Wednesday, May 8, 2024

AV Club untimed (Amy) 


LAT 4:13 (Gareth) 


The New Yorker 2:24 (Kyle) 


NYT 3:55 (Amy) 


Universal tk (pannonica) 


USA Today 7:24 (Emily) 


WSJ 5:24 (Jim) 


Michael Schlossberg’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 5/8/24 – no. 0508

I didn’t have the 1-Across corner filled in early, so two of the shaded words I had in place when I hit the revealer clue were COCOA and BUTTER. Clearly 62a. [What you might cry upon recognizing this puzzle’s ingredient list?] was “OH, BEANS,” right? Turns out no, it’s “OH, FUDGE,” with MILKSOP (a mighty uncommon term for a [Coward]), COCOA BEACH, BUTTERFINGERS, SUGAR SNAP PEAS, and VANILLA ICE all beginning with fudge ingredients. I have never made fudge, so what do I know?

That 1-Across was mighty awkward, no? 1a. [Waterproof overshoes] are ARCTICS?!? Are you kidding me? Where on earth is this from? There were rubbers when I was a kid (Totes overshoes for rainy days), but ARCTICS is not a plural I know.

Outside of crosswords, I’ll bet people think of Catherine the Great as an EMPRESS much more than a TSARINA.

New to me: [Bassist Meyer], EDGAR. Not bass guitar, the other bass. Plays bluegrass and whatnot. Here’s his Wiki.

3.5 stars from me.

Ryan Mathiason’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Make It a Double”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases that hide two types of drinks within. The revealer is TWO-DRINK MAX (58a, [Limit at the bar, and a hint to the answers with circles]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Make It a Double” · Ryan Mathiason · Wed., 5.8.24

  • 20a. [Industrial Revolution facilitator] STEAM ENGINE.
  • 27a. [Topping for some desserts] CHOCOLATE CRUMBS.
  • 49a. [Vaughan Williams used it in “The Lark Ascending”] PENTATONIC SCALE.

Nice theme! I don’t think each pair of drinks is meant to be combined, but I did note that rum and cola (i.e. Rum & Coke) go together, which was a neat find. Despite the fact that a two-drink minimum seems more likely than a maximum, I found the theme enjoyable, and it helped me piece together the last entry.

The fill isn’t necessarily flashy, but it’s solid and smooth. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Chicken MCBITES (ball-shaped fast food offered in the early 2010s), but it was easy enough to infer with a few crossings.

3.5 stars.

Caitlin Reid’s New Yorker crossword – Kyle’s write-up

Thanks Caitlin for this breezy puzzle. No major hold-ups as I went through the grid. The middle section is a bit choppy due to the black square layout and I’ll contend that it added extended my solving time ever so slightly

The New Yorker solution grid – Caitlin Reid – Wednesday 05/08/2024

  • 36A [Technology that might change “werewolves” to “we’re wolves”] AUTOCORRECT. Love it! Great use of the long central Across slot. Made me want to say 58A “I CAN RELATE!”
  • 62A [Made a booty call?] BUTT-DIALED. I’ve seen this pun before.
  • 6D [“Don’t let the critics get to you”] “HATERS GONNA HATE”. It appears to be the New Yorker debut of this phrase, though it’s appeared elsewhere a number of times over the years so I was able to fill it in with no crosses. Still a lively entry.

Bruce Haight’s USA Today Crossword, “Hi There! (Freestyle)” — Emily’s write-up

So much wonderful fill in a lovely grid!

Completed USA Today crossword for Wednesday May 08, 2024

USA Today, May 08, 2024, “Hi There! (Freestyle)” by Bruce Haight


Stumpers: EBOY (“punk” was all that came to mind) and GAPE (first through “gawk”)

Great flow and a nice challenge level for me today! Love the grid design, which allowed for so many wonderful entries, including: GIFTTAGS, BANANAPEEL, NBADRAFT, FAMILYTREE, and STARTLED. Fun freestyle!

4.0 stars


Rebecca Goldstein & Rachel Fabi’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Rebecca Goldstein & Rachel Fabi’s provide us with a somewhat loose though imaginitive theme: MESSHALL is the revealer, and each of four answers is an implement with a modifier making it, in a literal way, imperfect?

