Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Jonesin' 4:01 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni) 


NYT 3:03 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal 5:19 (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Square Knots” — and there’s a twist. – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 6/18/24

Jonesin’ solution 6/18/24

Hello lovelies! This week’s puzzle fits its 15×15 grid perfectly, in that the theme involves squares!

  • 17a. [Square] TOWN MEETING AREA
  • 33a. [Square] SECOND POWER
  • 42a. [Square] UNTRENDY GUY
  • 60a. [Square] SETTLE AN ACCOUNT

Other things:

  • 13a. [Guac source, casually] AVO. I haven’t eaten avocado in years, but I also can’t say I’ve heard someone call one AVO. Maybe I’m just SQUARE.
  • 1d. [“Will & Grace” guest star Bomer] MATT. He played Will’s love interest McCoy between 2018 and 2020.

Until next week!

Aaron Rosenberg’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 6/18/24 – no. 0618

The theme in this 14×15 puzzle is word affixes that connote “kinda,” tacking them on to the front or back of words that start or end with the same letters. [Kinda comedic and saucy?] clues BURLESQUE-ESQUE (though if you were really affixing -esque, you’d delete the E at the end of burlesque). [Kinda religious institution?] would be a SEMI-SEMINARY. [Kinda squishy and sting-y?] gets you JELLYFISH-ISH. And [Kinda hunchbacked figure?] is a QUASI-QUASIMODO. Playful and unexpected.

I’m not so keen on 4d. [Common sugar serving], ONE LUMP. Where is this common? Is this a U.S. thing at all?? I think most “lumps” of sugar are sugar cubes, which, on what planet is a “lump” cuboidal? At any rate, spoons of sugar, packets of sugar … is that not how sugar is provided in this country? Maybe the Brits serve sugar cubes, but calling them lumps … it’s as if they can’t even speak proper English.

38d. [Playful term for one’s female friends], GIRLIES? Good gravy. Not in my generation, I don’t think.

54d. [“Dagnabbit!,” in Düsseldorf], ACH. We don’t see much German vocab in early-week puzzles. I’d dearly love to see a dictionary or translation tool offer up “dagnabbit” as the meaning of ach.

3.5 stars from me.

David Karp’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “What’s Cooking?”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases that hide a baked item within. The revealer is BAKED IN (40a, [Inseparably included, and a hint to the circled letters]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “What’s Cooking?” · David Karp · Tue., 6.18.24

  • 17a. [Frequent pair in Christian art] MADONNA AND CHILD.
  • 23a. [Special attention, of a sort] STAR TREATMENT.
  • 51a. [“You can’t tell anyone”] “KEEP IT A SECRET“.
  • 61a. [Honesty evaluation] LIE DETECTOR TEST.

Nice! I enjoyed the revealer which made for a very pleasing basis for a theme. It was fun imagining the creators of these phrases actually “baking in” the food items into the terms, as silly as that may be.

My only nit is having both a tart and a torte. I know they’re completely different baked goods, and they don’t seem to be related etymologically, but there’s no denying they are similar words. With the great variety of baked goods in this world, I’d bet another suitable entry could be found.

FAIR TRADE and SNEAK PEEK make for solid marquee Down entries. Also good: HIATUS and ZEBRAS. I needed all three crossings for WFH [Letters for someone wearing pajama pants on a Zoom call, perhaps] which makes it WSJ debut with this puzzle.

Good puzzle with smooth fill. Four stars.

Susan Gelfand’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

This puzzle did not leave a good taste in my mouth, which isn’t the puzzle’s fault.

The theme answers do not appear to have anything in common (as is so often true).

Los Angeles Times, June 18, 2024, Susan Gelfand, solution grid

  • 17a [Fondly remembered moment] is a CHERISHED MEMORY.
  • 30a [Netflix’s “The Crown,” for one] is a ROYAL DRAMA.
  • 42a [Pretend to be asleep] is PLAY POSSUM.

And the revealer: 59a [Rice-filled appetizers with red shells, and a hint to the words that bookend 17-, 30-, and 42-Across] is STUFFED TOMATOES. I – just don’t like tomatoes. Sorry. Can’t help it. Not the puzzle’s fault!

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Paul REISER is on “Stranger Things.”

Will Nediger’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 6/18/24 • Tue • Nediger • solution • 20240618

Huzzah! This week the crossword is actually ‘moderately challenging’, and perhaps a little tougher than that!

