Monday, March 11, 2024

BEQ 4:28 (Matthew) 


LAT 1:54 (Stella) 


NYT 2:54 (Sophia) 


The New Yorker 6:51 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today tk (tk) 


WSJ 4:43 (Jim) 


Rebecca Goldstein & Rachel Fabi’s New York Times crossword —Sophia’s write-up

Theme: THE HUNGER GAMES – games with a type of food in the name.

New York Times, 03 11 2024, By Rebecca Goldstein and Rachel Fabi

  • 16a [*Mattel offering with cards for making “hilarious comparisons”] – APPLES TO APPLES
  • 23a [*Washington’s official state sport since 2022] – PICKLEBALL
  • 35a [*Beanbag-tossing sport] – CORNHOLE
  • 46a [*App craze of the early 2010s, familiarly] – CANDY CRUSH
  • 55a [Dystopian novel/film series … or what the answers to the starred clues are?] – THE HUNGER GAMES

Hi folks and happy post-Oscars Monday! This puzzle was right up my alley, as I love games of all sorts and have actually played all four of the ones mentioned! Growing up in Seattle, we played PICKLEBALL back in Phys. Ed. in like 2010, so it’s very funny to me how much of a “thing” it’s become. One of my friends recently told me she’s currently over 10,000 levels into CANDY CRUSH… I know CORNHOLE has a lot of different names in different areas of the US, so hopefully  that doesn’t trip folks up too much.

Great fill throughout the puzzle: RAPINOE, ALL TALK, SITE MAP, PICARD, BE REAL (sadly not clued via the app – probably enough app content in this puzzle though). Also happy to see the clues [“___ (Taylor’s Version),” #1 album of 2021] for RED and [Streaming service with “The Bear”] for HULU. The few sticky bits in the puzzles – ELLY, OOO, DONTS – are all clued very simply which helps bring the difficulty down to Monday level. Overall a great puzzle – way to go, Rebecca and Rachel!

Kevin Christian’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “At the Hard Rock Cafe”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are two-word song titles where one of the words is a food item.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “At the Hard Rock Cafe” · Kevin Christian · Mon., 3.11.24

  • 18a. [Edible John Mellencamp song of 1987] CHERRY BOMB.
  • 24a. [Edible Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, and Pink song of 2001] LADY MARMALADE.
  • 32a. [Edible “Weird Al” Yankovic song of 1979] MY BOLOGNA.
  • 46a. [Edible Trini Lopez song of 1965] LEMON TREE.
  • 52a. [Edible James Brown song of 1969] MOTHER POPCORN.
  • 63a. [Edible Beatles song of 1968] GLASS ONION.

Hmm. I’m wanting there to be some other connection between these songs rather than just mentioning a food item. There have to be hundreds of song titles that mention food. Why were these chosen? Given the title, I thought they’d all be rock songs but we have folk, disco, and funk represented as well. Seems like there should be something more, but if there is, I’m not seeing it.

Six theme answers is a lot, but we still get nice fill items like BROOMBALL, HONEY-DO, TIC-TACS, FROZE OVER, “YOO-HOO,” and ONE-OFF. And it’s even more impressive considering the dearth of crosswordese.

Clue of note: 71a. [Dave of “NewsRadio”]. FOLEY. I didn’t even see this clue during the solve, but I can’t not give a shout out to The Kids in the Hall. You’ve seen the revival series from 2022, right?

It’s really a beautifully filled grid with some great songs, but it still feels like a loose theme. 3.25 stars.

Margi Stevenson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 3/11/24 by Margi Stevenson

Los Angeles Times 3/11/24 by Margi Stevenson

Here’s a theme of a sort often seen in USA Today, and in fact the same theme was done there in October of last year. It’s simply too “discoverable” for multiple constructors not to have hit on it independently (and there are lots of possibilities out there for the execution, such that no theme answers overlap between the two puzzles). Anyway, the revealer (which does the work that the title does in the USAT puzzle) is a short one: 69A [Private chats, briefly, and what 17-, 29-, 45-, and 61-Across literally are], DMS, indicates that each theme entry is a two-word phrase whose initials are DM.

