Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Jonesin' tk (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni)  


NYT 3:54 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal 6:07 (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


WSJ 5:19 (Jim) 


Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 638), “You Can Say That Again!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 638: “You Can Say That Again!”

Good day, everybody! Hope all is well with you, and for those people residing in Southern California, I do hope you made out relatively OK while riding out the tropical storm that hit over the weekend.

We have some fun with homophones, with today’s grid, and it centers around “P. And by “P,” I mean word representing the seventh Greek letter, and other words that have that same pronunciation. All of those words are contained at the end of each theme answer.

        • ALPHA SIGMA RHO (15A: [Founded in 1998, this sorority promotes Asian-awareness and sisterhood])
        • NICHOLAS ROWE (27A: [Actor who played the titular role in “Young Sherlock Holmes”])
        • SEA URCHIN ROE (47A: [Pricey ocean delicacy on a sushi menu])
        • FRATERNITY ROW (61A: [College area with a concentration of Greek letter organizations])

As a New Yorker who buys his good share of street meat, I was thrown off a little by ON RICE since, usually, the order of that dish is usually stated by customers as “chicken over rice.” (61A: [How chicken may be served].) For those who regularly chow down on some chicken over rice, what else do you have cooks put on it? I usually do extra grilled onions, a small amount of lettuce, hot sauce and BBQ sauce on it. So good! Speaking of food, there’s also LASAGNA, and I made the perfect meat lasagna dish the first time I attempted it years ago (22A: [Layered Italian entrée]). Since then, the three or four other times I’ve made it, they’ve been good, but I always felt like I was missing something that didn’t allow me to capture the magic from the first time around. Maybe leaving the pasta boiling a little too long before transferring to the casserole dish? Hmm, not sure. Guess I might as well try it again when I have a little more time…but not in the next 2-3 weeks since I’ll be pretty much living and sleeping next to Arthur Ashe Stadium for the US Open.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ESSENCE (6D: [Intrinsic quality]) – A one-time WNBA champion, Essence Carson spent 13 seasons playing in the league after a standout career in college. Playing for Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer at Rutgers, Carson was a defensive dynamo who helped lead the Scarlet Knights to the 2007 NCAA Tournament championship game, where they eventually lost to Tennessee. Essence was drafted by the New York Liberty with seventh overall pick of the 2008 WNBA Draft, and made the WNBA All-Star game in 2011 representing New York. As a member of the LA Sparks in 2016, Carson won her only WNBA title. She also is a talented musician, who raps and also plays the piano, saxophone, electric bass guitar, and drums.

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

Take care!


Grant Conley’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Fool Me Once”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are common(ish) tools of a prankster, and they each start with one of the four elements identified in Greek philosophy. The two-part revealer is ELEMENT / OF SURPRISE (50a, [With 62-Across, a key component of any good prank, and a hint to the beginnings of the prankster’s tools herein]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Fool Me Once” · Grant Conley · Tue., 8.22.23

  • 17a. [A prankster’s tools to make you squirm] EARTHWORMS.
  • 25a. [A prankster’s tool to elicit a scream] AIRHORN.
  • 33a. [A prankster’s tools to get an explosive reaction] FIRECRACKERS.
  • 42a. [A prankster’s tool to make a splash] WATER BALLOON.

Really nice! I finished without grasping the full theme but then had an enjoyable aha moment as the penny dropped. All of these items are conceivably common enough prank items (maybe EARTHWORMS not as much, but still…), and the tie-in to the Greek elements is elegant. A fun set and a wonderfully executed theme. My only nit is…why the indefinite article leading off each clue? The clues would be fine without them.

JANE EYRE and UNDERSEA top the fill. I only recently learned ATELIERS via crosswords, so that came in handy. CO-OWNERS sure was hard to parse with just its first few letters. The theme-adjacent APRIL is a nice bonus.

