Friday, September 1, 2023

LAT untimed (pannonica) 


The New Yorker 2:42 (MattG) 


NYT 6:18 (Amy) 


Universal 5:54 (Jim) 


USA Today 4:40 (Darby) 


Inkubator will return next week.

Robert Logan’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 9/1/23 – no. 0901

Let’s get right into it!

Fave fill: GEEKED OUT, GARGOYLES, a COMPLETE MESS, URBAN OASES, metaphorical SPECIAL SAUCE rather than edible, “DARN IT ALL!”, CALL CENTER, SOLAR PANELS, JEEP SAFARIS (a term new to me), RANSOMWARE. And you know what? I just really like the word CRISP.

Did not know HATHA was 16A. [Sanskrit for “force”]. Does anyone in the US use this term outside of the (dated?) hatha yoga? Should HATHA be accepted in Spelling Bee?

If you don’t know the band OK GO ([Indie band whose name is a two-word command]), the main thing to know about them is that they specialize in delightfully captivating videos. Here’s just one of them for your enjoyment.

Four stars from me.

Rich Katz’s Universal crossword, “Dynamic Duos”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases of the form X AND Y clued as if both X and Y are the surnames of famous people.

Universal crossword solution · “Dynamic Duos” · Rich Katz · Fri., 9.1.23

  • 17a. [Actress Helen & actor Gregory?] HUNT AND PECK. Ha! Good one.
  • 27a. [Actor Jack & singer Barry?] BLACK AND WHITE. This one feels like low-hanging fruit. Too easy.
  • 48a. [Actor Martin & author Rex?] SHORT AND STOUT. Nice.
  • 64a. [Actor Randall & astronaut Sally?] PARK AND RIDE. Another good one. Don’t know Randall Park by name, but now I’ve learned he’s Agent Jimmy Woo in several Marvel Cinematic Universe productions.

Fun theme! I enjoyed sussing these out. I couldn’t think what would go with “stout” and could only think of “Twist and Shout,” but eventually the light bulb came on. I like how the clues skirt the dupe issue by using the ampersand.

I bet there are more of these pairings. Can you come up with any? I thought it would be cool if each pairing came from the same field, like [Authors Stephen & Ellery?] for KING AND QUEEN (although Ellery Queen is a pseudonym)…But now that I’ve had a look at the long list of “AND” phrases (try searching “* and *” on, maybe there aren’t that many more of these, and trying to find people in the same fields might be too tall of an order.

Top fill: BRUISED EGO, OSMOSIS, CHEETAH, and ANTISEPTIC. Didn’t know CARLI Lloyd of soccer fame and went with CARLO. This resulted in my finishing with an error since apparently my brain thinks OSMOSOS is a thing.

Clues of note:

  • 22d. [“Capisce?”]. “GOT IT?” No hint at tense in the clue, and I went with “GET IT?” Thankfully my brain knew OSMESOS isn’t a thing, but…see above.
  • 26d. [Univ. of Cambridge]. MIT. Tricky for me since I used to live just outside Cambridgeshire and have been to the university a number of times.
  • 27d. [Dude]. BRAH. Has this word had enough general acceptance that it doesn’t need a Hawaii reference in the clue? I hope so.

Nice puzzle. 3.75 stars.

Wendy L Brandes’ Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 9/1/23 • Fri • Brandes • solution • 20230901

Today we’re dropping some bigrams. They’re helpfully already circled in the grid.

  • 57aR [“Proceed with confidence!,” and how to make the answers to 20-, 31-, and 43-Across match their clues] NO HESITATION.
  • 20a. [Pouch for collecting cobs?] CORN{ER} POCKET.
  • 31a. [Source of inspiration for a candlemaker?] MAX MUSE{UM}. Muse and museum share etymology.
  • 43a. [Cry of dismay from a sailor?] {AH}OY MATEY. Could ahoy not also indicate dismay, rather than simply be a greeting? Is it kind of like the prego of the sea? I don’t know.

So: er, um, ah. We often see those pluralized in crosswords, as they’re exceedingly helpful in construction. I appreciate how these appear in different locations for the three theme answers: middle, end, and beginning.

