Wednesday, November 1, 2023

AVCX 14:45 (Amy) 


LAT 4:02 (Gareth) 


The New Yorker 3:42 (Amy) 


NYT untimed (Amy) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today 6:49 (Emily) 


WSJ 5:02 (Jim) 


Gary Larson & Amy Ensz’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Kinda Sorta”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are common words that end in -ISH, but clued as if they were adjectives relating to the beginning part of each word.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Kinda Sorta” · Gary Larson & Amy Ensz · Wed., 11.1.23

  • 17a. [Kinda like milled grain?] FLOURISH.
  • 19a. [Sorta like a fish part?] FINISH.
  • 37a. [Kinda like the vocal stylings on “If I Could Turn Back Time”?] CHERISH.
  • 39a. [Sorta like a corned beef dish?] HASHISH.
  • 59a. [Kinda like a bit of wordplay?] PUNISH.
  • 61a. [Sorta like Coke or Pepsi, e.g.?] BRANDISH.

Cute theme with some enjoyable wordplay. I especially liked the CHERISH / HASHISH duo in the center. I also didn’t notice the alternating “Kinda” and “Sorta” in the clues until I started writing this up. That’s a nice little touch.

The theme feels a little on the lighter side, so we get some nice long fill to make up for it: FRIED ONIONS, ENTERTAINER, MINI-BAR, and “OOH LA LA!” There wasn’t much to trigger the scowl-o-meter, but proper names THORNE and PEETA in the NE corner may cause some trouble for some solvers.

Clue of note: 25d. [Troupe member]. ENTERTAINER. I would’ve much rather seen this clued via the Scott Joplin rag. Recently I was visiting my parents and I swear the same ice cream truck from when I was a kid 40+ years still goes driving around the neighborhood every day. And of course, it’s playing “The ENTERTAINER” on a loop just like so many other ice cream trucks around the country. If you ever wondered about that, here’s some background about ice cream truck music. And check out this story about how rapper RZA teamed up with Good Humor to replace “Turkey in the Straw” (which has racist roots) with a brand-new jingle.

Good puzzle. 3.5 stars.

Steve Weyer’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 11/1/23 – no. 1101

The theme is 15-letter anagram sentences made from a 5-letter name: (Sean) ASTIN ISN’T A SAINT, THEDA (Bara) HATED DEATH, (Edouard) MANET MEANT TEN A.M., and (Perry) MASON MOANS “NO MAS.” The theme is a little imbalanced with three surnames and one first name (and an ancient one at that–Theda Bara was a silent movie actress who is probably best known among people who were doing crosswords in the 1980s and 1990s). There’s an unexpected revealer: 66a. [1545 treatise whose rearranged letters aptly suggest 17-, 26-, 44- and 59-Across], ARS MAGNA. That scrambles to ANAGRAMS, but hooboy, I confess to ignorance about Ars Magna. But hey–nobody tell Samwise that 17a is impugning his character.

Fave fill: “I’M HUNGRY” (did I just snack on a chocolate truffle? yes, I did), GLITCH, MASA, Brandon TEENA. Not keen on IROC, BIG NO, and the woeful EMAG. (Nobody calls anything an EMAG! Constructors, you could do worse than to delete this entry from your word lists.)

Except for THEDA taking center stage and the oddball revealer, I enjoyed piecing together the theme entries. 3.25 stars from me.

Shannon Rapp and Will Eisenberg’s Universal crossword, “Interval Training” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 11/1/23 • Wed • “Interval Training” • Rapp, Eisenberg • solution • 20231101

  • 57aR [Gym playlist, or a theme hint] WORKOUT MIX. The sequences of circled (and also verbally identified in the clues—which I won’t reproduce here) squares contain jumbled names of types of fitness regimens.
  • 17a. [Spiel] SALES PITCH (pilates).
  • 20a. [“Choose the most relatable part of this picture”] TAG YOURSELF (yoga).
  • 35a. [Winter house material?] GINGERBREAD (barre).
  • 52a. [Start bubbling, say] COME TO A BOIL (tae bo).

