Thursday, May 2, 2024

BEQ tk (Darby) 


LAT untimed (Gareth) 


NYT 7:58 (ZDL) 


Universal tk (Sophia) 


USA Today 11:43 (Emily) 


WSJ 7:36 (Jim) 


Fireball tk (Jenni) 


AJ Phillips’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Heavy Lifting”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar (though unclued) words and phrases that feature the word OVER. Remove the OVERs (mentally) to get the entry to match the clue. The revealer is OVERLOADED (59a, [Carrying way too much, and a punny description of four Across answers in this puzzle]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Heavy Lifting” · AJ Phillips · Thu., 5.2.24

  • 17a. [Prone to mischief] IMPOVERISH.
  • 25a. [Frisbees, e.g.] DISCOVERS.
  • 35a. [Retail giant begun in 1892] SEA ROVERS.
  • 50a. [Matches, at a poker table] COVERALLS.

It’s a fine theme though I can’t say I got too excited about it. I’d like a Thursday puzzle to have less duplication (for example, “COVER” is the same root in both DISCOVERS and COVERALLS). But hey, it’s a debut, and it did take me some time to suss things out, so I can certainly offer my congratulations to the constructor. Kudos!

New to me is the term SEA ROVERS which online dictionaries define as “one who roams the seas” or in other words a “pirate.”

The longer fill mostly consists of 7s due to the central 9-letter theme answer bisecting the grid. Highlights include ZOMBIES, “I REPEAT,” SPENSER, RAVIOLI, STRUDEL, and “LET’S SEE“. Not too much in the way of crosswordese, which is an achievement with those stacks in the corners. Nicely done.

Clues of note:

  • 24a. [Division in the church?]. AISLE. Good clue. Also good: [It’s hard on your teeth] for ENAMEL and [No-brainers?] for ZOMBIES.
  • 64a. [2023’s “Cop Slide,” e.g.]. MEME. I totally missed this one last year. See video below.
  • 49d. [Part of an open-door policy?]. “SESAME.” As in, “Open SESAME!”

Solid puzzle. 3.5 stars.

Brandon Koppy’s New York Times crossword — Zachary David Levy’s write-up

Difficulty: Easy (7m58s)

Brandon Koppy’s New York Times crossword, 5/2/24, 0502

Today’s theme: TEA LEAVES (Divination aids … or a phonetic hint to the shaded squares in this puzzle)

  • (t)EMP(t)RESS / (t)RIG / BA(t)E
  • A(t)LAN(t)IS / LAS(t)ED MAR(t)INE(t)
  • FI(t)NESS (t)ES(t) / PE(t)AL / LEVI(t)ES
  • (t)EX(t)ILES / MA(t)RON / S(t)ALE

Is GONE PRO anything like Gone Fishin’?  Do newly minted big leaguers stick a GONE PRO post-it on their day job desks and ride off into the sunset?  I’d like to think not.. I can think of few better ways to storm out of the office than to announce you’ve just signed a multi-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers.  Your e-mails will never find me well again.  The Zamboni calls, PEONS.

Cracking: CALABRIA, whose chili paste is the (no longer) secret ingredient par excellence of every outstanding marinara recipe on God’s green earth

SlackingILE sit this one out.. no wait


Alex Eaton-Salners’s Fireball crossword, “Drop Everything”–Jenni’s recap

Fireball crossword solution, 5/2/24 – “Drop Everything”

Note from Amy: Jenni will be by later with her write-up. Meantime, here’s the grid. The theme involves paired entries. BLACK BEANS, once you’ve subtracted the letters in BACK (because backdrop is a word), yields LENS. START AT THE TOP gets to SHOP “after teardrops.” MARIANO RIVERA “after raindrops” is MOVE. And AHA MOMENTS “after namedrops” is HOTS.



Zhouqin Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times 240502

Today’s puzzle by Zhouqin Burnikel features a theme with a couple of commonly-seen concepts. The revealer is ROOTSUP (UPROOTS would’ve sounded better to my ear, perhaps the fill was worse?) and each of four other down answers spell out edible roots in reverse, from left to right: YAM, CARROT, BEET and TARO. So:

  • [Spiritual path of action], KARMAYOGA. Appears to be a Hinduism term; rather vaguely clued. Did y’all know this phrase?
  • [Event for minor leaguers?], TEEBALLGAME
  • [Sport with pit stops, in Britain], MOTORRACING.
  • [Lab animal with white fur], ALBINORAT.

