Friday, January 19, 2024

LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT 5:51 (Amy) 


The New Yorker tk (norah) 


Universal 3:55 (Jim) 


USA Today tk (Darby) 


Jacob McDermott’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 2/19/24 – no. 0119

I liked this puzzle but didn’t love it. Lots of good long fill, but not much that felt new, surprising, splashy. Plenty of phrases we’ve seen before in grids.

Fave fill: “HOME AT LAST,” EVIL LAUGHS (but it would be better in the singular), LET IT RIDE, STAYCATION, KINDA SORTA, “LOOKIE HERE,” MOVIE DEAL, SMELL TEST. I feel like /END RANT is what I see more than END OF RANT.

Favorite clue: 29d. [Galactic scale?], LIBRA. as in the constellation Libra, aka The Scales, out there in the galaxy.

Least welcome bit: Dropping ELIS with some weird and dated Yale trivia at 1-Across. [Bladderball players, historically]. What the hell is bladderball? I’m glad you asked, and even gladder there’s a Wikipedia article that suggests how little I should care about it. Also not keen on plural interjections like TSKS and HI-HOS, or plural crosswordese names like ERTES. Most of the grid was solid and straightforward, though.

3.25 stars from me.

John Ewbank’s Universal crossword, “Lives on the Edge”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar names and phrases that feature RE as starting and ending letters. The revealer is RESIDES (37a, [Dwells … or the borders of 17-, 23-, 47- and 58-Across?]).

Universal crossword solution · “Lives on the Edge” · John Ewbank · Fri., 1.19.24

  • 17a. [Discounted transport cost] REDUCED FARE.
  • 23a. [Three-part military command sequence] “READY, AIM, FIRE!”
  • 47a. [Singer dubbed “The Queen of Country”] REBA MCENTIRE.
  • 58a. [Vinyl shop] RECORD STORE.

Somewhat of a groan-worthy revealer, but I found the theme answers themselves to be interesting. It’s far from mind-blowing that there are phrases that start and end with RE, but it amuses enough for a crossword theme, and the execution is quite nice.

Further, the long fill is absolutely lovely with THE BIG GAME, SUPERSONIC, CORE MEMORY, and OPERA BOXES plus “YEE-HAW!,” SQUIRTS, a SCOTTIE, and XERXES. There’s a lot to like here, and hardly anything to dislike.

Clue of note: 50d. [“I love Mondays,” said ___ ever]. NO ONE. Hmm. I’m dubious of this claim. Surely someone out there has their schedule arranged such that Mondays are a day off, or else they just love going to work.

The theme may be a little bland, but it’s executed well and the fill flat-out shines. Four stars.

Gary Larson & Amy Ensz’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 1/19/24 • Fri • Larson, Ensz • solution • 20240119

  • 59aR [Book supplements, and an apt title for this puzzle] ADDENDUMS, which may be parsed as ADD UMS [to the] ENDs [of the theme entries].
  • 16a. [Class reunion attendee who’s in no one’s yearbook?] WEIRD ALUM (Weird Al). This was the last of the theme entries that I was able to get, and  in fact the northwest corner was the final section of the grid I completed.
  • 25a. [Proper etiquette at the plate?] HOME DECORUM (home décor).
  • 37a. [Impulse behind the gift-giving in “The Twelve Days of Christmas”?] PRESENT MOMENTUM (present moment).
  • 47a. [Discussion panel about sheets, duvets, blankets, etc.?] COVERS FORUM (covers for).

These are just okay in my book, and I feel that the pairs within décor/decorum and moment/momentum are not too etymologically distant from each other.

  • 7d [Set, as an alarm] ARMED. Veiled past tense in clue.
  • 14d [Need for poi] TAROS. Veiled plural.
  • 5a [Swiatek who won her fourth major singles championship in 2023] IGA. 8d [Cookbook writer Garten] INA. 32d [Thurman of “The Producers”] UMA. I feel like David Letterman at the Academy Awards.
  • 55a [Sang high notes?] YODELED. Up in the mountains.
  • 66d [Catch in a trap] SNARE. Hum, I’m just noticing that another name for a drum kit—of which a SNARE is often a component—is a trap set. Wondering if that’s a play on snare/trap or if it’s a reference to how drummers have more luggage (‘traps‘) than other band members.

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

16 Responses to Friday, January 19, 2024

  1. huda says:

    NYT: While I agree with Amy re that 1A was not the most accessible start (and, really “bladderball” does not sound attractive, much less playing with it), I quite liked the rest of the puzzle. I fell into several traps but worked my way out. Like HARD in lieu of FIRM (although FIRM is a legit category of cheeses); And HANG ON A SEC instead of HOLD ON A SEC. But I liked the juxtaposition of a lot of these entries, and KINDA SORTA was fun.

    • David L says:

      I agree, a pretty good Friday puzzle. I hesitated at IMSET because I’d already typed IMIN, but it’s one of those minor dupes that Shortz evidently doesn’t care about. And I was unsure about DUH/DOH until I figured out MULCH (cute clue),

      I liked seeing OINKS because it’s just such a great word.

      Culinary question: Are TATERTOTS normally fried or baked/roasted? I only ever get them frozen, so it’s the latter for me, but I guess if you make them from scratch other procedures may be involved.

    • Dan says:

      Of course, the inflatable, usually rubber, sack inside a football or basketball is called a bladder.

    • DougC says:

      I absolutely agree that 1A is some deep trivia with a high “who cares” factor, and a weak way to start a puzzle.

      Other wise, found this reasonably entertaining and on the easy side for a Friday.

  2. Dallas says:

    Pretty reasonable Friday; for some reason, it felt slow to me (got bogged down in the NW—kept thinking bladderball had to an INCA or MAYA sport that I couldn’t remember, and had END OF RAGE before fixing it; and in the Middle East quadrant where I had DOH over DUH), but ended a little faster than average. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    If I were to pick a nit… I do wonder, but not enough to check, if all of the stars in the constellation LIBRA are, in fact, in the Milky Way or not … though it’s a very cute clue. And I’m no nit-picker.

    • David L says:

      All the naked-eye stars in the sky are in the Milky Way. The nearest galaxy, Andromeda, can be seen under good conditions without a telescope, but it appears as a fuzzy blob. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, sometimes known as dwarf galaxies, can be seen with the naked eye, but they too are fuzzy objects with no individual stars distinguishable except by telescope.

      • Dallas says:

        Ah yes… I suppose I should’ve remembered that we can’t see any stars that aren’t in our galaxy… thanks :-)

  3. AlanW says:

    I may be the only reader of this blog who has actually witnessed a game of bladderball. 1A was a gimme.

  4. JohnH says:

    I enjoyed the NYT, although Amy’s right about EVIL LAUGHS and other plurals as a bit forced. And so now I’ve learned that devil rays are a thing and not just a capitalized team name.

    I did balk a bit as IN HOT WATER as a PR problem. Sorta like those in the corporate world who might consider the compromises in safety at Boeing this week a PR matter. And of course dangling modifiers have their defenders. (No doubt they’re something whose validity you might be unsure of.)

  5. johnjerseycoast says:

    The New Yorker: Was interesting to see that, after the brouhaha at the NYT about a themed puzzle with no reveal, here is a themed puzzle with no reveal, at least that I can see. “A” SIDE, “B”LISTER, etc were clever. Was initially taken aback at the clue for “S”WORDS but this is the New Yorker after all.

    Fairly new poster here and was wondering what the initials “tk” mean after this and the USA Today puzzles.

Comments are closed.