Friday, April 19, 2024

LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT 5:47 (Amy) 


Universal 5:57 (Jim) 


USA Today tk (Darby) 


Kate Hawkins’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 4/19/24 – no. 0419

Hey! A Friday puzzle within the expected difficulty range for me. Maybe a skosh harder, but not “holy schnikes, this is Saturday-plus” level.

Fave fill: “I DON’T HAVE ALL DAY,” RHUBARB, FELT GOOD (a bit green-painty because there are a ton of adjectives that can go with “feel,” but who doesn’t like feel-good phrases?), “SOMETHING CAME UP,” CABIN FEVER, Korean drink SOJU, the movie GATTACA, “PROVE IT,” DUE DATE, FAULT LINES. I also like HUNDO, part of a whole family of newish -o words (rando, doggo, sando) that appeal to me.

I had no idea what was going on with 5a. [Things attached to spines: Abbr.] until just now. PGS would be pages, attached to paperback book spines. (In hardcovers, the stack of pages are attached, but the individual pages don’t really contact the spines, no?)

Never heard of SADIES as shorthand for turnabout dances, aka Sadie Hawkins dances, where girls ask the boys to be their dates. My high school had a different name for them, but I’ll be be damned if I can remember what it was.

As for 29d, “AH ME,” boy, I wish I’d never see this entry in another puzzle. Constructors, won’t you consider just straight-up deleting this from your word lists? Maybe ditch OH ME too.

3.9 stars from me.

David Levinson Wilk’s Universal crossword, “Film Blocking”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are the eight entries around the corners that are all missing the word BABY. The revealer in three parts is NOBODY / PUTS BABY IN A / CORNER (20a, [With 38- and 57-Across, “Dirty Dancing” quote … and why four black squares are keeping you from completing this puzzle]).

Universal crossword solution · “Film Blocking” · David Levinson Wilk · Fri., 4.19.24

  • NW:
    1a. [Rolls around during infancy?] (BABY) FAT
    12d. [Steinway product] (BABY) GRAND
  • NE:
    8a. [Small primate with large eyes] BUSH (BABY)
    15d. [Party before a delivery] (BABY) SHOWER
  • SW:
    41d. [1990 rap hit with a “cool” title] “ICE ICE (BABY)”
    68a. [Tentative first effort] (BABY) STEP
  • SE:
    51d. [Eartha Kitt Christmas song] “SANTA (BABY)”
    70a. [Whiner] CRY(BABY)

Breaking a revealer into three parts is never ideal, but this quote probably comes easily to a lot of solvers, and therefore provides an accessible and enjoyable aha moment. What’s different in this grid than in other corner-based themes I’ve done is the use of the black square in each corner—presumably to represent BABY, but in reality making it easier for our constructor to put in words that don’t have to have a letter in common. (For example, if 1a is FAT then 1d would have to start with F.) The cheater square becomes a BABY square and makes filling the corners so much easier. Nice design!

Top fill around the grid includes SEÑORITA, PLAYLIST, HOT DATE, NUDISTS (opposite DRESSED, haha), and SWOOSH.

Clues of note:

  • 4a. [“My ___ are burning!”]. EARS. Anyone else go with EYES at first? This, along with wanting T-REX for 5d [Pixar dinosaur], really put me off to a bad start.
  • 31a. [Fashion item in mid-Manhattan?] HAT. There it is.
  • 66a. [In a chemistry joke, it’s what a female has that a male lacks]. IRON. The chemical symbol for IRON is Fe. Ergo, add IRON to “male” to get “female.” (I didn’t get the joke; I had to look it up.)
  • 9d. [Sch. in Kingston]. URI. Didn’t know there was a Kingston, Rhode Island.

Good puzzle all around. 3.75 stars.

Rebecca Goldstein’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 4/19/24 • Fri • Goldstein • solution • 20240419

No title, as per usual in this venue, but also no revealers or explicit reference to a theme.

