Tuesday, June 4, 2024 | (2024)

Jonesin'12:23 (Erin)

LATuntimed (Jenni)

NYT3:20 (Amy)

The New Yorkeruntimed (pannonica)

Universal5:42 (Matt F)

USA Todaytk (Sophia)

Xword Nationuntimed (Ade)

WSJ5:25 (Jim)

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Freestyle, Full Substance” — celebrating puzzle #1200!. – Erin’s write-up

Tuesday, June 4, 2024 | (1)

Jonesin’ solution 6/4/24

Hello lovelies, and congrats to Matt for 1,200 Jonesin’ grids! That’s an impressive feat. He’s gifted us with a difficult themeless this week.

There is so much innovative fill in this grid. I loved seeing words and phrases not often found in crosswords such asSTARGAZERS, DALEKS, HORSE SENSE, CHUCKLEHEADED, andFROM THE WORD GO. On the other hand, I had to straight Google LEONSIS, SEABORG, TAE, YEREVAN, LLEYTON, andLATKA just to get a foothold in the grin. Even with looking up several entries, this grid took over twice my usual solve time.

Today I learned that the Sony’s robotic dog companion AIBO was first sold in 1999 for $2100 US dollars. The newest version can be yours for a mere $2899.99!

Until next week!

Josh Goodman’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Backfield”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar names and phrases that hide common grain types backwards. The revealer is AGAINST THE GRAIN (57a, [Contrary to what’s expected, or how the circled letters are flowing]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Backfield” · Josh Goodman · Tue., 6.4.24

  • 15a. [Do an impossible geometry feat] SQUARE THE CIRCLE. Rice.
  • 28a. [Armstrong and Aldrin collected about 47 pounds of them] MOON ROCKS. Corn.
  • 36a. [“Let You Love Me” singer] RITA ORA. Oat.
  • 45a. [Site of a famous London “zebra crossing”] ABBEY ROAD. Rye.

Great theme set with fun answers. I love the two grid-spanners, and the revealer makes a solid basis for a theme. MOON ROCKS and ABBEY ROAD are universally familiar (or nearly so), and most crossworders know RITA ORA, even if they’ve never heard any of her music. Well done.

But where the heck does CHUMBAWAMBA get off putting that A between the W and M and then pronouncing it like the U near the beginning? Like a normal person, I spelled it CHUMBAWUMBA with crossing AVU [“Abbott Elementary” principal] (never seen the show, so while it seemed odd, it felt plausible). But still, fun entry.


Clue of note: 12a. [Feeling after doing squat?]. ACHE. That should really be “squats” or “a squat,” but some leeway is warranted.

Solid theme and strong fill. 3.75 stars.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 680), “What’s the Dealio?”—Ade’s take

Tuesday, June 4, 2024 | (3)

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 680: “What’s the Dealio?”

Hello there, everybody! Here is hoping all of you are doing well and that you haven’t found yourself experiencing a June swoon at the moment.

We have some fun with a few vowels in this puzzle, as common phrases and proper nouns are turned into puns when adding the letters “IO” at the end of one of the words. This one definitely deserves a patio on the back.

      • ARBORIO DAY (17A: [24-hour celebration of an Italian short-grain rice?])
      • THE RATIO PACK (23A: [Group nickname of Vegas math nerds Frank, Sammy, Dean , Joey and Peter?]) – This is probably the first time that I knew the first and last names of each member off the top of my head. I’m proud! Peter Lawford was always the one that elided my memory bank for the longest time!
      • CRAZY SEXY COOLIO (36A: [TLC album dedicated to the “Too Hot” rapper?]) – Two different references to TLC in this puzzle? Solid! “Don’t go chasing waterfalls … “
      • BRONX CHEERIO (47A: [“Toodle-oo!” from New York’s northernmost borough?]) – My personal favorite theme answer
      • CASH CARDIO (57A: [Johnny’s exercise video with the soundtrack “I Power Walk the Line”?])

