Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Jonesin' 6:50 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni) 


NYT 3:58 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal 5:56 (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


WSJ 4:52 (Jim) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “50%” — half of them are the same. – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 5/28/24

Jonesin’ solution 5/28/24

Hello lovelies! This week’s Jonesin’ includes four 10-letter entries in which half the entry consists of a single letter.

  • 17a. [Wrigley brand discontinued in the 1990s but brought back in 2004] HUBBA BUBBA
  • 57a. [Group that covered “Venus” to hit the 1986 charts] BANANARAMA. Robert van Leeuwen of Dutch band Shocking Blue wrote the song that was released in 1969.
  • 11d. [Suspended animation that’s really cold] DEEP FREEZE
  • 29d. [1999 Cartoon Network title trio] ED EDD N EDDY

I enjoy how two of these include consonants as the repeated letter, and the entries with the repeated vowels do no contain any other vowels.

Other things:

  • 26d. [Shape-shifting spirits in Scottish folklore] KELPIES. They look like horses but can take human form, and lead children to lochs and other bodies of water in order to eat them. Charming!
  • 21a. [___ seat (enviable position)] CATBIRD. Catbirds tend to choose the highest branches for perches.

Until next week!

Lisa Senzel & Jesse Goldberg’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Soft Landings”—Jim’s review

Theme answers (in the Down direction) end in a word that can precede “tone” in various colloquial phrases. The revealer is TONE DOWN (36d, [Make milder, or an apt description of the ends of the starred answers]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Soft Landings” · Lisa Senzel & Jesse Goldberg · Tue., 5.28.24

  • 3d. [*Bit of facial jewelry] NOSE RING. Ring tone.
  • 9d. [*Belief espoused by some science deniers] FLAT EARTH. Earth tone.
  • 17d. [*Bodyguards] HIRED MUSCLE. Muscle tone.
  • 29d. [*Dashboard tuner] RADIO DIAL. Dial tone.

Works for me. Solid theme set with in-the-language theme answers and base phrases.

In the fill, I was on the fence with “HOW ABOUT…?” but it’s grown on me since I first filled it in, so I’m cool with it. But I definitely like “OH, BOO HOO!,” ORBITER, SOLOMON, WEENIE, LAP DOG, AVATARS, GYM RAT, and HIT PIECE. Didn’t know DOUGIE [Dance fad of the early 2010s], but my dancing days have long since passed.

Clues of note:

  • 1a. [California county with hundreds of wineries]. SONOMA. The glass of wine I just polished off (it’s still Memorial Day as I write this), is from boutique winery Jessup Cellars in Napa, next door to SONOMA. If there are any typos in this post, that’s why. Highly recommended. #drunkblogging
  • 33a. [Humorist Sedaris]. AMY. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think of AMY Sedaris more as a comedian or a comedic actress since she’s had numerous acting roles, whereas her brother David is strictly known for his humor writing.

Solid grid with enjoyable long fill. 3.75 stars.

Chris Leatherberry’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 5/28/24 – no. 0528

The theme revealer is WATER / SIGNS, 38a. [With 42-Across, zodiac trio that hints at the longest answers in this puzzle]. Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio are the water signs (even though scorpions are more desert bugs than water!). Actual signs you might see that pertain to water include WASH HANDS BEFORE / RETURNING TO WORK, WARNING: HIGH TIDE (Midwesterners don’t encounter this one!), and CAUTION: WET FLOOR. I feel like the revealer is worded in a way that’s tough for a Tuesday puzzle.

The inclusion of 70 theme squares (four 15s plus the 5/5 revealer) does crowd the grid, and there’s some fill I’m surprised to see in an early-week puzzle. NAIAD can’t use “water” in its clue so it’s a tad tangential with [Mythical river nymph]. A WADI is a [Dry streambed]. [Famed fireman Red] ADAIR wrangled oil well fires. Lots of other proper nouns besides ADAIR: ACCRA, ETNA, BEA Arthur, child murderer Richard LOEB, German ’80s singer NENA, EVIE Sands, pagan religion WICCA, EDEN, Meredith VIEIRA, RODAN, TED Lasso, ASA Hutchinson, and the moon of Saturn DIONE.

