Wednesday, March 6, 2024

AVCX 4:05 (Amy) 


LAT 5:22 (Gareth) 


The New Yorker 3:39 (Amy) 


NYT 4:39 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today 10:03 (Emily) 


WSJ 5:07 (Jim) 


Joe Deeney’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Early Celebrations”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases that hide a synonym for “party” (as identified by the circles) somewhere to the left of the center of each phrase. The revealer is CENTER-LEFT PARTY (35a, [Labour, for one, and this puzzle’s theme]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Early Celebrations” · Joe Deeney · Wed., 3.6.24

  • 17a. [Blow up] GO BALLISTIC.
  • 23a. [Like benefit plans that allow various choices] CAFETERIA STYLE.
  • 46a. [Brief helper?] LEGAL ASSISTANT.
  • 57a. [It separates Terre Haute from West Terre Haute] WABASH RIVER.

Kind of a quirky theme, but I like it. Solid, in-the-language phrases, consistent execution, and nice wordplay in the revealer. What’s not to like?

Plus, there’s plenty of long, meaty entries to sink one’s teeth into like DAIRY FARM, RED ALERTS (would be better in the singular, though), WAIT A BIT, PET PEEVES, INTEGRATE and RAN A RACE. The grid didn’t start off too well with crosswordese in the first two rows (MS-DOS, ACAI, AER), and there’s more beyond (GMS, OTT, APEMAN, OHO, AS THE, IAS), but I still feel the pluses outweigh the minuses.

Clues of note:

  • 29a. [Treat on March 14]. PIE. That being Pi Day of course. Got your pie recipe ready, yet?
  • 63a. Children of the 1970s]. XERS. Feels like it’s not complete without the “Gen.”
  • 48d. Pisces parts]. STARS. Good misdirection. I wanted this to have something to do with fish.

Solid theme. Nice long fill, but choppy short fill. 3.25 stars.

Brad Wiegmann’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 3/6/24 – no. 0306

The theme plays on men whose names contain 1, 2, 3, or 4 of a given letter.

  • 19A. [Nicholson and Nicklaus, e.g.?], ONE-EYED JACKS. “Nicholson” and “Nicklaus” each contain one “i” and their first name’s Jack.
  • 26A. [Soren Kierkegaard and Chris Isaak, e.g.?] DOUBLE-A GENTS instead of double agents.
  • 41A. [Percy Bysshe Shelley and Billy Ray Cyrus, e.g.?], THREE WISE MEN with 3 y’s apiece.
  • 48A. [Henry the Eighth and Hubert H. Humphrey, e.g.?], FOUR-H LEADERS. Doesn’t have a word sounding like “aitch,” deviating from the other three, but finding two leaders with 4 H’s is cool.

Four stars from me. Headache says good night, friends.

Adrian Johnson’s Universal crossword, “For Example” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 3/6/24 • Wed • “For Example” • Johnson • solution • 20240306

Mystified here. There seem to be only three theme answers in this left-right symmetry grid. As far as I can tell, they only have one thing in common, and that’s that the clues end with “, for one”. Wait! I’ve just gotten it:

Without the comma, these are common phrases communicating significantly different implications than they have in this context.

  • 19a. [Table, for one] DATA STRUCTURE, which is kind of a dull phrase. Table for one.
  • 38a. [I, for one] PERSONAL PRONOUNI for one …
  • 44a. [Two, for one] PRIME NUMBERTwo for one, or possibly two-for-one.

WAIT, again! There’s a fourth:

  • 22a [All, for one] DETERGENTAll for one …

Aside from this major-minor hiccup duo, I also needed to hunt up an incorrect square after the grid was complete. Turned out to be the crossing of 58a [Like millennials, vis-a-vis Gen Zers] OLDER (not ELDER); needed the crossing 54d [Go whole __ ] HOG to identify the error.

  • 4d [Results of excessive stress] MELTDOWNS. Quite a bit of that going around, eh?
  • 13d [Righteous] JUST. Needed this to get the crossing [Oscar-winning song in “Slumdog Millionaire”] JAI HO!
  • 20d [Its last letter stands for “defibrillator”] AED. Automated external defibrillator. I have yet to internalize this initialism.
  • 48d [Swim meet division?] LANE. Question mark alerted me to the slight wordplay here.

Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword–Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 3/6/24 – Berry

Smooth and breezy, with four lively 15s spanning the grid: SILENCE IS GOLDEN, “SEE ME AFTER CLASS” (so much better than the now-overused SEEME that pops up in grids as a complete phrase), “THAT DOG WON’T HUNT,” and CONTINUITY ERROR (great clue, [Opposite of a shooting match?], when what’s in the film that’s been shot doesn’t match up).

Fave fill: MILE MARKER, LOSE POWER, PONY UP, the automotive BIG THREE (Stellantis is the multinational company including what used to be called Chrysler).

Four stars from me.

Amie Walker’s AV Club Classic crossword, “Heavy Hitters”–Amy’s recap

AV Club Classic crossword solution, 3/6/24 – “Heavy Hitters”

What a grim title! “Heavy Hitters” goes with the theme revealer, HAD A GREAT FALL, and the four downward theme entries are HANS GRUBER of Die Hard, the HOUSE OF USHER, HUMPTY DUMPTY, and the HINDENBURG. Three of those four had rather literal splats (with the Hindenburg’s kaboom preceding its splat). Like I said, grim.

Fave fill: ICED MOCHA, PUBERTY, SLEPT ON IT, PLOT TWIST, CHEERIO. This puzzle feels prophetic with SUSPEND clued as [Terminate, as a political campaign]; hours after the puzzle was sent out, Nikki Haley suspended her presidential campaign. Almost feels thematic.

3.75 stars from me.

Rebecca Goldstein’s La Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

I really like Rebecca Goldstein’s theme concept today. She takes idiomatic INTHETANK, and lists three literal INTHETANK things:

  • [Family member with a heat lamp], PET.IGUANA. I really struggled to parse this.
  • [Military unit with mechanized forces], ARMOREDDIVISION. Tanks are in an ARMOREDDIVISION. The people of the ARMOREDDIVISION, however, are in tanks.
  • [Fuel that typically has an octane of 91 or higher], PREMIUMGASOLINE.


  • [PBJ or BLT], SANDO. When did this become a thing? Growing up here, sandwiches were sarmies for some reason.
  • [C-suite qualifications], MBADEGREES is one of the quirkier entries today.
  • [“I’m Just __”: song sung by Ryan Gosling in “Barbie”], KEN. Has KENERGY appeared in a grid yet?


Jess Shulman’s USA Today Crossword, “Ttfn” — Emily’s write-up

Stick around for this one—don’t take off quite yet! :D

Completed USA Today crossword for Wednesday March 6, 2024

USA Today, March 6, 2024, “Ttfn” by Jess Shulman

Theme: each themer contains —TA—TA— (with the title hint of ttfn meaning “ta ta for now”)


  • 20a. [Madison or Montgomery], STATECAPITAL
  • 40a. [Movie that’s been turned into a play, say], STAGEADAPTATION
  • 58a. [One might be licked and put on an envelope], POSTAGESTAMP

A mix of themers in today’s set, starting off with STATECAPITAL, progressing with STAGEADAPTATION, and rounding out with POSTAGESTAMP. h/t to Sally since I first saw the two —T—T— but given the title, I was looking for —F—N— as well; her blog clued me in on the —TA—TA— and be sure to check her post out for all the wonderful trivia and explanations she provides.


Stumpers: DRAB (“dull” came to mind first), ATTA (new to me), and RETRO (“analog” was my initial thought)

Though the cluing was a bit tricky overall for me and slowed my solve, the crossings were fair and the flow was still smooth so it didn’t feel that much longer than usual which is always nice. I heard a riddle lately that’s apt for today: what travels around the world but never leaves the corner: a POSTAGESTAMP.

4.0 stars


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19 Responses to Wednesday, March 6, 2024

  1. Nino H. says:

    NYT: What’s the wordplay with FOUR H LEADERS? Did they just give up there?

