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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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A tough Sunday, with a spectacular, dare we say stellar theme, but some really tricky naticks -- 35A, Japanese beer brand, KIRIN, versus 31D, Sharing maternal lines, ENATIC (yikes!), and 109A, Wine that may be Spumante or frizzante, PROSECCO, versus 94D, Clear, as crystal, BUS (double yikes!). The grid was a technical tour de force, with IX-based r…
 
A challenging Saturday (of course!) crossword, with some major obscurisms lurking in the grid. Certainly 29D, Happenstance, cutely, COINKYDINK, and 20A, Hallux, less formally, BIGTOE, qualify, as, at least for Jean & Mike, does 1A, Popular brand of alcoholic seltzer, WHITECLAW. Other clues were just deliciously deceptive, such as 14A, One might be …
 
Hip, hip, hooray, it's a crossword about hips ... two of them to be precise, it's very hip. Jean made short order of today's crossword, as she turned in a perfect 28 minute time, whereas the crossword nearly made short order of Mike, as he struggled pretty much everywhere, in a catch 22: to get the theme revealer, you needed to get the crosses ... …
 
Today's crossword was a shocker! Traditionally, the New York Times grids are designed so that answers can be no shorter than 3 letters and as a corollary no letter can be like, well, like the Z's at the end of 21A, Bolivian capital, LAPAZ, and beginning of 48A, Spaces (out), ZONES -- surrounded on 3 sides by black squares. Yet (gasp!), there they a…
 
A terrific Tuesday crossword, a paean to 6D, Olympic sport whose all-round competition is composed of the last parts of 19-, 26-, 44- and 52- across, WOMENSGYMNASTICS. Interspersed among all the sports were some other gently amusing clues, such as 28D, Cheery sort?, FAN, 5D, Uranus but not Neptune, GREEKGOD (nice!), and 46D, Aid in scrolling to the…
 
A delicious Sunday crossword, with LOL answers courtesy of Julia Child (as curated and transcribed by today's constructor, Jesse Goldberg). How could you not like such bon mots as 38A, "A party without cake is ________", REALLYJUSTAMEETING, or the rather brazen 65A, "If you're alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it …
 
It's a Saturday New York Times crossword, which means that the glove are off, the gauntlet's been thrown down, in short, the puzzle was tough -- amusing, but tough. The grid itself was built to challenge, divided into 4 largely isolated quadrants. Jean had trouble keeping her footing in the center of the crossword, with 26A, Break down for closer a…
 
A Fun Friday crossword, challenging but with not too many tripping hazards (aka proper nouns, such as 40A, Big name in pizza rolls, TOTINOS, and 15D, Short-story writer Bret, HARTE). 19A Thin in tone, TINNY, was tricky because we had almost an identical clue the day before, the answer to which was REEDY. Very tricky, Mr. Shortz! A few "today-I-lear…
 
A delicious Thursday crossword, with TOMYUMSOUP as an appetizer, plenty of tasty rebuses to chew on, and some COKES to wash it down. It did have a few of those cultural references that usually cause Mike to break out in a cold sweat, but fortunately 52D, Actress Birch, THORA, and 59A, Genre for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, SKA, had (relatively) eas…
 
Today's Wednesday crossword was on the harder side of the spectrum, but it included some fascinating facts. For example, did you know 10D, Creatures that have the densest fur of any mammal (up to 1 million hairs per square inch), SEAOTTERS? Or 21A, One of 20 on the Titanic, LIFEBOAT? The main theme, however, revolved around authors, whose names wer…
 
Today's crossword managed to COVERALLTHEBASES as far as baseball adages are concerned. RIGHTOFFTHEBAT, they had the aforementioned COVERALLTHEBASES; and the author also was ADROIT enough to work in OUTOFLEFTFIELD and WHOLENEWBALLGAME. A very SWEET puzzle indeed. Today is Triplet Tuesday, so to hear Mike do battle as Jean unleashes a bevy of tricky …
 
