Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Jonesin' 4:52 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni) 


NYT 3:17 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal 4:29 (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


WSJ 4:49 (Jim) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Gather Round, Everyone” — a special event. – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 5/7/24

Jonesin’ solution 5/7/24

Hello lovelies! Let’s take a look at the Jonesin’ theme for this week, which includes a mix of real people and fictional characters.

  • 17a. [“Friends” character with a namesake hairstyle] RACHEL GREEN
  • 21a. [Co-founder of the Pittsburgh Penguins (with state senator Jack McGregor)] PETER BLOCK
  • 31a. [English actor who played Tywin Lannister on “Game of Thrones”] CHARLES DANCE
  • 43a. [Nephrologist played by Hugh Laurie] GREGORY HOUSE. I can’t think about nephrology without thinking of Dr. Glaucomflecken‘s nephrology vs cardiology videos.
  • 58a. [“Saturday Night Live” alum (2000-2001) who was also on “Mr. Show” and “Arrested Development”] JERRY MINOR
  • 62a. [Description of the five theme answers?] PARTY PEOPLE

The last name of each theme entry is also a kind of party, political or otherwise: Green, block, dance, house, and minor.

Other things:

  • 25d. [Burpee unit?] SEED. This refers to Burpee the gardening company, not the exercise.
  • 47a. [Mystik Dan, for one] HORSE. This thoroughbred won the 2024 Kentucky Derby.
  • 36d. [Char ___ (Cantonese-style barbecued pork)] SIU. Char siu (or 叉燒 or cha siu) is pork marinated in a sweet, salty and spicy barbecue sauce and then roasted.

Until next week!

David Alfred Bywaters’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Deceptive Advertising”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases in which the first words could also be synonyms of “advertise.”

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Deceptive Advertising” · David Alfred Bywaters · Tue., 5.7.24

  • 17a. [Advertise plumbing supplies?] PITCH PIPES.
  • 27a. [Advertise soap?] MARKET BUBBLES.
  • 42a. [Advertise scenic home sites to reclusive billionaires?] MOVE MOUNTAINS. Huh? Mountains are just “home sites to reclusive billionaires”?
  • 56a. [Advertise abaci?] PUFF ADDERS. Not familiar with this usage of “puff” (and M-W.com doesn’t seem to be either). I’ve heard of a “puff piece” but that’s nothing to do with salesmanship (AFAIK).

Not my cup of tea. The puns are tired or weird, and the second words don’t change consistently (some go from figurative to literal while others change meaning completely). Finally, I can’t find any online dictionary that agrees that “puff” means “advertise.”

The fill is good though, with PANTALOONS, MALEVOLENT, BACKWARD, and CANDIDLY. Mostly smooth otherwise with only a smattering of crosswordese.

Clue of note: 35a. [Join with a blowtorch]. WELD. I had this clue in a puzzle I made years ago. Those in the know quickly corrected me that a blowtorch is not what’s used in welding.

Three stars.

Justin Werfel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 5/7/24 – no. 0507

The theme revealer is 57a. [Sounds familiar … or performs an action associated with 16-, 23-, 35- and 47-Across?], RINGS A BELL. Dramatic salesman WILLY LOMAN would ring doorbells. SANTA CLAUS rings his sleigh bells. QUASIMODO rings a big bell up top of a cathedral. And IVAN PAVLOV rang a bell before feeding dogs in his experiment. There’s also a bit of truly blah fill with a quasi-thematic clue: 54a. [Charles Willson ___, George Washington portraitist whose name is apt for this puzzle’s theme], PEALE (peal).


You don’t get a lot of question-marked clues in Monday and Tuesday puzzles, but here’s 63a. [Very basic stuff?] to clue LYE.

3.75 stars from me.

Amanda Cook & Katie Hale’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

It took me a minute to understand the theme after I did the puzzle.

The theme answers:

Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2024, Amanda Cook & Katie Hale, solution grid

  • 17a [Generic choice at the supermarket] is the STORE BRAND.
  • 25a [Emotional condition] is STATE OF MIND.
  • 40a [Cue a jazz ensemble, e.g.] is STRIKE UP THE BAND.
  • 50a [Inspire wannabes, maybe] is START A TREND.

And the revealer: 63a [Stick out from the crowd, and what can be found in 17-, 25-, 40- and 50-Across?] is STAND APART. Each theme answer breaks up the word STAND. Solid! And a lot of theme material without sacrificing the quality of the fill.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Lara Pulver played IRENE Adler on “Sherlock.”

I leave you with this.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 676), “… And With a Cherry on Top”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 676: “… And With a Cherry On Top”

Hello there, everybody! Hope all of you are doing well to start the week! 

Any puzzle that makes me end up having “Play That Funky Music” play on loop in my head is a good one in my book, and that’s exactly what ended up happening after I solved the first theme answer. Speaking of themes, the first word in the four theme entries, all going down, is also a type of cherry.