Clues of note:

  • 11d. [Like Nemo’s travels]. UNDERSEA. I’m thinking the clue is purposefully vague so you can apply it to either the Nautilus captain or the clownfish as you see fit.
  • 30d. [Suvari of “American Pie”]. MENA. Anyone else conflate the names MENA Suvari and Mira Sorvino?

Lovely debut puzzle! Congrats! Four stars.

Jay Silverman’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 8/22/23 – no. 0823

Love the theme! The revealer-slash-fifth-themer, SOUND CHECKS, is clued 55a. [Royalties for any musician?]. The other four long entries are phrases whose second word can mean “money” and whose first word doubles as a popular musician’s surname:

  • 17a. [Royalties from Stevie’s “Superstition”?], WONDER BREAD. Stevie Wonder making some bread from “Superstition.”
  • 23a. [Royalties from Neil’s “Heart of Gold”?], YOUNG BUCKS. 
  • 34a. [Royalties from Tom’s “Free Fallin'”?], PETTY CASH.
  • 50a. [Royalties from Barry’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe”?], WHITE PAPER.

Pop culture + wordplay = my happy place.

Fave fill: END RUNS, SUNBURNT (though the clue feels all kinds of wrong to me, a habitual never-tanner. [Tanned and then some]? I’ve never tanned and burned. I just burn), FROSÉ.

REARLIT feels like much less of a thing than backlit. As for [Go over again], ITERATE, I seldom run into this word outside of crosswords. DEALS TO feels overdressed with TO in the mix.

3.75 stars from me.

Drew Schmenner’s Universal Crossword – “Seismic Event” – Matt F’s Review

Universal Solution 08.22.2023

The title had me quaking and eager to figure out today’s theme. Surprisingly, you won’t find any faults in this puzzle! Let’s see what’s going on.

Theme Synopsis:

We have a bookend theme today, with the starts and ends of each theme answer containing types of “earth” broken apart. Aha! The central reveal tells us what’s going on:

  • 38A – [Like a life-altering event … and a hint to the indicated letters] = EARTH SHATTERING

I was fortunate to see circles in my grid, which, based on the clues, is not the status quo for some Universal publications. Circles certainly help to see what’s going on a little more clearly. I’m going to elide the “notes” from each clue here to keep it short:

  • 17A – [Falls far behind the race leader, perhaps] = LOSES STEAM (loam)
  • 21A – [Spacecraft propulsion device reliant on sunlight] = SOLAR SAIL (soil)
  • 52A – [Fastest dog breed] = GREYHOUND (ground)
  • 61A – [Painting by AI, e.g.] = DIGITAL ART (dirt)

So there you have it! An unfortunately timely puzzle with the “hurriquake” event that recently affected the west coast, but thankfully the damage was a less severe than forecasted. I hope you found some enjoyment in this ground-breaking puzzle!

Overall Impressions:

Great construction of a classic theme type today. The reveal was spot-on, and the fill all-around was clean and fun to work through. I especially enjoyed the clue and answer at 11D – [Weekly look at the stars?] = US MAGAZINE, and the symmetrical slot at 27D was VERY CLEVER. You don’t often see theme answers stacked on consecutive lines, and sometimes that’s just what works best to produce the cleanest grid. 33A sums it up best, this puzzle was SO GOOD.

Thanks for the puzzle, Drew!

Brooke Husic’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 8/22/23 • Tue • Husic • solution • 20230822

Striking mirror symmetry across a NW-SE axis, with a B-2 block at its peak.

