Sunday, June 2, 2024

LAT tk (Gareth)  


NYT 13:28 (Nate) 


USA Today tk (Darby)  


Universal (Sunday) 23-something (Jim) 


Universal tk (norah) 


WaPo 521 (Matthew) 


Luke K. Schreiber’s New York Times crossword, “Typecasting” — Nate’s write-up

06.02.2024 Sunday New York Times Crossword

06.02.2024 Sunday New York Times Crossword

-100A: DASHED HOPES [S-O-L-O and L-A-N-G-E?]

In today’s puzzle, common phrases are repurposed as celebrities being clued typographically, hence the “Typecasting” title. Pretty straightforward with some fun finds and a solid number of theme entries – an enjoyable solve with solid fill all around!

In a rush to head off to my first Pride event of the summer, so that’s all for now. What did you think of the puzzle? Let us know in the comments – and have a great weekend!  And to all the LGBTQ+ legends out there – Happy Pride!

Evan Birnholz’ Washington Post crossword, “Let Me Give You a Hand” — Matthew’s write-up

Evan Birnholz’ Washington Post crossword solution, “Let Me Give You a Hand,” 6/2/2024

.pdf and Amuse Labs solvers get the full effect of Evan’s theme this week – if you solved from a .puz file, your theme clues were names of playing cards, in all caps, while in other formats, they were actually images of the cards themselves. In this writeup, I’ll use the text versions:


A fun theme conceit, especially with a first clue-entry pairing that has definitely been used before, in and out of themes. The rest rang novel to me, particularly DRAG ARTIST, the [QUEEN OF CLUBS], which took longer than the others to set in but is my favorite. [TEN OF DIAMONDS] to MOHS NUMBER sits a little less smoothly in my brain, but it’s a small nit.

Each theme entry contains a circled letter. From top to bottom, they spell ACE HIGH, the ‘hand’ promised by the puzzle’s title.

Away from the theme, I enjoyed a number of colorful entries in this one, and had a pretty smooth and connected trip through the grid. TRIPLE A, PATTY MELT, PUERILE (I just like the word), and the echoed clue [Tenor’s choral colleague] for ALTO and BASS were highlights for me.

Owen Bergstein and Jeff Chen’s Universal Sunday crossword, “Emerging Pride”—Jim’s review

It’s June, so a Happy Pride Month to you! Today’s puzzle features the letters LGBTQIA (plus a “plus”) as letters COMING OUT of the left and right side of the grid. The answers to the starred clues (sans their beginning or ending letters) are still valid—though unclued—crossword entries. The dual revealers are COMING OUT (94a, [Announcing one’s true LGBTQIA+ identity … like 16 entries on the sides of this puzzle]) and THE CLOSET (107a, [Metaphorical locale for concealed identities, as depicted by black squares at the bottom of this grid]).

Universal Sunday crossword solution · “Emerging Pride” · Owen Bergstein and Jeff Chen · 6.2.24

  • 1a. [*Labor technique] (L)AMAZE / 11a. [*Bit] MORSE(L).
  • 20a. [*Vegas strip activity] (G)AMBLING / 23a. [*Dramatic finale] SWAN SON(G).
  • 31a. [*Item that gets cast] (B)ALLOT / 40a. [*Fidelity alternative] SCHWA(B).
  • 53a. [*Area 51 or Los Alamos] (T)EST RANGE / 52a. [*Level below ground] BASEMEN(T).
  • 60a. [*Hosts of the 2022 World Cup] (Q)ATARIS / 75a. [*Backyard cookout, in short] BAR-B(-Q).
  • 76a. [*New Yorker, or New York center] (I)SLANDER / 80a. [*Media for some children’s art] MACARON(I).
  • 105a. [*Spoiler in the family, perhaps] (A)UNTIE / 109a. [*Big ___ (howitzer nickname)] BERTH(A).
  • 118a. [*More luxurious, as velvet] (PLUS)HER / 122a. [*Extra] SUR(PLUS).

Impressively done! That’s a lot of theme material to pack into the edges of the grid, and I like a lot of the finds, especially (L)AMAZE, SWAN SON(G), and MACARON(I). I had a hard time grokking the PLUSes in the last row, but eventually the light bulb came on.

I will admit to not having figured out how the “black squares at the bottom” of the grid depict THE CLOSET. Is it the four black squares in the bottom row that the clue is referring to, or is it the vertical stacks of the three black squares at the bottom center of the grid? Neither of them speak “closet” to me and no entries are missing any “closet” letters in the way the main theme answers are missing letters.

