Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Jonesin' 5:49 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni)  


NYT 2:47 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal untimed (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “TV Without Hesitation” — some abrupt endings. – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 10/10/23

Jonesin’ solution 10/10/23

Hello lovelies! I hope you have your decision-making hats on, because there is no hemming and hawing this week when it comes to the Jonesin’ puzzle. The theme includes American television shows missing the final letters -ER.

  • 17a. [Message that you missed an entire state at your door while out for a stroll?] WALKER TEXAS RANG. I absolutely watched Walker, Texas Ranger (1993-2001) growing up, and still crack up when I hear a Chuck Norris joke.
  • 29a. [Where purple dinosaurs are ground into powder?] BARNEY MILL. Poor Barney! The show Barney Miller ran from 1975-1982.
  • 48a. [German connecting word that’s, like, the height of a human?] SIX FEET UND. Six Feet Under ran from 2001-2005.
  • 56a. [Near an open flame or eating holes in my sweater, probably?] HOW I MET YOUR MOTH. This clue for How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014) is my favorite of the bunch.

Other things:

  • 20a. [Familial-sounding U.K. trip-hop group that once enlisted DJ Shadow, Thom Yorke, and Mike D] UNKLE. Yorke (from Radiohead) and Mike D (Beastie Boys) were a couple of the many collaborators on the DJ Shadow-produced 1998 album Psyence Fiction.
  • 39a. [Measure from an annual checkup, perhaps] HDL. I tried to put BMI here, but it’s not looking for a measurement like height or weight. It wants a lab measurement, in this case high-density lipoprotein.
  • 5d. [Bread that often contains molasses] DARK RYE. TIL that if I google “dark rye” I get sponsored ads for whiskey and flour.

Until next week!

Adam Vincent’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Reduced Fare”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are food items whose first words also mean “small.” The revealer is A BITE TO EAT (54a, [Some chow, and what 17-, 23-, 33- and 48-Across sound like, fittingly]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Reduced Fare” · Adam Vincent · Tue., 10.10.23

  • 17a.[ Frosted cereal option] MINI-WHEATS.
  • 23a. [Veggies only available prepackaged] BABY CARROTS.
  • 33a. [Popular movie theater candy] JUNIOR MINTS.
  • 48a. [Trendy restaurant garnish] MICROGREENS.

Nice! At first I thought this was shaping up to be a simple synonym theme but the added food layer elevates it to something much nicer. Love the wordplay in the title, too.

On the other hand, I didn’t love that crossing of NIDRE [Kol ___ (Yom Kippur prayer)] and OEUVRE [Artist’s collective works]. That’s tough on any day of the week and probably shouldn’t occur on a Tuesday. Throw mathematician EULER into the mix, and you’ve probably prevented a good portion of newer solvers from finishing the grid without help.

But aside from that sticky area, the fill is great: DEAD ENDS, LOMBARDI, “I’VE GOT IT!,” JUNK PILE, SKI PASS, CARIBOU, “MY STARS,” and “I’M TIRED.” Fun stuff there.

One tough crossing mars an otherwise wonderful puzzle. 3.75 stars.

Nate Cardin’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution,10/10/23 – no. 1010

It’s unusual to see a 15×14 puzzle, and also unexpected to fit six themers into a condensed grid. I was able to zip through the puzzle largely by filling in the Acrosses in sequence, so Nate achieved smooth fill despite the theme density.

The revealer is XOXO, 70a. [Affectionate sign-off … or a pattern hinting at the starts of the answers to the six starred clues]. The themers are GO-GO DANCERS, JOJO RABBIT, YO-YO TRICKS, “NO, NO, NANETTE,” DODO BIRDS, and LOLO JONES.

Lolo Jones is a woman, but lolo is also Filipino for “grandfather.” When we visit Lolo and Lola, it’s never a bad thing if Lola cooks her chicken ADOBO!

New to me: 9d. [Foreign films translated and captioned by enthusiasts], FANSUBS. Wikipedia has the lowdown.

A little surprised to find ESSO in a Tuesday puzzle, but with the march through the Acrosses, I never even saw it while solving.

Four stars from me. A breezy Tuesday gets the job done!

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 646), “Start Spreading the …”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 646: “Start Spreading the …”

Good day, everybody! Here is hoping that everyone is doing well today and enjoying their crossword solving so far.

The title of the grid not only was a clear giveaway of the theme, but it also could have served as a Sinatra earworm that motivates you to visit New York! Anyways, the circled letters in the four theme entries, when filled, spell out NEWS, and those letters are spread out.