  • 1a [“Letter from Birmingham Jail” author’s first name] MARTIN. Nice when there’s a gimme right at the outset.
  • 12a [Bad Bunny and Chencho Corleone hit whose title can be translated as “I’ll Behave Myself”] ME PORTO BONITO. The last act of my solve was correcting the first letter from D to M. I’d thought that DEPORTO might be a cognate to disposition.
  • 27a [Migrants] EXPATS. Does this work? They seem to have different connotations, with EXPATS being ensconced abroad while migrants feels more descriptive of those on the move, or newly-arrived.
  • 36a [A Tribe Called Quest single whose title question is repeatedly answered in the affirmative] CAN I KICK IT. It prominently samples the baseline from Lou Reed’s  “Walk on the Wild Side”, as well as “Spinning Wheel” (Lonnie Smith) and “Sunshower” (Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band).
  • Sometimes the examples cited in clues are (I assume) ways for the constructor to promote their interests or values, which I find an interesting insight. I’m also inclined to reproduce such examples and link to information about them. 40a [Charitable grp. such as Landesa] NGO. 2d [Strava or Spotify, e.g.] APP; Strava is for running/bicycling.
  • 53a [Making blanket agreements, say?] SHARING A BED. Cute-ish.
  • 12d [Neck stretch?] MAKEOUT SESSION. ‘Stretch’ here in the sense of a period of time.
  • 26d [London transit hun] KING’S CROSS. 56d [Queens landing, briefly?] LGA, La Guardia airport, located in the the New York City borough of Queens.

Significantly more tractable than yesterday’s offering. Maybe more like a New Yorker Wednesday crossword?

Patti Varol’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

Patti takes us shopping for today’s amusing Tuesday offering. It’s quite an eclectic list.

Los Angeles Times, August 22, 2023, Patti Varol, solution grid

  • 17a [Place where a contractor buys sheet rock?] is a WALL OUTLET.
  • 27a [Place where Uncle Sam buys his red, white, and blue garb?] is the NATIONAL MALL.
  • 45a [Place where the military buys silver stars?] is the GENERAL STORE.
  • 59a [Place where Paddington buys marmalade sandwiches?] is a BEAR MARKET.

Nice theme set! If you’d asked me I would have said generals have gold stars. I would have been wrong. I must have been thinking of this scene (see at 0:25)

and assumed all the insignia were gold going up the chain.

A few other things:

  • 15a [Moan and groan] is a little Tuesday misdirection. You might expect a plural and the answer is WHINE.
  • I enjoyed the juxtaposition of JALAPENO and the pickle JAR.
  • And right next to the JALAPENO we have the TACO BAR. Now I’m hungry.
  • 53a [“Please, this is too much”] is a nice clue for OH STOP IT.
  • After the spicy tacos and pickles you can choose from the selection of ALES.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that there is a biopic about the creation of TETRIS.


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26 Responses to Tuesday, August 22, 2023

  1. David L says:

    Some pretty fancy vocabulary for a Tuesday NYT. And FROSE? Huh?

    Clever theme – I liked it.

  2. AlexK says:

    The NYT felt a little stodgier for a Tuesday. I think I’m a little on the younger side to have thoroughly internalized these names. I “know” many of these names from a general pre-2000s pop/rock awareness, but that’s certainly different than being able to readily recall them based off album (?) names. I guess I would consider the non-thematic fill slightly harder than traditional Tuesday canon, but the themer played like a Thursday from a few years ago (older references, trickier puns swapped for rebus or meta elements). Either way, I was much slower than normal today!

    • PJ says:

      Can’t disagree that the songs referenced are older. The release dates are 1972, 1972, 1989, and 1974. In fairness, they are pretty good songs. “Superstition” popped up on my random playlist in the car last night. It’s a very good song.

      • Eric H says:

        One could argue that the fact that the songs are more or less of the same vintage makes the theme tighter than it would be if one of the songs was from the 21st century.

        But I also recognize that older solvers like me might have had a slight advantage with the theme answers.

        • sanfranman59 says:

          “But I also recognize that older solvers like me might have had a slight advantage with the theme answers.” … Heaven forbid!

          • Eric H says:

            I expect there’s a fair number of younger people solving crossword puzzles who feel that most of what they see is aimed at us old folks.

