A short, fun and occasionally not unintentionally educational podcast in which two fans of the New York Times crossword describe their puzzle-solving travails.
Traditionally, Mondays are the easiest crosswords of the week, designed to appeal to novice solvers, and today's puzzle certainly lives up to the tradition. It included a lot of old favorites, -- 40A, Degs. for entrepreneurs, MBAS; 18A, Taj Mahal locale, AGRA; and 63A, Nintendo competitor, SEGA. It also had, once again, a clue that Mike fell for (insert analogy with Charlie Brown, Lucy, and football right here), 12D, Prez dispenser?, ATM (ha!). One day he'll spot that ATM clue ... maybe ...
A gentle Sunday crossword, for one of the dynamic duo (no prize if you guess which one): the other had one teensy-weensy mistake that, well, if you want to hear the whole edda-esque saga, you know what to do -- download and listen up!
Beyond the clues dissected in today's episode, there were a few surprising answers lurking in the grid: 41A, People credited with discovering mechanoluminescence, using quartz crystals to generate light, UTE (but still no word as who discovered how to spell it); 22A, Big gun, you might say, BICEP (not, as Mike originally hoped, GIANTSPACELASER); and the at first blush perplexing 4D, Schedule listings, FEES, which may (or may not) be an Ebay thing. Regardless, we liked the crossword overall, and give it a 5 squares on the JAMCR scale.
A Goldilocks of a Friday crossword - not too easy, not too hard, but just right - thanks to the talents of crossword constructor Kate Hawkins, aided and abetted, no doubt, by editor Will Shortz. Any grid that can include 50A, _______ Yaga (folklore villain), BABA. deserves our respect, and we give it - 5 squares on the JAMCR scale.In other news, it's Fun Fact Friday, and for a refresher on just about everyone's favorite heavy metal band, aka IRONMAIDEN, download and listen up.
True or false: this was a tricky crossword. True! And false! In fact the grid was littered with true and false answers, an ingenious gimmick courtesy of Chase Dittrich. To get the full 411, just hit the ol' download button and enjoy.On a side note, without giving away the entire store, here's a page that may help with today's crossword: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/crosswords/yes-you-can-write-more-than-one-letter-in-a-square.html
A crunchier than usual Wednesday puzzle, both Jean & Mike had trouble in the north central and southeast parts of the grid. Jean was particularly stymied by her nemesis, the rebus, while Mike was almost done in by his fixation on ELO. For the details of this epic struggle, and how it turned out, download and listen up to today's episode!
Eric Bornstein simultaneously cashes in his chips and hits one out of the ballpark, with a financially-themed crossword with a baseball sub-theme (if two clues constitute a sub-theme, and we say yes). It's also Triplet Tuesday, so to find out if Mike got a single, double, triple, or just fouled out, you'll have to click on the ol' download button and the even ol'er play button.As usual, feedback is welcome -- drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you think.
A fine introduction to the problem solving week, Stella Zawistowski turns in a puzzle with some gentle cluing, and a cute theme, a great puzzle for those new to the New York Times crossword scene -- and if that's you, welcome!!
A gem of a Sunday crossword, one of the finest we've seen in many a moon. A great theme, to be sure, but the rest of the grid was absolutely grade A as well. To hear the rest of the story, you know what to do -- download, and listen up!Just a reminder, the New York Times Crossword folks would love to have you as a subscriber - just go to nytimes.com/crosswords and tell 'em "Jean & Mike sent me".
An epic Saturday crossword, but with Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen at the controls how could it be anything but? The clues were like the answer to 1A, FRESH, and the result definitely deserves a 5 squares on the JAMCR scale. To hear the blow-by-blow discussion of today's opus, you know what to do ... download and listen up!
A gentle Friday crossword by John Hawksley, punctuated by one of the greatest (IMHO, that's In Mike's Humble Opinion) clues of the year. And for the answer to the burning question, what would that clue be? -- as well as the rest of our usual SOI-DISANT insightful analysis, download and listen up to today's episode!