I didn’t notice the use of FRANK as an entry and a word in the clue for one of the theme answers until I started to type up this take (12D: [Candid]). Again, I’m more than OK with dupes like that as long as it’s not obvious, and that wasn’t obvious to me … not did it take away from my solving experience. Please tell me the universities that offer the fictional (?) class mentioned in the clue for EASY A, as I would totally want to sit in that class one time (49D: [“The Geopolitics of the Kazoo,” course-wise]). Now I can totally see someone doing that sort of class, but with the vuvuzela instead of the kazoo given the former’s prevalence at sporting events, peaking at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: BAM (20A: [Kapow!]) – At this time last year, Bam Adebayo was getting ready to play in the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat. The center just completed his seventh season in the league, and the third in which he made the All-Star team. Adebayo also was named as a First-Team All-Defense selection for the first time at the end of this season. Bam’s given first name is Edrice, but was nicknamed “Bamm-Bamm” as a kid by his mom after watching the Flintstones and her baby showed his strength by flipping over a table. Nice way to earn a nickname!

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

Take care!


Daniel Bodily’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 6/4/24 – no. 0604

I’ve got a quibble with the theme revealer, “CAN’T / TOUCH /THIS,” [With 67- and 68-Across, MC Hammer lyric that applies to each of the answers to the starred clues]. The lyric is “you [or U] can’t touch this,” so it feels a bit off-kilter. The five things you can’t touch in this theme are a CAMERA LENS, WET PAINT, an ELECTRIC FENCE, the LIMBO BAR you’re shimmying beneath, and a CRIME SCENE (unless you’re collecting evidence there). Bonus point for poison SUMAC and the black MAMBA; the INSECT could’ve been a murder hornet rather than it’s-not-sports [Cricket, e.g.].

Overall, the fill’s quite smooth, Fave fill: SLIMS DOWN, AMNESIACS, and the children’s menu/PLACEMAT/puzzle page.

I looked up 20a. [“Woman in a ___” (Degas painting)], TUB. There’s a Wikipedia page for Degas’s set of pastel drawings with the woman/tub theme. Boy, that last one looks awkward! If you can find a Degas painting called “Woman in a Tub,” let me know.

3.75 stars from me.

Taylor Johnson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jenni’s write-up

Fun theme! Did you figure it out before you saw the revealer?

The theme answers follow a pattern.

  • 17a [Vegetable patch pest] is aGARDEN SNAIL. So far I haven’t seen any this season. Lots of rabbits, though.
  • 25a [Feline who lives indoors] is aHOUSE CAT. I prefer those to the felines who stalk our bird feeders. Grr.
  • 37a [Workplace companion] is anOFFICE DOG. This can be controversial.
  • 52a [New York City rodent that went viral in 2015] was thePIZZA RAT. Google it yourself. I hate looking at rats.

And the revealer: 62a [Really fun person, or an apt descriptor of 17-, 25-, 37-, and 52-Across?] isPARTY ANIMAL.GARDEN PARTY,HOUSE PARTY,OFFICE PARTY, andPIZZA PARTY (my fave!). Nice!

A few other things:

  • 1a [Pool or polo] isGAME. I’ve been doing a lot of cryptics lately so my brain fastened on the anagram and wouldn’t let go.
  • 11d [Judy Garland or Cher] is aGAY ICON. Why is that?
  • Anyone run intoANIL in the wild (i.e. not in a crossword) lately?
  • The Baltimore ballplayers are fierce this year. It’s a good time to be anORIOLE fan.
  • Love The GreatBRITISH Baking Show!

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: thatIRAN borders Armenia. I think we’ve established that geography is whatever the opposite of a strong suit is. Also did not know thatFILA is based in Seoul.

Aimee Lucido’s New Yorker crossword — pannonica’s write-up

Tuesday, June 4, 2024 | (6)

New Yorker • 6/4/24 • Tue • Lucido • solution • 20240604

(Again I can’t figure out where the New Yorker’s difficulty determinations have landed, or if they’ve landed. This one was not challenging.)

