Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Jonesin' 6:58 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni) 


NYT untimed (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal 7:48 (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


WSJ 4:22 (Jim) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “That Sounds Rough” — y’know, those four letters. – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 7/2/24

Jonesin’ solution 7/2/24

Hello lovelies! Before we get into this week’s solution, here’s an update about the puzzle reviewed a couple of weeks ago here…it was written as a crossword proposal puzzle for a Santa Barbara couple, and they’re now engaged! Congrats to the happy fianceés June and Lauren!

As for this week’s puzzle, the theme involves replacing OUGH with UFF.

  • 17a. [A “Sesame Street” monster’s butt?] COOKIE DUFF (cookie dough)
  • 27a. [U.K. city with a lot of bridge discards?] SLUFF ENGLAND (Slough, England)
  • 45a. [Prescription taken while in restraints?] CUFF MEDICINE (cough medicine)
  • 53a./60a. [With 60-Across, possibility with shoddy “Survivor” merchandise?] WHEN THE BUFF BREAKS (when the bough breaks). Buff is the brand of versatile neckwear featured on the show.

Other things:

  • 18d. [Fireplace nook] INGLE. The word INGLE can refer to the fire itself, or a recessed area around the fire where people can gather and keep warm.

Until next week!

Jamey Smith’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Key Features”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases that feature the letters TAB hidden consecutively within. The revealer is TABBY (67a, [Certain lap warmer, or how one might playfully describe this puzzle’s longest answers]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Key Features” · Jamey Smith · Tue., 7.2.24

  • 17a. [Resort region of northeastern Spain] COSTA BRAVA.
  • 23a. [Fib from a needle-wielding nurse] “WON’T HURT A BIT.”
  • 35a. [Seattle Mariners coverage, at times] RETRACTABLE ROOF.
  • 48a. [Some heart meds] BETA BLOCKERS.
  • 59a. [Circus laborer]. ROUSTABOUT.

Didn’t see the theme at all until I got to the revealer, which I found to be cute once I went back and sussed it out. I would have liked it just a little bit better if each of the five entries split the tab (haha) among multiple words. ROUSTABOUT is a pretty fun word, and it’s a compound word, so it’s almost like the others, but DELTA BLUES would’ve been a good substitute. RETRACTABLE ROOF on the other hand doesn’t really have any business being here. Its only saving grace is that TAB is right in the middle of the entry, but that doesn’t seem to be a factor in the theme. You could put a 7-letter entry in its place—something like ATTA BOY.

A shorter middle entry might have also allowed for some sparkly long fill as well. As it is, aside from the theme answers, everything else is six letters long or less. There are some nice entries there (PORTIA, ICE AGE, T-BIRDS, “BE COOL“), but still, long non-theme entries are opportunities to boost the puzzle’s fun factor.

Clues of note:

  • 41a. [Like the midnight when the raven visits]. DREARY. Feels a bit awkward, eh? How about [Like Poe’s midnight]. Does that work?
  • 54a. [Fabric with interwoven metallic threads]. LAMÉ. I saw “Fabric” and went with LACE. That’ll teach me to read the whole clue.
  • 62a. [Old Venetian magistrate]. DOGE. News you can use: The shiba inu that gave rise to the DOGE meme passed away just over a month ago.

Three stars.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 684), “Are Too!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 684: “Are Too!”

Good day everyone! Once again, I’m left in awe that time’s flying so fast and that we’ve already started the second half of 2024! Hope you’re well and that the first half of the year has treated you as well as you could have possibly hoped.

Today’s puzzle could have left you saying “R U kidding,” as the letter R is added to phrases/nouns to create the four puns that feature in the theme answers.

