Wednesday, 8/11/10

NYT – 4:13 (Jeffrey)
LAT - 4:42 (Jeffrey)
Onion – 8:33 (Jeffrey)
CS – untimed (Janie)

Hi it’s Jeffrey today. 



Edward Sessa’s New York Times crossword
NYT Aug 11 10

1D. [First daughter of 1977-81] – AMY is off to win Lollapuzzoola 3 in New York, and with all the East Coast bloggers attending, it is left to the left coasters Sam and me to keep the Fiend train chugging down the track.

Theme:  68A. [Items worn by 14-, 23-, 39- and 52-Across] – MONOCLES

Theme answers:
14A. [Nattily dressed ad figure] – MR PEANUT
23A. [Dickens character who says "Something will turn up"] – WILKINS MICAWBER from “David Copperfield”. I had to look it up (post-solve).
39A. [Wisecracking dummy of old radio] – CHARLIE MCCARTHY. Edgar Bergen had a good gig – ventriloquist on the radio, where no one can see your lips move.
52A. [Dorothy L. Sayers's bon vivant sleuth] – LORD PETER WIMSEY

Other stuff:
43A. [Mandel of "Deal or No Deal"] – HOWIE
58A. [Kind of collar] – FLEA/59A. [Bucolic setting] – LEA. Where’s plea?
21D. [Title for Mick Jagger] – SIR
23D. [Broom-Hilda, for one] – WITCH. Does this still run?
40D. [Jumping game] – LEAP FROG/42D. [Mess queue] – CHOW LINE. A couple of lively down answers.
47D. [Greek moon goddess] – SELENE
56D. [Success on TV's "Concentration"] – MATCH. I know lots of game show contestants read this blog. Anyone who was on Concentration?

That’s all I got on this one. Your turn.

Don Gagliardo’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LAT Aug 11 10

Theme: “C”

34D. [Piano benchmark, and a feature of 16-, 22-, 51- and 61-Across] – MIDDLE C – The four noted answers have a “C” has the middle letter. Each of those answers is two words long, with each word starting with a “C”.
16A. [French Open surface] – CLAY COURT
22A. [Cramming session] – CRASH COURSE
51A. [Joker on the line] – CRANK CALLER
61A. [Just fall short] – COME CLOSE

But wait, there’s more!
59D. [They're hard in across answers and soft in down ones] – CEES.  Not just the theme answers, but this applies to all of the other “C”’s in the grid:

Across – Hard C (as in Crosscan)
8A. [Strip in the paper] – COMIC
31A. [1944 Normandy battle site] – CAEN
54A. [Sway on a curve] – CAREEN
58A. [Actor Cage, casually] – NIC
60A. [Where to learn une leçon] – ECOLE

Down – Soft C
1D. [It's sold in cakes] – RICE
2D. [Interweave] – ENLACE
3D. [Regatta action] – BOAT RACING
5D. [Prey (on), cat-style] – POUNCE
8D. [Makes reference to] – CITES
12D. [Disney Store sales] – CELS
17D. [Rain storage reservoir] – CISTERN
46D. [Domestic-looking wildcat] – OCELOT
48D. [Old cold-block bringers] – ICE MEN
54D. [Give up] – CEDE
55D. [Sharp] – ACID
61D. ['70s-'80s Dodger third baseman Ron] – CEY

But wait, there’s more (almost)! Every clue (which are all written across) has only hard C’s, except for 24 Down (City) and 36 Down (Place). CLOSE CALL! Odd that those two clues weren’t changed. Nevertheless, a tour de force from Don Gagliardo. I am 15A. [Blown away] – IN AWE.