A very witty Thursday crossword by Ori Brian, with a theme that deserves a standing ovation, and a grid that is filled with amusing puns, misdirects, and a shoutout to one of the greatest soul singers of all time. What's not to like? For all the deets, download and listen up.
Today's crossword is a bit of a stretch, literally, and deserves to be bookmarked (figuratively, if you're solving online) because it includes a myriad of YOGAPOSES that might be worth knowing about, lest they crop up in a future puzzle. So, for more info on that, as well as how Jean & Mike almost managed to turn in mirror times (ss:tt for Jean, tt:ss for Mike, no points for guessing whether ss < tt, of course it is!), download and listen up to today's episode.
Although the episode title might look somewhat random at first, there is method to our titling madness: and to find out exactly what that is, you know what to do - download today's episode and hit the big blue play button!We love feedback! Just drop us a line at email@example.com.
Twas a slightly sticky Monday New York Times crossword. Oh, it started off promising to be easy, but the bloom was off the rose by about the third row. Still, you have to love a crossword that includes ROCKMEAMADEUS and HELPMERHONDA ... and indeed we do! For all the deets, download and listen up!
A very enjoyable Sunday crossword, with a very cool theme. One gem that didn't make it into the podcast, 127A, "Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap Director", ICET, is directly above 131A, Unilever tea brand, TAZO. Very clever, Aimee Lucido and Ella Dershowitz (authors of today's crossword), we salute you and rate this puzzle a 5 squares on the JAMCR scale!
A fine Saturday crossword, with lots of entertaining cluing, and while the pop culture reference meter was in the orange, both Jean & (the especially pop-culture reference-challenged) Mike were able to emerge undefeated. OLEOLE!
Jean found solving today's crossword to be a true GEST, while Mike can AVER that it wasn't as bad as yesterday's! We can state uncategorically that any crossword that manages to abut 11D, Zero reaction, BRR, and 12D. Hotel hummer, ICEMACHINE, deserves 5 squares, so that's what this one earned on the ol' JAMCR scale. For all the deets, download and listen up!
A tough Thursday oeuvre by Mark MacLachlan that left us panting and gasping after we'd finished it -- or did it finish us? To find out, you know what to do - download and then hit the big play button to enjoy today's episode.
A great crossword, peppered with lines from one of our favorite poets, Ogden NASH. We give this a 5 squares on the JAMCR scale, and to find out why -- as well as whether Mike can triumph on Triplet Tuesday -- just download and hit the big blue (?) green (?) whatever-colored play button!
A good start to the crossword solving week, with a grid that features a quartet of great singers and a really, really great idea for General Mills. To find out what all that means, download and (we hope!) enjoy today's episode.
It isn't clear if the New York Times was trying to scrimp on ink by printing a crossword with very few black squares, but they did so, and in the process delivered a very tough, but very enjoyable crossword by a man who's reputation for very tough but very enjoyable crosswords precedes him, Sid Sivakumar. He definitely lives up to his reputation, and for all the deets, just download and listen up to today's episode.
What do you get when you put Brooke Husic and Will Nediger together and tell them, "no limits"? You get exactly this sort of Saturday crossword -- tough, but not soul crushing, with some clues so well crafted that you will have to fight the natural instinct to stand up and yell bravo, encore! To hear precisely why these sentiments would be apropos, you know what to do ... download and then hit the big play button.
Fine Friday fare from ... well, it would've completed this intro nicely if the author was Fred Flinstone or Farrah Fawcett, but we certainly won't complain about Jeff Greenbaum, whose crossword was a perfect Friday construct, and packed with useful advice, like MAKELOVENOTWAR and DONTOVERTHINKIT. For more on today's oeuvre, download and savor today's episode.
A challenging Thursday crossword by David Steinberg, with multiple instances of Jean's bane, the rebus! Did she solve it? Or did she get horribly mired in the grid? To find out ... download today's episode and hit the big play button!
