Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Jonesin' 5:39 (Erin) 


LAT untimed (Jenni) 


NYT 3:47 (Amy) 


The New Yorker untimed (pannonica) 


Universal 5:50 (Matt F) 


USA Today tk (Sophia) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


WSJ 4:54 (Jim) 


Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Tidy Up” — an apt puzzle. – Erin’s write-up

Jonesin' solution 7/9/24

Jonesin’ solution 7/9/24

Hello lovelies! We have a nice clean Jonesin’ grid this week, in that each of the theme entries contains the word NEAT.

  • 17a. [Single file] ONE AT A TIME
  • 23a. [Bombarded, Biblical-style] THREW A STONE AT
  • 37a. [Action seen in “The Hunt for Red October”] SUBMARINE ATTACK
  • 47a. [Lyric from Hall and Oates] SHE’S A MANEATER
  • Our revealer 58a. [Interlocks, like what each theme answer does?] FITS NEATLY

Other things:

  • I like the timely inclusion of SABER and EPEE with the upcoming Summer Olympics.
  • 20a. [Front-of-book list, for short] TOC. Table of contents, although an alternate clue could reference the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, with the overlap between cruciverbalists and trivia enthusiasists.
  • 11d. [Antsy feeling] AGITA. Otherwise known as my baseline.

Until next week!

Joanne Sullivan’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “U Tube”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar two-word phrases or compound words whose first words can also precede “pipe.” The revealer is HALF-PIPE (61a, [Ramp for a skate- or snowboarder, and a description of the answers to the starred clues]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “U Tube” · Joanne Sullivan · Tue., 7.9.24

  • 17a. [*Fuelless power plant] WIND FARM. Windpipe.
  • 34a. [*”Bridgerton” attire] TAILCOAT. Tailpipe.
  • 41a. [*Driver with a need for speed] LEADFOOT. Lead pipe.
  • 11d. [*Hurler’s tally] PITCH COUNT. Pitch pipe.
  • 28d. [*Plows over] STEAMROLLS. Steam pipe.

Solid theme with good theme entries. Very often in these types of themes, the keyword will follow or precede both halves of the main theme entries. But the clever use of the revealer here means we need only one “pipe” in each two-part theme entry, making finding theme answers that much easier.

Six theme entries is quite a bit to fit into a grid. Still, I wish HASH OUT could’ve replaced “NO SIREE” in the middle. Then I could’ve included Weezer’s “Hash Pipe” video here.

In the fill, HEBRAIC and MOORAGE are uncommon enough that they slowed me down. And I wanted LAUNDROMATS instead of LAUNDRIES [Sites of load-bearing machines?], but it’s all good. Other bits of colorful fill include POOR TASTE, “LET IT GO,” EUROPOP, and SANTANA.

Clues of note:

  • 7d. [Apt fast-food corporation ticker symbol]. YUM. Falling under the YUM umbrella (yumbrella?) are KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and The Habit Burger Grill. You can decide which if any of those provides yummy food.
  • 35d. [Tigers’ home]. ASIA. I was expecting this to be a sports clue. (But maybe it is since there’s at least one baseball team in Japan and one basketball team in China known as the Tigers).

Solid theme and fill. 3.5 stars.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 685), “Mad About Anagrams!”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 685: “Mad About Anagrams!”

Hello there, everyone! Here is hoping all of you are well and that you all had a good Fourth of July weekend.

Today’s puzzle is all about fun with anagrams, as each of the theme answers are punny three-word entries in which each word is an anagram of the other two in the answer.

      • DEIST EDITS DIETS (17A: [Certain believer revises food regimens?])
      • STEAL TESLA TALES (23A: [Plagiarize Nikola’s short stories?])
      • SAINT TINA’S SATIN (37A: [Lustrous fabric developed by virtuous singer Turner?])
      • SPEAR SPARE PEARS (48A: [Skewer back-up boscs?])
      • SANER ASNER SNARE (59A: [More-reasonable method of enticing actor Ed?])