    • Philip says:

      I presume it is a reference to 4H clubs.

    • JML says:

      FORTY THIEVES would fit right in, alleviate the inconsistency in the ONE-DOUBLE-THREE progression, and allow the opportunity for inclusion of non-males. I don’t know any thieves with four T’s in their name(s) though…

      • JML says:

        Or even FOREIGN somethingS would work. It’d be kind of funny how off-pattern the fourth entry was, kind of like the three hole punch puzzle earlier this week.

  2. Xworder says:

    The NYT is wildly inconsistent:


    Some of the theme clues use homonyms of letters while others just use the actual letter.

    And not a single woman referenced in the theme names.

    Plus right after Sunday’s Countdown and another very recent theme involving counting syllables TWO, THREE, FOUR.

    Who is scheduling these puzzles??

    • Mutman says:

      Chill out with the lack of women. With JACKS GENTS & MEN it’s as bit difficult to work all the genders in here. Any suggestions??

      Thought it was a fun, clever Wednesday!

      • rob says:

        NYT: Agreed! A very clever Wednesday puzzle. I thoroughly enjoyed it, particularly the four theme answers! Thanks Brad!

      • JohnH says:

        I liked it a lot, and I’m not in the least troubled by inconsistency. We already have four perfectly idiomatic phrases reinterpreted to mean a certain number of people. On top of that, they’re in order, all without imposing much bad fill. Anything more would be asking too much. Indeed, a variety of ways to make the reference (sure, one with an actual H) could even be a plus. (Look at it this way: the Four H Club could have called themselves the Quadruple H Club, but luckily for them they didn’t.)

        I also just don’t see it as another countdown after Sunday, other than they both related to numbers.

      • Xworder says:

        “Chill out”? Really?

        So many insufferable commenters on this blog.

        I pointed out the lack of women themers because often Amy and many others here are rushing to point that out.

        Go figure when you try to defend women on a routinely man-hating blog (we get it, Amy, you hate your father [so sorry for the atrocities he must have subjected you to] so all men are him, and you hate them too: strange since female Celebrity Crossword contributors have said you’re insufferable and have mistreated them, and they cringe when they have to correspond with you, etc.), you get blasted for it.

        • Bryan says:

          That comment directed at Amy is truly uncalled for.

          • Xworder says:

            How so? She’s complained about him publicly, so she must really despise him. It’s obvious where her hatred of men stems from, and I am truly sorry she hasn’t seemed to learn how to break the cycle, and loathes men as a result. That hatred oozes from her posts on here…

            Yet she goes on to mistreat women who are Celebrity Crossword contributors, according to them, pretending she champions women. Go figure!

            Why shouldn’t she be called out for that?

            Madeleine Albright said, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

            Nothing I was honest about is any worse than the comments Amy has blasted commenters with, if you’ve been here for any amount of time.

            • pannonica says:

              I can’t recall Amy ranting about her father here or anywhere else. If you do, you must be doing close reads and have a deep memory.

              Ditto the dig about her attacking women constructors, via second-hand innuendo.

              To me, it looks as if you have a personal animus here.

  3. Tony says:

    Only in crosswords do we see both Percy Bysshe Shelley and Billy Ray Cyrus in the same sentence😊

  4. JohnH says:

    TNY awfully easy, but I still liked it, given the smoothness with which it accommodated four full-width answers. Credit having Berry in the rotation this week.

    • Eric H says:

      I wouldn’t have been surprised to seethis had run on a Thursday under the “Beginner Friendly” label. Maybe my only hiccup was THIS DOG dON’T HUNT (it seems like I have heard it both ways).

      As Amy noted, the clue for CONTINUITY ERROR is really good.

      Really nice puzzle.

  5. Bryan says:

    NYT: Clever theme. Volodymyr Zelensky would have also worked for the “three wise men” clue.

  6. Seattle DB says:

    TNY: I’m bumping up my rating for today’s puzzle simply because of the clue/answer for 37D, and I’m still chuckling to myself as I write this.
    Clue: “Writer who put himself through hell?” Answer: “Dante”

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