A splendid Wednesday crossword, almost right at 50% on the crossword difficulty scale (expressed in FBPM, Furrowed Brows Per Minute). The theme was intriguing, it had the word IMAGINEER in the grid (Mike's aspirational career choice), and it had the word "Jackpotting" among the clues. To find out what that means, and much, much more, hit the ol' download button to your left(?) right(?) It's sure to be around there somewhere ...
A nice Tuesday crossword, with an. overarching theme, and -- spoiler alert -- that remark will seem hilarious once you've listened to today's podcast. In other news, it's Triplet Tuesday, and to see if Jean was able to live up to her stellar reputation, all you have to do is download today's episode and hit that magical play button.
After the fireworks caused by Sunday's crossword, today's crossword is relatively uncontroversial, as convention dictates that Monday crosswords ought to be. It had a gentle enough theme, and the contractually obligated appearance of the OREO. To learn what else was unique about today's crossword, just tune in to today's podcast.
Today's crossword, by the incredible Alex Eaton-Salners, was awesome on so many levels that we just don't have the space to describe it here. So, other than pointing out the fact that 7D, "Battlestar Galactica" robots, CYLONS, meant that Mike got his Netflix-viewing MARCHINGORDERS and is preparing to binge-watch as we speak, we will merely direct you to download today's podcast to get all the deets.
What's all the HULLABALOO about? It's in honor of this very COOL crossword by Michael Hawkins, who TRACKEDDOWN the finest clues from all over -- it must've taken him EONS, extracting them from their various HIDEOUTS -- and brought them together in one grid for your enjoyment. We know we did, and to hear precisely why, just download and listen up.
Today's crossword was a very smooth solve for both Jean & Mike - which means that, according to the (entirely fictitious) law of conservation of crossword difficulty, tomorrow's crossword will probably be impossible. Among the clues not discussed in today's crossword were 23D, River in Picardy, SOMME, and a clue that, in this modern age is now mystifying, 65A, Lewis Carroll character who asks "Does your watch tell you what year it is?", MADHATTER.It's Fun Fact Friday, and it's a doozy, so for all the deets, download and listen up!
It's a scary Thursday crossword ... but that's due to the theme, not the difficulty level. The cluing was crisp and amusing, and, in addition to many examples discussed on today's podcast, we did enjoy 5D, On the ___ (frequently, in slang), REG, yet more evidence of the remarkable fluidity of the English language. For more deets, download and listen up!
Live from Northeast Wisconsin, it's ... Jean and Mike Do The New York Times Crossword! Perhaps that's not quite as memorable as 38A, Classic opening line from an NBC sketch show, LIVEFROMNEWYORK, but it's the best we can do. And to hear *more* of the best that we can do, download and listen up to today's episode .
Among the clues that we didn't get around to discussing in today's podcast was 41A, Treble symbols, GCLEFS, and the rather new-is 18A, Looks for web content about oneself, EGOSURF. But we talked about a whole lot of the puzzle, as well as had another exciting round of Triplet Tuesday -- so for all the deets, download, and listen up.
Today's crossword was titled "Sports Nuts", and that pretty much sums up the theme - a series of answers that involved some aspect of sports, as suggested by a punny clue. For example, 22A, Your ex's new date whom you just can't stand?, OFFENSIVEREBOUND. Beyond the sporting motif, there were some interesting clues. For example:the startlingly difficult to pronounce 30A, There are 24 in a cuboctahedron, EDGES (the unpronounceable word, for the record, being cuboctahedron, not EDGES). the mysterious 79D. Instrument that's a homophone of 69D, VIOL (the mystery being what's the difference between a homophone and a homonym). to name just two. A fine crossword, we give it 4.5 squares on the JAMCR scale.
Saturday is traditionally the toughest crossword of the week, doubly so when Sam Ezersky's the constructor. Both Jean & Mike (solving independently, as is their wont), struggled in the bottom right corner, where a trio of potentially ego-crushing clues awaited -- 42D, Charge for some truckers, CARTAGE (not, as Mike surmised, CARRAGE), 43D, Drawing of the body without its skin, from the French, ECORCHE, and 44D, One of the Lesser Antilles, STKITTS. And other parts of the grid were also challenging. Still, Sam managed to thread the needle between "really, really hard", and "nobody in the continental US other than Rex Parker is going to know this" -- no mean feat. For all that, we give this a hearty 5 squares on the JAMCR scale.