  • [Region of severe drought in the 1930s], DUSTBOWL
  • [Diner, e.g.], GREASYSPOON
  • Rochester, New York, dish with meat, fries, and baked beans], GARBAGEPLATE
  • [Hazard for bare feet in a beach parking lot], BROKENGLASS

A pair of noteworthy clues & answers:

  • [Day on Mars], SOL. It’s in the dictionary. Do we have a word for days on the other solar planets?
  • [Activity that involves taking a shot in the dark?], LASERTAG. The clue seems a bit tenuous in the name of wordplay? Is laser tag necessarily in the dark?


Will Nediger’s AV Club Classic crossword, “Divine Intervention”–Amy’s recap

AV Club Classic crossword solution, 5/8/24 – “Divine Intervention”

Eight phrases pick up an extra letter from the god’s name that crosses them. I’ve circled those letters in my grid and they spell out MIRACLES. The phrases’ meanings shift significantly, too. KAMA turns a war hero into a WARM HERO, for example. The others are GARDEN MA(I)ZE, FLYING (R)ACE, F(A)UN FAIRS, GROUP (C)HUG, HEA(L)TH LAND (not sure I’d ever seen heathland before), PORKPIE H(E)AT, and CUR(S)E ALL. Neat.

Didn’t care for DOZENTH, and I bet a lot of us haven’t heard of the chess tactic of PINNING.

Four stars from me. Appreciated the diversity of mythologies and religions from which the deities were drawn.

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13 Responses to Wednesday, May 8, 2024

  1. Ethan Cooper says:

    NYT: Thank goodness for those shaded squares. All those ingredient words were so well-hidden, I never would have found them!

    (Sorry for the sarcasm. The puzzle was perfectly fine, just don’t understand the rationale behind the shading.)

  2. Andrea Ojeda says:

    I do puzzles from the archive daily and have noticed how these days (past couple of years) they are getting progressively easier. This one could’ve easily been a Monday 10 years ago.
    I’m afraid this trend will continue until the only challenge will be solving Friday and Saturday ☹️

    • Oli says:

      Agree, this one felt like an easy Monday, outside of the top left which had some questionable words+clueing and kept me from a PR!

  3. Dan says:

    LAT: I found the theme (which was intentionally disgusting) to be disgusting.

  4. huda says:

    NYT: I agree with Amy about ARCTICS, I needed every cross. But I liked the rest of the puzzle. It was easy, breezy and about food! I did it last night in Tuesday time. I’d had a long day so I was grateful for that. Sometimes, easier than expected can be a pleasant surprise.

  5. David L says:

    Ditto on having no idea about ARCTICS and EDGAR Meyer.

    I tried googling ‘arctic shoes’ and what came up were heavy boots rated for extreme cold. Nothing resembling overshoes.

  6. Tony says:

    Only I didn’t say “fudge.”

  7. dh says:

    WSJ: Agree about the two drink min/max, though I’m sure I’ve been to corporate affairs that compromise on an open bar by giving employees two drink vouchers each. When I’m on a hiring committee where I work we take candidates out to dinner and have a one drink max.

    Re: LAT – I’ve lived in Rochester for 14 years and have never had a garbage plate. It was originated by a restaurant called Nick Tahou’s, and is near the Susan B. Anthony House & Museum. It’s widely copied. One of my favorite references:–Wuuc78?si=vUujQRcafz35GCIf

  8. dh says:

    It’s interesting, and maybe a little disappointing that in yesterday’s puzzle a few people were triggered by the inclusion of Lee Atwater, and in Monday’s puzzle the inclusion of the NRA in the WSJ was also commented on – yet the New Yorker’s inclusion today of MAO was met with complete silence. Similar non-reactions appear with such entries as Che Guevara and the Castro brothers, among others.

    Several years ago, I brought my young daughter to NYC one day. We turned a corner and saw one of the giant inflatable rats that trade unions use to protest non-union employers or contractors. “Look!” she said, “It’s an R-O-U-S!” Nice way to put a youthful spin on a very controversial issue.

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