      • DREAD GIVEAWAYS (16A: [Be fearful of freebies?]) – Dead giveaways.
      • ALL HANDS ON DRECK (24A: [“Everyone aboard this ship is ordered to grab a piece of worthless junk!”]) – All hands on deck
      • DRAY OF RECKONING (44A: [Horse-drawn vehicle on which one’s actions and behaviors are judged?]) – Day of reckoning
      • DAME JUDI DRENCH (61A: [Titled stage actress who throws cold water on hecklers?]) – Dame Judi Dench

I’m trying to think how look it took from the time I first heard of the word YEOMAN, in reference to the phrase about doing yeoman’s work , to when I actually knew what a yeoman actually is and does (47D: [Naval clerk]). Love the clue for TERMITE, and thank goodness that I’ve never had to experience that at any house that I’ve lived in/been in (36A: [One who may eat you out of house and home?]). Oh, and I just came across the news that a Brooklyn (NY) native, who was a public high school and NCAA champion in the EPEE discipline, has made the U.S. Olympic team (31D: [Fencing sword]). Her name is Anne Cebula, and she, like our fearless constructor, is a Barnard College alum! Read more about her and her journey that has led her to Paris here and here! Congratulations, Anne, and we’re all rooting for you! Brooklyn, stand up!!!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: RHODES (45D: [Greek Island]) – In this space last week, I talked about Willie Mays and his famous running, over-the-shoulder catch in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series for the New York Giants. The Giants won that game in the 10th inning, when pinch-hitter Dusty Rhodes hit a walk-off three-run homer! Rhodes then hit a another home run, plus a run-scoring hit in Game 2 during New York’s 3-1 win. Rhodes’ career only lasted 576 games, all as a Giant, but his 1954 postseason is one of the great individual performances in the history of the Fall Classic.

Thank you so much for the time, everybody! Have a wonderful and safe rest of your day and, as always, keep solving!

Take care!


Josh Goodman’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 7/2/24 – no. 0702

The word YES  is 38a. [What all signs point to in this puzzle], and the circled letters are all “___ sign” phrases. CALL sign (like WXRT or KRLX), PLUS sign, DOLLAR sign, STAR sign (in astrology), NEON sign, STOP sign, PEACE sign, and EXIT sign.

So, aside from 38a, none of the Acrosses and Downs are thematic, right? Felt a lot like an unthemed puzzle since those thematic words are unclued diagonals.


Three stars from me because there just wasn’t much excitement working through the puzzle, not much interplay with the theme concept.

Susan Gelfand’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

And just like that it’s July! I enjoyed this puzzle. Seems like it’s been a long time since we had a Tuesday puzzle without a revealer. More room for theme fun!

Los Angeles Times, July 2, 2024, Susan Gelfand, solution grid

  • 20a [Custom timepiece for a meteorologist?] is a STORM WATCH. I grew up listening to Storm Field do the weather on WPLJ. Ah, youth.
  • 33a [Custom necklace for a chef?] is a FOOD CHAIN.
  • 41a [Custom brooch for a defensive back in the NFL?] is a SAFETY PIN.
  • 52a [Custom band for a barista?] is a COFFEE RING.

All of these work for me and I appreciate the fact that we have four different pieces of jewelry.

A few other things:

  • The puzzle feels pretty Scrabbly to me for a Tuesday. Js, Xs, Qs, Zs…
  • 10a [Dazzling figure skating feat] is a QUAD, not an AXEL. I suspect I’m not the only one who started there.
  • My daughter is looking at furniture for her new apartment, so when I saw 33d [Fancy dressers] I was thinking about bureaus. Nope. It’s FOPS.
  • I filled in 42d from crossings, which is good because I don’t know Spanish. [“¿Qué ___?”: Spanish “What’s up?”] is TAL.
  • JOSTLE is a fun word.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Abbott Elementary is on ABC.

Wyna Liu’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 7/2/24 • Tue • Liu • solution • 20240702

I’m not entirely trusting my assessments today, so with that caveat it feels as if this one was almost moderately challenging?

