Tuesday, 11/9/10

LAT 4:06 (Jeffrey)
NYT 3:42
Jonesin’ 3:38—puzzle available here
CS 5:01 (Evad)

Daniel Finan’s New York Times crossword

Region capture 17Well, if you simply must have a quote theme, this is the way to do it—have the entire grid fillable from Across and Down clues that aren’t part of the quote! In Daniel’s puzzle, the quote meanders through a winding path amid the unrelated fill in the middle of the grid. The quote’s accompanied by its author and source: J.R.R. TOLKIEN’S “THE / LORD OF THE RINGS.” The brief excerpt reads “Not all those who wander are lost.”

The fill’s a little weird and some of the clues are tough, so we’re seeing a lot of Wednesdayish solving times rather than patently Tuesdayish ones. Trouble spots for me:

  • 14a. ["Hollyoaks" actress ___ Atkinson] is named GEMMA. Who? Googling…good gravy, she’s also a “glamour and lingerie model,” and Hollyoaks was/is a British teen soap opera. The other GEMMA of note is Gemma Arterton, who has actually appeared in movies Americans know, such as Quantum of Solace.
  • 16a. DIESEL OIL? Is that a thing? Apparently yes, it is, and my first try of DIESEL GAS is not a thing.
  • 40a. I was torn between EJECT and EVICT, but today’s [Cast out] is EGEST. Mind you, EGEST evokes very specific ways of “casting out,” namely excreting waste material from the body. Help! Breakfast test violation!
  • 63a. Did you know there was a bug called the AMAZON ANT? This is not one of the ant names I recall from those dramatic nature shows on TV. The ones that bite like hell or can eat people—those are the ones I remember. The amazon ant makes a habit of yoinking pupae from other ant colonies and raising them as slaves.
  • 1d. I always want to spell it HAJJ, which is a valid spelling, but what are the odds of a constructor managing to work with a double-J? It’s HADJ today and most of the other days.
  • 32d. I always want to spell it DITZY, not DITSY. You see my affinity for the Scrabbly spellings?

Julian Lim’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Jeffrey’s review

LAT Nov 9 2010 Theme: 60A. [World Series of Poker Main Event no-limit game whose 2010 winner will be revealed tonight—the last words of 17-, 27- and 45-Across refer to the cards dealt between rounds of betting] – TEXAS HOLD ‘EM. A 32-word clue. A shorter version that still works is: [Poker game].

Here are the standings going into tonight’s show:

  1. Jonathan Duhamel  65,975,000 (Canadian)
  2. John Dolan  46,250,000
  3. Joseph Cheong  23,525,000
  4. John Racener  19,050,000
  5. Matthew Jarvis  16,700,000 (Canadian)
  6. Filippo Candio  16,400,000
  7. Michael Mizrachi  14,450,000
  8. Soi Nguyen  9,650,000
  9. Jason Senti  7,625,000

I think this is the oddest tie-in puzzle I’ve ever seen.  I like the new trend of ultra-topical puzzles.

Other theme answers:

  • 17A. [High jump technique created by 1968 Olympic gold medalist Dick] – FOSBURY FLOP. FLOP is the first three cards revealed.
  • 27A. [K-shaped reversal on the road] – THREE POINT TURN. TURN is the fourth up card revealed.
  • 45A. [Longest Canadian waterway] – MACKENZIE RIVER. RIVER is the final card shown. The MACKENZIE is 1,738 km (1,080 mi) long. Named after the famous explorer Alexander River.

Other stuff:

  • 1A. [One who's all skin and bones] – SCRAG. I like that word. Why is that?
  • 6A. [Talmudic scholar] – RABBI.
  • 14A. [__ donna] – PRIMA
  • 20A. [String ensemble instrument] – CELLO
  • 21A. [French greeting] – ‘ALLO. Cockney greeting – ‘ELLO. Hawaiian greeting – ‘ILLO. String instrument greeting – CELLO.
  • 36A. ["My Dinner With Andre" director Louis] – MALLE. He was married to Candice Bergen.
  • 40A. [Victoria's lasted longer than that of any other British monarch] – REIGN. Here’s her statue a few blocks from where I am typing this.
  • 41A. [Dahl's "Fantastic" title character] – MR FOX
  • 51A. [Caribbean music] – SKA
  • 65A. [Popeye's creator] – E.C. SEGAR
  • 11D. [Prepare, as a bottle launcher] – PRESSURIZE
  • 24D. [Perfume squirt] – SPRITZ. Another fun word.
  • 28D. [Somewhat unhinged] – HALF CRAZED. I half like this.
  • 33D. ["That tastes great!"] – MMMM. Sound of a snake that just ate: MMMMM SSSSS.
  • 46D. [Nine-day devotion] – NOVENA. New word to me. I knew RABBI.
  • 47D. [Levy, as a tariff] – IMPOSE. Love those tax answers.
  • 52D. [Skin lotion brand] – KERI. I bet it has aloe in it.

