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We're Caitlin and Lucia, two gals who love music, feminism, and One Direction. Here on Talk Direction we discuss everything and anything 1D! This means that as Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik continue their paths as solo artists, we will be right there with them. We’ll be analyzing song lyrics for their deeper meanings, gushing about Harry's fashion evolution, and making predictions about future solo albums from the boys!
 
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One of those epic Thursday crosswords that makes you want to shout "huzzah", or words to that effect -- thanks to a clever, rebusian (if that's a word, if not, we're inventing it here and now!) theme that will leave you gasping in amazement. At least that's the effect it had here at Jean & Mike Do The New York Times Crossword HQ. We have all the de…
 
Today's crossword was a real TREAT. Jean found it a cake walk. Mike found it more of a treacle pudding walk, thanks to a natick at the corner of 41D, Supermodel Wee, ALEK (not ALEC), and 48A, Video game franchise featuring Sub-Zero and Sonya-Blade, MORTALKOMBAT (and not, as we're sure you saw this coming, MORTALCOMBAT). But live and learn, that's o…
 
A fine Tuesday crossword by Sue Fracker, with a well-done and clever "bendy" theme ( deets are in the podcast). Both Jean and Mike were slightly taken aback by at least two clues, Jean by 23A, Motorboat's trail, WAKE, and Mike by 14D, Sport with a coxswain, CREW (not ROWING: but the two are synonymous). In other news, Mike almost faints when he dis…
 
A lively enough Monday crossword (esp. considering the presence of NAP and MICROSLEEP in the grid), with a few celebs (SELA Ward, Justin TRUDEAU, and NEYO) to give it that extra PEP! In other news, our NY Times Crossword Subscription Contest has drawn to a close, and we have winner!! Was it you?? There's only one way to tell: subscribe, download, a…
 
Opinions on the difficulty of today's crossword were mixed: Jean finished it in 19 minutes, Mike finished it in slightly less than forever. What the dynamic duo do agree on is that this was a fantabulous crossword, we are both METAFANs, and that it deserves (along with Thursday's, for the first time we have a tie) the JAMCOTWA (Jean And Mike Crossw…
 
A relatively straightforward Friday crossword, with some elegant subtleties in the grid that need to be seen to be appreciated. For instance, let us draw your attention to the intersection of 54A, Response to someone who got the answer instantly, YOUNAILEDIT, and 36D, Crushed a test, ACEDIT. [That was apparently the section of the grid devoted to s…
 
An absolutely ingenious theme deftly implemented by David Tuffs, rounded off with some great clues -- 8D, Pasta named for quills, PENNE (huh!), 55A, Phone-y document, FAX, (ha, ha!), and 4D, Title monster in an H.P. Lovecraft story, CTHULHU, (heh, heh, heh! ). All the deets, as well as a reminder about our current contest, are as close as a click o…
 
A definitely easier-than-yesterday crossword, Jean got through it expeditiously; Mike mysteriously forgot how to spell AUTO, opting for OTTO, hence hilarity and longer-than-normal-solve-times ensued. Still, you have to like a crossword with clues like 55D -- One of six in this clue, WORD -- and we did!…
 
A definitely tougher than usual Tuesday offering -- probably because Bruce Haight's at the helm -- but a fun solve, with LOTSA challenges and curiosities in every corner of the grid. From 33A, 1st-yr law students, ONELS (obvious in hindsight), to 37A, What "C" faucets are in Italy, confusingly, HOT (huh, who knew?). Even though we were ONEDGE while…
 
A nice start to our crossword solving week courtesy of Kathy Lowden, with several answers definitely worth remembering because they might show up later in the week, but with several orders-of-magnitude more difficult cluing: we're looking at you, IAMB, PHO and BRASSY. Just a reminder, we're running a contest this week -- a year's subscription to th…
 
We are back after a week's hiatus, and welcoming us back is a superb crossword by Tina Labadie, her debut -- but you wouldn't know it from the finely crafted clues! We have all the deets inside plus ... a new contest! All emails (to crosswordpodcast@icloud.com) between now and next Sunday will be entered in a drawing for a year's subscription to th…
 
