Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Jonesin' 5:34 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni)  


NYT 4:14 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal untimed (Matt F) 


USA Today 2:18 (Sophia) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


WSJ 4:45 (Jim) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “State of Uncertainty” — we miss the whole thing. – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 4/2/24

Jonesin’ solution 4/2/24

Hello lovelies! This week’s Jonesin’ has us dealing with a few instances of secession. Four entries let us know which states are going to be cut out of four other entries:

  • 1d. [Alaska gold rush city (and a hint to what’s missing from 3-Down)] NOME. The city is Nome, and the hint involves parsing the entry as No ME. The circled ME lets us know that we’re cutting out the postal abbreviation for Maine.
  • 3d. [Didn’t say anything] RED SILENT. The full answer including the missing state is RE(MAINE)D SILENT.
  • 10a. [Former Queen of Jordan (and a hint to what’s missing from 21-Across] NOOR, aka No Oregon.
  • 21a. [Investment returns not realized because of factors like expenses and fees] F(OREGON)E EARNINGS
  • 64a. [Former Domino’s Pizza mascot (and a hint to what’s missing from 51-Across)] NOID (or No Idaho)
  • 51a. [Stank up the joint] D(IDAHO)RRIBLEJOB
  • 56d. [In-___ Burger (and a hint to what’s missing from 35-Down)] N-OUT, aka No Utah
  • 35d. [Smoothly, as a successful plan] WITHO(UTAH)ITCH

Other things:

  • 9d. [Banned substances] STEROIDS. This isn’t wrong, as manmade anabolic steroids are banned in some situations, but the wider group of organic compounds called steroids includes several hormones, cholesterol, and numerous medications.
  • 50a. [Cookie with a 2024 “Space Dunk” variety] OREO. These interesting sandwich treats have a layer each of neon pink and blue marshmallow-flavored creme (can you call it creme if it’s dairy-free?) and popping candy with “5 never-before-seen cutout designs including a Telescope, Astronaut, Stargaze, Shooting Star, and Rocket.” The Stargaze looks like…a star with laser or light beams emanating from it?

Until next week!

Billy Bratton’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 4/2/24 – no. 0402

This 16×15 grid brings us a central theme revealer with an even number of letters (you can’t center a 6 in a row that’s 15 squares wide). HOLD IT is clued 39a. [“Stop right there!” … or a hint to the first words of 17-, 23-, 47- and 59-Across]. The theme entries begin with things that can be “held”:

  • 17a. [Black Friday offer, e.g.], DOOR BUSTER. “Hold the door, please,” like they asked Hodor on Game of Thrones.
  • 23a. [Something extended to a borrower], LINE OF CREDIT. “Hold the Line” is a song by Toto, and if you watch the video below, you just might see a rocker wearing rainbow suspenders. (It is also a regular phrase.)
  • 47a. [Gymnastics sequence involving tumbling], FLOOR EXERCISE. Hold the floor, have everyone’s attention while you speak. Who’s excited for Olympic gymnastics this summer?
  • 59a. [Expansive medical center headquartered in Rochester, Minn.], MAYO CLINIC. Much respect for the Mayo Clinic, and even greater respect for the concept of holding the mayo.

Fave fill: “I HOPE NOT,” MR ROBOT, RADIO EDIT (CeeLo’s “Forget You” was the radio edit, the safe-for-broadcast version, of his song “Fuck You”), IXNAY. Surprised to see the MARNE river in a Tuesday puzzle, along with ELIHU Yale.

Favorite clue with multiple possible answers (of varying lengths): 5a. [Mammal whose scientific name is just its name repeated], BISON. Lynx lynx, Gorilla gorilla, Chinchilla chinchilla, and Caracal caracal are all the wrong lengths, and Indri indri is likely not well enough known for a Tuesday puzzle but there is a solid chance that some solvers tried INDRI here since it fits perfectly.

3.75 stars from me.

Justin Werfel’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “All Wound Up”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases whose first words can be synonymous with “wrap.” The revealer is THAT’S A WRAP (61a, [“Finished!”…or an observation about the starts of 17-, 25- and 45-Across]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “All Wound Up” · Justin Werfel · Tue., 4.2.24

  • 17a. [Caught one’s sweetheart by surprise] STOLE A KISS. “Stole” like the article of clothing which can also be called a “wrap.”
  • 25a. [Inventor friend of Donald Duck] GYRO GEARLOOSE. Whoa. Never have I ever heard of this character, so I needed pretty much all the crossings. A gyro (the Greek sandwich) can be considered a “wrap.”
  • 45a. [Thwart somebody] FOIL ONE’S PLANS. Aluminum foil is a “wrap” for food preservation.

