Wednesday, May 1, 2024

AV Club tk (Amy) 


LAT untimed (Gareth) 


The New Yorker 2:44 (Kyle) 


NYT 3:31 (Amy) 


Universal tk (pannonica) 


USA Today 7:49 (Emily) 


WSJ 4:35 (Jim) 


Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Wishful Sinking”—Jim’s review

Today is May 1st, aka “May Day” in some parts of the world (mainly Europe). When we lived in England, our village would host their annual May Day FETE, which of course featured dancing around the Maypole.

Editor Mike Shenk is using this opportunity to bring us a puzzle based on the distress call “MAYDAY!” (46d, [Timely cry appropriate to the sinking depicted in the circles]). Circled letters spelling out SHIP are apparently sinking as the solver progresses down the grid.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Wishful Sinking” · Mike Shenk · Wed., 5.1.24

A little bit of a grim way to mark MAY DAY, don’t you think? (I once had a puzzle rejected because it was based on the phrase “down with the ship.”) But honestly, I solved this as a themeless without paying any attention to the circled letters, so after the solve I found myself a little surprised at the depiction of sinking ships, but didn’t give it much thought beyond that.

I did enjoy the long fill throughout the grid though. It’s hard to separate theme from fill since many entries contribute to the theme, but grid highlights include IDOL WORSHIP, HIPSTER, DR TEETH, MALPRACTICE, STIGMATA, COURTESY, SORORITY, HOT SAUCE, and Haydn’s THE SEASONS.

I was surprised to see blast-from-the-past COREL [Pioneer in PC graphics apps]. I honestly can’t remember if I used any of the products once upon a time, but I certainly remember the name. Anyone here have any experience with COREL products.

Our custom-modified Agatha Christie Bingo game

Clue of note: 63a. [“My word, old chap!”]. “I SAY.” I’ve mentioned before that my family and I have been working our way through the entire TV series of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Well, more recently we came across an Agatha Christie Bingo game, and my daughter modified it so we can play while we watch an episode. Did Captain Hastings just say “I SAY”? Well, cover up that space on your Bingo card. Be the first to cover five squares in a row or column before the episode is over to win the game! Also works for Miss Marple episodes.

Solid puzzle. I enjoyed the fill more than the theme. 3.5 stars.

Juliana Tringali Golden’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 5/1/24 – no. 0501

I am often not a fan of the “theme answers around the edges of the grid” approach, but flowers? I’m all in. Flowers in springtime? Swoon.

The revealer is WALLFLOWERS, [Shy sorts, with a hint to the answers on this puzzle’s perimeter]. We have JASMINE from the movie Aladdin, a yoga LOTUS position, The Black DAHLIA, The Great Gatsby’s DAISY Buchanan, FREESIA with a pretty straight-up floral clue ([Scented ingredient in some hand creams and shampoos]), PEONY also clued florally as an Indiana state symbol, the color VIOLET, and the also-floral Dutch TULIP festival. Today I saw thousands of tulips in the Michigan Avenue medians, and violets growing amid dandelions in a field. Peonies are still weeks away from blooming in my part of town, dahlias more like months. In sum: Yay, flowers! Thank you for the pretty theme, Juliana.

Did not know: 64a. [Fantasy author Pierce], TAMORA. Just googled her. Here’s a video where she talks about creating female heroes in her fantasy books. (Tolkien was not so big on female heroes in his books. Way too many dudes!)

Fave fill: “WANT SOME?”, TADPOLES and FROGS (you might like this Twitter thread about toads mating this week in Lake Michigan, making plenty of noise, and emitting threads of eggs that will eventually yield tadpoles), UP-MARKET, EMIRATIS, and the collection of SERENA Williams, KIRI Te Kanawa, ANA de Armas, fictional HEIDI, a literary OLGA, and INDIRA Gandhi.

Four stars from me.

