Friday, June 21, 2024

LAT tk (pannonica) 


NYT untimed (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim) 


USA Today tk (Darby) 


Billy Bratton’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 6/21/24 – no. 0621

Fun one. Did this one whilst watching random funny things on YouTube (I blame my husband, who knows I cannot turn away), so I paid no mind to the timer.


Tricky clues:

  • 24d. [Rings given to a lover], BOOTY CALLS. Although how many booty calls are initiated by a phone call as opposed to a text?
  • 27a. [Roughly half of mice], DOES. As in female mice, I gather. The male mice are called bulls, obviously.
  • 31a. [One of 17 on a Clue board], DOOR. Neat clue (Clue!) angle. Did you ever count them?

Four stars from me.

Robin Stears’ Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 6/21/24 • Fri • Stears • solution • 20240621

Today we’re tacking on an -O at the ends of phrases/titles.

  • 17a. [Excellent rendition of a Belafonte hit?] ONE FINE DAY-O.
  • 27a. [Help a former first lady feel better?] NURSE JACKIE-O.
  • 44a. [Gala for the cops?] PARTY OF FIVE-O.
  • 59a. [Give a cool cat a thorough bath] SCRUB DADDY-O. Scrub Daddy is a sponge-selling company. (47d [Peddle] VEND.)

These are o-kay.

  • 1d [Dance around] AVOID, 2d [ __ words] MINCE. Not enough? 3d [Censor] BLEEP.
  • 5d [Second edition] REISSUE. I hesitated for a moment while reflexively entering this answer, thinking it might be REPRINT, but that doesn’t fit the clue well enough.
  • 23d [Cry from one atop a chair] EEK. Does this actually happen, or do we need a qualifier such as ‘stereotypical’ or ‘in a trope’?
  • 26d [“The Pink Sash” painter Cassatt] MARY.
  • 28d [Split personality?] EX-BFF. That is an accumulation of some letters.
  • The puzzle is characterized by slightly tougher/more oblique cluing than I recall for for recent Friday LATs. Some examples: 39d [Clocked out] OFF, 52d [Catches] SPOTS, 1d (transcribed above).
  • 43a [Always ready to order?] BOSSY. Nice clue.
  • 53a [Japanese room divider] SHOJI, the rice paper screens, sometimes constructed as doors. Was this a gimme for most, as it was for me? I feel that the name isn’t exactly common knowledge.

Bonnie Eisenman and Emet Ozar’s Universal crossword, “Company Retreat”—Jim’s review

The clues of today’s theme answers relay the tale of a fictitious boss who takes corporate jargon literally and schedules meetings at unusual locales because of it. I’m wondering if this unnamed boss is none other than Amelia Bedelia.

Universal crossword solution · “Company Retreat” · Bonnie Eisenman and Emet Ozar · Fri., 6.21.24

  • 18a. [My boss wanted to keep us in the loop, so she scheduled our meeting at a …] MERRY-GO-ROUND.
  • 26a. [… Then she told us she wanted to touch base, so she scheduled another meeting at a …] SOFTBALL GAME.
  • 40a. [… Later on, she said she wanted to get the ball rolling, so she scheduled another meeting at a …] BOWLING ALLEY.
  • 49a. [… She followed up by urging us to grab the low-hanging fruit, and scheduled another meeting at an …] APPLE ORCHARD.

Cute. And just how many of those meetings could’ve been emails?

The theme feels pretty wide open, though. There’s a lot of corporate jargon that could lead to unusual locations “ducks in a row” -> park, “core competencies” -> gym, “deep dive” -> Mariana Trench, etc. I would’ve liked to have seen some tightening of the theme, or else this could’ve gone Sunday-sized.

Moving to the fill, highlights include SOUP SPOON, LEECHES, GALORE,  CALZONE, and LACQUERED. However, I’m giving some serious side-eye to ICKY-POO [Yucky, to a toddler]. While it’s certainly colorful, I have to wonder if it’s universal enough to be crossword-worthy.

I’m surprised the name EOIN hasn’t made it into the  crosswordese Hall of Fame. According to the cruciverb database, it’s only appeared three times in the New Yorker and once in a Jonesin’ puzzle. Even though I’ve never read any of the Artemis Fowl books, I’ve seen them enough in bookstores to recognize the name of author EOIN Colfer. He was also commissioned to write the sixth and final novel in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe trilogy after Douglas Adams’s death.

Clue of note: 52a. [Utensil used to slurp okroshka]. SOUP SPOON. I had to look up the soup. It’s a Russian cold soup served in the summer months.

3.5 stars.

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29 Responses to Friday, June 21, 2024

  1. Gary R says:

    NYT: Nice Friday – just the right level of chewiness for me. Liked all of those long entries.

    Amy – I think a male mouse is a buck, which goes better with doe. But, back in the day, our son had gerbils, not mice – so, who knows?

  2. VB says:

    I thought that the NYT was fine overall, but I struggled with “Holier-than-thou type” for DOGOODER. To me, the former is one who expresses or feels superiority, whereas the latter is simply someone who does good and is perhaps naive but not superior about it. The do-gooder is generous, whereas the holier-than-thou type is ungenerous. Am I overdifferentiating?

    Good health to all.

    • David L says:

      I had the same thought. I suppose calling someone a dogooder can be snarky, but it ain’t necessarily so.