Rather alarming entry: 6d. [Someone you might be reluctant to give a hand to?], CANNIBAL. Gross. Crossing a child murderer, too.

2.5 stars from me.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 679), “Do the Right Triangle Thing!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 679: “Do the Right Triangle Thing!”

Hello there, everybody! Summer is all but here! Hope all is well with you and that you had a good long weekend.

There’s geometry in math, in crossword puzzles and, for this grid, types of triangles appearing at the very end/right side of each of the four theme answers.

  • WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE (16A: [“I can’t think of a downside here!” {right triangle alert!}])
  • HAMILTON BERMUDA (25A: [Picturesque harbor city in the Atlantic {right triangle alert!}])
  • HONEYCRISP APPLE (41A: [Popular farmers market fruit that sells out fast {right triangle alert!}])
  • DON’T BE SO OBTUSE (52A: [“Your insensitivity is unnecessary! {right triangle alert!}])

This was a tougher grid than many of the other that I’ve done in a while, and it didn’t help that I left “What’s Not to Like” as the first theme answer for a while. At least that was the case until knowing VIVALDI had to be an answer, so that freed things up a bit (10D: [“The Four Seasons” composer]). This past weekend was the biggest weekend of the year in motorsports, with both the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 taking place, so very interesting to see both car-related entries COOLANT (5D: [Engine fluid]) and OCTANE in the grid (7D: [Gas rating number]). DBA, a.k.a. doing business as, is familiar to me, but definitely a chance that a few solvers might have needed the crossings to get it (50D: [Corp. alias shorthand]).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: GRAF (31A: [“Golden Grand Slam” winner Steffi) – It’s an Olympic year, so Australian Open singles winners Aryna Sabalenka and Jannik Sinner have a chance to pull off what Steffi Graf did 36 years ago: win each of the four majors and an Olympic gold medal. In the tennis tournament in Seoul, Graf defeated Gabriela Sabatini in the gold medal match. (Graf also defeated Sabatini in the US Open final that year.)  Graf lost just three singles matches in the entire year of 1988, two to Sabatini!

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

Take care!


Kate Chin Park’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 5/28/24 • Tue • Park • solution • 20240528

It appears that the New Yorker‘s crossword difficulty level remains in flux. Yesterday’s and today’s were very easy while last week’s were noticeably tougher than they had been of late.

  • 14a [“Psych!”] NOT. 59a. [Pessimist’s reply to “Nothing bad has happened”] YET. Or, as Homer Simpson corrected a moping Bart: “The worst day of your life so far.”
  • 17a [Whiny response to “Clean your room: or “Finish your broccoli”] DO I HAVE TO? 22a [What a group of noisy kids may be asked to use] INDOOR VOICES. 41a [Response to “Are not!”] AM TOO!
  • 40a [The Golden State Warriors, to fans] DUBS. News to me, not that I’m in a position to know. Presumably short for ‘W’, itself the initial of the team’s name—and aspirationally for ‘wins’?
  • 44a [Author of the novels “Freshwater” and “The Death of Vivek Oji”] AKWAEKE EMEZI. A very New Yorker entry.
  • 48a [Stamp collector?] PASSPORT. Cute clue.
  • 3d [“The Mighty Ducks,” “D2: The Mighty Ducks,” and “D3: The Mighty Ducks,” collectively] TRILOGY. Not exactly creative titling, and I think that’s the point of the clue.
  • 6d [Fantastic beyond belief] TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. Grid-spanner.
  • 12d [Name that reverses to another name] LEON. I never noticed this before.
  • 38d [Pop-up kitchen item?] TOASTER. Not much of a misdirection.
  • 50d [“Auld Lang __”] SYNE, which is in Lowland Scots, not Scottish GAELIC (19a [Language spoken in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides]).

Barbara Lin’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

A quick one today – we’re headed out for the next stop on our Baseball in California road trip.

Another one where the fun of the theme is all in the revealer. This is not a complaint.

Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2024, Barbara Lin, solution grid

  • 20a [Hard core exercise?] is PLANK POSITION. This is true. Ouch.
  • 27a [Conference room activity] is a STAFF MEETING.
  • 45 [Portal to another level] is ELEVATOR DOOR. That made me giggle.
  • 53a [Postgraduate pursuit] is a MASTERS DEGREE.

And the revealer: 58a [“Not so fast!,” or what one can do with 20-, 27-, 45-, and 53-Across] is HOLD IT. Nice!

I thought I learned a new fact from 18a [Polish brand at a nail salon] – I didn’t know that OPI came from Poland. And then I realized I had the wrong word in my head. Not Polish – polish. Can I blame the jet lag?

Universal Crossword – Matt F’s Review

Title: Study Time!
Constructor: Kevin Shustack
Editor: Taylor Johnson

Universal Solution 05.28.2024

The theme content here is all over the grid, so I’ve done some highlighting on the accompanying image to tie things together for those who like a visual aid.

Theme Synopsis:

Several “tests” have been “taken” from the theme answers, resulting in punny phrases. Each test is in the grid and clued as a mini reveal for its partner entry:

  • 23A – Test the constructor took to create 20-Across? = SAT
    • 20A – Result of committing a faux pas, perhaps? = SOCIAL IRE (social satire)
  • 13D – Test the constructor took to create 25-Across? = ACT
    • 25A – A movie called “Lithium Weapon,” for example? = ION FILM (action film)
  • 56D – Test the constructor took to create 35-Across? = GRE
    •  35A – Handle for a social media account followed by coral enthusiasts? = AT BARRIER REEF (great barrier reef)
  • 49A – Test the constructor took to create 46-/53-Across? = GED 
    • 46/53A – Serving platter for a Shakespearean king? = THE TRAY OF MACBETH (the tragedy of macbeth)

Overall Impressions

Nice concept here. The in-grid phrases don’t really pack a punch, but they work in service of the the theme. I think when the omitted letters only come out of one word, it makes the resulting phrase less impactful. For instance, The Tragedy of Macbeth is a proper Shakespearian title, sure, but “GED” is only affecting the 2nd word. If TRAY alone was in the grid, the thematic effect would be the same. So anyway, with that nit aside, I think the construction here is really good. The fill is very clean, especially considering the theme constraints. I imagine it might have been tricky to optimize the placement of the tests, since there are plenty of 3-letter slots to choose from. INVEIGLES isn’t the shiniest bonus word but it is a tricky one to spell. STREET ART was my favorite among the longer bonus words, and I thought RIDIC at 37D was a fun bit of slang to find in a crossword.

Thanks for the puzzle, Kevin!

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24 Responses to Tuesday, May 28, 2024

  1. Barnyard says:

    NYT. Pretty confident I will not be the only solver who considered crossing NENA/WADI and NAIAD/RODAN is pretty rough stuff for a Tuesday puzzle.

    • JohnH says:

      Not to mention VIEERA / EVIE (as opposed to Edie, and I also didn’t know of ARENA football, although I figured it had to be that). I just felt lucky to have pulled DIONE and WADI out of memory of I wouldn’t have come within a letter (that V) of finishing. For what it’s worth, I didn’t know what a mat is in golf either, but this too had to be what it is.

      • dh says:

        +1 from me. I’m more bothered by VIEIRA/EVIE than the others, as both are pop culture trivia leaving less chance to fill with crossings (though in my case, I’d never heard of “WADI” or “NENA” either).

        I generally like discovering new words or new usages, but crossing two obscure words in the same genre seems unfair. I own (and continue to own) my lack of retention for pop stars and rappers, but gimme a chance!

      • Gary R says:

        I have to think Meredith VIEIRA is fair game, even on a Tuesday. She’s been on TV for probably 40 years – and on some pretty popular programs: 60 Minutes, Today, The View, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and at least occasionally on NBC Nightly News. I’m sure she’s been in the NYT puzzle before.

