Wednesday, June 5, 2024

AV Club 5:41 (Amy) 


LAT 5:26 (Gareth) 


The New Yorker tk (Kyle) 


NYT 4:36 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today 8:43 (Emily) 


WSJ 8:23 (Jim) 


Robert Charlton’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “In the Ozone”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases except the final word has an added O, causing crossword wackiness.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “In the Ozone” · Robert Charlton · Wed., 6.5.24

  • 18a. [What you might do underfoot if your kids don’t put away their toys?] BREAK A LEGO. Ha! Not likely. Those things are indestructible without tools.
  • 24a. [Seriously tough cookie?] IRON OREO. Good clue.
  • 37a. [Party down?] GO OUT ON A LIMBO.
  • 53a. [Orderly wrestling?] TIDY SUMO. This one has a noticeable pronunciation change, but I like the idea of some sort of choreographed sumo match.
  • 59a. [Mafioso who gets away clean?] SHOWER CAPO. Meh. I’m not so keen on this clue. If one is in the shower, one is not “getting away.” [Mafioso who comes clean?] has more surface sense IMO.

I picked some nits there, but I enjoyed the theme. Nothing groundbreaking here, but a fun theme is a fun theme. Good choices of theme answers and mostly effective clues with some humor sprinkled in there. Nice job.

Fill highlights: SASHIMI, BAGUETTE, OBAMA ERA, and PEEWEE. I resisted GLOM ONTO as clued [Appropriate, informally] because I wasn’t sure if the clue was a verb or an adjective (it’s a verb). “NO, YOU ARE” is mostly annoying (in more ways than one), and I had no idea with old name LOUIS NYE and newer name KUMAIL Nanjiani. I also had to infer the MLS CUP. Can’t they come up with a better name for their ultimate trophy?

Clue of note: 23a. [First in a 25-film series]. DR. NO. Coming up with that D was tough since there’s no indication of an abbreviation in the clue.

Good puzzle. Four stars.

David Rockow’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 6/5/24 – no. 0605

The theme revealer clue is 37A
State of order that this puzzle fails to achieve?], and that’s DUCKS IN A ROW. The circled letters spell out TEAL, MALLARD, EIDER, and a RUBBER duck, each with a letter in the wrong row. Touch of whimsy with that rubber duck in the mix.

Fave fill: FLAT-EARTHER, ARMOIRES, PUFFIN, GRANDMA. Not so keen on suffix –PEDE, abbrev HGT, comparative INANER.

Two wordplay clues I wasn’t expecting:

  • 14a. [Feeling that can be caused by the final three letters of this answer], NAUSEA (alluding to seasickness).
  • 14d. [____-violence (really tearing into an Indian appetizer?)], NAAN. Highly irregular!

3.5 stars from me.

Em Handy’s AV Club Classic crossword, “Downward Spiral”—Amy’s recap

AV Club Classic crossword solution, 6/5/24 – “Downward Spiral”

In Em Handy’s AV Club Classic debut, the theme revealer is 13d. [Bad Twitter (RIP) habit depicted in the circled letters of this puzzle], DOOMSCROLLING. The letters in DOOM cycle around in a “downward spiral” fashion in the Down themers BALLROOM DANCE, SITCOM DOG, and STORM DOOR, OOMD to OMDO to MDOO to DOOM. Fair enough, though one can certainly argue that SITCOM DOG isn’t really an idiomatic thing unto itself.

Fave fill: MOVE OUT, British BUM BAG.

Favorite clue: 54d. [Company whose new logo prompted a spike in Google searches for “KN car”], KIA. Ha! Here’s an article about why that redesigned logo is bad. Kia introduced the logo three years ago and it still takes me aback.

3.5 stars from me.

Emma Oxford’s Universal crossword, “Draw a Conclusion” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 6/5/24 • Wed • “Draw a Conclusion” • Oxford • solution • 20240605

Needed to consult the title to hasten my understanding of the theme. Each of the starred answers ends with an item that can be drawn. (19a [ __ moment] AHA.)

