Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Jonesin' 4:54 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni)  


NYT 3:17 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal 5:51 (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Do You Mind?” — if you were on the London Underground. – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 9/19/23

Jonesin’ solution 9/19/23

Hello lovelies! Let’s see what is going on with this week’s Jonesin’ puzzle:

  • 17a. [Bumble and Hinge, e.g.] DATING APPS
  • 21a. [Stereotypical event for fraternities in movies] TOGA PARTY
  • 33a. [Fruit suitable for making pies (rather than, say, a Red Delicious)] COOKING APPLE
  • 42a. [Ripping to shreds] TEARING APART
  • 53a. [Apparel for striking poses?] YOGA PANTS
  • 61a. [Small spaces between areas, or what’s represented in the long entries] NARROW GAPS

Each theme entry is a two-word phrase which contains the word GAP split across the two words. The title and blurb refer to the famous warning “Mind the gap” heard and seen while traveling the London Underground.

Other things:

  • 1a. [The work of groan adults?] PUNS. This definitely made me groan.
  • 60a. [___-Lenape (Delaware tribe)] LENI. I’ve only seen this written as Lenni before, but the Unami language was primarily a spoken language so any written versions are phonetic, so maybe it should only have one N instead of two.
  • 11d. [___ account (term for a bank’s holding at a different bank] NOSTRO. If Bank A has mone deposit in foreign currency in a another bank (Bank B), Bank A calls this a nostro account, from the Latin for “ours,” while Bank B calls the same account a vostro account, from the Latin for “yours.”

Until next week!

Andrea Carla Michaels & Kevin Christian’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Arrr!”—Jim’s review

I can never remember when Talk Like a Pirate Day is. Thankfully we have crossword puzzles to remind us.

The grid-spanning revealer today is AND A BOTTLE OF RUM (59a, [Phrase that follows the first syllables of 20-, 33- and 43-Across, especially today]). The other three theme answers start with the needed syllables and they’re all grid-spanners as well.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Arrr!” · Andrea Carla Michaels & Kevin Christian · Tue., 9.19.23

  • 20a. [Asana experts] YOGA INSTRUCTORS.
  • 33a. [Domain of Charlemagne] HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE.
  • 43a. [Place “you can never leave” in an Eagles classic] HOTEL CALIFORNIA.

Fun theme! It’s appropriate that one of our co-constructors is (cue Charles Laughton’s Captain Bligh) “Mr. Christian!” (Yes, I know Fletcher Christian wasn’t a pirate, but he did mutiny, so I’d say it’s close enough for crosswords.)

Nothing especially long in the fill, no doubt due to the need to separate four grid-spanning entries. But the four 7s  are quite nice: FAKES IT, LESBIAN, TORNADO, and STICKUM [Gluey adhesive]. This last one I wasn’t sure of, though. Apparently, it’s a product that was used so much in the NFL’s 1980 season (so players could keep a good hold on the ball), that the following year the league banned it. They all started wearing gloves after that.

Clues of note:

  • 27d. [Response in a pool game]. “POLO!” Got me with that “pool game” reference. Needed three of the crossings before the penny dropped.
  • 46d. [Makes a pretense of competence]. FAKES IT. Of course, you fake it until you are competent.

Fun theme and a clean grid. 3.75 stars.

Gia Bosko’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 9/19/23 – no. 0919

This puzzle with a 14×16 grid has fun with vocabulary:

  • 15A. [Having many syllables, like this answer, 18-Across and especially 53-/57-Across], SESQUIPEDALIAN.
  • 18A. [In a noisy and unruly manner], OBSTERPEROUSLY. Rather randomly selected 14, it would appear.
  • 53A. [Opposition to the removal of …] / 57A.
    [… state support from the church], ANTIDISESTABLI / SHMENTARIANISM.

Know your Spanish: 20A. [“Listen up!,” in Lima], OYE. Which makes me wonder what the Santana song “Oye Cómo Va” means. Google Translate tells me it’s “Hey, how is it going.”


