Sunday, June 30, 2024

LAT tk (Gareth)  


NYT 13:31 (Nate) 


USA Today tk (Darby)  


Universal (Sunday) 9:36 (Jim) 


Universal tk (norah) 


WaPo untimed (Matt G) 


Ginny Too’s New York Times crossword, “Misstated” — Nate’s write-up

06.30.2024 Sunday New York Times Crossword Puzzle

06.30.2024 Sunday New York Times Crossword Puzzle

– 22A: FLOOR IT, DUH [Getaway driver’s plan, obviously?]
– 28A: MISS IS ZIPPY [“She sure runs fast!”?]
– 34A: TEN ASEA [Captain and nine crew members?]
– 45A: ORE AGAIN [Jaded miner’s remark?]
– 51A: MINI-SODA [Coke-ette?]
– 60A: INDIE ANNA [Actress Kendrick, when appearing in smaller films?]
– 70A: DELL AWARE [PC-sensitive, in a way?]
– 80A: WHY OM-ING [“You realize this is a silent meditation, right?]
– 86A: EYED A HOE [Considered buying that garden tool?]
– 96A: HUH WHY E [“Wait … can we not play this in F sharp instead?”]
– 102A: VERGE IN, YEAH [“Mm-hmm, get a little nearer”?]
– 113A: WHISK ON, SON [Parent’s encouragement to a budding chef?]

Today’s Sunday NYT is not only a debut (yay!) but an impressive one at that. Look at that theme density! 12 of 50 (nearly 25%!) US states are represented amongst a well-filled grid and, as fair as homophones go, they all sounded pretty spot-on to my ear (if not maybe with slightly different syllabifications at times). This ties in nicely with the puzzle’s title, “Misstated,” as a hint to each state being expressed different via homophone.

Even though the themers are each on the shorter end, getting a grid to fill this smoothly with that many themers placed throughout the grid is impressive! I don’t know how many of these are tried and true dad jokes, but most were new to me. It feels hard to make a theme like this feel fresh in 2024, but this puzzle did that for me. Bravo! I’m looking forward to seeing more from this constructor.

What did you think of the theme and the puzzle in general? Do you have any good state puns to add? Let us know in the comments – and have a great weekend!

PS – Thanks a bunch to the fellow Fiendsters who covered for me while I was away these past two Sundays. I appreciate your time tremendously!

PPS – Chasing the high of my Wheel of Fortune appearance a few years ago, I was recently on another game show! You can find me on Episode 4 of The 1% Club, streaming now on Amazon Prime video. I’m the guy in seat 20!

Evan Birnholz’ Washington Post crossword, “If I Could Talk to the Animals”—Matthew’s recap

Evan Birnholz’ Washington Post crossword solution, “If I Could Talk to the Animals” 6/30/2024

Theme entries are two-parters this week: there are six pairs of entries sharing a row, where the first entry contains a noun for a group of animals, and the second is the sound that that animal makes.

  • 23a [*The Lords’ work?] ACT OF PARLIAMENT (owls)
  • 26a [What you hear in this conversation: “Good evening.” “Good evening. Oh look, there’s a mouse. I’ll be right back.”] HOOTS
  • 36a [*Set of items that can help you begin a task] STARTER PACK (wolves)
  • 41a [What you hear in this conversation: “What a nice night we’re having in this dark forest!” “Yes indeed! Ooh, look at that full moon!”] HOWLS
  • 59a [*Romantic symbol that may be tied in the shape of a heart] LOVE KNOT (toads)
  • 62a [What you hear in this conversation: “How’s life here at the pond?” “Oh, you know, eating bugs, hopping around, the usual.”] CROAKS
  • 83a [*2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee] TIM FLOCK (sheep)
  • 85a [What you hear in this conversation: “Nice weather we’re having today.” “Ewe said it. Get it? I said ‘ewe’!” “Ugh, that pun was awful.” “You mean … it was baaad?”] BLEATS
  • 98a [*Informal briefing held by a politician, maybe] PRESS GAGGLE (geese)
  • 102a [What you hear in this conversation: “So, got any plans for the winter?” “Yeah, flying south. I’m pretty sure that’s also your plan.”] HONKS
  • 118a [*Eliminated from postseason contention but still competing hard] PLAYING FOR PRIDE (lions)
  • 121a [What you hear in this conversation: “I’m the king of the jungle!” “No, I’m the king of the jungle!”] ROARS
  • 49d [Conversation among friends … or a hint to the animal collectives in the starred answers and the conversations that follow them] GROUP CHAT. An apt revealer.

