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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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Another terrific Thursday puzzle from Jeremy Newton, who has published a total of 23 crosswords in the NYTimes, and it shows: a brilliant theme, razor sharp cluing, and an LOL revealer. The JAMCR scale goes up to 5 squares, and he's pegged it! For all the deets, download, listen up, and be prepared to be amused and educated.…
 
A slightly crunchy Wednesday, both Jean and Mike fell into the "how-do-you-spell-ALFREDNEUMAN" trap, spelling it (as you might suspect) ALFREDNEWMAN. Jean figured it out relatively quickly, Mike had to MULL it over for half a TIC, er, TICK, before he finally saw the light (and heard the music!).MP
 
A dodecad of themed answers in today's crossword -- something you don't see every day, and a reason for celebration as it made for a very interesting puzzle as well as the opportunity to use dodecad in a sentence! What's a dodecad, you ask? And (once you've got that sussed out), what would be a reasonable theme that involves a dodecad? To answer th…
 
A good middle-of-the-road Monday crossword by Margaret Seikel, which included rewards for regular solvers -- 51D, Faces a pitcher, BATS, which had just appeared yesterday; and a highly memorable but challenging- to-pronounce-3-times-quickly hyphenated-phrase that first appeared in a clue last month, 37A, Male equivalent of a she-shed, MANCAVE. Nice…
 
A definitely harder-than-usual Sunday crossword, it took both intrepid co-hosts a considerable amount of time just to get a toehold in the grid. There were a few easy clues in the puzzle, but for every 37A, Laura of "Big Little Lies", DERN, and ... oops, sorry, that's the only easy clue we could find! There were, however, scores of clues such as 41…
 
Jean got through today's crossword in a blistering pace, Mike ... just got blisters, slightly singed as he was in the bottom-left corner by such fiery clues as 34D, Super ___________, TUESDAY, 33D, Tip of a geographic horn, SOMALIA, and 40A, Painter Modigliani, AMEDEO. However, Phoenix that he is, Mike hopes to shortly emerge from the ashes ready t…
 
For longtime crossword solvers, the name Erik Agard can spark a frisson of excitement and/or dread, usually both 😀 And in today's grid Erik is in fine form, with some awesome clues that make you want to stand up and applaud. Beyond the very best (covered, of course, in the podcast), we have others that are still ... among the very best, such as 31D…
 
A great debut crossword by Helen Chen, with 6 debut answers - that's a lot of debuting (which spellcheck assures us is a real word). Apart from the clues covered in today's podcast, we cannot help but marvel at the elegance of clues whose answers may make you pause for a moment before the connection becomes apparent: 38D, Picture, IMAGINE, 44D, It'…
 
Matthew Stock, who seems to have a knack for quality crosswords, proves that assertion in today's puzzle, with an LOL theme, some fun clues and answers (2D, Jaunty words upon departing, IMOFF; 41A (which we mentioned in the podcast but just have to highlight here ), No, ____, Bob!, PROB; and 23D, Entertain, AMUSE (which this crossword does from 1A …
 
An educational Tuesday crossword, at least for certainly one of our dynamic duo, with the other playing the role of educator on such diverse topics as the difference between octet and OCTAD, the ABC Islands, and a CHOWCHOW. And that's just a handful of the many fun factoids that we acquired as we spelunked through today's grid, so for all the deets…
 
A fun Monday crossword by Leslie Young and Andrea Carla Michaels - it's hard to resist a puzzle that slips both HAIR and HARE into the grid, and hard not to laugh out loud (we failed!) at clues like 25A, Make-up specialist?, LIAR. So, 5 squares on the JAMCR scale, and for a more detailed discussion of exactly why it has achieved that exalted score,…
 
Remember all those mild threats that your parents might've used on you? Well, Katie Hale found all of them and squeezed them into today's grid (a Sunday, because phrases like DONTUSETHATTONEWITHME definitely need most if not all of those 21 square swathes). The crossword was not too difficult, but we'll take it - and give it a well-deserved 5 squar…
 
A tougher Saturday crossword, although eminently fair and with some great clues. Consider, par exemple (as the French would say), 14D, The most well-known one is named for a Greek hero, TENDON (nice!); 26A, Red or green lights, maybe AURORA (ooh!), and 16A, Inventor played by David Bowie in "The Prestige", TESLA (wow!). And those are just a few, we…
 
A fine Friday crossword by Juliana Tringali Golden, with arguably the most interesting clue of the month, 53D, Country where almost half the world's zippers are made, JAPAN (wow!). Of course, there were many other worth pondering -- 25D, Yawl pole, MAST (say what?), 59A, Immediate threat to capture in a game of Go, ATARI (OK, if you say so), and 55…
 
