Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Jonesin' 8:07 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni)  


NYT 3:10 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal untimed (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


WSJ 3:58 (Jim) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Free-Flowing” — it’s that time again! – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 11/7/23

Jonesin’ solution 11/7/23

Hello lovelies! Matt is mixing it up this week with a themeless puzzle! To start off, I love the central triple stack of BARBENHEIMER, OK I’M CONVINCED, and COUNTERTENOR. I’m sure the first one showed up somewhere over the summer, but I don’t think I’ve seen the last two in a grid before. I also enjoy [Big name on a cup?] for REESES and [Way to travel from Victor Hugo to Voltaire] not referring to anything literary, but to stations on the Paris METRO.

Now for things I learned today:

  • 1d. [Philippines’ second-largest island] MINDANAO. Geography is one of my weak areas.
  • 31d. [Often-imitated 1976 movie character] Travis BICKLE from Taxi Driver. I know of the “You talkin’ to me?” monologue but not the character’s name.
  • 25d. [Action film adventurer Wiliams] REMO. Guess I need to brush up on my 70s and 80s movies.
  • 44d. [Cringe-inducing things, in recent slang] ICKS. I was able to figure it out from crossings, but haven’t heard this used in the wild.

Until next week!

Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Midterms”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases that feature the letters TERM non-consecutively somewhere within. The revealer is HOUSE (67a, [Legislative body involved in this puzzle’s midterms]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Midterms” · Mike Shenk · Tue., 11.7.23

  • 17a. [“By the same token…”] FURTHERMORE.
  • 24a. [1993 Robert Townsend superhero comedy film] THE METEOR MAN.
  • 37a. [Open-mic night player, perhaps] AMATEUR MUSICIAN.
  • 48a. [Publisher’s symbol on a book’s title page] PRINTERS MARK.
  • 58a. [Platitude] TRITE REMARK.

At first, this looked like a pretty straightforward theme. Then I started wondering why there was always one uncircled letter within each TERM. Turns out they collectively spell out HOUSE, which, yes, I’ve already mentioned is the revealer, but I didn’t realize there was another layer to the theme. A nice touch that elevates the theme elegantly.

The long fill is quite nice today with STOP-MOTION, FRANCISCAN, CARSEATS, and UTTER ROT.

Clues of note: 43a. [Honker in the air]. GOOSE. With __OSE in place, I wanted it to be something related to NOSE, but that word showed up at 63a, clued [Honker on the face].

Nice puzzle with a stealthy meta aspect. Four stars.

Kevin Curry & Daniel Bodily’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 11/7/23 – no. 1107

The revealer is down in the bottom middle: 53d. [With the giant letter formed by the black squares immediately above this answer, what the answers to the starred clues all literally have], TOPS, or T-TOPS. Those five themers run in the Down direction and have a T- at their start: T-BONE STEAK, T-STRAP SANDAL (what is that? apparently a sandal with a thong between the toes, which explains why I have none), T-BAR LIFT (not sure if the word LIFT generally accompanies T-BAR, but I’m not a skier), T-SHIRT CANNON, and T-BALL GLOVE (had no idea that was a thing). I like the revealer’s little trick with the giant “T,” less wild about the precise T-phrases used.

Little-bitty bonus answer: 22a. [Actor whose name is appropriate to appear in this puzzle], MR. T.

Fave fill: NEXT-GEN, ZUMBA, CAN’T-LOSE (tried CAN’T-MISS first), DOG TOY. Surprised to find an ADZE in a Tuesday puzzle, and I’m never excited to see a spelled-out ampersand as in A AND E. Is “USE ME” a thing that people actually say when offering assistance, in idiomatic English?

3.5 stars from me.

Howard Neuthaler’s Universal Crossword – “Delhi Food” – Matt F’s Review

Universal Solution 11.07.2023

Theme Synopsis:

Mmm another food-themed puzzle. My favorite! Today we are served up a plate of Indian cuisine in the form of homophones substituting into common phrases. Delhi, the Indian city, is doing double-duty in the title to tip off both the cuisine type as well as the homophone – Delhi Food => deli food. Nice touch!

Let’s take a look at the theme answers:

  • 17A – [Indoor spaces full of savory snacks?] = CHAAT ROOMS (chat rooms)
  • 26A – [Flatbread appetizer?] = NAAN STARTER (non-starter)
  • 43A – [Logo for a restaurant selling marinated meat?] = TIKKA SYMBOL (ticker symbol, I think? Put on a heavy New England accent and it makes sense)
  • 58A – [Attire worn while eating a lentil dish?] = DAL CLOTHES (doll clothes)

Overall Impressions:

The regional dialect required to make 43A work felt like a stretch, but nonetheless I found this to be an enjoyable puzzle. It’s a nice, narrow theme set and I’m sure there are not many Indian foods that would qualify for this gimmick. The bonus slots were well-utilized, too, with SHAKE ON IT + TALK TRASH in the SW corner, opposite ACT NORMAL + BLUE STATE in the NE corner.