Along with the anagrams featured in the theme answers, we have anagrams intersecting each other with TSAR (44A: [Onetime Russian ruler]) and TARS, which adds a little extra finish to the grid (38D: [Old salts]). All of the long, non-themed fill was very pleasant, with IN-SEASON being my personal favorite (4D: [Like farmers market produce]). Unfortunately, the heat in Arizona (a record 116 degrees in Phoenix on Monday?!) and winds in tropical storm Beryl did not ABATE in their respective intensities, and I hope those of you in those areas are doing fine and are safe (22D: [Die down])

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: BEERS (67A: [Brewskis]) – Hockey fans in the New England area are probably familiar with Bob Beers, the former NHL player who currently is the radio analyst for Boston Bruins hockey games on 98.5 FM The Sports Hub. During his playing career, Beers competed in 258 career NHL games, scoring 28 career goals with 79 assists. Though the former University of Maine product played most of his career with the Bruins, Beers’ highest-scoring season came in 1992-93 as a member of the first Tampa Bay Lightning team to suit up in the league, as he scored 12 goals in 64 games played for the expansion team.

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

Take care!


Gary Larson & Amy Ensz’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

    NY Times crossword solution, 7/9/24 – no. 0709

The theme idea is to take “X or Y” phrases and reimagine them as “Xer Y” phrases instead:

  • 17a. [Sting operation at a senior center?], BOOMER BUST rather than “boom or bust.” Clever!
  • 26a. [Mission for an F-16?], FIGHTER FLIGHT. Solid.
  • 45a. [Powdered wigs, petticoats, etc.?], FORMER FASHION. This one perplexed me, as “form or fashion” wasn’t ringing a bell as an idiomatic phrase. Googling yielded “in some form or fashion,” but I wouldn’t say that “form or fashion” is really a usage without introductory words.
  • 61a. [Quarterback’s interception?], PASSER FAIL. Funny, but I come from “pass/fail” places rather than “pass or fail” so this one felt a little off to me.

Promising theme idea, but the execution left a bit to be desired for this solver.

Fave fill: TRAPEZE, BANH MI. Maybe on the hard side for newcomers to Tuesdays: ELL, KARA SEA, APIA. I do know someone who was just in Samoa, though! She also visited Guam, which Team Fiend’s Jim P has been to many times. Starting to feel like the only person who hasn’t gone!

3.25 stars from me.

Beth Rubin and Rebecca Goldstein’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

Back to the land of the revealer. Not a complaint! I had no idea where the theme was going.

Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2024, Beth Rubin and Rebecca Goldstein, solution grid

  • 17a [Intimate conversation in bed] is PILLOW TALK. My husband has a new pillow that’s a rectangle (more precisely, as he says, a rectangular prism) and he really likes it. Is that not the kind of PILLOW TALK you had in mind?
  • 25a [Laundry apparatus used as a percussion instrument] is a WASHBOARD.
  • 35a [Aerosolized popcorn ingredient] is SPRAY BUTTER. Eeuw.
  • 48a [Timepiece innards] are CLOCKWORK. I’m more accustomed to seeing it in the plural except in the idiom “like CLOCKWORK.”

So what’s going on? 57a [Actor’s stand-in, or a hint to what can precede both parts of 17-a, 25-, 30-, and 48-Across] is BODY DOUBLEBODY PILLOWBODY TALKBODY WASHBODY BOARDBODY SPRAYBODY BUTTERBODY CLOCKBODY WORK. They’re all very familiar except for BODY BUTTER and I’m not going to look that up. I’ll take it on faith.

A few other things:

  • I generally refer to bills as PAST DUE and library books as OVERDUE. Just me?
  • 22d [“All Creatures Great and Small” airer] is PBS. In the US, sure. I presume it also aired in the UK?
  • Who has seen UTILE in the wild – i.e. outside of a crossword? Anyone? Bueller?
  • I decided to see if NAIR was still a thing and it turns out it’s not just for women anymore.
  • I filled in 64a from crossings and wondered what kind of weird clue they would have for the plural LORES. Turns out it’s LORES. My apologies.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that the protagonist of “NCIS” was LEROY Jethro Gibbs.

Emily Carroll’s New Yorker crossword, “Any Last Words? / A Chatty Puzzle” — pannonica’s write-up

New Yorker • 7/9/24 • Tue • “Any Last Words? / A Chatty Puzzle” • Carroll • solution • 20240709

A themed offering.