I had a good time with this one. The theme had me interested to see what the next example was, was clear enough quickly enough that I wasn’t too thrown by new-to-me TIM FLOCK, and GROUP CHAT was a satisfying revealer that I didn’t see coming. I have a fun mental image, whether it’s true or not, of Evan’s young son learning animal sounds and inspiring this puzzle.

Other notes:

  • 1a [With 74 Across, explorer whose name is shouted in a pool] MARCO / POLO. I hoped as I started that a two-part opening answer would be theme relevant, but alas.
  • 20a [Hops up an down, as at a rock concert] POGOS. I can’t say I’ve ever made this connection between POGO sticks and the way that people jump up and down to music, but I can’t deny the similarity.
  • 55a [“Ugh, very funny”] HAR HAR. It can be tough to pin down a specific laugh syllable in a clue. I think this does well.
  • 126a [Curving pool shot] MASSE. Here’s a term I learned from crosswords that I haven’t seen in a while.
  • 47d [People whose work requires many degrees?] GEOMETERS. I was a bit surprised to see this entry, but the clue is reasonable. I wonder if Evan considered a cross reference with THETA

Adam Simpson’s Universal Sunday crossword, “Infinity Pool”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are popular song titles about things that go on forever. The two-part revealer is embedded in the infinity symbol in the center of the grid: 68a [*With 70-Across, symbol of endless repetition … or what might make the songs in this puzzle go on and on] BROKEN / RECORD.

  • 21a. [*The Bangles ballad that’s still hot?] ETERNAL FLAME.
  • 26a. [*Cyndi Lauper bop that plays around the clock?] TIME AFTER TIME.
  • 39a. [*Carl Carlton classic that’s adored to this day?] EVERLASTING LOVE.
  • 89a. [*k.d. lang hit that leaves you hungry for more?] CONSTANT CRAVING.
  • 111a. [*Queen song that keeps you going?] DON’T STOP ME NOW.
  • 118a. [*Rod Stewart track that never gets old?] FOREVER YOUNG.

Super impressed with this grid design, especially that infinity symbol in the middle with the revealer fitting serendipitously inside. Further, each song was a huge hit, and to find enough song titles to fit symmetrically without any word duplications (okay, “ever” is repeated, but I only just noticed now), is *chef’s kiss*. Well done!

I was going to say that with the exception of EVERLASTING LOVE, each of these is an ’80s song. But that’s not quite true. CONSTANT CRAVING came out in the ’90s and DON’T STOP ME NOW was from the late ’70s. Rod Stewart’s song did come out in ’88, but it’s related to (though not an exact cover of) Bob Dylan’s song of the same name from ’67. Still, what is it about the ’80s that caused musicians to explore themes of permanence?

In the fill, we have plenty of meaty 7s and 8s to enjoy: OSBOURNE, SKI PARKA, CURACAO, BAR FOOD, SALOONS, SNOOKER, NUT TREE, etc. The rest of the grid is quite smooth with only ONE TO and NOES detracting from the overall high quality.

Clue of note: 16d. [Eye contest action]. STARE. I had to STARE at this clue to try to make sense of it. Perhaps [Engage in a certain eye contest] might have worked better for me.

Impressive puzzle. 4.5 stars.

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19 Responses to Sunday, June 30, 2024

  1. Ethan says:

    absolutely loved the NYT and surprised to see some lower ratings.

    felt Reagle-esque to me in the pun density! that’s a helluva debut. Lots of groans at the puns.

    no idea of the author’s age but puzzle felt on the younger side with stuff like ARO and BALLERS. Hope there’s lots more to come from this constructor!

  2. Eric H. says:

    NYT: There are some absolute groaners in there. I particularly like EYED A HOE and INDIE ANNA.

    The TYPOS clue, though, was the funniest thing in the puzzle.

    I had trouble with a few crossings — SABADO/ON KEY (where I had an I) and VERGE IN YEAH/YAMA. I have a vague idea of RAMA’s place in the Hindu pantheon, but YAMA was new to me. VERGE IN YEAH was hard to figure out because VERGE IN is just not something people say.