Other stuff:

1A. [Self-titled 2000s sitcom] – REBA
14A. [Mitchell of music] – JONI
36A. [Sot's milieu] – SKID ROW
63A. [Prehistoric beasts, briefly] – DINOS
68A. [Catfish Row opera heroine] – BESS
10D. [Wellington __, New York Giants co-owner for 45+ years] – MARA. An unknown to me.
23D. ["Sing __ Song": Merle Haggard hit] – A SAD


Updated Wednesday morning:

Raymond Hamel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “The Oscars”—Janie’s review

No envelopes required today; no “…and the Oscar goes to…” Today’s “Oscars” appear in the quartet of theme clues themselves: two are men who are very famous in their respective fields; two are very famous characters created for stage and TV. Who are they and how do their names relate to the theme fill? Regard:

  • 20A. [Musical partner of Oscar Hammerstein II] RICHARD RODGERS. The R&H musicals include some of the classics of the genre: Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, “et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.” But Rodgers was Hammerstein’s last collaborator. Long before they first worked together, “Ockie” wrote with the likes of Otto Harbach, Sigmund Romberg, Rudolf Friml and (perhaps most famously) Jerome Kern. If the man, his career and his influence interests you, Hugh Fordin’s Getting to Know Him: A Biography of Oscar Hammerstein II is one of the best of its type.
  • 25A. [Play featuring sportswriter Oscar Madison] THE ODD COUPLE. This Neil Simon Tony-winner (four of ‘em plus one other nom) was the basis of the movie (two Oscar noms…) and the TV series (three Emmy wins plus six other Emmy noms).
  • 49A. [Home address of Oscar the Grouch] SESAME STREET. What an impressive filmography this guy has!!
  • 57A. [Championship team for Oscar Robertson in 1971] MILWAUKEE BUCKS. Not only had I not heard of the esteemed Mr. Robertson, until solving the puzzle I’d never heard of the Milwaukee Bucks—and I hang my head in shame! If you’re saying this was new territory to you, too, I’ll tell you the Bucks are in the NBA’s Central Division. So yes—that’s basketball. Oscar Robertson is truly one of the exemplars of the sport, of sportsmanship, of good citizenship. Worth readin’ up on.

I wouldn’t call the remainder of the longer fill OLD HAT [Passé], but it does feel more functional than exciting, with the straight-forward cluing for such entries as PREDICT, SHARKEY, TEUTON, RECEDES, SOURLY and SEDATED.

Livelier to me is [Hides] for SKINS, since we can’t tell from the clue whether we’re dealing with a noun or a verb. I also like the repeated [Bread spread] for old standbys OLEO and MAYO; and the chocolatey [Hershey treat] / [Hershey treats] pair for KISS and BARS. Opposites [Sluggish] and [Sharp] live next to each other in the clue list, producing LAZY and KEEN. And check out the nice balance in the lower corners created by ROSY and NOSY (for [Upbeat] and [Meddling]). We get more (if less symmetric) rhymed fill by way of OYL and MOIL (the latter being a word I know only through the crosswords…).

Ever wonder about [Major Hoople...]—whose “first name” is AMOS? He began as a comic strip character in the ’20s’ “Our Boarding House” and graduated to radio in the early ’40s. No relation to “Mott the …

Byron Walden’s Onion crossword

 Jeffrey again.

Onion aug 11 10

Theme:  Quote about George Steinbrenner, who died on July 13,  by former Yankees co-owner John McMullen:

18A/25A/37A/42A/55A  NOTHING IS MORE LIMITED THAN BEING A LIMITED PARTNER OF GEORGE’S

Semi-related stuff:
10A. [Miller, e.g.] – BEER
14A. [Yankee's home, briefly] – US OF A
17A. [Lords' lands] – FIEFS
45A. [Some AL sluggers] – DHS

Good downs:
6D. [Clauses found in some employment agreements, informally] – NON-COMPETES
23D. [Professional risk-taker] – STUNT PERSON
41D. [Two-time role for Sidney Poitier] – MR TIBBS