A bit of a challenging Monday crossword, some of the clues were relatively ARCANE. Jean had a SMA problem with 46D, Southeast Europe's ______ Peninsula, going for BALTIC before BALKAN. Mike, meanwhile, got TOTO's version of 62A, Where this puzzle's circled letters can be found, AFRICA, stuck in his head, and it took 17A, Song lyric before "short an…
 
Ooh, it's a beyootiful croosword, and if you're wondering about all those seemingly superfluous o's, well, they are an essential part of Ashish Vengsarkar's very punny puzzle. So, if you're the sort of person who reads 110A, Power of a cowboy's boot, and thinks BOOTSTRENGTH; or if you see 10D, Dramatic accusation at a dentist's office, and think YO…
 
Jean was hampered by technical issues, possibly brought on by 16A, Mischievous character in West African folklore, ANANSITHESPIDER, while Mike, meanwhile, had to DIGDEEP, hampered by his decision, violating his own tip, to solve at night. Still, after a TENSE hour (or in Mike's case, two), with nary a CARELESSMISTAKE between them, they were able to…
 
It's a Robyn Weintraub Friday puzzle, and that means tough, fair, and LOL clues all over the grid. To get things rolling, take a look at 25D, Big wheel at a party?, BRIE. She also ought to win an award for 17A, Olympics haul of fame?, GOLDMEDALS, which was just fractionally better than 44D, Irrational thing to celebrate? PIDAY. There's much more in…
 
If you are one of those folk who think that rebuses should be banned, then you may appreciate the irony that two bands - AM and FM - show up in each of the rebuses in today's grid, in an ingenious fashion, with AM needed to solve the across clue, and FM required to solve the down clue. Jean has all the details (and remember you can always checkout …
 
A "crunchy" Wednesday crossword, with enough tricky clues to slow solvers down, although, it is often a good idea to take it -- as they say in life, in Aesop's fables, and in this puzzle -- SLOWANDSTEADY. The constructor embedded most of the grid's humor in the top-left corner, with 3D, Don't knock until you've tried it, DOORBELL, running into 20A,…
 
A relatively easy Tuesday crossword, one might even say a GIMMEGIMMEGIMME 😀: both Jean and (unusually) Mike tore through it. The best clue was definitely 19D, Website where you go to see the stars?, YELP, but there were some others of note, such as 13D, "Aren't I great?", YAYME, and Mike's favorite, 57D, The "N" of N.B., NOTA. A nice crossword, we …
 
Jean had a RAREBIT of an issue with today's crossword, but it was nothing MAJOR. Mike, meanwhile, was intrigued by 17A, Marine inhabitant that's an animal, not a plant, despite what it's called, SEACUCUMBER, and appreciated its location in the grid near what it clearly was a case of -- 1A, Negative media coverage, in brief, BADPR. One clue that sto…
 
A lot of sizzle in today's crossword, appropriate for the 4th of July. Both Jean & Mike, even though they were solving independently, experienced HIGHANXIETY, and had reasons to WAIL, in the same places. The first was at the corner of 102D, Delicious food, in modern slang, NOMS, and 109A, ÷ and † in typography, OBELI (yikes!); the second was 14D, H…
 
There were some fireworks in today's crossword (especially in the top-left and bottom-right corners), with tricky clues like 3D, Strengthen, as an embankment, REVET (!), and 6D, Verdi opera set during the fifth century, ATTILA (!!). Jean labored mightily in this corner, while meanwhile, in the bottom right, Mike was inventing answers out of whole c…
 
A fine Friday crossword that is definitely 10D, Out of the ordinary, REALLYSOMETHING, with lots of places where one might 27D, Crack under pressure, CHOKE, albeit less likely if one had a 26A, What a fitness coach likely leads, ACTIVELIFESTYLE. There were some interesting longer answers, including 17A, Cut-and-paste tool for language learners, GOOG…
 
The constructor of today's crossword, Joe Deeney, had one big idea, and ran with it -- omit the word BIG from a series of answers, and then expand the word that followed into a BIGger font. For instance, 20A, "I can't believe I said that", MEANDMYMOUTH appeared in the grid with MOUTH in a larger than ordinary font. Cute! Jean's favorite clue was 48…
 
