Monday, April 29, 2024

BEQ tk (Matthew) 


LAT 2:00 (Stella) 


NYT 2:50 (Sophia) 


The New Yorker 8:30 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today tk (tk) 


WSJ 3:58 (Jim) 


Adam Vincent’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “A Chicken in Every Spot”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases re-imagined as being wacky servings of chicken.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “A Chicken in Every Spot” · Adam Vincent · Mon., 4.29.24

  • 17a. [Chicken dish best served in an exam hall?] TEST STRIPS.
  • 27a. [Chicken dish best served during a prize fight?] RING FINGERS.
  • 43a. [Chicken dish best served at the top of the awards stand?] GOLD NUGGETS.
  • 59a. [Chicken dish best served at a law firm?] BAR TENDERS.

Enjoyable, accessible theme to get your Monday going, though I admit I pretty much ignored the clues once I got the gist of it. What I liked best about these theme choices is that none of the chicken servings is an actual body part—no breast, legs, or wings here, just chicken non-parts.

Fun long fill in ZIG-ZAGGED, JUKEBOX, INSIPID, DARK WEB, and DIDDY KONG. I’m a longtime Nintendo fan, so that last one was a gimme for me. “IN OR OUT?” [Question to a pet at the door] is pretty fun as well, though I will say training our pup to use the doggie door has been a godsend for us.

Clues of note:

  • 61a. [“I coulda ___ a contender!”]. BEEN. Certainly it’s not a dupe, but having this clue immediately after BARTENDERS was distracting.
  • 34d. [“Donkey’s little nephew wannabe” in Nintendo games]. DIDDY KONG. Though I’m a longtime Nintendo fan, I’ve never heard that description. Hard to clue the character with respect to Donkey Kong without duplicating “Kong.”  I might’ve gone with [Monkey in many a Mario game].
  • 52d. [Informal property claim]. DIBS. Ha. Thanks for including “Informal” in the clue. I was going to go with LIEN.

Enjoyable, smooth puzzle. 3.75 stars.

Tom Locke’s New York Times crossword — Sophia’s write-up

Theme: HUE AND CRY – each theme answer is a color followed by a homophone of a word meaning “cry”.

New York Times, 04 29 2024, By Tom Locke

  • 17a [Marine creature that can weigh over 400,000 pounds] – BLUE WHALE
  • 28a [Bar from joining a private club, e.g.] – BLACKBALL
  • 48a [Chardonnay or pinot grigio, e.g.] – WHITE WINE
  • 65a [Public uproar … or a phonetic hint to the two words in 17-, 28- and 48-Across?] – HUE AND CRY

This is a cool two part theme! Unfortunately I have never heard of the term HUE AND CRY before, so the revealer meant basically nothing to me. Wikipedia tells me that besides public uproar, it can also mean “a common law practice where bystanders are summoned to help a criminal”, and it also seems to be the name of a popular band. Curious if other folks knew this term before this puzzle.

BLACKBALL is my favorite theme answer from a construction perspective, because the color isn’t just being used as a descriptive adjective for the second word. BLUE WHALEs are cool as heck though, so that’s my actual favorite answer.

There’s some good stuff in the rest of the puzzle (which makes sense given that there are only 28 theme squares in the whole puzzle! 4 nine letter answers just isn’t that much). I liked DOG TREAT and OUTTAKE especially. AUDIENCE is also nice, although I wish the clue was more interesting than just [What Nielsen ratings measure]. That was the second hardest clue in the puzzle for me, after [Radio reply after “Roger”] for WILCO. Some other clueing highlights were [“We only use 10% of our brain,” e.g.] for MYTH and [Reasons to scratch one’s head, say] for ITCHES. I didn’t love the singular TAPA or the awkward MISAIM, but everything else was smooth.

Happy Monday all, and congrats to Tom on his NYT debut!

Jeffrey K Martinovic’s Universal crossword, “Sorry!” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 4/29/24 • Mon • “Sorry!” • Martinovic • solution • 20240429

Some gamey puns.

  • 17a. [It’s game night, and you’re on a roll! You started with Scrabble, but your opponents were …] AT A LOSS FOR WORDS.
  • 27a. [… then you played Twister, which left your opponents …] TIED UP IN KNOTS.
  • 48a. [… so you moved on to Catan, and made your opponents …] SETTLE FOR LESS.
  • 63a. [… finally, you ended the night with Jenga, which left your opponents …] FALLING TO PIECES.

… and of course the puzzle’s title is another game one might play with others.

