Saturday, April 13, 2024

LAT 2:38 (Stella) 


Newsday 18:26 (pannonica) 


NYT untimed (Amy) 


Universal tk (Matthew)  


USA Today tk (Matthew) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Jess Rucks’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 4/13/24 – no. 0413

Hoo-boy, I’m tired. So let’s get right into it.


Never heard of 1d. [Game played on a road trip], PADIDDLE. No idea what sort of road-trip game this might me. Does anyone know what it is without googling?

Not sure about SNOWNADO. Googling that … OK, it’s a swirling wind thing, not really a tornado. Also called a snow devil. Updrafts are involved.

Could do without the NO dupe of neighboring “IS THAT A NO?” and YES/NO.

Would you consider hairstyling [Mousse, e.g.] to be a GOO? I feel like a goo has more viscosity and drippiness, while mousse is a light foam.

3.5 stars from me.

Enrique Henestroza Anguiano’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 4/13/24 by Enrique Henestroza Anguiano

Los Angeles Times 4/13/24 by Enrique Henestroza Anguiano

Here’s something one doesn’t see too much in the 2020s: a triple stack of 15s. I can see why this one made it into LAT: Often triple and quad stacks came at the cost of questionable fill (A LOT ON ONE’S PLATE, anyone?), but in this case we get the lively SALT FAT ACID HEAT and PAPERLESS VOTING, with I GOT A BETTER IDEA feeling a smidge contrived but not a bad price to pay for the other two 15s.

PIROUETTETABLET APPS, and HIT SNOOZE are also fun longer entries.

The cluing was too easy IMO, but some good ones were [Pushes boundaries?] for WIDENS, [Tesla stock?] for COILS, [Threads owner] for META, and [Prepare to go out again?] for the aforementioned HIT SNOOZE.

Randolph Ross’ Wall Street Journal crossword, “Say That Again” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 4/13/24 • Sat • “Say That Again” • Ross • solution • 20240413

Today’s theme involves homonyms. I wasn’t going to mess around with being explicit about the pronunciations, believing I could just indicate the part of speech of the affected word in the theme phrases, but I see that most remain the same in that regard. So I’ll, uh, play it by ear and see how it goes.

  • 22a. [TV broadcaster of Oklahoma City NBA games?] THUNDER SHOWER. From rainstorm to long-O airer.
  • 26a. [Paltry amount of applause?] MINUTE HAND. Once again, the revised version has a long vowel sound, in this case a U.
  • 34a. [Buff some bratwurst?] POLISH SAUSAGES. From long-O to short this time.
  • 50a. [Work for Audible?] RECORD BOOKS. This one contains not only a vowel shift, but a change in stress from the first syllable to the second.
  • 62a. [Something that ends with 17325?] GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. Stress change again, from second syllable to first. nb: I often pronounce the location sense of ‘address’ the same way as the oral presentation, so for me this is a partially correct themer.
  • 80a. [First in a Macy’s parade?] LEAD BALLOON. Short- to long-E.
  • 91a. [Bring a Sondheim musical to the stage?] PRESENT COMPANY. Stress change, first to second syllable.
  • 100a. [Inseams, e.g.?] SEWER LINES. Vowel change. Short-E to long-O.
  • 109a. [Enforcer of parking rules on Downing Street?] TOWER OF LONDON. The O is now long here too.

Easier to witness and understand this theme than explain it, which if done properly would be quite long-winded, with definitions and pronunciations being communicated explicitly.

  • 15d [Chilled Slavic soup] SCHAV. First time I’ve seen this in a crossword.
  • 20d [Baloney] TRIPE. Yes, but be specific when dealing with the delicatessen proprietor.
  • 27d [Trojan War advisor] NESTOR. Wise counsel, blah blah blah.
  • 35d [Paris runway setting] ORLY. Only now appreciating that this was a mild misdirection toward the fashion world.
  • 39d [Soul mate] BODY.
  • 54d [Clinker] SOUR NOTE. I’m reminded of the plethora of quotes, mostly from jazz musicians, along the lines of “there are no wrong notes …” with various versions of what follows. You can look ’em up if you’re interested.
  • 79d [Player in the World Golf Hall of Fame] GARY. Player is his surname.
  • 93d [Spoken] ORAL. Theme-adjacent.
  • 102d [Cubs’ home] LAIR. Not the baseball team. Fooled me.
  • 25a [Port of Baja California] ENSENADA.
  • 53a [Conqueror of Tenochtitlan] CORTES, which I had spelled with a Z. Anyway, unpretty history there.
  • 70a [Cheery] RIANT. Not accepted by Spelling Bee. BAH (29a).
  • 90a [Spenser’s “Epithalamion,” e.g.] ODE. An epithalamium is a song or poem written specifically for a bride on her way to the marital chamber.

