Monday, May 27, 2024

BEQ tk (Matthew) 


LAT tk (Stella) 


NYT 2:38 (Sophia) 


The New Yorker 4:57 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today tk (tk) 


Note: No WSJ puzzle due to the Memorial Day holiday.

Christopher Youngs’s New York Times crossword — Sophia’s write-up

Happy Memorial Day weekend all! Hope many of you are having a nice day off.

New York Times, 05 27 2024, By Christopher Youngs

Today’s puzzle is full of things needed to PUT ON A SHOW:

  • 17a [Programming language since 1995] – JAVASCRIPT
  • 24a [Rare tennis feat in which one player wins 24 straight points] – GOLDEN SET
  • 39a [Audio download] – PODCAST
  • 50a [Offer kudos, in modern lingo] – GIVE PROPS
  • 62a [Keep up appearances, say … or what to do with the ends of 17-, 24-, 39- and 50-Across?] – PUT ON A SHOW

This is a simple theme but a well executed one! I love how Christopher changed the meaning of SCRIPT, SET, CAST, and PROPS in each one of the answers. I had not heard of GOLDEN SET, but the extent of my tennis knowledge is the movie “Challengers”, so that’s not surprising. I am, however, very familiar with JAVASCRIPT, so the non-programmers among us will have to tell me how difficult that was to get. This theme set is well balanced in that two answers have the “show” part as a distinct word, and in two it’s just the back half. Is GIVE PROPS really slang anymore? Not sure the clue needed that distinction.

Quick hits on the rest of the puzzle:

  • Some standout fill from around the puzzle: VIETNAM, PHOTOSHOP, SCALPER, NOVOCAINE (even though I can’t spell it)
  • Kind of a lot of Christmas in this puzzle, between the MAIDS a-milking, SWANs a-swimming, and the MAGI.
  • I was kind of surprised to see PORN in the puzzle, but according to xwordinfo, it’s been in the puzzle 19 times in the Shortz era.
  • I’m a VIRGO, so I was hyped to see representation in the puzzle :)
  • Favorite clue: [Sleeps sound-ly?] for SNORES.

Tarun Krishnamurthy’s Universal crossword, “Rocky Start” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 5/27/24 • Mon • “Rocky Start” • Krishnamurthy • solution • 20240527

The title telegraphs the gimmick here. Each of the theme entries begins with a word that’s the homophone of a letter, and those five letters spell ROCKY.

  • 17a. [*What cosmologists wonder] ARE WE ALONER
  • 24a. [*French aromatic fragrance] EAU DE PARFUMO
  • 36a. [*Teacher’s request of a slacking student] SEE ME AFTER CLASSC
  • 46a. [*Store with engagement ring s and necklaces] KAY JEWELERSK
  • 56a. [*Incredulous question (Theme hint: Read the first words of the starred clues’ answers aloud)] WHY ON EARTHY

I hadn’t even realized until just now that there was an in-clue explanation, which almost seems superfluous. Then again, it is early in the week.

  • 13d [Starting lineup] A-TEAM. 23d [Top-tier celebrities] A-LIST. (18d [Not completely shut] AJAR, 37d [Once again] ANEW, 52a [Cool and distant] ALOOF.)
  • 33d [“We’re 100% on the same wavelength!”] HARD AGREE. A phrase I’ve heard more in recent years but don’t recall seeing in a crossword before (which is not to say that this is actually a first appearance).
  • 50a [Cake tier] LAYER. Are these actually synonymous in cake terminology? I’m thinking layers are all the same size, while tiers are stepped.
  • 14a [Winner over rock, loser to scissors] PAPER. <casting a sidelong glance at rock in the clue>
  • (I looked for a more realistic, large-scale version of the statue, but found only this as part of a playset proposal in the Lego Ideas pages.)

    27a [Creative works made with little bricks] LEGO ART.

  • 31a [Ocean] SEA. Right above the homophonic SEE of 36-across.
  • 44a [Had a meal at home] DINED IN. We typically see ATE IN in crosswords.
  • 61a [Worked in a weedy garden] HOED. Two Saturdays ago I did some of that—the material was full of ROCKS and roots, and the soil was clayey.
  • 65a [The mating game?] CHESS. The sole question-mark playful clue of the entire crossword.

Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 5/27/24 – Shechtman

Easier than I was expecting for a Monday, more like a Friday NYT than the typical MonTNY’s challenge level that’s beyond SatNYT.

My favorite entry here is MR. DEMILLE, from this scene which I’d never actually seen before. (Haven’t seen many of the 1950s classic films, actually.)


Three clues that caught my eye:

  • 20a. [Workplace initiative that might include employee trainings or fair-pay analysis, for short], DEI. Diversity, equity, and inclusion. It seems to be the right wing’s current bugaboo, having supplanted “critical race theory” as the buzzword to get all het up about.
  • 42a. [Film critic André to whom François Truffaut dedicated “The 400 Blows”], BAZIN. Because Bazin died while they were filming the 1959 movie, apparently. Will even 1% of New Yorker readers/solvers know this one right off the bat?
  • 43d. [Building that might have a dedicated transit stop], ARENA. I guess? Chicago’s got a Sox/35th L stop, but the stop by Wrigley Field is simply named for Addison Street. The United Center is a few blocks from the Illinois Medical District stop.

Not so keen on some of the shorter fill, like French TETES, TASSE, SENAT, TARTE (four is too many!), obsolete EMAC, BEGOT (biblical usage skews heavily begAt), ECOL and other abbreviations.

Did not know: 51d. [House with a famed Bar suit], DIOR. Here is a page of Dior Bar jackets.

Three stars from me.

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33 Responses to Monday, May 27, 2024

  1. JohnH says:

    Tennis I know, but that term in the NYT I didn’t. Wasn’t hard to get, though. The only thing that slowed me up was wanting to differentiate a scripting language (interpreted) from a programming language (compiled), but the clue is fine, honest.

  2. David L says:

    Nice Monday theme, but I thought there were a few unMondayish entries — GOLDENSET (never heard of it), DOESKIN, OVULE, and BEARD (as clued; what if you’re a young Amish man, eager to be wed, but incapable of growing the appropriately thick and bushy beard?)

    I always thought the coding language was just JAVA but computer stuff is not something I know a whole lot about (I wrote a big program in Fortran 77 back when it was the hot new thing, but that’s about the end of my expertise).

    • Eric H says:

      GOLDEN SET was new to me, too, but it wasn’t hard to get with a few crosses.

      I’ve never been able to grow a decent-looking full beard, but I assume the Amish will accept whatever wispy facial hair a guy can muster. I hadn’t known that factoid before, but it doesn’t particularly surprise me.

    • Dallas says:

      Right; JAVA and JAVASCRIPT are two different languages.

  3. spiderplant says:

    NYT was very similar to a recent LAT (if memory serves…), which was the elements of putting on a play.

  4. Dan says:

    NYT: This was one of my fastest Monday solves, a little under 5 minutes.

    (For me, that’s an achievement.)

    It was fun to be so speedy, but the next time I looked at the puzzle, the timer registered *hours*, not minutes.

    Although when closed the puzzle displays the star indicating that it’s been solved, now when it is opened the timer reads 17 hours plus, probably the time elapsed since I began the puzzle.

    I completely fail to comprehend how the NYT can continue to foist ultra-buggy software like this on its subscribers, and leave ultra-annoying bugs like this one unfixed for years on end.

  5. Gerald A. Connell says:

    NYT It seems I’m the only one who is familiar with GOLDENSET. But I used to play a lot of tennis.

    • sanfranman59 says:

      I’ve followed professional tennis pretty closely for much of my life, but don’t remember hearing of GOLDEN SET before today. I did a little research and wasn’t surprised to learn that it’s only happened twice in history at the top level of tennis. But I was very surprised to learn that one of those times was at Wimbledon in 2012.