Echoing the wording of the revealer, but not really theme-adjacent: 10d [Crossword clues that don’t match their answers, e.g.] ERRORS.

  • 14a [Edible flower whose bulb has a toxic core] TULIP. I’ll, uh, keep this in mind the next time I’m munching on one.
  • 41a [Only state to adopt a state seal designed by a woman] IDAHO. And it’s no better or worse than others. It’s tough when the assignment is to shoehorn so many various iconographical elements. Many state flags feature their state’s seal, or renditions thereof, so this video (recently re-uploaded) might be worth a watch.
  • 42a [Swift’s home] NEST, not EIRE or ERIN.
  • 68a [Yellowstone resident] ELK. As seen on Idaho’s state seal.
  • 5d [Sugar amount, per Mary Poppins] SPOONFUL.
  • 6d [Test-drive] SPIN. Orthography question: does the hyphen in the clue make this a verb and not a noun? In which case SPIN wouldn’t be a matching answer? It feels that way to me, but m-w lists both parts of speech with a hyphen.
  • 7d [Bistros] CAFÉS. 8d [Fully caffeinated, say] ALERT. Normally I wouldn’t call this out as a duplication, but as they’re sequential it seems worth noting.
  • 38d [Vacillates] YO-YOS. Vacillate feels to me more like a lateral movement rather than an up-and-down one, but Ngrams doesn’t bear that out.

Matthew Stock’s New Yorker crossword—Matt G’s recap

Matthew Stock’s New Yorker crossword solution, 9/1/23

Our theme has -HR- butting into to common phrases to make wacky phrases. There are less pleasant reasons to think of HR, that’s for sure. I’d like to think it’s handled ok at my job.

  • 18a [What Alice experienced before going through a keyhole?] SHRINKING FEELING
  • 30a [Premium Web-browser option?] CHROME AT A COST
  • 51a [Benchmark for a topiarist?] SHRUB STANDARD
  • 67a [One prone to tantrums after receiving too many robocalls?] CELL PHONE THROWER

Nice theme set. I think the middle two are my favorite clue-entry pairs, but it’s an even and balanced group for my money.

The fill felt varied and fresh to justify the 16-wide grid during my solve. Feels like lots of names as I review it here, but generally well-known. Maybe not Miley Cyrus’ mother TISH, but the rest of that corner isn’t too bad – TACOMA, ISOBAR, ASHE are all common enough in puzzles, I’d say. The clue for ERROR [“404: Page Not Found,” e.g.] felt fresh to me, even for as long as internet access has been pretty widespread. I do see on XW Info that it’s been used a small bit in the NYT over the last 5 years. TREEHOUSE and I NEED A NAP were fun longer entries, and I wonder if ROE and WADE at 34a and 45a were once cross-referenced.

Zhouqin Burnikel’s USA Today crossword, “Midler”—Darby’s recap

*Unfortunately, I forgot to get a grid screenshot before midnight; apologies!*

Theme: Each theme answer contains LER spanning across its two words, putting it in the middle of them.

Theme Answers

  • 16a [Costly mistakes] FATAL ERRORS
  • 28a [Malcolm X in “Malcolm X”] TITLE ROLE
  • 45a [First run-through of a script] TABLE READ
  • 62a [Cowgirl’s workplace] CATTLE RANCH

I wasn’t sure what the theme would be based on the title, but I appreciated that this puzzle crammed in four theme answers. I got TABLE READ right off the bat, but I needed just a little help from the crosses on FATAL ERRORS (big shout out to 1d BFFS here). TITLE ROLE took me a minute, but having TREAT already in place was very helpful.

I really loved 23d [Basket for cooking pork buns] STEAMER (probably because I love pork buns). I also thought that 10d [Milk or formula container for an infant] BABY BOTTLE was fun and interesting fill. The mention of PhD THESES in 33a was also very close to home for me (ad a nice reminder of why I was taking a break to do this puzzle). Finally, the cross at 52d [“Mamma Mia!” group] ABBA and 52a [“Highway to Hell” band] ACDC was just a cute musical combo.