  • 17A [Sound of the 1970s] is DISCO MUSIC.
  • 29A [Electronic source of percussion] is a DRUM MACHINE.
  • 45A [Unaccredited source of degrees] is a DIPLOMA MILL.
  • 61A [Hypothetical space stuff that doesn’t interact with light] is DARK MATTER.

I liked the theme entries a lot, and despite some harder-than-usual-for-a-Monday entries like L’HOMMEIRVINE (particularly when clued with respect to the novel Trainspotting rather than the California city), and DMITRI Shostakovich, it was a quick and easy solve.

Lisa Senzel’s Universal crossword, “Scare Quotes” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 3/11/24 • Mon • “Scare Quotes” • Senzel • solution • 20240311

Featuring famous lines from horror films.

  • 16a. [Line from “The Sixth Sense”] I SEE DEAD PEOPLE. Maybe this isn’t a horror film?
  • 26a. [Line from”It”] YOU’LL FLOAT TOO. Maybe this has something to do with the famous clown-in-the-sewer image? I haven’t seen either version of the film nor read the book.
  • 45a/58a. [… line from “A Nightmare on Elm Street”] WHATEVER YOU DO | DON’T FALL ASLEEP. I’ve also not seen any of the movies in this franchise, but am familiar with the basic premise.

Feels as if this theme was developed from its title?

  • 3d [Bill that may feature Harriet Tubman] TWENTY. We should have had it years ago, but it was intentionally delayed/scuttled by the Trump administration for implicitly racist reasons. And now Biden’s administration is dragging its feet.
  • 8d [Item used with a Swiffer to recreate Olympic curling, in a viral video] ROOMBA. I maintain that nothing has surpassed the 2014 cat-in-a-shark-suit-on-a-Roomba video for sheer perfection.
  • 22d [It can be skipped on a lake] STONE. The pastime has many names all over the world, including ducks and drakes (Britain), little frogs (Greece), cutting water (Japan), and throwing a sandwich (Sweden).
  • 34d [Cafés with all the gossip?] TEA ROOMS. Kind of a double pun, I guess.
  • 60d [One, for a newborn in Seoul’s country] AGE. 50a [South __ (Seoul’s country)] KOREA.
  • 11a [Cutesy dinosaur sound] RAWR. This entry usually garners comments of ‘unfamiliar’ and ‘new to me’, but perhaps it’s seeping into general consciousness?
  • 55a [Fruits used to flavor gin] SLOES. Only a certain, now-uncommon variety of gin. However.

Kameron Austin Collins’s New Yorker crossword–Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 3/11/24 – Collins

A bit easier than many a Monday New Yorker puzzle, but still tougher than Friday NYTs.

Fave fill: AFTERCARE (though the [Recovery practice following some B.D.S.M. play] sense was unknown to me), a JEALOUS EX (yes, it’s green-painty, but it looks great in the grid), volcanic CALDERA, BLOATWARE, Dolly Parton’s APPALACHIA, SKATE PARKS, MAN BAG, NE PLUS ULTRA, BIODIVERSE, ANSEL ADAMS.

Not keen on DIGS AT, but POKING AT is more natural (and the clue’s fun, [Giving the finger?]).

New to me: ROPE-DANCING, clued as [High-wire act]. Apparently rope-dancing can mean several different things, but the high wire’s one of them. I don’t think I’ve encountered the term ever before.

Four stars from me.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword—Matt’s write-up

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword solution, 3/11/2024

I was just thinking yesterday that last year’s Indy 500 winner, JOSEF Newgarden, who also won the IndyCar season opener this weekend, would be a neat angle on that entry, and today we get a Kafka character for it. Kinda tough corner up there, with X-Men’s Kitty PRYDE, JPEG as a TIFF alternative (did you recognize TIFF right away? I only half-did), ORSES as a dialectic “arses,” and crosswordese ESSEN.