  6. sanfranman59 says:

    Uni: For the record, the clue for GRAND SLAM isn’t quite correct (“Serena Williams’ achievement”). Not to detract in any way from her singular achievements, but technically speaking, Serena didn’t win the GRAND SLAM, which is winning all four of the Grand Slam events in the same calendar year. She did hold all four major titles when she won Wimbledon in 2015 because she won the last of the majors the previous year (the 2014 US Open) and the first three in 2015. It was referred to as a “Serena Slam” (similar to what was called the “Tiger Slam” in golf in 2001, after Tiger Woods won the first major, the Masters, that year). Only five singles tennis players in history have won all four events in the same calendar year (3 women and 2 men) and it’s only happened twice since 1968, when the majors began allowing professionals to compete for the titles (referred to as the “Open Era”). Margaret Court did it in 1970 and Steffi Graf in 1988.

    So ends your tennis history lesson for the day. You’re welcome.

    • sanfranman59 says:

      Oops … my bad … that was in the USAT, not the Uni puzzle.

    • Anne says:

      Actually Rod Laver completed the Grand Slam twice, in 1962 and again in the Open Era in 1969. Centre Court at Melbourne Park (home of the Australian Open) is named the Rod Laver Arena in his honour.

  7. Mutman says:

    NYT: While Novocaine was used widely by dentists in the past, it has been long replaced by Lidocaine. Not sure why it is stilled clued as a current drug.

    • dh says:

      “Novocaine” is one of those words that (to me, anyway) is going down the road of “Kleenex”, “Xerox”, “Popsicle” and others. Less of a brand-name or specific kind of drug, more of a generic term for “Please give me something to numb my mouth before you start to drill!” (I’m sure I’d have far fewer moments like that if I cut down on my Popsicle intake).

      • JohnH says:

        Besides, it’s still a “dentist’s anesthetic” even if it’s not the current drug of choice.

  8. Eric H says:

    New Yorker: Maybe they went easy on us because of the holiday, but I would call today’s offering “moderately challenging.” I didn’t see a lot of gimmes (though they were there), but I got a toehold a third of the way in and steadily built off of it.

    It’s always nice to see a “Sunset Boulevard” reference. Such a great movie!

    • Lois says:

      I know others are suffering, but I love these puzzles.

      • Eric H says:

        I liked today’s well enough. I just miss the harder puzzles we used to get on Mondays.

    • Gary R says:

      I agree about the challenge level – I think this would have been a Tuesday puzzle a few months ago. I’m rarely on Ms Shechtman’s wavelength, but the only answers I got entirely from crosses were BAZIN, RITA and GSN. There were a few mis-steps along the way, but alternating acrosses and downs, I made steady progress.

  9. JohnH says:

    TNY easy for a Monday (maybe comparable to one of the easier NYT Friday puzzles). But there were things to liven it up considerably, like the middle stack.

  10. Papa John says:

    I heard on TV that saying “Happy” Memorial Day is inappropriate. Memorial Day is a time to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who served in the U.S. military. It’s a solemn occasion. That makes sense but what’s a more correct way to greet someone for this holiday?

    • Papa John says:

      There’s a slew of suggestions on Google.

    • sanfranman59 says:

      For me, this day is one where it’s inapt to greet anyone with reference to the holiday. It’s a somber occasion that is intended to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. It’s a day for reflection, not for celebration.

      • Dan says:

        I completely agree.

        But this issue pales in comparison with the fact that almost all major U.S. holidays are now 3-day weeekends (thanks a lot, tricky Dick), so people no longer pay attention to what is being commemorated.

        How is it remotely possible that we have no holiday dedicated to the memory of Abraham Lincoln?

  11. Lois says:

    TNY: BAZIN (co-founder of the magazine Cahiers du Cinema) was a super-gimme for this mediocre, not-well-read solver. It fit well with the too-large number of French words, which pleased me anyway. Do we have to rate entirely fairly, or according to how much fun we have? Since Amy says she hasn’t seen that many movie classics of the 1950s, that tallies with not knowing Bazin. Wikipedia says he started writing in 1943 and died in 1958. He certainly wrote a lot about American films.

  12. RICHARD TAUS says:

    I’m a physician who has administered local anesthetic about 50,000 times. I’ve used NOVOCAINE only two times. I also construct crosswords intended for physicians and one grid had NOVOCAINE and CORTISONE in mirror-image locations. My clue for both was “Patients request it but rarely get it.”

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