  • 1a [First name adopted by Guy Fawkes during his time in Spain] GUIDO. Sounds like a dumb joke.
  • 6a [Financial institution with a stylized version of the Star and Stripes in its logo, for short] BOFA, B of A, Bank of America. The logo also resembles farm fields. (Also, speaking of dumb jokes …)
  • 14a [Public works program?] ART EXHIBIT. They aren’t always for the public, but of course crossword clues needn’t cover all possibilities. And this one has a question mark too.
  • 19a [Knowing, in a way] SLY. As in a grin or a look. This is a good example of how today’s crossword’s cluing is pitched to be trickier and thus more challenging.
  • 25a [Stall for Time] MAGAZINE STAND. Superb clue.
  • 39a [“Chasing people will have to be someone else’s job!”] NOT IT. I elided the specifics of the clue and tried I QUIT first. This one of several minor mis-fills that extended my solve time.
  • 40a [Buildings frequented by unpleasant visitors] HAUNTED HOUSES. Another great clue.
  • 48a [Org. that replaced the “F” in its name because of a legal dispute. WWE, which is a professional wrestling enterprise. I’ve just now learned that the E stands for entertainment. The dispute was presumably with the World Wildlife Fund, a much nobler institution.
  • 52a [Written in linguistically playful prose, like “Ada” or “Pale Fire”] NABOKOVIAN. I literally thought to myself, why use two Nabokov titles? and then the coin dropped.
  • 5d [Turn red after being exposed?] OXIDIZE. I took the bait and tried SUNBURN. Even after that, my correction was to OXIDATE, so this goes in the ledger as another of my minor mis-fills.
  • 15d [TV movie, based on a Swiss children’s novel, that notoriously cut off a 1968 Jets-Raiders broadcast] HEIDI. Even I’ve heard of the “Heidi Bowl”.
  • 22d [Youngster that’s not yet a yearling] FOAL. Incorrectly filled as COLT, because I misread the clue as ‘no longer a yearling’.
  • 23d [Problematic __ (celeb you still like despite their questionable behavior)] FAVE. Tried FACE and FAME here.
  • 24d [“To change the subject briefly …”] AS A SIDE NOTE. Here my first effort was ON A …
  • 25d [Subject of a debate as to whether or not it’s a science] MATH. Seems like a science to me, but I haven’t waded into those waters.
  • 28d [Cry in front of an audience, perhaps] EMOTE. Initially parsed the ‘Cry’ of the clue as a noun.
  • 39d [Stand-up guys?] NO-SHOWS. Does this qualify as a contranym/autoantonym?
  • 48d [Nintendo game console whose name sounds like a siren] WIIU, which I have never heard of.

Shannon Rapp + Will Eisenberg’s Universal Crossword, “It’s a Zoo!” — Matt F’s Review

Universal Solution 06.18.2024

Today we have a delightful collab from two great constructors, who seem to be really hitting their stride as a duo. It seems like whenever I see either of their names on a byline, the other one is right there with them. Let’s see what these two have cooked up for us today.

This puzzle was edited by David Steinberg, who did a fantastic job keeping things smooth as always.

Theme Synopsis:

If you are not familiar with cryptic clue indicators, especially for anagrams, well, let this puzzle be your introduction. In a cryptic clue, you’ll often see words like “crazy,” “twisted,” “shuffled,” or “mixed” to indicate that a string of letters is meant to be unscrambled in order to produce the answer. Today, Will and Shannon use the word “wild” for the same purpose. And what, exactly, is getting “wild” in today’s theme set? Well, that would be the string N-A-T-G-E-O, as in:

  • 58A: Channel with “The Incredible Dr. Pol,” and a hint to the circled letters = NAT GEO WILD

The theme answers all contain a string of these 6 letters in some mixed up arrangement:

  • 18A: Every water molecule has one: OXY(GEN ATO)M
  • 23A: Period that ended with the advent of metalworking: S(TONE AG)E
  • 37A: Wedding proposals? = CHAMPA(GNE TOA)STS
  • 50A: Game in which players fail to make contact? = PH(ONE TAG)

Overall Impressions

The spanner is a great find and seems like it could have been the impetus for this puzzle. The theme set is solid all around, with every example hiding the scrambled word across a word break. Anagram puzzles may not delight every solver, but I’ve always had a soft spot for them. They are a classic form of wordplay! LETS LOOSE and TARO LATTE are great bonus entries, and the cluing felt fresh throughout (like “Court judge?” for REF at 21D). This grid feels very open, having only 12 3-letter words and a smattering of mid-length stuff. It was fun to solve in every corner. I like the little zig zag shapes around the middle, too.

Thanks for the puzzle, Wilson Rappenberg!

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 682), “Playing With An Edge”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 682: “Playing With An Edge”

Hello there, everyone! Here is hoping you’re doing well, and that you’re preparing for the incoming heatwave that is going to grip a good part of the country tomorrow!

Today’s grid makes is all about the answers that make up the perimeter of the puzzle, as each of those words is a word that can also come before the word “stick.” Furthermore, the answer that’s smack dab in the middle of the grid, STICK AROUND, acts as the reveal (37A: [Stay put … or an alternate puzzle title suggested by 10 answers on the grid’s perimeter]).