          • ONE HORSE TOWNS (15A: [Small rural communities])
          • WEEKEND GETAWAYS (28A: [Some lake houses or beach bungalows])
          • VIENNESE WALTZES (44A: [Famed Johann Strauss compositions])
          • PRINCE OF WALES (59A: [Male heir apparent to the British throne])

Didn’t have to worry about an earworm as much as getting the munchies because of GREEN PEA, and thinking about some amazing Shepherd’s pie that included green peas inside of i that I had a few weeks ago in an Irish bar/restaurant (36D: [Pot pie veggie]). Can’t say that I’ve come across WEEST before today, either hearing the word or in print (31D: [Most diminutive]). By far, my favorite fill of the grid is SAWS LOGS, which is something I don’t think I do when I’m sleeping, but I haven’t had someone confirm that for me for a little but (38D: [Snores like a lumberjack?]). Oh, and just because I want to channel my inner Stanley, I’ll just leave you guys with … STELLAAAAAAA (33A: [___ Artois (Belgian beer)]).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: A-TRAIN (40A: [Subway line in an Ellington classic]) – Former NFL running back Anthony Thomas was given the nickname “A-Train” during his time at the University of Michigan, where he rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his final three years as a Wolverine and left Ann Arbor as the school’s all-time leading rusher. Thomas was drafted in by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft, and in his rookie season, rushed for 1,183 yards for a Bears’ team that went 13-3 that season. For his efforts that year, Thomas won the 2001 AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Thomas also played for the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Bills during his career, which ended after the 2007 season.

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

Take care!


Brian Callahan’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

Once again I saw the pattern in the theme answers and was surprised by the revealer, which was fun.

Today is all about numbers.

Los Angeles Times, October 10, 2023, Brian Callahan, solution grid

  • 16a [Junior] is THIRD YEAR. This one confused me. It’s right – I’m not arguing – I just don’t think of them as synonyms. In college I was a junior. In med school I was a third year. They are of course the same thing. Quirk of my brain that slowed me down a bit.
  • 22a [Age of Attila’s reign] is the FIFTH CENTURY. Didn’t know that off the top of my head and didn’t need to. Had the first F and there wasn’t much else it could have been.
  • 34a [Like some Adventist Protestants] are SEVENTHDAY. I thought they were the only flavor of Adventist. It’s always good to learn something!
  • 48a [Almost too late] is the ELEVENTH HOUR.

I thought it was a series of odd numbers and didn’t realize we skipped NINTH. It all made sense when I got to the revealer at 58a. [Popular television programming block, and an apt title for this puzzle] is PRIME TIME. Nice! And now I wonder if my 23 yo daughter has any idea that PRIME TIME used to refer to the core of evening television programming. It’s a linguistic relic like “dial the phone,” which she once asked me to explain.

A few other things:

  • 9d [Target rival] is KMART. Not around here these days. They’re all empty.
  • 20a [Top] is SHIRT. Took me a minute to shift from adjective to noun in my head.
  • We get [Rip into] for BERATE  and SCATHE. When was the last time you heard SCATHE used in this sense? SCATHING, sure.
  • 54a [Fingertip-to-fingertip measurement] is ARMSPAN. I started with WINGSPAN which doesn’t even fit. Insert eyeroll here.
  • We get a different clue for the old standby ARAL. [North ___ Sea: lake fed by the Syr Darya river]. I somehow don’t think the explanation actually helped anyone.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: see above re: non-SEVENTHDAY Adventists. I also did not know that Jeanette Winterson and Andrew Sean Geer are shelved with GAY LIT. I’ve read “Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit,” Winterson’s first book, which I enjoyed. I don’t know why I didn’t make that particular connection.

Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 10/10/23 • Tue • Berry • solution • 20231010

My experience deems this only a lightly challenging crossword, rather than a moderately challenging one. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Started off very auspiciously by taking a chance—call it instinct—right away at one-across. [Tusked animals of Africa] WARTHOGS. The entire northwest practically filled itself in, and I moved steadily through most of the rest of the grid.

Along the way, I corrected one notable mistake: 47a [Occasional hip-hop album inclusion] SKIT, for which I’d had SKIP—until the long 21d [Someone getting out in front of an audience?] ESCAPE ARTIST showed me otherwise.

Finally the entire northeast lay between me and completion, but it proved to be no great shakes. But then I was informed by a pop-up that at least one square was wrong. That turned out to be 8d [Rodeo animal] which was not STEER but STEED; the crossing 24a [A great many] SCADS revealed this to me, as SCARS was inaccurate.

  • 35a [Officer that soldiers serve under?] MESS SERGEANTS. Is that still accurate, or is that sort of duty handled by contractors?
  • 49a [One of the four RNA bases] URACIL. The nucleobase replaces thymine from DNA. Familiarity with this allowed swift encroachment into the southwest, from only the L in 47d SLOE.
  • 51a [Shakespeare play that Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran” is loosely based on] KING LEAR. Among other things, it’s justly noted for a masterful use of color motifs. (See also Zhang Yimou’s Hero for a similarly virtuosic epic.)
  • 24d [Paladins for the patriarchy] SEXISTS. Effective, alliterative term, one which I’d not heard before.
  • 25d [“Charge of the Light Brigade” setting] CRIMEA. Seems we could have had a more contemporary clue, no?
  • 33d [Upside-down roosters] BATS. Good misdirection here.
  • 34d [“Game of Thrones” region loosely based on the British Isles] WESTEROS, which always sounds to me like something you’d encounter on a breakfast menu.
  • 40d [Official tree of Texas, which can grow to over a hundred and fifty feet tall] PECAN. Did not know that fact.
  • 42d [Brand of Greek yogurt] OIKOS. The name comes from the word for house, or dwelling, and is the root of ecology. Something to think about in the Anthropocene.

