Thursday, August 3, 2023

BEQ tk (Darby) 


LAT 5:56 (Gareth) 


NYT 18:22 (ZDL) 


The New Yorker 2:12 (Kyle) 


Universal tk (Sophia) 


USA Today 5:45 (Emily) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


Fireball tk (Jenni) 


Simeon Seigel’s New York Times crossword — Zachary David Levy’s write-up

Difficulty: Challenging (18m22s)

Simeon Seigel’s New York Times crossword puzzle, 8/3/23, 0803

Today’s theme: TAKE FIVE (Get some rest … or what to do with the end of the previous answer to solve each starred clue), i.e. take five letters from the prior horizontal answer to complete the themer:


Similar theme to last Thursday’s puzzle, though a bit trickier.  In truth, the vast majority of my solve time was spent trying to suss out the NW corner, with ASSIGNOR and CUT NO ICE crossing GOOPY and PINTA proving really inscrutable.  I am, however, a big fan of cluing COCO as Gauff, and not the Nazi spy.

Cracking: really liked LOTUS POSEYKNOW what I mean?

Slacking: YKNOW that the puzzle also contains the word ASSIGNOR?

SidetrackingRATSO Rizzo is walkin’ here!

Karen Steinberg & Paul Steinberg’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Ups and Downs”—Jim’s review

Apt for the WSJ, today’s puzzle brings us a representation of the stock market. The circled squares at the bottom spell out a period of a rising BULL market, then, after the STOCK MARKET PEAK, we have a falling BEAR market. Also, focusing on that peak is the phrase INFLECTION POINT, and finally, that apex of the market is a rebussed LB indicating the transition from bull to bear.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Ups and Downs” · Karen Steinberg & Paul Steinberg · Thu., 8.3.23

I’ll admit I wasn’t too familiar with the phrase INFLECTION POINT. In Math, it indicates a change in direction of a curve. In business, it indicates a turning point. So its usage is quite apt here.

For whatever reason, my solving software (Black Ink) didn’t like my rebussed LB square, hence it’s red in the picture.

The theme is fine, but it doesn’t really seem representative to me since you rarely see a graph of the stock market with such an even rise and equally even decline. But for a crossword, it worked and helped me resolve those two lower corners.

I think I enjoyed the fill more with LAST EXIT, ANTI-VENOM, HEADLINED, SAKE SETS, ICE BATH, and MACARON.

Clues of note:

  • 30a. [Colorful sandwich cookie]. MACARON. Nice to see a different sandwich cookie for a change.
  • 47a. [Epson competitor]. BROTHER. Nice little twist to have this clued as a brand name when there are so many other ways to do it.
  • 59d. [Lod lander]. ELAL. Needed all the crossings here. Ben Gurion International Airport is located just 5 miles outside the city.

3.5 stars.

Robyn Weintraub’s New Yorker crossword – Kyle’s write-up

Thanks Robyn for another enjoyable Thursday puzzle.

The New Yorker solution grid – Robyn Weintraub – Thursday 08/03/2023

  • Clues I liked: [What a novice parallel parker might hit repeatedly] for CURB, [Walking-trail activity that might include learning the names of trees or birds] for NATURE HIKE
  • House style notwithstanding, I’d argue there shouldn’t be a hyphen in the clue for 7D VICE [___-President (Kamala Harris’s title).

Kelly Nguyen Dickson’s USA Today Crossword, “Behave Yourself (Freestyle)” — Emily’s write-up

Mixing it up today with a themeless freestyle.

Completed USA Today crossword for Thursday August 03, 2023

USA Today, August 03 2023, “Behave Yourself (Freestyle)” by Kelly Nguyen Dickson


Stumpers: SAMOA (new to me), TRILL (needed crossings), and ENAMOR (also needed crossings)

A fast time for me today. Starting out, the top third of the puzzle in the acrosses were too familiar and made me start worrying that it was a little stale for me but then everything changed for the better. Perhaps that was just the fill needed to achieve everything else (which I completely understand, having filled puzzles myself including some that never turn out). The grid design otherwise looks fantastic and I love the overall fill, in particular the plethora of lengthy ones. What a puzzle! I hope to see more soon from Kelly. Nicely done!

4.0 stars


Grant Boroughs’ LA Times crossword — Gareth’s summary


Quite a loose theme type is employed by Grant Boroughs in this LA Times puzzle. Syllables are added to phrases to make the last word into a vegetable. Clues are then shoehorned to be about a County Fair:

  • [Proud proclomation at the county fair produce contest?], THATSMYCU(CUMBER)
  • [Praises a prizewinner…], HAILSACAB(BAGE)
  • [Cause of a frantic seach…], LOSTART(ICHOKE)
  • [Squashes a rival’s entry…], GOESTOETOTO(MATO)

Not too much to note: a couple of recent TV actors again: [Catherine…] OHARA, Tracee ELLIS Ross.

The one clue which tricked me was [Part of a pen], GATE. Sheep.

Only one area, the ASSIGNEE REARER row, was a bit ugly.


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

25 Responses to Thursday, August 3, 2023

  1. Greg says:

    The Times construction was very clever.

    • rob says:

      NYT: Agreed. I always love a Thursday puzzle with a theme that I have never encountered. Nice work, Simeon!

    • Eric H says:

      I liked the concept of the NYT puzzle, and some of the finds — particularly IGNORAMUSES — were quite good.

