Monday, June 24, 2024

BEQ tk (Matthew) 


LAT 1:57 (Stella) 


NYT 2:48 (Sophia) 


The New Yorker 6:26 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today tk (tk) 


WSJ 3:39 (Jim) 


Anthony V. Grubb’s New York Times crossword — Sophia’s write-up

Theme: Each theme answer consists of a body part followed by a word that can refer to a house/building.

New York Times, 06 24 2024, By Anthony V. Grubb

  • 20a [*Base of operations] – HEADQUARTERS
  • 31a [*Lively get-togethers] – SHINDIGS
  • 38a [*One of a pair that a skater might wear] – KNEEPAD
  • 47a [*Figurative setting for a shady deal] – BACKROOM
  • 52a [Weightlifter’s pursuit … or a hint to both halves of the answers to the starred clues] – BODY BUILDING

Great double-part Monday theme! I picked up the body part theme right away, then eventually realized the connection between the second halves, but the revealer was a happy surprise for me. BACKROOM is my least favorite answer because the “room” is the least slangy and the most literal, but at least the clue tries to make it more figurative. SHINDIGS is my favorite because of how the meaning changes for both halves. But overall, I would not have guessed there would be a set of symmetric phrases that fit this pattern, and it gave me an “aha!” moment I don’t always get on Mondays.

Quick hits on the rest of the puzzle:

  • General fill highlights – SKYDIVE, IKEBANA, HAS DIBS
  • Clue highlights: [A Jedi mentor, he was] for YODA and [Lincoln, Jackson or Madison] for CITY – anyone else fall into the “Prez” trap?
  • XWordInfo has this as the first time TRAVIS has been clued via Travis Kelce – I guess the Taylor Swift visibility bump has improved his name recognition.
  • AGLETS will never not make me think of this Phineas and Ferb song – don’t forget it!
  • New to me: That ROMA tomatoes were developed in Maryland.

Happy Monday all! Congrats to Anthony on a great NYT debut!

Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Round Trip”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are compound words or two-word phrases where the end of one entry is the start of the ensuing entry. The final entry’s last word is also the first entry’s first word, bringing things full circle.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Round Trip” · Mike Shenk · Mon., 6.24.24

  • 1a. [Baseball writer’s “dinger”] HOME RUN. I wonder if this was the seed entry for this theme, since a HOME RUN could also be considered a round trip, in a way.
  • 17a. [What gardens, imaginations and rowdy kids may do] RUN WILD.
  • 29a. [University of Arizona athlete] WILDCAT.
  • 41a. [Purina pet brand for over 60 years] CAT CHOW.
  • 55a. [Stir-fried Cantonese dish] CHOW FUN.
  • 64a. [Show based on an Alison Bechdel memoir that got the Best Musical Tony] FUN HOME.

I enjoyed this. Yes, there’s a lot of duplication, but it made for a nice, breezy Monday solve. I also enjoyed the symmetry of the grid design with all 7-letter theme answers and entire entries with circled squares. It just made the solve feel cleaner and smoother.

The same could be said of the fill which I found enjoyable all around with these highlights: DOUBLE PLAY, BACK ISSUES, EMERALD, BOOLEAN (a gimme for this one-time programmer), CHERISH, and TOTE BAG.

The new flag of UTAH

Clues of note:

  • 6d. [Its state flag shows a beehive]. UTAH. This new flag only became official in March of this year. Read about its vexillology here.
  • 27d. [Old Times, say]. BACK ISSUES. Good clue. I had to think about what that capital T might mean for a bit.

Four stars.

Larry Snyder’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 6/24/24 by Larry Snyder

Los Angeles Times 6/24/24 by Larry Snyder

Themes like this one have always eluded me — as a constructor, not as a solver. I always wonder how folks have the patience to identify not only a number of pairs that work this way, but enough such pairs that one can find a symmetrical set. Or I envy those who know how to code and can thus find theme pairs that way.

What am I talking about? Theme pairs in which both parts of a theme phrase fit a certain pattern, as is the case here. The revealer at 64A [Repeatedly, or what can come before the main components of 17-, 30-, 39-, or 46-Across] is OVER AND OVER, meaning that the word OVER can precede each of the halves of each theme answer to generate a new word or phrase:

  • 17A [Like structurally significant walls] is LOAD-BEARING, leading to OVERLOAD and OVERBEARING.
  • 30A [Many a beach resort condo] is TIMESHARE, leading to OVERTIME and OVERSHARE.
  • 39A [Taking every point, in hearts] is SHOOTING THE MOON, leading to OVERSHOOTING and OVER THE MOON.
  • 46A [Have a guilt-free conscience, so to speak] is SLEEP EASY, leading to OVERSLEEP and OVER EASY.