Scott Hall and Jeff Chen’s Universal Crossword – “At the Car Wash” – Matt F’s Review

Universal Solution 10.10.2023

Theme Synopsis:

There are a couple things happening in this puzzle. We have three carwash “crews” tending to specific vehicle models that are intersecting them. The reveal sums it up:

  • 61A – [Type of car wash that the vehicles at 4-, 22-, and 40-Down are using?] = DRIVE THRU

The car models are figuratively “driving through” the car wash stations, clued as punny names for the car wash employees at said station:

  • 17A – [Car wash’s soaping crew?] = SCRUB TEAM, crossed by 4D – [Heavenly bull] = TAURUS (Ford Taurus)
  • 26A – [Car wash’s detailing crew?] = VACUUM PACK, crossed by 22D – [Korean-Mexican cuisine, e.g.] = FUSION (Ford Fusion)
  • 51A – [Car wash’s finishing crew?] = WAX FIGURES, crossed by 40D – [Source of much juice?] = CHARGER (Dodge Charger)

Overall Impressions:

The theme felt a little stretchy in my estimation. I wouldn’t think many groups of people would be called “packs” or “figures.” I’ll give you “team,” that one makes sense. I’m guessing that a “scrub team” is referring to a group of scrub nurses? “Vacuum pack” and “wax figures” at least feel more colloquial. It’s a nice touch that each vehicle model is American-made, although it’s too bad they couldn’t diversify – throw in a Chevy Blazer or Impala, maybe – or go with 3 models of the same make (Ford Bronco anyone?).

I enjoyed the fill but was slowed down in the lower half. Parsing WWI ACE crossed by an archaic word, CENSE, was just not typical Tuesday fare in my opinion. Throw in KRISHNA crossing DUMAS and I can understand if some solvers got held up in the south like I did. Highlights for me are NRIVANA and NOSE DIVE.

Thanks for the puzzle, Scott and Jeff!

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23 Responses to Tuesday, October 10, 2023

  1. Seattle DB says:

    WaPo Sunday: 145A: Can someone explain how “Sir Ron” Howard was “just knighted”??? (Where’s Evan Birnholz when I need him, lol!)

    • Hi, that was a wacky theme answer where you reverse NORRIS right next to it. Ron Howard wasn’t actually knighted in real life; you just have to imagine he was to make sense of the odd recollections in the theme clues.

      (Side note but I don’t know if it’s considered okay to discuss another recent day’s puzzle in the wrong day’s thread? People who haven’t done the puzzle yet might get it spoiled unexpectedly.)

      • Dallas says:

        Evan’s looking out for me, as he knows* that I don’t always get to WaPo Sunday till Tuesday.

        * he cannot possibly know that, but maybe now he will…

      • Mutman says:

        Funny. I never liked the ‘spoiler’ reference either. But I don’t know if anyone ever reads the old posts days later. Unless there’s a notification piece that I’m not aware of.

      • Seattle DB says:

        Evan: Thx for explaining that Ron H is not a knight!
        Dallas: I’m pretty much like you. I print out today’s puzzles and then do them the next day or over the next several days.

  2. Dan says:

    NYT: That was, by far, the most interesting Tuesday NYT puzzle that I can recall ever solving.

    (This may be more of a comment on my memory than anything else, but I don’t think so.)

    • Mutman says:

      I thought it was SOSO :)

    • Dallas says:

      Pretty fun, even though I ended up getting the final revealer through crosses, not actually filling it in :-) Had to jump back and read the clue. Nice theme!

      • Gary R says:

        Ha – same here! Solved the puzzle and had a sense of the theme – thought it was fine. Got the revealer from crosses without reading the clue. When I went back and read the clue, it made the theme a little more clever.

  3. David L says:

    NYT was a breezy Tuesday, but I was struck by DODOBIRDS. Do people really say that? Do they also say sparrowbirds and heronbirds?

  4. Lois says:

    NYT: I see many references to DODO BIRDS online. I didn’t understand 50a, “… sorta.” Shouldn’t “Sorta” be the clue for ISH? What are the quotes? Is “Ish sorta” a common phrase now? I didn’t find it very often online, except in an unclear usage. For the most part, I liked the puzzle very much.

  5. Dan says:

    LAT: A nice puzzle that I had some trouble finishing around the III area in the northwest, never having heard of WII-ITIS. (And BICOLOR was no gimme.)

    I liked the prime theme, but regretted the absence of a nod to the first (and only even) prime number: two. (Could SECOND SECOND be clued as “Soon after the start”?)

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