Friday, October 13, 2023

Inkubator tk (Jenni) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


The New Yorker 2:05 (Matt) 


NYT 5:21 (Amy) 


Universal 3:35 (Jim) 


USA Today tk (Darby) 


John-Clark Levin’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 10/13/23 – no. 1013

This puzzle is much luckier than the Friday the 13th pub date would suggest. An unusual grid pattern, with 18 7-letter entries stacked in threes, plus some longer answers in the mix–I like it!

Started right off wanting CANDLES for 1a. [Ones getting lit at a party, maybe], but TEN made much more sense for [Hamilton] than any 3-letter word starting with N. MATCHES for lighting those birthday candles or, I dunno, cigarettes, blunts? I’ll take the cake.

Fave fill: MOSAICS, VANILLA, the SCREAMO rock genre, VOICE TEACHER, CHATGPT, MERMAID, PORTA-POTTIES (fun clue: [Music festival lineup]) echoed by a BIDET, TIE IT UP, SPACE CADET, SCREEN TEST, ANECDOTES, and the SNARL/GROWL pair.

Least common entry: 5d. [Choppers], HELOS. Short for helicopters, familiar enough to me but it looks weird in the grid.

Four stars from me. Onward to the weekend!

Sean Ziebarth’s Universal crossword, “Sidesplitting”—Jim’s review

Theme entries are familiar(ish) phrases whose outer letters (marked by circles if you’re so lucky) spell out a synonym of “smile.” The revealer is CRACK A SMILE (60a, [Fail to hide one’s amusement, and what 17-, 27- and 44-Across each do)].

Universal crossword solution · “Sidesplitting” · Sean Ziebarth · Fri., 10.13.23

  • 17a. [Rocky facade (In this answer, note the first letter + the last 4 letters)] STONE VENEER. Hmm. “Stone facade” sounds more natural to me than this phrase, and it does better on Google’s ngram viewer. However, STONE VENEER still gets plenty of hits.
  • 27a. [Mythical Halloween figure in a “Peanuts” special (… first 2 letters + last 2)] GREAT PUMPKIN.
  • 44a. [Release pent-up emotions (… first letter + last 3 letters)] BLOW OFF STEAM.

Solved this while completely ignoring the parantheticals in the clues (as it should be). Pretty standard example of this type of theme. Solid enough and the theme answers are all relatively lively.

In the fill, CLARK KENT and an exultant “I’M DOING IT!” are quite fun. PANORAMA, TELEGRAM, SALAMI, and PICNIC round things out nicely.

Clues of note:

  • 42a. [Cereal conveyor]. SPOON. I was imagining the manufacturing process, not the consumption process.
  • 13d. [Canned meat served on Maui]. SPAM. Per Hormel’s numbers, Hawaiians consume 7 million cans of SPAM per year. That’s five cans of person per year. But those of us of Guamanian descent have got that beat. Guamanians consume 16 cans per person per year!

Solid puzzle. Nice fill. 3.5 stars.

Doug Peterson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 10/13/23 • Fri • Peterson • solution • 20231013

  • 34a/37aR [… up on the latest trends, and a fitting description of the answers to the starred clues?] FASHION | FORWARD. The theme answers are originally two-word adjective-noun phrases that are articles of clothing; in each case the words are swapped and the noun becomes a verb while the adjective becomes a noun.
  • 17a. [*Refrain from walking on the lawn?] SKIRT GRASS (grass skirt). (11d [Keep clear of] AVOID.)
  • 22a. [*Doesn’t pay enough in island taxes?] SHORTS BERMUDA (Bermuda shorts).
  • 46a. [*Gives the third degree to the decorator?] PUMPS DESIGNER (designer pumps).
  • 52a. [*Put a limit on wash time?] CAP BATHING (bathing cap).

Nifty and well-turned theme.

