Friday, June 28, 2024

LAT tk (pannonica) 


NYT 5:52(Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim) 


USA Today tk (Darby) 


Enrique Henestroza Anguiano’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 6/28/24 – no. 0628

The most enjoyable six minutes of the presidential debate were the time I spent on this puzzle. It’s a low bar to clear, but I do like the puzzle.

Fave fill: ALASKA ROLL and NOCHE BUENA (not that I truly knew either of them), “WANNA SEE?”, SPEAKING ROLE, HOSE DOWN, “WHAT A TREAT!”, IBUPROFEN, PFLAG, THREESOME, KEN-KEN, INTERCOMS. Not keen on “IT’S NOT FAR,” which is a plausible remark but not really an idiomatic phrase.

A few clues:

  • 5a. [2.3, on a certain scale], C PLUS. Were we all thinking of pH, Mohs, and other scientific scales rather than academic grading?
  • 36a. [___ cloth], BURP. Household vocab for anyone who’s cared for a baby, at least in the past few decades. Not entirely sure if “burp cloth” was the term of art before my day.
  • 38a. [What Anne Brontë and Anaïs Nin have in common], DIAERESES. The umlaut doppelgängers. I tried to get PEN NAMES to fit but the answer’s not eight letters long.

3.75 stars from me.

Lydia Roth’s Universal crossword, “Summer Themeless Week, Puzzle 5”—Jim’s review

Lovely stacks in a pinwheel formation. Each of the 10 long entries is a winner in my book, with top prize going to MORE COWBELL, perhaps. Plus there’s “WELL, DARN!,” STAY HOME, HEADREST, LENS CAPS, and BIOMASS.

I needed most of the crossings for MD PHD [Dual degree for a research scientist], and I had to make a guess with CIEN [One hundred, in Spanish], but those were my only two sticking points as far as fill goes.

Clue of note: 53d. [When to celebrate / Haiku Poetry Day, yay! / (abbreviation)]. APR. Lovely! Clever use of the parenthetical.

Beautifully smooth themeless. And it’s a debut! Extra kudos to our constructor. Four stars.

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19 Responses to Friday, June 28, 2024

  1. David L says:

    NYT was challenging for me, given my considerable ignorance of Spanish, but everything was gettable eventually. No idea about NOCHEBUENA, but at least the words were recognizable. I’ve never tasted mezcal, so SMOKY was not something I would have got.

    I thought ‘caballeros’ were cowboys, but that seems to depend (per Google) on whether we’re talking American Spanish or Spanish Spanish. And I thought the plural of ‘senor’ was SENORS, so the extra E was a surprise.

    BURP cloths were certainly a thing in my mother’s generation, which is at least one generation before Amy’s time, maybe two.

    • JohnH says:

      Hard but rewarding Friday for me, too, especially in the NW and W. In the first, I didn’t know ALASKA (although ROLL seemed certain) or NOCHE BUENA, and I needed some crossings to think of SACRA and the chess rating system’s name. In the second, I didn’t know TBS or TBH well, hadn’t heard of BURP cloth, and had guessed “break-out role.” To be honest, a SPEAKING ROLL can be small indeed.

      I’m chastened to learn that MW has DIAERESES as preferred spelling, although Random House Unabridged goes with my non-use of the A. I struggled to fit it in.

      • Eric H. says:

        Today’s NYT has an obit for the actor Bill Cobbs, who had an early film role in “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” (1974). He played a guy standing on a subway platform who asks a transit cop “Hey, man. What’s goin’ on?” That seems the very definition of a small role that is a speaking part.

        I too had trouble getting DIAERESES to work, since I would’ve spelled it without the A.

      • Gary R says:

        Agree on SPEAKING ROLE – I had “starring role” until 31-D had to be THREESOME.

        Did not realize the original of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three was that old – time flies!