22D. [Vaccine-regulating org.], FDA. I do encourage you to get the new COVID vaccine, particularly if you or someone you love (or heck, even someone you work near) is over 60 or has medical vulnerabilities. Flu shots are also available now, and the RSV vaccine’s approved for those 65 and up. If you don’t really respond to the mRNA COVID vaccines (like some of us who take immunosuppressants), you could try holding out for the Novavax vaccine to be approved, which could happen within the next month or so. Also! Not a bad idea to mask in public places to reduce the various respiratory viruses’ spread, even if you think COVID somehow can’t hurt you. /soapbox

3.5 stars from me.

Zach Moore’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

Another solid Tuesday offering from Patti and her crew at the LAT! I saw the connection among the theme answers. The revealer was still a surprise and overall it was fun to solve. Since we didn’t have a tag for Zach Moore, I suspect this is a debut. It’s a good ‘un! Looking forward to more from Zach. Hah.

The theme answers:

Los Angeles Times, September 19, 2023, Zach Moore, solution grid

  • 20a [Ability to keep cool under pressure] is PRESENCE OF MIND. I think of this more as the ability to think on one’s feet, which I realize can be the same thing. Nit withdrawn. Carry on.
  • 25a [Small beards] are SOUL PATCHES. A perfectly fine clue and entry. Not at all my cup of tea as far as facial hair goes. Have a beard or don’t. Pick one.
  • 47a [Chile that’s among the hottest in the world] is a GHOST PEPPER.

And the revealer: 52a [“I like your attitude!,” and what can be said about the starts of 20-, 25-, and 47-Across?] is THATS THE SPIRIT. Fun! The stores have already ushered in the Spooky Season so why not get in the spirit (sorry) in puzzledom?

A few other things:

  • I’m glad we get GRETA Thunberg references so we can leave Garbo alone.
  • I prefer my PARM with chicken or veal rather than eggplant. Still yum.
  • Haven’t read a MAEVE Binchy book in a while! She was one of my mother’s favorites.
  • I would rather drink an ICEE than OUZO and given how I feel about the former, that’s saying something.
  • I filled in 65a by crossings and was wondering what gadget Apple was calling the iSAT. Turns out it’s an Elton John lyric reference – I SAT. Oh.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: never heard of EZRA Koenig or the band Vampire Weekend and I did not know that PERU is home to most of the world’s alpacas.

Wyna Liu’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 9/19/123 • Tue • Liu • solution • 20230919

This felt less onerous than the ‘moderately challenging’ label.

  • 6a [Religion whose name can be translated as “submission”] ISLAM. Oh, that’s not a great indicator.
  • 14a [One may be worn after a surgery] CONE OF SHAME. Rarely if ever for humans, though.
  • 19a [Annual tournament whose courts are a trademarked shade of blue] US OPEN. It’s called, unoriginally, US Open Blue. “Since 2005, all US Open and US Open Series tennis courts have been painted a shade of blue (trademarked as ‘US Open Blue’) inside the lines to make it easier for players, spectators, and television viewers to see the ball. The area outside the lines is still painted ‘US Open Green’. (Wikipedia, citing a 2015 Sports Illustrated article. 25a [Namesake of the world’s largest tennis stadium] ASHE.
  • 20a [Unfinished story, perhaps?] BASEMENT. Seen this clue before, but it’s still effective.
  • 32a [It’s often depressed after a period] SPACE BAR. Just once, please. Unless you are using a monospace font.
  • 40a [Duke’s place, briefly] DURHAM, NC. Effective misdirection because of the nearby 37a [Relative of a marquessate] EARLDOM.

    (Also known as “C Jam Blues”
  • 45a [Anatomical sac] BURSA. I have no idea if this is easy or difficult for most solvers.
  • Row 12: 49a [Maintained] ASSERTED 51a [“That’s totally wrong!”] NO NO NO. Bisected by 40d [Totally resolved] DEAD SET.
  • 47a [Homes for Nessie and Bessie] LAKES.
  • 60a [What a dot on an envelope may indicate] UNREAD EMAIL. Bit sneaky, as we had no way to know it’s describing an icon of an envelope.
  • 10d [Legendary Egyptian king credited with founding the city of Memphis] MENES. Needed the crossings, but I sort of recognize the name.
  • 13d [They can be humanist or grotesque] FONTS. How about this one? A gimme for me.
  • 26d [Nori-wrapped Hawaiian snack] SPAM MUSUBI. Glad I got this one passively via crossings!
  • 27d [Spotted marine mammal] HARBOR SEALPhoca vitulina, where the specific epithet means, I believe, ‘calf-like’.
  • 43d [Gets over, as hurdles] CLEARS. I had the slower-paced CLIMBS at first.