Hmm. With another glance, perhaps THE CLOSET is the doorframe-looking collection of black squares surrounding both theme revealers. (And note the two big plus signs on either side of it.) I’m betting that’s it, but still, the clue probably could’ve been worded a little more clearly.

Moving on, I love the stacks and crossings of long fill throughout the grid. Highlights include “I CAN HELP,” AD SLOGAN, TEEN ANGST, PLATEAU, NEED A NAP, ANTONIO, FIBONACCI (that entire center section with no theme material is beautifully filled), IDEA MAN, CONTESSA, NEOPHYTE, NAUSEATE, “ONE LOVE,” IGNOBEL, ROLL AWAY, TAPENADE, and CRESCENT. That’s a lot of great stuff!

NO BONES is a rather meh answer to [Feature of some wings], but it would be too long of a partial from the phrase, “No bones about it.” And speaking anatomically, after coming across plurals TIBIAE and TALI, I instinctively wanted AORTAE instead of AORTAS at 99d. That felt a little awkward.

Clues of note:

  • 57a. [Passes through someone’s legs, in soccer lingo]. MEGS. Needed every crossing for this one. Where does that come from?
  • 110a. [Go astray, as a soccer ball]. ROLL AWAY. Another soccer reference? Is this another insider term? Because if it’s not, it looks pretty random. Why not clue this as the bed type?
  • I like that both MOMS (2d) and DADS (77d) appear in the grid and each gets the same clue [Pair for some families].

Impressive grid, both in the theme and in the fill. A lovely debut from Owen Bergstein assisted with the guiding hand of editor Jeff Chen. 4.25 stars.

This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Sunday, June 2, 2024

  1. Eric H says:

    NYT: Fun, clever theme. I figured out what was going on with 22A QUOTATION MARKS, and since I knew most of the names in the clues, a good chunk of the theme answers were gimmes. I zipped through most of the grid without any problems.

    But that NE corner seemed to take as much time as the rest of the grid. I’m sorry, but 21A TV TAPE is green paint. The correct term is videotape. My undergrad degree was in Radio-TV-Film, but I mostly studied TV production.

    24A WEAR IN is also suspect to my ear. You “break in” shoes and you wear clothes, especially jeans, until they’re nice and soft. But “wear in”? (Confession: Most of my clothes are past being worn in and are virtually worn out.)

    I hate trying to make sense of long Down answers, and what little I knew about 15D O PIONEERS! didn’t have the setting any more specific than “the American Midwest.” So I had a difficult time making sense of that.

    But even after fixing the NE corner, I still had an error. I finally saw that 77A wasn’t YES It is but YES I DID. That’s what I get for not checking 62D IN A DEAD HEAT. (55D SALADIN didn’t look too wrong with a T instead of a D.)

    Happy Pride Month, Nate! Here in Austin, the Pride Parade is in August, because, you know, it’s so hot in June here.

    • Mutman says:

      +1 on TV TAPE.

      My error was at PATINAS/TAJ cross. I guess my hat store hadn’t been featuring TAJs since I’ve gone there.

      I’m sure they’ll be complaints at 46A, since my paper version has the ‘jumps’ visible, but the app does not.

      All in all, nice Sunday puzzle!

    • Gary R says:

      Another +1 on TV TAPE.

      I have heard (and used) WEAR IN, but I agree that “break in” is more common.

      Same error on YES I DID, but I was still puzzling over IN A DEAD HEAT at that point, so I caught it.

      I must have filled in JUMPING JACKS without really reading the clue, so I didn’t notice that my JACKS weren’t JUMPING.

      Spent way too much time on 16-D/29-A – I got TEN from crosses, and kept thinking of it backwards – trying to come up with a number that looks like 1010.

      It was the rare Sunday theme that was entertaining enough that I felt it was worth solving the whole thing.

    • JohnH says:

      I didn’t care for TAJ, WEAR IN, or TV TAPE either, and I thought at first that “on me” meant my treat, not my mistake, confusing me in that W section.

      No, many of the names were decidedly not familiar to me (soccer, free-form wrestling, etc.) and made the puzzle no fun. A lot of looking things up after I was done to confirm them, all tedious. In any case, as usual, if the theme’s all names I’d have hoped for fewer outside the theme entries. Oh, well. I guess they’re all gimmes to some, and theme execution is nice enough.

