Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Jonesin' 5:38 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni)  


NYT 3:46 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal 6:13 (Matt F) 


USA Today 3:06 (Sophia) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


WSJ 6:55 (Jim) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “I Remember That!” — returning the favor. – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 2/13/24

Jonesin’ solution 2/13/24

Hello lovelies! Let’s see what we have this week:

  • 17a. [Effect of ongoing muscle strain, maybe] DULL ACHE
  • 23a. [Soda concoction that’s not quite cream soda] VANILLA COKE
  • 39a. [Business with wholly owned subsidiaries] UMBRELLA COMPANY
  • 52a. [Description that spares no detail] FULL ACCOUNT
  • 64a. [Repeat reference, or what the long theme answers demonstrate] CALL BACK. Each of the theme entries contains the letters CALL backwards. I don’t quite get it, though. Is referring to something the same as calling it? “Remember” in the title means the same as “recall,” which can mean the same as “call back.” And I guess referring to someone by a certain name is the same as calling the person that name.
Photograph of Dovima with Elephants by Richard Avedon

Photograph of Dovima with Elephants by Richard Avedon, 1955

Anyway, other things:

  • 66a. [Longtime Vogue photographer Richard] AVEDON. Dude photographed tons of people in his lifetime, including this one of model Dovima in Yves Saint Laurent’s first evening gown design for Christian Dior with some elephants, because why not? (I’m sorry, I mean YVES Saint Laurent for Christian DIOR.)
  • 42d. [“From Peru to ___ …” (line from Enya’s “Orinico Flow”)] CEBU. Cebu is a Filipino province consisting ofa main island and 167 islands and islets. “Orinoco Flow” is a song found on the 1994 initial release /1997 re-release Pure Moods album, which was the calming soundtrack to my high school years.

Until next week!

Bill Thompson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Knock Knock”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are homophones of familiar words and phrases where the beginning becomes a synonym of “insult” (as a verb) and the ending becomes a famous person’s last name.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Knock Knock” · Bill Thompson · Tue., 2.13.24

  • 17a. [Knock “Homeland” star Claire?] DIS DANES. Disdains.
  • 25a. [Knock soccer legend Mia?] ROAST HAMM. Roast ham.
  • 40a. [Knock tennis great Arthur?] PAN ASHE. Panache.
  • 51a. [Knock war reporter Ernie?] TRASH PYLE. Trash pile.
  • 64a. [Knock former Indiana senator Evan?] RIDE BAYH. Ride by.

Solid homophone theme. I like the consistency of having the spellings changed to accommodate the last names. Luckily for me I knew all the names although some were harder to dredge up than others. I’m not totally keen on “ride by” as a base phrase for a theme answer since it feels a touch random, but it does work.

There are some really nice bits of long fill: OSCAR BAIT, LOST CAUSE, and POOH BEAR as well as SCARAB and GRATIS.

But the grid suffered from a reliance on crosswordese that was too much to go by unnoticed. To start things off we have ADIA at 2d [1998 Sarah McLachlan hit]. I’m not dissing McLachlan or the song (I bought the album when it came out), but it doesn’t have staying power and doesn’t belong in a puzzle in 2024. That starting corner is so small, this could’ve easily been excised for better fill. Elsewhere we have partial A DEAR, plus LE ROI, ACR, ISMS, and REMAST. Oof.

Clues of note:

  • 1d. [Running back’s protection]. PADS. Good misdirection. I was thinking O-LINE (but in four letters). For more misdirection, see 8a [Without charge] for GRATIS. Not an electrical charge, but a monetary one.
  • 34d. [Club on a diamond]. BAT. More misdirection especially following the playing card clue and entry at 33d. But anytime you see “diamond” in a clue, it’s more than likely to be referring to baseball.

I like the theme just fine, and the long fill is good, but the crosswordese detracts from these high points. Three stars.

Peter Gordon’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 2/13/24 – no. 0213

I like this theme. The revealer is 49a. [Ones unconcerned with individual achievements … or what both words in the answers to the starred clues are examples of], TEAM PLAYERS. The themers are legit phrases that can be split into two team names from the same sports league:

  • 33a. [*Louis XIV’s nickname [N.B.A.]], SUN KING. The Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings.
  • 54a. [*Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” e.g. [M.L.B.]], GUARDIAN ANGEL. Cleveland Guardians, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (is that what they’re still calling themselves?).
  • 3d. [*Indication that a gas stove is functioning properly [N.H.L.]], BLUE FLAME. St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames. My gas stove seems to showing a little more orange in the blue flame than usual. What does one do in such a circumstance?
  • 11d. [*Grizzly, for one [N.F.L.]], BROWN BEAR. Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears.