Thanks for the puzzle, Howard!

Side note: This may be the first Universal puzzle I’ve noticed with an editorial byline that does not say David Steinberg. This one is edited by Jared Goudsmit. Is this an editorial debut? Does Universal have a team of editors? Crossword community sleuths, please fill me in if you know what’s going on. Shoutout to Jared and all the editors working tirelessly to polish up these wonderful puzzles for us.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 650), “Putting In Some Extra Hours”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 650: “Putting In Some Extra Hours”

Hello there, everyone! Hope you’re all doing well and that the extra hour of sleep we gained from last weekend was somewhat beneficial to you.

Speaking of time, we’re dealing with extra time in today’s puzzle … but we’re not talking about time added on to the ends of a PERIOD in soccer (3D: [Sentence ender]). The names of nouns are turned into puns when adding the letters “OT” inside of them.

          • MIRACLE MOTETS (15A: [Choral pieces written for the winners of the 1969 World Series?]) – Miracle Mets.
          • AND I LOVE YOU SOOT (28A: [Chimney sweep’s serenade to flue dust?]) – And I Love You So. Shoutouts to Perry Como and Don McLean!
          • INAUGURAL BALLOT (44A: [First of a series of secret votes?]) – Inaugural Ball
          • PINOT CUSHIONS (58A: [Shock absorbers that keep wine bottles from breaking?]) – Pin Cushions

Absolutely thrilled to see RALPH in the puzzle, especially given that Invisible Man is one of my favorite books, but bummed that I have yet to read Juneteenth yet (43D: [“Juneteenth” author Ellison]). Couldn’t help but notice that the paralleling entries of TAILOR TO (13A: [Adapt for]) and ORATORIO are somewhat close to being anagrams (52A: [Handel’s “Saul,” e.g.]).  Not as many sunny days in this part of the country, so ICARUS can go flying as high as he wants around here at the moment (29A: [Mythical flyer]). Don’t know about you, but I can’t see “Icarus” without thinking about Kid Icarus, the video game! Probably took me about a decade from the time I owned the game to learning about the mythical character, and once I did learn about the character, I know I immediately thought, “Ooooh, so that’s why Pit had wings!!” Almost similar to learning about classical music figures years after watching Looney Tunes cartoons. 

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: KRISTI (26A: [Skating great Yamaguchi]) – Some may have first encountered her when she won Dancing with the Stars, but those a little older remember Kristi Yamaguchi winning the gold medal in figure skating in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. Later that year, Yamaguchi successfully defended her World Championship that she first won in 1991. Soon after, Yamaguchi turned professional. In 2000, Yamaguchi married another star on the ice, former National Hockey League defenseman Bret Hedican.

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

Take care!


Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 11/7/23 • Tue • Shechtman • solution • 20231107

This was a bit tougher than New Yorker Tuesdays have been recently. In fact, for the final square I needed to cycle through a few vowels at the intersection of 35-down [“The Eighteenth __ of Louis Napoleon” (Karl Marx publication)] BRUMAIRE and 45-across [Medieval musical form] LAI. As they say, 6d [“Yikes”] OOF.

  • 1a [Where to retire?] PIT STOP. In more ways than one, eh?
  • 13a [“I wish I may, I wish I might,” e.g.] ANAPHORA.
  • 16a [Genre for Chris Marker and Jean-Luc Godard] ESSAY FILM. I highly recommend Chris Marker’s 1962 short film La Jetée. It’s unique, highly influential, and was the inspiration for Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys (1995).
  • Women-oriented entries comprise the long central stack: 32a [Double-platinum Joni Mitchell album of 1974] COURT AND SPARK, 35a [Certain Victorian trinity] BRONTË SISTERS, 36a [Pop singer whom Madonna once called “my talisman”] BRITNEY SPEARS.
  • 55a [“Horse Eats Hat” director Welles] ORSON. Deep cut. It was a relatively early play and not a film.
  • 8d [Last word of both Romeo and Juliet] DIE. “Thus with a kiss I die” and “O happy dagger, This is thy sheath: there rust, and let me die”, respectively.
  • 21d [Certain mark of approval] GOLD SEAL. I waited to see whether it’d be SEAL or STAR, but in truth SEAL is more appropriate to the clue.
  • 29d [Settle down] SOOTHE. Mildly tricky. Same goes for 48d [Deliver an oath] CUSS.
  • 42d [One-named New Age singer] YANNI. I thought he was a musician and not a singer. Hey, whaddaya know? Wikipedia backs me up on that—so this looks to be an incorrect clue.
  • 50d [Conned] GOT. I’ve been watching some films involving con artists lately. Some of them have meta qualities, where the films are also conning the audience.
  • 53d [Opening of a rodeo cry] YEE. Quite surprising that this was neither cross-referenced to 22a [Hem and __ ] HAW nor to some notable person with that as a surname.