      I’m puzzled by OPT as the answer “word at the bottom of some marketing emails.” As in ‘opt out’? But what I generally see is ‘unsubscribe’ — which doesn’t work, in many cases.

    • pannonica says:

      Agreed, the clue feels noticeably off.

      • Martin says:

        Most authorities agree that “do-gooder” is derogatory. While a do-gooder might be more well-meaning than the holier-than-thou, they both are making other people’s business their own.

        • dhj says:

          “Most authorities agree” + one link to a Wikipedia dictionary…not sure that I agree 100% on your police work there, Lou.

          • Martin says:

            There are lots of confirming citations. I avoid more than one link here because it usually causes my post to be quarantined.


            • Amy Reynaldo says:

              See also: “social justice warrior” as a pejorative rather than a positive, “virtue signaling” as a negative pose rather than a true expression of values. Perhaps a touch of do-gooder derogation colors these other terms.

            • Martin says:

              Don’t forget “liberal,” the mother of them all.

              I don’t see “do-gooder” as related. It seems that the original (derogatory) meaning softened because who could be against doing good? Thankfully, batshit politics doesn’t seem to be involved in this one.

            • sanfranman59 says:

              Isn’t it interesting how seemingly innocuous words/phrases and even generally positive ones (at least on their faces) have been weaponized by critics who generally come from just one side of the political spectrum? The left isn’t completely immune to this, but it seems to me that it overwhelmingly comes from the cynical right.

            • dhj says:

              Still waiting for a non-Wikipedia source to back up your claim. Should be easy if there are “lots of confirming citations.” As others have posted, these apparent “authorities” seem to not be in consensus on this one.

            • Gary R says:

              The Britannica Dictionary: “someone whose desire and effort to help people (such as poor people) is regarded as wrong, annoying, useless, etc.”

              Collins Dictionary: “If you describe someone as a do-gooder, you mean that they do things which they think will help other people, although you think that they are interfering.”

              Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries: “a person who tries to help other people but who does it in a way that is annoying”

              The Free Dictionary: “One who is very interested in social reform and helping others. The term is often used pejoratively to suggest that such a person is naïve and their efforts futile.”

              Other sources (American Heritage, M-W) don’t specifically say it’s pejorative, but include “naive” as part of the definition.

            • Martin says:

              The first citation in the OED is from the January 18, 1927 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

              The do-gooder … is all the hokum, all the blather and all the babble of the modern so-called ‘social movement.’

              I guess there’s no escaping batshit politics.

  3. Mutman says:

    NYT: agreed, fun puzzle. Solid Friday.

    Surprised with 43A cluing AGE. I thought once the world accepted zero as a number, we’d all be on the same page. I guess not.

    I wonder if any Chinese ex-pats get into arguments with bouncers when they say they are ‘21’?!?!

    • marciem says:

      cute question… but since bouncers go by the DOB on the ID being shown, the ex-pat can holler all they want but // nope!

    • Lois says:

      I have a feeling I saw this difference used in a film recently, maybe Past Lives.

  4. ranman says:

    NYT “SALES” is more of a functional area within any industry than an industry itself IMHO…

  5. Dan says:

    NYT: A nice challenge for me, but not a killer by any means.

    I don’t find DO-GOODER to be an appropriate answer for “Holier-than-thou type”.

    In fact, I find it very hard to understand how anyone trained in crossword clueing could have settled on that clue for that answer.

    Other than that, the puzzle was filled with fresh clueing and answers, very enjoyable to solve.

    • Martin says:

      Part of that training involves looking in dictionaries.

      • sanfranman59 says:

        True enough, Martin, but here are the definitions of these terms from (’s are similar):

        Holier-than-thou: “marked by an air of superior piety or morality”

        Do-gooder: “an earnest often naive humanitarian or reformer”

        These definitions don’t strike me as synonymous. I didn’t have much trouble filling that answer in with just a couple of crosses, but I did so while wincing.

        • Martin says:

          I’ve cited other dictionary entries that make them much closer to synonymous. And the tie goes to the editor.

  6. Dallas says:

    NYT: again, my lack of betting knowledge hinders me a bit with DOPE SHEET… guess I need to commit that to memory :-) Pretty reasonable Friday, all in all.

  7. JohnH says:

    Now I feel embarrassed, since I’m always one dismissing complaints about clues that are supported by dictionaries. This time, my ear was with the group here sure that do-gooders were at the very least well-intentioned, not on an ego trip. Oh, well. Still, both my usual “house” dictionaries, RHUD and MW11C, while a tad more skeptical of do-gooders than I, do seem to support us. So there.

    I liked the puzzle a lot. Not as formidable as the last few Friday puzzles, which pushed past Saturday, but interesting and challenging enough. I had my hardest time given, well, that clue in the W/SW. There alas I also started with ORT for BIT, slowing me more. But it was that kind of puzzle, where the new sector required a new foothold and new beginning. (My entry, slow in coming, was SARI.)

  8. Amir Fuhl says:

    I learn many things from doing the NYT crossword. Today I learned that female mice are called ‘does’, what a dopesheet is, and where Popeye Village is

  9. Barry Miller says:

    LA Times puzzle is great, with multiple meanings, e.g., Jackie O(nassis) and (Hawaii)-50.

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