SNIZZLES for [Runny nose]. huh? I guess it makes FENDER JAZZ BASS work, and I liked that. MAYBE JUST MAYBE is a nice 14 on the bottom half to mirror it. I liked seeing Gertrude EDERLE and JUNE NASH. I didn’t know engineer Rupert NEVE. Glad to learn a new angle there, wonder how people did with basketballer (is he a “star”? hmm) JONAS Valančiūnas crossing at the N there.

I liked this puzzle more than this review lets on, I swear. I suppose the cluing is a bit less on the misdirection than BEQ’s normal, to accomodate the fill a little more. Hope you’re having a good Monday.

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18 Responses to Monday, March 11, 2024

  1. Mr. [somewhat] Grumpy says:

    NYT: HUNGER and FOOD are not the same thing. If I feel hungry, I might grab a piece of candy or an apple. A pickle would not be a likely choice [YMMV], and there’s no way I would bother to cook an ear of corn. This “theme” did not work for me, although the puzzle was otherwise an easy Monday romp.

    TNY: Not the worst KAC puzzle ever, but I did not need 1A on a Monday morning.

    • huda says:

      I took it in the broader sense, that it’s related to food names in the context of games.

    • sanfranman59 says:

      BDSM is a popular subject in CrossWorld today. There’s also a reference to it in today’s USA Today puzzle. In spite of my ignorance of the topic, I managed to get the answer in that puzzle with just a couple of crosses. Unfortunately, I went with ‘pULLS’ as the answer for “Does some weeding” in the TNY puzzle. Don’t ask me what I thought ‘AFTERpARE’ was or how it might relate to recovering from BDSM.

      • David L says:

        I am channeling my inner Mr. Grumpy to say that I don’t care for all the references to varied sex practices that certain younger constructors seems to think are daring or edgy or whatever. You may think you are epat-ing les bourgeois, but really, it’s just tiresome.

    • JohnH says:

      TNY’s NW was my last to fall, in part because I’m happily unfamiliar with BDSM, but it doesn’t bother me in the least to see the entry, which at the very least looks for a non-ugly act. Overall one of my favorite themeless puzzles in ages, with lots of clues who’s answers came as a surprise. Amy is right, though, that DIGS AT feels a bit off. I’d expect DIGS in this sense to end with “into.”

      I don’t share at all Sophia’s Monday morning cheerleading for the NYT, on a theme I could live without and too much other fill embedded in dopey or dated culture (or both).

  2. FreePalestine says:

    I simply don’t agree.

  3. pannonica says:

    Don’t feed the troll.

  4. Eric H says:

    New Yorker: It felt a bit more challenging than the KAC puzzles in the NYT, but I finished faster than I usually do with those.

    I wasn’t familiar with a lot of stuff: AFTER CARE (as clued), ROPE DANCING, TORTELLINI (as clued). BLOATWARE sounds familiar, but I needed some crosses to get it.

    ANSEL ADAMS and APPALACHIA weren’t quite gimmes, but with a few letters in place, they were easy to get.

    Most of my missteps were in the SE corner: Hold before HAVE; Abra before AREA (even though I wouldn’t call “abra-cadabra” a “code”). But those easily sorted themselves out.

    I needed J and F to come up with JFK. That’s got one of my sister-in-law’s earliest film roles; she has a tiny part as the Oswald’s landlady.

  5. Quiara says:

    Curious if anyone else was sufficiently WNBA-pilled that when the Universal asked for five letters for [Atlanta NBA team] they immediately put down DREAM!

  6. Seattle DB says:

    UNI – pannonica’s review didn’t mention 21A. Why is “Microsoft Windows’ counterpart” known as “Macos”. (As a former techie, MS-DOS is the answer, right?)

    • Eric H says:

      That threw me for a bit, especially since Universal puzzles rarely use words that I don’t know.

      Then I realized that the answer is Mac OS.

      I felt kinda foolish, as we’ve owned some model of Apple computer since the late 1980s.

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