Friday, June 7, 2024

LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT untimed (Amy) 


Universal 3:53 (Jim) 


USA Today tk (Darby) 


Alice Liang & Christina Iverson’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 6/7/24 – no. 0607

Solved this one while chatting on the phone, so we ignore the timer.

Fave fill: SOAPBOX PREACHER (Chicago has had a street preacher who’d set up shop in the Loop with a boxy loudspeaker; does he count?), BIAS CUT, SURFEIT, “OH, HELL NO,” IN A GOOD WAY, CRUMBS, ALBUM ART, ROBIN HOOD, TRIPLE SEC, ACT OF LOVE, AUDRE Lorde, DEEP DISH pizza, and OMELETTE with the fun clue, [Litmus test of a chef’s basic culinary skills]. I watch Top Chef and that has come up a few times.

Three more things:

  • 6d. [God father?], PADRE. As in a priest, a godly dude people address as Father?
  • 21d. [Actor McLaughlin of “Stranger Things”], CALEB. Had to look him up. Here’s his Wiki bio.
  • 24d. [They might be pint-size], BEERS. In a pint glass, literally! 16 ounces of beer is hardly pint-size in the idiomatic sense.

Four stars from me.

David Levinson Wilk’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 6/7/24 • Fri • Wilk • solution • 20240607

We’ve got a 16×15 grid today.

  • 59aR [Impatient person’s comment, or an apt title for this puzzle?] I HAVEN’T GOT ALL DAY.
  • 18a. [“Whew! I was so worried the Kahlo was counterfeit!”] THANK GOD IT’S FRIDA (Friday).
  • 30a. [NFL document intended to protect the secrets of the Big Game?] SUPERBOWL NDA (Sunday).
  • 45a. [Retro-chic style that originated with the family of a movie charioteer?] THROWBACK HUR (Thursday).

The removed letters—positions, quantities, etc.—don’t follow any pattern, nor do the remaining letters, aside from their sequentiality. But they are recognizable once the theme is apprehended, in part because the original phrases are strong.

  • 3d [ __ moss] PEAT. I need to get some to change the pH of some soil to be more acidic. Probably later this morning, in fact.
  • 13d [No-frills grocery chain] ALDI. I wish I liked their products better.
  • 28d [Moor] HEATH. Needed some crossings to determine weather this was nautical or rural.
  • 41d [“Get serious”] BE REAL.

  • 43d [Sked placeholder] TBD, ‘to be determined’. Sked is schedule. In our headers we use tk, which indicates to come. Such abbreviations and initialisms have intentionally odd spellings to hopefully ensure that they aren’t mistaken for actual copy.
  • 56d [College basketball coach Barnes] ADIA. Historically we’ve seen this entry as the Sarah McLachlan song. She’s recently been in the news with a comeback of sorts.
  • 21a [Re-tiring workers?] PIT CREWS. Between the question mark and the hyphen, this was a snap.
  • 35a [Competition with pros?] DEBATE. This one wasn’t as transparent.
  • 48a [Oxford Word of the Year for 2021] VAX. In the midst of the first waves of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paul Coulter’s Universal crossword, “Letter Openers”—Jim’s review

Let’s start by looking at the theme clues. Each one is a familiar two-word phrase that starts with a word that is a homophone of a letter. The second words hint at the theme answers which start with the alluded-to letter. Got it?

Universal crossword solution · “Letter Openers” · Paul Coulter · Fri., 6.7.24

  • 17a. [Em dash?] MAKE TRACKS is a rough synonym of “dash” and starts with M.
  • 27a. [Tee shirt?] TURTLENECK is a shirt that starts with T.
  • 43a. [Bee lines?] BLANK VERSE are lines that start with B.
  • 58a. [Gee whiz?] GIRL WONDER is a whiz that starts with G.

Nice theme. I didn’t slow down enough to fully understand it during the solve, but enjoyed the aha moment afterwards (as well as the title). My only hiccup was with GIRL WONDER which I thought might be a nickname for Batgirl, but it looks like it’s just a generic term for a girl with mad skillz.

SHAN YU from “Mulan”

Fill highlights: SNOW BANKS, CALL CENTER, ICE WINE, AUDIENCE, SPOON REST, and YUKS IT UP. I also enjoyed putting in SHAN YU [Villain in 1998’s “Mulan”], one of my favorite Disney-animated films. I have to give a meh to IN HI-DEF and maybe even to GOOD AS HELL. Does anybody ever say that?

Clue of note: 25a. [“Long ___ …”]. AGO. Since we’re already talking about animated entertainment with an Asian background, I must note that I can’t read the phrase “long ago…” without hearing it in the voice of the villainous Aku at the beginning of Samurai Jack, as performed by Oscar-nominated Japanese actor Mako.

