worded clues (like indeed “Astronomically bad”). Now that you mention it, yeah, “Quarter of a dollar” doesn’t add up.

  3. Eric H says:

    New Yorker: Nice puzzle. Much easier for me than yesterday’s. 1A SODA POP was a gimme (when I read “The Outsiders” as a tween, I had crushes on half the characters, and when I saw the movie 10 or 15 years later, I had a crush on Rob Lowe).

    Yes, I had PiNe before PANT. I didn’t know Eve BABITZ and Roberto MATTA, but I did see an exhibit of some El Anatsui’s BOTTLE CAP pieces 10 years ago — interesting stuff.

    My main mistake was thinking the Vietnamese battle site was “DIEm Bien Phu,” which made it much harder than it should have been to see ANDREA DWORKIN. (I’ve never read any of her work, but I do know her name.)

  4. Eric H says:

    WSJ: Would a theme in which the musical genre is the first word of the phrase be substantially different than this theme? ‘Cause that’s the theme of a puzzle of mine that Universal published a year and a half back. (My theme answers all involved places of some sort — “salsa bar,” “metal shop,” “country club,” etc.). And I know of at least two other puzzles that had similar themes of musical genre/other word.

    The phrases Harry Doernberg found are all nicely “in the language.” Nice puzzle overall.

    Interesting coincidence that this puzzle clues AUG as the month for the Perseid meteor shower and today’s New Yorker puzzle clues NOV as the month for the Leonid meteor shower. If you’ve never seen a good meteor shower, it’s worth the effort.

  5. Zev Farkas says:

    Dylan Schiff’s Universal Crossword – “Chemical Bond” – Matt F’s write up:

    Thanks, Matt, for pointing out that “The Fifth Element” is Boron on the modern periodic table, so it sort of appears twice – I missed that little joke when solving the puzzle. OTOH, it seems that, in the movie, the reference is to some mystical substance that fills out the ancient tetrad of earth, water, fire and air. ;)

    BTW – this website doesn’t seem to let us see what vote we’ve given for a puzzle, nor allow us to correct it. Just for the record, I was going to give this one a 5, but I’m afraid that a 3 might have been recorded.

Comments are closed.