My big misstep was at 23-across: [Defense against a very small attack?] IMMUNE RESPONSE; with several letters in place I surmised that it was {something} POSSE. Not all that big a misstep, considering that abstractly it’s a one-letter difference.

  • 22a [Palm-fruit seed chewed as a stimulant] BETEL NUT. It’s also quite staining.
  • 41a [Extra source?] CENTRAL CASTING. Nice, economical clue.
  • 52a [Muse of lyric poetry] ERATO. Pretty much the only one we regularly see in crosswords, save the very occasional non-advertising CLIO. Kind of like ENERO is the only Spanish month, with MAYO typically being clued as the >cough< condiment.
  • 58a [Letters read initially in “Love’s Labour’s Lost”?] ELS. Quasi-cryptic cluing.
  • 2d [Grendel’s Biblical ancestor, in “Beowulf”] CAIN. I would have thought that element was pre-Christian. Maybe retconned?
  • 9d [Fall short] COME UP EMPTY. Way short, then.
  • 22d [Line without a contract] BURNER PHONE. It crosses the CENTRAL CASTING entry, so that’s some misdirection.
  • 27d [Singapore __ (gin-based cocktail)] SLING. I’ve never had one, but the reclaimed version described here is intriguing.
  • 29d [En __ (with all judges present)] BANCGrr. 51d [Judgmental sounds] TSKS. Or something significantly stronger.
  • 54d [Tech that outputs written material as audio: Abbr.] TTStext-to-speech.

Shannon Rapp + Jess Shulman’s Universal Crossword, “Executive Decisions” — Matt F’s Review

Universal Solution 07.02.2024

Today we have puns involving popular TV show titles, in which a verb is added in front of the show title and the clue is written to invoke an “executive decision” about the show.

  • 23A – [Produce a series about besties in New York?] = MAKE FRIENDS
  • 40A – [Acquire the rights to a series about island castaways?] = GET LOST
  • 30D – [Fund a series about a forensic anthropologist?] = BACK BONES
  • 36D – [Cancel a series about a marijuana-growing suburban mom?] = PULL WEEDS

The left/right grid symmetry allowed for the theme to work with unpaired 13- and 7-letter answers, in addition to the pair of 9’s. This is a great example of breaking conventions to make a theme work. The puzzle played smoothly and the theme was fun – can’t ask for much more on a Tuesday! Great work all around on this one, with some fun and playful clues in the fill like 66A, 34D, and 57D to name a few.

Thank you to Shannon and Jess for constructing this puzzle, and to David Steinberg for the editorial touch.

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21 Responses to Tuesday, July 2, 2024

  1. Mike says:

    I struggle to see what the YES is doing in the NYT puzzle. I understand that the circled answers are all signs and all point towards it, but why that word? Why not NO? Why not ONION? Is it just that “all signs point to yes” is kind of a phrase you’ve heard before?

    • Lise says:

      It reminds me of a magic 8-ball, so I am assuming that is what it represents. I thought this was a cleverly constructed puzzle; it couldn’t have been easy to work in all of those signs and have such good fill.

      For some reason, I especially liked OOP. It’s fun to say, and not something I see a lot in puzzles. I liked all the things Amy did, and more. The long answers, although not thematic, were all good.

      • Jenni Levy says:

        Ohhh. Thank you. Now I get it.

      • DougC says:

        The puzzle immediately reminded me of Magic 8-Ball, too, but upon checking, the answer it uses is “Signs point to yes” (sans “all”). So I assume the reference is to the idiomatic phrase. Did the phrase develop from the Magic 8-Ball, or did the 8-Ball use a variation of a common phrase? We may never know…

        I agree that this was a clever concept, but also that it was not very engaging for the solver.

    • huda says:

      I entered “YOU” before entering “YES” because I too had no idea…

    • JohnH says:

      It had to be YES, because “all signs point to yes” is idiomatic, and the circled words are signs (although it took a bit for the meaning of CALL sign to hit me). But I never did get the idea of a Magic 8 Ball, and even now I can’t see it. Hope it’s not just me. Setting that aside, a neat design. My last to fall was EARTHRISE, and it was a delight when I got it.