This was a relatively easy Friday puzzle, but it was filled with sparkling cluing that made it a delight to tackle. As exhibit A, we present 16A, Digital color presentation?, NAILPOLISH, 20D, Dining with one's child?, EATINGFORTWO, and 33A, What may be found between X and Z?, GENERATIONGAP. There were also some nice juxtapositions, EFT and AFT on the same row; and OOZE intersecting OUZO. Kudos to Robyn Weintraub for creating such a fine piece of work.It's Friday, and to find out the Fun Fact Friday fact, download and listen up!
A fun Thursday crossword from Michael Lieberman, with a clever theme - a series of vertical answers, each two words - and they make sense only if you observe that the word on the bottom is under the word on top. For instance, 24D, Give a sworn statement in court, is OATHTESTIFY, and reading this (vertically), the phrase is, literally, TESTIFY under OATH. We also had 3D, Clueless about current trends, AROCKLIVING, 17D, Choke, PRESSURECRACK, and 8D, Take more shots than, THETABLEDRINK. Clever, and the theme is instrumental in readily solving the puzzle. There were a few other very amusing clues, 27A, Things you saw while asleep?, LOGS (oh, that kind of saw), 33A, Noodle container?, SKULL (ha!), and even 52A. It may be used to get away from a bank, OAR, was amusing. In short, a great puzzle, we give it a 5 squares on the JAMCR scale.
Today's crossword was a big BESO from the constructor, David W. Tuffs, with an interesting theme revolving around comparisons. Both Jean & Mike were taken in by 23A, One, in Berlin, EINS (they both thought it would be EINE), and while Jean immediately knew that was incorrect because of the cross, 15D, Root beer brand, DADS, it took Mike about 17 minutes longer to figure that out... A fine crossword, we give it a 5 squares on the JAMCR scale.
Ross Trudeau steps up to the plate, swings, and it's a hit -- because Ross Trudeaus' crosswords are always a hit. This is a more high-brow crossword than is typical for the New York Times, as there were 3 clues that tied in to 28D, Literary trio found in the answers to this puzzle's starred clues, THEBRONTES. Those clues -- 6D, Chain known for its soft pretzels, AUNTIEANNES; 25D, Prominent left-leaning political action committee, EMILYSLIST; and the rather lengthy 19A, Children's book whose title character says, "If I can fool a bug, I can surely fool a man. People are not as smart as bugs", CHARLOTTESWEB; all contained the name of one of THEBRONTES. Outstanding!In other news, it's Triplet Tuesday, and Jean makes it look easy. To hear the blow-by-blow, download and listen up.
Freddie Cheng has provided a very ARTistic start to the crossword week, with a series of clues that include multiple spellings of the word ART, e.g., 17A, Athlete who rarely gets sacked or has a pass intercepted, STARQUARTERBACK. Both Jean and Mike had a skosh of difficulty with this puzzle, because, even though solving independently, they were both taken in by 50A, Woman's name derived from the Greek for "peace", IRENA (not IRENE), crossing 46D, Super-miniature dog breed size, TEACUP (not TEECUP). Mike also was momentarily flummoxed by 23A, Classic cinema name, ODEON. (not, ORSON). Today's podcast also has a tasty discussion of PEARTARTs, so for all the deets, download and listen up!
A splendid Sunday crossword from the pen of Jeff Chen, who overlays the main grid with 5 diagonal answers - it has to be seen to be believed. Fortuitously, you can indeed see that by going over to Jeff Chen's web site - xwordinfo.com - tell 'em Jean & Mike sent you.Beyond the diagonal clues, the rest of the grid was a master class in crossword construction, as you would expect from Mr. Chen. For all the details, just download and listen up!
