USA Today3:39 (Darby)
Universal (Sunday)10:59 (Jim P)
Christina Iverson and Samuel A. Donaldson’s New York Times crossword, “Cheap Thrills” —Nate’s write-up
02.12.23 Sunday New York Times Puzzle
– 24A: CUTTING CORNERS [Economizing, as represented by the circled squares?]
Circled SAW and AXE literally cut the NW and SE corners off the grid
– 40A: PINCHING PENNIES [Economizing, as represented twice in 12-Down?]
– 12D: BI(CENT)ENNIAL (CENT)ER [Former name of a Kansas arena that commemorated a 1976 U.S. anniversary]
“Cent” is rebused (pinched) twice in BICENTENNIAL CENTER
– 94A: STRETCHING A BUCK [Economizing, as represented in 58-Down?]
– 58D: SSIINNGGLLEE [Not in a relationship]
“Single” is stretched by doubling each letter. I genuinely don’t know if “single” being the stretched “buck” here is meant to stand in for stag (deer/buck, as in someone single is “going stag”) or xwordinfo seems to suggest the “single” is a $1 bill / buck? Either way, it feels like one leap too many and not as satisfying a click for me as the other themers.
– 111A: MAKING ENDS MEET [Economizing, as represented by the shaded squares?]
CAN, BUM, ASS, and BUTT (ends) all meet in the shaded squares in the middle of the grid
In the puzzle, four idioms that mean “economizing” are represented literally elsewhere in the grid, each in its own way. I appreciated the inventiveness of the overall theme, even if some executions (like that for CUTTING CORNERS) felt more successful than others (I’m still not 100% sure I understand the STRETCHING A BUCK execution correctly). How neat that the idioms were nicely symmetric in length – the constructors must have pumped their fist at that!
I struggled to finish this puzzle because the theme and its execution seemed to result in a few tougher crossings like EGIS crossing INDIC and MARTEN crossing ANI. Immediately after the solve, I would have also argued that a bunch of the fill felt gluey too but, looking back, I think perhaps the cluing just wasn’t on my wavelength. I’m curious to hear how other people felt about the cluing vs. the fill in this puzzle.
Other random thoughts:
– 26D: ELON [Name hidden in “before long”] – Did anyone else originally have OREL here?
– The puzzle certainly felt like a collaboration, given the simultaneous inclusion of entries like BOPS and SAY LESS alongside NO BIG and DEALIO. At the very least, it felt like slang across multiple generations.
What did you think of the puzzle? Let us know in the comments section below. Have a great weekend and, if you observe the occasion, happy Super Bowl!
Universal Crossword, “Middling” by Fred Piscop — norah’s write-up
THEME:The revealer, CENTERPIECE, clues us into the fact that each themer has a PIECE in their centers.
- ICESCRAPERS 17A [*Winter windshield clearers]
- KEGPARTIES 11D [*Frat blowouts]
- HABITAT 38A [*Native environment]
- AUDIOTAPES 29D [*Cassette player inserts]
- CENTERPIECE 61A[Decoration on a dining table, and what’s in the exact middle of each starred clue’s answer?]
Another rare themed Sunday from the Universal crew. We have SCRAP, PART, BIT, and IOTA at the center of the theme entries. And thank goodness they are at the true centers, with an matching number of letters on either end. HABITAT is a bit (heh) of an odd one out, being only one word. All in all, a solid theme.
The grid structure doesn’t allow much space for any long bonus entries – the best we get is RUSTIER and DISTURB, but more importantly it’s filled relatively cleanly. We have PDA, IPO, ESC, STP, SOS, and ENE among the three-letter fill and all are clued in a friendly way and crossed fairly.
Thanks Fred and the Universal team!
Sam Koperwas and Jeff Chen’s Universal Sunday crossword, “Split Peas”—Jim P’s review
Theme answers are paired phrases (two per row) that share a subset of letters. These letters end one phrase and begin the other. Rather than have the duplicated letters existing separately in each entry, there is only one instance of the shared letters, and these are identified by circles which help the solver locate the end and beginning of the two phrases. A block (black square) is placed between the double-P which appears in each group (hence the title).