A middle-of-the-road Sunday crossword, appropriate considering all the road references lurking in today's grid -- 108D, Inits. on the road, MPH; 109D, Inits. on the road, (yes, again) AAA; 27D, Fwy. or expy., RTE; 64A, Flagship vehicle line for Mercedes-Benz, SCLASS -- and there might've been more, it's a big grid! Just a head's up, we are taking t…
 
A tricky Saturday crossword (as one would expect!), with vast swathes of white squares and just a few oases of black to break up the monotony. The cluing was suitably obfuscatory -- 51D, Supervisory challenges, EGOS; 26D, Location designed to attract whales, HOTELCASINOS (!); and 56D, Suffix for a rank, DOM (!!!) are just 3 examples, we explore mor…
 
A nice Friday crossword by a veteran constructor, Robyn Weintraub. Jean found the puzzle to be a piece of cake, Mike found it to be almost impossible, until the crossword deities smiled benevolently upon him, and reminded him that a better answer for 21A, Employment history, would be CAREER, rather than RESUME or CRVITA. Robyn is known for her grea…
 
A curious Thursday crossword by Bill Pipal and Jeff Chen (always a good OMEN to see M. Chen in the masthead), that asks you to do what we generally try and AVOID, i.e., CUT CORNERS. The result is a crossword about which we have no choice but to wax RHAPSODIC, for reasons that will become clear in today's installment.…
 
Have you ever considered how many phrases involve articles of clothing? Fortunately Enrique Henestroza Anguiano has, and this witty Wednesday crossword is a result. Jean had no trouble with the grid. Mike didn't so much forget how to spell 48D, Traditional garment in West Africa, as discover that he never even knew how to spell it -- for the record…
 
A fine Tuesday crossword by Lillian Simpson, with a debut entry for 25A, Certain spousal state (which we will not state right here, you'll either have to be a good guesser or listen to the podcast to find out), a jaw-dropper as far as Mike's concerned with 46D, Leaf (through) (and again, download / listen up to get the 411 on that); and finally 50A…
 
A marvelous Monday crossword, with a grid that just sings -- thanks in no small part to some great musical references - from LIL Jon (and Wayne), to Yoko ONO, to one of those discoveries that make you want to shout with joy, DRU Hill (definitely check them out if you are unfamiliar ... or even if you are, their music clearly will abide many, many l…
 
A shout-out to today's constructors, Jessie Trudeau and Ross Trudeau, who got married this very weekend. Whether the placement of today's crossword on this particular Sunday was just a coincidence, or possibly a wedding present from the NYTimes, doesn't really matter, because the crossword was certainly a present to its solvers - a fun romp with a …
 
A majorly difficult Saturday crossword, with a fair number of rarely mentioned celebrities (at least here in 2022). Even the most recent, 18A, Defense secretary under Obama, PANETTA, is not exactly a household name; 31A, First person to fly solo around the world (1933), WILEYPOST, probably also isn't a frequent topic at the kitchen table; and 27A, …
 
Well, to be precise, today's crossword is a work of David Steinberg, but it definitely is also a WORK_OF_ART. There were so many great answers, it's hard to single them out, but we certainly appreciated the artistry in working both BLUR and SLUR into the grid, as well as the tactical deployment of WHAMO!. The clues were also nicely done: 24D, Bolt …
 
You'll need to be flexible to solve today's crossword, because that's what some of the answers are - they flex when you least expect it (which would be ... all of the time, because answers tend to either go across, or down, not both). Jean, following her usual MO, cottoned onto the trick quite quickly, Mike, following his, did not. There were some …
 
A crunchier than usual Wednesday crossword, not because of the presence of OREOs in the grid, but rather because today's constructor, Josh Kindler, is so adept at his craft. The clues ranged from sorta-kinda obvious, e.g., 53D, It's rigged!, SAIL, to somewhat more obscure, e.g., 45D, King of the Titans, in Greek mythology, KRONOS, to the we never s…
 
A fun Tuesday crossword by Andy Kravis, with some great clues like 52D, "Performer" in a tiny circus, FLEAS (😄); 2D, "What did the _____ do when it was still hungry? Go back for seconds" (dad joke), CLOCK (🙄); and 48A, Bum around London, ARSE (😏). We would also be remiss if we didn't point out a reference to what appears now to be the preferred fon…
 