A nice find, that each of the Big Four has at least one pair of teams whose unpluralized team names can form familiar phrases.

Fave fill: CALYPSO, SHIATSU, FAIR GAME, DUM-DUMS. Not so keen on UNRIG. Never heard of DOGTV but it actually sounds really cool.

Back to the movie I’m watching. 4.15 stars from me.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 664), “Valentine’s Day Wish”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 663: “Valentine’s Day Wish”

Hello there, everyone! Hope all is well with you and, for those out in the Northeast, hope you manage to do well with the winter storm that’s on its way! So we go from 600+ days of not having any significant snowfall in the NYC area to this?! Sheesh. Oh, and I’m in Las Vegas at the time of writing this and have a flight back to New York on Tuesday morning. Looks like I have some delays ahead of me in the very near future.

Well, if we can’t feel the love from the weather and the airline, let’s feel it from the crossword puzzle. The first word in the first four theme entries is a type of candy/candy texture, and the final theme entry, I WANT CANDY, acts as the reveal (60A: [“Sweet-Talking Aaron Carter song … and an alternate puzzle title!]).

              • PENNY STOCK (17A: [Inexpensive investment choice])
              • ROCK GARDEN (25A: [Zen temple refuge])
              • HARD SELLS (35A: [Aggressive promotions])
              • COTTON CLUB (63A: [Harlem nightspot whose house band was the Duke Ellington Orchestra])

Hey, being in Las Vegas at the moment means that seeing BETS ON was definitely in the cards for today’s solve (6D: [Supports with a wager]). Might need to stop by a blackjack table before the flight, yet I’ll definitely be there longer if it is indeed delayed! Oh, and being in Las Vegas also means being at the home of the ACES, the back-to-back WNBA champions (57D: [High cards]). I’ve seen a number of monetary units in puzzles before, and heard a lot of them outside of that, but can’t say that CENTIME rings too much of a bell (3D: {Franc segment]). Anyone else see one of the answers toward the bottom-right corner of the grid and said, sadistically, ” I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice CHIANTI (44D: [Italian wine])? I know I did. Hmmm, is that a good thing to think all cannibalistic like that??? 

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: MAC (8D: [PC alternative]) – Even though he has only had a cup of coffee in the NBA, current G-League (NBA minor leagues) guard Mac McClung has already had a historic moment in the big time. At around this time last year, McClung, while a member of the Philadelphia 76ers on the Slam Dunk Contest at 2023 NBA All-Star Game Weekend in Salt Lake City. The former Georgetown and Texas Tech star has played in four NBA games in two NBA seasons, and currently plays for the Osceola Magic. the Orlando Magic’s affiliate.

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

Take care!


Zachary David Levy’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

Seems like deja vu all over again – it’s Team Fiend’s own ZDL! I saw what was going on and I admit I didn’t spend a lot of (or any) energy trying to figure out what the revealer was going to be. It was amusing – a good Tuesday romp.

The theme answers have circles, here represented by red letters.

  • 17a [Garment made from goat’s wool] is a CASHMERE SWEATER. Mmm. Cashmere.
  • 27a [Picture that may feature students in height order] is a CLASS PHOTO.
  • 47a [Completely spotless] is CLEAN AS A WHISTLE. What makes whistles especially clean?

And the revealer: 59a [Be generous with one’s good fortune, as depicted by the movement of this puzzle’s circled letters] is SPREAD THE WEALTH. I zipped through the puzzle so quickly that I didn’t realize all the theme answers and the revealer were 15-letter entries, and I didn’t notice that the letters were separated by one and then two intervening letters in the second and third entries. Very impressive. All four entries are solidly in the language (and one in my closet). Not all impressive constructions are fun to solve and even fewer, in my experience, are fun to solve for early-week puzzlers. Quite an accomplishment.