  • WILD GOOSE CHASES (3D: [Fruitless pursuits])
  • BING CROSBY FILMS (4D: [“Going My Way” and “High Society,” for two])
  • BLACK TIE DINNERS (8D: [Fancy feasts])
  • SOURDOUGH BAGELS (10D: [Holey brunch favorites with made with a starter])

There were a number of older pop culture references that were in my wheelhouse, like DESI (69A: [He played Ricky on TV]) and BRENDA (44A: [Starr of the comics]) that I figured out easily, while others like SOFIE where I needed all of the crosses to get (41A: [1992 Liv Ullman film]). I am pretty sure that today marked either the first or second time ever that I have said ORANGISH out loud (56A: [Somewhat like the color of Valencias]). Only real slip-up was when I plopped down Volga immediately after I filled in the last two letters for the entry that ended up being ONEGA, which was totally new to me until today (54A: [Second-largest lake of Europe]). Might need a brush-up on my European bodies of water soon. Actually, I need a European vacation. Let’s all head to Germany next month for the Euros (European [soccer] Championships), shall we?!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: LUTE (57A: [String instrument in a Vermeer instrument]) – College basketball coaching legend Lute Olson was best known for the 25 years he was a head coach at the University of Arizona, where he led the Wildcats to 11 Pac-10 regular-season championships and four Pac-12 tournament titles before his retirement in 2008. His crowning achievement came in 1997, when he led U of A to its only national championship, and during that run, the Wildcats beat three No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament to do so: Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky.

Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!

Take care!


Paolo Pasco’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 5/7/24 • Tue • Pasco • solution • 20240507

Fully resigned to the fact that the New Yorker’s ‘moderately challenging’ crosswords are now in actuality merely mildly challenging.

  • 12a [Phrase introducing the first side of an argument] ON ONE HAND. Haven’t seen this in a crossword before, despite it being quite common.
  • 14a [Spectacles that may spook spaniels] FIREWORKS. I am anti-fireworks. In addition to pets, it can be traumatizing to those with PTSD or sensory issues, not to mention all the innocent wildlife. Even fireworks displays over bodies of water can have deleterious effects. It’s just not worth it for a brief thrill.
  • 15a [{frowns, runs finger down cheek}] SO SADTrès snarky.
  • 18a [Heats with a steam wand] FROTHS. This is cappuccino-coded.
  • 25a [Hot shots?] THIRST TRAPS. This is latter-day lingo, but it’s in some dictionaries, including m-w.com.
  • 29a [Town where Elizabeth Cady Stanton read the “Declaration of Sentiments”] SENECA FALLS. You can read them here.
  • 40a [Assignment at a  track meet] LANE, 41a [Beat at a track meet] OUTRUN.
  • 45a [“That much is clear”] SO I GATHER. 38a [“This stays here”] IT’S A SECRET. Colloquial stuff.
  • 50a [Function with squares?] NERDFEST. Cute.
  • 3d [Like all AirPods, but only some headphones] IN-EAR. I happen to be researching open-ear earbuds as a possible purchase.
  • 5d [Delivery-app “restaurant” that can’t be visited in person] GHOST KITCHEN. Appeared (as a plural) in the New Yorker crossword of 15 April.
  • 8d [Deg. for an expert on calculus and bridges] DDS. Nice!
  • 9d [Pages laid out with glue] PASTEUPS. Obsolescent, I would think.
  • 11d [Warning in the morning or delight at night, in a saying] RED SKY.
  • 26d [Rhyming corollary to “drool”] RULE. It’s from a children’s taunt. They learn this stuff pretty early, unfortunately.
  • 30d [Rep. who wore a “Tax the Rich” dress to the 2021 Met Gala] AOC. This year’s event was held last night.
  • 39d [Far from trustworthy, briefly] SUS, as the kids say; short for suspicious.
  • 45d [“The __ of Man” (painting of a person whose face is obscured by an apple)] SON. You know the one, by RENÉ Magritte, whose titles were generally oblique.

Universal Crossword – Matt F’s Review

Title: Snack Mix
Constructors: Jasmeet Arora and Amie Walker
Editor: David Steinberg

Universal Solution 05.07.2024

I am writing this review on Friday, a full 3 days after it should have been posted. My week really got away from me. I am sorry for the delay!

Theme Synopsis:

Today’s puzzle is based on a social media trend:

  • 62A – Trendy snack-based meal … or what [the theme answers] might aptly constitute = GIRL DINNER

Each theme answer is a snack item, and, more importantly for this set, each snack name begins with a feminine name:

  • 16A – Floral-scented brew = JASMINE TEA
  • 24A – Soft French wheel = BRIE CHEESE
  • 38A – Crisp, herb-infused wafer = ROSEMARY CRACKER
  • 49A – Sweet cookie with a bit of spice = GINGER SNAP

Overall Impressions

I don’t have much time to ruminate today, but I thought this was a fine Tuesday puzzle. MOVIE TICKET and SCREEN GRABS hold down the bonus slots and seem related (movie and screen), which is fun, even though they are not part of the main theme. I really enjoyed the clue for 34A – Part of a key chain?, for ISLE. Excellent clue.