These are good finds, and the grid overlap of the first two is especially impressive. Strong theme.

  • 22d [Short read?] MAG. The ‘short’ refers to abbreviated form of the answer.
  • 28d [Ridiculous comedy] FARCE.
  • 36d [“Pick someone else!”] NOT IT. This seems off. The clue, to me, wants NOT ME, but the answer is more appropriate to an exclamation during a game of tag.
  • 48d [“Tried and failed”] NO LUCK.
  • 19a [Lorde’s birth name] ELLA. Oh right, another ELLA available to cruciverbalists.
  • 56a [Declare firmly] AVOW. I almost always choose wrong between AVOW and AVER in crosswords.

A very nice crossword.

Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword–Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 11/1/23 – Berry

Breezy and packed with fresh fill. Among my favorite entries: EDDIE MONEY (did not know the Mahoney trivia despite being a 1980s teen), “WE MEET AGAIN,” CRAN-APPLE, “IMAGINE THAT!”, making THE BIG TIME, idioms ON THE NOSE and LAY AN EGG, LATE-MODEL, and ESOTERICA.

Fave clue: 8d. [Person raised on a beach?], LIFEGUARD. Because they’re perched up high on a lifeguard chair.

Appreciated the high-school throwback (at least for those of us who are of a certain age) of HALF CIRCLE being clued by way of a protractor. Can I assume that smartphone apps are able to measure angles now?

Four stars from me.

Chandi Deitmer’s AV Club Classic crossword, “Spiritual Apparition”–Amy’s recap

AV Club Classic crossword solution, “Spiritual Apparition” – 11/1/23 Deitmer

Extra-big AVCX puzzle this week, a 23×23 grid from Chandi Deitmer. Familiar phrases add a letter to become a goofy phrase clued in a spooky-sounds manner, and taken together, those added letters (in circles) spell out POLTERGEIST. Poltergeists, of course, move things around and generate spooky noises. The two revealers:

  • 14d. [Stop functioning … or what 11 of this puzzle’s answers need to do to be de-haunted?], GIVE UP THE GHOST.
  • 66d. [Is vocally supportive at a concert … or what this puzzle’s haunting spirit literally does throughout the theme answers, from top to bottom?], MAKES SOME NOISE. Note that each circled letter that’s added to a phrase creates the sound word in a theme answer: the P in GREENHOUSE GASP, for example.

Elegantly wrought theme, and a fun Halloween vibe strewn throughout the nonthematic content.

Did not know: OSEI TUTU, [Founder of the Asante Empire]. Here’s his Wikipedia page; he ruled about 300 years ago. (Asante = Ashanti.)

4.5 stars from me. A fun solve, even the day after Halloween!

Brooke Husic & Nate Cardin’s USA Today Crossword, “Workers’ Rights” — Emily’s write-up

Fantastic puzzle from a terrific duo!

Completed USA Today crossword for Wednesday November 01, 2023

USA Today, November 01 2023, “Workers’ Rights” by Brooke Husic & Nate Cardin

Theme: the last word of each themer (on the right) can be added after “workers” to form various types


  • 16a. [Party with scoops and sprinkles], ICECREAMSOCIAL
  • 38a. [2018 biopic starring Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg], ONTHEBASISOFSEX
  • 61a. [“You’re telling me because…?”], WHYSHOULDICARE

A variety of themers in this set today. It starts off with a fun ICECREAMSOCIAL. Next is the thought-provoking biographical film ONTHEBASISOFSEX. If you are asking WHYSHOULDICARE, then look no further because from this theme, we get SOCIAL WORKERS, SEX WORKERS, and CARE WORKERS. Nice title hint too for it!


Stumpers: ISSA (new to me), IMAFAN (need a few crossings), and DEMOS (“eps” can to mind first)

Love all the paired/related entries throughout the puzzle as well—felt like lots of mini Easter eggs: ALASKA and INUIT, LEO and LION (directly tied with cluing), RNA and DNA, plus many music-themed entries. Such fun cluing in addition to all the fresh fill as well. And those lengthy bonus entries in the downs—superb! Even with all of this, the grid had a smooth flow and everything was crossed fairly. Kudos!