Michèle Govier’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

I enjoyed the theme of this puzzle before I got to the revealer. It’s sort of a double-layer thing.

The theme clues kind of resemble Tom Swifties.

Los Angeles Times, November 7, 2023, Michèle Govier, solution grid

  • 19a [One known for clutch performances?] is a RACE CAR DRIVER.
  • 31a [One who is sometimes a dummy?] is a BRIDGE PLAYER.
  • 39a [One who is not on a roll?] is a D PLUS STUDENT. Honor roll, that is.

And the surprised revealer: 53a [“No, thank you,” or something 19-, 31-, and 39-Across might say?] is I THINK I’LL PASS. A fun, solid Tuesday theme! I don’t recognize Michèle’s name. I’ll have to keep an eye out for her – I really enjoyed this. There were a few bumpy moments in the fill (ECASH? Really?) which were worth the price of admission.

A few other things:

  • 2d [Joe Friday’s declaration in the classic “Dragnet” intro] is IM A COP. I can only hear it in Jack Webb’s voice.
  • 13a [Thin-strapped top] is a CAMI, not a TANK, as I first thought.
  • I filled in SEPTA at 26a from crossings and thought of Philly mass transit. The clue was actually [Nasal membranes].
  • 66a [“The Simpsons” disco guy] is STU. Everything I know about “The Simpsons” I learned from crosswords. Also “Game of Thrones.”

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that NEAL McDonough appeared in “Arrow” and “Legends of Tomorrow.”

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29 Responses to Tuesday, November 7, 2023

  1. Dan says:

    NYT: Although this is a common mistake, it is still a mistake.

    Clue 21A “Torus-shaped treat” for DONUT erroneously confuses a torus (the shape of an inner tube, or the *surface* of a donut) with an “anchor ring” shape, sometimes called a “solid torus”.

    But although “solid torus” is the technical term for a donut shape, it is *not* a type of torus. A torus is always a surface, not a 3D thing.

    • Ethan says:

      The Times is going with the common meaning.

      This happens frequently when specialists in an area argue that the clue incorrectly interprets a technical term of art—but common English usage disagrees with them.

      People call the donut shape a torus. All. The. Time.

      As someone with an entomological background I could take exception of BEETLES were clued as “Some bugs”, say. Technically, “bugs”, also called “true bugs”, are a specific order of insects, and not the order Coleoptera, to which beetles belong.

      But in common usage, beetles are a kind of bug, and the puzzles ultimately reflect the English language as spoken in America today at large, and not by specialists.

      • Dan says:

        I know and generally agree with your main point: Ordinary language may differ from technical language, and that is perfectly valid.

        In this case, however, I think there are actually very few “ordinary people” who consider a donut a torus, since very few people even know the word.

        I cannot accept that every mistake some people make is automatically valid just because a lot of people make it (among the few who know the word torus, in this case). In my opinion, some mistakes are just mistakes, and this is definitely one of those cases.

      • JohnH says:

        Ethan, thanks for that. Besides, I don’t find “torus-shaped” misleading. The surface is what gives it shape.

    • Mutman says:

      My similar nit is when alcohol bottles are referred to as fifths and pints, when they are metric now and do not precisely align.

      But I’ve accepted it for xwords.

  2. David L says:

    TNY: Not too hard, but the crossing at 31D and 45A is tricky, involving a spelling I’ve never seen before. Also, the clue for 42D is misleading, since that person is not really known as a singer. I knew the word at 13A but couldn’t have defined it.

    • Gary R says:

      OOF! This one took me twice as long as yesterday’s TNY, and I still finished with an error (BRUMAIRE/LAI). Ms. Schechtman and I are often on different wavelengths. Such is life.

      • David L says:

        I knew BRUMAIRE so that was a big help. The cross that troubled me was CRISPIEST/LAI. I put in LAY, because that’s a familiar word for a song or poem from medieval times, and thought CRISPYEST was some wacky NYer-approved spelling.