There are Thursday crosswords, and then there are Thursday crosswords. This is one of the latter, a master class in crossword construction, with challenging cluing and a spectacular theme. We have all the deets inside, as well as a small avalanche of listener mail, so hit that big ol' subscribe / download / play button and enjoy.…
 
A twisty-turny theme by Michael Dewey to help celebrate our midweek crossword. No revealers here (you'll have to listen to the podcast for that), but we will tell you that both DALEEVANS and ROYROGERS managed to meander into today's grid. A few mysteries popped up in the grid -- 45D, Contents of college blue books, ESSAYS (why blue?); 46A, Lost fre…
 
The wonderful thing about crosswords is -- apart from the sheer joy of solving them (or at least trying) -- all that you can learn from them. Within the course of one 15x15 grid they can introduce you to relatively new singers; currencies that you might otherwise have never known existed; and 14th century philosophers whose name still lives on toda…
 
A fun Monday crossword by Michael Lieberman, with an LOL revealer that ... we won't reveal here, but most definitely do discuss in today's episode. Perhaps it was a coincidence, but three of Mike's all-time favorite answers appeared in the grid today - 6D, Trevor of "The Daily Show", NOAH; 30A, Disney+ series in the Marvel Comic Universe, WANDAVISI…
 
A very pleasing Sunday crossword by Derrick Niederman, with a terrific theme -- Opposites Attract -- superbly executed. There were a few posers -- 39D, Tom Jones and Anthony Hopkins, by birth, WELSHMEN, 93D, What all companies try to make, PAYROLL (nice!), and a word that we earnestly hope will make a comeback, 87A, Horse-drawn carriage, SHAY. Just…
 
For today's puzzle, the editor's turned to Kameron Austin Collins, which means that the difficulty level was cranked up to 11 (maybe more). Your cohosts had to dig for every clue. Cases in point: 7A, Looks like, MIMICS; 31A, Bad thing to draw when your taking a test, BLANK (woah!!); 7D, Makes fast, MOORS (heh); and the delightfully devilish 56A, Ta…
 
If the main goal of a crossword is to entertain and educate, than today's crossword gets an A, for clues that entertain (47A, French, perhaps, in England, SNOG), educate (Out of nothing, in creation myths, EXNIHILO), and do both (1D, Snit, PET). Today's crossword also had an amazing grid, breaking the usual rules for a very good reason, as you will…
 
Matthew Stock returns to provide an excellent, geographically-themed crossword, with some intriguing clues throughout the grid to keep us puzzling -- 30D, Press material, GARLIC (😀), Mike's favorite word in the grid, 25A, Verse, POESY, and 59A, Goo for a batter, PINETAR, are just 3 examples. Definitely 5 squares on the JAMCR scale!…
 
Kudos to Ekua Ewool for a marvelous, 4th-wall-breaking effort that did a great job of capturing the thoughts of newbies (and not-so-newbies) as they work through a week of crosswords puzzles. All the deets are inside, so have a listen and remember that we love feedback - crosswordpodcast@icloud.com.MP
 
A nicely done crossword by Trenton Charlson, with a brilliant theme ... (and no, we weren't just trailing off, that was the brilliant theme). In addition, we saw plenty of other signs of an superior constructor's craft, including 57A, Galas, APPLES; the truly sublime 41D, Not doing things the rite way?, ELOPING; and Mike's favorite (he might be jus…
 
A great debut crossword by Adam Simpson, with a theme that has a definite "awwwwww" factor to it. The rest of the grid is not too shabby either, so here's hoping that we'll see more of Adam's work in the future! Want more detail? We know you do, so download, listen up, and we'll do the rest!MP
 
Solving today's crossword involved a lot of ups and downs - literally, thanks to a theme that gave the grid a Chutes-and-Ladders feel to it. The author of today's crossword, Tracy Gray, has had 33+ puzzles published in the NYTimes ... you could kinda tell from the grid that this was not their first rodeo! We have all the deets inside, so take some …
 
A gentler than usual Saturday, with some excellent cluing and at least one debut answer, 2D, Temporarily banished from a dorm room, say, SEXILED (!). which ran into another thematically related clue, 29A, Giving a sexual interpretation to almost any statement, say, DIRTYMINDED (not DOUBLEENTENDRE, because no matter how much fun it is to say, it sim…
 
A fabulous Friday crossword by Claire Rimkus: both Jean and Mike started off slowly, but eventually managed to persevere, Jean by dint of knowing a lot, Mike by dint of lucky guesses (many, many lucky guesses). We have all the deets inside, as well as a Fun Fact Friday that we know you're jonesing to listen to, so subscribe / download / listen up a…
 
