Saturday, April 20, 2024

LAT 2:53 (Stella) 


Newsday 15:09 (pannonica) 


NYT untimed (Amy) 


Universal tk (Matthew)  


USA Today tk (Matthew) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Garrett Chalfin & Andrew Kingsley’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 4/30/24 – no. 0420

Hello! Felt harder than the typical Saturday NYT, I think. And you?

Fave fill: LESBIAN BAR, FRIEND DATE, WARM FUZZIES (I have the warm fuzzies for this entry), SPOONERISM, APPLETINIS, “YEESH,” BORSCHT, the NAZCA LINES in Peru, WOOKIEES (I doubled the I instead of the E at first).

Unfamiliar to me: “BOOM, ROASTED!” Are the young folks these days actually saying this? I think Garrett is one of Andrew’s students, so … maybe they are.

This clue stymied me until I had five of the squares filled by crossings, and even then my first thought was GERARD: 2a. [’70s Ford] was the president, GERALD, and not any sort of car. D’oh!

Dang, I usually know medication names, but not 49d. [Drug prescribed under the brand name Desoxyn, familiarly]. METH is a prescription drug?? Breaking Bad didn’t teach me nearly enough.

Anyway … four stars from me.

Rich Feely’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 4/20/24 by Rich Feely

Los Angeles Times 4/20/24 by Rich Feely

This appears to be a debut, and Saturday’s a pretty impressive day to do that! I mostly liked this one — although I didn’t love the NW corner because of the starting-to-feel-stale ALI G and the awkward GO ON THE AIR, here’s what I did like:

  • 16A I’M JUST KEN, the song from Barbie that also became the meme of a lifetime for crossword community mainstay Ken Stern.
  • 51A EARTHRISE is a very cool entry, and as a bonus gets a nice clue as [Dawn of the moon exploration program?]
  • 9D [Treat in a little white cup] is ITALIAN ICE, although, excuse me, that’s actually pronounced WOODER ICE. (In my hometown of Philadelphia, GELATI also means not Italian ice creams, plural, but rather a cup of wooder ice with frozen custard on top. Deal with it.)
  • 25D SLIP ‘N’ SLIDE brought back fun memories of being a kid in the ’80s. Not that my mom ever let me have one.
  • Right next to it at 26D is the also evocative COMBO MEALS.
  • 28D Although the use of “capital” to mean “unit of currency” is a clue trope that’s starting to lose its punch, this one — [Capital of 20 countries] for EURO definitely puts a new spin on it.

Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Turning Heads” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 4/20/24 • Sat • “Turning Heads” • Shenk • solution • 20240420

The theme entries are all common phrases  with the structure noun OF [THE] noun that have been wackified by reversing the first word.

  • 22a. [Tarp that doesn’t remotely protect the baseball field?] NET OF DIAMONDS (ten).
  • 33a. [Cotillion honoree with a great manicure treatment?] DEB OF NAILS (bed).
  • 48a. [Table talk at the bridge tournament?] GAB OF TRICKS (bag).
  • 65a. [Deep hole in a floe?] PIT OF THE ICEBERG (tip).
  • 86a. [Person who buddies up to folks with opulent lifestyles?] PAL OF LUXURY (lap).
  • 99a. [Chocolate-flavored chew?] GUM OF COCOA (mug).
  • 114a. [Dispensary wares imported from all over?] POT OF THE WORLD (top).

These are … not very interesting or amusing? Unusually for a Mike Shenk construction, the theme answers aren’t stacked, don’t significantly overlap.

  • 8d [Bleating babies] LAMBS. 113d [Flock sound] BAA. 56a [Ovine mascot of the North Carolina Tar Heels] RAMESES.
  • 16d [Quantity measured in daltons] ATOMIC MASS. Vaguely recollected this.
  • 23d [Pressing person] IRONER. I guess so.
  • 44d [Coat, as with chocolate] ENROBE. Since I first encountered this use of the word, probably in the late ’90s, it’s always seemed rather affected.
  • 98d [Deck worker] DEALER. Kind of sneaky phrasing in the clue, which is generally good, but seemed extra-tricky here. Needs a question mark, maybe?
  • 13a [Ridges on glaciers] SERACS. A long time ago I think I actually knew that word, but needed many crossings here.
  • 19a [Pythagorean squares?] AGORAE. Nice.
  • 80a [High rollers, of a sort] ELS. Nice, especially as there are a rather lot of card-game clues throughout the puzzle.
  • 93a [Requiring less travel time] NEARER. On hopes.
  • 110a [Japanese sea bream, on a sushi menu] TAI. Somewhat obscure? Certainly it’s very handy to have in one’s cruciverbal quiver.
  • 119a [Wife or mother, in slang] OLD LADY. We’re doing this in the year two-thousand twenty-four?

Lester Ruff’s Newsday crossword, Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s write-up

Newsday • 4/20/24 • Saturday Stumper • Ruff, Newman • solution • 20240420

True to the name, a less rough offering, which is welcome today because I have somewhere to be soon.

