Friday, February 23, 2024

LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT untimed (Amy) 


The New Yorker tk (tk) 


Universal 4:25 (Jim) 


USA Today tk (Darby) 


Larry Snyder’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 2/23/24 – no. 0223

I’m calling this one untimed because I kept nodding off. I think my husband and son’s travel exhaustion (they left Manila Thursday afternoon yesterday, passed through Hong Kong, crossed the date line, and arrived Thursday afternoon today) is contagious because I am beat! (Not too shabby, under 9 minutes for a puzzle with some shut-eye.)


Not so familiar to me: LOAN CAP, [Borrower’s limit]. This site says “A loan cap is a legal lending limit that restricts the amount of money that a lender can lend to a borrower. This limit is put in place to protect borrowers from taking on too much debt and to prevent lenders from making risky loans that could result in financial losses.” I think you can get around a loan cap by inflating your assets on financial statements, but you might get fined $350 million so be careful with that.

Three things:

  • 49a. [Stealing from the collection plate, for example], SACRILEGE. DIRTBAG MOVE wouldn’t fit.
  • 46d. [“Ugh!”], BLEH. Exactly my thoughts much of the time.
  • 33d. [One who grapples, in dialect], RASSLER. Dialect experts, tell me: Is RASSLER as legit as rassle and rasslin’? It looks unusual to me.

3.75 stars from me.

Blake Slonecker’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 2/23/24 • Fri • Slonecker • solution • 20240223

  • 39aR [Camera setting, and what shortened 18-, 24-, 47-, and 58-Across?] F-STOP. Not sure how well this works as a revealer, but the gist is that those theme entries—in their original forms—end with the letter F. Sans the F, they become wacky.
  • 18a. [Pollinator who can’t fly?] GROUND BEE (ground beef).
  • 24a. [Parents in the Hundred Acre Wood?] RAISES THE ROO (… roof).
  • 47a. [Product on Shenandoah Valley shepherds?] VIRGINIA WOOL (… Woolf).
  • 58a. [Experimental soft cheese?] TRIAL BRIE (… brief).

Serviceable theme, but I maintain reservations about F-STOP.

  • 1d [Schedule for later] DEFER. Intersected by 17a [ __ Cup: PGA Tour prize] FEDEX. Aside from the revealer and its crossing of 39d [“__ the Turtle”: University of Maryland catchphrase] FEAR, this is the only F that appears in the grid, which leads me to wonder if an effort was made—and then abandoned—to exclude the letter therein.
  • 4d [Amit Majmudar’s “__ to a Drone”] ODE. Poem here.
  • 8d [Took second, say] STOLE. Baseball. Followed immediately by 9d [Second person] YOU.
  • 30d [High-stakes shelter] TENT. This needs a question mark, I feel.
  • 36d [Bass output] ROE. Not about music.
  • 42d [Bootlegger’s vessel] STILL. Vessel, not apparatus?
  • 43d [Visual aids] GLASSES. Fooled me—I tried GRAPHS first, which is too short.
  • 50d [Focus of Maslow’s hierarchy] NEEDS.
  • 37a [Sphere in old referee whistles] PEA. I had forgotten about this bit of trivia. Nice change of pace.
  • 64a [Heart Eyes or OK Hand] EMOJI. Clue nonplussed me, but I understood it retroactively.

Larry Snyder’s Universal crossword, “Pre-Party”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar two-word phrases whose first words can precede “date” and whose second words can precede “time” in other phrases. The revealer is DATE AND TIME (57a, [Invitation information … or words that can follow each half of 17-, 33- or 40-Across]).

Universal crossword solution · “Pre-Party” · Larry Snyder · Fri., 2.23.24

  • 17a. [Format, as many an essay] DOUBLE-SPACE. Double date, space-time. (Of course double-time is also a phrase.)
  • 33a. [Occasion for a tuxedo or gown] PROM NIGHT. Prom date, nighttime.
  • 40a. [It’s heated geothermally] HOT SPRING. Hot date, springtime. I give the puzzle a yellow card for having “heat” in the clue, though.

Nice! I like the double theme and especially the consistent use of the same meaning of “date” in each phrase. Well done all around.

Plenty of colorful long fill entries, too: LION’S DEN, CRAB CAKE, SLEDDOG, ROLLED R, PERIDOT, and “…AND I’M OUT“. I didn’t know DHAKA, but it’s a world capital, so that’s on me.

PERIDOT from “Steven Universe”

Clues of note:

  • 38a. [Humans are the only animals that have them]. CHINS. Huh. I tried SHINS at first. Anyone else? Here’s some interesting background on this subject.
  • 41d. [Yellow-green gem]. PERIDOT. I never heard of this gem until my kid started watching Steven Universe.

Well-constructed theme and smooth fill. A good puzzle. Four stars.

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

28 Responses to Friday, February 23, 2024

  1. Me says:

    NYT: I liked the puzzle, but definitely felt more Saturday than Friday. This was my worst Friday time in a while. A lot of the cluing was pretty obscure, like Ggantija temples for MALTA and “liturgical chant” for CREDO.

    I had EPISODE for the SNL clue for a long time, although I should have realized that the episode count is a lot higher than that. Then I had EMMYNOM until I finally settled on EMMYNOD, with the D being my last entry for the puzzle.

