Wednesday, June 12, 2024

AV Club 7:10 (Amy) 


LAT 4:54 (Gareth) 


The New Yorker 2:43 (Kyle) 


NYT 4:15 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today 9:28 (Emily) 


WSJ 7:22 (Jim) 


Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Shifty Business”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar two-word phrases of the form [Adjective] [Noun ending in Y], except the Y has “shifted” to the end of the first word.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Shifty Business” · Mike Shenk · Wed., 6.12.24

  • 17a. [Trade show where everybody’s smiling?] TOOTHY FAIR. Tooth fairy.
  • 25a. [Supersized member of a carillon set?] PORKY BELL. Pork belly.
  • 35a. [Fancy button on Stengel’s baseball uniform?] CASEY STUD. Case study.
  • 47a. [Role best suited for a ham?] STAGY PART. Stag party.
  • 56a. [Burlesque Boas Company, say?] PLUMY BRAND. Plum brandy.

Fine wordplay which I found to be enjoyable though not necessarily lol-funny. “Stagy” and “plumy” are uncommon enough to look forced, but it can’t have been easy to come up with this theme set. I performed a little search and could only come up with one potential theme answer: IRONY LAD. Think you can find some more?

The stacked 7s in the corners yield these highlights: BOOTS UP, KIPPERS, and HASHTAG.

Clues of note:

  • 5a. [Unable to eat another bite]. SATED. Do people use this word in this way? I typically see it as a synonym of “satisfied” not as a synonym of “completely full.”
  • 54a. [Sweat producer]. TOIL. The clue led me to PORE which made that whole SW corner difficult to untangle.

3.5 stars.

Simeon Seigel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 6/12/24 – no. 0612

Cute theme for what is apparently a few days before Father’s Day, which just snuck up on me. Each themer includes something you call a male parent, or something that relates to dadhood. There’s a DAD JOKE clued as [Pop corn?], fun. PATERNITY TESTS are [Pop quizzes?]. THIS OLD MAN is a [Pop song?]. [Pop wisdom?] clues FATHERLY ADVICE, and your dada is in DADAISM, [Pop art?]. The theme clues’ consistency elevates the puzzle.

Fave fill in this 16×15 grid: PEEVISH, NONSENSE, LOVE TAP among cars, the pool’s DEEP END, and an etymological ROOT WORD (I enjoyed this recent RobWords YouTube video on the roots of European country names).

Long day, got miles to go before I sleep so I’m checking out. Four stars from me.

Patrick Berry’s New Yorker puzzle – Kyle’s write-up

Thanks Patrick for today’s New Yorker crossword. This puzzle was a pleasure to solve–full of interesting entries and clues, pitched right in the ‘beginner-friendly’ range yet not so easy that the grid filled itself in.

The New Yorker solution grid – Patrick Berry – Wednesday 06/12/2024

Triple stacks of OUTER SPACE/STAR CHARTS/TO BE HONEST and BIDDING WAR/AROUND HERE/COLD SPELLS should be studied by anyone who wants to learn how to construct a themeless puzzle. I love the juxtaposition of OUTER SPACE and STAR CHARTS; the latter’s clue [Celestial maps] also seems to echo CLOUD ATLAS. A brilliant use of repeated clues for consecutive entries is seen with two variations of [___ Joe] which leads to GRANDPA and SLOPPY (the clues have additional parentheticals, which I’ve omitted, that provide more context and ease up the trickiness).

Learning moment: I knew first-place ribbons were BLUE, but not that second-place ribbons are RED.

August Miller’s Universal crossword, “Breaking Trail” — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 6/12/24 • Wed • “Breaking Trail” • Miller • solution • 20240612

Container time, although we’re to interpret it differently.

  • 60aR [Ended a relationship … and a hint to this puzzle’s theme] PARTED WAYS.
  • 18a. [*Place to argue a case] COURTHOUSE (course).
  • 24a. [*Initial guess] ROUGH ESTIMATE (route).
  • 39a. [*Relaxing rub for a pregnant person] PRENATAL MASSAGE (passage). Google returns nearly three million hits for the phrase.
  • 51a. [*2006 dark fantasy film written and directed by Guillermo del Toro] PAN’S LABYRINTH (path).

To be explicit, these synonyms for ‘way’ are parted by the internal letters of the words/phrases.

  • 13d [Chick sound] PEEP, 23a [Domino dot] PIP.
  • 31d [“Pressure” singer Lennox] ARI. New ARI to me.
  • 36d [Likely locale for an earthquake] FAULTLINE. Vaguely theme-adjacent, to my eye.
  • 47d [Iditarod vehicle] SLED. 22a [Olympics sled] LUGE. eep.
  • 9a [So inclined?] STEEP. Yep.
  • 14a [Speck of dust] MOTE, 15a [Ink stain] BLOT.
  • 17a [The “U” in UX] USER experience.
  • 30a [Frustrated cry] GAH. Can confirm (but not while working this easy crossword).

Rebecca Goldstein’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Rebecca Goldstein provides us with a very cute theme today: FLAVORTOWN is imagined as a place with several smaller locations named after foods:

  • The APPLESTORE, [Workplace for some Geniuses].
  • A WAFFLEHOUSE, [Breakfast chain with a museum in Decatur, Georgia]
    On SESAMESTREET, [Home to Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus]
    with a OLIVEGARDEN, [Restaurant with a Never-Ending Pasta Pass].


