Friday, June 14, 2024

LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT 3:37 (Matthew) 


Universal 4:21 (Jim) 


USA Today tk (Darby) 


Robyn Weintraub’s New York Times crossword—Matthew’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 6/14/24 – no. 0614

Always in for a treat when we see Robyn Weintraub’s name, particularly on a Friday. And indeed, we’ve got two elements I strongly associate with her grids: pinwheeled pairs of long entries, and a number of spoken phrases as entries: THERE’S MORE, DON’T REMIND ME, THAT’S THE SPOT, STAND STILL.

The cluing was a highlight for me; I don’t think this puzzle would be out of place as an AVCX Themeless. I particularly liked [Paper for an animator, perhaps] ART DEGREE, [Where to find a set of small hammers] PIANO, and the “That’s no moon” quote for DEATH STAR. Some interesting trivia entries that cut across knowledge bases, too: THAI [Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana]; ETHEL Barrymore; a less common angle for LIMA, Peru; Joe TORRE; DEET; Radiohead album PABLO Honey. I’m not quite sure it’s “something for everyone,” but it’s well along that direction.

I do wonder a bit about the northwest corner, where ETCH / THAI / ETHEL / LEOPOLD are in tight quarters and contributed to a slow start for me. Perhaps that won’t be a common experience. Regardless, an engaging medium-difficulty themeless to kick the weekend off, here. Cheers.

Aidan Deshong’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 6/14/24 • Fri • Deshong • solution • 20240614

There’s a tacit step to this anagram-based theme.

  • 63aR [BAN, and an apt title for this puzzle?] GET MIXED UP (ban ≈ nab = get).
  • 17a. [TEN?] TANGLED WEB (ten ≈ net = web).
  • 27a. [DIS?] SHUFFLED CARDS (dis ≈ IDs = cards).
  • 48a. [ORE?] SCRAMBLED EGGS (ore ≈ roe = eggs).

Something a little bit different. I liked it.

  • 7d [Laser tag sound] PEWpew! pew!
  • 30d [Swiss cheese?] FRANC. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to ‘cheese’ as slang for money.
  • 41d [Got behind something?] HID. Cute.
  • 55d [High scorer on a pH test] BASE. I’ve recently used peat moss in an effort to make some soil more acidic.
  • 14a [@ home?] EMAIL. I’m not 100% clear on how the clue works, but it got me to the answer easily enough.
  • 40a [Groundhog Day omen] SHADOW.

  • “¿De dónde __?] ERES (‘Where are you from?’)
  • 70a [Network that airs the Slippery Stairs World Championships] ESPN. Do I want to know? I don’t want to know.

General observation: the fill contained quite a lot of proper names, especially those of actors.

“All Mixed Up” • Brendan Croker and the Five O’Clock Shadows

Gary Larson and Amy Ensz’s Universal crossword, “Taking on Debt”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are common words that have added IOUS, thus causing them to become wacky two-word phrases. The revealer is IOUS (37d, [Payment promises … and what each of the starred clues’ answers have acquired?])

Universal crossword solution · “Taking on Debt” · Gary Larson and Amy Ensz · Fri., 6.14.24

  • 16a. [*Unusual tirade?] CURIOUS RANT. Currant.
  • 24a. [*Inflamed argument?] FURIOUS ROW. Furrow.
  • 35a. [*Suspicious “smart” technology?] DUBIOUS A.I. Dubai. Not usually a fan when a theme answer relies on an abbreviation or acronym, but this one works rather well.
  • 49a. [*Ungodly comedy routine?] IMPIOUS ACT. Impact.
  • 60a. [*Significant bad habit?] SERIOUS VICE. Service.

I like this theme. It has inventive wordplay and each created theme answer has good surface sense with logical clues with dashes of surprise and humor thrown in for good measure. I’m not sure the revealer is wholly necessary, but the title is well chosen and makes a good basis for the theme. Nicely done.

We don’t get any marquee long Downs in the fill, but the stacks of 7s in the corners are solid. Highlights include MALL RAT, SPY SWAP, RAISINS, and the serendipitous stacking of BRITISH and ATTACHE.

Clue of note: 6a. [Television award whose name derives from the image orthicon camera tube]. EMMY. Yeah, I stopped reading the clue after “Television award”.

Good puzzle. 3.75 stars.

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

23 Responses to Friday, June 14, 2024

  1. Aidan Deshong says:

    I’m curious: if you did the LAT puzzle (which I made), which of these is accurate?

    1) understood the theme mid-solve
    2) understood the theme post-solve only
    3) didn’t understand the theme, had to look it up

    I feel like this theme is harder to deduce than usual, and this could be good feedback. Thanks! Be honest! I get paid the same whether you liked the puzzle or not :) this is just to help me improve as a constructor

    • VB says:


      I solve and construct cryptics on occasion, and I remember a guideline somewhere that it is not fair to make the solver figure out a word and then anagram it, so a clue like “Betty’s first scrambled eggs make a hole” for B+ORE would not be acceptable. Of course, this puzzle is much easier because the scrambled part is given and because it has more crosses than a typical cryptic.