Enjoyed this one.

Matthew Sewell’s Newsday Crossword, Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s write-up

Newsday • 4/13/24 • Saturday Stumper • Sewell • solution • 20240413

Solved this one significantly more quickly than is typical from this constructor. And somewhere between ⅓ and ½ of the time was spent completing the lower left and bottom center sections.

  • 1a [Minimal info] DATUM, not DEETS as I’d tried first.
  • 9a [Residential healthcare provider] DR MOM. Not what I was thinking of for residential. 4d [Not the parental disciplinarian] UNCLE DAD—not even sure what this means. Because I had HELICOPTER at 32a [Fliers named for their blades] rather than HEXACOPTER, my initial try for this one was UNCLE KID. Eventually I realized that 34d [Alien monster] was XENOMORPH, and everything began to resolve from there.
    I see now that UNCLE DAD is a certain kind of divorced father with minimal custody and responsibilities. And a hexacopter is a more exorbitant analog of the relatively familiar quadcopter.
  • 17a [Many a United team supporter] MANCUNIAN. This is the demonym for Manchester, England. 8d [Cockney, e.g.] LONDONESE—I was thinking of an individual, not the argot.
  • 20a [9 or 10, but not 11] CARD. Tough clue.
  • 24a [Oscar nominee in six categories (2006–2013)] CLOONEY. Impressive. Rather than list them, I’ve simply clipped the table from Wikipedia.
  • 28a [With a single flat] IN F. Okay, I’ll take your word for it. 57a [Score starter] CLEF.
  • 37a [Fluff] ERR, not AIR.
  • 42a [Go together] EXIT EN MASSE. Nice clue/answer combo.
  • 51a [Small apartment] CABIN. I’m thinking this is specifically about something like you’d find on an ocean liner?
  • 60a [Big band] HORDE. Neither OCTET nor NONET, as we were certainly meant to think.
  • 64a [Base of some martial arts] TATAMI MAT. Had the MAT part early, but took some time relinquishing the notion that the first part might be KARATE.
  • 65a [Eisenhower Memorial designer] GEHRY. Somewhat predictably, I tried the ever-popular IM PEI first.
  • 3d [One of many in a night table drawer] TENON. Ouch, sneaky. Back when I thought one-across was DEETS, I was inclined to say that this might be E-BOOK, and that the many might be contained within the same reader.
  • 11d [Green fish-and-chips side dish] MUSHY PEAS. Big UK vibe in the puzzle, innit?
  • 13d [Like M. north of New York] MASC. Come on. I get it, we’re talking about French and gender in language, but the clue was so opaque to me.
  • 23d [Italian word for “bowls”] BOCCE. Oho, the action, not the shape.
  • 50d [Address] SEE TO. Got this exclusively from crosses, and had been trying to get words like ORATE or SPEAK to work.
  • 53d [Many a pop] IN-LAW. Is pop a hypocorism for grandfather here? I believe so?
  • 55d [Fullest Bangs, e.g.] SHAG. Haircut speak. Don’t know what the context is for the proper noun here. Also don’t really care.

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32 Responses to Saturday, April 13, 2024

  1. Eric H says:

    NYT: Although my family took a road trip every summer, my sibs and I didn’t play PADIDDLE. But my brother-in-law’s kids from his first marriage did, and they taught the game to my nephew.

    The PADIDDLE is a car with a burned-out headlight. The object is to be the first person to call attention to it by saying, um, “Padiddle!”

    In the version my sister and her son taught me, you say “Skadiddley-hop PADDIDLE” while simultaneously touching the inside of the roof of the car.

    Fun puzzle that started off challenging but really wasn’t too hard.