Happy last day of June! In today's episode, both Jean & Mike resist the urge to break into song when discussing Tommy Tutone's most famous hit, 867-5309/Jenny, the theme of today's crossword. They also ponder the works of Ted CHIANG, the origin story of FIVEGUYS, and the reappearance of the computer that might very well be powering WordPlay's comme…
 
Back in the day, we'd nip in the bud any clues like 55A, "Years ago ....", literally, THEBACKDAY, and 24A, Put an early stop to, literally, THENIPBUD, but fortunately here in 2021 Alan Arbesfeld had no such misgivings, and today's fine crossword -- we rate it a 4.5 on the JAMCR scale -- is the result. Meanwhile, on today's exciting edition of Tripl…
 
If you have a fear of painful (aka good) puns then beware, this crossword is likely to cause nightmares. Exhibit A, 17A, "So this red thing, Mom? This is not good.", BEETREPORT, and exhibit B, 63A, "Wow, Mom, this is like at a restaurant! Dibs on the chocolate pudding!", MOUSSECALL. Ouch! We'd continue with exhibits C and D, but they are likely to …
 
Today's crossword is a panoply of colors: if you solve it correctly on an iPad or on the web, the answers RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, INDIGO and VIOL:ET become appropriately colored. Even more impressively, they are arranged so that they sweep out an arc, like a rainbow, truly a work of art -- if you don't have access to the solution, do chec…
 
The toughest crossword of the week lives up to its reputation, with a stunning array of deceitful clues. Easily the best, and for which the crossword constructors should win either an award or jail time, is 3D, Answer that would be more apt at 10 Down, TOES. What makes this so sneaky is the writing of 10 Down rather than 10-Down. The latter is the …
 
In today's episode, Jean finds today's crossword to be a breeze, while Mike sees it as more of a tempest. Both ponder the meaning of 25A, Spirals out over the winter holidays?, HAMS, and their response is 20A, Acknowledgement with a shrug, WELLOK. In today's Fun Fact Friday segment, we learn about the joys of clerihews. Remember, when listening to …
 
Jean makes short order of today's crossword, whereas Mike gets tormented in a TANSY garden, nearly snookered by SNOODS, menaced by MCCOO, and temporarily lured into believing that LECI Eshkol was the third prime minister of Israel (for the record, it was the eminently more plausible LEVI Eshkol who occupied the office). Still it was a great crosswo…
 
Jean runs into a spot of bother at 41A, Tech that enables contactless credit card payments, RFID, while Mike almost needs the fainting couch upon uncovering the answer to 24A, Decorative items washed up on the beach, SEAGLASS. Also in this episode, the more loquacious of your co-hosts admires 44A, Loquacious, CHATTY, and both are intrigued by 10A, …
 
Jean attempts to set an indoor speed record for the Tuesday crossword, while Mike prefers to saunter his way through the grid. Both finished and lived to tell the tale, which is precisely what they do in today's episode. Also listen for another exciting Triplet Tuesday adventure, with Mike doing the pitching and Jean at bat.…
 
In today's crossword, we get a lesson in knowledge (Jean, discussing 2D, 1950's-60's singer Bobby, DARIN, and the tie-in to the Three Penny Opera), and ignorance (Mike, confessing that he thought 9D, Honorific for Gandhi, MAHATMA was in fact the great leader's first name -- rather than his actual first name, Mohandas). Today's puzzle did have a nic…
 
Jean tore through today's crossword like nobody's business. Mike, meanwhile, got through about 2/3 of the grid at a decent clip and then lapsed into slo-mo mode for the remainder, running into a sea of cruciverbal misery bordered between 70D, Like fuschia and turquiose, MISSPELLED (nice!!), and 93D, Raw deal from a restaurant?, CEVICHE. However, th…
 
A challenging but fair Saturday crossword, with quite a few "today-I-learned" moments. For example, 10A, "The Metamorphosis" protagonist, SAMSA, the very interesting 15A, Person who will do anything for you, in modern slang, RIDEORDIE (!), 26D, Nintendo offering with more than 10 installments, MARIOPARTY, and the revelation that the answer to 20A, …
 