  • 17a. [American cheese?] POTUS.
  • 19a. [Irish cream?] EUROS.
  • 36a. [Spanish inquisition?] COMO ESTÁS?
  • 7d. [Australian open?] G’DAY MATE.
  • 41d. [French press?] LE MONDE.
  • 43a. [English channel?] THE BEEB.
  • 49d. [German mark?] UMLAUT.

These are kind of interesting.

  • 21a [Long-horned grasshopper] KATYDID. That alternative name is new to me.
  • 46a [Walk through knee-deep snow, say] TREK. 9d [Toy in the final “Calvin and Hobbes” panel] SLED.
  • 55a [Letter before sigma] RHO. 10d [Letter after sigma] TAU.
  • 56a [Spicy sausage] HOT LINK. Also, as one word, an internet concept. 26d [Blowout patch, at a diner] PANCAKE. New slang to me.
  • 61a [Tiny powerhouses?] AAS, batteries. 45d [Real powerhouses] DYNAMOS.
  • 1d [Food with a a national holiday in El Salvador] PUPUSA.
  • 3d [Reflective effect in some gemstones] CAT’S EYE. In an actual CAT’S EYE, the tapetum lucidum is responsible for that.
  • 13d [Trick] FAST ONE. 66a [Sell a bill of goods] LIE TO.
  • 35d [Pt. of Loran] NAV. I believe LORAN (‘long-range navigation’) should be in all caps. As it is, the clue looks to read “Port of Loran” rather than {Part of LORAN}.
  • 56d [Women’s health brand] HERS. Makes sense.
  • 57d [Decide not to run] KILL. Hm, like a computer program?

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38 Responses to Friday, April 19, 2024

  1. Martin says:

    Weirdly this NYT played easy for me and I felt a bit sad actually. I guess long term all super hard puzzles isn’t a winning strategy, but I found myself missing the extra challenge.

  2. dh says:

    “…I didn’t get the joke; I had to look it up.”

    Me too

  3. Paul D says:

    I don’t know why people are hammering on the LAT puzzle. It gave a decent but not impossible challenge today.

    Absolutely could not wrap my head around the NYT puzzle though.

  4. Lester says:

    LAT 57d: I struggled with this kill/run clue, but finally associated it with publishing: a newspaper may run or kill (or, in Trump’s case, “catch and kill “) a story.

  5. marciem says:

    NYT: Amusing that the author is Kate Hawkins, and the puzzle references the Sadie Hawkins dances. (yes I’m easily amused :D)
    Do current attendees of those dances know the origin of the name? L’il Abner used to be one of my favorite comics, but ended 46 1/2 years ago.

    • Bellyrub says:

      No one cares.

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        Bellyrub speaks only for him/her/themself.

        • marciem says:

          I’d love to know why I seem to be targeted with negative replies. I try to be friendly here and I don’t comment that often. Guess I’ll just keep enjoying reading here and keep myself to myself.

          • PJ says:

            please keep posting. don’t let the asshole win

          • Eric H says:

            I admire your willingness to continue posting here despite the jerk (jerks) who make such obnoxious replies.

          • sanfranman59 says:

            I’m sorry that you feel targeted by negativity here, marciem, but try not to take it personally (easier said than done for some of us). What you describe has generally been my experience with internet message boards over the years (including this one) and it’s why I don’t participate nearly as much as I once did. I will say that the people who post here are typically a lot more welcoming and accepting than they were on the message board of another well-known NYT crossword blog. I pretty much stopped posting there at all quite a while ago.

            Human nature is fascinating and sometimes maddening. Unfortunately, it seems that some people believe that the relative anonymity of the internet message boards gives them free license to be nasty and rude. It’s why so many message board “discussions” degenerate into name-calling and ugliness. Some of the comments that people make on social media sites like Facebook and Nextdoor make my head spin.

  6. Eric H says:

    NYT: Breezy except for the NE. I haven’t watched TV news in many years, and I don’t think I have ever heard of 11d KATY Tur. FLAp for 8A “blowback” made a little sense, but that left me trying to come up with a name that fit PA_Y. (18A Absolute UNIT is new to me, and while the T made sense, PAtY did not.)