And did you all clear this hurdle without too much sweat?

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 643), “Wacky Triple Plays”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 643: “Wacky Triple Plays”

Hello there, everyone! Here is hoping that you all enjoyed the last official weekend of summer and are ready for the fall!

The fall means that the Fall Classic, a.k.a. the World Series, will soon be upon us. That said, part of the title for this puzzle comes from the rare baseball feat that is the triple play. In this triple play, each of the four themes is a three-word pun in which all of the words in it are anagrams of each other.

        • STALE TESLA TALES (17A: [Hackneyed stories about an electrical wizard?])
        • PESCI SPICE EPICS (26A: [“Home Alone” actor’s heroic narratives about nutmeg?])
        • PATEL PETAL PLATE (46A: [Floral-pattered dish designed by “Lion” star Dev?])
        • TETRA TATER TREAT (60A: [Potato-based snack for a colorful fish?])

That crossing of LINA (35A: [Director Wertmüller]) and IN FAT was trouble, especially since I had never come across the usage of “In Fat City,” as opposed to “Fat City” or “go to Fat City” (29D: [___ city (prosperous wand living well]). At least the crossings for ORMOLU were fair enough since I can’t totally remember whether or not I  had seen it in a grid before (19A: [Gilded brass decoration]). Anything that has SYR in it, even if it references the Middle East country instead of the abbreviation of the Central New York City that I once called home, is a bonus (66A: {Neighbor of Leb.]). Currently on an Amtrak that I boarded in Charlotte, North Carolina, and heading back to New York, so my battery is definitely ON LOW at the moment (13A: [Set to a simmer]). But definitely loving seeing the sights of all these different places in North Carolina and Virginia at the moment.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: NOVAK (36A: [Record-smashing tennis]) – Well, as long as fans of Laver, Federer, Nadal have held out, it’s almost unmistakable now that the greatest men’s tennis player to ever play the sport is indeed Novak Djokovic, who just wrapped up winning his 24th Grand Slam men’s singles title at the US Open just over a week ago. The Serb’s Grand Slam tally now reads like this: a men’s record 10 Australian Open titles, three at Roland Garros (French Open), seven at Wimbledon, and four at the US Open. Probably the only thing missing from his résumé that would make it the perfect one is an Olympic gold medal, which we has one more shot at in July when the 2024 Paris Olympics get underway.

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

Take care!


Lance Enfinger’s Universal Crossword – “Wild Time” – Matt F’s Review

Universal Solution 09.19.2023

Theme Synopsis:

This place is a zoo! We have some animal shenanigans happening in today’s puzzle described by our reveal at 57A – [Any creature celebrating at this puzzle’s featured venues?] = PARTY ANIMAL.

  • 20A – [Where some pachyderms frolic after class?] = HIPPOCAMPUS
  • 35A – [Where some primates chatter over drinks?] = MONKEY BARS
  • 42A – [Where some poultry wing it on the dance floor?] = TURKEY CLUB

Overall Impressions:

What a fun theme! Sometimes these re-parsing themes can fall flat, but I thought this one felt fresh and evoked great imagery with the reimagined clues. My mind is swirling with hippos lounging on the quad, monkeys sipping Manhattans, and turkeys doing the chicken dance.

The fill was serviceable with a plethora of plurals and some iffy stuff like MISPLAY, but there’s a lot to love as well, like DRUNK DIAL, AFRAID NOT, BLAME GAME, and LEGO SET.

Thanks for the puzzle, Lance!

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20 Responses to Tuesday, September 19, 2023

  1. Dallas says:

    Nice Tuesday, though a little on the harder side. Fun vocabulary; my Webster’s 1913 dictionary for SESQUIPEDALIAN lists it as “sometimes humorously applied to long words” (from it’s mai definition of containing a foot and a half). I remember learning Sesquicentennial from Waiting For Guffman. And I thought ANTIDISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM holds the record for longest English word (or most syllables?).

    And when I hear SUPPOSES I think of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3YWWfnWBJM

  2. Alison says:

    Nice video. Love the choreography! Thanks for that!

  3. pannonica says:

    NYT: ” … the Santana song “Oye Cómo Va” …”

    But of course it’s a cover of Tito Puente’s original.