  • 3d [Financial performance measure, for short] ROI. Return-on-investment, king me!
  • 36d [Clods] OAFS. Rewatched The Third Man the other night. “Clod” is the exact word I used to describe Joseph Cotten’s character Holly Martins.
  • 38d [Grown less appealing] WORN THIN. No reference to clothing here; that’s very fine with me.
  • 47d [City near Rome] UTICA. This is upstate New York.
  • 57d [Island purchase] GAS. I guess this refers to island at a filling station, but it’s a bit confusing, especially with the mention of ‘island’ in themer 22-across.
  • 43a [Less risky] SAFER. 62d [Less restricted] FREER.

Emily Carroll’s New Yorker crossword—Matthew’s recap

Emily Carroll’s New Yorker crossword solution, 10/13/2023

Down-running themers culminate in a revealer to the right: [Step taken by the Federal Reserve to manage inflation … and what’s illustrated by this puzzle’s circled squares] RATE HIKE. Indeed, from left to right, the circled squares are progressively higher in their columns.

SARA TEASDALE is a great find for the theme set, and the grid and fill does well to work around the theme’s constraints – ALGEBRA EXAM is a little general, but I quite like MASTERPIECE, RITA ORA, and LOVE TAP in the NW corner. A quick, but flavorful, entry to the weekend. Thanks Emily!

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10 Responses to Friday, October 13, 2023

  1. Eric H says:

    NYT: I enjoyed much of the clueing in this, especially “Music festival lineup” PORTAPOTTIES, “Paramount requirement” SCREENTEST, and “Early sports video game” PONG.

    CHATGPT cost me a bit: I had GROWL, PERIL, and TEENS and was confident that all three were right — but what sort of word ends in GPT?

    But what put me over my solving time goal for a Friday puzzle was 11D, which I managed to spell ANECtOdE. I’m blaming that on having spent the last three days driving home to Texas from Virginia, sometimes in pretty unpleasant traffic conditions.

    • huda says:

      Yes, an excellent Friday puzzle with some great entries and fun cluing.
      I never knew SCREAMO. I had to cheat to get it. Otherwise, it flowed well for me.
      The first time I saw CHATGPT in a puzzle was in the mini, very early on. I like the timeliness of the Mini puzzle.
      I dunno, a polka dot house in the neighborhood might be fun :).

    • Dallas says:

      My son was helping me, and we both wanted CANDLES but eventually realized it had to be MATCHES instead, too. I had SCREENTIME instead of SCREENTEST, but SASHIMI made it clear. Nice Friday, fun cluing!

  2. PJ says:


    From the WSJ – Editor’s note: We are experiencing a technical difficulty with the interactive puzzle and are working to resolve it.

    I’m unable to open the puzzle using Black Ink and the link to the puzzle here and at Cruciverb isn’t working. Hopefully it will be available soon.

    • Flinty Steve says:

      You can still download it as a .pdf on the Wall Street Journal site.

    • sanfranman59 says:

      FWIW, I was able to download a PUZ file of it from the WSJ puzzle page using the now indispensable to me Crossword Scraper browser add-in. But with their new policy with the Friday contest puzzles, there’s no way to check your solution.

  3. dh says:

    Ugh – “SCREAMO”. When my son was in high school he often played in the annual or semi-annual talent night; there was always a screamo band entered, and we always left the room out of self-preservation when they came on. Interesting that it should appear atop “Voice Teacher”; it would have been more interesting if the word “cringe” were part of a trio there. Funny, we always called it “screamo” music, but didn’t realize that was an official name for it – it just seemed to fit.

  4. Brian says:

    The crossing of ANECDOTES and DOTE at the D rankled me, although I realize that’s not really fair because the two words have nothing to do with each other. I guess it’s because the part after the crossing is DOTES and DOTE. I think if the crossing were in a different place or if the following part were shorter, it wouldn’t have been noticeable. As it is, I realize it’s more of a “me” problem rather than a constructor problem.

  5. David L says:

    Mostly easy NYT, but the middle section with CHATGPT/REFEREE/EYESORE slowed me down. Nothing unreasonable, just couldn’t see it immediately.

    I was baffled by HELOS (for which I had TEETH at first). Helicopters? Really? Not a word I have come across before.

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