4.5 stars


Catherine Lammersen’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary


Catherine Lammersen gives us a set of four small US towns named after European capitals, in the form {TOWN}{STATE}, and clued as [Capital of… {AREA OF THE US}. I suspect there are a lot more options than these, but the ones chosen had short state names – OHIO, IDAHO, TEXAS and MAINE!

  • [Capital of the Midwest?], ATHENSOHIO. Georgia is the better known US Athens, thanks to the B-52’s.
  • [Capital of the South?], PARISTEXAS
  • [Capital of the Northeast?], LISBONMAINE
  • [Capital of the Northwest?], MOSCOWIDAHO

Other entries:

  • Old-timey slang a-gogo: [Kiss], BUSS plus two-fer [Subpar car], LEMON & CRATE.
  • [Group of orcas, e.g.], WHALEPOD. ??? POD OF WHALES maybe, but that?


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

14 Responses to Wednesday, November 1, 2023

  1. Juliana says:

    Just here to say Theda Bara is iconic and people should know about her. Google image searches encouraged.

  2. JohnH says:

    I don’t know about you, but TNY puzzle page at 8 am Eastern shows yesterday’s by Erik Asgard. Changing the URL to end 11/01 rather than 10/31, however, brings up what appears to be today’s, by Patrick Berry.

  3. PJ says:

    NYT – I read on another site that this theme is a repeat from April 12. Amy liked the earlier version more.

    • Eric H says:

      Yep, it’s the same theme. And that’s probably not the first time it’s been used.

      That doesn’t bother me as long as the repeat is interesting. And I mostly enjoyed today’s goofy answers.

      • Mr. [not at all] Grumpy says:

        I liked this one better than the April version. It had a nice mix of people: current actor; old-time actress; famous painter; iconic TV character [I cant even think of him without the music running in my head]. Didn’t care for it at the start [Sean Astin is not a household world in my head], but caught on at Theda Bara [who is indeed iconic, as noted by Juliana] and then had fun trying to figure out the other two themers with no letters in place.

        • Eric H says:

          We’ve seen “The Lord of the Rings” four or five times, so Sean ASTIN was a complete gimme. He was also in “Stranger Things.”

      • Dallas says:

        I liked that the revealer was ARS MAGNA (, which includes the solutions for cubic equations… which mix the coefficients to produce three different solutions… almost like a mathematical ANAGRAM :-)

  4. Eric H says:

    New Yorker: For me, it fell between “lightly challenging” and “moderately challenging.” I got slowed down in the SW corner, where I somehow missed seeing the word “hit” in the clue for THE BIG TIME. A typo in PALED didn’t help, either.

    I wanted LIFE GUARD, but couldn’t see how it fit the “raised” part of the clue. (Thanks for the explanation, Amy!)

    I also missed the plural in the SECTIONS clue. I learned the § symbol as a first-year law student and got an inordinate amount of satisfaction from writing it. Then I spent my legal career working for the Texas Legislature, where “section” was either spelled out completely or abbreviated as “Sec.” Oh, well. It’s not as if that was the only thing I learned in law school that I never needed once I passed the bar.

    DRAIN TRAP and SOAPER sound a bit off to me, but I’ve seen much worse.

    I really liked the clues for MISPRINTS and SALINE DRIP.

    It’s always nice to see Amy ADAMS in a grid. We first saw her in a low-budget movie from 2005, “Junebug,” and have been enjoying her performances since then. She’s a hoot in “American Hustle.”

    • JohnH says:

      Also, in the NW, I’ve always heard “on the nose” to mean “exactly right.” But I trust that the meaning in the clue is idiomatic.

  5. Alison L. says:

    Can somebody explain the Manet clue reveal?

  6. Joan Frick says:

    November 1, 2023 “capital of the …” clues leave a lot to be desired in clue less land.

Comments are closed.