      • CHOP (1A: [Edward Hopper’s “___ Suey”])
      • BREAD (5A: [“The Guitar Man” band])
      • FISH (10A: [Look for, as compliments])
      • HOCKEY (13D: [Word with field or ice])
      • FIDDLE (45D: [Tinker (with)])
      • GLUE (66A: [Bond choice])
      • BROOM (65A: [Flowering shrub])
      • YARD (64A: [Lawn party site])
      • CELERY (41A: [Light-green shade])
      • CARROT (1D: [Incentive])

My world as a sports journalist and editor is now filled with photos that I receive almost daily from our group of photographers, and, though not a photographer, I now can speak the lingo and jargon when carrying around a NIKON, Canon, Sony, or whatever brand of their choosing (53A: [Camera brand]). Sony mirrorless cameras are the way to go, I am told, so if you have a couple of arms and a leg to sell, you might be in luck to get yourself one!  Highlights of the grid were IMPUGNED (11D: [Called into question]) and the variant spelling of PABULUM that threw me for a loop because I wasn’t sure if there was another way to spell “pablum” outside of the common way (26D: [Baby food]). Kind of like the clue better without the “var.” note that you would see in other grids, as I’d want to find out after I enter the answer into the grid than beforehand when reading the clue.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: PETIT and ROSSI (4D: [Little, in Arles]) & (15A: [Martini partner]) – One of the most prestigious soccer tournaments in the world, the European Championships (a.k.a. The Euros), started this past weekend, and it just so happened today’s puzzle features last names of a couple of European soccer greats. Paolo Rossi led Italy to the World Cup title in 1982, scoring the most goals of anyone in the tournament (6) while winning the Golden Ball as player of the tournament. Emmanuel Petit played for the French national team and was a member of the France World Cup-winning team of 1998 and the team that won the Euros in 2000.

Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!

Take care!


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19 Responses to Tuesday, June 18, 2024

  1. Martin says:


    Polish lump sugar in the shapes of card suits adds a touch of elegance to poker night.

  2. MattG says:

    NYT: I don’t drink coffee but I know the phrase “One lump or two?” I don’t hear it anymore and may never have actually heard it asked in real life. Maybe I picked it up from older movies and TV shows?

    • David L says:

      It’s common in the UK (or was), as Amy suspected. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it in the US.

    • pannonica says:

      Pete Puma— But I don’t want no tea. It gives me a headache.
      Bugs Bunny— Okay, well, what shall we have, then?
      PP— Coffee! Eeeeee!
      BB— Okay, we’ll have coffee. Eh, how many lumps do you want?
      PP— Oh, three or four.

    • teevoz says:

      “One lump or two.” Exactly.

  3. Jenni Levy says:

    My grandparents had sugar lumps that were not cuboidal. No idea where they got them and I haven’t seen them in fifty years.

    Loved the theme!

    and my daughter, age 24, refers to herself and her friends (and occasionally me) as “girlies.”

  4. dh says:

    I have a slight nit to pick with the WSJ 6d. The clue implies, “We haven’t decided on that yet, but we’ll let you know when we do”, whereas the answer implies, “We’ve decided this, but we’re not ready to announce it”. I first put in “TBD”, and grumbled about it for one reason, then fixed it and grumbled for another.

    • GTIJohnny says:

      My issue with the clue 100%

    • JohnH says:

      To me, TBA covers the first as well. Indeed, I think of it as a polite way of saying we’re working on it. Otherwise, in fact, why leave it off the schedule?

    • Gary R says:

      I’m with JohnH – I don’t think TBA, as used in practice, necessarily implies someone is withholding known information. I have certainly seen it used in draft schedules/programs to indicate “we’re not sure who the speaker will be” or “we’re not sure what time this will start.”

  5. Dan says:

    NYT: The American Heritage dictionary’s second definition for LUMP (n.) is this: “A small cube of sugar.”

  6. Lily says:


    CHERished memoRY = CHERRY
    ROyal draMA = ROMA
    PLay possUM = PLUM

    Cherry, Roma and Plum are all typed of TOMATOES which can be STUFFED.

  7. JohnH says:

    Amusing NYT for a Tuesday. I’d heard of “one lump or two” myself. I even used it in a poem at one point, although I drink coffee black, no sugar. I could also see retaining the final E in BURLESQUE if you append the ESQUE after a hyphen, desirable for legibility.

  8. Gene says:

    Perhaps “one lump” is an old term, but it certainly seems to be common in the language. Maybe because, like the term, I am old. 😁

    • Boston Bob says:

      I haven’t put sugar in coffee since the early 1970’s, but when I did, I took two lumps – never cubes. I’ve only heard them called “cubes” when they were a method of ingesting LSD. So, yes: old.

  9. JohnH says:

    TNY was an interesting challenge, with enough I didn’t know (including WWIU, Obomsawin, Suspira, the unusual clues for PIAF and HEIDI, and, I regret to say, PULI) to make it hard but not enough to block solving.

  10. Eric H, says:

    New Yorker:

    I found it more challenging than Monday’s Natan Last puzzle, perhaps because I had fewer gimmes (COATI, EAST, HEIDI, GET THE MEMO). Or maybe it was errors like having EMAIL before GMAIL. Or maybe it was having never heard anyone say BIG CONGRATS and needing several crosses there.

    I like the clue for MAGAZINE STAND, but the italicized Time made it too easy. (I’m not sure how you get around the convention of italicizing something like the name of a magazine).

    Just noticed that if you take the Ts out of ATLANTIS, you have ALANIS. I’ve seen crossword puzzles with less of a theme than that.

  11. LaurieAnnaT says:

    NYT – Not only did you have sugar cubes available for your guests back in the 1960s, but you also had a lovely silver sugar tongs to pick the cubes up with.

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