    Overall, I kinda liked it despite the tortured puns.

    My contribution: “Let your father and me know you arrived safely.” TEXT US WHEN GET THERE

    • David L says:

      I’m not usually a fan of puns but some of these were so awful I liked them.

      I thought VERGEINYEAH* was the weakest, not only because it’s a phrase I can’t imagine hearing, but also because the Y of YAMA (I had RAMA first) and the H of AKEELAH (which fortunately I did know) were Natick-adjacent.

      Ooh, how about “rapper criticism from Jewish fan” — ILLINOY

      *Director Anderson, scooch in a little closer, ok?” WESVERGEINYEAH. Opportunity missed!

    • Dallas says:

      I’m a big fan; they all came across as dad-joke level and I am here for it. Had trouble with TATAR at the top; for some reason “TO WIT” wouldn’t come to me, and RISSOLE didn’t hit, but otherwise it all went quite well. Great Sunday!

  3. JohnH says:

    I hated the NYT so have no trouble understanding the low ratings. I won’t insist, since puns are always an individual matter. What’s a clever stretch to one person can be that much funnier if it really is a groaner. But for me it just wasn’t landing.

    Too many weren’t phrases, although I suppose you can say that’s the point. (A very green paint indeed.) “Verge in, yeah,” isn’t even English. And who’d ever put a T sound in Florida? My last to fall was ANNA, and the non-theme fill went heavy on trying to be current, ruining that for me as well. Oh, well. We’re on a long streak now of Sunday puzzle ideas that wouldn’t cut it on a weekday.

  4. Mutman says:

    I asked my Swedish friend what the stuff is inside my writing utensil. She said “PENCIL VEIN, YA?’

    Just a shout out to my home state …

  5. Dallas says:

    On a separate note, it seems that the entire Sunday post is showing up on the “home” page, a rather than just the quick summary with the “continue reading” link like usual. Was there an intentional layout change recently, or is it a strange blog bug?

  6. marciem says:

    NYT: Big pun fan here, so I really enjoyed this one, and I’m impressed that it is a debut! Good job.

    One major nit here though… obscure 5a crossing obscure (to me) 7d… Erdos may have thousands of published papers but I will guarantee I never read any of them nor heard of him. And where does the Baltimore squad = THEOS come from? Orioles, Ravens… these I know. This area was run-the-alphabet for me, and I really didn’t enjoy finishing there on that note :( , kinda spoiled the otherwise enjoyable puzzle experience.

    • Eric H. says:

      I’ve seen enough references to Paul Erdős in crossword puzzles that that answer was a gimme. I know there’s something called an Erdős number, but I don’t know how really care) what it is.

      You’ve got the answer for the Baltimore team, but you’re not parsing it correctly. It makes more sense as THE O’S, as in “short for Orioles.”

    • sanfranman59 says:

      In spite of my lifetime baseball fanaticism, I had some trouble thinking of THEOS also. The Orioles are also known as “The O’s”.

    • JohnH says:

      THE O’S bothered me because “the” fill always feels a bit of a crutch. It did seem fair, though, as a cross for ERDOS (which fortunately I knew anyway).

    • marciem says:

      OMG.. Theo’s. LOL! I thought maybe there was a coach named Theo somewhere around B’more or maybe a gm. I’m surprised how unfamiliar Erdos name is, if he’s been in many xwords. It sure never stuck. Thanks for demystifying The O’s for me .

    • Martin says:

      The team in Oakland is The As. I’m sure I’ve heard them called The Athletics, but not very often. Just sayin’.

      And The Mariners are The Ms. Funny how some teams are initialized naturally, but others not. Anyone call The Yankees The Ys?

  7. Burak says:

    Strongly disagree with NYT Sunday’s rating. This was a great puzzle. Clean grid, and corny in the best way possible.

  8. Seattle DB says:

    LAT: I like puzzles that are punny, and Pam Amick Klawitter served up a nice one! (For me, crosswords that are funny, and yet educational, are my favorites.)

  9. Robin Schulte says:

    This puzzle was awesome! I loved it. 10 stars from me!

  10. Dallas says:

    Loved Evan’s WaPo Sunday; fun theme idea, clued well, and helped with the puzzle. I loved the clue for PET SIT: “Tend to someone else’s boxers, say”. Great Sunday!

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