        NENA/WADI is a tough crossing on a Tuesday. I happen to like “99 Luftbaloons,” so NENA was a gimme (except I always spell it NiNA on the first try).

        I know NAIAD only from crosswords and Spelling Bee – have never encountered it in the wild. And I’ve seen bits and pieces of RODAN movies on TV over the years, but I don’t know how recently he/she/it has been in theaters. Agree – tough for Tuesday.

        • dh says:

          I’m not saying any of these entries aren’t fair game. (I’ll leave it to the pros to determine if this level of difficulty is appropriate for a Tuesday). My objection is to the crossings. If I know nothing about a genre or category, I like a *little* help with the crossings – if only to be of a different genre. While NENA/WADI was a tough crossing, it was less unfair IMHO.

    • Dallas says:

      Agreed; a bit of a rough go.

  2. Jenni Levy says:

    I was really startled by the LOEB/CANNIBAL crossing, and not in a good way.

    • Martin says:

      It’s interesting that for both you and Amy, the crossing made it worse. For me, two downer entries are two downer entries, regardless of where they occur. Loeb was a psychopathic child-killer, but not a cannibal. To be honest, I never even noticed they crossed. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but I seem to experience the grid one entry at a time. That’s probably why dupes don’t bug me.

  3. dh says:

    Can someone please explain the theme of the Universal puzzle? I cannot make the connections between the 3-letter “Test the constructor took…” clues and the theme answers.

    • PJ says:

      The 3-letter standardized tests have been removed from common phrases. Wackiness ensues

      SAT has been removed from SOCIAL SATIRE. GRE has been removed from GREAT BARRIER REEF, etc.

      • Dh says:

        Thank you.

      • Mr. [very] Grumpy says:

        Stupidity, not wackiness. Apologies in advance if that offends anyone but it was my reaction.

        • PJ says:

          Not sure I understand your antipathy for this theme. It starts with three in the language phrases that are shortened when the constructor ‘takes’ a well known test from each. We’re left with three phrases that make humorous sense when combined with the clues.

          My ding would be I don’t normally see the @ sign spelled out.

    • Eric H says:

      Just yesterday, I did a 2006 BEQ puzzle from the NYT archives called “Missing Persons.” The idea was the same, except instead of acronyms of standardized tests, the letters removed from the phrases were short names like “Ian.”

      A theme like that is a great argument for highlighting the paired theme answers. If you can’t make the theme work for you, you might as well be solving a themeless puzzle.

  4. ProbablyObtuse says:

    Are the triangular pastries I’ve only heard called “apple turnovers” also called “apple triangles” in some areas? Or is there some other meaning that I’m missing?

  5. DougC says:

    NYT: On the West Coast of the USA, as in many oceanside locales, high tide happens twice a day, every day (mostly). I’ve visited said coast many times, in locations from San Diego to Cape Flattery, and I’ve seen warning signs for “sneaker” waves (for storm watchers), rip tides, and high surf; and caution signs that advise “check tide tables” before proceeding around a headland that can be cut off when the tide comes in. But I don’t recall ever seeing WARNING HIGH TIDE in five decades of coastal excursions. Not saying that they don’t exist somewhere, just that such signs are outside my (considerable) experience, and I’m skeptical that they are common.

    • PJ says:

      I had much the same thought. Maybe it’s used in a location with dramatic tide differentials like the Bay of Fundy

    • Eric H says:

      A couple of comments on the NYT Wordplay column were accompanied by photos of signs warning of high tides. But I don’t know how common they are.

  6. Mutman says:

    NYT: I thought HANNIBAL (Lecter) was the 6D answer because I never get those capitals correct.

  7. Andy G. says:

    Dubs is a shortening of “W,s.”

  8. marciem says:

    Jenni: “I thought I learned a new fact from 18a [Polish brand at a nail salon] – I didn’t know that OPI came from Poland. And then I realized I had the wrong word in my head. Not Polish – polish.”… best laugh all day :D :D … Reminds me of old joke about lady in the beauty supply looking to off her husband who was from Warsaw… They advertised “Discount Polish Remover”.

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