      I hadn’t heard of “onboarded,” but I’m behind the times on a lot of things. Ugly to my ear, though. And SOHO hasn’t been arty district in over 30 years. (By that date, in fact, the very first Soho gallery, Paula Cooper, had already left for Chelsea.) It’s an upscale shopping district, almost exclusively for tourists, although there are a couple of galleries and the Drawing Center way, way down on the edge of Tribeca.

  2. Eric H. says:

    NYT: The Magic 8 Ball theme eluded me until almost the end. Like Amy, I solved it as a themeless puzzle.

    I am impressed by how good the fill is. Those diagonal words put pressure on the grid because every circled letter has to work in three words instead of two. That frequently leads to a grid with a lot of junky fill.

    • David L says:

      Funnily enough, I had mentioned the Magic 8 Ball in a group email I sent the other day, so the theme made sense immediately. And like you, I thought the fill was good considering the density of theme content. But the fact that the theme wasn’t integral to the solve took the puzzle down a notch, IMO.

      Eric, I have an important question. Because your picture is very tiny, sometimes when I look at it I think you are sporting a luxurious beard, but at other times I think you are holding a cat. It’s like one of those psych test images that goes back and forth. So which is it???

  3. John says:

    BLAME STORM sounds green paint-y to me. Is that a thing?

    • Katie says:

      I’ve heard the term. Perhaps a portmanteau playing on “brainstorm”, as in pushing off blame for problems, vs just solving them, in a group setting – or something like that…

      [Flurry of finger-pointing] was a nice/fun/quick-to-do clue, for me.

    • JohnH says:

      Odd, but it doesn’t sound like green paint to me. That is, I assume it just has to be a phrase already in use, because otherwise I couldn’t imagine anyone coming up with it and making sense.

      After Monday’s thematic challenge, TNY (and of course do identity the puzzle in a new comment thread) is back to the usual, which is to say “you know it or you don’t.” Fortunately for me, the clues Pannonica lists are among my knowns. Much of the rest, not, and not enjoyable.

      Well, I did know the Lewis and Clark guide, just not how to spell her or who she’s stacked directly above, and the double-bonded ENE crossing it could have been many things if you don’t know them. Other qudrants were equally frustrating.

      • Katie says:

        NYT: Right – good point; the existing thread was unlabeled there, so sorry for any “spoiler”.

        Seeing “BLAMESTORM” reminded me a lot of the “blame thrower” — one of several nonlethal weapons from “Mystery Men”. Anybody know what the heck I’m talking about? (Janeane Garofalo, William H. Macy, Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, Kel Mitchell, Geoffrey Rush, Greg Kinnear… even Tom Waits – ringing a bell?) No clue, but did one of those terms lead to the other?

        Here’s a snippet:

  4. G.B. says:

    The Jonesin’ news about the proposal is really nice! Wonder why nobody’s brought it up yet?

  5. Gary R says:

    TNY: A nice puzzle, but it fell well short of “moderately challenging.” I enjoyed the cluing for IMMUNE RESPONSE, BURNER PHONE and CENTRAL CASTING. Clue for NEON TUBES was good, too – but I already had NEON from crosses, so not really a challenge. Wish there had been more clues like these – most of the rest seemed pretty straightforward.

    • sorry after after says:

      If there were any pearl-clutching matrons left among the New Yorker’s readership, 39-A surely finished them off. It diminished an otherwise fine puzzle imo.

  6. Seattle DB says:

    TNY: I gave this puzzle an extra .5 because the constructor and editor made me lol with the clue and answer for 39A. “Farts loudly, in slang” is “Rips one”.
    LAT: I also gave this puzzle an extra .5 because the constructor and editor put together a nice puzzle.

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