    • Eric H says:

      That sounds almost exactly like my experience. Most of it went pretty smoothly, but the NE corner kicked my butt.* In addition to the setbacks you had, I couldn’t get STAHL from the clue (I haven’t seen “60 Minutes” in about 30 years) and can never remember THERANOS (the clue for that was not very specific). Worst of all might have been having HAUTE CouturE at 27A for way longer than I should have.

      I don’t know if it’s my worst Friday time in a while, but I do know that I was several minutes slower than the median solving time at, and I’m usually faster than the median.

      *But it was nice to finally see ASSES clued not as Biblical beasts.

      • Me says:

        Eric, I didn’t know about xwstats, so thank you for pointing it out! It’s interesting to see how others did. Surprisingly, 70% of those at xwstats solved the puzzle faster than they usually do on Fridays. I’m guess I’m in the 11% that are much slower than their Friday average.

        • Eric H says:

          I’m interested enough in that kind of stuff that I keep my account there active (you have to renew it every six or 12 months).

          Sometimes the data they have conflicts with what the NYT website says, but I don’t really know who’s wrong.

    • Gary R says:

      My last letter in was the “R” at the crossing of 2-D and 23-A. I’m not very good at keeping track of all the gender identities out there these days, let alone their flag colors, and the wordplay on 2-D eluded me until I ran the alphabet for that square.

      I’m so damned old, I stuck with Morley SAFER for quite a while at 15-A!

      • pannonica says:

        ARO[mantic] is not a gender identity, it’s a (non)sexual orientation.

      • Eric H says:

        I can’t keep the various Pride flags straight, either (beyond the classic rainbow flag that my husband and I fly). I should try harder.

        ARO seems to be showing up in a lot of crossword puzzles lately. This is its third NYT appearance with a clue related to the romantic orientation.

    • David L says:

      I didn’t find the puzzle especially hard — the SE corner slowed me down, because I put in TATTOOED at first. Then I came up with BRET Michaels from some dark recess of my memory (no idea who he or she is) and figured it out.

      I’m at a loss to understand how ARO is a queer identity. Does it mean you’re not interested in people of the same sex, rather than not being interested in people of the opposite sex?

    • Martin says:

      When I test-solved this puzzle, the clue used “Ġgantija.” I think they wisely decided the G-dot character would cause havoc and “simplified” the clue a bit.

    • Dallas says:

      I had EMMYNOM too; I also had Anderson Cooper on CNN not CBS, but eventually when I got STAHL I fixed that one… and I had TATTOOED instead of TATTED UP… lots of misses today, but a little under Friday average.

  2. Gary R says:

    Spelling Bee: (no spoiler unless you’re still struggling with yesterday’s puzzle) – I have to rant, just a little, about the Thursday puzzle. Revealing the answers this morning, I find BAAED, alternate spelling BANDANNA, along with BEDAUB and BEDAUBED. Has Sam lost his mind??

    • Art Shapiro says:

      The dual spellings of BANDANA have been used in the past, so that was weird enough to be a gimme. Ditto for the ovine verb,, although it’s hardly obvious. For what it’s worth, the BE words were my last two.

    • Martin says:

      FWIW, those were gimmes (yes, Sam’s dual spellings are imprinted on my brain now), but BANDEAU was my last word. I found it by trial and error.

  3. Dan says:

    NYT: Very much enjoyed solving this Friday puzzle, which went very fast for me because the long down entries came to me fast with only a couple of letters.

    But I would prefer for puzzles to completely avoid nonce words like ARO that I suspect are used only by tiny fractions of the populations — words that I have virtually never encountered before despite reading a large variety of media. How about only words that have appeared (with a certain minimum frequency) in the New York Times? (That O could have been a T with ART crossing STENT.)

    • Lois says:

      Especially in this case, where seeming experts in these slang words disagree about its meaning and the cluing.

    • Martin says:

      A three-letter word with two vowels will be impossible to uproot now that it’s germinated.

    • Dan says:

      PS As for the clue “Windy location of myth?” (where “windy” is pronounced with a long I), I have a funny story to relate: Some years ago I noticed that a leading collegiate dictionary did not include this word. I contacted them about this omission, and sure enough it appeared in their next edition.

  4. Jordan says:

    I thought the LAT was fantastic, a real work out

  5. Burak says:

    I liked the NYT. The proper nouns were properly placed or clued in an interesting way, and there was a very good flow to it.

  6. JohnH says:

    Everyone’s already gone through my stumbling blocks in a terrific and seriously hard NYT Friday. Well, haute cuisine was among the easier for me and, given its length, a foothold. (My actual entry point was RILKE.)

  7. Eric H says:

    New Yorker: I was thinking earlier today that I often find the themes in the Friday New Yorker puzzle more hindrance than help.

    Not today. I picked up on the chicken phrases quickly and was able to fill in the remaining theme answers without any crosses.

    Nice play on words at 14A APRON.

    This would be a great puzzle to give to someone who doesn’t have much experience solving crossword puzzles.

    • JohnH says:

      I know we often disagree on this, but it wouldn’t be my choice for a beginner’s puzzle because of TNY tick: the proper names. (I found the theme kinda boring.)

Comments are closed.