Wednesday, June 26, 2024

AV Club 5:41 (Amy) 


LAT 5:11 (Gareth) 


The New Yorker 2:40 (Kyle) 


NYT 4:07 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (pannonica) 


USA Today 7:59 (Emily) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


Rebecca Goldstein’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 6/26/24 – no. 0626

Ha! I didn’t know where the theme was going till I reached the funny revealer: 52a. [Memorable ad-lib in “Midnight Cowboy” … or what the starred clues would say about their answers] clues “I’M WALKIN’ HERE” (see clip here). Jesus might say that while walking on water in the SEA OF GALILEE, Dorothy Gale on the YELLOW BRICK ROAD to Oz, and astronaut Neil Armstrong on the moon’s TRANQUILITY BASE. The punch line of the revealer is terrific.


Three things:

  • 43d. [Comedian Wanda], SYKES. She’s in the documentary Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution, about queer comedy. The doc is funny, informative, at times sobering. 4.5 stars from me. (Trailer below.)
  • 3d. [Women’s health care brand], HERS. I think it’s an online/app-based way to connect women with prescribers? Yes, here’s the site. There’s also a His that I’ve seen ads for, featuring treatments for hair loss, depression, and ED, iirc.
  • 18d. [Small drum], TABOR. I tried TABLA (also a small drum) first. Here’s info on tabors. Tabor is also a place name, and there’s a Michigan winery called Tabor Hill that I visited as a child. (What? Your folks didn’t take you to wineries on vacation? True confession: I did take my kid to a winery near Niagara Falls. The one place I ever tried a palatable red!)

Four stars from me.

Jeff Stillman’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Shoot!”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases that add letters, one at a time, reminiscent of the basketball game “Horse.” The revealer is PLAY HORSE (58a, [Take part in an add-a-letter basketball game, as demonstrated by this puzzle’s theme answers]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Shoot!” · Jeff Stillman · Wed., 6.26.24

  • 17a. [Working out carpet coverage, say?] FLOOR MATH.
  • 20a. [Last call during a fox hunt?] FINAL TALLY-HO.
  • 36a. [Action figure of a Marvel character?] MODEL THOR.
  • 54a. [Aromatic substances for keeping cowboy footwear fresh?] BOOT CAMPHORS.

Fun basis for a theme; I enjoyed the aha moment once I realized what was going on. But if you’ve never played “Horse” this probably didn’t do much for you. If I recall correctly, players take turns shooting a basket from different positions around the key. When a player makes a basket they get a letter. If they miss a basket from that position, they have to keep using their turns from that position until they get that letter. First person to spell out HORSE wins. (Whoa [haha]. Apparently, I played it differently than the way other people played it.)

Grid highlights: The Lion King‘s PRIDE ROCK, a TWO-INCOME household, PELOTON, OBSOLETE, and The Eagles’ “Take It To THE LIMIT” (even though it really feels like a long partial). A fair amount of crosswordese makes its presence felt: EDDA, A LIE, EMO, ICI, NOH.

Clue of note: 12d. [Exercise equipment brand named for a pack of bikers] PELOTON. Per “In French, “peloton” literally means “ball,” but it is most often used with the meaning “group.” It’s frequently used in the bicycling context, just as in English, but it can also refer to a group in a marathon or other sporting event.”

3.5 stars.

Kyle Dolan’s Universal crossword, Summer Themeless Week, Puzzle 3 — pannonica’s write-up

Universal • 6/26/24 • Wed • Summer Themeless Week, Puzzle 3 • Dolan • solution • 20240626

Quickly this morning, as I have a lot on my plate already.

