Friday, May 3, 2024

LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT 4:56 (Amy) 


Universal 4:20 (Jim) 


USA Today tk (Darby) 


Eli Cotham’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 5/3/24 – no. 0503

Fun Friday puzzle, and it actually felt like a Friday puzzle to me.

Absolutely loved the stacked pairs of 15s. DEAD TREE EDITION (a print newspaper), “AN HEIR AND A SPARE” (William being the heir, Harry the spare), GAS STATION SUSHI, and “THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!” Also appreciated THE YIPS (surely there is a crossword solver’s equivalent), COSLEPT, “NOW, LET’S SEE…”, VAMOOSE, the game TWISTER, and the incomprehensible PET PSYCHIC.

Did not know the Japanese beer ASAHI’s name [… translates to “morning sun”]. Beer: It’s not just for breakfast anymore, it’s also for before breakfast? Not keen on the entry AS AM I but it appears opposite ASAHI, one letter off, which is a little Peter Gordonian.

I also forgot that the TIBIA was the second-longest bone in the body, after King Femur.

4.25 stars from me.

Jeffrey Martinovic and William Yuan’s Universal crossword, “Absent Tees”—Jim’s review

Crazy timing here! Yesterday’s NYT had essentially the same theme. As in that puzzle, theme answers are familiar (though unclued) words and phrases that satisfy the clues only when the Ts are mentally removed. The revealer is TEASE OUT (41d, [Disentangle … or a phonetic hint to interpreting the starred clues’ answers]).

  • 21a. [*Brewery offerings] TATTLES. Ales.
  • 52a. [*Handles with skill] FITNESS TEST. Finesses (this is the only theme answer that appeared in yesterday’s NYT as well).
  • 3d. [*Santa’s hearty declaration] HOT HOT HOT. Ho ho ho.
  • 11d. [*It may sweeten the pot] STUTTGART. Sugar.

Nice! I like those last two finds especially. It’s impossible not to compare the two puzzles, so I’d have to give the nod to the NYT for having the Ts “disappear” in both Across and Down entries. But that doesn’t mean this was a bad puzzle. On the contrary, I enjoyed it.

Maybe it’s because there were fewer theme constraints, but the long fill seemed livelier than yesterday’s grid. Here we have “LOOK ALIVE!,” SWAN DIVE, TIME SLOT, PILSNERS, and ALI BABA. For a long time I thought SEATPAD was thematic due to its central placement in the grid, but of course, its clue [Bench warmer?] had no asterisk, just a question mark.

Clue of note: 1a. [Kermit’s greeting]. “HI HO!” Fun clue. I think his standard phrase was, “HI HO! Kermit the Frog here.”

Good puzzle. 3.75 stars.

Jay Silverman’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 5/3/24 • Fri • Silverman • solution • 20240503

Didn’t even notice that this was a 16×15 grid until just now.

  • 66aR [Musical with the song “Put On a Happy Face,” and a hint to making four answers match their starred clues] BYE BYE BIRDIE.
  • 18a. [*Promo for long-range basket shooters?] THREE’S A CROWD, remove the CROW and you have THREES AD.
  • 27a. [*Easy-to-revisit search engine results?] BOWLING PINS (Bing pins + owl).
  • 42a. [*Frilly fabric from the Middle East?] LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (lace of Arabia + wren).
  • 51a. [*Award coveted by directors Anderson and Craven?] BEST WESTERN (Best Wes + tern).

So in this crossword, the theme entries themselves are the normal phrases, while the wackiness is to be found in the clues and their implied answers. That’s something different.

  • 1d [Reading length] METRE. Referring to the locality in England and the British spelling of the unit of measure. Nothing to do with literature. Daring, opening the crossword with a veiled capital like that.
  • 28d [Drag org.] NHRA, the National Hot Rod Association.
  • 39d [Ran away (with)] ABSCONDED. Etymology, via borrowed from Latin abscondere “to conceal, hide,” from abs- (variant of ab- before c- and t-) + condere “to put, store up, put away, conceal” — more at RECONDITE
  • 41d [Hook’s nemesis] PAN. Captain, Peter.
  • 50d [Sign of poor service?] ONE BAR. The mobile phones that we all know and love.
  • 11a [Middle ear?] COB. Ouch.
  • 20a [Passable grade] CEE. I was bold enough to not wait and put in DEE.
  • 22a [Hop back in horror] RECOIL. “Hop” seems an unlikely word choice to me.
  • 61a [Star part] CAMEO. Not sure about this either.
  • 69a [“Not a mouse!”] EEK. The clue would have worked as well without the “not”, so—interesting way of changing things up a little.
  • 74a [Dusty or Cody of pro wrestling fame] RHODES.
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27 Responses to Friday, May 3, 2024

  1. Greg says:

    Great NYT. Like Amy, I really loved the long fill. My favorite: the clue for “gas station sushi.” (Shell fish?)