A HEAP of cruciverbal goodness in today's grid, easier than yesterday's BYLEAPSANDBOUNDS, and very unlikely to leave one ATSIXESANDSEVENS, or, for that matter, ONPINSANDNEEDLES. In short, the perfect start to our crossword solving week, we give it a cheery 5 squares on the JAMCR scale.Oleh MP
 
Considering how frequently ANTE shows up in the grid, perhaps it's not surprising that an entire crossword devoted to Texas Hold 'Em ought to eventually make it into the New York Times, and ... today's the day, thanks to a fabulous debut puzzle by Greg Slovaceck. This crossword caused a wee bit o' controversy because it involved rebuses, which some…
 
Another tough Saturday crossword (hmm... there seems to be a trend here), with a particularly diabolical southwest corner, with clues like 31D, California city in the Mojave Desert, BARSTOW, 32D, Emergency device in DC, BATPHONE (oh, that DC) and 29D, Buttercup relatives, ANEMONES, ready to trap the unwary. In other news, we've found a highly deser…
 
Any crossword that works PRIM and PRAM into the grid, and niminy-piminy into the clues, deserves recognition, and we doff our hats in honor of Matthew Stock and Nam Jin Yoon's fabulous Friday puzzle. The mere presence of 33A, Drink with an onomatopoeic name, SLURPEE, and 54A, Utter disasters, TIREFIRES, tells you that you're probably going to be in…
 
Jean found today's crossword to be a piece o' cake, Mike found it to be more like molasses ... apt considering how long it took him to solve this! When you take a close look at the clues, however, you'll quickly discover that there are a lot of gems. To see what we mean, check out 8D, It often comes in 60-, 72- and 84-month lengths, CARLOAN; 9A, Pe…
 
Another slightly crunchier than usual crossword - that's two in a row for those of you keeping track. What makes a crossword crunchy, you ask? Clues like 9D, Classic beer of there Pacific Northwest, familiarly, OLY; 29A, Primary place to park?, MAINLOT; and even 27D, Grp. for women who drive, LPGA, are splendid examples: not horribly hard (especial…
 
A crunchier than usual Tuesday crossword, although it did start with a fan favorite in 1A, Alan of "Marriage Story", ALDA. For examples of said crunchiness, we need look no further than 19A, Movie co. with a presence at Sundance, IFC; 54A, Long ways to go?, LIMOS (cute!); and the subtle 42A, That's not true, LIE. A great puzzle, we give it a cheery…
 
A colorful Monday grid, with GREEN, WHITE and BLUE making an appearance, all in the aid of ... nope, no spoiler alerts here. Also, Jean set a PB (Personal Best) for a Monday crossword, but did she break the 5 minute barrier?? Again, no spoiler alerts - to get the full 411, you know what to do: download, listen up, and enjoy!…
 
A super Sunday crossword, with an ingenious theme, deft cluing, and while a challenge, about 1,000,000,000 times easier than yesterday's Mt. Everest of a puzzle. From clever clues like 120A, Tipsy trips, BARCRAWLS; to treats like 9A, Reward for sitting, say, TREAT; and TIL's such as 27D, New York resting place for Mark Twain, ELMIRA, and the artful…
 
A true test of cruciverbal mettle and stamina, with some awesomely difficult clues. They aren't hard to find, either: just point randomly anywhere on the grid and you'll be likely to find one. For instance, 33D, Mozart's "Voi, che sapete", and others, ARIETTAS (egads!); 39D, Pool side, SOLIDS (oh, that kind of pool 😀); and 16A, What a snake or drag…
 
A superb. Friday puzzle by Kyle Dolan: Jean found it straightforward, Mike had to dig deeply for clues like 4D, Representative, TOTEMIC (which definitely was not, as far as Friday clues go); 10D, Mission Santa ____ (National Historic Landmark in California), INES (now officially on our bucket lists); 14D, Question at a press conference, maybe, WHOS…
 
If today's crossword makes you fear you are seeing double, do not adjust your, er, eyes, because you are -- thanks to Philip Wolfe's cleverly constructed theme. We have all the deets inside, as well as a slight addendum to a discussion of yesterday's theme, just waiting for you to download, subscribe, and enjoy! A friendly reminder: the New York Ti…
 