Universal Sunday crossword solution · “Split Peas” · Sam Koperwas and Jeff Chen · 2.12.23
- 25a. [*Holiday retail positions] GIFT WRAP(PERS).
- 27a. [With 26-Across, hip-hop classic by the Sugarhill Gang] (RAP)PER‘S DELIGHT.
- 43a. [*Semiaquatic pet given to President Coolidge] PYGMY HIP(PO).
- 45a. [With 44-Across, rear pouch on pants] (HIP) POCKET.
- 61a. [*Jesus’ final meal] LAST SUP(PER).
- 64a. [With 62-Across, high society] (UP)PER CRUST.
- 74a. [*Bumble, Muzz or Tinder] DATING AP(P).
- 78a. [With 76-Across, small fruit pastry] (AP)PLE TART.
- 97a. [*Backyard fryer?] BUG ZAP(PER).
- 100a. [With 98-Across, relates (to)] (AP)PERTAINS.
- 112a. [*”Forget it!”] “NOT GONNA HAP(PEN).”
- 116a. [With 115-Across, horns, tails and such] (AP)PENDAGES.
Well, this was confusing at the start…and even at the finish. Two main reasons contributed to the confusion for me.
First, each right-hand entry’s clue starts with “With xx-Across…” This goes against the crossword convention where the “With” indicates that what we find at that cross-referenced entry comes after what is in the current entry we’re looking at. Instead, what’s there actually comes before the current entry. Also, there really are no xx-Across entries at all. For example, 27a says “With 26-Across…” but there is no 26-Across. There’s a square marked 26 which is the start of the phrase that is clued at 27a, but if you’re looking through the clue list for 26-Across, you won’t find it. This means that the constructors had to put a block above each such start of the second phrase in order to ensure there was a number in that square. Kind of a crazy constraint. I get it. I see why they did it, and I’m okay with it. It just took a while to sort it out.
Second, it sure seemed like the circled letters were spelling out words. For the first 2/3 of the puzzle, they were. And then they weren’t. When I finished the grid, I was scratching my head and asking “What’s APPER? What’s APPEN?” So again, it took a few beats for me to realize that the circled letters simply indicate what’s shared between the two entries. It just so happened that in the first four pairs of entries, the circled letters spelled a word that belonged to one of the phrases. In the final two pairs, the circled letters are parts of other words for both phrases.
Okay? So all confusion aside, it’s a nifty theme, and the theme entries themselves are all pretty fun (except for APPERTAINS—APPERTAINS can just eff off; we’re all doing perfectly fine with “pertain,” thank you very much).
What’s really impressive here is the dense amount of theme material plus those extra necessary blocks I mentioned above all adding to constraints on the grid, and yet there’s a still plenty of juicy long fill. Highlights for me include: AMARETTO, BENTLEY, ARAPAHO, RIVIERA, “EN CHANTE,” SYRIANA, AGED OUT, DEAD HEAD, TAMALES, USA TODAY, FINE TUNE, and PANATELA (didn’t know it, but it makes for nice fill). The only one I question is VAPE HITS since I wouldn’t know if that’s a colloquial phrase or not.
Clue of note: [46d. Money’s equivalent?]. TIME. At first I thought this was something to do with magazines. It’s not. It’s from the phrase “Time is money.”
Interesting theme, and I like that our constructors aimed to do something different, but it was still confusing. Loads of fun fill. 3.75 stars.
Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post crossword, “Team Picture” —Matthew’s write-up
Evan Birnholz’ Washington Post crossword solution, “Team Picture,” 2/12/2023
We’re prompted with a meta this week, and told the answer is “an NFL team.” I flailed for quite a while at each step of the way here, and Evan’s own weekly review at the Post might have a bit more clarity than mine. It’s an intricate puzzle that comes together nicely:
Seven themers contain the singular form of NFL teams, and have two enumerations in their clues:
23a [Revolver inventor (9) (4)] SAMUEL COLT
34a [Student newspaper at a Southern university (4) (5)] THE DAILY TEXAN
44a [Cry of encouragement at a rodeo (4) (5)] RIDE EM COWBOY
71a [Francis of Assisi or Catherine of Siena, to Italy (5-2-3) (8)] PATRON SAINT
98a [Device that powers up an Android (9,4) (7)] PHONE CHARGER
106a [Amphibious aircraft that sounds like a vacation spot for Blackbeard’s crew (6,4) (4)] LAKE BUCCANEER
126a [“Iron Chef America” host (6) (4)] ALTON BROWN
And I suppose 135a [Picture designed for an NFL team, say] LOGO.
