Monday, June 10, 2024 | (2024)

BEQtk (Matthew)


LAT1:43 (Stella)


NYT3:37 (Sophia)


The New Yorker5:17 (Amy)


Universaluntimed (pannonica)


USA Todaytk (tk)


WSJ4:24 (Jim)

Kareem Ayas’s New York Times crossword — Sophia’s write-up

Theme: Different definitions of the word SET. Also, there is not a single three letter entry in this puzzle that is not SET.

  • 1a [Theater backdrop] – SET
  • 24a [Put (down)] –SET
  • 31a [Prepare, as the dinner table] – SET
  • 40a [Written in stone] –SET
  • 47a [Unit for a comedian or musician] – SET
  • 57a [Like hard plaster] – SET
  • 5d [Part of a tennis match] – SET
  • 8d [Sink, as the sun] – SET
  • 31d [Mathematical grouping using curly brackets] – SET
  • 35d [Having everything one needs] – SET
  • 37d [Volleyball move before a spike] – SET
  • 62d [Complete collection] -SET
  • 64d [Adjust, as a watch] – SET
  • 71a [Guinness world record holder for “English word with the most meanings”] – SET

I’ll admit, at first I was not sure about this theme. SET sure does have a lot of definitions, huh? (Although there seems to be some spirited internet debate about whether it has the “most” or is beaten out by “run”). But then I realized that SET is the only three letter entry in the puzzle, and I became much more impressed from a construction standpoint. That’s hard to do! Luckily SET has pretty common letters, but that makes it incredibly tricky to have even two three-letter entries next to each other due to the SS EE TT combos. I just hope people notice this fact and don’t just assume the theme is “SET is in this puzzle a lot”.

Given that the theme only relates to the three letter entries, I was glad to see some other standout fill. Personal faves were ANGELFISH, TIPPYTOES, AGREEABLE, DOG SPA, and SMOKE FREE. There were a fair amount of two-word answers like CHIP IN, TIP OFF, TYPE UP, but most of them are in the language and didn’t bother me much (most of them. Looking at you, YENFOR and ON DISC). I got most hung up on [Theater centerpiece] for STAGE because I was picturing something *on* the stage, not the stage itself.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Brad Wiegmann’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Earthlings Unite!”—Jim’s review

Theme answers are familiar phrases featuring a geographical formation and a group of people. The revealer is GROUND CREW (57a, [Plane maintenance group, or what 16-, 23-, 33- and 49-Across make up collectively]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Earthlings Unite!” · Brad Wiegmann · Mon., 6.10.24

  • 16a. [Some apartment building owners] LANDLADIES.
  • 23a. [Main characters in “The Revenant,” e.g.] MOUNTAIN MEN.
  • 33a. [“God Only Knows” singers, with “The”] BEACH BOYS.
  • 49a. [“So I was like, I’m so sure!” speakers] VALLEY GIRLS.

I ignored the theme during the solve and enjoyed the pleasant aha moment afterwards. It’s always nice when a Monday puzzle has a solid and interesting theme. Well done.

No long bits of fill in the Down direction, but we get DODO BIRD and PIT BULLS squeezed in between theme answers. Other goodies: TIN CANS, GOURMET, SURVEIL, ON A DIME, MEINEKE, and CHARON. Did not know MONTAND [Yves of “Jean de Florette”] but his is a name worth knowing.

I’m partial to the BEACH BOYS’ “God Only Knows”, and apparently the official video came out only two years ago. It was the culmination of a four-part series that included “Barbara Ann”, “Don’t Worry, Baby”, and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”. Together, the four videos tell a story of young love. Watch them in order for the full effect. Here’s the scoop on the making of the series.

But I haven’t heard Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl” probably since it came out, so let’s give that a look-see.

Nice puzzle. 3.75 stars.


Noelle Griskey’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Monday, June 10, 2024 | (3)

Los Angeles Times 6/10/24 by Noelle Griskey

This theme is sassy! No, really: The revealer at 60A [New beginning, and a feature of 17-, 26-, and 44-Across] isFRESH START, because each of the three theme entries begins with a word that can meanFRESH in its “modern and fun” sense:

  • 17A [Low-slung jeans] isHIP HUGGERS.
  • 26A [1993 film about the Olympic bobsled team from Jamaica] isCOOL RUNNINGS.
  • 44A [Magazine with tips and techniques for anglers] isFLY FISHERMAN.