    • JohnH says:

      What redeemed the age of the themers for me was the last one, surprisingly not a name but fitting perfectly. Nice bonus that its phrase refers to the music business as others do not.

      I don’t think the “then” in “and them some” is meant as an indicator of time sequence. It’s the obvious common idiom, so no need implied to get a tan before you burn. Not that we don’t talk about a burn as too much exposure (so perhaps implicitly too long), but even that doesn’t require a tan. (Oh, I didn’t actually know FROSE, so couldn’t have told you it gets an accent on E.)

  3. damefox says:

    NYT: ITERATE will be familiar to anyone familiar with computer coding, which may not be a huge subset of the population, but IMO it’s common enough to be Tuesday-worthy. I appreciated this entry because it’s the rare clue with “again” in it that doesn’t start with RE-. ITERATE implies the “again” all by itself.

  4. Jim Peredo says:

    NYT: Verrry similar theme to the WSJ puzzle from a week ago, including one of the same theme entries. The NYT is a little tighter with all the entries relating to money, but I enjoyed Robert S. Gard’s debut puzzle just as well.

    • Eric H says:

      Huh! I enjoyed that WSJ puzzle, but didn’t remember it at all while solving today’s NYT.

      Maybe that’s why WONDER BREAD came so quickly to me.

  5. Eric H says:

    NYT: I’m old enough to have gotten the name part of each theme answer instantly. WONDER BREAD amused me and made me think the theme was going to involve a lot of brand names.

    YOUNG BUCKS was harder to get. Is it a reference to the tag team wrestlers? The only context I’ve ever seen that phrase is in reading about the American slave trade, and I doubt that’s what they had in mind.

    It took me about a minute longer than a typical NYT Tuesday. That could have been because of my unfamiliarity with FROSÉ or because the gimme TRON somehow got changed to TROo, prompting a hunt for my mistake.

  6. placematfan says:

    Man, sampling just rubs me the wrong way. Not always, but a big fat Usually. I headed over to the YouTube to check out “Can I Kick It?” and I had to leave by the start of the second chorus. I don’t get it. All I’m left with is a desire to take A Tribe Called Quest to a music store, we’ll make it a field trip, and introduce them to the myriad instruments they can pick up and learn how to play. How is taking Lou Reed’s riff and using it as your intro and most if not all of your verse non-percussion instrumentation not plagiaristic? I just don’t get it.

  7. Eric H says:

    New Yorker: Much more fun and less frustrating for me than the August 11 puzzle by Kelsey Dixon and Brooke Husic.

    I didn’t know any of the music other than “Raspberry Beret,” and a typo in CAN I KICK IT? left me with a weird-looking title. My biggest slowdown was having EUdora (as in Welty) instead of AUSTEN. But hey, the U worked!

    I’m embarrassed that even having the KING’S of KING’S CROSS, I couldn’t remember the name of that station — and I’ve been there.

    Nice long fill: RUNS HOT AND COLD and MAKE-OUT SESSION. SPACE TRAVEL didn’t EXCITE, but maybe that’s because I know I’ll never do it.

    I’d never heard of an ICE CANOE, but why not?

    pannonica found 53a [Making blanket agreements, say?] SHARING A BED “cute-ish.” I found it kind of green-painty.

  8. JohnH says:

    Impressive that TNY really is as easy as it is, given some strange names and songs as long entries, plus the challenge of other long entries in key places. But a tribute to some fresh entries for making it so. I didn’t enjoy every step of the way but was delighted at the finish.

  9. JT says:

    NYT – I enjoyed the theme, but a lot of the rest of the fill didn’t vibe for me. The cross on 14A/5D made me downright irritated, if you don’t know French and you don’t know this one actress, you’re going to get it on the 26th try. There were too many names you just had to know. Then there was the odd double-letter answers at 27A and then from 31A to 34A which felt like it was going somewhere but didn’t; double that with the vague “could be anything” reactions one blurts of OH OH, BLAH, NAH, and AW SNAP.

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