Sam Koperas and Jeff Chen provide a master class in crisp crossword clues, with numerous LOL examples. There are too many to list here, but trust us (better yet, download the podcast and listen to us!) -- the grid is bursting to the seams with 'em. It definitely pegs the scale on the JAMCRmeter (that's Jean And Mike Crossword Rating meter), kudos t…
 
Today's crossword is an homage to Taylor SWIFT, but even if you can't hum FEARLESS or SHAKEITOFF, fear not - the clues are straightforward (respectively 20A, Like daredevils, informally, and 41A, Get over a minor injury, say) and the crosses gentle. Beyond that, we have to pause in admiration of the inclusion of YOINK, which Mike originally took to…
 
Jean's favorite team -- the Kansas City ROYALS -- gets into the grid, as did Mike's favorite DC (and MARVEL!) supervillain -- ARCLIGHT -- so that's yet another cause for celebration, beyond, of course, the fact that, it's the 4th of July. Speaking of which, today's crossword was Bruce Haight's 59th, so while he hasn't had quite as many crosswords p…
 
Today's fine crossword by Tom McCoy featured grammargrams, a concept so rare that even Google couldn't find it, but thanks to WordPlay (the NYTimes Crossword column) we know that it's a real thing. You didn't need to know what a grammargram was to solve the puzzle - Mike is living proof of that - but it did help - and Jean (of course) is living pro…
 
A tough-ish Saturday crossword by Evan Kalish, with clues like 51A, Verb whose past tense form is an anagram of its present tense, EAT (that took a while!); 60A, Assign new keyboard shortcuts to, REMAP (yay, one for the nerds!); and 53D, Plant that symbolized purity in ancient Egypt, FLAX (not FLAN, which while delicious is not necessarily pure), a…
 
A fine Friday effort by Christina Iverson and Caitlin Reid, although both of our dynamic duo (solving, as usual, independently) spent more of their solve time looking for mistakes than filling in the grid. In short the puzzle was relatively straightforward, until -- cue the ominous music -- it wasn't! To hear the deets, as well as (probably) learn …
 
A brilliant Thursday crossword by Samuel A. Donaldson and Doug Peterson, that starts off -- as all great Thursday crosswords do -- by imbuing the solver with a sense of befuddlement and disbelief. Then, with a little luck, or in this particular case with a lot of luck, the answer emerges from the fog, and the solver can bask in the radiance of a jo…
 
In today's exciting installment, we go through the 4 stages of Rebus Identification, as today's crossword provides an excellent example of a rebus-festooned-grid. [Full disclosure: we do get a small gratuity every time we use festooned in the show notes, thanks to the generosity of the Society For the Promotion and Preservation of Festooning*]. As …
 
You might want to wear shades when solving this crossword, and RUBIN a dollop of SPF -- for reasons that will become abundantly clear once you've done so (solved the crossword, with or without the sunglasses and lotion). Apart from the brilliant theme, the grid had a few gems -- the rarely seen HOYAS making its 11th appearance in the NYTimes crossw…
 
If you like movies, and you like puns, you'll love today's puzzle, which is teeming with them. Who can resist simultaneously giggling and groaning at 61A, Staunch dedication to one's upper leg exercise routine?, THIGHFIDELITY, or 94A, Tire-puncturing way across a river, BRIDGEOFSPIKES? And even if you don't like those, there is still a lot to admir…
 
A fine Saturday crossword by Adam Aaronson. Jean tore through it so quickly that her keyboard melted, whereas Mike's keyboard was in no danger whatsoever, except from a mild fist pounding from time to time. We have all the deets inside, as well as the always suspenseful bestowing of the JAMCOTWA (Jean And Mike Crossword Of The Week Award), so hit s…
 
A great Friday crossword by Sophia Maymudes and Margaret Seikel: the clues were crisp, the answers rare if not unique, and the crosswordese meter was reading just about 0. A grid with the likes of SORORITYSQUAT, BURRATA, NOODLEBAR and TINYHOUSE is one to admire and savor, and we do exactly that in today's episode. It's also Fun Fact Friday, and if …
 
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