Given enumerations like (5-2-3), I figured at least the first set of enumerations didn’t point to extracting letters from words. A little help from Onelook.com got me FLEUR-DE-LIS, which is happily a description of the Saints’ logo. That explains the first number in each clue: HORSESHOE, BULL, STAR, FLEUR-DE-LIS, LIGHTNING BOLT, PIRATE FLAG, HELMET
HELMET is curious, reminding me of the odd clue at 132a [Protective cover at a stadium] DOME. Turns out each of the logo descriptions we’ve got in the previous step can be a second answer to another clue in the puzzle:
HORSESHOE: 1A [Item tossed at a stake] RING
BULL: 21A [Beast with horns] ELAND
STAR: 37D [Night sight] DREAM
FLEUR-DE-LIS: 57A [Symbol historically associated with the French monarchy] BASTILLE
LIGHTNING BOLT: 69A [Flash] INSTANT
PIRATE FLAG: 76D [Where you might see a skull] RUIN
HELMET: 132A [Protective cover at a stadium] DOME
I got stuck again here trying to make the second number in each theme clue work with these answers, but turns out they just indicate the length of these other answers in the grid, while the first letter of each answer spells out REDBIRD, which describes the logo of the Arizona Cardinals. Funnily, the Super Bowl is taking place in the Cardinals’ stadium.
It’s only been a few months since I took over from Jim on the WaPo reviews, so I don’t have a ton of experience with Evan’s metas, but this was certainly a step or two beyond what I’m used to (Evan to his credit did warn me it was a bit tougher). The first few steps are clear in retrospect, and the LOGO clue at 135a was a solid point in the right direction. But I found the second set of numbers in each themer a bit distracting — looking for clues in the grid that might fit the words you’re working with is a common enough tactic that I wasn’t expecting to have a helping hand there.
I’m late enough with this as it is, so will stop there.
Amie Walker’s LA Times crossword, “Ten Minutes to Win It” – Gareth’s theme summary
I heard a rumour there is some sort of splendid bowl on offer tomorrow… Amie Walker gives us eight answers with two OTs in them to commemorate this, revealed at DOUBLEOT:
- [Cheap digs], POTSHOTS
- [Rip-roarin’], ROOTINTOOTIN
- [Kiosk at some wedding receptions], PHOTOBOOTH
- [“Changing the subject … “], LETSNOTGOTHERE
- [More than a little mentally fatigued], TOOTIREDTOTHINK
- [Staley Da Bear, for one], FOOTBALLMASCOT
- [Blank expression?], IGOTNOTHIN
- [Slow-moving tree-dweller], TWOTOEDSLOTH
Zhouqin Burnikel’s USA Today crossword, “Outside Child”—Darby’s write-up
Theme: Each theme answer spells out TOT in its outer letters.
Zhouqin Burnikel’s USA Today crossword, “Outside Child” solution for 2/12/2023 UST
- 17a [“Internalized”] TOOK TO HEART
- 28a [“‘That was really helpful,’ sarcastically”] THANKS A LOT
- 47a [“T.C. Bear, for the Minnesota Twins”] TEAM MASCOT
- 61a [“Something staked in a garden”] TOMATO PLANT
Who doesn’t love a TOT-themed puzzle? It’s a fun word for a kiddo, so I was delighted in realizing that TOT would bookend each of the themers. These all fell into place pretty easily, and I sped through, finishing under 4 minutes (which is fast for me!). TEAM MASCOT was my favourite, though I also liked the invocation of sarcasm in the clue for THANKS A LOT.