The fill is generally quite smooth (although when was your last sighting of ESPY in the wild outside of sports awards?). A few other things:

  • 15a [Folk artist Joan] is BAEZ. I’m looking forward to watching the documentary about her life, I Am A Noise.
  • 18d [Baseball Hall of Famer Willie] is MAYS and this gives me an excuse to say that pitchers and catchers report this week! Woo-hoo!
  • 20a [Roebuck partner] is SEARS. Kids, ask your parents. Grandparents?
  • I enjoyed the Scrabble clues! 37a [Point value of “eight” in Scrabble] is NINE and 52a [Point value of “five” or “six” in Scrabble] is TEN.
  • [Podded plant] is a great clue for PEA.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: never heard of Destiny’s Child’s SAY My Name. Glad to know it now. Beyonce was always Beyonce.

And for good measure, one of my favorites

Erik Agard’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 2/13/24 • Tue • Agard • solution • 20240213

Once again, easier than advertised (“moderately challenging”). Very few SNAGs (1a [Complication]). On the other hand, there was a bevy of clever, entertaining clues.

  • 5a [Substance in a kitchen or bathroom] MOUSSE. But very different in terms of application.
  • 13a [Not at all encouraged] DAUNTED. 49a [Discourage] DETER.
  • 21a [Curses and such, in some Native cultures] BAD MEDICINE. Is it appropriation to use that term colloquially?
  • 25a [Focus of the Web site Curly Nikki] NATURAL HAIR, which exists as a euphemism because Black people have for so long been pressured to straighten or otherwise alter their tightly-curled, afroed hair.
  • 26a [Not quite there] SHY, as in shy of [an amount]. 31a [Needs to reimburse] OWES.
  • 38a [Skip pages?] CAPTAIN’S LOG. Skip here is short for ‘skipper’. Really nice clue.
  • The crossing of the two names 40a [Mononymous singer with the 2023 album “Gag Order”] KESHA and 35d [Naturi Naughton’s character on “Power”] TASHA. Might be decried as unfair, but honestly what else could work in that square but an H?
  • 44a [The __ (chart-topping R. & B. group from Illinois)] CHI-LITES. Helped that I encountered CHI in the same context as a partial in a very recent clue. And I’m just now realizing that CHI must be short for Chicago. Non-dupe with 23d [Tai __ ] CHI.
  • 50d /47a [… prepare for sex with a new partner, in a way] GET | TESTED. Solid advice.
  • 6d [Odd number?] OUTLIER. Great use of the question mark—it’s just enough.
  • 13d [For You pages?] DEDICATIONS. Is For You a website or something?
  • 19d [Dumping grounds?] DEALBREAKER. Another excellent clue. Grounds as in a basis for complaint.
  • 25d [Possible reason for setting a twenty-minute timer] NAP. Oh that doesn’t sound sufficient.
  • 26d [Highly anticipated casting choice?] SWING VOTE. Another great one.
  • 33d [List of favorite rappers, often] TOP FIVE. Seems kind of random?
  • 42d [Newell who won a Tony for their role in “Shucked”] ALEX. I guess that person is nonbinary.

Zhouqin Burnikel’s USA Today Crossword, “Dam Up” — Sophia’s recap

Editor: Anna Gundlach
Theme: Each of the vertical theme answers contains the string “MAD”, which is literally “DAM” read upwards.

USA Today, 02 13 2024, “Dam Up”

  • 4d [Movie based on a book or video game] – FILM ADAPTATION
  • 14d [Chilean expanse that’s the second-driest place on Earth] – ATACAMA DESERT
  • 15d [Annual NYC theater prize] – DRAMA DESK AWARD

Very USA Today theme today, and I mean that in a good way. Simple wordplay in the title, three strong theme answers, and I like that MAD/DAM is split two different ways (unlike, say, if every answer had a word that ended in MA and a second that started with D). DRAMA DESK AWARD is a personal favorite; I don’t mind that the “award” isn’t included in the wordplay since the answer is fun to see. Also, the grid is just barely non-symmetric, which is my favorite type of asymmetry – I assume that happened to get the corner stack fill so good.


Clue highlights: [Reductress genre] for SATIRE, [Elliot Page and Chaz Bono, e.g.] for MEN, [Reference work that added “turnt” in 2023 (Abbr.)] for OED

New to me: That “Wipeout” airs on TBS now? I only watched it in the pre-reboot days when it was on ABC.

Universal Crossword Review by Matt F

Title: Tripartite
Constructor: Daniel Hrynick
Editor: David Steinberg

Universal Solution 02.13.2024

Theme Synopsis:

I started off by looking up the meaning of the title.