  • 5a [ __-P (PC’s paste command)] CTRL. Umm, ctrl-V is paste, while ctrl-P typically means print. No?
  • 22a [Southeast Asian cuisine with larb] LAO. I know larb as a northeast Thai dish, from the Isan region, but that’s close to Laos so it stands to reason that it would be there as well. (After consulting Wikipedia I’ve learned that the origin is Lao and it’s in fact the national dish.)
  • 36a [Course with a lecture on sin?] TRIG. Very nice.
  • 38a [People to whom Pikes Peak is sacred] UTE. Tava (“sun”) is their word for the mountain. 29d [Zion National Park’s state] UTAH.
  • 49a [Language that gave us “whiskey”] GAELIC. 7d [Some loaves or whiskeys] RYES.
  • 60a [Jazz singer James] ETTA. I maintain that she isn’t really a jazz singer, despite a few of her albums in that mode.
  • 23d [Biomedical researcher’s goal] CURE. But often not the actual goal of their employer.
  • 26d [It has a root … or can be found on a root] HAIR.
  • 46d [Handheld game of quick reflexes] BOP IT. New to me. But there are plenty of reflex-type games you can play with another person.

Aimee Lucido’s AV Club Classic crossword, “Unsavory Business”–Amy’s recap

AV Club Classic crossword solution, 6/26/24 – “Unsavory Business”

First up, some links. Read this Medical Mysteries column to learn about pregnancy- and lactation-associated osteoporosis (PLO), which is rare but afflicted constructor Aimee Lucido. If you hear of someone who’s having terrible back pain while pregnant or breastfeeding, please point them towards info on PLO so they can avoid months of misdiagnosis. Also, here’s Aimee’s books page, where we find her new pasta picture book for little kids and her middle-grade novel whose title is the same as this puzzle’s theme revealer!

[With 64-Across, accident waiting to happen, or a description of the clue for 17-, 25-, 38-, or 41-Across] clues RECIPE FOR / DISASTER, and four synonyms of disaster are clued via “recipes” involving taking certain letters from other words, cryptic crossword–style. For example, [Remove salami from its casing and stuff it inside Gouda, for example, to make …] CALAMITY. The letters ALAM are left when you remove the outside letters (“casing”) of sALAMi, and Gouda is a CITY as well as a cheese. [Take the core of broccoli and mash it together with yam and salt to make …] CATACLYSM. The two C’s from the middle of broCColi anagrammed (“mash together”) with YAM and SALT. [Remove tuna’s tail from ultra-aged yellowfin, then sift through what’s left to make …] TRAGEDY. Remove TUNA’s A from ulTRA-aGED Yellowfin and extract the capitalized letters. [Layer together the first two bites of dessert, three slices of bacon, and the last two shreds of kale to make …] DEBACLE. DEssert, BACon, kaLE. Clever, and not so easy.

Fave fill: JELLYBEAN, CRYBABY, SCHMALTZY. Could’ve done without crusty bits like BRAE, ALER, and ENTR. It’s harder to fill smoothly around six theme entries in the grid.

3.25 stars from me.

Caitlin Reid’s New Yorker crossword – Kyle’s write-up

Thanks Caitlin for today’s puzzle. My solve hit a snag in the middle of the grid where I first entered LAGS and then LATE for 31A [Bringing up the rear] LAST. Should have gone with the crossing entries which would have nailed those last two letters down, especially the gimme clue on THOU. Oh well, some days the brain doesn’t want to cooperate.

The New Yorker solution grid – Caitlin Reid – Wednesday 06/26/2024

The SW corner of the puzzle made me hungry! 43A [Round, flaky pastry that’s a hybrid of two breakfast treats] CRONUT – yes, but have you tried a cruffin? The bakery around the corner makes them on weekends, usually with a delicious filling like lemon curd or whipped cream. This entry crosses at the C with CRISTO from the Monte Cristo sandwich. I have to say, cluing this as a [ham and cheese sandwich] feels like it’s underselling it a bit.

Going to get a snack! See you next week.

Shannon Rapp & Will Eisenberg’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Shannon Rapp & Will Eisenberg puzzle is completed by WRAPPARTIES, a colourful entry, which today is interpreted that the beginnings and endings of the other long across answers spell out synonyms for PARTY:

  • [*Swimmer that can expand to three times its normal size], BALLOONFISH. bash. I’ve never heard of this, but apparently it’s another name for a pufferfish.
  • [*Dreamhouse occupant], BARBIEDOLL. ball.
  • [*Employee responsible for minimizing negative outcomes], RISKMANAGER. riser.
  • [*Greek salad component], FETACHEESE. fete. Over here, fete a synonym for bazaar.