      But I solved it quickly without understanding the trick, which makes the gimmick a little less interesting for me.

      And there’s a few too many plurals of words that one rarely uses that way, like RESETS (which could’ve been clued as a verb) and TAIL ENDS.

      On the other hand, any puzzle with RATSO Rizzo is fine with me. That’s such a great character.

      Count me as one who would rather see COCO Gauff in the puzzle rather than Coco Chanel (not that you can tell from just looking at the grid).

      I’m surprised that the State of the Union address only goes back to 1913. I thought that from the beginning, the Constitution required an annual presidential address to Congress.

      • PJ says:

        I thought I remembered something about SOTU and a search confirmed it. The Constitution does require periodic executive feedback on the State of the Union. Washington and John Adams gave their reports in person. Jefferson, who apparently thought the oral presentation seemed too royal, provided a written report as did subsequent presidents until Wilson in 1913.

        • Eric H says:


          I just skimmed the Wikipedia page on the SOTU and learned basically the same thing. I suppose that one could nitpick the clue by noting that not every president since Wilson was given a State of the Union address, but the clue is close enough for crosswords.

      • David L says:

        I wondered about the SOTU clue too. The Wikipedia history is more equivocal. Washington spoke to Congress in 1790, but Jefferson, when he was president, stopped doing so. Thereafter president’s would provide a written statement, but Woodrow Wilson restarted the practice of addressing Congress in person in 1913. But it wasn’t called “State of the Union” until FDR’s time.

        I am waiting for a brave president to conclude the address by saying “The State of Our Union is, eh, not so bad, all things considered.”

      • JohnH says:

        I found the theme only at the very end, too. Clever, though.

        In the end, I had to take a third or fourth look, notice that some really did not just pick up the end of the previous clue but did so with five letters, and apply that to HOOTERS, where I’d thought of SHOOTERS, not knowing the correct term. Wish I’d thought of the theme sooner. It would have sped a slow solve enormously.

        No strong feelings about COCO, but given my indifference to and ignorance of sports, I sure won’t go so far as to cheer for it.

        • Eric H says:

          Re: COCO — For me, it’s less “Yay! A female athlete! (though I do recognize her name) and more “Yay! Not a Nazi collaborator and homophobe!”

  2. GlennG says:

    “For whatever reason, my solving software (Black Ink) didn’t like my rebussed LB square, hence it’s red in the picture.”

    Rebuses aren’t supported in the WSJ online puzzle and that gets translated to the PUZ provided here. Lately I’ve been providing amended PUZ files with the rebuses when they have come up, so rebus entries are respected in solving. However, my schedule made it so I couldn’t get to doing the puzzle until this morning. Amended version has been sent and hopefully will be posted soon.

  3. Simon says:

    NYT: Typical example of a puzzle gimmick that is more interesting to the constructor than the solver.

    • Gary R says:

      I disagree. I found the “gimmick” interesting and fun, and in the end it helped me with the solve. ASS/IGNOR AMUSES and SH/INDIG NATION struck me as particularly clever entries.

      I saw part of what was going on (borrowing letters from the preceding entry) fairly early, when I completed the NW and NE sections using a lot of crosses. What I didn’t recognize until I saw the revealer was that it was always five letters we were borrowing – so that made the revealer entertaining as well (would have preferred it to reference the Dave Brubeck piece, but it was fine as-is).

      Understanding that we were borrowing letters got me HOOTERS at 24-A, and also got me SHINDIG (which I was drawing a blank on) at 46-A.

      Different strokes.

      • Simon says:

        Yes. To each his own. I am glad you enjoyed it. But when a puzzle has to tell us what to do: “take five” from “previous answer” etc it just shows how contrived it is. Why take five? Why not three or seven. It’s because the phrase “take five” — although it doesn’t mean “take a rest” to my ear— is in common usage but what compelling reason is there to build a puzzle around that?

  4. RCook says:

    NYT: Am I alone in having never heard CUT NO ICE or TAKE THE RAP before?

    • dh says:

      I’ve heard of “TAKE THE RAP” from watching gangster movies, but “CUT NO ICE” is new to me.

    • Sophomoric Old Guy says:

      Not alone on CUT NO ICE. Only 104,000 results on Google. But there is a definition

  5. Eric H says:

    WSJ: I got bogged down in the SW, as “Company in Ingolstadt’ suggested Scandinavia to me, not Germany, and I didn’t know that STOLI comes in so many flavors.

    The BULL/BEAR theme bailed me out, getting me the four circled letters in that corner.

    But at least now I know where AUDI is headquartered, should that ever be relevant.

  6. Martin says:

    Glenn actually got me the file and it was posted by 8:00 AM CT.

    I maintain the converter software and update it when it’s called for. For instance, circles weren’t supported by the WSJ app for a long time, but when they added them I added support to the converter so the AcrossLite file would display them. But rebus elements are still beyond the WSJ’s capabilities, so Glenn lovingly builds a .puz file by hand. I usually don’t acknowledge his effort since it would be a mild spoiler, so it’s great that today’s review led to his unmasking.

    • Eric H says:


      Again, thanks for the work y’all do to get the.puz files out there.

      If my only choice was to use the WSJ puzzle app, I wouldn’t be doing their puzzles. Which would be a shame, because I generally enjoy the Friday contest puzzles.

    • GlennG says:

      Full disclosure: Any time I see clues missing on the WSJ online solver, I’ll ship over a version with the clues added as well.

Comments are closed.