For a puzzle with four themers, there was also a lot of other long fill that was run. I took longer than I should have with FUNNEL CAKE, calling it FRIED DOUGH at first. I KID YOU NOT was also particularly fun, given the kid-friendly nature of the grid itself. SKI RESORTS and HITS A NERVE were also very fun. Also, I don’t think I’ve seen 4d [“Drinking vessel for nigori”] SAKE CUP or 46d [“Empathetic phrase”] I FEEL YA very much, making them feel very fresh for this grid.
A few other faves:
- 23a [“Like a just-picked Zestar”] – Zestar apples look amazing CRISP and tasty, and their mention was one of many food-related words in this puzzle, including 26a [“Moo ___ pancakes”] SHU, OKRA, 6a [“Chamoe or cantaloupe”] MELON, TARO, and FIG 11a [“___ Newtowns”], not to mention TOMATO PLANT.
66a [“Country with teh world’s oldest capital”] – I didn’t know this about Damascus, in SYRIA.
The child-oriented theme also is a good reminder about Grids for Kids, if you haven’t donated already!
National days on Sun Feb 12th, 2023. Explore worldwide events, festivals, funny, weird, and national days on this day! It's Darwin Day, World Marriage Day, Super Bowl Sunday, National Plum Pudding Day, National Lost Penny Day… and much more!What National Day is February 12 2023? ›
FEBRUARY 12, 2023 | NATIONAL PORK RIND DAY | NATIONAL PLUM PUDDING DAY - National Day Calendar.What special day is February 12? ›
NATIONAL PLUM PUDDING DAY – February 12.What is the gospel reflection for February 12 2023? ›
As sinners, we are broken, yet, If we know Christ, we will know His mercy and compassion, and share this with others. By allowing Him to reside within us, as in a tabernacle, we can boldly love. This is how Christ Himself acted, humbling himself to the point of death and subsequent rise to eternal life.What is February known for? ›
February is probably most known for Valentine's Day, but before you go digging for the heart-shaped chocolate, the month boasts popular holidays like Groundhog Day and even the Super Bowl...if you want to consider that a holiday.What number is February? ›
February is the second month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars.What is the personality of someone born on February 12? ›
Aquarians born on February 12 have quiet strength. Their wisdom is based on karmic experience, yet they can live according to society's constraints. They have the spiritual power to heal others' psychic wounds. Their Aquarian nature draws people to them, but they are loners at heart.Is 12 Feb a kiss day? ›
Kiss Day marks the seventh day of Valentine's Week, it is celebrated a day before Valentine's Day on February 13 every year. On this special day couples express their feelings by kissing each other.Is February 12th a hug day? ›
Hug Day is observed annually on February 12 as part of Valentine's Week. It is a day to demonstrate love and affection for our loved ones by wrapping them in a warm embrace.What actress was born February 12? ›
1. Christina Ricci. Precocious, outspoken child-teen starlet of the 1990s, Christina Ricci was born on February 12, 1980 in Santa Monica, California, the youngest of four children of Sarah (Murdoch), a realtor, and Ralph Ricci, a lawyer and therapist. She is of Italian (from her paternal grandfather), Irish, and ...
In this Sunday's gospel Jesus tells us: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets, but to fulfil them, and I tell you the truth, not a letter or an accent of the law will pass away, heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away" (Mt 5,17-18).What is the New Year message from the Bible 2023? ›
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.What is the reflection of the Gospel of February 12? ›
The Law is not being abrogated; it is being intensified, raised to a new pitch. Jesus declares that he would not undermine the Law and the prophets but fulfill them. For instance, Jesus teaches, “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.What is a fun fact about February? ›
Here are a few fun facts about February: February is the shortest month of the year, with only 28 or 29 days. February is named after the Roman festival of Februa, which was a time for purification and sacrifice. February is the only month that can pass without a single full moon.Why is February called the month of love? ›
Since time immemorial, the month of February has been associated with the word “Love”, because during this month we celebrate Valentine's Day on Feb. 14. This day is universally considered as the day of lovers. It has always been associated with ”love” as symbolized by the heart or red roses.Why is it called February? ›
February. February is named after an ancient Roman festival of purification called Februa. John Samuel Agar (1773–1858), Februa in a shell, pulled by Pisces, represented by two fish.What are February birthdays called? ›
People who are born from January 20 to February 18 are Aquarians, while Pisces are born from February 19 to March 20.What birth is February? ›
Aquarius (January 20 – February 18) Pisces (February 19 – March 20)What is February born? ›
They are either an Aquarius or a Pisces.