  • 39aR [Hold ultimate authority … or what 17-, 29-, 36-, and 45-Across do, phonetically] HAVE THE FINAL SAY.
  • 17a. [TLC reality series featuring couples facing K-1 visa deadlines] NINETY-DAY FIANCE. That sounds horrible.
  • 29a. [Admonishment from a certain language-class instructor] EN FRANCAIS.
  • 36a. [Inherently] PER SE.
  • 45a. [Teacher of nage waza (techniques for throwing opponents)] JUDO SENSEI.

The first two are French, the third Latin, and the fourth Japanese. I like the polyglot aspect, and it would have been that much better if there were four distinct origins. If we include the revealer (say is from Old English), we get four, but then we are still in need of a fifth.

I have no idea if the themed nature of this one exempts it from the New Yorker’s difficulty metric (Tuesdays are usually advertised as ‘moderately challenging’, although their relative knottiness—or lack thereof—varies quite a bit).

  • 33d [Get fur all over] SHED. Can confirm via my cat. I could brush her every day and never catch up, especially this time of year.
  • 43d [Philologist synonymous with synonyms] ROGET. I like the phrasing of the clue.
  • 53d [Auditioners’ aims] ROLES. Would’ve gotten this much more quickly had I not misread it as ‘auctioneers’.
  • 16a [Spring form?] COIL. For those not understanding the question mark’s presence. Springform is a kind of baking pan.
  • 21a [Driver’s one-eighty, slangily] UEY. This is my preferred spelling.
  • 49a [JPEG alternative] PNG, portable network graphics.
  • 51a [Steam, e.g.] GAS. I feel this is incorrect—it’s a vapor, which contains water molecules suspended in air. On the other hand, the dictionary definition here seems to have enough leeway to allow it.

Adam Simpson’s Universal Crossword, “Talent Pool” — Matt F’s Review

Universal Solution 07.09.2024

Today we have billiards puns! Each theme answer takes an everyday phrase and twists into the context of a billiards game.

  • 17A – [To start the billiards game, the player …] = MADE A CLEAN BREAK
  • 26A – [Before her strokes, she …] = CALLED THE SHOTS
  • 42A – [And after every stroke, she successfully …] = DROPPED THE BALL
  • 56A – [She celebrated victory once she …] = CLEARED THE TABLE

Some pun puzzles can feel way too forced and overly groanworthy. This one does not fall into that camp. I had a good time figuring out these answers from the playful clues. The theme answers have a nice progression from top to bottom to align with the flow of the game from beginning to end. I also appreciated the open look of this grid with the crossing 5’s at the center (You often see themed puzzles crunched down to 3’s in the middle).

Thank you Adam for the puzzle, and David Steinberg for the editorial touch.

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18 Responses to Tuesday, July 9, 2024

  1. Dan says:

    NYT: An enjoyable solve and a cute theme.

    But, all the theme phrases (phonetically) were totally familiar save for “form or fashion”, which I have no memory of ever encountering before.

    It is definitely confirmed as an in-the-language phrase (usually as “in some form or fashion”), but the discrepancy between the familiarity of the other three phrases and the unfamiliarity led me to like this puzzle about 25% less than I would have.

  2. MarkAbe says:

    NYT: I agree that two phrases were not in a typical vocabulary. I’ve never seen “Form or fashion” except after “in some..”. I may refer to a “win or lose” or “win or go home” game, but always called the grading system “pass/fail”.

  3. David L says:

    FORMERFASHION made no sense to me.

    And I feel obliged to point out that today’s NYT continues the impressive run of foul-smelling ODORs.

    Also, KARASEA???

    • marciem says:

      now I’m wondering if “odor” has ever been clued simply as “aroma”? or vice versa :D . Others know better how to search this out.

      Not as smooth sailing all the way through like a Monday for me. The South Central got me… I didn’t know Kara Sea, wanted atom for atad, didn’t think of salt as a garnish but wanted lime for the margarita which didn’t work with atom or iota.

      So therefore I liked it better than most Monday NYTs :) … it gave me something to work on…

      • pannonica says:

        re: ODOR

        There have been a few instances. I joke about being contractually obligated to highlight them.

        • Sebastian says:

          There’s a win for Team Neutral at Spyscape this week. Jeff Stillman’s puzzle has (mild spoiler alert) a clue for ODOR that starts with the letter F.