    But I enjoyed 19A I DON’T HAVE ALL DAY and 51A SOMETHING CAME UP. And if I have to have an operatic earworm, I could do far worse than “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle.”

    • Dallas says:

      I loved the long entries; also liked seeing absolute UNIT in a puzzle… made me chuckle.

    • Art Shapiro says:

      I had to look her up to finish that corner. Given the quite small city also in that corner, which had to be guessed, it was a quite tough little area.

      • Eric H says:

        I figured LUND was a likely Swedish name (I had a coworker named “Lundquist”), but when I got stuck with KATY, I verified LUND to make sure that I didn’t have any mistakes in that corner. I avoided the temptation to look up Ms Tur.

      • Gary R says:

        I went with FLAK off the F and A. Then, LUND came to me – I have a friend who earned his BA there. Not a very large city, but the university has an enrollment of 45,000+.

        And KATY Tur was vaguely familiar. My wife and I watch network news occasionally, and when we do, it’s usually NBC, so I’m sure I’ve seen her somewhere along the way.

    • JohnH says:

      I wasn’t on the same wavelength as this one at all. GATTACA, TUR, BURN, MILA, HUDO, SOJU, DOGMA, UNIT, LUND, and more. Almost didn’t get the S/SE.

  7. Dan says:

    NYT: Very enjoyable and somewhat tough solve with plenty of very cute clue/answer combos.

    I have to wonder, however, about the validity of referring to Sadie Hawkins dances as SADIES.
    (Could not find a reference in either or in Urban Dictionary.)

    But the constructor managed to put a KATY into the grid and this looks to be how she also alluded to her own last name in the grid as well.

  8. Eric H says:

    WSJ: I know the write-up won’t be out until Sunday night, but I encourage anyone who has struggled with meta puzzles to give this one a try. The meta answer is pretty easy this week. I actually had more trouble with some of the fill.

    • John+F.+Ervin says:

      Thanks for the unsolicited encouragement. Because of your comment, I revisited said puzzle and solved it! I guess I just needed a push and will keep my eye out for a certain cup. BTW, I thought it was more of a challenge than last week”s.

      • Eric H says:

        You’re welcome.

        I had a slump with the WSJ contest puzzles that lasted from January through March. But I‘ve gotten every one in April, which makes Mr feel like I’m not totally lost when it comes to those things.

        Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • Seattle DB says:

      +1 (and I think Matt G lobbed a softball meta at us, which means this might be my first correct guess in several months!)

  9. Martin says:


    Loran has been around long enough to get the same common-noun treatment as “radar.”

    • pannonica says:

      Then shouldn’t it have been uncapitalized?

      • Martin says:


      • DougC says:

        The WW II era first-generation system used the all-caps acronym LORAN. When second and third generation sytems systems came on line, they were designated Loran-B and Loran-C, capitalizing Loran like a proper noun. The original LORAN was redesignated “Loran-A”.

        The uncapitalized “loran” became relatively common in casual use, but the USCG, who operated the system, always used the capitalized version.

        All of the North American and European Loran transmitters have now been shut down, I believe, since GPS is such a superior system, and it’s too expensive to run both systems. There may still be a few stations operating to serve fishing vessels in the China Sea and Indian Ocean.

  10. Eric H says:

    LAT: The grid design seemed to lead to a choppy solving experience, but I liked the clues for ¿COMO ESTAS? and UMLAUT.

  11. Dan says:

    LAT: “57d [Decide not to run] KILL. Hm, like a computer program?”

    I think this is the KILL in the phrase “catch and kill” — meaning to decide not to publish a certain article.

  12. John+F.+Ervin says:

    I enjoyed this one, some nice cluing (face cards,blowout patch,Captcha capture) to name a few.
    Not familiar with C&H, btw, is a sled a toy? I don’t get Irish cream and finally I perused a lengthy article on El Salvadore and finally at the end “pupusas” was mentioned. Is this common knowledge? Any Marciem comments?

    • Martin says:

      Pupusas are very popular in California. There are dozens of pupuserias in the Bay Area and hundreds in LA. I’ve had them in the DC area and, of course, New York. I bet you can find them wherever you live.

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