Thursday, April 4, 2024

BEQ tk (Darby) 


LAT 5:06 (Gareth) 


NYT 11:18 (ZDL) 


The New Yorker tk (Jenni) 


Universal tk (Sophia) 


USA Today 9:55 (Emily) 


WSJ 6:54 (Jim) 


Fireball tk (Jenni) 


Jon Pennington’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Gender-Neutral”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar two-word phrases with initial letters Y and M. The revealer is THEY/THEM (59a, [Nonbinary pronoun pair, or, when parsed differently, the initial letters of 17-, 30-, 37-, 38- and 47-Across]). Reparsing gives us “THE Y, THE M” which is a little bit goofy but not without charm.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Gender-Neutral” · Jon Pennington · Thu., 4.4.24

  • 17a. [Words after punching a chess clock] “YOUR MOVE.”
  • 30a. [Message service launched in 1997] YAHOO! MAIL.
  • 37a. [Tallest Asian player in NBA history] YAO MING.
  • 38a. [Position platform?] YOGA MAT.
  • 47a. [Stereotypical reply from a mad scientist’s assistant] “YES, MASTER!”

With so many long Across answers, I didn’t spot the theme during the solve and treated the puzzle as a themeless. Those wide open spaces sure felt like they belonged in a themeless grid with plenty of fun, sparkly fill. So when the theme turned out to be a run-of-the-mill initial-letters theme, I wasn’t disappointed.

Highlights include PAIN MEDS, SMOOTHIE (that NW corner is quite nice), FLIPPANT and DRAINAGE (both sandwiched by two theme answers), LAB RAT, ELEGIAC, STANZA, NERUDA, ZEALOT, DEVOTEE, EU MEMBER, and EDITIONS.

Clues of note:

  • 15a. [Jamba purchase]. SMOOTHIE. At some point, the company dropped “Juice” from its name, so now it looks like the name of a dance or a musical instrument.
  • 13d. [Chop to little bits]. HACK UP. I also would have accepted [Regurgitate, like a hairball] (though maybe others wouldn’t).
  • 47d. [Noise from a purse dog]. YAP. I also would have accepted [Island 500 southwest of Guam] (though probably nobody else would).
  • 62d. [“The Last of Us” network]. HBO. Season 2 won’t be out until sometime next year. 😢

Good theme and lovely fill. Four stars.

Kevin Curry’s New York Times crossword — Zachary David Levy’s write-up

Difficulty: Average (11m18s)

Kevin Curry’s New York Times crossword, 4/4/24, 0404

Today’s theme: MARTINI (Subject of this puzzle)

  • GIN

Beef Eater, straight up, three olives.  That’s how Uncle Jack used to order his MARTINI, so that’s what I do too.. started out as a tribute, and now it’s just standard operating procedure.  Even looking at those pimento-stuffed squares in the center of the puzzle gives me a hankering, so the grid art delivered.  Speaking of which — colored shading is becoming de rigueur.  Not a complaint, just an observation!

Cracking: the clue on RAGTIME (What Scott Joplin might yell after a spill?)

Slacking: I, a medical doctor, have not ever referred to a patient as being MYALGIC, ok?  The patient has myalgias.  Sometimes they have your algias.

Sidetracking: Mr. MARTINI

Rich Katz & Katy Steinmetz’s LA Times Crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Rich Katz & Katy Steinmetz’s theme today is general spoken-word phrases able to be taken literally in a take-away:

  • [“Let’s pass on the supersize”], NOTABIGDEAL
  • [“The chef made this as the plat du jour, right?”], ISNTTHATSPECIAL
  • [“I don’t want my latte to be a venti”], THATSATALLORDER
  • [“We recommend takeout”], ITSGOODTOGO

A lot of “phrasebits” floating around today: ONETON, IHADTO, ONATIP, ONCD (plus ONS clued as the word ON)…

Other entries:

  • [__ press: small appliance], PANINI. It’s a sandwich press, but for’n?
    [__ of attrition], LAW. Seems like it had to be WAR…
  • [Most-cooked parts of a roast], ENDCUTS. I’m not sure what this is about…
  • [Vampire played by Elizabeth Reaser in the “Twilight” films], ESME. Seems like worth noting down Reaser for future puzzles…


Matthew Stock’s USA Today Crossword, “Gone Fishing” — Emily’s write-up

Take a break and reel this one in!

