Saturday, July 6, 2024

LAT 2:36 (Stella) 


Newsday 10:50 (pannonica) 


NYT 7:34 (Amy) 


Universal tk (Matthew)  


USA Today tk (Matthew) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Evans Clinchy’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 7/6/24 – no. 0706

First up, the possibly apocryphal COW-TIPPER, [One interested in bull-dozing?]. The concept is that college kids or other yahoos sneak up on sleeping cattle (asleep standing up) and push them over, then run like hell. Heard about this during college in Minnesota, never encountered a plausible tale of actual cow-tipping.

Fave fill: WATERMARK, “ARE WE OKAY?” (though “Are we good?” feels better to me), RETWEETED (that is still what I call it … even on Bluesky), DON DRAPER, Jonathan FRANZEN (never read him), FLU SEASON, EASY FIXES, OFFLOAD, and DEEP-SIX.

This clue for OCTET, [Hot dog buns in a pack, often]? It goes perfectly with this humor piece by writer and illustrator Jonny Sun in the New Yorker. How do you reconcile the mismatch of an 8-pack of buns and a 10-pack of dogs? There are many ideas!

Four stars from me. It’s bedtime now!



Carolyn Davies Lynch’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 7/6/24 by Carolyn Davies Lynch

Los Angeles Times 7/6/24 by Carolyn Davies Lynch

I mostly liked the cluing here even though it didn’t exactly slow me down:

  • The 1A/1D crossing of FRAMES clued as [Warby Parker array] and 1D FAUCET as [Moen product] was a little too much brand-focused content in a small area of the puzzle for my taste, especially since neither of these words needs to be clued with reference to a brand. I’m totally accepting of brand names and references in puzzles, but too much starts to feel like spon-con to me. I recognize that this may be because I work in advertising.
  • 27A [Product with a leprechaun mascot] is LUCKY CHARMS, which is a more fun brand than Warby Parker or Moen IMO!
  • 29A [Puts on the spot?] is a very clever clue for PARKS (get it? a parking spot?), and one that actually did force me to use all the crossings and have an aha moment.
  • 33A [Figure on Sweden’s 100-krona note] is GARBO, not that 100-krona notes are really making the rounds these days. My husband and I traveled to Sweden last year and went the entire trip without touching cash. Even buskers ask for payment via Swish, which is the Swedish equivalent of Venmo.
  • 35A [Refuse to help in the garden?] is COMPOST PILE. I appreciated the wordplay, but wanted this to be COMPOST HEAP instead.
  • 3D [Creative gift] is a nice misdirect, seeming to point at the talent kind of “gift” but actually meaning a present you can give that inspires creativity: an ART SET.
  • 9D [Routinely insured against a crash] is my favorite clue in the puzzle, for AUTOSAVED. This is a wonderful example of an entry that might not be considered “sparkly” if you just saw it in an unclued grid, but becomes a lovely solving experience because of the clue.
  • 29D [Dessert ingredient also called ube] is the very trendy PURPLE YAM.
  • 34D [All over the lino, perhaps] is SPILT. This clue was hard to parse at first, but it’s very carefully constructed: The probably-unfamiliar “lino” is a Britishism that’s short for “linoleum,” and serves as the indicator that you’re looking for a Brit spelling in the answer.
  • 37D [Meals that tell a story of liberation] is a nice culture-celebrating way to clue SEDERS.

Zhouquin Burnikel’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Chuck D” — pannonica’s précis

WSJ • 7/6/24 • Sat • “Chuck D” • Burnikel • solution • 20240706

Feeling wiped out, so this will be one of my skeletal contributions.

First of all, I just noticed that I inadvertently introduced a typo into the grid just before I screen-shot it. That bottom right letter should of course be an E and not a D. Kind of ironic, actually.

So. The theme is not about Public Enemy or even rap music. We’re just getting rid of the terminal D from familiar phrases.

  • 23a. [Prohibition against parades?] MARCHING BAN.
  • 25a. [Cornfield pest that never gives up?] TOUGH CROW.
  • 39a. [One who’s overzealous about compromising?] CONCESSION STAN.
  • 58a. [Victory for the N.C. State Wolfpack?] HOWLING WIN.
  • 81a. [Cost at the Colonel’s?] CHICKEN FEE.
  • 99a. [What Wonderland’s Cheshire Cat always wears?] THE SAME OLD GRIN.
  • 114a. [Shared hair gel, say?] COMMON GOO.
  • 116a. [Pig crazy over Chubby’s twist?] CHECKER BOAR.

Overall impression: It’s kind of a mid-tier theme. Not great or exciting, not bad.

Lester Ruff’s Newsday crossword, Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s précis

Newsday • 7/6/24 • Saturday Stumper • Ruff, Newman • solution • 20240706

Very grateful for an extremely ‘less rough’ offering this morning.

  • 15a [What makes flamingos pink] CAROTENE. Beta-carotene. They derive it from the phyto- and zooplankton in their diet.
  • 35a [JFK and relatives] AIRPORT CODES. 31d [One of DC’s 35-Across (first spelled with its third letter moved to first] IAD. “Dulles originally used airport code DIA, the initials of Dulles International Airport. When handwritten, it was often misread as DCA, the code for Washington National Airport, so in 1968 Dulles’s code was changed to IAD.” (Wikipedia)
  • 37a [Small- or large-screen suffix] -COM. Don’t understand this.
  • 57a [Slugs, say] SNAILS. I believe some species have a vestigial shell inside their body?
  • 5d [What might hold the mayo] CONDIMENT CUP. Nice clue/answer combo (despite my abhorrence for mayonnaise).
  • 22d [Bargain bin buy] CHEAPIE. CUT-OUT didn’t fit.
  • 30d [Major address, since 2005] SIR. I’m presuming this has something to do with gender neutrality in the military.