Good puzzle. 3.75 stars.

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14 Responses to Friday, June 7, 2024

  1. Dallas says:

    NYT: Pretty fun fill today; the top half went in pretty quickly, then the bottom took a while to get… ended up getting the PREACHER part before figuring out SOAP BOX. I’ve actually been to OLIN so that was a gimme, though CALEB I had to get from the crossings. ROBIN HOOD has a fun clue too.

    • David L says:

      I liked the puzzle but had the opposite experience — the section with the Alicia Keys song, MINEsomething and BARG???? was the final area I filled in. I don’t know ‘quarters’ in this context and my recollection of Indiana Jones movies is sparse.

      I didn’t know BIASCUT and I have no recollection of OBAMANIA — Obamamania, perhaps.

      • DougC says:

        +1. Loved some parts of this puzzle, esp. the long acrosses I DID INDEED, SOAPBOX PREACHER, and IN A GOOD WAY. Did not love the unpronounceable OBAMANIA, which I do not remember that way.

        But that NW corner, with its NFL player, two actors, 40-year-old movie factoid, pop album title, and unknown BAR GAME, was way too trivia-dense, and ultimately un-doable for me.

        • Papa John says:

          Where’s Will Shortz when we need him?!?!

        • Gary R says:

          Guess I was lucky in the NW corner. I didn’t know either actor but, in a rare event for me, the movie trivia was from a movie I’ve actually seen (and a scene I actually recall). I like Alicia Keys’ music, but tend to know individual songs as opposed to album titles – but with a few crosses, I could pull it up. Never heard that nickname for AMON RA St. Brown, but know his name (and his brother, Equanimeous St. Brown – also an NFL receiver) – so the clue made sense.

          My Mom did a lot of sewing when I was a kid, so BIAS CUT was recognizable. That helped out in another recent puzzle, when RAGLAN sleeves came up. Thanks, Mom!

          • Eric H says:

            My mother did a lot of sewing, knitting, and embroidery when I was a kid. So I can usually figure out crossword answers that touch on those crafts without much trouble. I couldn’t have told you that cutting fabric on the bias was a feature of couture dressmaking, but I know what it means and why it would be a technique that is not used for mass-produced clothing. (And I have a pretty good idea of what a raglan sleeve is.)

            I haven’t seen the Queen movie, as I am not a fan of their music, but RAMI Malek is about as gimme an answer as I get. I had much more trouble with MINECART, even though I did see the (very disappointing) Indiana Jones sequel.

  2. Dan says:

    There are currently broken links on the names (NYT, LAT, etc.) of Friday’s puzzles.

  3. MattF says:

    NYT was on the challenging side, NW corner was last to finish. I kept trying to fit EMIRATE for Muscat, but not enough letters. A nice puzzle.

  4. JohnH says:

    I’m one who found the NYT a hard Friday, with Obamania odd and the NW (as I am and everything to it’s left) difficult to impossible.

  5. Eric H says:

    NYT: Fun puzzle that was a little harder for me than most NYT Fridays of late. The center bottom are was particularly sticky, as I had no idea what the “Backpedaling qualifier” was going to be until I had several letters.

    We watched all of “Stranger Things,” but I usually need a few crosses to get any of the cast members other than the ones I know of from way back, like Winona Ryder or Matthew Modine. So I felt a bit smug when I could plug in CALEB without much hesitation.

    I’ve never heard of OLIN College, but MIT didn’t fit.

  6. Burak says:

    Surprised by the low rating for the NYT. I guess the trivia was right up my alley so it didn’t bother me. The fill was quite fresh and even though the cluing was on the easier side, it was still fun.

    • Eric H says:

      Low ratings here never surprise me. I don’t know what criteria people use to rate puzzles, but the ratings here for any given puzzle are typically lower than what I would rate it.

      Some people here will knock a rating down a half star or more because there was one clue they didn’t like or a crossing they found particularly hard. To me, that’s ridiculous.

      • Ollie G says:

        Think this one deserved a low rating. I haven’t tried the Sat today yet, but I imagine this is another week of Joel’s where the Fri is harder than the Sat. Just some clunky clues and very difficult words for me here.

        NW corner as others have said is just bleh. 3D, 5D, and 21D are icky especially when crossed with the clue “Quarters” for bargame. Felt very Saturday to me. 40A and 46A are tough vocab words, and I had OHHECKNO crossed by ACTOFCARE (was a bit sus about this but thought why not) and had 55a as REPS for a bit as a result. Anyway, definitely tough for a Friday. I nearly PRed last Friday and this one was wayyyy different. The inconsistency can sting.

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