Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Wednesday, June 2, 2021, Jesse Goldberg

Congratulations to Mr. Goldberg for his NYT crossword debut!

The month of June is Pride Month, celebrating the STONEWALL riots of 1969. So today, we have a tribute puzzle to that event, even though it took place on June 28. Cleverly, the puzzle presents a series of answers around the outside of the grid that take the word "stone" as the second part of the clued phrase. Thus, 1A: *Graveyard sight (HEAD) refers to "headstone."

Anybody here play HEARTH[stone]? It's somewhat like Magic: The Gathering, I suppose, based instead on the video games World of Warcraft. I played that first game years and years ago. But collectible card games have never been my thing.

Otherwise, I like all the answers, including BIRTH[stone] and BROWN[stone] especially. The construction of the grid with all of those theme answers fixed into place along the edges of the puzzle means there are few long sparkly answers in the fill. 9D: Widespread panic (HYSTERIA) is a better entry than OPENATAB, but the term has lost some of its appeal to me because of its long use in Neurology as a way of putting down women's complaints. We much prefer the phrase "conversion disorder" instead.

My RYE of choice

The other answer I raised an eyebrow at was ASPERSE. When Googled, you get the dictionary definition, and nothing more. This is my quick and easy way to prove that nobody ever says this word in real life. But I don't want to be SNIDE

There are some nice clues and answers to lift one's spirit. I like 22A: Tear sheet? (TISSUE), and 12D: Like the words "literally" and "ironic," often (MISUSED) brings a smile to my face. Other fun answers include YKNOW and EASYOUT

Here's looking forward to the turn!

- Colum


  1. YKNOW, it's ironic, but I've literally never heard of HEARTH[STONE]. I ended up with a literal FWOE because I left HEARTs in there, and it's ironic, because there's no such game as HEARTs stone. (That I know of.) Also, when I saw sUSHES, I didn't think "That's wrong," I thought "How could they spell "shushes" without the first h!?!

    What a maroon.

    Anywho, I can't ASPERSE the grid because of the EROSION of my own MISUSED mind. All I can do is say CRATs and hope I don't make a TONNE of mistakes tomorrow. :)

  2. I did the same - HEARTS - cuz whoever heard of a game called HEARTH? Not I, apparently. I took the time to root it out but it still bloated my solve time up to 6:01. Loved the theme - so clever!

    HYSTERIA has deep, sexist roots, to be sure.

  3. Nice theme, and it was good to see LINUS in there, an old favorite (even though he's somewhat of a Bible-thumper). I also enjoyed SETI, being a fan of The Search. Carl Sagan's book, "Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI)" predated the "SETI" term, I think, but I'm not sure. I remember reading the book in my teens and quite enjoying it, though I haven't read it in some time so hesitate to recommend it as many of the ideas and techniques could be outdated. After all, it's almost fifty years old. I see the point on the word HYSTERIA, but you (Colum) have got to get "Conversion Disorder" into more widespread usage or no one will know its meaning. I like to consider myself a "Man About Town" but I'd have been hard-pressed to suss its meaning. 6:59

    1. Hey Huygens, in the off chance that you haven't read 'Contact', you might enjoy it as well, with the same caveat that I read it 30+ years ago and parts of it might not have aged too well. But the ending is brilliant!!

    2. I purchased "Contact" when it first came out, and of course own the movie (I mean, Jodie Foster!). I think I have all of Sagan's books, but I've never done a search to find out if I missed one along the way! I suppose that I should.