There was, as is oft the case, vast differences in our co-hosts' solving journeys as they worked on today's puzzle. One of them (Jean), had no problem, and the other (not Jean) had almost exactly the same lexiconic failure that he had yesterday, except this time it was the northeast, rather than southwest, that almost did him in. The smart money sa…
 
A brilliant Wednesday crossword by Joe Deeney, with a genuinely LOL theme. There were at least two debut answers -- the revealer, 35A, Dubious food-eating guide, or a hint to the answers to this puzzle's starred clues, and one of the themed-answers, 57A, Federal tax incentive for buying a Tesla, say, EVCREDIT. A nice bit of work, definitely 5 squar…
 
A fine Tuesday crossword by Emily Carroll, with an amusing theme and some wry clues that will bring a smile to your lips. And if that doesn't do it, then our Triplet Tuesday spectacular is guaranteed to make those lips part. All the deets are inside, as well as references to IHOP that are not nearly as gratuitous as they might seem once you've grok…
 
Today's crossword had plenty of heart, and thanks to 32D, James who sung "Tell Mama", ETTA, also plenty of soul! For those of you who don't remember Reader's Digest "I am Joe's Heart", today's crossword is just what the doctor ordered. In other news, we had listener mail explaining how tonic water worked, and this article from McGill University is …
 
Jean, as seems to be her MO nowadays (even if she is living in WI), tore through today's crossword in about half an hour. Mike ... did not, primarily due to some tragic misspellings in languages with which he has only a passing acquaintance. Deets inside, so download, listen up, and enjoy!MP
 
A fabulous Saturday crossword by Andrew Linzer, who pulled out all the stops to come up with a cornucopia, or possibly a piñata, of great, great clues. We'd go over them here, but basically it's ... all of them! Pick a clue, any clue, and be prepared to be amazed. Naturally, of course, you'd think that this would be the JAMCOTWA (Jean And Mike Cros…
 
A terrific Friday crossword by Robert Logan, as folksy as all get out, and that's not a complaint! It included many interesting factoids, such as 39A, Largest of the society islands, TAHITI; 53A, Snack item since 1912, OREO; and 42D, Scottish sheepdog, informally, SHELTIE. The structure of the puzzle was also intriguing -- as revealed by 64A, A 50/…
 
An ingenious Thursday crossword by Olivia Mitra Framke and Andrea Carla Michaels, who discovered how to amusingly squeeze US states together, to great effect, in this 5-square-on-the-JAMCR-scale-worthy puzzle. We have all the deets inside, just waiting for you to discover. Remember that if you haven't done the crossword, and want to be able to foll…
 
There were SCADS of good clues in this crossword, and AUGHT bad ones - thanks to the efforts of constructor Colin Ernst (aided and abetted, undoubtedly, by Will Shortz). A few old friends dropped in - 63A, Indian tea region, ASSAM; 22A, Shakespearean schemer, IAGO. who, blessed with 3 vowels and a G, has managed to worm his way into a NYTimes cross…
 
A splendid Tuesday crossword by Trey Mendez, with multiple LOL clues and an ingenious theme. This was Trey's debut crossword, and we can't wait for his next one! In other news, it's Triplet Tuesday: does Jean tear through it? Or does she tear through it? [There was a homograph there, honestly!] To find out, you are cordially invited to subscribe, d…
 
A somewhat folksy start to our crossword solving week, as well as a hidden theme -- especially apropos since the theme itself was, well, underground. If you want to dig up the dirt on that, you'll have to do a bit of spadework first, i.e., subscribe, download, listen up, and enjoy!MP
 
A (gasp!) themeless Sunday crossword, with very few black squares - so if you're looking for a challenge, constructors Brooke Husic and Will Nediger are happy to oblige! And we're happy that they made this crossword: to find out precisely why, you know what to do -- subscribe, download, listen up and enjoy!…
 
A tough Saturday crossword, Jean had a spot of difficulty in the top-left, Mike forgot that the musical syllable LA was not an abbreviation; but other than that it was a fine ending to an incredible week of crosswords - the New York Times Crossword quality was cranked up to an 11, and our agonizing decision as to which deserved the JAMCOTWA (Jean A…
 
An absolutely brilliant Friday crossword by Patrick John Duggan, hopefully he got paid extra for this tour de force / masterclass in clever cluing: we simply cannot say enough good things about it, although we tried. So to hear all of that, as well as to learn lots in today's Fun Fact Friday segment, subscribe, download, and listen up.…
 
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…
 
Today's crossword is by the founders of xwordinfo.com, Jeff Chen and Jim Horne, and today's high-quality puzzle reflects that: the theme is ingenious, multilayered and ... well, we'd say more, but we want to keep you in some (mild) suspense before you hit the ol' download button!MP
 
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…
 
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