        • JohnH says:

          I knew the 18th Brumaire, too. Helped that I took a Marxism course in college. I was tempted by LAY, too, but “crispyest” just looked too weird.

          My last to fall was the NW, since I hadn’t seen the term ESSAY FILM before and wanted “exaltation” to have its common mean as elation, although that meaning is further from its roots in “exalt.” I fear I’d also forgotten what ANAPHORA is.

    • Eric H says:

      BRUMAIRE/LAI got me, too.

      GOLD StAr until BRITNEY SPEARS showed up and wanted the E. Bless before BEDEW. Other than those minor errors, pretty smooth going.

  3. Art Shapiro says:

    Universal: with the first three themers having CHAAT, NAAN, and TIKKA, I figured that we were dealing with Indian cuisine with a doubled letter. So it was a bit surprising to see just “plain old” DAL as 34, which I have seen spelled DAAL on menus.

  4. DJ says:

    Re; NYT – I know it’s a little nitpicky, but I get kind of irked when non existent phrases like “T-bar lift” and “T-ball glove” are utilized to make a theme work. Shouldn’t these be common phrases in the vernacular?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Yeah, they should be. I don’t know that these two are.

    • Eric H says:

      I’ve been skiing on and off since the 1960s. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone refer to a T-BAR LIFT. It’s always just a T-BAR.

      (They’re not quite obsolete, but you rarely see them anymore. Maybe because they’re not very easy to ride if you’re on a snowboard.)

      T-BALL GLOVE also feels like it was invented for this puzzle, but Academy Sports sells such a product, so I guess it’s a thing.

    • PJ says:

      I’m good with t-ball glove. I remember a lot of kids with undersized gloves at that stage. A little google research supports my recollection

    • Katie says:

      Sorry to ramble here, below! (Mostly, just interesting trivia stuff. Jump to end!)

      Sure, sure, we’d all be happier if each theme entry was more of an “Aha!” zinger…

      However, given the theme is so narrowly defined (T-word1 word2), each of them was still pretty clear (to me) in filling things out. Overall solid, I thought. :-)

      I think I’m OK with “t-bar lift”. Yes, everyone just says “t-bar”. But there’s an engineering tbar, too. And, similarly, folks just say “microwave” and not “microwave oven”, even though either can be understood. M-W dictionary claims: “called also T-bar lift” – so, fine, for me.

      But then again, hmm… let me check something… Ooops! Well, MICROWAVEOVEN hasn’t appeared in NYT since, er, the Reagan administration. (1985!) So, err, maybe that was a very, very bad example there! :-P

      I feel “T-ball glove” is simply what many people would type into an Amazon search, looking for gear for the kids, really, versus “a thing” – but given it all made sense with the theme and clueing, I’m fine there.

      Last – for what it’s worth, to the trivia buffs out there (and to those still grumpy after my case, above), xwordinfo sez:

      TBALLGLOVE already appeared, just once, before (using “ball” as a rebus on a complicated-looking grid, NYT Mar. 27, 2011)

      TBARLIFT also appeared only once – way, way back – in NYT on Jan. 5, 1973 (Nixon administration! Just a few weeks after the last moon-landing Apollo mission had returned to earth!) for a puzzle including XRATED, ORINGS, TVDINNERS, PTBOATS, and so on…

      OMG, OK maybe the clueing there, for TBARLIFT, needed to hint at old-fashionedness – somehow? ;-)

  5. Cory says:

    Re: LAT … Curious about the choice to use “D PLUS STUDENT” as a themer, tied to the revealer “I think I’ll pass” (as in “I think I’ll pass my classes). The other themers (RACECAR DRIVER and BRIDGE PLAYER) almost certainly will “pass” in their own ways… but is the idea that a D+ student would barely pass? I guess it depends on the grading system? I feel like A+ or B+ student would have made more sense (and with the clue about someone who’s on a roll instead), and you could easily tweak that section of the grid to fit.

    • Dan says:

      Yeah, I doubt there are many educational institutions that include D+ among the grades that can be assigned to a student’s coursework.

      I don’t think they want a D student to feel any joy that “At least I got a +.”

  6. Bryan says:

    Amy: To your point about the spelled-out ampersand in “A AND E” in the NYT puzzle, that grates on me also. The same way that crosswords allow spelled-out letters, such as “VEE” for the letter V. There really should be some crossword convention that indicates to the solver when that’s happening. Like the convention of indicating in the clue when something is old-fashioned or slang and so forth. I don’t know what that indication would be for spelled-out punctuation and alphabet letters without revealing too much information to the solver. I’m just thinking out loud.

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