  2. Martin says:

    Noche Buena is my favorite Mexican beer. It’s a dark, bock beer, and part of the German influence on Mexican culture that brought us tubas in the mariachi band.

    Noche Buena is only available near Christmas. But we used to frequent a Mexican restaurant in San Francisco, La Rondalla, that somehow had it year-round. We took our recently-emigrated Russian refusenik friends there once in the ’70s, and it was culture-shock overload. Between the Christmas decorations in July, the trans mariachi lead singer and the drunk dragging our table with him as he was being tossed from the establishment, they found it very educational. They also liked the Noche Buena.

    I was very bummed when the city shut La Rondalla down.

  3. Katie says:

    NYT: Loved Amy’s question, on C PLUS. :-)
    (Great clue, btw.) I can only speak for myself, but yes, I too was also going down a brief scientific-unit mental rabbit hole.

    Being curious (and also aiming for fun/distraction/otherness, after the debate), I checked how often MOHS (answer=30) or MHOS (answer=23) has ever appeared, care of xwordinfo. We got MHOS just kinda recently (in that Connections puzzle)…

    Speaking of xwordinfo, Thursday’s (nyt) summary is STUFFED with fun facts (from Jim Horne and Jeff Chen) and constructor notes, if you haven’t checked it out yet…

  4. Gary R says:

    NYT: Surprised to see so few comments on a Friday puzzle this late in the day. But then I looked over the puzzle again – nothing especially bad, nothing especially good, so not much to comment on. But I do think it deserves better than the 2.51 stars it has right now.

    • Eric H. says:

      The average ratings here are almost always lower than what I would give.

      Today’s NYT is a perfectly fine puzzle. Not my favorite Friday, but there was nothing that put me off, either.

  5. BryanF says:

    NYT: The Magnus Carlsen answer was new to me and sticking point that I pondered over for a long long while. I kept wondering what the Electric Light Orchestra had to do with 2882. :P

    • Eric H. says:

      I used to play Scrabble online and had an Elo rating for that game. It’s interesting to learn how one is computed. I don’t play chess, but I picked up from some crossword puzzle that Magnus Carlsen is a champion chess player, so ELO was a gimme.

  6. marciem says:

    LAT: Clue for 20a got me good! Perfect.

    I still don’t quite see how 17a fits with the rest of the themers. Its late in the day so I’ll just say it… in the other ones base word has a “YOU” sound and changes for wackification, but that one doesn’t have the long ‘u’ ? or does it?

    • ZDL says:

      “That’s my cue!” (k-yoo)

      • marciem says:

        Aaaah of course!! Thx! So obvious when spelled out slowly lol… All I could see was the break room cry of “that’MY cup!”

    • Margaret says:

      It’s Saturday so probably no one will see this but my problem was with 49A. Coup/cue, moot/mute, booty/beauty and fools/fuels all work but pour/pure doesn’t seem right to me. Pour rhymes with four and for and door to me, adding the Y sound doesn’t make pure to my ear. Am I missing something?

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        I’m with you, Margaret. Pure sounds more like “yer” following a P sound, not “pyore.”

        • Katie says:

          Good point, Margaret! M-W (ˈpyu̇r) agrees with you both. Collins and Cambridge (pyʊər) go with what the constructor/puzzle aims for here. I guess I’ve heard it both ways lots of times… so it’s fine with me here.

          The important thing is, reading this comment was the only reason I did the puzzle – which was quite good/fun (I thought)! ;-) [So, thnx for the comment — and kudos to ZDL]

          • Katie says:

            Following up, funny no one even mentioned “use” (in 67-Across) is only sometimes a homophone to the plural of a “you” sound. i.e., “no use” doesn’t sound like, say “no ewes”, right? That was my only head-scratcher. (Or did I miss something?)

  7. Seattle DB says:

    LAT: I love ZDL’s reviews and puzzles because they are always full of funny clues and facts! He brings a much-needed sense of hilarity to crosswords!

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