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

17 Responses to Friday, September 1, 2023

  1. Dan says:

    NYT puzzle: I did not like the clue “Abrupt” for TERSE. Abrupt carries a meaning of suddenness, while terse only means brief in speech or writing.

    • Lois says:

      I agree with you, Dan. I thought the same thing. I also can’t get over dupes like 54a and 4d. Otherwise, a very enjoyable puzzle.

    • David L says:

      I hesitated over TERSE for the same reason.

      But I confess I didn’t notice the dupe…

      Overall pretty easy but for the NE corner, not helped by putting COMPLETELOSS and DEEPSAFARIS at first (going where no one has gone before?)

      The clue for SPECIALSAUCE doesn’t mean anything to me but the answer was obvious.

    • Dan says:

      I also was less than enthused by the spelling OKIE-DOKIE, which I am much more accustomed to seeing as OKEY-DOKEY.

      • Me says:

        Me, too. I had always seen it as OKEY-DOKEY, and then in one of those weird coincidences, a few weeks ago, someone texted me “OKIE-DOKIE.” I had never seen that spelling before, ever.

        From Google Ngram viewer, it looks like OKIE DOKIE/OKIE-DOKIE had some visibility in the 1930s but went back into dormancy for decades.
        They really have only been used in the past 20 years. But even nowadays, OKEY-DOKEY/OKEY DOKEY are about 5 times more common than OKIE-DOKIE/OKIE DOKIE.

        It’s amazing the questions that come up in one’s head from doing crosswords, and it’s also amazing that we can find the answers so easily on the Web!

    • Gary R says:

      I was okay with abrupt=TERSE. M-W includes this definition of abrupt:

      b : rudely or unceremoniously curt
      She has an abrupt manner.
      an abrupt reply

      For TERSE, they have:

      1 : using few words : devoid of superfluity
      a terse summary
      also : SHORT, BRUSQUE
      dismissed me with a terse “no”

      So, I think it works.

      But I’m with you on that spelling of okey-dokey.

  2. C. Y. Hollander says:

    OK GO and OKIE DOKIE (from today’s NYT puzzle) seem a mite duplicative.

  3. placematfan says:

    For me the really interesting thing about Ok Go’s videos are that they’re all (at least, all the ones I’ve seen) a single shot, done in one take–what’s the term, one-taker? onesie? Whatever it’s called, it fascinates me. I’d love for a cinephile to rant all over my face about it’s use in movies and TV, why directors choose to use it now and not then, what great examples of it are and what lousy examples of it are. My most recent encounter with it was an episode of “The Bear” where the single take was most of the 20-minute episode and I was awestruck. Talking with a friend about that episode, she hadn’t even noticed the single take–which made me wonder how often I don’t notice it. But I feel like I usually do. My go-to example is the airport fight scene from “Hanna”. I guess with the state of CGI it’s pretty easy to “fake” nowadays: just find a good transition point between two takes and Photoshop or whatever an end frame and start frame together.

    • Mark B says:

      This is a great video about the “oner” by a professional film editor who used to make really in-depth video essays about various filmmaking techniques.

    • Mhoonchild says:

      The opening scene of Robert Altman’s “The Player” is nearly eight minutes without a cut. According to Wikipedia, they shot the complete scene 15 times, but used the tenth take in the final edit. It’s amazing to see!

      • pannonica says:

        Also highly recommended is Alexander Sokurov’s Russian Ark (2002). The entire film is one highly choreographed take. It was really pushing the temporal boundaries of what digital recording could handle at the time.

    • David L says:

      Hitchcock’s 1948 movie Rope was edited together from a series of long takes, the maximum length being 10 minutes because that was how much film a camera could hold. The idea was to make it look as if the whole movie was a single continuous scene shot in real time.

  4. MattF says:

    The long (three minute) one-shot steadicam sequence that I’ve heard of was from Goodfellas:

  5. Dallas says:

    Super smooth Friday puzzle… almost record time for me. I had SPOT instead of SIDE for bright/blind, but otherwise went well. Got to fit it in between administrative tasks today…

  6. JohnH says:

    I’m delighted by TNY simply because it has a real theme. NYT was hard for me, especially after a fast start at top.

Comments are closed.