          • Katie says:


            fwiw, 55 of 585 pre-Shortz (p-S) nyt clues for ODOR were just that particular (9-letter) “F word”; 6 of 315 were in the Modern Era (M.E.). :-]

            I was not gonna comment on ODOR yesterday, after all the Stink we/I have made about it recently… But it’s fun/funny to see it again so soon. (We had an ORCA in nyt 3 out of 4 days, Jan. 15-18. Sometimes randomness results in weird coincidences.)

            Right. As for marciem’s question, xwordinfo is the place to go! Just “Odor” as the clue for AROMA? Only twice (for nyt), with 1 0f 182 p-S (in 1993) and 1 of 239 M.E. (in 2008) . (But this doesn’t count various “Spicy odor”, “Pleasant odor”, etc., clues, beyond this…) Just the word “Aroma” (or old-style “Aroma.”) as the clue for ODOR? Much more common. 44 p-S and 5 in M.E.

  4. Eric H. says:

    NYT: PASSER FAIL didn’t bother me while solving the puzzle, but Amy’s right — in the real world, it’s always PASS/FAIL.

    Like many people, I had never heard of the KARA SEA.

    As I usually do, I solved this before going to bed last night. And as is too often the case, I woke up this morning unable to remember what the theme was. That doesn’t make it a bad theme, though.

    • Katie says:

      Do endorphins strengthen memories? I forget… :-]

      Seriously, that’s an interesting comment. (I agree with you on PASSER FAIL, too.)

  5. Oli says:

    NYT – KARASEA, APIA, SOUSED? All crossing that ROYAL clue was really tough…left a bad taste in my mouth.

  6. RCook says:

    NYT: I’m unreasonably annoyed that all of the pairings were alliterative except PASS and FAIL.

    • DougC says:

      :) True, a fourth alliterative pair would have taken this puzzle to the next level (as the coaches like to say). Still, I found it cute and entertaining as is, and that’s really all I ask for this early in the week.

      I did put a mental asterisk next to KARA SEA, thinking “marginally tough for a Tuesday” but the crosses seemed fair, and large bodies of water don’t seem like unreasonable things to be aware of, so no objection from me.

    • Ethan says:

      Initially, I had PASSER PLAY, thinking of the question the host asks in Family Feud, “pass or play?” Probably not a sufficiently known base phrase for punning, and while an interception is indeed a play, the clue would have been too specific.

  7. Margo Anderson says:

    I am writing here because I can’t find a way to communicate with the admins. I am old-fashioned and like to print out the puzzles. On Tuesday I print the Matt Jones puzzle. When I use HTML I get a different puzzle than the one that shows up on Across Lite (which I also print). Why are they different? Which one is actually for that date?

  8. sanfranman59 says:

    LAT: Yikes! There were way more WTF clue/answer combinations in this puzzle than is usual for me with an LAT Tuesday puzzle. SPRAY BUTTER? That’s a thing? If so, it sounds awful. I also didn’t know that there’s such a thing as BODY BUTTER. That just sounds like marketing mumbo-jumbo to me, but I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to skin care products. TELL IT? Someone somewhere uses this phrase when they mean “I couldn’t agree with you more” or “Amen” (i.e. “Preach!”)? Is the meaning of the Hawaiian word OHANA common knowledge? TOTORO? There was more that went over my head, but suffice it to say that this seemed like a later-in-the-week puzzle to me. I’m just never sure what difficulty level the LAT puzzle will come at me with through the week these days.

    • Eric H. says:

      OHANA jumped out as something unusual for Tuesday — or really any day of the week. It’s appeared only two previous times in a mainstream puzzle, once with a reference to the movie “Lilo and Stitch,” which may make it familiar to more than would otherwise be the case. But at least the crossings are gentle.

      “My Neighbor TOTORO” was well-regarded when it came out, but that was almost 25 years ago. Maybe people who saw it when they were kids have introduced their children to it.

      I agree that SPRAY BUTTER doesn’t sound appetizing.

      For me, the revealer didn’t work well. I’m willing to accept that each word in the theme answers can be preceded by BODY, but having the DOUBLE just saying that is a bit weird. In any case, I don’t see it as being helpful for getting a theme answer that you couldn’t get from its clue.

      I don’t often do the Tuesday LAT puzzle, but my time was in line with a NYT Monday or Tuesday.

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