      Good health to all.

    • MattG says:

      I figured it out mid-solve but the phrases were so obvious with a few crossings that I didn’t actually use the theme to figure them out.

    • PJ says:

      I figured it out pretty early. The theme and the grid were pretty easy (8:09 solving time). I don’t usually solve cryptic puzzles and I think this would be a good introduction to one type of clue. I enjoyed it.

    • pannonica says:

      My first instinct at 17-across was to enter TANGLED NET, but the crossings immediately nixed that. Once WEB was clear, the theme clicked right away.

    • John O says:

      Mid-solve–on the ‘scrambled eggs’ answer. I liked the puzzle and came here today solely for the answer to this question.

    • Gary R says:

      Didn’t get the theme until post-solve. But the themers were easy enough to infer after a few crosses that I didn’t spend much time thinking about it. From the adjectives in the theme answers, I assumed it was something anagram-based (not my forte) and after I was done, with only three-letter words to anagram, it was easy enough to figure out.

    • Mr. [not at all] Grumpy says:

      Caught the theme at the first one and used it in maybe half the others. More fun to find a themer on its own rather than using the crosses. Nice puzzle.

    • sanfranman59 says:

      Thanks for your interest in feedback from solvers, Aidan.

      I don’t usually pay much attention to themes in puzzles unless I get stuck, often don’t figure them out until after I’m done and sometimes need to come here to understand a theme. I did pick up on this one about halfway through and it probably helped me a little in getting through the rest of the grid. I finished with an Easy-Medium solve time for me with a Friday LAT puzzle (9% below average).

      FWIW, my biggest speed-bump was confidently entering ‘MORal’ instead of MORSE at 1-Across and sticking to it for way too long. That error probably cost me about a minute of stare time.

    • Kate says:

      Mid-solve for me, too. I figured out the theme by the crosses and didn’t use the clues. Fun puzzle, thanks!

    • Eric H says:

      I had no idea what the theme is. Having read the write-up, I understand it, but I could’ve stared at it for hours and I don’t know that I’d have gotten it.

      But I solved it pretty quickly anyway, based on the letter patterns in the theme answers.

  2. Dan says:

    NYT: I love Robyn Weintraub puzzles — typically Friday puzzles — but had been thinking that maybe I was onto her tricks, since her last several puzzles didn’t strike me as killers, by any means.

    This one disabused me of this conceit. It was as always entirely fair, but presented me with considerably more of a challenge than her other recent puzzles did.

    Loved it!

    • Mr. [just a bit] Grumpy says:

      I don’t think I would use “fair” in referring to the clue for 41A, and 4D was an uncommon usage as well, but it was not a bad puzzle. Not my favorite RW, however.

    • Eric H says:

      I know what you mean about being onto Ms Weintraub’s tricks. I frequently feel the same way, but then she’ll throw a curve ball like ART DEGREE.

      It’s hard to know if her puzzles are getting easier. I started regularly solving about four years ago, and my times on Weintraub puzzles from back then are typically twice what they have been in the last year.

    • Gary R says:

      Different experience for me – fastest Friday in quite a while. Got off to a fast start when a bunch of the across answers in the top half of the puzzle went in with no crosses, including OPERA HOUSE and BEER BATTER. So when I switched to the downs, I had a lot to work with. Pretty smooth all the way through – no real stumpers – and some fun cluing.

      The only unknowns for me were LEOPOLD, PABLO and LOA.

    • Dallas says:

      I was doing okay until the SW corner; not sure why it was so bad, but I messed myself up by putting in TROT instead of GAIT, which made IRISES impossible, even though I thought it should be IRISES… eventually got it all figured out, and still a little under my usual Friday time, so that’s good. Fun puzzle all around.

    • JohnH says:

      A hard Friday (and not the only one in recent weeks) but in a good way, often clever and with fair crossings. Very nice.

      I wasn’t aware of an iPod Touch ever existing, but iPod’s themselves are hardly obscure, and it was fun to be tricked before discovering that “Touch” must be a proper name. Of course, there are other, no doubt more common reasons for a redaction than hiding, but it works, and the crossings made it sufficiently apparent.

      • Gary R says:

        I thought “Redacted, say” –> HID was pretty straightforward. When I think of something being redacted, it’s usually names/details from some official government document. When you see photos of those official documents, the names/details usually haven’t been removed, they’ve been “hidden” behind blocks of black ink.

  3. Dan says:

    PS I am surprised to see one person’s name (Matthew) next to the solving time (3:37) for the NYT puzzle at the top of today’s page, although the review of this puzzle is by a different person (Amy).

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      The review isn’t by me, it’s by Matthew. And he solved the puzzle quite a bit faster than I did! I posted the solution grid prior to the review, though.

Comments are closed.