Robyn Weintraub’s New Yorker crossword – Kyle’s write-up

Thanks Robyn for today’s New Yorker puzzle. A couple things that stood out to me:

The New Yorker solution grid – Robyn Weintraub – Wednesday 05/01/2024

  • [Jargon in which “checkerboard” and “Vermont” can mean “waffle” and “maple syrup”, respectively] DINER LINGO. I like the clue and entry because it’s very evocative, but I kind of wonder how culturally relevant diner lingo is these days. I’ve never heard it actually used in context, only read about it (the only term I’ve committed to memory is “Adam’s ale” for water).
  • [Sowing spots in a garden] SEED BEDS. We just planted ours a couple weeks ago.
  • [Performer who has to put up with a lot of bull?] RODEO CLOWN. Briefly had me stumped with ROD___, as I was initially trying to think of a term for “matador”. Eventually I got it through crosses.
  • [Brandenburg Concertos composer] BACH. Here’s the third one:

Amie Walker & Jasmeet Arora’s USA Today Crossword, “All Kid-ding Aside” — Emily’s write-up

You won’t want to miss out on this cuteness!

Completed USA Today crossword for Wednesday May 01, 2024

USA Today, May 01, 2024, “All Kid-ding Aside” by Amie Walker & Jasmeet Arora

Theme: each theme contains the name of a baby animal (a.k.a. a “kid”)


  • 17a. [Deep-fried cornmeal snack], HUSHPUPPY
  • 30a. [Short stilettos popularized by Audrey Hepburn], KITTENHEELS
  • 45a. [Margot Robbie’s “Barbie” co-star], RYANGOSLING
  • 62a. [Lower-leg exercise], CALFRAISE

Love this theme set–it’s so adorable! First it’s starts with a tasty HUSHPUPPY, flashes some fashionable KITTENHEELS, moves next to the fantastic RYANGOSLING, and wraps up with a cool down with a CALFRAISE. Also, it’s wonderful how the baby animals line up in the middle of the puzzle, almost in a group together. Plus the placement of each alternates from the last half of the themer to the first half of it. Just delightful and perfect for a Wednesday—extra fun for midweek.


Stumpers: BREED (“birth”, “bore”, and “borne” came to mind first), JUICE (kept thinking “mimosa” and trying to come up with other alcoholic drinks—good one!), and IMON (needed crossings but it’s clever cluing)

Great collaboration today! It was an overall smooth solve with lots of fresh fill and cluing. Adored the theme and themer set. Loved everything about it and hope we see more soon from this duo! Awesome job!

4.75 stars


Andrew Walker’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

Andrew Walker’s puzzle features long across entries that, if pluralised, you squint and imagine as shoe varietals: [Shoes for emptying the kiddie pool?], DRAINCLOGS; [Shoes that prevent slipping in the shower?], WATERMOCASSINS; [Shoes for attending a gala?], PARTYPLATFORMS; [Shoes that coordinate with a bright green ensemble?], LIMEWEDGES.


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7 Responses to Wednesday, May 1, 2024

  1. Martin says:

    To Jim’s surprise at the WSJ downer of a theme, I add that the title, “Wishful Sinking,” amplified it. Why are we wishing for the ship to sink?

  2. huda says:

    NYT: I really enjoyed today’s puzzle. Both the lovely (and clever) springtime theme and the way it was executed. Nothing tortured, a few moments of joy.
    Thank you to the constructor and editor.

  3. Jim Peredo says:

    NYT: Enjoyable puzzle. New to me was JAPANS as a verb. Here are the deets on the varnish. (“Japanned” and “japanning” are also legit.)

    I’ll also note that the grid looks like a flower itself, thanks to those four black squares in the corners. Nicely done.

  4. Dan says:

    LAT: When I first tried to begin solving this puzzle, no Down clues were visible (despite various standard remedies I tried, like refreshing my browser, etc. Nothing helped.

    A few hours later and it is now fixed. Nice puzzle at long last!

Comments are closed.