A well crafted crossword from Caitlin Reid and Erik Agard, not too soul-crushingly difficult, and not too fall-off-a-log easy, either. There was only one pop culture reference -- 17A, Pop music nickname, RIRI -- but it has been in the grid multiple times in recent months. Some other clues worth highlighting -- 6D, Check for bugs, INSECTREPELLENT (the old verb-for-noun. switcheroo), 55A, Having trouble making a call, ONTHEFENCE, and 14D, Life lines?, BIOS -- are just a few of the gems that await the crossword solver. A great effort, we give this 5 squares on the JAMCR scale.
Today's crossword had mixed reviews. Jean thought it was relatively straightforward, Mike found it a bit more of a slog, no BIGSURPRISE. They both agree, however, that 30A, Cutesy "I beg your pardon", EXSQUEEZEME, was fun to say, and that 39D, Joint application?, BENGAY, was just funny.It's Fun Fact Friday, and in today's episode Jean and Mike discuss the architect who is almost never called by his full name, Ieoh Ming Pei.
An unexpectedly gentle Thursday offering, but filed with some joyously LOL answers. Who could not break a smile at 58A, Stand by the pool, maybe, TIKIBAR, 45D, Balls in a pocket, FALAFEL (nice!), and marvel at the epic 12D, Glass elevator?, TOASTER? The author of today's mirthfest, Matt Fuchs, definitely knows how to write an entertaining crossword, hence our JAMCR scale rating of 5 squares, with 5 smirks on the associated Chortle Meter™️.
Today's crossword was a real EYE opener - with the names of 4 persons whose first named started with, and last name ended with, the letter I. It was ingenious, intriguing and ... tough! Jean ran into some thorns in the bottom-right corner, and Mike had to cope with the intersection of 5D, Cover for the bed of a pickup truck, TONNEAU, and 32A, "Red Cube" sculptor with an eponymous museum in New York, ISAMUNOGUCHI - yikes! Remember that if you're not a subscriber to the New York Times, the best way to follow along with this podcast is to check out the completed grid at xwordinfo.com -- tell them Jean & Mike sent you
Today's crossword included the reappearance of 2D, Egyptian king of the Gods, AMNUNRA, whose alternative spellings are so legendary - AMUNRA, AMENRA, AMONRA , to name just three -- that he has earned the unofficial moniker, God of Dubious Spelling. The rest of the grid was entertaining, focused on the concept of 37A, Portmanteau coinage describing this puzzle's theme, ALLITERNATION. Examples of these include 17A, Game that has only a single round, RUSSIANROULETTE, 23A, Single item seemingly always found at the bottom of a McDonald's bag, FRENCHFRY (cute!), and 49A, Entrance divided in half horizontally, DUTCHDOOR. In other news, it's Triplet Tuesday, and Mike gets 2 out of 3, only striking out on DOW. To hear that and more, download and listen up!
Today's crossword was a Monday, but it was a little "crunchier" than usual., with clues that might trip up novice solvers, such as 53D, Thai currency, BAHT, 42A, Official language of Iran, FARSI, and 27D, Feature introduced to the iPhone in 2009, VIDEO). Jean (of course) tore through today's grid, but Mike found a few speed bumps - is it CATE or KATE Blanchett? The former. Is it TIG or MEG Ryan (definitely the latter). A fine crossword, so in response to 17A, "This is my final offer", TAKEITORLEAVE it, we most assuredly will take it.
A crunchier than usual Sunday crossword, the grid was filled with amusing clues but plenty of pitfalls. Jean had a spot of bother with 77A, Sesh on Reddit, AMA (short for Ask Me Another). Mike, meanwhile, was apparently unaware of 88D, Ike's domain in W. W. II, ETO, an answer that had appeared in the New York Times crossword a staggering 449 times, even more than the official cookie of the New York Times crossword, the OREO (443 times). The fact that the T of ETO crossed with 91A, Dostoyevsky's Prince Myshkin, so the book title declares, IDIOT, is just salt in the wound