Well, that one entry is a deep dive, but the crossings were fair, so I’m cool with it. Plus, it allows for each of the entries to use a different meaning of “wrap,” so that’s a definite benefit.

SULTANAS, TOMAHAWK, LAS VEGAS, and ACTED OUT top the fill, and there’s not much to grouse about either. Smooth fill all around.

Clues of note:

  • 38a. [“You ___ Beautiful” (Joe Cocker song)]. ARE SO. I have no problem with cluing this as a partial if it means we can avoid the dreaded [Playground retort] clue.
  • 48d. [Home of the world’s longest road tunnel, at over 15 miles]. NORWAY. Got 19 minutes to spare? Watch the video below for a virtual tour through the entire 24.5 km tunnel including some snazzy Blue Grotto-esque caves. Fun fact: There are no emergency exits from the tunnel.

3.75 stars.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 671), “Garden Centers”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 671: Garden Centers

Hello there, everyone! Here is hoping none of you got pranked too good on April Fools’ Day!  

For today’s puzzle, we go into the garden to find what’s abloom. In the grid, four theme answers have types of gardens hidden in the middle of them (and spanning multiple words in the grid): herb, zen, roof and rose.

    • FEATHER BOA (17A: [Light-as-air neckwear])
    • JAZZ ENSEMBLE (27A: [Group that performs “Take Five” and “Summer Samba”])
    • KANGAROO FERN (45A: [Australian plant whose leaves resemble a marsupial’s foot])
    • BISTRO SETS (59A: [Patio furniture collections sold by Home Depot])

Of the Wall Street-related abbreviations to have put to memory, DJIA was definitely not on my radar, mainly because I just associated an abbreviation to Dow Jones Industrial Average as just “Dow Jones” (25D: [Wall St. index]). That entry, along with PATINA, could be a tricky intersection (32A: [Copper coating]). Loved the clue for SHOT, though I probably had a grand total of about two Jell-O shots during my time in college because I never ate Jell-O growing up and always thought I wouldn’t like the taste of it given its gelatinous constitution (5A: [Jell-O serving at a bar]). After seeing MR TIBBS, I want to break out my best Sidney Poitier “They call me Mr. Tibbs!” any time someone asks me what name people call me after introducing myself with my whole first name (42D: [Detective role for Sidney Poitier”]). “They call me Mr. Koiki!” doesn’t have the same effect, though I did have MULTIPLE college classmates call me “Mister Adesina” while in college, and I found it equally cool and cringe!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: PARK (32D: [City oasis]) – With the New York Rangers currently having the most points in the National Hockey League so far this season, it’s fitting to talk about one of their all-time greats, defenseman Brad Park. Park, who played his first seven seasons as a member of the Blueshirts, was named an All-Star seven times in his career and was widely considered the second-best defenseman in the league, behind Bobby Orr. Park actually finished runner-up for the Norris Trophy (award for the league’s top defenseman) six times, mainly because of Orr. Orr and Park ended up being teammates with the Bruins, starting in 1976. Park was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.

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

Take care!


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

This one was funny! The theme answers have circles, which are represented by the red letters.

Los Angeles Times, April 2, 2024, David Tuffs, solution grid

  • 16a [Give up vaping, say] is KICK A HABIT.
  • 23a [Low-cal beer option] is MICHELOB LIGHT. I might take issue with calling that swill beer….
  • 46a [“Still Alice” Best Actress Oscar winner] is JULIANNE MOORE.
  • 58a [Musical instrument also called a calliope] is a STEAM ORGAN.

And the revealer, appropriately in the center of the puzzle: 35a [With 37-Across, title for the hidden individuals in 16-, 23-, 46-, and 58-Across, thanks to the circles in each answer?] is CAPTAIN OBVIOUSAHABBLIGHNEMOMORGAN. I salute you!

A few other things:

  • I’d rather run into a BATH BOMB in a crossword than in real life.
  • I filled in 22d from crossings and was surprised to see the New Yorker’s critic Hilton ALS in a puzzle. That’s because the clue is [“Happy Days” diner].
  • Baseball season! CUBS and RBI. They could also have clued GOOSE EGGS with reference to America’s pastime.
  • I’m glad that Issa RAE is well-known enough to retire Charlotte.
  • I guess if you have to have THE in a puzzle it’s a good idea to pair it with BEEGEES.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that JULIANNE MOORE won an Oscar for “Still Alice.”