Tricky entries:

  • [Front-end alignment], TOEIN. As defined. Usefully vowelly entry.
  • [CGI-heavy superhero franchise], MCU. Is that comic or cinematic? I can never remember what the middle letter is anyway…
  • [“The Possibilities Are Beautiful” retailer], ULTA. Never seen this anywhere before, not being American. It appears to be a cosmetics retailer.
  • Pic above a username], AVI. News to me, but must be some variant of avatar.
  • [Black currant liqueur], CASSIS. One of those things only encountered in certain cocktail recipes?


Noelle Griskey’s USA Today Crossword, “Rear Window” — Emily’s write-up

Nothing to be suspicious of today’s puzzle.

Completed USA Today crossword for Wednesday June 26, 2024

USA Today, June 26, 2024, “Rear Window” by Noelle Griskey

Theme: the last part (or “rear) of each themer can be combined with “window” to form a new phrase


  • 20a. [Situation caused by a bad combination of events], PERFECTSTORM
  • 36a. [Body of water near the Golden Gate Bridge], SANFRANCISCOBAY
  • 53a. [Actress who voiced Tiana], ANIKANONIROSE


Favorite fill: PINTS, RESALE, and AESOP

Stumpers: AERIE (only “nests” came to mind), REORDER (“restock” and “reup”), and NFLGAMES (needed crossings)

Beautiful grid with a nice layout to allow for the theme and lots of bonus fill. Loved to see the completed pair with NESTS later on in the puzzle, as well as the pairs AROMA and ODOR

3.75 stars


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28 Responses to Wednesday, June 26, 2024

  1. Dan says:

    NYT: A good Tuesday challenge.

    I’m glad to see that TRANQUILITY BASE was spelled correctly, but I’ve never been pleased that NASA misspelled the word “tranquillity” in its name in the first place.

    (As a result, many people think the one-L version is correct.)

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      The two-L spelling is the British version, with one-L tranquility holding sway in the US.

      • Lois says:

        I was startled to see that according to most online sources, Amy is correct. I am, or was, with Dan. Most U.S. sources a couple of decades ago had “tranquillity” as the correct spelling (you’ll have to believe me; I remember lots of look-ups in several sources using U.S. spelling), while people went on blithely spelling it with one “l.” Then, when spellcheck started to be used, there was a correction towards the double-l, and that spelling became more common for a while. I see now that the single-l spelling had finally won out. Dan’s story about NASA rings true.

        • Dan says:

          I suspect that the spelling of “Tranquility Base” is the reason for this change.

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            In this NASA article, they use Sea of Tranquillity and Tranquility Base.

            I’ll note that there’s a UK/US distinction of cancelled/canceled, too, so it does make some sense that US usage would use one L in tranquility.

            • Dan says:

              But this (U.S. spelling) is a very recent phenomenon (and not even universally agreed upon in U.S. dictionaries).

            • Lois says:

              I want to repeat that Dan is correct and that the spelling of “tranquillity” was just that way in most U.S. dictionaries around 20 and 30 years ago. It was to be spelled that way at my workplaces–and we looked it up often enough–even when the house style was the U.S. single-l “canceled” or “traveled” (with the exception of the New Yorker, of course). If you’d look up the word in a U.S. dictionary, that’s the spelling you’d get, with maybe “tranquility” with one “l” as a variant or second usage. However, one would often see the word with only one “l” in print despite the dictionaries. The introduction of spellcheck led to an increased use of “ll” in the word for some years. I’ve been retired for 14 years, and the single-l preferred usage is news to me. Martin below suggests some history indicating why the double-l might have been preferred previously, but it was U.S. usage.

      • Martin says:

        Even Brits have been moving to tranquility. It is more natural (compare “quality”). The two-l spelling is an artifact of the French etymon, tranquille.