  • 1a [Hunter that only comes out at night?] ORION. We’ve seen this plenty of times before, so it was a gimme.
  • 6a [Marcel Marceau character] BIP. Conversely, this used to be more common in crosswords, but not of late.
  • 14a [Knockout] HOT TAMALE. Just yesterday we were discussing English pluralizations of loan words.
  • 16a [“This one’s __” (“Not my fault”)] ON YOU. 17a. [Someone’s gotta tell it like it is …”] JUST SAYIN’. 37d [Possible reply to “You wouldn’t dare …”] WATCH ME. 53d [“Let’s leave __ that”] IT AT.
  • 23a [Travel with class?] STUDY ABROAD. Nice clue.
  • 33a [One who might say “I don’t mean to pry …” and then proceed to pry] BUTTINSKY. 11d [Non-verbal equivalent of a groan] EYEROLL. 23d [Metaphorical transport for someone experiencing difficulty] STRUGGLE BUS. 41d [Lunch option, jocularly] SAMMICH.
  • 36a [Cutesy palindromic emoticon face. UWU, or more accurately uwu, or perhaps more accurate still: u ω u). This skews younger and my guess as the clue/answer most likely to flummox solvers.
  • 46a [Viral tumblers that come in a wide array of colors] STANLEY CUPS. I don’t get the hype. In unrelated news, the NHL’s championship finals are just about to commence.
  • 58a [Facial hair sported by John Cleese on the BBC’s “Fawlty Towers”] MOUSTACHE. An oddly specific context, the sort of thing I imagine is a manifestation of an authorial touch.
  • 1d [“Well that’s wonderful,” sarcastically] OH JOY. I have been known to use this a time or two.
  • 4d [“A Man Called __” (2022 Tom Hanks film)] OTTO. Remake of the Swedish film adaptation featuring title character OVE, which I feel is even better crossword material.
  • 25d [“The Power of the __” (2021 film)] DOG. Overall I was underwhelmed by it, despite some good sequences. More than a couple of plot holes/errors, too. 29a [Make a mistake] ERR.
  • 50d [They’re thrown down in some forms of divination] BONES. This could be hakata or osteomancy.

Universal Crossword – Matt F’s Review

Title:Rack Up
Constructor: Dylan Schiff
Editor:David Steinberg

Tuesday, June 4, 2024 | (7)

Universal Solution 06.04.2024

Hoo boy, this is some theme. I’ll take a stab at making sense of things for you, but I’ll be honest I was not quite sure how everything was meant to add up here while I was solving the puzzle.

Theme Synopsis:

I’m going to start by laying out the theme answers to see if I can extract any meaning from the set as a whole. Bear with me.

  • 17A: 1+1+1, for a word meaning “fish catcher” = NET WORTH
  • 23A: 3+1+1+3+4, for a word meaning “fire starter” = MATCH POINTS
  • 39A: 3+1+1+2+1+3+1+1+1+1, for a word meaning “manufacturing” = PRODUCTION VALUE
  • 51A: 3+1+1+2+1+1, for a word meaning “recognition” = CREDIT SCORE
  • 61A: Game that inspired this puzzle = SCRABBLE

Ohhhh, ok. Got it!

When I solved this I totally skipped over the reveal (the rare time I “quick fill” a word without reading its clue and it happened to be the revealer. Ha! My luck). Now that I see the theme laid out, this is pretty straightforward.

Each of the theme answers is comprised of a word spelled out by its tile point values in Scrabble. So at 17A, N-E-T on a Scrabble board would be counted “1+1+1” and this totals to the score of that particular Scrabble play.

N-E-T is worth 3 points (1+1+1)
M-A-T-C-H is 12 points (3+1+1+3+4)
The value of P-R-O-D-U-C-T-I-O-N is 15 (3+1+1+2+1+3+1+1+1+1)
The score for C-R-E-D-I-T is 9 (3+1+1+2+1+1)

Overall Impressions

Ok, got the hard part out of the way. Maybe I would have caught onto the theme gimmick if I wasn’t so focused on just solving the puzzle. I’m no speed solver, but I’ve heard anecdotally that many of them do not pay attention to theme content whatsoever while solving. It happened to me today and I didn’t even try to avoid it. I just didn’t take time to appreciate it until afterwards. Anyway, upon reflection, this is a playful, solid theme set. The back half of each theme answer is a synonym for “total,” the front half completes an in-the-language phrase, and the clue gives us the Scrabble tile values for the first word. Nice throughline!

Thanks for the puzzle, Dylan!

Tuesday, June 4, 2024 | (2024)


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