Thanks for the puzzle, Amie and Jasmeet!

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17 Responses to Tuesday, May 7, 2024

  1. JohnH says:

    I’ll cut the WSJ a break, kinda sorta, on “puff,” which does mean to praise extravagantly generally without merit per MW (with the example of an author puffing his work, their choice of male pronoun) or overpraise per RHUD, so could mean hype, which will do. But have to say I’ve heard that only as “puff up.”

    • Kelly Clark says:

      I’m in advertising and I’ve certainly heard — and used — the word…generally in a derogatory way. From my desktop dictionary:

      “3 [ with obj. ] advertise with exaggerated or false praise: publishers have puffed the book on the grounds that it contains new discoveries.”

  2. David L says:

    NYT: Demerit for being reminded of the appalling Lee Atwater. I’ve never seen ‘Death of a Salesman,’ and I wondered if ringing a bell was a pivotal plot point. But I guess it’s simply a generic reference to what a salesman might do.

    Funny to see PASTEUPS, which I remember from my earliest years in the magazine biz. But they went out a long time ago. Although, IIRC, we called them ‘blue sheets,’ because the grid lines were printed in a shade of light blue that didn’t show up in photo litho.

    • Eric H says:

      I wasn’t happy to see ATWATER in there, either. I’m old enough to remember what he did to get George Bush elected.

      WILLY LOMAN was not a door-to-door salesman and probably didn’t ring any more doorbells than anyone else. But I think it’s a fair answer for the puzzle despite that inaccuracy.

    • Lois says:

      Since Atwater has been mentioned a couple of times, I’ll mention that before he died very young, he said he repented his actions.

  3. anon says:

    TNY (review): “26d [Rhyming corollary to “drool”] RULE. It’s from a children’s taunt.”

    The taunt/rhyme is apparently “Girls rule, boys drool”, or vice versa, I can’t tell which. (Maybe both?)

    Is this regional? I’ve never heard of it until now, so the clue was a mystery to me during the solve.

  4. sanfranman59 says:

    WSJ … I’m no handyman, but even I know that you don’t use a blowtorch to WELD. Yeesh. Come on, WSJ! Do better!

    • sorry after after says:

      From Apple’s dictionary (sourced from the New Oxford American Dictionary, I believe), the first definition of weld:

      1 join together (metal pieces or parts) by heating the surfaces to the point of melting using a blowtorch, electric arc, or other means, and uniting them by pressing, hammering, etc.

      • sanfranman59 says:

        Huh … As I said, I’m no handyman, so perhaps I’ve made my point now. I didn’t think that welding had anything to do with blowtorches. Any welders out there?

        • Gary R says:

          No expert, but I don’t think much metal-to-metal welding involves a blowtorch. But you can also “weld” glass or plastic, and there, a blowtorch would be plausible.

        • Martin says:

          I’m not a fan of this common clue, but it’s justifiable. “Blowtorch” is not a technical term, but it can mean any handheld fuel-burning flame producing device. A small welding set, like this, could be called a “blowtorch” in common speech. In fact, the original meaning of the word referred to a device that used additional air or oxygen to increase the heat attained, so that the oxygen/propane welding set is more a “blowtorch” than a kerosene burner once known as a blowtorch.

          No professional welder would call his rig a “blowtorch,” but some low-end torches capable of true welding might be called blowtorches in common speech.

          • Gary R says:

            @Martin – I assume you’re correct on the origin of the term.

            The product you linked to can be used for brazing or soldering, but not for “welding” as that term is usually used today.

            Brazing and soldering involve melting another “filler” metal to form a joint between two pieces of another metal. What I’m most familiar with is a soldered plumbing joint, where a tin alloy solder is melted to seal a joint between a piece of copper tubing and a copper tee or elbow.

            In common parlance, welding is a process that fuses two pieces, of usually the same metal together by essentially melting the adjoining edges (usually with electric current). I don’t think a blowtorch is capable of that.

            • Martin says:

              Read the instructions and reviews again. It’s sold as a “welding torch” and reviews confirm it can melt stainless steel. Not a pro rig, but it will weld steel in a pinch.

  5. JohnH says:

    I had a bit of trouble starting in on TNY grid, because of its layout and word lengths, but in time it did go smoothly, maybe a little less so from center to NE. FROTHS didn’t sound quite right (heating rather than foaming?), and only after I was done did I call up PASTE-UPS from memories in publishing. Maybe I just wasn’t used to it in plural, or maybe I was reluctant to admit that I’m old enough to remember them.

    I also was puzzled even after I was done by THIRST TRAPS and its clue and by RULE, but it took only a second to find the first online. Not so with a search for “drool rule,” which got me only multiple hits for a corporate entity.

  6. dh says:

    Jonesin’: Can someone help me out with understanding 22D? “L” as in “NATO” makes no sense to me.

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