Completed USA Today crossword for Thursday April 04, 2024

USA Today, April 04, 2024, “Gone Fishing” by Matthew Stock

Theme: each themer phrase ends in the name of a fish


  • 23a. [Lowest-singing member of *NSYNC], LANCEBASS
  • 34a. [Piece of literary misdirection], REDHERRING
  • 53a. [“Good golly!”], HOLYMACKEREL

A silly themer set today! It begins with LANCEBASS, takes a hard turn with a REDHERRING, which rightly so ends with the shock of HOLYMACKEREL. With the theme, we get BASS, HERRING, and MACKEREL.


Stumpers: MEDLEY (new to me), HIGHERUP (needed some crossings), and THETA (also needed crossings)

Love the grid design, theme, and themer set! Great overall fill and nice cluing. A bit tougher for me today but everything was fairly crossed so no hang-up anywhere for me and it felt like a fairly smooth solve, despite my time today. Also, fun to see IPAD and IPOD in the same puzzle.

4.25 stars


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

11 Responses to Thursday, April 4, 2024

  1. Eric H says:

    NYT: For me, the puzzle was three parts smoothness, one part struggle. The placement of the black squares registered more as a chalice than a martini glass, but when I got the SH- of 3D, I knew what the rest of that answer was. Then, I must have mistyped that answer, because it didn’t fit when I first tried it.

    After that, it was pretty easy until I hit the SE. I didn’t know the E.B. White quote and the concentration of the crossing sports answers (34A TOEPOKE, 44A DQED, 54A BATTERS) didn’t help me get the quote any quicker.

    The olive at the end was cute.

    • JohnH says:

      I find it pretty hard, with much (and yeah, the sports idioms) I didn’t know. Not exactly a fun solve, at least until I cracked the theme as helpful fill, but clever. I liked it. Interesting its being one black square off of symmetry.

    • Dallas says:

      I got the theme right away (probably helped that I’ve been listening to a cocktail podcast lately ;-) but everything filled smoothly except the east side… I didn’t know the E.B. White quote, and it was just a real struggle. Then I had PRIMS instead of PRIGS… didn’t know TOE POKE… eventually got it all straightened out.

  2. JohnH says:

    In the WSJ, just a nit, but it just doesn’t feel right to say that a sonnet is composed of stanzas. You may, if only maybe, see a space in the Italian form between octave and sestet, less often still between the quatrains and then couplet of the English form. But one still doesn’t call them stanzas.

    • Mary+A says:

      I’ve been teaching poetry for over 30 years and have never seen a reference to “stanzas” in sonnets.

    • sanfranman59 says:

      This seems to be one of the cases where ignorance about a topic is beneficial. I just think of a sonnet as a verse form and that was enough to get me to STANZA (with a cross or two), even if it’s apparently not technically correct. I feel the same way when I see something like “go pro” clued as a promotion from the minor leagues to the major leagues in baseball.

  3. billy boy says:

    NYT SW awkward at best – maybe seemed even more so because the shape gave so much away?

    Zachary David Levy’ – when has Will gotten anything medical even half-right? arrrrgh


    • Lois says:

      Will is not editing these puzzles. Check your puzzle.

    • Martin says:

      ZDL said he’s never used the term, not that’s it not a term. Chronic fatigue syndrome is more properly called myalgic encephalomyeletis. It’s not a great word, but it’s a word.

  4. Me says:

    NYT: It feels like this is the first asymmetric puzzle in a while.

  5. FormerSot says:

    I found the alcohol theme to be insensitive and hurtful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.