And just for fun a very amateur video of a man who can really play the calliope. It’s worth it.

Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 4/2/24 • Tue • Berry • solution • 2024042

This one felt way easier than a ‘moderately challenging’ Tuesday offering. I hope that’s due to constructor Patrick Berry’s talent for smooth, flowing grids rather than an editorial decision to make the crosswords easier in the wake of reducing the weekly 15×15 puzzles from five to three. I tend to favor the former possibility, since I found Monday’s quite tough going.

  • 6a [Travel by air?] WAFT. Without the question mark this would’ve been only slightly tougher, which may have been more appropriate for the advertised difficulty.
  • 17a [“Unless it’s truly not an option …”] IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. Well done finding a succinct clue for that phrase.
  • 31a [Silvery horse] ROAN. All this time I’d thought that ROAN horses were reddish, but it turns out that that descriptor refers to an admixture of white hairs, and can occur on black or brown individuals too. However, it is strongly associated with (more frequently appearing in?) red horses.
  • 47a [Pursuits that might be kept private] GUILTY PLEASURES. In the news, sort of. (“Google Will Destroy ‘Incognito Mode’ Browsing Data: Here’s What That Means For Users” – Forbes)
  • 50a [Short circuit?] ROUNDABOUT. That sounds like a long way around, but realize that it also happens to be another name for a traffic circle.
  • 1d [Provider of aerial game coverage] BLIMP, but I was thinking of DRONE.
  • 33d [One holding the solution?] TEST TUBE. Once again, the question mark helped steer me in the right direction almost immediately.
  • 39d [Caesar, for one] SALAD. Again, not misled, despite the ides of March little more than a fortnight ago.
  • 43d [Alaska’s Unangam Tunuu language, by another name] ALEUT. New to me, but the geographic indicator was a big help.
  • 48d [Plague] POX, not VEX, as I’d originally tried.

The original name of the composition is ‘Round Midnight’, but many versions have this title. I blame Miles Davis. Also, I was not going to play Yes here.

Mark Valdez’s USA Today Crossword, “Face First” — Sophia’s recap

Editor: Amanda Rafkin
Theme: Each theme answer starts with a word that can follow “face”

USA Today, 04 02 2024, “Face First”

  • 16a [Mystic who interprets hand lines] – PALM READER
  • 49a [An aspiring gardener might purchase these] – PLANT SEEDS
  • 3d [Some sleight-of-hand illusions] – CARD TRICKS
  • 25d [Prop for Seurat in “Sunday in the Park With George”] – PAINTBRUSH

Cute theme! I haven’t seen the pinwheel arrangement of theme answers in many USA Today puzzles, so that was a nice change. PALM READER and CARD TRICKS were my favorite of the theme answers. PAINTBRUSH took me a while because I was thinking of the painting itself rather than the musical. PLANT SEEDS feels a little reduplicative – I would just call those “seeds”? – but that’s a very minor complaint.

Fill highlights: DESSERT, NOTEPAD, EDIBLE. The pinwheel arrangement is cool, but didn’t allow for many bonus long answers.

Clue highlights: [“Pitch Perfect 2” director Elizabeth] for BANKS, [“Why ___ It Have To Be Me?” (ABBA tune)] for DID. Dishonorable mention to [“When ___ Falls in Love” (Taylor Swift vault track from “Speak Now”)] for EMMA – I love Taylor Swift, but this is in my bottom 10 of her songs.

New to me: “Silver Haze” actress ESME Creed-Miles


Universal Crossword Review by Matt F

Title: All Tied Up
Constructor: Jeffrey K. Martinovic
Editor: David Steinberg

Universal Solution 04.02.2024

Theme Synopsis:

Straightforward pun theme today. All the theme answers are playing on phrases that are commonly heard in sporting contests. Each clue sets up the pun, and the grid entry delivers the punch line.

  • 17A – When two fairly matched giraffes raced, they were … NECK AND NECK
  • 24A – When two fairly matched zombies raced, it was a … DEAD HEAT
  • 37A – When two fairly matched rock climbers raced, victory was … WITHIN ARMS REACH
  • 50A – When two fairly matched gamblers raced, it was a … COIN TOSS
  • 62A – When two fairly matched cameramen raced, it came down to a … PHOTO FINISH

Overall Impressions:

Giraffes, zombies, rock climbers … yes. All could conceivably “race” one another. But gamblers… I can’t picture two gamblers racing for any particular reason. I think even cameramen could race to capture a specific photo, or compete in some sort of photography contest against time. But gamblers? What are they competing for? These are the kinds of questions that will keep me up at night. I enjoyed filling this grid, with entries like MICRODOTS, EARLY BIRD, SKI TRIP, NO-SHOW … there’s a lot to love here.