    • huda says:

      Thanks for the PADIDDLE description. Never heard of it!
      I wonder how common burned out headlights are, and if you can see them unless you’re driving at night? My kids had a short attention span, so I’m thinking that would have worked in our family.
      I liked this puzzle, in spite of having no clue about this game. I totally loved the clue for DOLLY PARTON, so spot on. And it was not hard for a Saturday.

      • Eric H says:

        I think technology has improved so that headlights rarely burn out anymore. I don’t remember ever having a headlight out on the BMW we had from 2001–2023, even though it had daytime running lights.

  2. Martin says:

    The PADIDDLE clue is an odd family-friendly version. The actual game was mostly played as part of dating while cruising. You “scored” by first calling “padiddle” when a car with a headlight out approached. If it was the guy, he got a kiss. If it was the girl, she got to slap him.

    Since this could only be played at night (there were no daytime running lights in those days), you can see that it’s better viewed as foreplay on the way to parking than a family road-trip game.

    I remember hearing about groups playing strip padiddle, but I never had such fast friends.

    The G-rated analog was punch buggy, where the first to say “punch bug” upon spotting a VW could punch someone else.

    • huda says:

      I answered Eric H about his version before I saw this spicier version!

    • Eric H says:

      The “adult” version is new to me. As I said, I only know of the game second- or third-hand.

    • Papa John says:

      When I filled in the last letter in PADDIDDLE I had a strange feeling about that word but couldn’t put my finger on it until I read your post — of course, the broken headlight car game. I rarely played it with guys, except my brother, but I definitely played it with girls. Only once did I play strip padiddle. While she was still undressed, we pulled into a KFC drive-in. She remained bare but hidden under a blanket. It was all done for giggles and didn’t end with any hanky-panky. Oh, the foibles of youth!

  3. Dan says:

    NYT: Really tough for me today. Never heard of PADIDDLE or JORTS before, and I don’t recall SNOWNADO from anywhere. Almost could not recall AREPA. Had a lot of trouble coming up with JASPER. Was ever so slightly put off by the prevalence of negative-ish phrases as the long entries.

    But as the late great U. Utah Philips used to say: It was good, though!

    Seriously, I very much enjoyed solving this puzzle.

  4. Greg says:

    NYT was quite challenging. Some answers were barely on the periphery of consciousness. But it fell, only a bit slower than my average Saturday time.

  5. MattF says:

    An odd NYT for me. A lot of guessing that worked better than I’d have thought it would. Didn’t expect to fill it all in, but actually got it faster than average.

    • huda says:

      Similar experience.

    • JohnH says:

      I’m not sure I enjoyed it because my guesses, and this was a puzzle that really needed guesses, were wrong. Say, I had “gel” for mousse, not GOO. That was a tough sector for me, as the therapy phrase didn’t come to mind from how I’m usd to using it, say, and I’d also “gasp” for GATE. And of course, like others I had trouble with the 1D game (not, for a crossword puzzle change, I Spy) crossing maybe the only thing I’d not have known from a movie so great. I also hesitated on “elk” vs ELM, JORTS was new to me, and sure JASPER took work.

      So believe me, I can see why the ratings are so wildly split among good, bad, and average. Looks like if Faglioano is the real editor now, we’ll have to get used to increased difficulty.

  6. Oli says:

    Lot of nice phrases in NYT, made for fun fill. Not too much obscure garbage. Way easier than yesterday’s. Overall Friday and Saturday are way harder under Joel but this week was totally reversed.

    • David L says:

      Not for me — today was a lot harder than yesterday. PADDIDDLE was a nonsense word for me, and although I’ve seen AREPA in quite a few crosswords by now, I still don’t know what it is. I found the cluing hard to interpret overall.

      • Oli says:

        XW Stats has Friday as harder than today *shrug* I’m still stuck on Friday’s heh

      • Dan says:

        Wikipedia says they are certain kinds of corn pancakes:

        They look quite tasty and I’d love to try one.

      • Martin says:

        Arepas are like thick tortillas or Salvadorean pupusas, but with a different flavor. They are split and stuffed with all manners of tasty things.

        While we are familiar with Central American foods made with masa, the flour used for arepas, masarepa, is made differently. Masa, the dough for tortillas, tamales, pupusas, etc., is made from nixtamalized corn, or corn soaked in lye to remove the husk from the kernels. It is then dried and ground.