I liked the nonthematic 10s STRIKE ZONE and BOOKSELLER; there’s also an unusual trap for the unwary Downs-Only solver at 54D [Silly], where I put GOOSY instead of the correct GOOFY (the crossing should be FEAR, but SEAR is totally plausible if you aren’t checking).

Larry Snyder’s Universal crossword, Summer Themeless Week, Puzzle 1 — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 6/24/24 • Mon • Summer Themeless Week, Puzzle 1 • Snyder • solution • 20240624

Smooth grid, relatively easy cluing. There were a few spots where I needed to pause, change approach, wait for crossings.

One entry (37a) featured an unannounced variant spelling: [Middle Eastern salad with parsley and lemon] TABBOULEH., which is generally my primary dictionary source when writing about puzzles here, lists TABOULEH, with TABOULI and TABBOULEH as alternate transliterations.

  • 13a [Prefix in Ocean Spray flavor names] CRAN-. Not uncoincidentally, the sea breeze cocktail uses cranberry juice.
  • 17a [Words that often precede an insult] NO OFFENSE. So: disingenuous, then.
  • 29a [It might be worse than a 29-Down] BARK, 29d [See 29-Across] BITE.
  • 34a [Train car with many letters] MAIL CAR. The name, however, has but seven.
  • 40a [Teenager’s specialties] EYE ROLLS. With the –OLLS in place I first considered DOLLS of some sort, before inspiration hit.
  • 4d [Feeling blue] IN A FUNK.

    (from the album Niafunké)
  • 6d [See in a bad light?] HATE WATCH. Not 100% sold on this, but that’s what the question mark is for.
  • 47d [21A and 14D, for example, on an airplane] SEATS. Not a cross-reference ITEM (11d). In this puzzle those happen to be [Coffee shop freebie] WIFI and [ __, but not forgotten] GONE. Seems to me that a clue such as 47-down could have been an opportunity to have a little poetic fun.

Erik Agard’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 6/24/24 – Agard

An enjoyable, hard-but-not-too-hard themeless from Erik, as usual chock-full of great clues.

Clues that popped:

  • 1a. [App with grids, for short], INSTA. Not at all a standard way of thinking about Instagram, but accurate.
  • 32a. [Withholding that might lead to a bigger paycheck], LABOR STRIKE. When a strike (the withholding of labor) brings management to the negotiating table and results in wage increases.
  • 34a. [___ boomerang (idea that a government using repressive tactics abroad will eventually use those same tactics domestically)], IMPERIAL. New phrase for me, glad to learn it.
  • 3d. [Like sparkling water, perhaps?], SUNLIT. Picture Lake Michigan on a sunny day like yesterday when I was enjoying it. Sparkles!
  • 9d. [Track event?], KARAOKE. Singing music tracks, not running.
  • 29d. [Plant overseers], FARMERS. Not factory foremen.

Fave fill: MASCARA, BEST OF THREE, Maya ERSKINE (loved PEN15), LACROSSE (this indigenous sport is returning to the Olympics in 2028; did not know it as [Sport also called the Creator’s Game]).

Did not know PAO was [Bread, in Portuguese], but it makes sense. Did not know [Influential 1988 hip-hop album whose artist was seventeen at the time of its release], LYTE AS A ROCK, by pioneering female rapper MC Lyte.

4.5 stars from me.

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3 Responses to Monday, June 24, 2024

  1. Gary R says:

    TNY: Enjoyed the puzzle – seemed like about the right difficulty level for a Monday. The eastern half fell pretty quickly, then the SW and central part, a little more slowly. Have not heard of LYTE AS A ROCK, and I had REsharING for quite a while at 19-D (I don’t do much social media).

    NE took a while to crack. I’ve heard of, but know little about INSTA, didn’t know the Storm coach, nor ALOO gobi, and I had put in TBa instead of TBD, so I had a hard time seeing TENDON.

    Liked the clues for BEST OF THREE and LABOR STRIKE. Had not heard LACROSSE referred to as the Creator’s Game, but that’s interesting. A friend got me into watching the NCAA Lacrosse tournament probably 20 years ago. Some similarities to soccer and ice hockey, but higher scoring and (IMO) much more entertaining.

    • Twangster says:

      By chance I’m watching PEN15 now so that was fun to see. Even so I probably wouldn’t have known Maya’s last name except that I had read that her dad is the great jazz bassist Peter Erskine.

  2. Margaret says:

    I’d like to say big thanks to the organizers and participants of the Westwords Tournament held yesterday in Berkeley, it was super fun! Everything went so smoothly, the puzzles were tough but fair, the crowd was friendly. Hope it becomes an annual event!

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