Tripartite – 1. : Divided into or made of three parts.

Helpful, but not altogether necessary since our revealer also hits the theme on the nose:

  • 24D – [Field goal’s score … or what 15A, 28D, or 31D has] = THREE POINTS

So each of the 3 theme answers describes an object that has 3 points! Let’s see what we have:

  • 15A – [Symbol denoting “ergo” in math proofs] = THEREFORE SIGN, a symbol made of 3 dots:
  • 28D – [What keeps the Hunter’s pants up] = ORION’S BELT, a constellation made of 3 stars:
  • 31D – [Utensil designed for certain seafood] = OYSTER FORK, a utensil with 3 tines:

Overall Impressions:

I like how the revealer is sandwiched appropriately in the middle of a triple stack. STARTER HOME is great and RESTATEMENT at least doesn’t ruin the fill. I don’t remember much of the “Peanuts” crew so I had to uncover SCHROEDER by crosses. The upper corners are excellent, with GET NOWHERE | ECHO BOOMER (a term I didn’t know before this), and RAGTIME ERA | SUN DRESSES anchoring those sections. On the latter, I’m guessing the clue is making a pun that you wouldn’t wear “sun” anything to an event that’s happening at “night.”

Thanks for the puzzle,  Daniel!

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16 Responses to Tuesday, February 13, 2024

  1. Philip says:

    Amy, the Angels have dropped “of Anaheim.”

  2. Oli says:

    I’m sorry, but SPAWN clued as fish eggs is super frustrating to me. I’m thinking roe and caviar and had PHEW down instead of WHEW….otherwise a fine puzzle

  3. Martin says:

    Amy, the orange flame means the burner isn’t getting enough air in the mix. It is adjustable, but it’s likely something is clogged. First thing to try is a good cleaning of the burners and tubes, making sure there isn’t a build-up of soot inside.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:


      I wonder what a tube is in this context.

      • Martin says:

        Probably not a thing anymore. There will be a gas tube from the manifold (with the controls) to each burner, but don’t mess with that. I’d just start with the burners. There will probably be a burner cap and then the main body of the burner will pull off. Soak these in detergent solution and then rinse and brush to clean.

        Stove designs vary, so check the manual for any cleaning instructions. If you don’t have it lying around, you can probably find in on line. If there are any small holes blocked, carefully use a paper clip. Toothpicks tend to break off and cause more trouble. Just be sure not to enlarge the hole.

        If the burner seems clean and the flame is still not solid blue, you can increase the air in the mixture. It’s a simple adjustment, but varies with manufacturer, so you’ll need to look in the manual. There may be a collar to rotate in order to allow more air through an opening, or there may be an adjustment screw. But try cleaning first.

  4. TJ says:

    I solved the NYT in record time but it strangely felt familiar, like I had already done the puzzle before. I had to dig around a bit but looks like this theme was done 2/5/2022 at Vox, titled “Playing Doubles.” 3 of the 4 same theme entries and it also has the same left-right symmetry. So that’s why I did so well on this puzzle! ;)

  5. MR says:

    Pan Ashe in the WSJ is not a homophone of panache.

  6. David Roll says:

    WSJ–I wonder how many wanted “Unser” for 52-D rather than the less familiar (to me), “Rahal.”

  7. Eric H. says:

    New Yorker: Really nice puzzle; plenty of stuff I had never heard of, but nothing I couldn’t figure out on my own.

    Most of my slowdowns were of my own making: Assuming that 24A was tAG-team something and that 51A was a “Wall of raNT, then a “Wall of veNT” (neither is grammatical, but since when did that ever stop whoever coins this stuff?).

    The TASHA/KESHA (f/k/a KE$HA) crossing was only a problem when I thought the “Power” character was TAnyA. (I just looked the show up and it’s not at all familiar.) But the cleverly clued CAPTAIN’S LOG sent me in the right direction.

    I was proud that I got ANGOLA fairly quickly. I recently learned (from a crossword) the factoid about it being the second most populous country in which Portuguese is spoken. It’s nice to know that some of those bits of information stay in my head for a while.

    • JohnH says:

      Wasn’t bad, although sometimes the long, deceptive answers felt a bit like trying too hard, but that’s a matter of subjectivity like in puns. I did get stuck on TASHA / KESHA, though.

  8. Juliet Wilson says:

    Back with ex, Thank You,____________________ R.buc k ler11 (g ma i l… com)

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