Other stuff:
1A. [___ Cove ("Murder, She Wrote" setting)] – CABOT. Angela Lansbury could totally take out Princess Leia.
39A. [Bail Organa's adoptive daughter] – LEIA. A better clue would be [Chief of State of the New Republic (11-17 ABY*, 17-18 ABY and 21-23 ABY]. For Ryan and Brian.
*After the Battle of Yavin
6A. [Mathematician John of "A Beautiful Mind"] – NASH. Co-starring Patrick Blindauer!
15A. [Gabonese president for 41 years, the longest such run in African history] – OMAR BONGO. Not long enough for me to have heard of him.
41A. ["Circle of Friends" author Binchy] – MAEVE. Five random letters to me.
58A. [Former Senator Carol Moseley ___] – BRAUN. Five random letters to me.
59A. [Filled chocolate bar from Cadbury] – CARAMELLO/60A. [Chocolate syrup brand] – BOSCO. All chocolate row!  63A. SWEET!
61A. [2000 Eminem single] – STAN. A tribute to Mr. Newman.
62A. [Cap'n's mate] – BOS’N
2D. ["Heat of the Moment" band] – ASIA
10D. [Mandible, e.g.] – BONE. I was thinking tune, but that is a madrigal.
24D. [___ Mason (global investment management firm)] – LEGG. Four random letters to me.
29D. [Section of 42nd Street] – THEATRE ROW. Jerry Orbach!

 And finally:
19A. [Sleeping bag, slangily] – FART SACK/54D. [Rocket material?] – SNOT  - When I agreed to start blogging about crosswords, I didn’t think I’d be reduced to this. There’s nothing left to say after that.

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11 Responses to Wednesday, 8/11/10

  1. joon says:

    the monocle theme set off alarm bells—i could’ve sworn i’d seen the same theme recently, and i also associated it with henry hook. turns out i was thinking of this puzzle from 2008 (on my birthday, no less), which was not about monocles but rather umbrellas. anyway, i liked this theme quite a bit, even with the unusual placement of the first and last theme answers (and corresponding stacked non-thematic 8s). well done. some of the long fill was pretty spicy, too; i only wish the short stuff had been a bit cleaner.

    possible theme answer: FLEA LEA. what is the clue?

    (sorry, sorry. but without ryan, who else was gonna do it? plus, it was that or comment on PMS sitting atop … never mind, pretend i didn’t say anything.)

    hey, both AMY and RENE are in here. god bless those crazy kids.

  2. Ajaxman says:

    I thought this was a great puzzle – not much crossword-ese and not much stretching (words like ALOFT or odd-sounding plurals). Plus a lot of fresh fill (CARIB, INFINITI, TWITTERY). Nice work overall.

  3. SethG says:

    The “C” theme set off alarm bells, too. Turns out, that 2009 puzzle was also by Don Gagliardo.

  4. Gareth says:

    NYT:Got ABACAB and ABSCAM mixed up. Feel Mr. Peanut, but Wilkins Micawber is inconsistent – both are usually encountered avec title. Didn’t know the Dickens character and I’ve never heard of the last 2 people… I think I’ve read one Sayers short story… So theme-wise this went quite past me, but was pretty easy non-theme wise and had like you said some real nice entries like CHOWLINE and LEAPFROG (guessing LEAPFROGging CHOWLINEs is a no-no…)

    LAT: Also remembered the HARD G theme was Don. Weird hybrid – 3 different related themes going on at the same time… Tough to construct?

  5. Jan (danjan) says:

    In the Onion, I confidently entered UNDERWRITER for 23D, Professional risk-taker, while thinking that it was an unusual entry for an Onion puzzle.

  6. Dan F says:

    (Onion:) THEATRE ROW is the name of the theater complex where I’m currently doing an off-Broadway show! That section of 42nd St. is not really called “Theatre Row” anymore, because all the theaters that used to be there have been torn down or rebuilt.

  7. Martin says:

    I like the Inkwell a lot. Will it be blogged later?

  8. Karen says:

    I could have lived without getting the SNOT rocket answer.

    Martin, Inkwell gets blogged on Thursdays. Tune in tomorrow.

  9. Martin says:

    Thanks, Karen.

    I get so confused. Inkwell and Onion come out at the same time (usually Tuesday). One is called a Wednesday and blogged on Wednesday. The other is called a Friday and blogged on Thursday.

  10. Jeffrey says:

    I think Amy split them up to even out the load during the week. I had to double check to see which one I was supposed to do (and I’m with Karen).

  11. Joan macon says:

    Broom Hilda runs in the same Orange County Register (CA) where I get the NYT crossword six weeks after everyone else.

Comments are closed.