Thanks for the puzzle, Jeffrey!


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17 Responses to Tuesday, April 2, 2024

  1. JohnH says:

    Amy’s write-up of the NYT has a slip of the pen. One themer is FLOOR ROUTINE, not floor exercise. It’s correct in her screen capture. (That was my last to fall, in part because I know so little about CeeLo Greene, in a clue for a crossing entry. Must admit I didn’t know the sleepover game with DARES crossing her entry. I thought first of DATES.)

  2. Martin says:

    My favorite five-letter tautonym belongs to a fish, not a mammal, but it was fun to be reminded of Boops boops.

  3. JJ says:

    Hold the Mayo felt a *little* arbitrary but it’s fine. I liked the clue. I also thought Gorilla Gorilla at first and then wondered… how must the other species feel about the ones that get the double name? Like are Eastern Gorillas ever like… how come WE’RE not the gorilla-est gorilla?

    Side note: I always thought Forget You flowed better than the original lyrics anyway.

    • pannonica says:

      I know this is in jest (the animals, etc. have no notion of our somewhat arbitrary systemic overlay of the natural world), but the history and process of biological taxonomy is both more interesting and more mundane than that. Much of it is down to chronological primacy.

      Also, there exist triple tautonyms, so the western lowland subspecies is Gorilla gorilla gorilla. Needless to say, this is not indicative of any essential gorillaesque quality.

  4. Greg says:

    I agree with Pannonica’s write-up on the New Yorker. Smooth, quick, pleasurable solve, with Patrick Berry‘s skill and grace in evidence throughout. Definitely a welcome respite after Monday’s New Yorker struggle.

  5. sanfranman59 says:

    TNY … Based on the first couple of weeks under the new scheme, it seems to me that they moved what would have previously been Wednesday puzzles to Tuesday, what would have been Thursdays to Wednesday and eliminated their previous Tuesday and Friday puzzles. So now we’re only getting “challenging”, “lightly challenging” and “beginner-friendly” puzzles (plus two mini-puzzles) and no “moderately challenging” or “themed” puzzles.

    • David L says:

      That seems about right to me, although I wouldn’t class yesterday’s as particularly challenging by Monday standards.

    • Eric H says:

      The first week and a half of New Yorker puzzles have me wondering if the overall difficulty hasn’t been dialed back. I solved both the Monday puzzles several minutes faster than I typically solved them in the old days.

      I would not have been surprised if either yesterday’s or today’s had been labeled “Moderately challenging” in the old days.

      Today’s puzzle was, as pannonica found it, a smooth solving experience. I had a few minor hiccups, but nothing that slowed me down much.

    • Gary R says:

      Solved today’s TNY a couple of minutes faster than today’s NYT. Not particularly happy about that – I look to The New Yorker to give me something chewy on Mondays and Tuesdays, when I don’t usually bother with the NYT. The only real holdups in Berry’s puzzle were some unfamiliar names – CHLOE, WELTY, and CARTMAN crossing MARON (my last square). It’s a very nice puzzle, but doesn’t fit my description of “Moderately Challenging.”

      • PJ says:

        I agree. I came in at just under eight minutes which is a pretty quick solve for me. A lot of the long answers were gimmes for me and that combined with the shorter ones gave me a lot of letters to work with on the remaining entries. I know of MARON but needed some crossings for the vowels.

      • Lois says:

        Those names were the easiest part for me, which sometimes happens with proper nouns, but not so often for me these days.

    • JohnH says:

      I’m hopeful that we’re overreacting and that all they’ve done is revert to the difficult- medium-easy plan of not that long ago, when they had as now just three puzzles a week. That and its usual loose editing that makes the setter more predictive than the day of the week.

      But we’ll see. I slowed down a bit myself in today’s SE with CARTMAN and other name crossings. Like Amy, I also started that corner with “vex” for POX.

  6. Lois says:

    The New Yorker: I knew that because I loved today’s puzzle, some would complain that it was too easy. I felt that all the quibbling in the past over whether a puzzle was suitable in difficulty for the particular day of the week gave some nasty editor the motivation to cut a couple of puzzles.

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