New category – Plural crosswordese:

  • 11A. [Attire in which to retire, briefly] – PJS
  • 23A. [Street shaders] – ELMS
  • 25A. [Some nest eggs, for short] – IRAS
  • 34A. [Leftover scraps] – ORTS
  • 39A. ["__ a done deal"] – ITS (I know, ITS not a plural; just seeing if you are paying attention)
  • 67A. [Ppd. enclosures] – SASES
  • 68A. [Utopias] – EDENS
  • 54D. [Spouses no more] – EXES

Updated Tuesday morning:

Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “There’s an App for That”—Evad’s review

cs119 So is constructor Lynn Lempel now under the employ of Steve Jobs? Here she offers four “apps” that may be downloadable to an iPad near you:

  • “Consider one’s stake in a poker hand?” is APPRAISE THE ANTE. Poker’s a popular app on the iPad.
  • The Mars Rover (originally designed at my alma mater, RPI) gets a new app in the form of a NASA MARS APPROVER
  • Can bad endings be improved by an app? Sure enough, Lynn offers us BAD APPENDING, or a “Lousy job by an indexer?” Do indexers append? Do appenders index? And how about that appendix?
  • Drew Brees and company wouldn’t be happy about Lynn’s APPALL SAINTS DAY. The Superbowl champs from last year just came off a big win over Carolina and are now 6-3 on the season. I’d catch a pass from Drew any day.

Lynn’s hallmark of lively theme entries and smooth fill hold true today. Lots to like with BIG DIPPER, TO NO AVAIL, and ASIAGO cheese, which tops my favorite bagel at the local Au Bon Pain I stop at before work. I also like how SPEW and LAVA top the puzzle, very volcanic! Small hiccup with MEAGER for MEASLY (“Pitifully small”), but easily fixed with the crossing SIDLE, or “Edge along” (walk like a crab).

Updated in the afternoon:

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “5 CC Injection, Stat!”

Region capture 18I don’t like the capitalization of “CC” in the puzzle’s title—the unit wants to be “cc” no matter where it appears.

The theme involves adding CC to familiar phrases:

  • 17a. My “main man” becomes MCCAIN MAN, or [Guy who voted Republican in 2008?].
  • 26a. This one’s tricky because of where the CC gets inserted. “Street lamp” becomes STREET C-CLAMP, or [Gripper used only on roads?]
  • 36a. ["Convoy" singer C.W. representing the U.S.?] clues MCCALL OF AMERICA, building on the Mall of America. If you have never heard of this song, do yourself a favor and don’t look for it on YouTube. This ’70s hit was sort of a country music paean to C.B. radio–usin’ truckers. Speaking of Mall of America, did you know there’s a Marbles: The Brain Store location there? Marbles stores are busting out all over the Chicago and Minneapolis areas. Check ‘em out.
  • 44a. [Clip from a 1983 Mr. T. comedy?] clues A LITTLE D.C. CAB. Not sure “a little dab” is properly “in the language” outside the “a little dab’ll do you” context.
  • 59a. OCCUR TOWN, based on Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, is a [Place where everything just...happens?].

Favorite morsels:

  • 9d. SAY UNCLE. But not as a result of this crossword. Don’t let this puzzle beat you!
  • 27d. EFFED [___ up (screwy, slangily)]. Now, EFFED UP would be even better.
  • 37d. [Words that follow "Hmmm..."] are “LET ME SEE…”
  • 46d. [Public Enemy #1?] is CHUCK D of Public Enemy.
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14 Responses to Tuesday, 11/9/10

  1. And the NYT had both a STY and a STYE.

  2. HH says:

    Re the LAT puzzle: I’d like to see a puzzle in which every clue requires seven lines of text.

  3. Neville says:

    I had FANTASTIC MR FOX in the LAT yesterday, an now there’s MR FOX today… Is Rich trying to teach us this because he expects it to be some big crosswordese one day? :)

  4. Gareth says:

    RE the LAT: Anyone else start spelling it FOSBERRY and have to backtrack? I’d like to feel that I’m not the only one? Please. Oh simple, but tight puzzle theme, don’t think I’ve seen it done before though. Nice! Never read the clue tying things up until reading your (Jeffrey’s) write-up – too much effort when the answer was obvious!

  5. Matt says:

    I liked the NYT a lot, ‘tho I agree that it had a ‘later in the week’ vibe– just looking at some of the entries in the middle– TYCHO, DRED, STETHO, EGEST. Not really Tuesday fare– but a very nice puzzle.

  6. Meem says:

    Agree with Matt on NYT. Also liked the LAT theme. Clue for 27A was clever. Not sure I buy 33D. Thought the title of Lynn Lempel’s puzzle gave an awful lot away. Liked 17A and 27A, but thought 48A and 63A were reaching.

  7. Howard B says:

    I really liked the idea of the quote twisting through the puzzle, so that the solver can use both fill and the quote in tandem to help with the solve. On the other side, that synergy was needed to help with some of the fill – ouch! A worthy challenge though, and I do like that the difficulty, even from day-to-day, varies just a bit and keeps us on our toes, while still generally increasing throughout the week.

  8. LARRY says:

    EGEST is also what a volcano does with lava.

  9. Wes says:

    “You’re such a TOOL” struck me as a little risqué for the NYT.

  10. Martin says:

    Does anyone have any evidence that sense 3 derives from sense 2d? Or should we avoid any word with any off-color meaning?

  11. joon says:

    GEMMA is also a word from botany. i know it only because anne tried it at 1a during the A playoffs this year. (sorry anne… at least the first M was right.)

  12. HH says:

    “Or should we avoid any word with any off-color meaning?”

    No. We shouldn’t.

  13. Andrew R says:

    Hey folks,

    I have the pleasure to announce that the website for my company, Aries Puzzles, is now officially launched. I will offer free puzzles there on a weekly basis – usually Tuesdays. I am specializing in Rows Gardens, that scrumptious little crossword variety invented by Patrick Berry. Visit the site at http://www.ariespuzzles.com.

    Hope to see you there,

    Andrew Ries
    Owner, President, GM, and CEO – Aries Puzzles

  14. Jan says:

    [LAT] Here’s a video of Fosbury winning with his new high jump style:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id4W6VA0uLc

Comments are closed.