    • DougC says:

      Please tell me GAS STATION SUSHI is not a real thing. Please.

      I hardly ever actually go inside a gas station anymore, so I guess I wouldn’t know…

      • Martin says:

        It’s a thing.

        • David L says:

          There was a TV ad that involved a hapless guy getting sushi at a seedy gas station then becoming, uh, distressed. I can remember the ad but not what it was for. It may have been one of those jokey Geico car insurance ones.

  2. Gary R says:

    NYT: Enjoyed the puzzle – just about right challenge-wise, I thought, for a Friday.

    Among the long entries, AN HEIR AND A SPARE was new to me (I’m not much a follower of the Royals), but inferable with a few crosses. And GAS STATION SUSHI sounded familiar, though I’m not sure why – but the clue was cute.

    THIS IS AN OUTRAGE always makes me feel a little sad. For a long time now, it seems like this is a once-impactful phrase that is thrown around so loosely that it leaves us lacking for language to describe what is really, really awful.

    • dh says:

      “An heir and a spare” was completely new to me, and like you, I don’t follow the royals. My wife and I did this puzzle together, and she told me the answer. Knowing that the royals are often in headlines for their drama, I dutifully filled in “An heir in despair”, which frankly, I like better.

    • Eric H says:

      When Prince Harry’s memoir was published, there was a question about it in the NYT news quiz. I got that question wrong, which probably cemented the title in my head forever. But I still needed a few crosses to pick out the phrase.

      Really fun puzzle, despite being easy (my third fastest Friday).

  3. MattF says:

    Nice NYT. NE corner was a notable tough spot, with a popcult crossing.

  4. huda says:

    NYT: Wonderful puzzle!
    But I got stuck in the SE corner. I don’t get the clue for LIES. I know it’s my ignorance. Can someone please enlighten me?
    I’ve always thought that the phrase- AN HEIR AND A SPARE was really sad and wondered how it must feel for a human being to be labeled “a spare”. Especially when at some point, you even stop being that. So I thought the title of the book was spot on.

  5. JohnH says:

    NYT was much easier than the last few Fridays, maybe even for a Friday, until I got to the E/NE, where there was just so much I didn’t know. In fact, pretty much everything apart from the w9rd EDITION.

    • Dan says:

      Yeah, that corner was rather naticky for me, never having heard of either the Sarah McLachlan hit or the name of Prince Harry’s memoir.

    • DougC says:

      Agree that it was very easy.

      The SE was last to fall for me, with AS AM I, OH GEE, LIENS and URAL, all of which seemed liked they could have been almost anything.

      But still quite easy for a Friday.

  6. marciem says:

    LAT: Bowlingpin = BING (search engine) pin -owl :)

  7. David L says:

    Today’s NYT was a nice puzzle but way too easy for a Friday, at least for me. My only hold-up was ESTELLE for ESTELLA and TIED for TIER, but I quickly corrected them after figuring out TARTARE.

  8. Dan says:

    LAT: Although it played no role in the solve, it was fun afterwards decoding the BYE, BYE, BIRDIE revealer in each case. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA definitely had me going for a while before I found the hidden bird.

  9. Margaret says:

    LAT: I can’t figure out why 32A give or take is ABOUT. Otherwise did well on this fun theme except for confidently filling in Nemo at 29A, that certainly slowed me down.

  10. sanfranman59 says:

    USAT: I’m a little hesitant to ask this question, but would someone please explain how the clue works for the answer with EDIBLE UNDERWEAR clued as “Snack on a snack, in a sense”. Is it as risqué as it seems?

    • Margaret says:

      A snack is something to eat and also an attractive person, so it’s pretty much what you’re thinking I guess? I’d call it a little racy but not vulgar, edible underwear is such a 70s cliche joke to me that I’m not offended in the least.

  11. MarkAbe says:

    LAT – comment to pannonica about “star part”: A “cameo” is when a known actor has a short part, often as themself, in a movie.

  12. jpm says:

    NYT: ADIA crossing TPAIN, really?

  13. wfaulk says:

    I really disliked the east side of the USAT puzzle.

    “That person’s got it bad” crossed with a (to me) completely unknown MATTY McNair (itself also crossed with an unknown musical lyric), the TV show AHV instead of AHS (still no idea what that is – oh, “American Horror Story”?), and the fact that I was certain that “Wipeout” was on ABC, and, when “proved” wrong, at least confident it was on network TV, so CBS, left me with CHE_HIRSTIVREAL to get THETHIRSTISREAL, which feels far from a well-known set phrase.

    Oh, god. I’m old, aren’t I?

    Either way, that feels like three naticks on a single answer.

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