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30 Responses to Saturday, July 6, 2024

  1. Eric H. says:

    In her Wordplay column, of DON DRAPER, Caitlin Lovinger wrote, “It’s interesting how certain fictional figures remain instantly recognizable.”

    That’s true even if you’ve never seen a minute of “Mad Men.” I knew the answer from the O of DOLLY PARTON and the A of ATTA, both of which were gimmes.

    That made up for my temporary inability to summon Pat RILEY’s surname. I knew who the clue referred to and could picture him from some commercial (Rolaids, maybe), but it took a minute to remember his name.

    It doesn’t make up for my failure to get AMOR without any crosses. The only Gabriel García Márquez title I know is “Love in the Time of Cholera,” and I wish I had spent half a second thinking about what “Tiempos del Cólera” means instead of skipping over that answer.

    Smushed together, WEIMAR ERA is hard to parse, but it amused me to see it on top of DEPRAVITY (a great word that I don’t recall ever seeing in a crossword before).

    And now I know that Algeria and MOROCCO have the same number of letters.

    • huda says:

      Ditto re Don Draper. I think I’ve seen 5 minutes of Mad Men but knew immediately.
      Lucked out re certain entries such as AMOR and MOROCCO. I laughed at myself because I had LOW TIPPERS for a bit, thinking of them being mean to the wait staff, before ATE CROW imposed itself.
      Re Morocco– my youth was characterized by significant ambivalence towards France, where I loved the French language, culture, food, cities and people, but also watched the fight for independence especially in Northern Africa and couldn’t believe the pain colonialist France was causing. It took Algeria a lot longer (1962) and a great deal more bloodshed to achieve its independence.
      Back to the puzzle: I thought it was very well done, nicely clued and, for me, quite an easy Saturday.

    • Gary R says:

      I agree on DON DRAPER – I think I watched part of one of the first episodes when it was new, but had no trouble calling his name to mind off a couple of crosses.

      PARTON was a gimme for me, too. But unfortunately, I started with “It’s a girl!” rather than “ATTA girl!” And DON DRAPER only made me more confident I was right.

      NW and SE went in fairly quickly, but the rest took some time. In addition to “It’s a” vs. ATTA, I went with “Omahans” vs. UTAHANS for a while, and tried a couple of different 7-letter spelling for Monaco at 37-D before the light went on. :-(

      In my defense, it was after midnight, and normal bedtime is 11:00.

      Overall, a good Saturday puzzle.

    • Dallas says:

      Took me a little bit to get RILEY too; I got tripped up on the SW when I put in FAST FIXES instead of EASY FIXES. Good Saturday!

    • JohnH says:

      I, for one, needed crossings to come up with Don Draper, as familiar a name as he is, while I’d no trouble translating Love in the Times of Cholera into AMOR. That and FRANZEN were my gimmes without which I would’t have had a chance.

      The puzzle looked none too inviting, indeed (counting the broad center) five separate puzzles. But it turned out to have a lot of creative cluing and to be eminently solvable, if not right away, so really nice.

      • Eric H. says:

        My only trouble translating the García Márquez title was that I didn’t try to. I hate it when I don’t get a gimme because I don’t see the clue; it’s even worse to see the clue and skip it without really thinking about it.

  2. MattF says:

    Pretty tough NYT, and enjoyable. Looked up FRANZEN to get that corner— not someone I’ve read. Thought specifically about that buns-vs-dogs dilemma.

    • Eric H. says:

      We rarely eat hot dogs, but I knew about the mismatch between the number of wieners in a standard package and the number of buns. It slowed me only a little when I put dOzEn before OCTET.

      I’ve never read any Jonathan FRANZEN either, but I was still reading (or at least seeing) NYT book reviews back then, and his name stuck in my head.

  3. Pilgrim says:

    Re Stumper – I believe COM for “Small-or-large screen suffix” is referring to “Rom-com.”
    That was definitely a “Less Ruff” one for me – I finished it in one sitting.

  4. Martin says:

    All slugs are snails because of the “especially” pass.

  5. Boston Bob says:

    Re: Stumper – John Major was made Knight of the Bath in 2005.

  6. Dan says:

    NYT: For “Bull-dozer?” I confidently entered FERDINAND, but no soap.

    A good puzzle, not as hard as an average Saturday for me.

  7. Katie says:

    Newsday: “37a [Small- or large-screen suffix] -COM. Don’t understand this.”

    Me neither. Like, ROMCOM movies, and SITCOM on TV? (Huh.)

    • Katie says:

      (ahem – like AndyHat said… sorry for the repeat) Anyway, it wasn’t perhaps a clue-leading-to-answer kind of clue. Tricky.

  8. Seattle DB says:

    LAT: I enjoyed this puzzle because the constructor and editor(s) were on the “same page” so to speak, with the clues and answers both.

  9. BlueIris says:

    Stumper: I wasn’t fond of “binocs” (1A) — never seen that for “binoculars” (I assume that’s what it stands for). Also, I’ve had basic financial accounting and never heard of “floating capital” — only “working capital.” I did a search on “floating capital” and Wikipedia agrees with me that it’s not the same as “working capital,” but says “Floating capital is the amount of funding needed by a business to pay for its immediate operational needs. At a general level, floating capital is working capital, which focuses on the current assets of a business, minus its current liabilities.” Must be in the advanced accounting classes.

  10. Lois says:

    NYT: I thought that the Times had finally figured out that the channel for cinephiles (19a) is TCM, not TMC, despite the name of the latter.

  11. RJD says:

    WSJ: I’m surprised at the low rating, I thought the puzzle was tight and the themers were relatively punny.

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