Other difficult / noteworthy clues & answers:

  • [Vegetable in a yellow pod], WAXBEAN. I’m not sure I’ve encountered this in real life either? Is it an American thing?
  • [Kung __ tofu], PAO. Not sure I’ve encountered this as anything except chicken, though it made sense would could substitute tofu.
  • [Color of rambutan skin], RED & [Like a yellow papaya], RIPE – a lot of colourful fruit action today!
  • [“The Prisoner’s Wife” author Bandele]], ASHA. Never seen this in a puzzle, despite the leters.


Marshal Herrmann’s USA Today Crossword, “Juju” — Emily’s write-up

All I want now are some jujubes!

Completed USA Today crossword for Thursday May 02, 2024

USA Today, May 02, 2024, “Juju” by Marshal Herrmann

Theme: each themer contains JU—JU—


  • 20a. [Destiny’s Child song that starts “Ladies, leave your man at home”], JUMPINJUMPIN
  • 37a. [South Korean legal drama about minor offenders], JUVENILEJUSTICE
  • 54a. [Improvised alcoholic drink that might be served in a giant cooler], JUNGLEJUICE

A variety of themers in this set today, starting with the bop JUMPINJUMPIN, followed by the show JUVENILEJUSTICE, and finishing with a sip of JUNGLEJUICE. A fun mix though I needed a few crossings on each to get me started, especially since it’s been quite a while since I’ve heard that tune. It’s rolling around my head now though—and I’m glad for a Thursday pick-me-up!

Favorite fill: IDSAY, ACUTE, and STARLIGHT

Stumpers: JABBERED (“droned” was my first thought), GUINEAPIG (needed crossings as I was misdirected and kept thinking about topics), and DWEEB (needed crossings for this one as well)

A challenge for me today—how about you all? The entire south half and the east area took me the longest to break into. Cluing a bit harder for me today so I pieced things together in those sections but once I got a foothold then things started falling into place easier. Great grid design and nice overall fill though!

4.0 stars


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32 Responses to Thursday, May 2, 2024

  1. huda says:

    NYT: I thought it was very clever. But it felt like the revealer understated the theme in a way. At least the way I solved it, I ignored the T’s, filled the remaining letters based on the clue, then realized that including the T’s creates an additional word, which is left unclued.
    I suppose that if you insist on reading the shaded T’s as you solve, then you have to wait until the T(s) LEAVE before the answer makes sense?

  2. David L says:

    NYT: Maybe there was an editorial decision that if the T squares were left blank, it would have been too difficult to figure out the trick. But with the Ts shaded in, there was no trick at all. It was clever to find all those words that made sense with and without the Ts, but it didn’t make for a good Thursday puzzle.

    • Me says:

      I think it was okay to have a very easy Thursday puzzle, although maybe it should have been a Wednesday one. My personal gripe with the puzzle was getting to a place where the computer recognized it was done. You can type stuff into the “T” squares but you can’t really see it because the T is blocking the view. I must have typed a wrong letter into one of the squares but couldn’t tell. Since they don’t want you to write something into those squares, and they are already filled with a “T,” I think it would have been better if they had just made those squares unfillable (like the black squares).

      • Jeff says:

        What’s the trick? I’ve solved the puzzle, but it’s telling me I’m not done yet.

        • Mutman says:

          Put a T in each shaded T-square

          • David L says:

            I didn’t put anything in the T squares and it was happy with my solution (this was on the NYT website, not the app).

            • Eric H says:

              In the iPad app, there were no Tees in the shaded squares at the beginning. I left them empty, solved the puzzle, and then got animated Tees that flashed off and on.

            • DougC says:

              Same as David L: The rather convoluted Wordplay explanation surprised me, since I did nothing about the T-squares, and it worked fine.

              Kind of underwhelming for a “Tricky Thursday” puzzle, IMO.

    • JohnH says:

      I didn’t find it easy for a Thursday at all, not because of the theme, although I didn’t know the tarot card, but because of the fill. Say, the crossing mentioned below of RC CAR and MACRON is also close to a golf trophy, definitely not something I follow, and to me the informal GONE PRO (as opposed to went or turned pro) didn’t roll off the tongue, especially overlapping CEELO.

      Still, not bad. I did wonder if the words with added T’s shouldn’t have something more in common. I also was slower than some to solve the puzzle because of working from a printout of pdf, which comes very close to the suggested ideal of not showing the T’s.

  3. Mutman says:

    NYT: fun puzzle. I claim Natick at MARON/RCCAR. I guess the RC is radio controlled?

    New to me. Not the technology, just the term.