Hopefully you’re feelingHIP,COOL, andFLY after solving this puzzle, which was filled in easy-breezy fashion. Lots of nice evocative fill likeFONDUE,PIG PEN, andTENNIS, and proper nouns likeEUDORA Welty andClaudeMONET weren’t too hard for Monday.

Jay Silverman’s Universal crossword, “Grand Slam” — pannonica’s write-up

Monday, June 10, 2024 | (4)

Universal • 6/10/824 • Mon • “Grand Slam” • Silverman • 20240610

It’s another baseball theme.

  • 51aR [Hit one out of the park, and the key to interpreting the starred clues] CLEAR THE BASES.
  • 3d. [*Show embarrassment] FIRST BLUSH.
  • 5d. [*__ instrument] SECOND WIND.
  • 7d. [*Lively social event] THIRD PARTY.
  • 9d. [*Mesh item in a window frame] HOME SCREEN.

My first reaction is that the revealer should read that it’s the key to interpreting the starredanswers, but after a little more consideration I’ve decided that the instruction is ambiguous and can be interpreted either way.

While I was solving the crossword it was readily obvious that ordinals in those starred entries should be ignored, so I wouldn’t say that I needed a key. On the other hand, CLEAR THE BASES did furnish a rationale for the gimmick.

Lastly, the grid has left-right symmetry and I wonder if the original intent was to represent a baseball diamond. I don’t feel that it does, but thought I should mention it just in case.

  • 18a [“Completely agreed!”] AMEN. 57d [“__ here!” (“Ditto!”)] SAME.
  • 26a [Like many Braille readers] BLIND. 13a [Slashed pronoun for two genders] HE/SHE. Both of these clues admirably avoid absolutism and are hence more inclusive.
  • 34a [NFL ball carriers] RBS. Just a letter off from RBI, I notice.
  • 23d [Up to, informally] TIL.

    (translation: dance til you drop)
  • 40d [Pasture-raised] GRASS-FED. Generally, yes. But be aware that GRASS-FED doesn’t necessarily imply pasture-raised, despite its bucolic trappings. Big agriculture employs many deceptive phrases and practices.
  • Towards the end, we get a couple of clues adorned with question marks, but they’re only gently twisted. 48d [Trips around the world?] ORBITS. 51d [Support staff?] CANE.
  • 58d [Service place for Lewis Hamilton] PIT. Only once I saw the answer did I recall that he’s a Formula One racecar driver.

Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 6/10/24 – Shechtman

First off, I miss the Sunday cryptics that the New Yorker stopped publishing! They were fun little bites of cryptic goodness. Second, Anna’s last name can be tricky to spell. What worked for me is seeing it as S + screenwriter Ben Hecht’s last name + man, nary an SCH to be found. If you simply must have an SCH, it’s found here in the terrific BORSCHT BELT answer.

Other fave fill: “YES, CHEF” (we would also have accepted “heard, chef,” and the new season of The Bear is nigh upon us!), the LAVENDER MENACE (I was pondering purple and violet before the crossings reminded me it was LAVENDER), TIMES TABLES, TAYLOR’S VERSION (if you don’t know the reason for that: someone Swift hated bought the masters of her records, so she’s been rerecording her albums and releasing them with her ownership of the content—and her fans are buying the revamps and listening to the new song versions), Monique WITTIG (I think I read Les Guérillères in college in a French lit in translation course, but remember nothing of it), and CHIMERAS.

I wanted HAIR GEL instead of HAIR OIL, didn’t recall that the Dubliners character is EVELINE rather than EVELENE, figured SCOPE OUT couldn’t possibly be SCOPE GUT; took a bit to unravel the issue.

Meh: EGEST, STETTED, partial I BE, French ETAGE.

3.5 stars from me.

Monday, June 10, 2024 | (2024)
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