  • 16a. [*Bluntly] POINT BLANK (draw a blank).
  • 39a. [*Popular clique] IN CROWD (draw a crowd).
  • 59a. [*The forest, as opposed to the trees] BIG PICTURE (draw a picture).
  • 10d. [*Public facility in the Muslim world] TURKISH BATH (draw a bath).
  • 24d. [*Cold War “boundary”] IRON CURTAIN (draw a curtain).

These all work well.

  • 3d [“Gimme __!” (start of an Iowa State cheer)] AN I. Indicative of the easy pitch of the cluing in this puzzle.
  • 7d. [“Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe” painter] MANET. Famous for being an early example of a work depicting a nude in an everyday, contemporary setting rather than a classical one—it was somewhat scandalous at the time.
  • 34d [Man of many words?] ROGET. The only question-marked clue?
  • 43d [Like questions that can’t be answered] UNASKED. Makes sense.

Caroline Darya Framke & Olivia Mitra Framke’s USA Today Crossword, “Predators of the Deep” — Emily’s write-up

*Jaws theme music*

Completed USA Today crossword for Wednesday June 05, 2024

USA Today, June 05, 2024, “Predators of the Deep” by Caroline Darya Framke & Olivia Mitra Framke

Theme: each themer starts with the name of a predator and ends with the name of a sea creature


  • 16a. [Shrimp relative with stripes], TIGERPRAWN
  • 30a. [Sea creature with a large wingspan], EAGLERAY
  • 46a. [Long fish with canine teeth], WOLFEEL
  • 59a. [Crustacean with spindly legs], SPIDERCRAB

Wow! What a themer set! TIGERPRAWN filled in easily for me but I needed some crossings for EAGLERAY, WOLFEEL, and SPIDERCRAB. The second and third themer were new to me but everything as crossed fairly. I knew the last one was a crab but forgot the varieties. For the predators, they begin with: TIGER—, EAGLE—, WOLF—, and SPIDER—. For the sea creatures, they end with: —PRAWN, —RAY, —EEL, and —CRAB. Plus, four themers—amazing!

Favorite fill: ESPOSA, ESPRESSO, AIDA, and SEOUL

Stumpers: EMOJI (tricky cluing for me this morning), CARO (tricky cluing for me this morning), and EASEL (thought of every other tool/resource)

A wonderful puzzle that’s bound to make waves. One of my new favorite themes and themer sets, for sure, and check out the numerous lengthy bonus fill and excellent cluing and overall fill. Bravo! I hope we see more collabs from these two! Loved it!

5.0 stars


Joe Deeney’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Joe Deeney’s puzzle theme is a typical LA Times type: the final long entry is WISECRACK, and WISE is split WI/SE at the beginning and ends of four answers:

  • [No matter the outcome], WINORLOSE
  • [Pairing at a cocktail party], WINEANDCHEESE. I only ever hear it as CHEESEANDWINE??
  • [Presidential warm-weather getaway], WINTERWHITEHOUSE. Cagily clued.
  • [Peripheral with a dongle], WIRELESSMOUSE.

Favourite clues and answers were an OASIS described as spot for a much-needed drink and quaint colloquial WRITEME.

Tricky answers, new and old:

  • [Nevada whose mystery novels are set in national parks], BARR. Apparently the sleuth is “Anna Pigeon”.
  • [Chestnut horse], SORREL. Regional term.
  • [Publicist’s recommendation, perhaps], DENY. I guess this is more a personal thing, but I had publicist and publisher mixed up and was trying to figure out why they’d specifically “deny” a publication.
  • [Style that includes designer yoga pants], ATHLEISURE. Portmanteau, so inferrable.
  • [Onetime breakfast option marketed by a 1980s TV icon], MRTCEREAL. Who knew that existed? Again able to be inferred from its parts…
  • [“Behold!” of old], ECCE. Seen rather rarely in puzzles.


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22 Responses to Wednesday, June 5, 2024

  1. Barry Miller says:

    NYT and WSJ, both terrific puzzles.