  • 8d [C in biology class] CARBON. An essential component of organic chemistry, too.
  • 38d [Jazzy James] ETTA. I still consider her primarily an R&B/blues artist, despite her later explorations. ETTA Jones, on the other hand …
  • 44d [“I’m not sharing with you!”] ALL MINE.
  • 65d [Avocado discard] PIT, although it’s possible to use one to grow an actual avocado TREE (37a).

Will Nediger’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 4/29/24 – Nediger

Yay! Back to having a tough themeless on Monday. Fingers crossed that it remains thus.

Overall, the cluing was tough throughout, and the long answers were slow to complete themselves for me. Fave fill: “IT’S A BLUR,” BOONIES, “IF YOU’RE LUCKY” ([“. . . but I wouldn’t count on it”]), IBRAM X. Kendi, MORE THAN A LITTLE, PARTY BUS (terrific clue, [Dance coach?]), DESIGNER STUBBLE.

Didn’t know but feel like I’ve seen it before: 39d. [Wistful longing, in Portuguese culture], SAUDADE. Another tougher noun: 58a. [Hardwood stick used for percussion], CLAVE.

Not entirely sure that “THAT’S MY THING” rises to the level of crosswordable phrases. The clue, [Trademark-infringement complaint?], isn’t meant literally. Somebody trips and spills their drink everywhere, and a klutzy onlooker might say “Hey! That’s my thing. How dare he steal my move.”

3.75 stars from me.

Harry Doernberg’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 4/29/24 by Harry Doernberg

Los Angeles Times 4/29/24 by Harry Doernberg

F this puzzle! Not really, that’s just what the constructor was doing with the theme. The revealer at 46D [Camera lens setting, and a feature of both ends of 17-, 23-, 46-, and 57-Across?] is F-STOP, because each theme answer begins and ends with the letter F:

  • 17A [Closely held conviction] is a FIRM BELIEF.
  • 23A [Sport with flying saucers] is the nicely evocative FRISBEE GOLF, and the clue is fun too.
  • 46A [Blue toon in green overalls and a straw hat] is FARMER SMURF, which I as a Gen Xer who grew up with the Smurfs would say is a deep cut. Clued inferably, though.
  • 57A [Formal sleeve style] is FRENCH CUFF.

Some nice stuff in the fill, like the evocative ROSE GARDEN, LUNCHMEATS, and DOG TREAT. I like!

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11 Responses to Monday, April 29, 2024

  1. JohnH says:

    I hate to spell out the obvious, in a Monday puzzle that I’m sure everyone completed without a thought. But since Sophia didn’t list them, the three sound-alike CRY theme words implicit in the NYT are WAIL, BAWL, and WHINE. Oh, and HUE AND CRY originally meant raising a noise that would help in apprehension of a criminal, not to help a criminal.

  2. dh says:

    I always notice when the same clues and/or answers are used in multiple puzzles on any given day – today took it up a notch with 18A in the BEQ being the same as the title of the Universal.

  3. David L says:

    Clever theme in the NYT!

  4. Greg says:

    I really enjoyed Will Nediger’s New Yorker puzzle. Part of the solving pleasure was exactly what Amy describes: the long answer clues were pretty tough. But it was fun to get the shorter crosses and finally have a bunch of “aha!“ moments for the long stuff.

    • David L says:

      I agree. Ingenious cluing and nothing terribly obscure. Like Amy, I couldn’t have got SAUDADE without crosses, but it bubbled up from the back of mind.

  5. JohnH says:

    As usual with TNY, more of it than I’d like earned its difficulty the factual way, extending to every corner of the puzzle. Say, ANDRE / INDRA, DEBRA / GRAE, IBRAM / ICH (where it helped that HELEN was a gimme for me but where CLAVE also new to me), and a weird clue for PLATO.

    But this once, lots else was clever and new to a puzzle or cleverly clued. It took me until a few moments after I’d completed to fill to get the connection of “defender” to PHD (fun), and I did enjoy learning SAUDADE. So still TNY, but not bad for a Monday.

    • Gary R says:

      I enjoyed the puzzle and thought there was some good cluing (PHDS got a chuckle from me). No major sticking points.

      Uncharacteristically for me, many of the names didn’t require any crosses – DEBRA, ANDRE, SABIN, SPENCE, IBRAM, PLATO (after thinking about the clue for a bit). And I know Monica SELES, but the clue didn’t help me much. Jean GRAE and HELEN Frankenthaler were unknown to me, but the crosses seemed fair (ICH is one of probably 15 words I know in German, so that helped).

  6. Burak says:

    Loved the NYT. Great theme idea, and a very nice execution for a Monday puzzle. It’s rare to go “huh, ohhhh nice” after solving an early week crossword.

  7. pannonica says:

    TNY: SAUDADE a gimme via fado.

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