  4. Jim says:

    NYT: used the Android app, didn’t have to fill in the Ts

  5. Gary R says:

    NYT: I solved in AcrossLite, which rendered the shaded “T” boxes as empty circles. It took me a while to recognize that the answers containing those circles worked, as clued, leaving the circles blank. I thought maybe it was another theme like the recent HOLY COW puzzle, but I couldn’t see what was going on until I got to the revealer. So I just solved it like a themeless until I got the revealer, then when back and put in my own T’s (which AL accepted).

    I agree that it was pretty impressive to find that many answers that work both with and without the T’s. And the T’s that leave and the one in the revealer are the only T’s in the puzzle.

    That crossing of MARON and RC CAR was my last letter. I don’t know the comedian, but I seem to recall having seen RC CAR in a Times puzzle before.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Marc Maron is also a podcaster, notable for having landed Barack Obama as a guest in 2015.

      • Gary R says:

        After further reflection, I think I’ve heard of MARON before. Probably from previous puzzles – I don’t know if I’ve seen a stand-up comedian perform since the late 80’s, when I started going to bed before the late-night talk shows aired.

        And I’ve still not listened to a podcast ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . I’ve had one with Julia Louis Dreyfuss queued up on Spotify since I saw mention of it in a NYT article a week or more ago – still haven’t clicked “Play.” Maybe I’ll give WTF a try.

    • pannonica says:

      I solved on the NYT webpage with the applet, but feel that it would have worked just as well with plain old circled squares. The animated gimmick felt superfluous.

      • Gary R says:

        I think seeing T’s in those squares would have made it a harder solve for me. Without them, I eventually just moved ahead by ignoring the empty circles. If the T’s were there, I suspect I would have struggled more with the clues/answers in the theme.

    • JanO says:

      I also solved in AcrossLite, but seeing the memo that said there was a feature that I would miss, I looked at the NYT’s platform and it totally spoiled what could have been a fun and more challenging solve. The circles were enough; after all, it’s a Thursday and we all know there could be an extra level of wordplay.

  6. Dan says:

    The links from Today’s Puzzles to here seem to be broken at the moment.

    (Except the Continue Reading one, which works.)

  7. Mr. [very] Grumpy says:

    Do not hit me over the head with your gimmick [I will not give it the credit of being a theme] on your stupid app, NYT. If Joel is auditioning to replace Will, he is failing. Abysmally.

    • StriveForBetter says:

      How nasty you can be.

    • Therapy says:

      Dear Mr. Grumps, do you enjoy solving crossword puzzles? It seems that it causes you quite a bit of grief. Sending hugs.

    • Nora says:

      I hope Will doesn’t need replacement any time soon! But I like Joel’s imprint. Overall I’m working harder at solving the puzzles and I like the challenge. And I’m definitely not in the same age demographic as him.

  8. Eric H says:

    BEQ: It took me longer than it should have to make sense of the theme, but once I had it, I could use it to get some of the remaining theme answers.

    I don’t much enjoy ballet, so ULANOVA was new to me, but easy enough to get from the crosses.

  9. Gloria Elizabeth says:

    LAT Gareth, regarding wax beans, which are pretty much yellow string beans. They are an essential ingredient in a classic American cold salad, Three Bean Salad, made with canned cut green beans, canned cut wax beans, and canned kidney beans, chilled overnight in a sweet-sour dressing. There are varied additions, such as chopped onions or red bell peppers, to suit individual family traditions. It’s actually quite tasty.

  10. sorry after after says:

    FWIW, the ratings for Thursday appear to have reset at some point. Not sure if the lost ones can be restored, but for now the counts (and thus the ratings) are no longer accurate.

  11. Katie says:

    @[sorry after after] — Yes, ratings did reset. [But – um – maybe it’s not worth worrying about?]

    Not knowing at all what the heck I am talking about here, I’d just guess (possibly) that this might be related to “fixing” the broken links for May 2 puzzle stuff.

    But, interestingly, the ratings aren’t very different (except for number of reviews), before vs after resetting… mostly just with lower overall count. I have no idea if people who rated earlier can “redo” their rating now? (I didn’t rate this one.) And, either way, if it’s easy to just “add back” lost votes now…

    BUT, given this sounds like a potential headache to worry about, I’m just shouting out that the ratings yesterday were 2.41 (yes, don’t ask; this is based on when there were 33 votes…), and now the rating is 2.47 (with “16 ratings” right now).

    [So, I can see where it may, overall, “not be worth worrying about” – for already overworked bloggers here?]

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