  2. huda says:

    NYT: I don’t know why, but for the longest time, I couldn’t seem to get anywhere with this puzzle. Just wandered all over the place like it was a Saturday. Then with bits and pieces I saw YELLOW BRICK ROAD and was off to the races. Very cool theme, and not your standard hiking trails…

    • Dallas says:

      I had mistakenly put in HERA instead of HERS (I assumed it was named after the Greek goddess) which made SEA OF GALILEE hard to get, and I was completely flummoxed with who Dorothy Gale was; I jumped to the revealer, which I dropped in, but still took me a little bit. Once I fixed HERS and got BRICK ROAD is was all straightforward, but I was Today Years Old when I learned that Dorothy’s last name was “Gale;” is this a joke on the tornado in the story?

      • marciem says:

        From what I know, her last name wasn’t actually mentioned in the original book, and I don’t recall it in the movie (maybe it was there, I just don’t recall). But I’m sure the name “Gale” came along as a play on the wind that swept her to Oz, whenever it was added.

        Just checked, and yes she told Glinda the good witch that “I’m not a witch at all, I’m Dorothy Gale from Kansas”.

  3. Jenni Levy says:

    That was fun! Woke me up on a mentally foggy morning.

  4. David L says:

    Very nice NYT. The clue for KILT was unexpected but funny — I don’t actually know of any schools where kilts are required. Maybe Gordonstoun, the notorious boot camp where British royals go.

    • Ed+B says:

      My first thought on kilts was parochial school uniforms where girls often wore plaid skirts. I never thought of them as kilts, but I actually thought calling them that in this clue was amusing.

  5. Jim Peredo says:

    NYT: I love the image of Jesus slamming his hand on the prow of a passing fisherman’s boat that’s getting a little too friendly.

  6. Kyle Dolan says:

    A couple notes on my Universal puzzle today:
    – The seed entry here was MILK MUSTACHE, inspired by my 3-year-old, who loves to say “I’ve got a mustache” whenever having milk (or really most foods!)
    – I really like David’s edited clue for MODEL.
    – Yep, there’s a mistake in that CTRL clue: Ctrl-P is indeed “print” not “paste”. That’s on me. Mistakes happen.

  7. Zach says:

    WSJ: I’m of the belief that the 17A/18D crossing could be a “D” or an “R”. For 18D (“Genetic material”), DNA or RNA would both work, of course. For 17A (“Working out carpet coverage, say?”), I would argue that FLOOD MATH and FLOOR MATH are both acceptable. Coverage, here, could refer to square footage or insurance coverage. Maybe I’m overthinking this because my carpet recently flooded during a major storm. I don’t have flood insurance, but if I did, I’m sure there would be some FLOOD MATH happening in my house!

    • Martin says:

      The theme involves FLOOR MAT becoming FLOOR MATH. You’d need a FLOOD MAT too.

      • Zach says:

        Ha, good point! Clearly I didn’t fully understand how the “HORSE” theme works here. I rescind my original comment.

  8. sanfranman59 says:

    WSJ … We called the game Jim describes in his review “Around The World” and there was no spelling involved. The first player to make a shot from all of the specified locations on the court won. HORSE was the game described in the link he provides.

  9. marciem says:

    LAT: I know the write-up isn’t up yet, but I’m darned if I can figure out how the starred clues (except 51a) relate to the revealer. Is it too early to discuss that, or considered spoilers?

    • sanfranman59 says:

      Each themer starts and ends with letters that spell out types of PARTIES (BA-SH, BA-LL, R-AGER and FET-E).

      • marciem says:

        Thanks! I had a different take on 51a and never would have gotten there :) .

      • Marciem says:

        I was working off the “wrap”s, which worked great for the feta cheese … as you can see that doesn’t work anywhere else 😭

  10. Mhoonchild says:

    NYT: I too tried TABLA before TABOR. There’s a Mt. Tabor Park in Portland, OR. And @Amy, we took our daughter on a wine-tasting tour in Napa Valley when she was in elementary school. The highlight was when she picked up the soft drink they served her at Sterling Vineyards, and swirled the glass to appreciate the bouquet. :-)

  11. sorry after after says:

    NYT: FWIW on 44-A’s [Part of a pecking order?] for HEN. Anyone who’s spent time around chickens knows that the question mark is not needed here. They really do have a pecking order. Hence the expression as it applies to people.

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