      I was tempted before I had the theme fully nailed to try “tight Genes,” but of course homonyms like that would not have gone with the theme, and JEANS, it turned out, made an appearance anyway.

    • Eric H says:

      TAJ is a great word to play in Scrabble if you can do it in a way that doubles or triples the J.

    • DougC says:

      Yet another +1 for TV TAPE, one of the worst entries in recent memory.

      I’m also going to call foul on ION clued as “solar wind particle.” I suppose an argument can be made that this is technically true, but that is quite misleading, because in practical terms the solar wind is made up almost entirely of electrons, protons and alpha particles. It contains only trace amounts of ions.

    • Dallas says:

      I agree; that NE was such a slog because I couldn’t convince myself that TV TAPE was correct, nor WEAR IN. And even though I read O PIONEERS in college, I couldn’t see it… oh well. Otherwise a fun theme and fun solve. Happy pride everybody!

  2. David L says:

    I printed out the NYT and was perplexed by the clue for JUMPINGJACKS, as it was simply “LORD and KEMP?” A clever theme anyway, and I can’t blame the constructor for the NYT’s technological problems.

    I agree that some of the fill was more than iffy — TVTAPE in particular, but also WEARIN, as Eric says, and I’d add MUCKER* to the list.

    Was the clue for JERKS — ‘preserves in slices, as meat’ — a misprint? Should be ‘preserves in spices,’ surely.

    *In northern English slang, a mucker is your pal. I believe it comes from the Army, where soldiers ‘mucked in’ together, meaning that they all ate together, slept in the same tents etc.

    • Eric H says:

      I don’t eat jerky, but isn’t it typically (or at least often) made from sliced meat?

      My late sister-in-law owned a horse and got a break on the stable fee by mucking out stalls, so that was a gimme.

      • David L says:

        I was thinking of Jamaican-style jerk chicken, which I guess is not what the clue is hinting at. But when I see jerky at the supermarket it usually comes in narrow plastic-wrapped cylinders, so I don’t know how it’s made (like you, I don’t eat it).

        • Gary R says:

          Those plastic-wrapped cylinders are (more-or-less) salamis, not jerky. Jerky is made, as Eric H suggests, by slicing, salting/seasoning and drying meat – and the process (like the one for the Jamaican technique) is referred to as jerking.

          • David L says:

            I’m pretty sure I’ve seen skinny cylinders (usually at the checkout display) labeled as jerky. But this is outside my expertise, and who knows what kind of industrialized, chemically treated, meat-like product is in those packages.

            • PJ says:

              You eat a Slim Jim at your own risk. But jerky from someone who knows what they’re doing is very good. My uncle and cousin made great beef and venison jerky.

      • JohnH says:

        Both dictionaries I checked specify long slices or strips. To be honest, I’d never noticed that in person, and now there’s a jerky spot right around the block.

    • JohnH says:

      Oh, right, MUCKER. I stared at the one after I got it for some time. (I first assumed they wanted “stable boy,” but that was obviously wrong in length, in overlap with the clue, and in being old-fashioned.)

  3. Martin says:

    LAT: “Bring a suit” — SUE. This is the sort of editing lapse than people often note.

  4. Mr. [just a little bit] Grumpy says:

    I loved the Universal Sunday, but that closet/black squares thing was baffling and extremely annoying. What? Where the f*** is the closet? I don’t see it. Why ruin a good puzzle with an enigmatic “clue”?

    • Eric H says:

      There’s an upside-down U of black squares above 87A POI. I take that to be the top of the closet door, with the three vertically-aligned black squares under 95D and 96D depicting the rest of the sides of the door. I think we’re supposed to ignore the lone black squares between 118A and 119A and between 121A and 122A.

      Fun puzzle anyway.

  5. David Steere says:

    WaPo: Two weeks in a row with a colorful grid and clueing. And–as with last week’s puzzle–Evan’s taken a subject I have little interest in (poker) and charmed the hell out of it. Favorite clue by far: 22 Across. Thanks, Evan. David

    • Dallas says:

      Agreed; I like non-gambling card games much better and have learned to drop in ANTE and even ON TILT when called for in a puzzle, but I liked this one a lot. Played very smoothly and very fast; I don’t think the WaPo app keeps track of times, but it felt like a near PR for me at under 14 minutes. I loved Queen of Clubs, and the direction for Three of Hearts was what I originally thought Two of Hearts was going to be. Great puzzle!