  • [Country on the Arabian Sea], OMAN is currently competing in the Men’s T20 World Cup in USA & the West Indies…
  • [Candy mixed with Coke in a chemistry experiment], POPROCKS. I associate that with Green Day, otherwise it’s MENTOS?
  • [Turn a certain corner in Monopoly], PASSGO. Favourite answer.
  • [The lay of the land?], TOPOLOGY not sure why that needs a “?” exactly.


Hanh Huynh’s AV Club Classic crossword, “I Swear!”—Amy’s recap

AV Club Classic crossword solution, 6/12/24 – “I Swear!”

What a fun theme! When you render a swear word with assorted non-letter marks, that’s called GRAWLIX, and there are three theme entries in which the dirty words have been replaced by punctuation marks, etc. The symbols work in the crossings.

18a is TOUGH *S&! (tough shit). The crossings are *NSYNC, MA$E (I had to Google to get this one), AT&T, and “YO!” as part of an MTV show’s title. 5d HAUL &$# (haul ass) crosses M&A (mergers & acquisitions), KE$HA (some years ago, she dropped the dollar sign and is just Kesha), and the hashtag #TBT (throwback Thursday). Last, you’ve got 64a @&$! BUDDY (fuck buddy) crossing “don’t @ ME,” M&MS, and Rocky A$AP (aka Mr. Rihanna). This was delightful, and it’s the sort of theme a newspaper just can’t run.

Favorite clue: 39d. [Google competitor, bless their heart], YAHOO! I quizzed my husband on this clue. He got it on the first guess. This one also amused me: 50d. [Likely response to “Are you certain you want to pass on the extended warranty?”], “I’M SURE.”

4.75 stars from me. Fun and a memorable theme idea!

Amie Walker’s USA Today Crossword, “Flip Side” — Emily’s write-up

Lots of goodies in this puzzle!

Completed USA Today crossword for Wednesday June 12, 2024

USA Today, June 12, 2024, “Flip Side” by Amie Walker

Theme: each themer contains —EDIS— (a backwards, or “flipped”, side)


  • 16a. [Sink fixture for handling food waste], GARBAGEDISPOSAL
  • 37a. [“Do you really require further details?”], NEEDISAYMORE
  • 60a. [“High Hopes” band], PANICATTHEDISCO

A mixed themer set today with GARBAGEDISPOSAL, NEEDISAYMORE, and PANICATTHEDISCO. All were easily filled with a few crossings to get me started. The theme took me a couple of minutes afterward to see though it was simple enough to spot since the first two kind of line up, though the third is slightly shifted over.

Favorite fill: FISHTACO, CATTREE, and ALICIA

Stumpers: LOB (needed crossings) and PUGH (also needed crossings)

A nice grid with lots of great fill and cluing. Not sure why it took me a bit longer to solve, as there’s nothing particularly tricky about it—I was just a bit off.

3.5 stars


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15 Responses to Wednesday, June 12, 2024

  1. Art Shapiro says:

    The NYT posted seven minutes ago. I don’t see how there could be 44 ratings already!

  2. DougC says:

    NYT: Easy and mildly amusing. More like a Monday or Tuesday puzzle IMO.

    Not seeing large numbers of either ratings or content comments on Wednesday morning.

  3. Gary R says:

    NYT: Maybe a little easy for a Wednesday, but I was entertained by the theme. Clue/answer for PATERNITY TEST was my favorite. I thought [Pop wisdom?]/FATHERLY ADVICE was a little weaker than the others – “pop wisdom” doesn’t seem as much in-the-language as the other theme clues, so the pun falls a little flat for me.

    Overall, a pretty good Wednesday.

  4. John says:

    NYT: DADAISM bugged me, since the DADA in question isn’t anything to do with fathers or fatherhood, unlike the other answers.

    • JohnH says:

      I don’t share the objection. Even if you see it as chosen at random as a nonsense syllable rather then as what a mere infant might say and a swipe at the patriarchy, surely it’d leave one to read anything into it one likes.

      OTOH, I don’t care for the entry. Dada ny itself is already an ism.

    • R says:

      THIS OLD MAN isn’t about a father either.

  5. Franck says:

    WSJ: You made me curious, Jim, so I cracked open my OED to see if I could find any more that fit the pattern (limited to the themer lengths in the puzzle).

    Was able to find a few that work: MALTY WHISK, BEEFY JERK, SLEEPY STUD, BEACHY PART, BLOCKY PART. SLIMY SHAD and GAMEY READ don’t fit the noun requirement for the second word, and ARTY COLON might be hard to clue.

  6. Eric H says:

    AV Club: I sort of got the grawlix idea, but the answers that use a grawlix could have any symbols in those squares and the entries that share those squares are almost entirely from pop culture that’s I’m not really up on. For example, I knew but forgot about the dollar signs in KE$HA and A$AP Rocky, the exclamation point in YO! And the asterisk in *NSYNC. I ended up revealing more answers than I would have liked.

    It’s a fine idea for a theme, but the reliance on pop culture to make it work just took a lot of the fun out of it for me.

  7. Jono says:

    AV Club:
    Figured out the GRAWLIX trick pretty quickly, but unable to fully solve it as the Crosswords app on iOS has no ability (that I can find) to enter special characters beyond numbers or accented vowels 😒

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