People born between February 1 and February 18 were born under the star sign Aquarius, while those born later in the month are under Pisces.
Even though they are born in the middle of winter and may have to compete with gray skies and cold weather, one study found that babies born in the winter are more content and well-behaved. Other studies found that people born in February say they are happy with life and their career choice.
Pisces are known for being loyal and deeply caring no matter what their relationship is with the other person. Here's how Pisces interact in romantic relationships, among family and friends, and at work.What are Aquarius known for? ›
Aquarians are highly intellectual and creative, Walker says. Marked by independence, they don't like to be instructed what to do. While they can be social, they are not likely to participate in social interactions unless they truly want to. Aquarians are ideas people, never suffering a drought of inspiration.What is special about February 2023? ›
The Full Snow Moon. February's full Moon reaches peak illumination at Sunday, February 5, 2023. Look skyward on that night to catch the best view of this full Moon! It's known as the Snow Moon due to the typically heavy snowfall that occurs in February.What event is in February 2023? ›
The important days in February 2023 include Indian Coast Guard Day (1st Feb), World Wetlands Day (2nd Feb), World Cancer Day (4th Feb), International Epilepsy Day (14 February), Andhra Pradesh Day (20 February), World NGO Day (27 February) & More.What Moon is February 12 2023? ›
The Moon phase for February 12th, 2023 is a Waning Gibbous phase. This is the first phase after the Full Moon where the illumination of the moon decreases each day until it reaches 50% (the Last Quarter phase).What day of the week will February 12 be on in 2023? ›
Multi-day Events Continuing on Sunday, February 12th, 2023.What does February mean? ›
Since other months, like January, are named after Roman gods, you'd be forgiven for thinking February was named after the Roman god Februus. But, the word February comes from the Roman festival of purification called Februa, during which people were ritually washed.Is February the month of love? ›
February is often known for being a month dedicated to and all about love. But February is not only about valentines and sweethearts; instead it can also be a month for self-love and self-care, fostering relationships with family and friends, and loving others.Is February 2023 a leap year? ›
Every four years, an additional day is added to the month of February, which makes 29 February is a Leap Year. However, 2023 is not a Leap Year, as this year February ends on Tuesday 28. The Gregorian calendar usually has 365 days, but in a Leap Year, it has 366 days.What day is leap day 2023? ›
No, 2023 is not a leap year. The last leap day was February 29, 2020.
Other notable February holidays include Presidents Day (February 17), Abraham Lincoln's birthday (February 12), and George Washington's birthday (February 22). One of our personal favorite national days to celebrate, Random Acts of Kindness Day, is on February 17.What is a pink moon 2023? ›
The Pink Moon can be seen rising on the evening of 5 April 2023 in the UK and around the world. On Wednesday 5 April, from London, the Pink Moon will rise at 6:59pm from the east and set at 6:40am the next morning in the west. The Pink Moon will reach peak illumination at 4:34am UT/ 5:34 BST on the morning of 6 April.What rare moons are in 2023? ›
There will be four full Moon Supermoons in 2023.
The first is on July 3, the second will be on August 1, the third on August 31 (also a Blue Moon), and the fourth will be on September 29, 2023. There will also be two New Moon Supermoons in 2023.
According to this almanac, as the full Moon in January this is the Wolf Moon, from the packs of wolves heard howling outside the villages amid the cold and deep snows of winter. Another name is the Ice Moon. Europeans called this the Moon after Yule, a 3-day winter solstice festival in pre-Christian Europe.Is February 13 2023 a holiday? ›
2023 Daily Holidays that fall on February 13, include:
Employee Legal Awareness Day. Galentine's Day - (Always the day before Valentine's Day)
|Day of the week||Date|