  6. marciem says:

    WaPo: “PUERILE (I just like the word)”… me too! Any puzzle with that word (or pule, another good word) gets my vote :D . I also like treacle for some reason. Don’t remember where I first encountered the word, but I read a lot of Agatha Christie and Bertie Wooster books in my youth… just seems like a British thing. Drag Artist was my favorite themer.

    I did enjoy this puzzle, even in the AL version. I checked out the app, and it didn’t make it any more enjoyable.

    Double clues also at 62d and 80d “Gotta Go” as well as the vocal colleagues mentioned

  7. Eric H says:

    WaPo: Clever puzzle from Mr. Birnholz, as expected.

    But I wish I hadn’t let the note that accompanied the .PUZ file steer me to the WaPo website. Am I the only person who finds the Amuse Labs interface extremely awkward? Half the time you can see the grid but only one clue. And for this puzzle’s theme clues, the clue shown above the grid was just a bullet point. I had to scroll down to see the image of the playing card, at which point, I could no longer see the grid.

    Also, the pictures of the playing cards didn’t display until the third or fourth time that I refreshed the page. And sometimes, the grid just won’t move to where I can see the part of it I want to see.

    Maybe it’s better on a desktop computer, but on my iPad, it’s really bad. And this puzzle deserved a better presentation.

    • marciem says:

      It was fine on a desktop, but I have difficulty with the sizing on their interface. The colorful cards really didn’t add to the fun of the puzzle (IMO). It was an enjoyable theme, good even if you are a poker-knowlittle like me (and David Steere above, I guess).

      • Eric H says:

        I enjoyed it, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had just solved it in AcrossLite. Oh, well.

    • I’m not an iOS user and I’m not going to try and play tech support guy for every possible device, but you shouldn’t have to scroll down below the grid to see the clues. They should be to the right of the grid, as they are on my desktop. If they’re not appearing there, try zooming out on the page. You can also send an email to since they’re better equipped to handle problems like this.

      Yes, you can still have solved today’s puzzle (and most WaPo puzzles) in Across Lite, but there are going to be puzzles some day where Across Lite is not a good option — and whenever the print version is significantly different from what’s presented in Across Lite, I’m still going to warn people in the Notepad about that. If you don’t want to solve on the Post’s website in that situation, then I’d recommend printing out the PDF.

      • Eric H says:

        Thanks for the suggestions.

        • Iggy says:

          +1 for Evan’s comment. I use an iPad and the Post website and just resize the page to 75% which allows me to see both across and down clues side-by-side. The grid is smaller, but that’s not a big deal.
          Cool concept Evan, btw.

          • Eric H says:

            Thanks. I may try resizing the page, but I expect your eyes are younger than mine.

            • Oh, something I missed in your earlier comment:

              And for this puzzle’s theme clues, the clue shown above the grid was just a bullet point.

              I don’t know if it didn’t show up on your iPad, but on the right side of the clue bar above the grid, you should see a blue jpg icon in each theme clue. Click on that and it will pop the picture out so you can see it without having to scroll down.

            • Eric H says:

              Thanks, Mr. Birnholz.

              Yes, I saw the icons that should have given me a picture. But every time I clicked on one of them, it failed to pull up a picture. Even more annoyingly, the puzzle locked up and I had to back out a step or two.

              As long as I have your attention: You had ALIBI clued as “Excuse in court” or something similar. If there is one place where “alibi” is going to be limited to its original meaning, it’s a courtroom.

              The Latin root is “elsewhere.” Legally, that’s what it means: “I couldn’t have committed this crime because I was somewhere else at the time you say it was committed.” A legal “excuse” would be something like “Yes, I shot the guy, but only because he was going to shoot me.”

              I’m resigned to the loose usage of “alibi” to mean “excuse,” but if that’s what the clue says, it shouldn’t mention court.

              Thanks for indulging (or at least contemplating) one of my pet peeves.

            • Iggy says:

              Maybe, maybe not. My eyes are 66 years old and I use 1.5 reading glasses.

  8. Linda says:

    Universal crossword – there’s an additional A to the left of the grid that was unmentioned in Jim’s write up. 72 across, lessen, is ABATE. Not sure if this was intentional or forgotten by the puzzle editor, Jeff Chen.

    • Seattle DB says:

      The clue is not “starred”, so it’s not part of the theme. “Bate” means the same thing as “Abate”.

Comments are closed.