This would have gone significantly slower for me were it not for a few timely gimmes, principally:

  • 35a [“Who put the ape in __?” (Cowardly Lion line)] APRICOT. No idea how I knew this, because neither musicals nor the Wizard of Oz are really my thing, and the wordplay is rudimentary. Perhaps it was just immediately inferable and I didn’t even realize that’s what I did? Either that or some sort of cultural osmosis.
  • 55a [Designer of Central Park and the Stanford campus] Frederick Law OLMSTED.
  • 38d [Gas use unit] THERM. It was in the WSJ crossword I just solved.
  • 2d [Where Excalibur was forged] AVALON.
  • 12d [Labor leader Oscar role] NORMA RAE.

As you can see, these entries more or less populate the various sections of the grid. Very helpful.

  • 9a [Pit-free] STONED.
  • 15a [Churchill wore one at Yalta (2/45)] OVERCOAT. Kind of generic? I was searching for some sort of distinctive headwear.
  • 16a [Hoffman title role] CAPOTE. Philip Seymour, not Dustin, as I’d assumed.
  • The OUT row: 27a [Cut out] ENDED, 29a [Worked out] DID, 30a [Wears out] TIRES.
  • 40a [Hot stuff] SRIRACHA. For a few beats I was dissuaded by the SR- attained via crossings, but then I saw it.
  • 44a [Three-dot alternative] ETC. Strangely, I was thinking of the logical therefore sign,
  • 50a [Confirmation query] IT IS. Put in the two Is until it could be confirmed whether it was IS IT or IT IS.
  • 51a [Model from the Latin for “first”] PRIUS. Couldn’t stop thinking of PROTOTYPE.
  • 4d [Sports __ ] BRA. First entry filled.
  • 14d [Bridge builders] DENTISTS. Was wise to this. Perhaps it was after figuring out 8d [Parisian patron] ST DENIS?
  • 28d [Type of transfer] DECAL, not LOCAL.

Got to run!

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

37 Responses to Saturday, April 20, 2024

  1. Eric H says:

    NYT: I found it a bit more challenging than usual, though not as hard as some recent NYT Saturdays. Sir Toby BELCH, Seiji OZAWA and WARM FUZZIES got me started and hopeful of a quick solving time. Then I got stuck on BOOM ROASTED (which goes in the “if you say so” category).

    The GERALD clue got me, too, and I was interested to learn that methamphetamine is sometimes used to treat ADHD and obesity.

    • Dan says:

      I’d *much* rather solve a crossword full of interesting words that are nowhere near the center of my vocabulary (e.g., calumny, cenacle, chiliad, cozen, euchre, languid, paucity, rutabaga, sorghum, theremin, tiramisu, zeitgeist) than have to keep encountering these nonce expressions that will be gone next year and that nobody I know has ever used in my presence.

      • DougC says:

        The “B” in BOOM ROASTED crossing BAILS was my very last entry. I settled on the “B” because it at least made a word in both directions, even if I had no clue how those words related to their clues. That tells me that this puzzle was aimed at a different demographic than my own.

        • Dan says:

          As does an R with ROOM ROASTED and RAILS.

        • Dallas says:

          I got BOOM ROASTED and BAILS after getting the two O’s… and I’m closer to 50 than 40 nowadays :-) And I really liked GERALD, too.

          It was longer for me, and had to come back to it in the afternoon. Part of what got me was the four corners felt very disconnected from the rest of the puzzle, so I’d tackle a corner, but then it didn’t give me much inroad into the rest of the puzzle. Still, really nice fill, no complaints there.

          • Jamie says:

            Totally agree. Almost felt like five minis. It was hard to get momentum even after getting a corner or two, but still enjoyable.

  2. Greg says:

    Yep. I agree. Tougher than a typical Saturday. But in that semi-mysterious way that happens when you noodle around with it enough, trying out and discarding words and phrases, all the pieces eventually fell into place — albeit considerably slower than my average Saturday time.

  3. huda says:

    NYT: Oof… Some parts went quite smoothly, e.g. the NE. Others, well, BOOM ROASTED says it all. But now I know.
    Favorite clue: Get a running mate for ELOPE. Cluing in general was good.

  4. Matt G says:

    NYT: Our kids were saying “BOOM ROASTED” five or six years ago. I don’t know what they’ve moved onto but that phrase is definitely out of favor now.

  5. David L says:

    Tough NYT. I settled on BOOMROASTED after running the alphabet, but that left me with BAILS for ‘dips,’ which I can’t make any sense of. Can someone explain?

    • Eric H says:

      Apparently, “dip” is slang that’s been around for 20 years, meaning “to depart early or abruptly.” That was new to me, too.

      • David L says:

        That cross is what happens when the kids are in charge. I would like to think that Will Shortz would have insisted on a more fogey-friendly clue for bails, although I would settled for a cricket reference.

    • Papa John says:

      I took BAILS to mean dip, as in bailing water from a sinking ship. As per M-W: “…to clear (water) from a boat by dipping and throwing over the side.