Hopefully the author of today's terrific. crossword, Daniel Larsen, was paid by the letter, because there were a very small number of black squares in today's grid , which featured 7 clues that ran the entire width of the puzzle, and 1 that ran the entire height. At first blush, then, the crossword looked daunting - a sea of white squares - but for…
 
Jean cruised through today's crossword while simultaneously baking cookies, while Mike, unencumbered by food preparation tasks of any sort, took 3x as long to get the job done: we will let you draw your own conclusions about this. Construction-wise, the crossword was a real tour-de-force, with themed answers tracing out the shape of a fish hook, wh…
 
There was a lot of misdirection in today's crossword, but that's by design, because the theme was, in fact, a series of movies in which the directions were flipped - 19A, Jim Sheridan gives Daniel Day Lewis nothing to work with in this Irish dramedy (1989), MYRIGHTFOOT, 25A, Rian Johnson helms this snoozer of a whodunit starring Daniel Craig (2019)…
 
Cherry Song Discussion! We delve into the lyrics (french voice memo included), the lovely instrumental, and all the harmonies. We break down the emotions of the song and how well the sound production portrays them. Lucia plays clips from the Tiny Desk Concert version and it is lovely. Plus in the beginning we make some announcements about Talk Dire…
 
Apparently the use of "dog" as slang for foot hearkens back to at least 1913, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Mike discovered it 108 years later, during today's podcast, so ... better late than never. In other parts of the grid, Apple tech once again makes an appearance ( 7D, iPad ________ , MINI), and U-Haul also pops up (a much rarer …
 
Hold the (homo)phone, it turns out there are a multitude of ways to pronounce WAY -- WHEY, as in 20A, Food for Little Miss Muffet, CURDSANDWHEY, WEI, as in 31A, Chinese dissident artist, AIWEIWEI, WEIGH, as in that toe-tapper from the US Navy, 36A, U. S. Naval Academy anthem, ANCHORSAWEIGH, and finally WAY, from the second greatest musical hook of …
 
How's it going, eh? And if that question resonated, then you might be in a good position to tackle today's crossword, which celebrated all things Canadian. For example ... 19D, Program introduced by the Trudeau government in 1984, colloquially, FREEHEALTHCARE, 104A, Six-time winner of the N.H.L.'s Art Ross Trophy, born in Saskatchewan, GORDIEHOWE, …
 
A gentler Saturday crossword, because not all Saturday's have to be Thanos-like (and it's only a matter of time before that Marvel villain makes it into the New York Times crossword, you heard it here first 😀). There were some "today-I-learned" moments scattered throughout the grid, such as 13D, What those with protanomaly have difficulty seeing, R…
 
An excellent Friday crossword, lots of ingenious and crisply crafted clues. Exhibit A, 39D, Long divisions?, AISLES, and 52A, They may have lots of steps, STAIRWELLS (a nice bit of indirection). Today's puzzle was also, as all good crosswords are, a learning experience: 5A, First country to discover water on the moon, INDIA; 11D, Many a farmer's ma…
 
Today's crossword includes a novel, or at least very rare, theme, in which the clues lead to answers that similar to common phrases, except the "air" sound in the last word has been replaced with an "or" sound. For instance (because this definitely needs an example), 17A, Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello and Raphael?, RENAISSANCEFOUR (as opposed …
 
You might want to be sitting down for this podcast ... but if you're not, fear not, because the crossword theme is, basically, things that you can sit upon, (BACKSEATDRIVER, COUCHPOTATO, etc.). There were not a lot of verbal fireworks in today's grid, although it did have 24A, Glistens with shimmering colors, IRIDESCES (from a Greek word meaning yo…
 
It's amazing what an opportunely placed H can do to a phrase -- and Christopher Adams demonstrates this not just once or twice, but *four* times, taking common phrases, and tossing in an H to get a punderfully amusing answer. There was a lot of pop culture in today's crossword. This fazed Jean not at all, but Mike got temporarily natticked at the c…
 
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