  4. John says:

    NYT: Nice puzzle! Achieved the feat of impressive construction AND fun to solve.

    Only complaint: Can we please stop cluing SEND as “elated” or whatever? Nobody uses it that way anymore. Or at least clue it that way with an indication toward being archaic or obsolete (much like ERST is sometimes clued like “Once, once”). It’s not exactly crosswordese because SEND is obviously a perfectly common word, but that usage is decidedly not.

    • Eric H says:

      The late Sam Cooke might be offended as being referred to as “archaic.”

      But no, it’s not the most common meaning of “send.”

      • JohnH says:

        There could be a rule that anything good enough for Sam Cooke is good enough for me, even if I wouldn’t use it myself. (After “One Night in Miami” made it to home video, I found myself singing “You Send Me” to myself for days, even if I don’t actually remember its first life. In fact, in the movie he sings a phrase from “Tammy,” which is definitely before my time, but I found myself singing that, too.)

    • On Twitter I see people posting funny videos with comments like “this video is sending me” all the time, so I think SEND with that meaning has had a resurgence lately.

  5. Dan says:

    LAT: I realize it’s probably a lost cause, but I really dislike seeing OCTOPI as the plural of octopus (which is standardly “octopuses”). These are amazing, intelligent creatures and as irrational as it may be, I feel that misspelling their name is disrespectful to them.

    (“Octopus” is a word from Greek, not Latin, which is why its plural is not like radius —> radii.)

    • placematfan says:

      I’m on the fence about this. While your rationale about etymological fallaciousness is quite legitimate, the fact remains that a route some words take to American Wordhood is by the sheer force of many people using a word often. The plural “hors d’oeuvres” is technically incorrect, with that added, Americanizational S, but Google Books shows it’s titular presence to be quite common; plus there’s that whole business of mashing the O and E together–that’s what you’re supposed to do, is mash the O and E together. But I’m not going to do that. Spent enough post-research time looking at an Ngram of “octopi” vs. “octopuses” to spend more figuring out how to properly display, and refer to, whatever that O-E configuration is called. And that’s sort of the point: Likely enough Americans have both pluralized “hors d’oeuvre” with an S and neglected the O-E Mash that it’s improper to call “hors d’oeuvres” improper. I think the same may be true about “octopi”.

  6. Jordan says:

    Loved the LAT today, such fun words. I can’t think of the last time I’ve seen a GLIMPSES or a CEASELESS. Good job!

  7. huda says:

    NYT: Interesting puzzle. I agree it’s a feat of construction. They made the cluing of several words easier to make it more Tuesday-friendly but I think this was unevenly distributed. It took me embarrassingly long to come up with DAMASKS, given that this stuff is from my home town.
    Re Amy’s comments: Having a family member who is immune compromised, I am so grateful to anyone who makes an extra effort to be careful, minimize the spread of viruses whether by vaccinating or masking, or maybe avoiding going into confined public places when they are sick and can spread illness. Thank you!

  8. Pavel says:

    NYT: Amy, there’s a typo where you have OBSTERPEROUSLY where you meant OBSTREPEROUSLY.

  9. Pavel says:

    TNY went down pretty easily for me, with several near-gimmes that made me smile, including CONE OF SHAME, MEERKAT, FINAL BOSS, and SPAM MUSUBI (yum!).

    LAKES was my last entry, for which Bessie was new to me.

    A fun puzzle, I thought!

    • JohnH says:

      I had to work on this TNY quite a bit. Nope, didn’t know who Bessie is, although I had the hardest time in the NE and due east. I also had a blank at the crossing of the Hawaiian snack and classic game.(Oh, I see: it’s ingenious.) I’m looking up Cone of Shame now; I’d have said those are to help in training young aggressive dogs not to bit.

      • sanfranman59 says:

        I think the primary purpose of a CONE OF SHAME is to keep pets from licking and biting at surgical incisions, other injuries and skin irritations.

    • Eric H says:

      It took me a little bit longer than Monday’s New Yorker puzzle. CONE OF SHAME and LIFETIME BAN were fun; I’m less crazy about TOASTER OVEN and UNREAD MAIL. (There’s nothing wrong with those entries, but they hardly sparkle.)

      The two US Open references seem a bit late.

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