        Masarepa is made from corn that has not been soaked in lye. It is mechanically treated, then made into a dough, pre-cooked and then ground. It was originally very labor-intensive, but now comes ready to use from the P.A.N. factory,

        We’re so lucky in California. I can have arepas, pupusas or tacos for lunch with a 10-minute drive.

        • Eric H says:

          Arepas sound very much like the Mexican gorditas. We used to make gorditas, but they’re messy and a lot of work, so it’s been years since we’ve done that. Not many restaurants serve them.

        • David L says:

          When I lived in the DC area, there were pupusa food trucks and restaurants all over. But not arepas, to the best of my recollection.

          Now I’m Maine such things are harder to find!

  7. Seth Cohen says:

    Finishing the Stumper always gives me such a satisfying feeling of accomplishment. Like a little shot of confidence-endorphins. Some weeks that comes later in the day than others, but it always feels good!

    Last corner was top right for me. Stared for a while and had nothing. But then AD HOC occurred to me, I tossed it in to see how it looked, and I found myself done 30 seconds later. It’s cool when that happens.

    • BlueIris says:

      Upper left and lower right were the worst areas for me. “Tenon” and “uncle dad” completely eluded me, as did “slews” (tried “steal” for the longest time) and tried “cubby,” instead of “cabin.” Ugh!

  8. Me says:

    NYT: Somewhat unusually for Saturdays for me, the parts I struggled with were terms I didn’t know, rather than tricky cluing. I had never heard of PADIDDLE, YOGINI, or SNOWNADO, and AREPA and JORTS were way back in the recesses of my mind.

    Today I learned that CAPELLINI and angel hair pasta are not the same thing. I always thought they were interchangeably used terms, but angel hair pasta is thinner.

    LAT: Stella makes a reference to A LOT ON ONE’S PLATE being horrible. Rex Parker calls it the “paradigmatic bad 15” in an old column. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that answer in a crossword, although tells me it was in the NYT crossword 7 times from 2007 to 2011.
    Serious question: why do people think A LOT ON ONE’S PLATE is so bad? I say “I’ve got a lot on my plate” all the time, and crosswords often have “one’s” rather than “my/your/his/her/etc” in a phrase.

    • Twangster says:

      I think it’s mostly the “one’s” and partially that it happened to be used so often for a while. I also remember SCARLET TANAGER popping up frequently.

  9. Eric H says:

    Stumper: Surprisingly doable, though I got frustrated as I neared the 40 minute mark and couldn’t figure out “Apple __” or “9 or 10, but not 11.” Both were clues I shouldn’t have had trouble with. My excuse is that I am very annoyed with Apple as we’ve spent three weeks trying to figure out why our less-than-two-year-old iMac went overnight from functioning fine to being almost useless. And while I more or less remembered the demonym for someone from Manchester, I was off by a letter and had MANCUsIAN.

    I did have a nice “What if?” In the NE. “What if the unknown to me Marlowe quote is ROSES? Then my guess of MASC might be right and __RAN would be Roberto DURAN.” Boom! NE done.

    Just now figured out the clue for UBER POOLS. Nice!

    Any idea why in 55D, “Bangs” is capitalized? The only Bangs I know is the rock journalist Lester.

  10. Brenda Rose says:

    I learned paddiddle from Archie Comics. Archie paid Jughead to drive around Veronica’s house when he a’courtin’ her there.

  11. meaningless nobody says:

    stumper: holy crud, only 5 minutes out from pannonia’s time? not to mention a stumper pb… well i feel like i got really lucky on this one, getting mancunian as my first one in, having recently been recommended a clip from a game of bowls on youtube, and remembering the scales with my rudimentary music theory. i too fell for the helicopters dupe and had hexacopters as my last one in.

  12. Burak says:

    One flower doesn’t make it spring, but this was the first Saturday that felt “hard but not stumper-level challenging” since mid-March. I think this was a good balance, and the fill was interesting as well.

  13. Linda says:

    WSJ: April 13th Puzzle is based on heteronyms; ie. Same spelling, different pronunciations. Homonym is same pronunciation, different spellings. Ah! The English language!

  14. RDJ says:

    WSJ just didn’t do it for me, and I generally love heteronyms. Fill was meh, too many obscure clues

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