Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Jonesin' 4:47 (Erin) 


LAT 3:32 (GRAB)  


NYT 4:23 (Amy) 


The New Yorker tk (pannonica) 


Universal 4:17 (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


WSJ 6-something (Jim) 


nb: No New Yorker today, as there’s as special issue this week.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Bundling Up” — plenty of layers. – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 12/19/23

Jonesin’ solution 12/19/23

Hello lovelies! This week’s Jonesin’ is preparing the Northern Hemisphere for the start of winter this week, with warm, cozy coverings enrobing the theme entries.

  • 17a. [Piece of paper with nothing on it] BLANK SHEET (blanket)
  • 24a. [Obey Daylight Saving Time, maybe] SPRING AHEAD (spread)
  • 37a. [How a winning streak might be described] THIRD TIME IN A ROW (throw)
  • 51a. [High-grade, ultra-soft European fabric] DUTCH VELVET (duvet)
  • 62a. [“You’re welcome to visit”] COME ON OVER (cover)

Other things:

  • 1a. [Yogurt-based Indian drink] LASSI. The drink consists of blended yogurt, water, and spices, but there are variations including fruit, nuts, and other yummy things. Lassi was created in Punjab.
  • 2d. [Repetitively named Aztec spear-throwing tool] ATLATL. It’s a level that increases the throwing distance and speed of the spear. While the atlatl is believed to be used as far back as 30,000 years ago in Europe, the name is what Aztecs called the tool when Spanish conquistadors came to Mexico.
  • 7d. [Rob Zombie’s spouse, fashion designer ___ Moon Zombie] SHERI. She had a clothing line for seven years and worked as a costume designer / dancer / choreographer after Rob Zombie went solo from White Zombie, but is better known as an actress in her husband’s horror movies.

Until next week!

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 655), “I Heard the Bells!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 655: “I Heard the Bells!”

Hello there, all! Hope all of you are doing well, and hope those of you in the Southeast who dealt with a nasty storm over the weekend made it out OK! Touched us here in the Northeast, but definitely not as bad of damage occurred as was it might have seemed given the forecast.

If you heard some sleigh bells ringing while doing this puzzle, there’s definitely a reason why. The four theme answers all have letters circled, and the words formed in the circles alternate DING and DONG.

          • SPENDING LIMITS (16A: [Prudent wealth-building guidelines])
          • GORDON GEKKO (29A: [“Wall Street” corporate raider with a need for greed])
          • TRENDING NOW (46A: [Social media heading for today’s hot topics])
          • THE LONDON GAMES (63A: [Summer Olympics of 2012, in headlines])

Spent most of last weekend pet-sitting my brother’s friend’s chihuahua, and I will admit that, while they wouldn’t be classified as ATTACK DOGS, I didn’t have the highest of regards for that breed given their noisiness and sometimes irascible personality (11D: [Growling junkyard guards]). But I will say that Cassius (a.k.a. Cash) really was a friendly dog and made a positive impact on two people who do not see themselves as dog owners in the future. Seeing GENERAL TSO in its entirety was a nice change-up from just seeing TSO in a grid (27D: [Legendary military figure on a menu]). FAvorite fill of the day includes A-LISTER (26D: [Big-name celeb]) and LIKE I CARE, something I feel like I should say more often than I do now (13A: [“Doesn’t bother me!”]).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ROOS (40D: [Aussie hoppers]) – Thank goodness that this entry jogged my memory enough to remember when one of the greatest football players ever rocked apparel named after the marsupial. During the 1980s, Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton wore the KangaROOS brand of sneakers, the ones where was a zippered pocket on the shoes to keep keys in while running. Payton was one of the company’s most well-known clients, and he sometimes wore a headband with “ROOS” emblazoned on it during games. Doesn’t this say “I’m a cool 1980s icon!” written all over it?!

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

Take care!


Universal Crossword Review by Matt F

Title: Home Stretch
Constructor: Noelle Griskey
Editor: David Steinberg

Universal Solution 12.19.2023

Theme Synopsis:

This is a bookend theme where the beginning and end of each theme answer forms a type of home. Each answer is a home stretch, get it?

  • 20A – [Piece of jewelry with attachments] = CHARM BRACELET (chalet)
  • 27A – [Natural response to a free trip invitation] = HOW CAN I REFUSE (house)
  • 43A – [Guy who’s determined] = MAN ON A MISSION (mansion)
  • 52A – [Fonzie’s affirmative] = CORRECTAMUNDO (condo)

Overall Impressions:

What I like most about a theme like this is when the base phrases stand out all on their own. I think all four of these are excellent and fun, and the theme adds a nice layer on top to tie everything together. PRICE WAR and EVIL OMEN add some nice flavor to the supporting fill, and clues such as [Penguin in a net, e.g.] for GOALIE are just great.

Thanks for the puzzle, Noelle!