    • marciem says:

      NYT: After the fact I had to figure the bails/dip meant to dip water to bail out the boat… never heard the term “dip” for leaving. The B was my last letter fill since I also never heard BOOMROASTED. I’m with Dan above that I’d much rather learn new interesting words than slang terms that are already passé (per Matt G) and I never heard when they were au courant.
      GERALD got me too … I tried Galaxy off the G, but that didn’t work out.

      Thank you everyone who had encouraging words for me at my pity party yesterday. I did take it personally since it was the second time in as many weeks that negativity came at me for no apparent reason. Now I see from another post here directed at our GrumpyOne that it wasn’t me, its “them” whoever they may be.

      p.s. gimme chewy bacon (thick sliced) please :)

  6. Mr. [very] Grumpy says:

    NYT: Horrible puzzle. Constructor and “editor” should be ashamed of themselves. Two weird slang things [31A/31D] crossing each other? A 30D that gets the “stupid obscure word of the year” award? CRISPY bacon? Does anyone like LIMP bacon? I thought this puzzle was crap from the beginning to the end. It’s not that it was tough or challenging; it was just plain stupid.

    • Martin says:

      For many, crispy bacon is overcooked bacon. The preferred texture is usually called “chewy”.

      • Gary R says:

        That’s me – hate it when my bacon crunches as I chew.

        • Mr. [very] Grumpy says:

          Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Chewy bacon is not cooked IMO. Especially in a salad, I like mine crisp and crumbled.

          • BubbaGirl says:

            Maybe you should stick to stroking and lay off the crosswords.

            • Me says:

              As far as I know, there’s nothing specific in making a Cobb salad that says the BACON has to be CRISPY (or any crispier than bacon typically is). I think CRISPYBACON is a bit green-painty to begin with, and linking it to Cobb salad wasn’t the best choice.

            • sanfranman59 says:

              Maybe you should get a life and lay off trolling message boards.

    • JohnH says:

      I couldn’t make sense of much of it, especially toward the center and S. I’m not sure really whom it’s aimed at, young or old.

    • Oli says:

      Maybe it’s an age thing? I’m 31 and BOOMROASTED and BAILS came easily. Those are pretty common terms for millenials and younger, I’d say. I mean I’d rather have that than an old car model from the 70s, 20 years before I was born.

  7. Seth Cohen says:

    Stumper: definitely less rough for me! Top left was the last to fall for me. Eventually AVALON occured to me (I had ON), then ILL, then POLICE, and the rest fell.

    The clue for OVERCOAT is Stumper-ly ridiculous. Unless Churchill wearing an overcoat was somehow iconic or noteworthy back then? Or did the cluer just choose a random time when a person happened to be wearing a very normal piece of clothing? Like, would you clue PANTS in the same way?

    • Eric H says:

      There’s a famous photo of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin at the Yalta Conference. (See the Wikipedia article of that title.)

      All three are wearing something for the cold, those Roosevelt’s is more of a cape than a coat.

      • Seth Cohen says:

        Yeah, I saw the picture, but is the overcoat iconic or memorable or important in any way? He’s also wearing pants and shoes. And other people wear overcoats all the time. It’s just such an absurdly specific moment to choose for such a generic piece of clothing. Which I expect from Stumpers, don’t get me wrong.

  8. Eric H says:

    Stumper: Surprisingly solvable in under 20 minutes! I did have to look up “vainglory” (a word I should know), but that little EGO broke open that whole central-right area. Unknowns like HEGEL and PLATO (both as clued) and OSMENT were fairly derivable from the crosses, which is all I ask for.

  9. Twangster says:

    First Stumper I’ve been in able to (more or less) solve in a while. Had to google to get APRICOT but that was it.

  10. sanfranman59 says:

    LAT: HETHEY? I’ll probably be taken out to the wood shed for this comment here, but how is someone who’s an English-speaker and who truly doesn’t want to offend others supposed to know what pronouns other English-speakers prefer to use these days? How are we supposed to keep track of that? I have a hard enough time remembering peoples’ names. Should we all start wearing name tags with our preferences or get them tattooed onto our foreheads?

    I enjoyed this solve, but I sure had a heck of a time deciding between PHI/HETHEY and PsI/sETHEY.

    • Mr. [very] Grumpy says:

      I stopped at row 3. That puzzle was not worth wasting my time on.

    • e.a. says:

      if someone tells you (or lists on a nametag or in their social media bio, etc) that they use HE/THEY pronouns, that typically means they’re fine with either he/him or they/them. they might prefer the one that’s listed first, or they might prefer different ones in different contexts; it doesn’t hurt to ask. (caveat: i haven’t used rolling pronouns for myself, so for anyone who has, please correct me if i’m wrong!)

      now, the PHI clue, i have no idea. loved the puzzle though

  11. billy boy (he/him) says:

    DESOXYN aka METHamphetamine is used for hyperactivity to decrease high rate behaviors.

    “Rate-dependent” – behavioural responses are falsely called paradoxical reactions. Many stimulants are so only for low rate behaviors – for high rate behaviors the rate is decreased – thus historically Amphetamines were among the first drugs used for ADHD.

Comments are closed.