  2. marciem says:

    NYT: Fave fill “Deigns”. I just like that word :)

    gotta disagree with Amy, I really dislike “inaner”… it sounds like a schoolyard taunt to me… “neener neener”. I say “more inane” when I mean stupider.

    • David L says:

      I don’t think I have ever seen an INANER clue than the one for NAAN…

      Nice puzzle apart from those two!

      • marciem says:

        *”I don’t think I have ever seen an INANER clue than the one for NAAN”* …LOL!
        Yes, it was a nice puzzle, and I got a smile from the Naan clue/answer. I also liked the whimsy of adding the Rubber Duck to the mix.

      • DougC says:

        To each their own, I guess. I thought the clue for NAAN was the funniest part of this puzzle! Clever and cute, just like including RUBBER in the collection of ducks. David’s off-beat sense of humor shining through.

        • JohnH says:

          I very much liked it — in a very nice puzzle at that. I did briefly wonder it it were a theme clue and looked for a very different theme.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      You missed the beginning of that sentence, Marcie: “Not so keen on” INANER! I agree it’s not the way most of us would convey “more inane.”

      • marciem says:

        oops… I did miss that, I thought it was in your “fave fill” list :). So we agree!

      • marciem says:

        that really was my bad there, I should have looked more closely when I saw that listing (darn skimming reading), since I KNOW you have better word sense/taste than that :D.

  3. In today’s LA Times, 49-A, thirteen letters, “Peripheral with a dongle.” I think the clue must be in error. Or am I missing something?

    • Art Shapiro says:

      I think a little bit of artistic license works here. Sure, the mouse itself doesn’t have a dongle. But when you purchase it, the package comes with a dongle. I was willing to give this one a pass.

    • sanfranman59 says:

      Wireless Bluetooth mice and keyboards can work with a dongle that connects to a computer’s USB port.

    • Martin says:

      Purists note the difference between “wireless mouse” and “BlueTooth mouse.” A BlueTooth mouse needs no dongle, as it uses the computer’s built-in BT connectivity. A wireless mouse uses its own connectivity, with a dongle housing the receiver.

      Most devices are BT-enabled these days, so wireless mice are somewhat obsolescent. But older laptops of both PC and Mac persuasion might need one.

  4. JohnH says:

    I liked the WSJ, even though I couldn’t tell you without looking it up who Nye and Nanjiani are. Nice theme! Not sure why the ratings are a bit negative, but no doubt there aren’t enough of them to make the rating meaningful.

    TNY is as usual “beginner friendly” and so easier than I’m sure we’d like, but some nicely idiomatic long entries.

    • John Lampkin says:

      JohnH, you answered the question yourself with the first sentence. Having those two and BRANDI all lined up next to each other was nasty evil. The “rule” is that proper names should be gettable from the crossings. These weren’t and marred an otherwise fun solve. I myself knocked a point off the score.

      • JohnH says:

        Ah yes. Brandi too. Quite right. I still liked the puzzle overall.

      • Gary R says:

        BAO seems like it could be a tough crossing there. Maybe MLS CUP, too. But gosh, at some point, you need to have some knowledge of the world around you! BRANDI Carlisle is pretty darned famous. For an old fart like me, LOUIS NYE is familiar (I seem to recall him as “Louie”). I had to get KUMAIL from crosses, but I thought they were fair.

    • David Roll says:

      I would hazard a guess that the low ratings were because of Louis Nye and Nanjiana. Good Grief!

      • Eric H says:

        I didn’t know either of those names, but I didn’t find the crossing particularly difficult. But Mr. Nye is past his sell-by date. (His face is vaguely familiar, but it’s from 1969’s TV.)

  5. McD says:

    Are the black squares in the ACVX supposed to be a frowny face to support the doomscrolling theme? Way more black squares than you’d usually find in such a puzzle.

    • Eric H says:

      It hadn’t occurred to me that the AVC X might have grid art, but I can see that as sort of a face.

      I didn’t actually count the black squares, but it looks like there are about 46. That’s high, but it doesn’t seem like “way more” than a typical 15X15. (Today’s NYT has 42 blocks.)

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