Seth Weitberg’s New York Times crossword-Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 12/19/23 – no. 1219

The theme revealer is “IF I WERE YOU …”, 59a. [Start of some advice … or a phonetic hint to 17-, 24-, 37- and 48-Across]. Turn an “i” into a “u” (sounds like “you”) and you get the playful theme entries:

  • 17a. [“This cardboard belt is a waist of paper,” for example?], CLOTHES PUN.
  • 24a. [Good times doing bench presses?], PECTORAL FUN. Cute!
  • 37a. [Why the pizza oven is so hard to clean?], MOZZARELLA STUCK. Burnt right on.
  • 48a. [Desire in the dessert aisle?], GROCERY LUST. What?? Not in the produce section? Or at the meat counter?

Enjoyed the theme, which brought the entertainment that a letter-change theme needs to have.

Fave fill: RAZOR CLAMS, ON A PLATTER (which works figuratively too), LUDWIG nicely clued as [“Black Panther” composer Göransson, who shares his first name with another famous composer], POUTY. Felt unfamiliar: 34d. [Lasted longer than], OUTSTAYED. Can you use this in a sentence? And don’t mix it up with overstayed.

Four stars from me.

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

Theme answers are familiar phrases whose outer letters spell a word that can precede “paper.”

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Wrapping Paper” · Mike Shenk · Tue., 12.19.23

  • 17a. [File menu option] SAVE COMMAND. Sandpaper.
  • 25a. [Ken, to Barbie] BOYFRIEND. Bond paper.
  • 35a. [America’s leader in spearmint oil production] WASHINGTON STATE. Wastepaper.
  • 49a. [Line attributed to William Tecumseh Sherman] “WAR IS HELL!” Wallpaper.
  • 57a. [Sources of comfort for air travelers] NECK PILLOWS. Newspaper.

Well, we’ve still got almost a whole week until Christmas, but we’ve got our first holiday-inspired grid from editor Mike Shenk today. I expect that means similar Christmassy fare through Saturday.

This one works well enough with the title serving as the basis for the theme. I wasn’t so sure that SAVE COMMAND is a phrase that anyone ever uses, but otherwise it’s a good Tuesday theme.

As we’ve come to expect in the WSJ, puzzles focused on holidays get extra holiday flair in the form of clues (see below), but here we even get a fun SECRET SANTA as a marquee fill entry. RIPSNORTERS isn’t Christmas-related, but what a great entry to have in a grid.

Clues of note:

  • 11a’s [Tiny Tim, to Bob Cratchit] for SON and 43a’s [Yuletide cupful] for NOG are just two of the many Christmassy clues in the grid.
  • 53a. [Angels hope for them]. HITS. This one is not Christmassy. It’s baseball…I think.
  • 4d. [Oxford opening]. EYELET. Part of a shoe, not a job opportunity.

3.5 stars

Joe Deeney’s LA Times Crossword – GRAB’s theme summary

LA Times

Joe Deeney’s puzzle is a list theme with a clever twist. We get five types of investment money, each linked in the clues with an apt start-up. Because the central answer is a ten, the puzzle is one square narrower than usual, but given we had a 16×16 last week, it balances out. Anyway:

  • [The landscaping startup was financed via …], HEDGEFUND. Not >a<?
  • [The extreme tourism startup was financed via …], VENTURECAPITAL
  • The shrink-ray startup was financed via …], MICROLOANS
  • [The religious iconography startup was financed via …], ANGELINVESTORS
  • [The agriculture startup was financed via …], SEEDMONEY


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7 Responses to Tuesday, December 19, 2023

  1. JohnH says:

    I presume pannonica will not really review today’s TNY because, per Amy’s post yesterday, there IS no today’s TNY.

    BTW, while I solved the TNY cryptic on Sunday, when it appeared (and when I mistook it for the usual Sunday cryptic) and worked the one that comments had designated as Monday’s (an ordinary puzzle but with three versions of each clue), I’ll probably wait for most to the magazine, where no doubt they’ll be printed nicely for me, in color as needed and fitting on a page.

    But I did also do the one with celebrities who have lived in Manhattan, clued by their sketches, a map, and a rebus for each one. It was so short I could do most of it in my head with the browser open. But I don’t have the last, where a standard rebus gives way to a single image, and I can’t explain why in another what looks to me like a devil’s head in blue is the first name of a great jazz composer, arranger, and pianist. Sports logo maybe?

  2. Suzanne says:

    WSJ: Angels hope for them: HITS

    “An angel investor provides initial seed money for startup businesses, usually in exchange for ownership equity in the company.”

    One example of this are angel investors in Broadway shows which they are hoping will be hits.

  3. Greg says:

    Today’s Times: clever, easy, but still surprising. A perfect Tuesday.

  4. Eric H. says:

    Technical question:

    I solve a lot of puzzles in AcrossLite on my iPad running iOS 17.2.

    I used to be able to go to my Downloads folder, tap a .puz file, and get the option to open it in AcrossLite. Now, that option is gone.

    AVXC sent out a puzzle in .jpz and .pdf formats only, instead of .jpz, .pdf and .puz like they normally do. I’m not sure if trying to open the .jpz somehow messed up the options for .puz files.

    I figured out how to open .puz files in AcrossLite by dropping and dragging them, but that’s a bit of a pain.

    Any bright idea on how I can get back to where I can open them directly from the Downloads folder?


Comments are closed.